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 9, inclusive, answered orally.

UN Conventions

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

10 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason Ireland has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; if this is to be ratified imminently; if not, why not, and if he has reconsidered his decision and is willing to fund the United Nations Association. [43151/10]

Responsibility for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities rests with the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. As regards the Irish United Nations Association (IUNA), following a review of Departmental expenditure in 2009, and taking into account also the recommendations of the McCarthy Report that in the current very difficult budgetary circumstances funding for IUNA should cease, no allocation for grant-in-aid to IUNA was made for 2010.

I do not envisage providing funding to IUNA in the future. This position has been communicated to IUNA by my Department and the Association is proceeding on this basis.

While a matter for IUNA, I would take the view that the immediate priority for the Association should be reform of its structures and procedures, in line with the recommendations set out in the review and audit of the Association undertaken on behalf of the Department in 2007-2008. I would encourage the Association to seek to engage with private donors to secure alternative sources of funding, following on from implementation of the necessary structural and procedural reforms recommended in these reports, including efforts to expand its membership base.

Human Rights Issues

Damien English

Ceist:

11 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to recent evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka presented by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43264/10]

Ulick Burke

Ceist:

23 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to claims that international journalists are being refused permission to travel north of the country in Sri Lanka to attend public hearings of the commission looking into the country’s civil war and if he, in conjunction with his EU counterparts, will raise this matter with the Sri Lankan Government. [43315/10]

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

26 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to recent evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses in Sri Lanka presented by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43099/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 23 and 26 together.

The political and human rights situation in Sri Lanka remains a serious cause of concern. The response of the Sri Lankan Government falls short of addressing the outstanding issues or the legitimate calls from the international community and respected human rights organisations for action. The Sri Lankan Government needs to initiate a sustainable peace and reconciliation process which addresses all outstanding issues including the rights of the Tamil population. The international community also has a role to play in supporting and monitoring the process.

In August this year, the Member States of the European Union, including Ireland, suspended special duty-free access given to Sri Lankan exports under the Generalised System of Preferences. The suspension came after the Sri Lankan authorities failed to deliver a written undertaking on three human rights conventions dealing with torture, children's rights and civil and political rights. The estimated cost of the suspension to Sri Lanka is €360 million a year.

While the Sri Lankan Government established a ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission' in May 2010, there has been broad international agreement that this inquiry fails to meet the needs of the victims of the conflict. A number of shortcomings have been highlighted including the Commission's restricted mandate which prevents it from investigating war crimes allegations, particularly those committed by the Sri Lankan army. There are also concerns regarding its lack of independence and the absence of provisions to protect witnesses who may wish to testify. The result is that many groups, including international human rights organisations, have refused to co-operate with the Commission.

Despite the end of the war, foreign media still require permission from the Sri Lankan Government to report from former battle zones. The failure to grant access to foreign media seeking to cover the Commission hearings held outside of Colombo further call into question its credibility. If the Sri Lankan Government is genuine in its intent to further peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and to address the outstanding issues of the Tamil population, it is vital that the Commission is completely open and transparent.

The Permanent People's Tribunal is an independent international opinion tribunal which held a discussion on Sri Lanka in Dublin in January 2010. The Tribunal was an NGO-led exercise in which many leading international human rights activists participated. After considering the evidence presented, including testimony from witnesses and victims, the panel concluded that the Sri Lankan Government and military were guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the civil war. The conclusions drawn supported the widely held view that serious breaches of international humanitarian law occurred during and after the final stages of the civil war.

While in general I support the recommendations made by the Tribunal, I was disappointed that the Tribunal considered only the actions of the Sri Lankan Government and military and did not also examine the actions of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam forces, leaving its work open to criticism by the Government of Sri Lanka and others as biased.

A key recommendation made by the Tribunal was the call for an UN-led inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated during the war. Other recommendations included the need for Internally Displaced Persons and detainees to be allowed to return to their homes without delay.

Regrettably, intensive efforts by the European Union last year to secure the agreement of the UN Human Rights Council for the establishment of an international inquiry were unsuccessful. However, I remain firmly of the view that an impartial inquiry of this kind could contribute to national peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

More recently, a panel of experts was established by the UN Secretary-General to investigate the reports of violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka. While weaker than a full commission of inquiry, I believe its work can form an important element in the overall response of the international community to Sri Lanka's post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction needs.

Disappointingly, the Government of Sri Lanka has reacted with hostility to the appointment of the panel of experts, describing it as an unwarranted and unnecessary interference in the affairs of a sovereign nation. Once again, I take this opportunity to call on the Sri Lankan Government to co-operate fully with the UN investigation.

I will continue to follow the situation carefully and work to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a priority at European Union level.

Foreign Conflicts

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

12 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there has been any discussion of the recent Basque peace process initiative at an EU level; if he has been in contact with the Spanish Government in relation to the issue; if he will do all he can to encourage the development of the peace process in the Basque country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43328/10]

There has been no recent discussion of the Basque situation at EU level. As I indicated in my reply to a question of 12 October, I have regular contact with the Spanish Foreign Minister, including at Foreign Affairs Council meetings in Brussels. Our bilateral discussions cover the range of issues relevant to our valued bilateral and historic relationship with Spain, including in the EU context.

I would be supportive of measures that could contribute to the permanent ending of violence by ETA. The assessment of what would be most useful in this context is a matter for the Spanish authorities.

I have noted the statements by the Spanish Government and indeed by other political parties and groups in Spain on the recent ETA ceasefire announcements, including their disappointment that the announcements by ETA do not imply a permanent cessation of violence.

I also note that active consultations are continuing among all democratic parties on how the Basque Government could best take forward the search for peace. I very much welcome this process.

Human Rights Issues

Jack Wall

Ceist:

13 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the case of Shawan Jabarin, the director of the human rights agency Al-Haq, who is a graduate of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and who hopes to travel to an anniversary event for this centre in Galway but at present will not be in a position to do so due to the travel ban imposed by the Israeli state; if efforts will be made to assist his passage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43161/10]

Shawan Jabarin is the Director of Al-Haq, an important and respected Palestinian human rights organisation which is supported by Irish Aid. Through our Mission in Ramallah my Department has regular contacts with Al Haq and with Mr. Jabarin personally. He has been consistently refused permission to leave Palestine since June 2006, when he returned from a fellowship at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Ireland and other EU partners have made representations to allow him to travel to human rights events in Europe, but without success. The Israeli authorities have insisted that they have serious security concerns in relation to Mr. Jabarin, and this view has been upheld by Israeli courts, although the evidence on which it was based has remained secret.

On this occasion Mr. Jabarin has been refused permission to travel to the tenth anniversary event of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, which takes place tomorrow, and I understand he intends to participate by video link. We will continue to urge that he be allowed to travel and represent human rights concerns in Palestine.

Iraqi Tribunal Death Sentences

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

14 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of any expression by Ireland or the EU in relation to the death sentence that was recently announced in relation to Tariq Aziz. [43139/10]

On 26 October, the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced to death five representatives of the former regime, of which Iraq's former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz is perhaps the best known. I have consistently and clearly set out the Government's firm opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. Ireland was supportive of a prompt expression by the EU of its opposition to these planned executions. On 11 November 2010, the EU (Denmark as EU local Presidency in Iraq) met the Iraqi Minister for Human Rights, Mrs Wijdan Mikail Salim, to express its concern at the decision of the High Tribunal and its concern at the executions carried out in Iraq since the end of thede facto moratorium. The EU called on Iraq to halt these planned executions, convert their sentences, and to resume the de facto suspension of the death penalty pending its legal abolition.

In expressing its grave concern at these planned executions, the European Union fully acknowledged the serious nature of the crimes involved, and expressed its sincere sympathies to the surviving family and friends of the victims. The EU also pointed out that it repeatedly condemned the systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law committed by Saddam Hussein and the members of his regime. However, the European Union stated that it does not believe the atrocities under Saddam Hussein will be mitigated by the death of Tariq Aziz and his co-condemned.

It is in the interests of justice and reconciliation in Iraq that the Iraqi authorities take the step of ending capital punishment. These sentences represent a potentially negative development at a time when, in spite of serious challenges, Iraq is making progress in the journey to becoming a stable democracy. On the same day as the EU's meeting with Mrs Salim, Iraq's newly convened parliament appointed a Sunni Arab member of the opposition al-Iraqiyya coalition as Speaker under the deal which also sees outgoing President Talabani and Prime Minister Maliki re-appointed to their positions. I firmly believe that the death sentences are at odds with much-needed national reconciliation in Iraq epitomised by the new power-sharing deal, and contrasts with the growing number of States supporting the resolutions on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2007 and 18 December 2008.

Ireland, together with its EU partners, remains firmly opposed to the use of capital punishment under all circumstances, seeking a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step. The EU considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, failing to provide deterrence to criminal behaviour, and representing an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

Humanitarian Aid Convoys

Ulick Burke

Ceist:

15 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on a recent incident involving two Irish citizens on the Road to Hope’s ship which was en route to Gaza; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43316/10]

As the incident to which the Deputy refers is now the subject of legal proceedings in another jurisdiction, I will not comment on any elements which aresub judice, but will limit my reply to the response of my Department in providing consular assistance to the Irish citizens concerned. My Department has been in contact with the London-based organisers of the Road to Hope convoy since early November, on the basis that eight Irish citizens were participating in the initiative, which also had mainly UK and some other country nationals on board. The Consular Assistance Section has co-operated closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, and kept our relevant Embassies updated on the nature, composition and proposed route of the convoy.

I am informed that the convoy experienced delays and difficulties along their intended route when they were unable to cross the closed land border between Libya and Egypt and, as a result, has been held up at the port of Derna in Libya since late last month. The Consular Assistance Section has been assured by the convoy organisers and by the British Foreign Office that there is no consular concern associated with the convoy group at Derna.

I am also informed that the organisers had made attempts to engage a private company to charter a vessel to enable the convoy to reach its intended destination and that these negotiations, apparently, broke down. The Department's Duty Officer received notification overnight on 10-11 November of an alleged incident at the port of Derna, which led to a number of those in the convoy, including two Irish citizens, departing on the vessel with destination unknown.

Our Consular Assistance Section immediately made contacts with colleagues in the British Consular Service and with the convoy organisers in London in order to establish the facts of the situation. Having been informed that the vessel's likely destination was Greece, our Embassy in Athens contacted the relevant Greek authorities to confirm our interest in the wellbeing of the Irish citizens on board. Similarly, our Embassy in Rome, accredited to Libya, made contact with the Libyan authorities on behalf of the Irish citizens involved and those remaining in Libya. When the vessel arrived in Greek waters, our Embassy in Athens sought consular access to our citizens at the earliest possible opportunity and made representations that they be treated in accordance with international obligations. The Embassy kept in close contact with all the relevant Greek authorities over the course of the incident: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Port Authorities, Coast Guard, Ministry for Shipping, and Ministry for Citizens' Protection.

Our Embassy was present at the port over the weekend while the vessel was processed. Consular access was allowed once Greek security and immigration procedures had been fulfilled. Our Embassy made several requests regarding food and water, access to legal advice and representation, and access to an interpreter on behalf of our citizens and also provided food, water, and essentials to them.

Our Embassy also attended a hearing involving our two citizens on 14 November. This was a preliminary hearing by the Prosecutor in the case and I understand that they were charged with damage to the ship. They were advised by the Prosecutor that, after a preliminary review of the case, that they were being released on unconditional bail with the only stipulation that they appoint legal representation in Greece to deal with the case, as the enquiry would continue in their absence, and that they were free to leave Greece whenever they wish.

Our Embassy has provided emergency travel documents to both citizens to enable them to return home, if they so wish and has remained in contact with them since their release to provide assistance and local advice.

I can assure the Deputy that throughout the duration of the incident, all possible consular assistance has been provided to the two citizens involved, and I am satisfied that, through my Department's interventions with the relevant authorities in several countries, the wellbeing of our citizens was assured in difficult circumstances.

Human Rights Issues

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

16 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on recent reports of mistreatment and abuse of the rights of prisoners in Iraq at facilities under the control of British troops. [43156/10]

I am aware of reports that there have been abuses perpetuated by British soldiers in prison facilities in Iraq. I welcome the fact that these serious allegations have been brought to UK courts of law for detailed consideration as to whether further actions such as judicial review or prosecution of alleged perpetrators are merited. Of particular importance is a case being brought by lawyers acting for more than 140 Iraqi civilians who allege they suffered torture and degrading treatment at the hands of British soldiers and interrogators between March 2003 and December 2008 in the British-controlled detention facilities in Iraq. There was a hearing in this case last week and judges are due to give their ruling later this year on whether a judicial review of this matter should be opened.

Separately, I understand that the director of military prosecutions in Britain is currently considering whether three UK soldiers may face charges relating to alleged abuses of prisoners in Iraqi prisons. The UK government has not released the names of the soldiers or precise details of the alleged abuse.

These cases follow the Inquiry into the killing of the Iraqi national, Baha Mousa, which the UK government instituted in 2008 and which is due to report next year. This relates to the 2007 conviction of a British corporal on war crime charges in connection with the death of Baha Mousa during detention by British forces in Basra in 2003. A further inquiry into the actions of British soldiers in Iraq, the al-Sweady Inquiry, is due to start hearing evidence in 2011. The al-Sweady inquiry is a public inquiry into allegations that Iraqi nationals were detained after a gunfight with British soldiers in Iraq in 2004 and were then unlawfully killed at a British camp called Camp Abu Naji, as well as further allegations that others had been mistreated at that camp and later at a detention facility.

I believe that it is right and proper that these serious allegations are investigated by the UK government and the judiciary in the most thorough manner possible. At a time when the EU and its allies are attempting to counter the insidious phenomenon of terrorism, it is imperative that member states maintain the highest standards and be scrupulous in our own actions.

Diplomatic Representation

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

17 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he proposes to expand Ireland’s diplomatic presence in South America. [43138/10]

There are currently two Irish Embassies in South America — in Argentina and Brazil. The Embassy in Buenos Aires is accredited to Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay on a non-resident basis. The Irish Embassy in Mexico is also accredited to a number of other countries in South and Central America, namely Colombia, El Salvador, Peru and Venezuela. The diplomatic network is supported by Honorary Consuls in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Our diplomatic missions work in close cooperation with the State Agencies on an ongoing basis to identify new trade and investment opportunities for Irish companies in the region, particularly in high growth and emerging markets. Ireland exported goods and services to the value of €1bn to South America last year.

Ireland has worked as a development partner in South America for over thirty years. Since 2007, Irish Aid allocated over €7.3m to NGOs active in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

The importance Ireland attaches to relations with countries in South America is also symbolised by the cultural programmes put in place to mark the bicentenary celebrations of the independence of Argentina and Chile this year, including the recent Naval Service visit to both countries.

The size and scale of our diplomatic network is kept under review by the Government on an ongoing basis in the light of national priorities and available resources. As always, any decision to open a new Mission must be based on a clear anticipated significant return for the State. This is all the more important in the context of the current budgetary pressures to which all Departments, including my own, are subject.

Question No. 18 answered with Question No. 8.

EU Treaties

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

19 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has been in contact with the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Von Rompuy, in relation to the consultation process on proposals to further amend the EU treaties that was outlined following the last European Council meeting; if proposals to punish member states who breach the Stability and Growth Pact by depriving them of voting rights in the Council is now firmly off the table; and his views that any change to the EU treaties will necessitate a referendum here as promised during the Lisbon II campaign. [43324/10]

At its meeting on 28 and 29 October, the European Council asked President Van Rompuy to undertake consultations with Member States including on the question of creating a permanent crisis resolution mechanism and the possibility of limited Treaty change required to that effect. I understand that bilateral consultations will begin later this month between President Van Rompuy's office and individual Member States. The European Council has agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting on 16 and 17 December, with a view to taking the final decision on both the outline of a crisis mechanism and on a limited Treaty amendment, so that any change can be ratified by mid-2013 at the latest. Ahead of the October European Council meeting, proposals were also made by a small number of Member States, most prominently France and Germany, that the Treaties should be amended to provide for the suspension of the voting rights of a Member State in serious violation of the basic principles of Economic and Monetary Union. This was a particularly controversial proposal and I understand that there was little enthusiasm for it at the October European Council meeting. Nonetheless, the President of the European Council intends, as a subsequent and completely separate exercise to the consultations I have describe above, to consult with Member States on this matter. No timeframe or deadline has been placed on this process. We will await President Van Rompuy's separate report to the European Council on this issue at a future date.

With regard to the necessity for a referendum on any possible Treaty amendment, clearly it is far too early to pronounce on that matter. We will have to examine very carefully whatever emerges from the process which is now underway. The October European Council explicitly stated that what is being sought is limited Treaty change. When we have a concrete proposal for an amendment to the Treaties, we will carefully assess whether it has any constitutional implications for Ireland. At that stage, whatever steps are required to enable Ireland to ratify an amendment will be put in train.

It is worth bearing in mind that not all aspects of Treaty change have required the referendum route for ratification in Ireland. Amendments to allow the accession of new Member States have, for example, been dealt with here through Oireachtas approval.

Human Rights Issues

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

20 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress made at EU level in monitoring the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rightsand the recommendations of the Human Rights Council periodic review in relation toColombia. [43143/10]

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

50 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the progress made since the Government’s statement on the situation in Colombia in December 2009 in relation to human rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43147/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 50 together.

Colombia was one of sixteen countries to be reviewed at the session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which took place in Geneva between 1 and 15 December 2008. Ireland participated actively at the session, putting questions and recommendations to seven countries, including Colombia. The questions and recommendations of participating States, including those from Ireland, are reflected in the outcome reports that were adopted by the UPR Working Group and can be viewed on the website of the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRmain.aspx

In relation specifically to the examination of Colombia, the Irish Delegation raised issues and made recommendations regarding human rights defenders, victims of gender-based violence and extrajudicial killings.

Ireland welcomed Colombian government assurances on the protection of Human Rights Defenders and the development of a Protection Programme for Human Rights Defenders. Ireland recommended also that Colombian legislation on Human Rights Defenders be implemented in full. Ireland recommended that the Colombian government implement the May 2008 Constitutional Court ruling that the witness protection programme be revised to deal with gender-based violence. Ireland recommended also that the Colombian Government implement urgently the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008.

In welcoming Colombian government efforts to end the incidence of extrajudicial killings in Colombia, Ireland further recommended that the new National Plan of Action on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law be used to address comprehensively the issue of extra-judicial killings.

Then Foreign Minister Bermudez subsequently wrote to me in 9 December 2009 outlining in detail the steps that Colombia had undertaken, particularly in response to Ireland's recommendations at the Human Rights Council. In my response to Foreign Minister Bermudez' letter, I acknowledged the progress made but equally stressed the need for further serious efforts by the Colombian Government in order to meet its human rights commitments.

The State being reviewed has the primary responsibility to implement the recommendations contained in the final outcome. The UPR ensures that all countries are accountable for progress or failure in implementing these recommendations. When the time comes for the second review of a State, that State must provide information on what they have been doing to implement the recommendations made during the first review four years earlier. The international community may assist in implementing the recommendations and conclusions regarding capacity-building and technical assistance, in consultation with the country concerned. In the case of Colombia, the European Union monitors the human rights situation closely, including through a dedicated human rights dialogue, and as part of that process it will keep under review Colombia's progress on UPR recommendations.

On 7 August, President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón was inaugurated as President of Colombia. During his inaugural address, President Santos emphasised that human rights would be a key issue during his term of office. Specifically, the President stated that it was his firm position that respect for life was a sacred mandate, that respect for the freedom and integrity of people was an inescapable obligation and that advocacy of human rights was the firm and irrevocable commitment of his government.

President Santos has stated that Colombia's Ministry of Justice will be re-established as the Ministry of Justice and Rights with a view to strengthening the state's policy in support of justice and protecting fundamental rights. I am encouraged that President Santos has tasked his Vice President, Angelina Garzón, with particular responsibility for taking forward his government's programme in this important area. Furthermore, I have written to Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguin Cuéllar to indicate my continuing interest in human rights dialogue with the Colombian government.

I welcome the introduction by President Santos of a Land Reform Bill which aims to return two million hectares over the next four years to farmers who were forced off their land by illegal armed groups and a Victims' Law Bill which would provide reparation for more than four million victims of Colombia's long-standing armed conflict. The legislation includes provisions for medical care, education and humanitarian aid.

The Government will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Colombia through our Embassy, which is based in Mexico, and in cooperation with our EU partners with resident diplomatic missions in that country.

Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 8.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

22 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the assistance the European Union is willing to give to assist in landmine clearance in Colombia. [43142/10]

The European Union is committed to the elimination of anti-personnel landmines worldwide and is one of the leading donors for the clearance and destruction of landmines. The EU is also a major contributor to providing humanitarian support for the victims of landmines. The Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Landmine (Ottawa) Convention was hosted by Colombia in 2009, and in June 2008, the EU adopted a new Joint Action in support of the universalisation of the Ottawa Convention, and towards preparations for its Second Review Conference. The Joint Action offers specific assistance to States Parties (including Colombia) especially in relation to demining, victim assistance and stockpile destruction. In addition, the EU provides assistance in crisis situations through facilities such as the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the Instrument for Stability. Member States and the European Commission have committed €1.8 billion in global assistance for the period 2002 to 2009 making the European Union the largest contributor to mine action worldwide.

As the Deputy is aware, Colombia is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world and landmines kill or injure an estimated 1,100 people each year. In 2007, Colombia established the Presidential Programme for Mine Action which is responsible for the coordination and regulation of comprehensive mine action efforts in Colombia.

The EU provided €2m in support for projects in mine risk education and victim assistance in Colombia after a call for local proposals in 2006. A separate EU programme from 2005 — 2010 provided €2.5m towards institutional strengthening of the Colombian National Mines Action capacity, particularly in areas such as humanitarian demining, mine risk education and victim assistance. A new project, entitled ‘Strengthening Mine Action in Colombia' is expected to be launched in January 2011 for the period to 2015/16, with the EU providing €6m of the project's total of €7m. Its specific objectives will include effective decontamination from landmines, improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordnance, and the release of land to rural populations. Such assistance is just one element of the EU's overall strategy of support for Colombia which is implemented,inter alia, through bilateral, Andean sub-regional and Latin American dialogue as well as through other EU Instruments.

Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 11.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

24 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has congratulated the Chinese winner of the Nobel peace prize. [43157/10]

Pat Breen

Ceist:

38 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Irish Government will be represented at the Nobel peace award ceremony in December which this year is being presented to Liu Xiaobo from China. [43314/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 38 together.

I would draw the Deputy's attention to the statement issued by High Representative Catherine Ashton on 8 October, in which she congratulated this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo, and reaffirmed the commitment of the European Union to supporting the efforts of human rights defenders worldwide.

Deputies will be aware of the continuing human rights dialogue with China, both at bilateral and at European Union level. This facilitates a full exchange on the issues, including specific cases. It is normal practice for the Ambassadors of EU Member States in Norway to attend the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at the invitation of the Nobel Committee.

Question No. 25 answered with Question No. 8.
Question No. 26 answered with Question No. 11.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

27 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his view of the decision by the Israeli Government to restart the building of settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem; the steps he has taken in relation to this move; if there have been any discussions on this issue at an EU level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43323/10]

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

47 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the Israeli Government’s disclosure of new plans to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and the steps that are being taken to bring home to the Israeli Government the consequences of this illegal activity. [43098/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 47 together.

Ireland and the European Union regard all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal. However, without prejudice to that position, the partial freeze on new settlement construction in the first half of this year, limited as it was, was an important element in creating the atmosphere to allow substantive political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to begin. Despite almost universal international calls on Israel to renew this construction freeze when it expired on 26 September, so as to allow the talks to continue, the Israeli Government did not do so, and instead allowed construction to resume. I made clear my profound disappointment at this decision in my address to the UN General Assembly on 27 September.

The settlement enterprise, some of which is in private hands and some the direct action of the Israeli Government, is aimed at changing the demographic balance on the ground, and creating facts which will dictate the shape of any future negotiated peace. It also involves the progressive expropriation of Palestinian lands, expulsion of families, and destruction of their homes. In the weeks since the moratorium ended, settlers have gone ahead in establishing new house starts or foundations for new building, which may not be covered by any renewed freeze. At the same time, there have been a number of highly publicised announcements of construction permits, building plans and other planning stages. These are part of the ongoing and relentless process of settlement expansion, the details and stages of which are kept deliberately opaque and unclear, including, many observers believe, to public opinion in Israel. The effect of these developments on both Palestinian public opinion, and the ability of their leaders to command support for serious negotiations with Israel, is clear to everyone, and it must be a matter of the greatest concern that the Israeli Government does not appear to recognise this, or accord it sufficient importance. I would appeal to all sides, and particularly the Government of Israel, to recognise that the greatest possible restraint should be the highest priority at this time. I would expect broad endorsement of this message when the Foreign Affairs Council meets in Brussels next week to discuss, inter alia, the latest developments in the MEPP.

At this moment, there are hopes that a renewed settlement construction freeze may be agreed shortly. Ireland and the EU have made clear our strong support for the efforts of the United States to bring this about. I have dealt with these developments in more detail in response to earlier questions on today's Order Paper.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

28 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he directly or through the aegis of the EU or UN has focused on human rights issues at the various locations throughout the world which have been recognised as areas of continuing human rights abuse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43322/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

123 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which the international community has put in place or intends to put in place a procedure to monitor and address human rights abuses throughout the world; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43517/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 123 together.

Unfortunately, no part of the world is totally free from human rights abuses. Ireland, both bilaterally and in association with the European Union and other like-minded partners, makes frequent and numerous interventions with regard to human rights concerns in the countries which have the most serious human rights abuses.

Human rights concerns remain central to our foreign policy. Together with our EU partners, Ireland closely monitors the human rights situations in many countries throughout the world, on the basis of information obtained from a variety of sources including official channels, reports of the United Nations Treaty Monitoring Bodies, reports of Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs appointed by the United Nations and international and Irish non-governmental and civil society organisations.

Where and when the situation warrants, we make known our concerns about human rights violations to the Governments in question. We do this bilaterally, through the EU, or through action at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. The 65th Session of the UN General Assembly is currently taking place in New York. Ireland is playing an active role in negotiating draft resolutions on Iran, Burma and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

We support the use of the full UN human rights machinery in responding to human rights abuses, including supporting the role of UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies, Special Procedures and Mandate Holders and the convening, where appropriate, of Special Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council. At these UN bodies, the EU regularly makes statements on the human rights situations in a number of countries. Ireland is fully associated with these statements. The EU also introduces or supports resolutions dealing with specific countries, as circumstances require.

Ireland has engaged proactively with the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review mechanism since its creation in March 2006. At the latest session of the UPR, which took place in Geneva, from 1-12 November 2010, Ireland made a number of interventions, raising issues such as gender based violence, gender equality, fair judicial proceedings, ending criminal sanctions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, ratification and implementation of the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the death penalty and the protection of human rights defenders within the States under review. Ireland asked questions of or made recommendations to Honduras, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia and the United States of America. Member States are expected to report to the Human Rights Council on their follow up to their examination under the Universal Periodic Review process, including whether or not they have implemented their UPR recommendations.

The EU has adopted Common Positions on certain countries, which attach priority to promoting human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law. In addition, the EU conducts human rights dialogues with a number of countries and also raises human rights concerns as part of political dialogue meetings.

Together with our EU partners, Ireland has been a consistent and strong supporter of the International Criminal Court, recognising it as an essential means of combating impunity for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The Court's Prosecutor has opened investigations into a number of country situations and we will continue to monitor this work closely.

The risk of human rights violations is greater where political, economic and administrative systems are weak. Development is essential to allow people the full enjoyment of their human rights, and this is a key concern for Ireland's development co-operation programme. Irish Aid supports specific actions designed to promote human rights, including strengthening government systems and in-country human rights institutions, in particular through legal training. Support is also provided for legal aid programmes targeted at victims of human rights abuses. Irish Aid has a specific focus on governance in several programme countries.

The Government will continue to avail of all the above-mentioned mechanisms and instruments as a means of highlighting violations of human rights and furthering their protection.

Question No. 29 answered with Question No. 8.
Question No. 30 answered with Question No. 6.

Humanitarian Aid

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

31 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the support being provided by the EU to assist Haiti following the recent cholera outbreak; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43318/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

120 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the matter of delivery of relevant aid to Haiti to combat cholera and-or other issues arising such as housing in the wake of the earthquake there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43514/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 120 together.

Haiti is facing a severe cholera outbreak which has claimed nearly 1000 lives and continues to spread. The situation is made all the worse by the fact that hundreds of thousands are living in makeshift settlements with poor sanitation and hygiene following the January earthquake, which killed 230,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. I saw the desperate situation for myself when I visited Haiti earlier this year. It has been further compounded by the widespread flooding which followed Hurricane Tomas earlier this month.

In effect the Haitian authorities and the international humanitarian community are now reacting to three emergencies at once. Ireland and the European Union have responded to the cholera outbreak by providing additional resources to combat the disease, which is primarily waterborne. The Government has provided €500,000 to Plan Ireland and Goal for the provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene equipment to those left homeless by January's earthquake and now at most risk of infection in the temporary camps. The funds will also support the training of local health staff and communities on cholera awareness and prevention.

In addition I have ordered the dispatch of forty metric tonnes of tents and tarpaulins from pre-positioned stocks in Panama in order to provide cover to those left without shelter by Hurricane Tomas and subsequent flooding. These will be distributed by Concern and the International Organisation for Migration. Ireland has now allocated a total of €7.6 million in earthquake, hurricane and cholera assistance to Haiti since the beginning of this year, including €1 million in the form of debt relief.

At EU level, the European Commission mobilised its Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) on 5 November to coordinate assistance from Member States in response to both the hurricane and cholera outbreak. The Commission allocated €5.8 million to support health interventions in the affected areas of the country and contingency planning in those areas which have not yet been affected. In addition, the EU Delegation in Port-au-Prince is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to identify other possible support, such as the provision of supplies for the country's central pharmaceutical store. The Commission has deployed its regional health expert from Managua to track the evolution of the epidemic and to provide further advice. This expert will work closely with a mission being carried out by the European Centre for Disease Control in Stockholm which will examine the causes of the cholera outbreak and help formulate a strategy for EU support to the epidemiological surveillance system in Haiti.

EU Accession

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

32 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding recent developments on the accession process for new member states into the European Union. [43327/10]

The European Commission adopted its 2010 Enlargement Package on 9 November. Commissioner for Enlargement and External Relations Stefan Fuele emphasised the importance of the EU's Enlargement policy and stressed the significance of credibility in the process, in terms of conditionality and the efforts of candidate counties. Regarding Croatia, the Commission confirmed that the accession negotiations have reached their "final phase". Emphasis was placed on work still to do in terms of fundamental rights and judicial reform if Croatia wanted to avoid a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism after accession. The situation will be further assessed in the first quarter of 2011. The Commission's Progress Report on Turkey acknowledged Turkey's continuing reform process with reference to the constitutional reform package. The report suggested that the rate of progress could be better. Fulfilling obligations regarding the Ankara Protocol and progress towards bilateral relations with Cyprus are seen as urgent.

Iceland's screening is to start later this month. Screening involves the Commission working with the Icelandic authorities to examine Iceland's laws, compare them with those of the EU, and determine what differences exist. This is in order to identify areas that may need adjustment so as to be in line with the EU system. The Commission stressed the importance of ensuring Iceland's citizens were kept properly informed about the implications of EU membership.

Regarding potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans, Commissioner Fuele announced that negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened with Montenegro and Albania once they have achieved the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria and in particular the Copenhagen political criteria requiring the stability of institutions guaranteeing notably the rule of law. The Commission recommended that the Council grant Montenegro the status of candidate country. No such recommendation was made in regard to Albania, in relation to which the Commission made an additional reference to the need to guarantee democracy. The Commission reaffirmed its opinion on Macedonia, namely that a solution is necessary to the name issue. Serbia was deemed to be well-placed to fulfil the requirements under the SAA and was continuing to cooperate with the ICTY, which is seen as an essential condition for membership. While regional cooperation was highlighted as a Serbian strength, a more positive attitude towards cooperation with Kosovo was urged, in particular in relation to regional economic cooperation. On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission said that there was a need for a government to be formed quickly and for reforms, notably aligning the constitution with the European Court of Human Rights. There was also a need to move forward on the conditions to allow the Office of the High Representative to be removed. Kosovo was deemed to have made progress in a number of areas but still faced major challenges, notably in regional cooperation.

EU Budgets

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

33 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if agreement has been reached on the EU budget for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43326/10]

Last May the European Commission adopted its draft budget for 2011 proposing a 5.9% increase in payment appropriations over 2010. The Council's position, adopted in August, approved 2.91% in payment appropriations. The European Parliament in October reversed the funding reduction by the Council and set a 2011 budget at close to the Commission's initial draft budget. As no agreement was reached at that stage a Conciliation Committee (consisting of representatives of the Council and the European Parliament) was established at the end of October with a view to finding agreement between the two sides. There was some discussion at the last European Council meeting on 28-29 October 2010 on the issue of the EU's 2011 budget. EU leaders agreed at that meeting that "it is essential that the European Union budget and the forthcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework reflect the consolidation efforts being made by Member States to bring deficit and debt on to a more sustainable path". En marge of the October European Council meeting a group of thirteen EU Heads of State and Government (UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Estonia and Malta) wrote jointly to President Van Rompuy and Prime Minister Leterme (as Presidency of the Council) in which they made clear that the maximum increase acceptable to them is 2.91%.

The conciliation process between the Council, led by the Belgian Presidency and the European Parliament continued to seek agreement right up to the deadline for the conclusion of the process which was 15 November 2010. Regrettably, agreement was not reached between the two sides. The 2.91% increase in payment appropriations for the 2011 budget was broadly agreed between the Council and the European Parliament, however the Parliament sought a political declaration which would have given an indication of how it might be involved in practice in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) and in relation to Own Resources. A number of Member States were unprepared to go beyond the letter of the Treaty provisions with regard to the European Parliament's role in the forthcoming MFF; the Parliament maintained their insistence on a political declaration as mentioned, and the result was that agreement was not reached.

What now happens is that the Commission must present a new budget proposal. If agreement is not reached on a new budget proposal by 1 January 2011, then the EU would proceed on the basis of "provisional twelfths" (one twelfth of the previous year's budget being released each month). This would be a less than ideal outcome as it would have consequences for ongoing regular expenditure and may effectively halt expenditure on new projects, if funds were unavailable.

Throughout this extended process, Ireland has sought to support the Belgian Presidency in their efforts to reach agreement with the European Parliament. We regret that the conciliation process has not yielded a positive outcome on this occasion. We will continue to work with partners with a view to seeking agreement on an EU budget for 2011 at the earliest possible juncture.

Foreign Conflicts

Jack Wall

Ceist:

34 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the most recent information related to the ongoing imprisonment, and the prospects for the release of, Sergeant Gilad Shalit who is being imprisoned by Hamas, which has refused access by the Red Cross; if he is taking an active stance in seeking his release; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43160/10]

The continued captivity in Gaza of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped from Israel by Palestinian militants in June 2006, represents a deplorable situation for the soldier and his family, which I have repeatedly condemned. I would once again appeal for his release and his return to his family in Israel. It is also deplorable that the Red Cross has been refused access to him, his family cannot send letters to him, and they receive only periodic confirmation that he is still alive.

Efforts have been going on behind the scenes for some time, brokered by Egypt, to facilitate a deal between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner exchange that would allow for Sergeant Shalit's overdue release. Unfortunately, while there was hope earlier this year that a deal was imminent, these negotiations have not yet led to a positive outcome. I do not intend to try to intervene actively in these highly sensitive contacts, which could only confuse the clear lines of communication which have been established, but I hope very much for their successful outcome.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

35 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action the EU is taking in order to deal with the suffering of the Saharawi people who remain denied their promised independence for over three decades [43137/10]

The European Union is taking action in a number of ways to assist the Saharawi people. EU member states provide funding and assistance to Saharawi refugees through the EU's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection office (ECHO). ECHO has provided over €155 million assistance to Saharawi refugees since its inception in 1993, making it one of the most important donors to the Saharawi camps. In 2009 it contributed €11 million euro to improve living conditions for the Saharawi refugees. Food aid is a major component of this funding, accounting for €5.5 million of the annual allocation. Other work funded by ECHO includes ensuring access to safe drinking water, public-awareness campaigns in hygiene, improving sanitation, training local hospital personnel, distributing essential drugs and providing building materials so that the refugees' shelters better resist flash floods and harsh weather conditions. In addition to providing relief on the ground, the EU is also urgently engaged in trying to find a political solution to this ongoing and long-standing dispute, in particular by actively supporting the efforts of UN Secretary General Ban's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, to address this situation. Representatives of the Polisario Front, Morocco and Algeria, together with other interested states, met in New York last week to discuss this issue. I welcome the renewed impetus to political dialogue resulting from this meeting and from the agreement reached to hold further discussions between the parties in December and January. The agreement reached at last weeks' meeting to reactivate the family reunion visit scheme is also a welcome development and important confidence-building measure. It is my hope that the two sides capitalise on this opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and do not allow themselves to be deterred by the recent worsening of relations, in particular following the recent violence resulting in a number of deaths which occurred after Moroccan security forces broke up a peaceful protest camp established by Saharwi activists on the outskirts of Laayoune.

Ireland has consistently supported the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara as well as the continuing engagement of the United Nations in the search for a political solution in the territory based on the principle of self-determination. My Department is in regular contact with the Polisario Front and officials last week met the Polisario Representative to Ireland to discuss developments in Western Sahara. The critical blockage remains Morocco's refusal to allow a referendum in the territory which would include an option of independence for the people of the Western Sahara. This has been provided for in a number of UN peace plans, and it is difficult to see that there can be any genuine self-determination without such a referendum. Ireland will continue its dialogue with both Morocco and the Polisario, through their representatives based here in Ireland, to encourage support for the UN Secretary General's good offices mission and the efforts of Personal Envoy Ross to achieve some measure of political progress and increased confidence between both sides.

Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 6.

Overseas Development Aid

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

37 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will give an outline of the development section of the recent G20 leaders’ talks which were recently held in Seoul; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43165/10]

The G20 grouping brings together the 19 leading industrialised and emerging countries and the European Union. The fifth Summit meeting of the G20 was held in Seoul on 11-12 November. It was attended by the leaders of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, the UN, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, the African Union and other regional groupings. On this occasion, the Heads of Government of Ethiopia, Malawi, Singapore, Spain and Vietnam were also invited to attend.

The Seoul Summit was very clearly focused on the global economic crisis. It agreed on the need to put jobs at the heart of the recovery, to provide social protection and decent work and to ensure accelerated growth in low income countries. It was the first G20 Summit to include development on the agenda, and the participants agreed the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, to complement the commitments made in September at the UN Review Summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

The Development Consensus focuses on working in partnership with developing countries to help them build the capacity to achieve and maximise their growth potential. It includes a set of concrete measures in a Multi-Year Action Plan to promote key development outcomes in areas such as food security, economic growth and job creation. The action plan is based on the core principle that enduring and meaningful poverty reduction cannot be achieved without inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth. A high-level panel will monitor the implementation of the action plan and report back to future G20 Summits.

The G20 leaders also committed to bringing the Doha Development Round to a successful and balanced conclusion and to working towards a modernised International Monetary Fund with greater representation of dynamic emerging and developing countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to fight climate change and looked forward to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in South Korea in 2011.

I warmly welcome the inclusion of development issues on the agenda of a G20 summit and the establishment of a Multi-Year Action Plan to complement and strengthen international commitment to the achievement of the MDGs. I particularly welcome the strong focus on food security in the action plan. The acknowledgement of the need for increased investment and financial support for agriculture, the commitment to promoting better access to markets for smallholder producers and the endorsement of the Rome Principles for enhancing global policy coherence are wholly consistent with our priorities for hunger and the recommendations of the Government's Hunger Task Force published in 2008. The Government has made the fight against hunger a cornerstone of our aid programme. We will continue to take an international leadership role on the global hunger crisis, and will work closely with our partners in Africa, our EU partners and the US and other G20 states in order to coordinate effective action to tackle the scandal of hunger in the world today.

Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 24.

Foreign Conflicts

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

39 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on recent threats made against Chaldean Christians in Iraq. [43140/10]

I am gravely concerned by the recent upsurge in attacks against Chaldean and other Christians in Iraq, including the horrific attack against defenceless worshippers at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad on 31 October which left 52 people dead. I fully support EU High Representative Ashton's statements on these attacks on 1 and 3 November. It is deeply regrettable for Iraq as a whole that its Christian community has decreased significantly in recent years because many Iraqi Christians have felt forced to emigrate from their home country due to fears for their safety. Iraq has had a Christian community since the early days of Christianity. Those that perpetrate these outrages are attempting to undermine Iraq's identity as a pluralistic state in which Christians, Muslims and people of other religions can peacefully co-exist. The EU is determined to support Iraq's leadership in ensuring that stability and security returns to Iraq for all Iraqis. Groups such as Al Qaeda in Iraq who seek to destabilise the country with such attacks have taken advantage of the power vacuum since the March 2010 elections. I therefore welcome the fact that Iraq's Parliament finally reconvened on 11 November and the agreement on the formation of a new power-sharing government which has now been reached. I am encouraged that the first act of the newly convened Iraqi parliament was to appoint a Sunni Arab member of the opposition al-Iraqiyya coalition as Speaker under the deal which also sees outgoing President Talabani and Prime Minister Maliki re-appointed to their positions. I hope that Prime Minister Maliki will be able to assemble a representative Cabinet without undue delay which can begin immediately to address effectively the issue of security in Iraq. Ireland, together with its EU partners, is determined to do everything possible to assist and support the new Iraqi government's efforts to improve security for all Iraqis.

Question No. 40 answered with Question No. 8.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

41 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a proposal to his partners in the EU for Ireland to be chosen as a European peace institute and centre for post-conflict reconstruction. [43141/10]

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

46 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on suggestions emanating from Sweden and Finland that the EU ought to adopt an independent think tank, an institute of peace made up of high-level non-governmental experts able to advise the EU on the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the world which would be funded by member states and community institutions; if this suggestion enjoys his support; if he has called upon Baroness Ashton to include the subject on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43162/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 46 together.

On 3 September last, the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Finland proposed setting up an EU Institute for Peace, which would engage in conflict resolution activities worldwide and develop the EU's capacity to engage in mediation activities.

The announcement of this proposal coincided with a period of intense efforts to establish the European External Action Service (EEAS) and has served a useful purpose in focusing attention on the role the EU wishes to play in conflict resolution and mediation activities. Ireland places strong emphasis on the need for the EU to be active in international efforts to resolve conflict and to reduce the drivers of conflict.

The establishment of the EEAS represents a welcome strengthening of the capacity of the EU to place conflict prevention and resolution work at the heart of the EU's external action. I look forward to proposals from the High Representative on how the new service will deal with the issues highlighted by my Swedish and Finnish colleagues.

There has, as yet, been no discussion by the Council of Ministers, either formal or informal, of the Swedish/Finnish proposal for an EU Institute for Peace. Questions such as the structure and location of such a body are, accordingly, premature at this stage.

European External Action Service

Joe Costello

Ceist:

42 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of the number of Irish persons employed or recruited to the new external action service of the EU, headed by Baroness Ashton. [43149/10]

The following Irish citizens have been appointed by High Representative Ashton to the European External Action Service: Mr William Hanna has been appointed as Head of the EU Delegation, Dhaka.

Mr Paul Malin has been appointed as Head of the EU Delegation, Maputo.

Mr Gerard McGovern has been appointed as Head of the EU Delegation, Gaborone.

Mr David O'Sullivan has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service.

All were employed by the European Commission before being appointed to the European External Action Service.

Emigrant Support Services

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

43 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress made to date on resolving the issue of undocumented Irish in the US; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43095/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

125 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had further discussions with the US authorities in the matter of undocumented Irish in the US; the outcome of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43519/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 125 together.

Finding a solution for our undocumented citizens in the United States remains an important priority for this Government. The Government is also committed to working with our friends in Congress to enhance Ireland's bilateral visa arrangements with the US through the establishment of a two year renewable E-3 visa facility.

I am very much aware of the difficulties confronting undocumented Irish citizens in the United States and the distress which both they and their families in the US and Ireland experience arising from their situation. I would urge anybody who might be tempted to follow in the footsteps of the undocumented to take account of their plight.

My Department, and the Embassy in Washington in particular, has continued to work proactively on the issue with the US Administration, Congressional leaders and Irish immigration reform advocates, including since the Congressional elections held on 2 November.

The Government is encouraged by President Obama's continued commitment to resolving this issue- a view he shared when the Taoiseach and I met him in Washington in March. President Obama has since reiterated that commitment on a number of occasions. Earlier this year, President Obama welcomed what he described as the strong outline proposal for reform presented at the end of April by senior Democratic Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, and Robert Menendez. Following active engagement with our friends in Congress, this proposal included provision for a path towards the regularisation of the status of the undocumented, including the Irish. It also specifically contained provision for an E-3 visa arrangement for Irish citizens which was subsequently included in an immigration reform bill introduced by Senator Menendez. Though this was only the first step in a lengthy legislative process, it represented an important achievement for the Government and the Irish community.

However, the outcome of the Congressional elections on 2 November presents significant new political challenges for immigration reform legislation. Given that the outgoing Congress will continue in place until January, it will be some time before new committees are established and the long term prospects for reform are clearer.

The Government will continue to maintain very close contact with the US Administration and Congress, as well as with Irish community advocates, to address this issue in the period ahead. Since 2006 the Government has provided a total support of $325,000 to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and in September of this year, I met with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres and the Irish Lobby for Immigration reform to discuss the prospects for reform.

The Senate Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), last evening announced that he will introduce DREAM as a stand-alone bill after the Thanksgiving recess.

Although many advocates are optimistic about the prospects for passing DREAM, friends on the Hill indicate there is currently no concrete evidence of renewed bi-partisan support for the bill, or that some Democratic senators who have not supported DREAM in the past will vote for it on the next occasion.

Over the next two weeks it will be possible to better determine the level of support for DREAM now that it has become once again a concrete proposal. It will also be possible to better judge, after discussing further with our friends on the Hill, the prospects for other immigration measures such the E-3 type visa for Ireland.

Senior officials of my Department had talks in Washington as recently as last Monday on the issue of Irish immigration to the US. They discussed the issue of the undocumented, the conditions in which Irish citizens are held prior to deportation, the operation of the existing working holiday visa programmes and possibilities for the political agreement on the immigration issues following the 2 November elections in the US.

Northern Ireland Issues

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

44 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the implications for the peace process of recent discoveries of explosives being found in public places in Northern Ireland. [43155/10]

I condemn those responsible for the planting of explosive devices in Northern Ireland and all other forms of attack against the PSNI and local communities. Such attacks have no agenda beyond that of trying to destabilise and undermine the peace process.

I extend best wishes for a speedy recovery to the 3 PSNI officers who were injured in a particularly sinister attack as they were attending the scene of a robbery in west Belfast on the night of Friday 5 November. I also welcome the ongoing extensive cooperation between An Garda Síochána and their PSNI colleagues in countering these and other activities. Such cooperation has resulted in severable notable security successes this year and I pay tribute to those involved. The Minister for Justice and Law Reform and Minister David Ford have met several times over recent weeks, while the Garda Commissioner and the PSNI Chief Constable are in full agreement that levels of cooperation between the two police services have never been greater.

Implications for the peace process from discoveries of explosives arise only to the extent that they reinforce the collective determination of the two Governments and our Northern Ireland Executive colleagues that the would-be wreckers of peace cannot and will not succeed.

Middle East Peace Process

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

45 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to reports that there has been no material change for the people of GAZA following the easing of restrictions by Israel earlier this year; the efforts being made at EU level to improve the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43319/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

130 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action that has been taken by the EU and UN to encourage movement toward normalisation of the situation in Gaza in view of the recently expressed concerns on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43524/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 45 and 130 together.

I have continued to follow closely developments in relation to the blockade of Gaza following the announcement by Israel in June of a significant easing of the terms of the blockade. The move to a transparent negative list of items not allowed to enter Gaza has largely resolved the problem of uncertainty and lack of consistency in relation to the type of goods allowed through. I remain seriously concerned about four issues, however: overall volume of goods, restrictions on construction materials, refusal to permit exports and normal movement of persons.

There has been a significant and progressive increase since June, of about 50%, in the volume of goods transported into Gaza. However, the level now reached is still only about one-third of the level of routine shipments before the blockade was imposed, and the increase has consisted of goods from Israel which have largely displaced the very expensive goods smuggled in from Egypt through the tunnel economy, which has greatly contracted. The actual availability of goods in Gaza has therefore only marginally increased, and many remain too expensive for large numbers of people in Gaza. Much more needs to be done. I am concerned that the progressive increase in shipments seems to have plateaued in recent weeks.

Since all shipments into Gaza remain subject to Israeli security checking, the physical capacity of the crossing points is a significant constraint on supplies to Gaza, and most of the crossing points used before 2006 have been closed or are no longer in use. I am aware of Israeli work to increase the capacity of the crossings, and permit a greater flow of goods, but also that the existing crossings are not yet being operated at maximum capacity. It is clear that more needs to be done, and more quickly, if the shortages that affect the lives of ordinary Gazans are to be ended.

Supplies of construction materials have also increased marginally, but are subject to stringent and not fully transparent controls. Some materials have been allowed in for specified projects controlled by UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority, including some repairs to housing and some critical infrastructure such as the sewage plant. But the volume remains hopelessly inadequate to cope with the deterioration in infrastructure and the extensive damage to housing and other property caused by Israeli military action. The inability of families to repair their homes, the inability of UNRWA to repair or construct sufficient schools for Gaza's children, and the serious and growing problems in the water and sewage systems, are of great concern to me.

Finally, looking further ahead, there has been no provision at all by Israel to allow exports to resume from Gaza or for normal movement of persons. This prevents any resumption of economic life in the territory, except for what can be smuggled out through the tunnels which are a source of revenue for militant groups. Gazans remain in a state of complete dependency and mass unemployment, which unfortunately are ideal conditions in which militant groups thrive.

While the political focus has been on the efforts to resume negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement, which is the only long-term solution to the problems of the blockade, I have continued both bilaterally and in discussion with my EU colleagues to ensure that attention remains on the problems of Gaza. While there has been some progress, it is very clear that much more needs to be done, and more quickly.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 41.
Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 27.

United Nations Iniatives

Liz McManus

Ceist:

48 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on UN reform, in particular in light of the US President’s recent call for India to form part of an expanded Security Council. [43159/10]

Ireland believes strongly in the need for reform of the United Nations aimed at improving the performance and effectiveness of the Organisation so that it can continue to provide necessary leadership to develop effective multilateral responses to the major global challenges.

The reform task includes, in particular, reform of the major UN organs so that they are fit for purpose and adjusted to twenty-first century realities. The case for reform of the UN Security Council is particularly urgent. Its current composition is outdated and must be expanded to include, for example, greater representation from Africa and from countries making a significant contribution to the Organisation. The General Assembly, which is currently wrestling with this most difficult of reform issues, needs to be creative and consider all options and interim models which might command broad consensus. Securing early agreement on reforming the Council's working methods and improving its transparency should also be a priority in the current inter-governmental discussions underway in the General Assembly.

In this regard, it is to be hoped that recent moves by some UN members to further crystallise their views in relation to Security Council reform, including U.S. President Obama's announcement of support for India securing permanent membership of the Security Council as well as UK Foreign Secretary Hague's announcement of support for Brazil becoming a permanent member, is indicative of renewed impetus for meaningful progress on Security Council reform.

A further reform priority for Ireland, together with our EU partners, concerns UN budgetary management. The current extremely difficult budgetary environment that so many countries are facing makes clear the need to adopt a critical attitude towards UN expenditure and ensure that the Organisation makes the best use of the resources with which it is provided. Ireland, and our EU partners, have been to the forefront in advocating that the whole system for apportioning expenses within the UN needs to be urgently reviewed and reformed. At present, EU Member States collectively contribute almost 40% of the UN's Budget, even though our share of global GDP only amounts to just over 30%. This is not a sustainable position and needs to be urgently addressed in the review of this issue which has now been mandated by the General Assembly.

I would also highlight Ireland's continuing strong support for reform of the UN's development architecture, where we have provided over €6 million to date in support of UN System Wide Coherence and the Delivering as One programme. Under Ireland's co-chairmanship (with Tanzania) at the close of the 2007-2008 UN General Assembly, a consensus resolution was passed which gave broad support to the Delivering As One approach and helped to advance its agenda.

The Delivering as One approach is now yielding significant positive results in terms of greater coherence in UN development activities and improved delivery of services. I warmly welcome in this context the recent establishment of a new consolidated UN agency promoting gender equality, UN Women.

Human Rights Issues

Joan Burton

Ceist:

49 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the precise manner of monitoring, and ensuring compliance envisaged, in relation to human rights in the proposed EU and Colombia agreement. [43136/10]

EU relations with Colombia are conducted in the framework of regional relations between the EU and the Andean Community, comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In 2007, negotiations aimed at concluding a comprehensive Association Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community were formally launched. Such Agreements cover all facets of relations between the EU and these countries, including political dialogue, economic cooperation and trade. However, as not all member states of the Andean Community were in a position to proceed with free trade negotiations, the decision was taken to commence negotiations on a multiparty Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and two member states of the Andean Community — Colombia and Peru — within the overall framework of the Association Agreement. The negotiations were carried out by the European Commission on the basis of a mandate from the Council and they concluded on 1 March 2010.

The Agreement includes a human rights clause committing both EU Member States and Colombia to the implementation of their human rights responsibilities. This clause constitutes an essential element of the Agreement; that means that the concessions it contains may be unilaterally suspended in the event of violation by any of the signatory countries. The FTA also foresees a monitoring mechanism to ensure that both sides adopt and correctly implement environmental and International Labour Rights (ILO) conventions. While the details of this mechanism have yet to be agreed by both sides, it envisages the establishment of a body which would follow up on the implementation of the human rights, labour and environment clauses of the Agreement. The involvement of civil society institutions in the monitoring process is anticipated. This will help to ensure public confidence in the implementation of these important aspects of the FTA.

Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 20.

United Nations Initiatives

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

51 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the actions that have flowed from the process known as the dialogue between civilisations, initiated by the UN some years ago. [43154/10]

The Alliance of Civilizations was established in 2005 as an initiative of Spain and Turkey under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, to improve understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples across cultures and religions and to help counter forces that fuel polarisation and extremism. Ireland is a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilisations which now comprises 122 States and organisations that actively support the Alliance, including all EU Members States and the U.S., which joined the Group in May 2010.

The vision and approach for the Alliance of Civilisation was articulated by a High-Level Group appointed by then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, which reported in November 2006. The High Level Group identified education, youth, media and migration, as the main fields of action for the Alliance, and outlined a range of practical initiatives by which the Alliance could develop its work in these areas. In April 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr. Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal, as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, to set the Alliance's agenda and to ensure its implementation.

The activities of the Alliance of Civilisations are implemented at local, national, regional and international levels, with the objective of promoting cross-cultural understanding and respect. Recent activities of the Alliance have included: educational and research initiatives on Religions and Beliefs; disbursement of the Youth Solidarity Fund to provide seed funding to youth organisations advancing intercultural and interfaith dialogue; Journalist training and Media Literacy initiatives; and, a series of events on Migration and Integration.

The Third Annual Forum of the Alliance of Civilisations was held in Rio de Janeiro from 27-29 May 2010. Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr. Dick Roche, T.D. participated as Ireland's representative and delivered Ireland's national statement at this Forum, which was attended by over 7,000 delegates, including Ministers and Heads of Government of the Group of Friends, youth delegates and NGOs from all regions of the world. Key outcomes of the Forum included the creation of the UN University International Institute for the Alliance of Civilizations, which will be based in Barcelona; the negotiation or conclusion of co-operation agreements by the Alliance with a range of international bodies; and, the launch of the third Youth Solidarity Fund and the second Fellowships Programme of the Alliance.

Ireland is a strong supporter of the Alliance of Civilizations and of the fundamental principle of mutual respect across cultures that brought it into existence. In 2009, during the course of UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon's visit to Ireland, we were pleased to underline this support with a donation of $20,000 to the Voluntary Trust Fund for the Alliance. The Department of the Taoiseach serves as the national focal point for coordination of activities pursued in implementation of the agenda of the Alliance of Civilisations.

I look forward to Ireland's continued participation as a member of the Group of Friends, in contributing to the important work of the Alliance of Civilisations, as the leading UN Forum dealing with intercultural dialogue and co-operation.

Foreign Conflicts

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

52 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on recent developments in Yemen and statements made by the European Union in that regard. [43153/10]

Recent events in Yemen highlight the fragility of the state and the challenges it faces in combating terrorism. The mail bombs discovered last month in aircraft in the UK and Dubai coupled with the assassination of approximately 100 government officials in recent months underscore the serious nature of the threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The stability of the country is also threatened by the al-Houthi rebellion in the northern province of Sa'ada and the secessionist movement in the southern part of the country.

The Government of Yemen declared a ceasefire with the Houthi rebels in February 2010. The ceasefire calmed fighting in the northern province but the situation remains tense and the number of internally displaced persons has created a significant humanitarian problem in the areas affected by the fighting. The Government, through Irish Aid, allocated humanitarian assistance of €200,000 in 2009 through the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to assist those displaced by the violence. The secessionist movement in the southern part of the country, initially a peaceful popular protest movement, has started specifically targeting security forces and security installations.

The current security tensions are exacerbated by the worsening socio-economic situation in Yemen, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach aimed at achieving progress across a range of fronts in Yemen. The Friends of Yemen group, which consists of large donors to Yemen including the EU, has met twice, to date, with the aim of coordinating international support to Yemen. At its most recent meeting in New York on 24 September, the Friends of Yemen agreed to support a range of economic and political reforms within Yemen, including a counter-radicalisation strategy, designed to tackle the underlying causes of terrorism.

The Government supports the EU's comprehensive approach to Yemen encompassing security, counter-terrorism, political dialogue, humanitarian and economic assistance. The EU emphasised the need for Yemen to continue with its programme of domestic political and economic reforms in Council Conclusions in January this year. I echo High Representative Ashton's statement in July this year welcoming the agreement on national dialogue. The national dialogue process offers the key to unlocking progress on many issues including economic and political reform and national reconciliation.

Human Rights Issues

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

53 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress being made to ban female genital mutilation at both EU and UN level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43096/10]

The practice of female genital mutilation is a clear violation of the human rights of women and girls. It has serious social, health and psychological consequences, and it infringes on children's rights to special protection. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 100 million and 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. In Africa alone, it is estimated that three million girls are at risk annually.

Ireland is playing an active role in global policy development, funding and research to address this appalling practice. We recognise that it is a form of gender-based violence, and that it must be an important element in our comprehensive approach to tackling such violence through the overseas aid programme. The Government's 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid includes a firm commitment that Ireland will build its support for measures focused on preventing and responding to gender-based violence.

Irish Aid, the Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs which manages the Government's aid programme, is a founding member of the Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence, which brings together representatives from Government Departments and Irish development, humanitarian and human rights Non-Governmental Organisations to promote a coordinated response to all forms of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation.

Internationally, we are cooperating with United Nations agencies in a concerted effort to end the practice of female genital mutilation. €650,000 has been allocated in 2010 as core funding to UN-Women, the new UN body which will have a key role to play in global efforts to build gender equality and combat gender based violence, including female genital mutilation. This year, the Government is also providing core funding of €8 million to the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and €3 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to support their work on child protection, gender equality, reproductive health, maternal mortality and HIV and AIDS. These agencies operate a joint programme to counter female genital mutilation with the aim of ending the practice in seventeen countries by 2012. Ireland contributed €0.5 million to this specific programme in 2007. In 2009 a total of over €4.4 m was provided in support of programmes to combat gender–based violence, including support for the UN Trust Fund for actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

Progress is being made towards ending the practice of female genital mutilation, but detailed international coordination and consultation remains essential. On 6 February 2010, the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation, UNICEF and the UNFPA reported that there has been success in reducing the incidence of the practices in several countries where it was once prevalent. They noted that it is important to focus on encouraging change from within societies, and that where communities have chosen to make public declarations against the practice, for example in Senegal, declines of up to 65 per cent have been recorded.

United Nations Initiatives

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

54 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he supports proposals which have been made for a universal TV, media, education network aimed at explaining and encouraging interest in the work of the UN. [43152/10]

The UN Secretariat's Department of Public Information has responsibility within the UN system for promoting global awareness and greater understanding of the work of the United Nations. The DPI works across all communications media, and the United Nations website and the UN News Service (including UN Radio) run by the DPI serve as key sources in providing information and news on the UN. The DPI also oversees a network of sixty three regional and national UN Information Centres which serve as direct points of access and information about the United Nations and which forge local partnerships with public authorities, media, educational institutions, and civil society to carry out communications campaigns to promote the work of the UN.

Through the website of the UN News Service, the DPI offers timely broadcast-quality video covering all areas of the work of the United Nations, for use by global news providers. I also understand that the DPI is continuing its efforts to broaden its range of digital products and activities to inform and increase public awareness of the UN, including through use of new media platforms such as Twitter.

The public information work undertaken by the DPI and its network of UN Information Centres is an important element in strengthening the role of the United Nations and public support for its work. I might add that promoting public understanding and knowledge of the United Nations is something which the Government, through our long-standing commitment to the United Nations, also actively supports on an ongoing basis.

Overseas Elections

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

55 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the impact the EU report on last May’s parliamentary elections in Ethiopia which found that those elections failed to meet international standards will have on aid and for EU relations with Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43317/10]

Elections took place during May 2010 in Ethiopia to the House of People's Representatives and the State Councils. The ruling EPRDF party and its partners won 544 of 547 seats in the House of People's Representatives in a first past the post electoral system. I welcome the publication on 8th November last of the final report of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM). Ireland joins with other members of the EU in thanking the Mission, which included a number of Irish Election Observers, for providing an impartial and independent evaluation of the electoral process in Ethiopia. We have taken careful note of the assessment and recommendations contained in its final report.

While I welcome positive aspects of the Mission's assessment of the elections including the high turn-out, the peaceful, orderly nature of the polling as well as the generally competent organisation of the elections, I am concerned at the assessment that the process fell short of international commitments. In particular, I share concerns that the electoral playing field was insufficiently balanced, that political space was constrained and that more could have been done to build the confidence of opposition political parties in the process.

When I visited Ethiopia in early July, I had the opportunity to discuss political developments with leading Ethiopian Government figures, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as with representatives of the main opposition parties. A theme during all of these meetings was that of how best political dialogue and engagement with civil society can be developed in the post-electoral period and how the international community can support the acceleration of the process of democratisation. I urged that positive steps be taken to build confidence in the democratic institutions.

The EU Election Observation Mission has put forward constructive recommendations in this regard in its recently published report. I encourage the Ethiopian Government to draw on these recommendations as I am convinced that Ethiopia's undoubted development achievements can best be protected and built upon by accelerated progress in the process of democratisation.

Ethiopia is one of the priority countries for Ireland's aid programme, where we have a commitment to long term strategic assistance. Our development assistance, together with support from other international partners, including the EU, and increased expenditure by the Government of Ethiopia is making a marked difference to the lives of the people of the country. However, the needs remain great. Encouraging stronger advances in democracy as well as in other areas of Ethiopia's development are central to our dialogue with Ethiopia. As noted by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, in her statement on the publication of the EU EOM's report, the European Union attaches great importance to the promotion of human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law. Ireland and the European Union will maintain and strengthen our dialogue with Ethiopia on these shared values in the period ahead

G20 Summit

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

56 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the G20 leaders' talks which were recently held in Seoul with a view to seeking ways of rebalancing the world economy, the resolutions which emanated from these talks; the impact which these will have here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43164/10]

G20 leaders met in Seoul, Korea on 11 and 12 November. The meeting was an important stock-taking opportunity and enabled G20 members to follow-up on commitments made previously on a coordinated global response to the financial crisis. Discussion at Seoul centred on the global economy and the framework for growth, IMF governance and financial regulation. At the Summit, G20 leaders agreed on the Seoul Action Plan, a comprehensive policy plan spanning five policy areas (Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies; Trade and Development Policies; Fiscal Policies, Financial Reforms; and Structural Reforms) to further promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

There was agreement to move towards market-determined exchange rate flexibility, reflecting economic fundamentals with indicative guidelines to be agree by June 2011. The need for vigilance against volatility was agreed, as was a commitment to refrain from protectionism. The G20 Summit expressed its strong commitment to bring the Doha Round of world trade talks to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive and balanced conclusion, and recognised 2011 as a critical window of opportunity in this regard.

While US efforts to secure G20 agreement a 4% target for deficits and surpluses were unsuccessful, summit participants did agree to engage in further discussions with a view to having indicative guidelines adopted at the G20 summit in France next year.

G20 leaders endorsed their finance ministers' agreement to increase the voting strength within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the emerging economies of China, Russia and Brazil. It was further agreed that the IMF should have an enhanced role in the surveillance of systemic risks and vulnerabilities. The G20 member countries also enhanced its Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and created a Precautionary Credit Line (PCL) as strengthened financial safety nets aimed at coping with future crises.

The Summit also endorsed the Basel III agreement on the capital requirements applying to banks and tasked the Financial Stability Board to bring forward recommendations to strengthen its role and capacity.

The Summit agreed on the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth and its Multi-Year Action Plan on Development. Under the Seoul Consensus, nine key pillars (infrastructure; human resource development; trade; private investment and job creation; food security; growth with resilience; financial inclusion; domestic resource mobilisation; and knowledge sharing) where it is believed actions are necessary were identified. A Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion was also launched in Seoul and a progress report is to be prepared for the 2011 G20 Summit in France.

G20 leaders also set out a series of commitments concerning fossil fuel price volatility, the protection of the global marine environment and climate change and green growth. The G20 leaders endorsed the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan to create a transparent and fair business environment.

The resolutions and policies agreed at G20 summits affect international financial, trade and economic conditions, and so have a direct impact on Ireland. Although supportive of the G20 reform programme, Ireland is not a member of the G20 and our position on G20 proposals is primarily articulated through the EU. The October European Council agreed the EU position for the Seoul G20 Summit, and the Irish government was in full agreement with the position agreed by EU heads of state and government at that European Council meeting. The EU was represented at the Seoul G20 meeting by Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso.

Languages Programme

David Stanton

Ceist:

57 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if funding is being made available to schools or colleges to assist foreign nationals to learn English and, if so, the details of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43389/10]

Significant support is given to schools by way of language support provision. The level of extra teaching support provided in respect of language support to any school is determined by the numbers of eligible pupils enrolled and the associated assessed levels of those pupils' language proficiency. This is done through an annual application process in the Spring/Summer of each year.

Following on from the Government decision in Budget 2009 in relation to language support provision my Department published Circular 0015/2009 which sets out a structured and transparent process for the allocation of up to 4 language support teachers to schools.

Additional support is available for those schools which have at least 25% of their total enrolment made up of pupils that require language support. Such applications for additional language support are dealt with through the Staffing Appeals process.

It is important to note that the resources allocated to schools to meet the needs of pupils learning English as an Additional Language are additional to other supports and funding provided for schools. The overall education of pupils with a requirement for English as an additional language remains the responsibility of the mainstream class teacher. All pupils including migrant pupils (irrespective of their English language proficiency) are counted for the regular pupil teacher ratios in schools. Schools have flexibility in relation to how they deploy their EAL teachers to meet the needs of pupils that require language support.

Schools Building Projects

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

58 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of new school building projects sanctioned in County Donegal for the years 2005 to date in 2010; the capital spend on these projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43403/10]

I wish to inform the Deputy the number of new school building projects announced to go to tender and construction in County Donegal for the years 2005 to 2010 inclusive is 17.

The capital spend on these projects to date is some €30.8m.

School Accommodation

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

59 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide a breakdown of the number of prefabs in use and the amount spent per school in the provision and maintenance of these prefabs in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43404/10]

There are currently 63 prefab units being rented by 27 schools in County Donegal. The total annual rental cost for these units is €823,480. It should be noted that a prefab unit may consist of one or more classrooms and/or ancillary accommodation and that expenditure incurred on the maintenance or upkeep of rented prefab units is generally included in the rental contract between the prefab provider and the school authorities. Two recent policy changes implemented by my Department have reduced the annual rental costs for prefab units, including in County Donegal. The first is to provide devolved grant aid for the purchase (rather than rental) of additional accommodation where the need for such accommodation is likely to exist for more than three years. The second is to offer schools being approved for devolved grant aid for additional accommodation the option to use their capital grant aid to build a permanent classroom(s) rather than purchase a prefab. These policies are having the effect of reducing the usage of prefabricated accommodation and, particularly, the incidence and cost associated with the long term rental of prefabs.

Schools Building Projects

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

60 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of new school building projects sanctioned in County Cork for the years 2005 to date in 2010; the capital spend on these projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43405/10]

I wish to inform the Deputy the number of new school building projects announced to go to tender and construction in County Cork for the years 2005 to 2010 inclusive is 24.

The capital spend on these projects to date is some €57.8m

Higher Education Grants

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

61 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will support a matter (details supplied). [43413/10]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC.

Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC.

Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal.

No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

School Patronage

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

62 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills with regard to the process of establishing a new secondary school in Gorey, County Wexford, if she will confirm that all records, including survey forms, relating to the parental survey will be retained for the next three years and that detailed information from that survey will be made available to both applicants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43424/10]

As the Deputy may be aware, on the 16th of November, following a process undertaken by my Department which involved a survey of the views of parents, I announced that Co. Wexford VEC is to be patron of the proposed new post-primary school in Gorey.

I can confirm that all documents relating to the parental survey, with regard to the establishment of the new post primary school, will be retained in accordance with my Department's Record Management Policy.

I have published my Department's report on the process on my Department's website. This report includes details of the survey of parental preferences in the area. Furthermore, my Department's Internal Audit Unit is auditing the process of recording the preferences.

Schools Recognition

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

63 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills with regard to the process of establishing a new secondary school in Gorey, County Wexford, the measures that were taken to ensure objectivity in the process of assessment of the two applications for patronage of the proposed new post-primary school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43425/10]

As the Deputy may be aware, in July of this year I announced a significant reform of the process for the recognition of new second-level schools. The new framework to be established will involve the setting out of clear criteria against which new second level school applications will be assessed and will increase the transparency of decision making, with the establishment of a small expert group to advise on second-level patronage applications. I intend to establish this group shortly and seek its input prior to the finalisation of detailed criteria and procedures.

Due to time constraints I announced in relation to the new second level school to be established in Gorey that I would be advancing with a process whereby I would be in a position to make a decision by late October/early November.

In relation to this new second level school, I have recently announced that Co. Wexford VEC is to be Patron of this proposed new school. This decision followed a process undertaken by my Department which involved a meeting with the prospective patron bodies, the receipt of submissions from the prospective patron bodies, an interview with them and a survey of parental preferences. There was also a Public Information Meeting in Gorey which was attended by the applicant patron bodies and DES officials.

Both applicant patrons were kept fully informed at every stage of this process. The report on the process is available on my Department's website.

Schools Building Projects

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

64 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school’s (details supplied) request to expand their school which is overcrowded and is no longer able to properly accommodate its students, particularly with regard to attempts to construct a new school at a different site to address the accommodation issues of it and other secondary schools in the Athenry area. [43427/10]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for an extension and refurbishment project. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 2 rating.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project for the school in question, is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie.

The Forward Planning Section of the Department has carried out a study of the country to identify the areas where, due to demographic changes, there may be a requirement for significant additional school provision at both primary and post-primary levels over the coming years. Decisions will be taken on the means by which emerging needs will be met within the areas of growth identified, including Athenry.

The progression of all large scale building projects, including the project in question, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of the Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

In the meantime my Department approved funding to the school authority in May 2010 to provide a permanent extension of five general classrooms to meet its immediate additional accommodation needs. This funding was in addition to the significant funding approved in 2009 for the upgrade of the school's heating system and toilets and works to the glazing in the school.

Special Educational Needs

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

65 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she will take to ensure that a person (details supplied) who has been providing home tuition in respect of a young person is paid the appropriate tuition rate, which in this respect for a fully qualified teacher is €41.99 per hour; if she will ensure that this person who is owed payments in respect of the months of July, September and October 2010 is immediately paid, as this person has paid taxes due on the basis of the amounts due in respect of the hours provided; if this payment will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43434/10]

2057The Deputy will be aware that the Home Tuition scheme provides funding to parents to provide education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme was extended in recent years to facilitate tuition for children awaiting a suitable educational placement.

Parents engage tutors directly; the grant is paid in advance to the parent on a twice yearly basis, where possible, or monthly in arrears where several tutors provide tuition to the same child. The parents use this grant to pay their selected tutor directly. This affords a degree of flexibility and choice for parents in selecting the most suitable tutor for the purposes of home tuition for their children.

Only teachers who are registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland and have educational qualifications appropriate to the sector in which they are providing tuition are eligible for payment at the qualified rate.

My officials are investigating the matter raised by the Deputy and anticipate that payment will issue shortly.

School Accommodation

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

66 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has received an application from a school (details supplied) in County Mayo for aiding in the provision of hot food to students; if so, the progress made in assessing the application to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43457/10]

2057The school to which the Deputy refers received once off funding in the amount of €41,000 in 2007 under the Fund for the Development of Targeted Educational Responses to Certain Children at Risk.

Payments were made in two instalments €27,072 paid on 31 December 2007 and €14,028 on 29th January 2008. The purpose of this funding was to provide for the infrastructural costs associated with setting up a canteen which were detailed in the schedule attaching to the school's application of 16th May 2007. The day to day running costs for the canteen were not approved for funding. The school was advised in December 2007 that there was no commitment for further funding from the scheme. My Department has received no further application from the school. The scheme has since been terminated and no further applications can be considered.

Computerisation Programme

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

67 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has received an application from a school (details supplied) in County Mayo for aiding in the provision of new computer equipment for their newly developed computer room; if so, the progress made in assessing the application to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43458/10]

2057As part of the implementation of the Smart Schools = Smart Economy Report and the 2008 ICT Strategy Report, I recently announced ICT grants of almost €21 millon for post primary schools. The school referred to by the Deputy received a grant of €12,232. This grant may be used by the school to work towards equipping each classroom in the school with a teaching computer, with a long range wireless mouse and keyboard, and a fixed digital projector with a particular priority to be placed on equipment for use in the teaching of Project Maths.

The total equipment grant outlay within the past twelve months under the ICT in Schools programme is more than €67million and I remain committed to further funding for the ICT in Schools Programme.

Schools Building Projects

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

68 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Cork which is part of the school building programme; when construction will be undertaken; when the project will be complete; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43466/10]

2057I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school building project to which she refers, was recently authorised to proceed to tender. It is envisaged that the tender process will be complete in quarter 2 of 2011.

Third Level Courses

John Deasy

Ceist:

69 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide the participation rate in third level education for each county in each of the years 2000 to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43482/10]

John Deasy

Ceist:

70 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide the participation rate in university education for each county in each of the years 2000 to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43483/10]

2057I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 70 together.

The information requested by the deputy is not available on an annual basis because the underlying population data required to calculate participation rates is not collected on an annual basis. The HEA Report "Who went to College in 2004, A National Survey of New Entrants to Higher Education", which is based on data from the 2002 Census of Population, contains the participation rates for 2004. Table 5.3 below provides rates of admission to higher education by county. In addition to the full time admission rates, the table includes a breakdown by higher education sector. This includes the admission rates for university education. Table 6.4 illustrates the distribution of entrants across the various sectors of Irish higher education by county.Table 5.6 provides adjusted rates of admission which take account of new entrant students enrolling in higher education institutions in Northern Ireland. The final table provides equivalent information from 1998. An update of these tables will be produced by the HEA subsequent to the completion of the 2011 Census of Population.

The total number of enrolments in higher education institutions for each of the years 2000 to 2010 by county is also provided.

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

All counties (2)

All third level education institutions

114,372

117,475

123,228

127,681

131,651

130,657

132,536

133,608

135,132

139,885

Aided university sector

69,576

72,839

HEA institutions (aided)

62,732

64,431

67,430

69,339

71,345

71,790

73,503

74,200

Aided technology sector

50,469

53,179

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

45,342

47,061

48,652

50,172

51,738

50,484

51,506

50,906

Teacher education colleges

6,674

6,950

Teacher training primary

534

598

644

760

779

676

705

721

Teacher training home economics

388

360

379

398

391

414

476

462

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

2,149

2,322

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

1,397

1,391

1,470

1,647

1,586

1,128

1,020

961

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

1,209

1,191

964

1,141

1,382

1,319

1,432

2,066

2,445

2,030

Non-aided third level education institutions

2,770

2,443

3,689

4,224

4,430

4,846

3,894

4,292

3,819

2,565

Carlow

All third level education institutions

1,365

1,491

1,604

1,499

1,590

1,709

1,761

1,801

1,760

1,933

Aided university sector

630

627

HEA institutions (aided)

596

599

606

649

683

796

699

682

Aided technology sector

1,012

1,070

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

661

780

883

733

766

765

896

947

Teacher education colleges

58

75

Teacher training primary

15

13

7

9

15

17

20

18

Teacher training home economics

6

6

7

5

5

2

1

2

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

20

11

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

22

28

19

13

5

5

6

8

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

15

16

12

16

22

18

21

23

7

4

Non-aided third level education institutions

50

49

70

74

94

106

118

121

33

146

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Dublin

All third level education institutions

26,592

27,018

28,364

30,179

30,469

30,273

30,859

31,799

31,696

33,238

Aided university sector

18,582

19,312

HEA institutions (aided)

16,081

16,764

17,130

17,905

17,809

17,368

18,717

19,216

Aided technology sector

8,421

9,804

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

8,276

8,561

8,677

9,129

9,494

9,546

9,321

9,473

Teacher education colleges

968

977

Teacher training primary

131

140

146

208

223

192

211

198

Teacher training home economics

12

9

14

19

22

22

22

9

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

1,224

1,535

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

547

544

607

748

714

562

519

527

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

242

237

172

196

230

230

286

443

745

640

Non-aided third level education institutions

1,303

763

1,618

1,974

1,977

2,353

1,783

1,933

1,756

970

Kildare

All third level education institutions

4,216

4,354

4,726

4,964

5,261

5,215

5,300

5,460

5,367

5,688

Aided university sector

3,055

3,240

HEA institutions (aided)

2,324

2,358

2,533

2,688

2,954

2,982

3,101

3,202

Aided technology sector

1,783

1,908

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,640

1,722

1,766

1,804

1,840

1,761

1,814

1,841

Teacher education colleges

200

215

Teacher training primary

20

29

45

56

51

40

33

27

Teacher training home economics

4

5

5

4

3

4

4

6

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

174

165

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

77

91

107

130

123

103

101

85

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

63

62

58

60

82

75

63

103

33

15

Non-aided third level education institutions

88

87

212

222

208

250

184

196

122

145

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Kilkenny

All third level education institutions

2,306

2,427

2,557

2,698

2,733

2,658

2,759

2,814

2,862

2,969

Aided university sector

1,295

1,349

HEA institutions (aided)

1,159

1,194

1,227

1,259

1,290

1,305

1,352

1,409

Aided technology sector

1,278

1,297

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

991

1,058

1,174

1,263

1,244

1,196

1,246

1,218

Teacher education colleges

160

159

Teacher training primary

21

20

22

17

20

19

21

20

Teacher training home economics

8

6

5

4

5

5

5

4

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

13

7

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

46

44

38

43

38

17

10

7

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

33

32

16

32

33

23

32

39

45

40

Non-aided third level education institutions

48

73

75

80

103

93

93

117

71

117

Laois

All third level education institutions

1,519

1,576

1,639

1,715

1,798

1,787

1,836

1,950

1,977

2,139

Aided university sector

970

1,033

HEA institutions (aided)

764

789

798

828

878

928

945

993

Aided technology sector

792

840

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

665

697

739

761

792

744

773

810

Teacher education colleges

100

120

Teacher training primary

9

10

13

17

18

14

14

17

Teacher training home economics

2

4

6

8

6

6

4

4

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

18

17

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

24

27

28

29

25

16

11

11

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

23

22

15

23

26

21

31

41

59

48

Non-aided third level education institutions

32

27

40

49

53

58

58

74

38

81

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Longford

All third level education institutions

1,117

1,096

1,160

1,141

1,265

1,303

1,257

1,248

1,193

1,266

Aided university sector

546

582

HEA institutions (aided)

542

517

555

554

590

646

602

613

Aided technology sector

539

571

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

509

524

540

526

599

578

590

568

Teacher education colleges

72

84

Teacher training primary

6

4

7

8

7

7

8

10

Teacher training home economics

2

7

8

7

6

5

5

2

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

16

16

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

26

23

23

19

23

18

21

20

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

11

10

11

11

19

16

11

19

7

4

Non-aided third level education institutions

21

11

16

16

21

33

20

16

13

9

Louth

All third level education institutions

2,618

2,594

2,810

2,982

3,132

3,110

3,176

3,183

3,258

3,405

Aided university sector

1,111

1,167

HEA institutions (aided)

973

990

1,050

1,127

1,144

1,157

1,213

1,234

Aided technology sector

1,776

1,938

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,541

1,488

1,613

1,681

1,817

1,796

1,805

1,771

Teacher education colleges

176

170

Teacher training primary

7

7

14

10

10

7

18

21

Teacher training home economics

5

5

5

3

2

5

3

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

50

35

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

32

45

44

46

48

34

27

20

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

30

22

18

19

26

29

37

45

69

56

Non-aided third level education institutions

30

37

66

96

85

82

73

92

76

39

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Meath

All third level education institutions

3,536

3,519

3,820

3,967

4,391

4,437

4,458

4,548

4,562

4,711

Aided university sector

2,209

2,355

HEA institutions (aided)

1,821

1,807

1,907

2,004

2,241

2,191

2,320

2,336

Aided technology sector

1,860

1,932

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,535

1,539

1,649

1,704

1,811

1,909

1,864

1,925

Teacher education colleges

234

243

Teacher training primary

17

17

20

31

40

35

36

31

Teacher training home economics

6

5

4

4

6

4

6

7

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

107

89

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

76

57

87

84

86

62

57

41

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

30

36

30

31

51

40

40

63

25

6

Non-aided third level education institutions

51

58

123

109

156

196

135

145

127

86

Offaly

All third level education institutions

1,845

1,829

1,875

1,967

1,972

1,937

1,952

1,951

1,930

2,040

Aided university sector

920

991

HEA institutions (aided)

871

848

844

878

918

924

928

958

Aided technology sector

811

863

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

879

889

934

968

909

868

918

866

Teacher education colleges

105

106

Teacher training primary

18

18

20

22

21

12

10

9

Teacher training home economics

7

4

3

5

5

9

4

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

22

23

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

22

23

23

26

30

17

16

18

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

23

23

21

26

34

35

30

47

36

21

Non-aided third level education institutions

25

24

30

42

55

72

46

48

36

36

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Westmeath

All third level education institutions

2,308

2,301

2,407

2,472

2,595

2,625

2,757

2,616

2,710

2,909

Aided university sector

1,128

1,212

HEA institutions (aided)

1,143

1,111

1,187

1,141

1,173

1,202

1,228

1,212

Aided technology sector

1,353

1,494

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,087

1,100

1,128

1,208

1,284

1,272

1,390

1,235

Teacher education colleges

114

122

Teacher training primary

9

12

9

13

13

16

14

17

Teacher training home economics

10

4

3

4

5

4

5

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

31

26

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

24

24

28

40

42

18

19

23

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

18

21

19

19

27

34

41

46

39

27

Non-aided third level education institutions

17

29

33

47

51

79

60

78

45

28

Wexford

All third level education institutions

3,297

3,224

3,297

3,413

3,563

3,484

3,553

3,666

3,746

3,882

Aided university sector

1,572

1,670

HEA institutions (aided)

1,476

1,361

1,377

1,423

1,490

1,486

1,585

1,640

Aided technology sector

1,830

1,841

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,652

1,702

1,725

1,781

1,861

1,801

1,818

1,827

Teacher education colleges

178

219

Teacher training primary

24

23

24

32

34

28

12

22

Teacher training home economics

9

8

7

6

6

5

6

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

36

18

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

39

41

41

43

46

27

23

16

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

47

46

36

40

42

34

39

59

61

43

Non-aided third level education institutions

50

43

87

88

84

103

70

97

69

91

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Wicklow

All third level education institutions

2,775

2,848

2,951

2,995

3,195

3,769

3,261

3,462

3,506

3,625

Aided university sector

1,878

1,944

HEA institutions (aided)

1,550

1,537

1,629

1,614

1,721

2,252

1,779

1,917

Aided technology sector

1,301

1,402

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,059

1,135

1,087

1,107

1,151

1,202

1,231

1,280

Teacher education colleges

110

114

Teacher training primary

23

31

30

32

29

31

38

38

Teacher training home economics

2

4

3

5

6

2

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

105

91

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

64

58

64

70

75

60

47

32

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

29

25

12

20

35

31

26

40

8

4

Non-aided third level education institutions

50

60

125

149

179

187

138

150

104

70

Clare

All third level education institutions

3,457

3,597

3,673

3,809

4,055

4,003

4,142

3,976

3,835

4,016

Aided university sector

2,196

2,296

HEA institutions (aided)

2,129

2,229

2,269

2,372

2,514

2,509

2,623

2,554

Aided technology sector

1,137

1,189

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,169

1,181

1,280

1,325

1,398

1,348

1,392

1,258

Teacher education colleges

395

443

Teacher training primary

2

7

9

11

9

6

6

5

Teacher training home economics

14

10

6

4

8

7

10

14

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

13

6

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

17

19

9

6

5

10

3

6

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

47

50

23

28

47

53

53

63

28

31

Non-aided third level education institutions

79

101

77

63

74

70

55

76

66

51

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Cork

All third level education institutions

14,603

15,123

15,587

16,100

16,426

16,430

16,484

16,455

16,871

17,351

Aided university sector

10,066

10,334

HEA institutions (aided)

8,837

9,102

9,477

9,954

10,375

10,625

10,634

10,563

Aided technology sector

5,552

5,864

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

5,277

5,483

5,594

5,546

5,496

5,338

5,350

5,259

Teacher education colleges

610

658

Teacher training primary

23

23

29

35

41

31

32

29

Teacher training home economics

34

28

20

23

20

18

23

15

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

33

17

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

38

37

33

30

25

12

13

12

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

138

129

129

169

171

167

176

283

322

280

Non-aided third level education institutions

256

321

305

343

298

239

256

294

288

198

Kerry

All third level education institutions

4,744

4,900

5,138

5,275

5,433

5,441

5,488

5,424

5,305

5,486

Aided university sector

2,586

2,740

HEA institutions (aided)

2,591

2,618

2,727

2,750

2,777

2,726

2,831

2,826

Aided technology sector

2,221

2,316

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

2,029

2,139

2,263

2,367

2,475

2,537

2,494

2,401

Teacher education colleges

338

325

Teacher training primary

12

13

18

19

21

16

18

23

Teacher training home economics

14

12

8

6

6

7

6

10

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

12

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

23

18

25

20

18

8

9

9

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

45

48

42

45

58

61

64

80

75

44

Non-aided third level education institutions

30

52

55

68

78

86

66

75

73

56

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Limerick

All third level education institutions

5,810

6,074

6,152

6,355

6,572

6,428

6,413

6,280

6,349

6,462

Aided university sector

3,474

3,620

HEA institutions (aided)

3,554

3,784

3,854

3,975

4,149

4,023

4,112

4,076

Aided technology sector

1,859

1,923

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,952

1,988

2,024

2,114

2,156

2,139

2,088

1,996

Teacher education colleges

707

680

Teacher training primary

7

10

9

9

4

5

6

8

Teacher training home economics

8

7

8

13

12

13

20

11

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

9

6

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

30

20

19

10

9

5

4

6

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

48

47

44

54

60

64

69

83

200

178

Non-aided third level education institutions

211

218

194

180

182

179

114

100

100

55

Tipperary

All third level education institutions

4,729

4,869

4,880

4,873

5,008

4,936

5,152

4,988

4,780

4,860

Aided university sector

2,412

2,517

HEA institutions (aided)

2,591

2,637

2,642

2,599

2,703

2,672

2,778

2,765

Aided technology sector

1,791

1,805

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,922

2,008

2,020

2,055

2,071

2,032

2,119

1,930

Teacher education colleges

383

388

Teacher training primary

18

17

17

17

18

16

17

17

Teacher training home economics

20

17

15

12

12

10

11

16

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

14

11

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

25

29

26

23

26

14

13

10

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

68

64

44

59

72

78

93

125

65

45

Non-aided third level education institutions

85

97

116

108

106

114

121

125

115

94

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Waterford

All third level education institutions

2,864

2,986

3,083

3,279

3,356

3,164

3,252

3,378

3,737

3,985

Aided university sector

1,410

1,485

HEA institutions (aided)

1,265

1,311

1,303

1,418

1,456

1,468

1,434

1,462

Aided technology sector

2,083

2,271

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,515

1,591

1,689

1,714

1,796

1,601

1,728

1,810

Teacher education colleges

138

150

Teacher training primary

11

10

9

9

11

6

9

10

Teacher training home economics

4

5

4

4

5

5

6

3

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

16

6

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

13

7

8

11

13

8

9

7

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

22

28

22

25

33

27

21

41

47

42

Non-aided third level education institutions

34

34

48

98

42

49

45

45

43

31

Galway

All third level education institutions

7,937

8,278

8,642

9,046

9,222

8,855

9,250

9,158

9,614

10,067

Aided university sector

5,217

5,649

HEA institutions (aided)

4,735

4,951

5,237

5,578

5,624

5,570

5,676

5,594

Aided technology sector

3,593

3,654

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

2,926

3,006

3,108

3,131

3,245

2,960

3,231

3,212

Teacher education colleges

436

452

Teacher training primary

18

29

28

36

35

31

35

38

Teacher training home economics

47

35

40

35

38

33

72

70

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

32

17

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

51

57

40

44

37

14

18

13

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

64

70

75

83

94

88

76

80

204

213

Non-aided third level education institutions

96

130

114

139

149

159

142

151

132

82

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Leitrim

All third level education institutions

872

908

995

1,020

1,084

1,146

1,100

1,059

1,019

1,108

Aided university sector

398

464

HEA institutions (aided)

384

380

410

410

428

529

446

429

Aided technology sector

507

520

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

425

466

515

533

564

525

584

547

Teacher education colleges

81

99

Teacher training primary

8

9

11

19

15

11

4

9

Teacher training home economics

19

22

26

24

23

36

25

25

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

11

11

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

2

9

11

11

12

7

11

11

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

17

14

8

13

20

15

15

20

3

1

Non-aided third level education institutions

17

8

14

10

22

23

15

18

19

13

Mayo

All third level education institutions

4,282

4,426

4,568

4,849

5,128

4,915

5,149

5,153

4,926

4,957

Aided university sector

2,171

2,255

HEA institutions (aided)

2,091

2,109

2,244

2,249

2,394

2,361

2,462

2,383

Aided technology sector

2,231

2,224

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,934

2,043

2,081

2,341

2,443

2,304

2,421

2,446

Teacher education colleges

291

312

Teacher training primary

45

55

54

57

44

41

31

24

Teacher training home economics

43

32

35

40

46

45

81

80

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

26

21

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

51

56

54

52

53

24

22

14

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

54

60

48

47

66

65

66

107

125

101

Non-aided third level education institutions

64

71

52

63

82

75

66

99

82

44

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Roscommon

All third level education institutions

2,053

2,024

2,090

2,268

2,216

2,201

2,300

2,330

2,095

2,136

Aided university sector

991

1,020

HEA institutions (aided)

938

930

941

1,053

1,039

1,022

1,104

1,102

Aided technology sector

882

923

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

973

960

1,029

1,097

1,069

1,043

1,090

1,061

Teacher education colleges

142

146

Teacher training primary

16

19

17

13

14

9

11

16

Teacher training home economics

21

21

23

26

22

53

17

32

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

19

7

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

21

18

15

19

15

10

9

6

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

57

45

38

36

33

27

40

64

21

13

Non-aided third level education institutions

27

31

27

24

24

37

29

49

40

27

Sligo

All third level education institutions

2,140

2,229

2,331

2,346

2,441

2,415

2,446

2,405

2,449

2,373

Aided university sector

979

999

HEA institutions (aided)

898

956

972

968

1,038

1,060

1,021

1,014

Aided technology sector

1,161

1,131

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

1,118

1,135

1,213

1,212

1,246

1,213

1,237

1,199

Teacher education colleges

174

163

Teacher training primary

10

11

12

9

8

5

15

17

Teacher training home economics

55

66

75

89

75

60

82

80

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

13

9

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

12

10

11

9

12

10

8

8

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

22

27

20

27

30

32

40

50

77

45

Non-aided third level education institutions

25

24

28

32

32

35

43

37

45

26

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Cavan

All third level education institutions

1,548

1,727

1,777

1,837

1,968

1,935

1,957

1,921

1,951

1,974

Aided university sector

834

868

HEA institutions (aided)

683

768

785

749

811

832

864

918

Aided technology sector

884

889

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

794

888

899

978

1,052

995

991

891

Teacher education colleges

124

133

Teacher training primary

9

15

19

19

22

24

29

28

Teacher training home economics

8

11

12

13

13

15

16

11

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

30

20

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

27

25

22

29

19

13

8

11

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

9

9

17

16

11

13

14

22

47

44

Non-aided third level education institutions

18

11

23

33

40

43

35

40

32

20

Donegal

All third level education institutions

3,359

3,625

3,709

3,729

3,932

3,580

3,843

3,940

3,880

4,223

Aided university sector

1,444

1,566

HEA institutions (aided)

1,192

1,283

1,341

1,375

1,503

1,308

1,474

1,504

Aided technology sector

2,047

2,320

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

2,008

2,180

2,206

2,174

2,227

2,101

2,204

2,235

Teacher education colleges

235

234

Teacher training primary

45

47

46

42

46

41

44

54

Teacher training home economics

24

22

31

32

28

30

28

31

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

42

29

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

26

27

20

31

29

20

12

13

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

41

38

22

30

43

28

31

60

68

53

Non-aided third level education institutions

23

28

43

45

56

52

50

43

44

21

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Monaghan

All third level education institutions

1,373

1,345

1,399

1,489

1,577

1,524

1,592

1,632

1,722

1,766

Aided university sector

712

726

HEA institutions (aided)

563

564

578

569

608

585

662

721

Aided technology sector

844

889

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

740

712

578

835

875

851

853

830

Teacher education colleges

103

107

Teacher training primary

10

9

9

10

10

16

13

15

Teacher training home economics

6

5

3

3

5

10

10

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

25

17

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

34

32

39

36

32

15

10

11

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

11

6

7

10

14

15

12

14

10

11

Non-aided third level education institutions

9

17

27

26

33

42

32

31

28

16

Antrim

All third level education institutions

264

265

248

259

243

318

211

215

213

208

Aided university sector

180

189

HEA institutions (aided)

244

239

228

237

217

302

192

191

Aided technology sector

8

8

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

11

14

9

10

14

10

7

9

Teacher education colleges

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

1

1

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

6

1

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

3

1

3

2

2

2

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

1

1

1

6

8

Non-aided third level education institutions

6

10

11

9

11

4

8

12

13

2

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Armagh

All third level education institutions

103

97

96

98

98

145

100

97

93

86

Aided university sector

70

68

HEA institutions (aided)

83

78

79

86

89

131

84

78

Aided technology sector

5

11

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

10

16

8

8

3

6

7

7

Teacher education colleges

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

11

3

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

7

8

2

5

3

2

4

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

1

2

2

1

1

Non-aided third level education institutions

3

3

1

1

1

5

5

6

6

3

Derry

All third level education institutions

159

143

161

169

173

173

156

140

119

105

Aided university sector

93

79

HEA institutions (aided)

139

126

138

146

155

152

135

121

Aided technology sector

9

11

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

12

7

7

11

6

8

8

11

Teacher education colleges

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

9

5

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

6

7

11

5

8

7

5

4

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

1

1

1

3

4

Non-aided third level education institutions

2

3

4

6

4

6

8

3

5

6

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Down

All third level education institutions

311

306

322

306

304

257

247

227

240

227

Aided university sector

181

170

HEA institutions (aided)

276

263

278

258

269

226

202

187

Aided technology sector

30

51

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

17

22

26

23

16

18

21

29

Teacher education colleges

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

9

2

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

5

7

6

9

10

6

5

3

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

0

0

1

6

3

Non-aided third level education institutions

13

14

12

16

9

7

18

8

14

1

Fermanagh

All third level education institutions

104

95

95

101

112

84

79

76

69

67

Aided university sector

57

54

HEA institutions (aided)

91

83

79

82

97

67

66

59

Aided technology sector

4

7

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

6

7

7

9

7

9

8

3

Teacher education colleges

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

1

1

2

5

1

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

1

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

3

1

2

0

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

2

2

1

3

2

1

2

2

4

Non-aided third level education institutions

2

2

5

6

4

3

3

12

6

1

Students from Ireland and Northern Ireland Enrolled in Third Level— continued

Institutions (Number) by County of Origin, Type of Institution and Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Tyrone

All third level education institutions

166

181

166

160

148

124

116

109

112

107

Aided university sector

94

89

HEA institutions (aided)

148

145

133

120

129

109

104

94

Aided technology sector

8

13

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

9

20

23

24

11

8

7

11

Teacher education colleges

1

1

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

1

1

1

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

3

3

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

4

6

2

6

3

1

3

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

2

3

1

1

1

Non-aided third level education institutions

5

7

4

8

5

6

5

1

5

Origin unknown

All third level education institutions

906

321

191

276

130

147

1186

516

Aided university sector

115

169

HEA institutions (aided)

872

321

79

276

130

147

Aided technology sector

857

200

Institutes of technology including Killybegs H.T.C./Tipperary Institute

Teacher education colleges

41

55

Teacher training primary

Teacher training home economics

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (2)

92

Other third level education institutions aided by the Department of Education and Skills (1)

Third level education institutions aided by other Departments (Justice/Defence)

Non-aided third level education institutions

34

112

173

Table 5.3 Relative Ranking of Counties on Rates of Admission (%) to Higher Education by Type of College

All Colleges

Universities

Institutes of Technology

Colleges of Education

Other Colleges

Sligo

70.5

Galway

34.2

Sligo

38.5

Clare

5.2

Dublin

5.2

Galway

67.4

Cork

32.6

Leitrim

35.3

Limerick

5.0

Tipperary

4.4

Kerry

67.0

Clare

30.1

Kerry

35.0

Tipperary

4.5

Kildare

4.4

Mayo

66.8

Kildare

28.0

Mayo

34.8

Longford

4.3

Meath

4.2

Leitrim

64.2

Kerry

27.1

Louth

33.7

Kerry

4.3

Carlow

4.1

Meath

60.7

Mayo

27.0

Wexford

31.9

Leitrim

4.2

Wicklow

4.0

Carlow

60.3

Limerick

26.9

Roscommon

30.6

Sligo

4.2

Laois

2.9

Longford

60.3

Sligo

26.5

Carlow

30.4

Galway

3.9

Kilkenny

2.4

Clare

59.3

Dublin

26.4

Galway

28.5

Mayo

3.8

Offaly

2.3

Cork

58.1

Longford

26.2

Meath

28.5

Cavan

3.7

Louth

2.2

Roscommon

57.8

Meath

25.6

Longford

28.4

Carlow

3.2

Westmeath

2.0

Tipperary

56.3

Tipperary

24.4

Cavan

27.9

Roscommon

2.9

Wexford

1.8

Wexford

54.1

Wicklow

23.5

Donegal

27.9

Kilkenny

2.8

Leitrim

1.6

Kildare

54.0

Roscommon

23.4

Monaghan

25.4

Monaghan

2.8

Cavan

1.5

Louth

53.9

Laois

23.2

Waterford

25.3

Wexford

2.8

Longford

1.4

Limerick

53.2

Leitrim

23.0

Kilkenny

25.0

Donegal

2.7

Monaghan

1.4

Cavan

52.5

Carlow

22.7

Offaly

24.5

Meath

2.4

Mayo

1.3

Laois

52.2

Kilkenny

20.9

Westmeath

23.7

Laois

2.4

Sligo

1.2

Kilkenny

51.1

Waterford

20.6

Laois

23.7

Cork

2.4

Waterford

1.2

Dublin

50.8

Cavan

19.4

Clare

23.4

Offaly

2.0

Roscommon

0.9

Wicklow

49.6

Offaly

18.3

Tipperary

23.0

Westmeath

1.9

Limerick

0.7

Waterford

48.7

Wexford

17.6

Cork

22.7

Louth

1.7

Galway

0.7

Offaly

47.1

Louth

16.2

Wicklow

21.0

Waterford

1.7

Clare

0.6

Donegal

46.3

Donegal

15.1

Limerick

20.6

Dublin

1.4

Kerry

0.6

Monaghan

44.5

Monaghan

14.9

Kildare

20.3

Kildare

1.3

Donegal

0.5

Westmeath

40.8

Westmeath

13.0

Dublin

17.9

Wicklow

1.1

Cork

0.4

State

55.0

State

25.4

State

24.3

State

2.6

State

2.6

Source: Fitzpatrick Associates Survey of HEI 2004/05 and CSO Census of Population 2002.

Table 5.6: County Admission Rates Incorporating Enrolments in Northern Ireland

County

Number of New Entrants

Admission Rate Excluding Students in Northern Colleges (%)

Admission Rate Including Students in Northern Colleges (%)

Changes in Admission Rates (% Points)

Carlow

459

60.3

60.5

0.1

Cavan

517

52.5

54.4

1.9

Clare

999

59.3

59.4

0.1

Cork

4,064

58.1

58.1

0.1

Donegal

1,132

46.3

60.2

14.0

Dublin

7,931

50.8

50.9

0.1

Galway

2,204

67.4

67.6

0.2

Kerry

1,428

67.0

67.0

0.0

Kildare

1,438

54.0

54.2

0.2

Kilkenny

721

51.1

51.3

0.1

Laois

524

52.2

52.2

Leitrim

287

64.2

65.4

1.2

Limerick

1,488

53.2

53.3

0.1

Longford

334

60.3

60.8

0.5

Louth

875

53.9

56.9

3.1

Mayo

1,425

66.8

67.3

0.4

Meath

1,368

60.7

61.0

0.3

Monaghan

440

44.5

57.6

13.1

Offaly

536

47.1

47.2

0.1

Roscommon

556

57.8

58.1

0.3

Sligo

688

70.5

72.3

1.9

Tipperary

1,357

56.3

56.4

0.1

Waterford

796

48.7

48.7

Wexford

1,033

54.1

54.2

0.1

Wicklow

909

49.6

49.8

0.1

State

34,012

55.0

56.0

1.0

Source: Fitzpatrick Associates Survey of HEI 2004/05, CSO Census of Population 2002 Fitzpatrick Associates Survey of Northern Ireland HEIs 2004/05.

Table 6.4: Proportionate Distribution of New Entrants to Higher Education by Sector and County

County

Universities

Institutes of Technology

Colleges of Education

Other Colleges

Total

%

N

Carlow

0.377

0.503

0.052

0.68

100.0

459

Cavan

0.369

0.532

0.070

0.029

100.0

517

Clare

0.508

0.394

0.088

0.010

100.0

999

Cork

0.562

0.390

0.041

0.007

100.0

4,064

Donegal

0.327

0.603

0.058

0.011

100.0

1,132

Dublin

0.519

0.352

0.027

0.102

100.0

7,931

Galway

0.508

0.424

0.059

0.010

100.0

2,204

Kerry

0.404

0.523

0.064

0.008

100.0

1,428

Kildare

0.519

0.376

0.024

0.081

100.0

1,438

Kilkenny

0.409

0.488

0.055

0.047

100.0

721

Laois

0.445

0.454

0.046

0.055

100.0

524

Leitrim

0.359

0.551

0.066

0.024

100.0

287

Limerick

0.506

0.386

0.095

0.013

100.0

1,488

Longford

0.434

0.470

0.072

0.024

100.0

334

Louth

0.302

0.625

0.032

0.041

100.0

875

Mayo

0.404

0.521

0.056

0.020

100.0

1,425

Meath

0.422

0.469

0.040

0.069

100.0

1,368

Monaghan

0.334

0.570

0.064

0.032

100.0

440

Offaly

0.388

0.521

0.043

0.049

100.0

536

Roscommon

0.405

0.529

0.050

0.016

100.0

556

Sligo

0.376

0.547

0.060

0.017

100.0

688

Tipperary

0.433

0.409

0.080

0.078

100.0

1,357

Waterford

0.422

0.519

0.035

0.024

100.0

796

Westmeath

0.320

0.583

0.048

0.050

100.0

503

Wexford

0.325

0.590

0.051

0.034

100.0

1,033

Wicklow

0.474

0.422

0.023

0.080

100.0

909

State

0.462

0.442

0.048

0.048

100.0

34,012

1998 County Admission Rates Incorporating Enrolments in Northern Ireland

County

Number of New Entrants***

Admission Rate Excluding Students in Northern Ireland Colleges

Admission Rate Including Students in Northern Ireland Colleges**

Change in Admission Rates

Carlow

387

44.4

44.4

Cavan

505

45.3

46.8

1.5

Clare

967

50.0

50.0

Cork

4,006

48.9

49.0

0.1

Donegal

1,277

35.1

45.6

10.5

Dublin

7,143

37.7

37.8

0.1

Galway

2,162

56.7

57.1

0.4

Kerry

1,321

52.7

52.8

0.1

Kildare

1,197

41.1

41.4

0.3

Kilkenny

638

40.9

41.1

0.2

Laois

433

38.5

38.5

Leitrim

260

52.8

54.3

1.5

Limerick

1,669

50.3

50.5

0.2

Longford

344

49.1

49.2

0.1

Louth

899

42.6

45.8

3.2

Mayo

1,282

55.7

56

0.3

Meath

1,120

45.4

45.8

0.4

Monaghan

555

40.7

48.8

8.1

Offaly

519

37.8

37.9

0.1

Roscommon

547

50.2

50.6

0.4

Sligo

631

55.6

57.4

1.8

Tipperary

1,362

48.6

47.2

Waterford

787

41.2

41.2

Westmeath

679

48.9

49.2

0.3

Wexford

991

43.8

44.1

0.3

Wicklow

870

41.0

41.3

0.3

State

32,564*

44.4

45.3

0.9

*The total of 32564 includes 13 students who were known to come from the Republic of Ireland but for whom the home address was unavailable.

**Before calculating the revised admission rates the number of entrants to Northern Ireland has been adjusted downwards by 8% to take account of those with previous third level education.

***The number of New Entrants is derived from the corresponding totals on Tables 43 & 44 in the 1998 survey. Students attending colleges in Northern Ireland were reported separately.

School Enrolments

David Stanton

Ceist:

71 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide the enrolment as of September 2010 of each of the primary schools (details supplied) in east Cork; if she will provide a breakdown of the enrolment in each school per class year junior infants, senior infants, first class to sixth class respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43486/10]

The collection and processing of the National School Annual Census forms is currently taking place. Enrolment data for the 2010/2011 school year will be published in September 2011. Extensive information is available on my Department's website in relation to school enrolments for the 2009/2010 school year.

Higher Education Grants

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

72 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications received for higher education grants; the number granted to date; the number not processed to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43493/10]

As requested by the Deputy, the following table provides details of the number of new student grant applications received and the number of grants awarded to date for the 2010/11 academic year. The number of applications where grant awarding authorities have yet to commence processing is also included. It should be noted that the difference between the number of new grant applications received and those processed to date is accounted for by applications which have been processed but which have been refused, cancelled, transferred to another grant awarding authority or where further information has been requested from applicants.

The information contained in the table has been supplied to my Department by the local authorities and the Vocational Education Committees.

Awarding Authorities — Processing Position as at week ending 29.10.10 (unless otherwise stated)

Local Authorities

New Applic-ations Received

Awarded

Yet to Process

VECs

New Applic-ations Received

Awarded

Yet to Process

Carlow Co. Council

221

138

4

Co. Carlow VEC

282

250

6

Cavan Co. Council

287

161

24

Co. Cavan VEC

1,115

216

496

Clare Co. Council

659

295

174

Co. Clare VEC

1,202

418

0

Cork City Council

734

214

150

Co. Cork VEC

2,464

142

750

Cork Co. Council

1,612

156

885

City of Cork VEC

1,116

201

52

Donegal Co. Council

865

333

81

Co. Donegal VEC

2,032

485

20

Dublin City Council

2,356

883

417

City of Dublin VEC

2,630

656

342

Dun/Rath Co. Council

754

194

177

Co. Dublin VEC

2,827

288

1,483

South Dublin Council

828

236

144

Dun Laoghaire VEC

355

113

23

Fingal Co. Council

1,000

200

510

City of Galway VEC

599

376

26

Galway Co.Council

2,457

691

995

Co. Galway VEC

1,896

861

543

Kerry Co. Council

701

416

0

Co. Kerry VEC

1,803

965

64

Kildare Co. Council

1,020

150

531

Co. Kildare VEC

1,286

266

211

Kilkenny Co. Council

426

275

0

Co. Kilkenny VEC

812

326

300

Laois Co. Council

386

232

6

Co. Laois VEC

696

238

156

Leitrim Co. Council

221

127

0

Co. Leitrim VEC

397

210

38

Limerick Co. Council

717

69

367

City of Limerick VEC

564

279

48

Limerick City Council

283

118

10

Co. Limerick VEC

976

259

185

Longford Co. Council

205

119

0

Co. Longford VEC

708

296

25

Louth Co. Council

598

79

70

Co. Louth VEC

1,030

446

294

Mayo Co. Council

624

245

155

Co. Mayo VEC

1,522

467

0

Meath Co. Council

720

119

0

Co. Meath VEC

1,307

518

157

Monaghan Co. Council

320

182

0

Co. Monaghan VEC

835

432

212

Offaly Co. Council

300

145

49

Co. Offaly VEC

733

389

17

Roscommon Co.Council

445

286

0

Co. Roscommon VEC

800

448

3

Sligo Co. Council

291

147

0

Co. Sligo VEC

923

156

447

Tipperary (NR) Council

311

188

42

Co. Tipperary NR VEC

933

362

108

Tipperary (SR) Council

445

180

140

Co. Tipperary SR VEC

791

441

118

Waterford City. Council

180

53

25

Co. Waterford VEC

499

241

71

Waterford Co. Council

537

346

157

City of Waterford VEC

573

91

315

Westmeath Co. Council

399

246

72

Co. Westmeath VEC

906

406

155

Wexford Co. Council

498

199

90

Co. Wexford VEC

1750

215

300

Wicklow Co. Council

776

326

138

Co. Wicklow VEC

1,019

263

409

Economic and Monetary Union

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

73 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied that sufficient steps have been taken to ensure that all member states in the EU are fully committed to the EU project, with particular reference to compliance with Stability and Growth Pact guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43527/10]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the outcome of the work carried out by the Van Rompuy Task Force. In March 2010, in the light of the global economic and financial crisis and the deterioration in public finances across the EU, the European Council mandated a Task Force under President Van Rompuy and comprising representatives of the Member States, the European Commission and ECB to develop proposals for improved budgetary discipline. I represented Ireland on the Task Force.

The European Council on 28-29 October endorsed the Report of the Task Force which includes recommendations aimed at strengthening fiscal discipline and broadening the EU's surveillance of macroeconomic developments. In relation to compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact, the report proposes that a greater emphasis be placed on the debt criterion and that stronger enforcement measures be put in place. In the case of the euro area, financial sanctions could be imposed in the event that a Member State were to persistently fail to take action on foot of Council recommendations issued under the Pact. The report also calls for national budgetary frameworks to be strengthened to underpin Member States' EU obligations.

I consider that the Task Force recommendations are a major step forward in economic governance at EU level and are to be welcomed. The necessary work is now being put in train at EU level to implement the recommendations, many of which will require EU secondary legislation, in the light of discussion of the related legislative proposals from the European Commission.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Stability and Growth Pact provides the overall framework for Member States' budgetary policies. I would like to emphasise that notwithstanding the present difficult challenges the Government remains committed to pursuing budgetary and economic policies consistent with our EU obligations.

The Deputy may also be referring to media reports regarding Greece. I would draw the Deputy's attention in this regard to the statement issued following the meeting of Eurogroup Finance Ministers on 16 November 2010. The Eurogroup, the European Commission and the ECB welcomed the efforts undertaken by the Greek government to comply with the agreed adjustment programme and acknowledged that the required adjustment is broadly on track. The statement noted a recent report from Eurostat to the effect that there is however, as expected, a substantial revision in government deficit and debt data for 2009 which is expected to affect the 2010 deficit figures. In this regard, it welcomed the efforts by the Greek authorities to correct deficiencies in the administrative and accounting systems in parallel with improvements in the statistical system. The statement welcomed the strong commitment of the Greek government to undertake the required budgetary measures in the budget for 2011 and expressed confidence that the significant progress made during the course of this year will continue, allowing the consolidation of the Greek budget to remain on track.

Informal Economy

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

74 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the size of the black economy and the amount lost to the Exchequer. [43410/10]

My Department does not produce estimates of the size of the informal economy nor of the estimated loss to the exchequer arising from such activities. Internationally, a considerable amount of research has been undertaken in this area but, by definition, it is always difficult to quantify the scale of the informal economy. Having said that, the Central Statistics Office in compiling estimates of national income, and in line with best international practice, makes adjustments to the figures in order to control for informal activity in some sub-sectors of the economy. This is done at a very detailed level, with the result that an overall economy-wide estimate is not available.

Flood Relief

Michael Ring

Ceist:

75 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if he will ascertain from the Office of Public Works if its officials met an engineer from Mayo County Council regarding the flooding problem at a location (details supplied) in County Mayo; if so, the outcome of the meeting and the proposals the OPW has to resolve the problem. [43429/10]

The Office of Public Works has met with the Mayo County Council engineer in question on a number of occasions regarding the flooding problem at the location referred to by the Deputy. The problem was found to be caused by an inadequate surface drainage water system.

Mayo County Council are liaising with the local landowners in an effort to identify measures to alleviate the problem. The OPW will keep the situation under review and is available to provide technical assistance to the Council if required.

Carbon Budget

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

76 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the expected revenue in a full year for the Exchequer from the auctioning of carbon allowances post 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43455/10]

Based on the current state of knowledge and data as supplied by the EPA we can estimate the State allowances as follows:

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Aviation Allowances

475

475

475

475

475

475

475

475

475

EUA Allowances (ETS excl aviation)

8,151

8,001

7,852

7,702

7,552

7,403

7,253

7,104

As with any market based instrument it is difficult to say conclusively what the revenues will be. There is considerable uncertainty around predicting a future carbon price. Assuming a price of €15 a tonne (a price similar to the current price of carbon on the European Climate Exchange), then the yield from the allowances could be as follows:

Possible Yield (€m)

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Possible Yield

7

129

127

125

123

120

118

116

114

National Solidarity Bond

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

77 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of the way the funds invested in the national solidarity bond are managed by the National Treasury Management Agency; if there is any distinction between the use of these funds and the use of funds borrowed on the international markets by the NTMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43470/10]

The State Savings schemes, including the National Solidarity Bond, are managed by the National Treasury Management Agency. The State Savings products are intended primarily for the retail investor. In the same way as funds borrowed by the Agency on the international and domestic markets, they are used to fund the Exchequer and form part of the National Debt.

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

78 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of the amount of money invested to date in the national solidarity bond; the number of persons who have made investments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43471/10]

In Budget 2010, I announced the Government's intention to launch a National Solidarity Bond, the purpose of which is to allow citizens an opportunity to invest and provide money to the State to stimulate economic recovery and to assist in the maintenance and creation of employment. The necessary legislative basis was provided in this year's Finance Act and the Bond was launched on Tuesday 4 May. I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency that, at close of business on Friday, 12 November, a total of some €309 million had been invested in the Bond by 14,100 customers.

National Lottery

David Stanton

Ceist:

79 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money accrued to the Exchequer from the National Lottery in 2009 and to date in 2010; the way in which this funding has been expended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43485/10]

The total amount of money which accrued to the Exchequer from the National Lottery in 2009 was €275m. The surplus from the National Lottery is transferred to the Exchequer and is applied each year to part-fund the Exchequer allocations to a specified range of expenditure subheads across various Votes. Each year, the amount transferred to the Exchequer from the National Lottery surplus, together with details of the total Exchequer allocations to the relevant subheads are set out in Appendix 1 of the annual "Revised Estimates for Public Services". The following is a summary of the information contained at Appendix 1 of the "Revised Estimates for Public Services" for 2009 and 2010:

2009

2010

Total Exchequer allocations to the subheads part-funded by the National Lottery

€435m

€409m (estimated)

Of which: transferred to the Exchequer from the surplus of the National Lottery

€275m

€260m (estimated)

Tax Yield

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

80 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide the total amount collected in vehicle registration tax for 2009 and to date in 2010; the amount of VRT collected from the registration of imported cars including a breakdown of the VRT collected per vehicle CO2 category; the amount of VRT collected from new car sales including a breakdown of the VRT collected per vehicle CO2 category; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43491/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the total amount collected in respect of all vehicles in vehicle registration tax for 2009 is €375.4m and for the period January to October 2010 the provisional amount collected is €361.7m. The amount of VRT collected per vehicle CO2 category for new and imported cars is shown in the attached tables. The amounts shown for VRT in 2010 are still provisional at this time.

2009

Bands gCO2/km

New

Imported

Total

€ m

€ m

€ m

A1 (0-120)

16.4

3.1

19.5

A2 (121-140)

76.3

24.6

100.9

A3 (141-155)

53.1

41.2

94.3

A4 (156-170)

38.2

25.7

63.9

A5 (171-190)

28.9

17.4

46.3

A6 (191-225)

15.6

10.6

26.2

A7 (> 225)

5.8

8.6

14.4

Total Cars

234.4

131.1

365.5

2010 (Jan to Oct)

Bands gCO2/km

New

Imported

Total

€ m

€ m

€ m

A1 (0-120)

63.5

4.6

68.1

A2 (121-140)

105.7

19.8

125.5

A3 (141-155)

45.8

24.3

70.1

A4 (156-170)

30.4

13.0

43.3

A5 (171-190)

16.3

7.7

24.0

A6 (191-225)

8.5

5.5

13.9

A7 (> 225)

6.2

4.4

10.6

Total Cars

276.3

79.2

355.6

Departmental Expenditure

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

81 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Finance the revenue which would have been saved in a full year if he implemented the findings of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration as indicated during the last budget and adjusted salaries down by an 8% cut for assistant secretaries and 12% for deputy secretaries in Departments in conjunction with the termination of the performance-related bonus scheme; the amount saved in a full year from the amended salary reductions for the same category of public servants implemented following the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43492/10]

As the Deputy is aware the Government decided in 2009 that the performance related award scheme for Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries would be terminated, which resulted in an annual saving of around €2m. In applying the reductions in pay in January 2010, I considered that account had to be taken of the reduction in remuneration for Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and related grades arising from the termination of the scheme. Otherwise, the total reduction in remuneration for these grades would have been greater than those for other public servants including higher paid groups at the level of Secretary General or above. I decided that the reductions should comprise both a reduction in the salary scale and the termination of the scheme of performance-related pay previously payable to the grades. The resulting significant reductions in remuneration amounted to 11.8% in the case of the grade of Assistant Secretary and 14% in the case of the grade of Deputy Secretary. These reductions are higher than those applying to other groups at the lower salary levels and significantly higher than the minimum reduction provided for under the legislation of 5%.

The additional amount saved in a full year through the reductions that were applied to these grades is estimated at around €0.6m. Applying the reductions set out in the Review Body Report would have resulted in an additional saving in the region of €1m.

Tax Yield

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

82 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the amount collected since the introduction of the carbon tax including a breakdown for each category of taxed fuel; the amount expected to be collected in a full year including a breakdown per taxed fuel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43496/10]

The overall yield in 2010 from the carbon tax, inclusive of VAT, is estimated at around €240 million, with the estimated yield in a full year being €330 million. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that since the introduction of carbon taxes in 2010 the yields, by category, to end October are as follows:

2010 Jan to Oct

Carbon Levy

Estimated VAT

Total

€m

€m

€m

Auto Diesel

80.8

1.7

82.5

Petrol

54.1

11.4

65.5

MGO

18.7

2.5

21.2

Kerosene

6.4

0.9

7.3

Fuel Oil

0.4

0.4

LPG

1.7

0.2

1.9

Natural Gas

6.5

0.9

7.3

Total

168.5

17.5

186.1

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

83 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43507/10]

There were 160 external reports or reviews commissioned by bodies under the aegis of my Department in the period in question . Details of the reports or reviews commissioned are contained in the following tables:

National Treasury Management Agency (Inclusive of State Claims Agency, National Development Finance Agency, National Pension Reserve Fund and National Asset Management Agency) 2008 National Treasury Management Agency

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Treasury Management Agency

PwC Review of Technical and Operational Procedures in relation to the Prize Bond Scheme

**

2009

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Treasury Management Agency

London Economics Report on Derivation of Long-Term Economic Value Adjustment Factors

€94,080

2010

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Treasury Management Agency

Accenture Review of NTMA Corporate Services

**

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

2008

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

WM Review of Fund Investment Performance

**

2009

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

PwC Due Diligence Report on Bank of Ireland*

650,000

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

PwC Due Diligence Report on Allied Irish Banks plc*

650,000

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

Arthur Cox Due Diligence Report on Bank of Ireland*

500,000

National Pension Reserve Fund Commission

Arthur Cox Due Diligence Report on Allied Irish Banks plc*

900,000

2010

Body

Name of Report or Review

Cost (ex VAT)

National Treasury Management Agency

Aksia Review of Hedge Funds Investment Strategy

**

*These reports were commissioned at the request of the Minister for Finance in the context of the State's preference share investment through the National Pensions Reserve Fund in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks plc.

**Commercial confidentiality provisions in the relevant contracts preclude the publication of the fees paid in respect of these individual reports. However, the total costs (ex VAT) in respect of the 9 reports referred to above are €3,131,330.

Special EU Programmes Body

The Cost in relation to the reports and reviews carried out by the Special EU Programmes Body listed below would have been jointly funded by the European Union, the Department of Finance and the Department of Finance and Personnel. The majority of the Reports and Reviews were commissioned for the INTERREG IVA and PEACE III European Structural Funds Programmes. The EU funds 75% of INTERREG IVA programme costs and 67.5% of the PEACE III Programme costs, with Ireland and the United Kingdom providing the remaining funding.

The Special EU Programmes Body is responsible for the management of the PEACE III and INTERREG IVA Programmes which value some €333m and €256m respectively. In line with public expenditure requirements and as agreed with Accountable Departments, all applicants seeking funding under the Programmes are subject to a robust and defined assessment process. All applications meeting the basic eligibility criteria and seeking funding of over £500,000 will automatically be subject to a full Economic Appraisal (EA). These appraisals make up the majority of external reports and reviews commissioned by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Please note that there are a number of instances where a contract has been awarded to a provider for completion of a block of Economic Appraisals. Detail on the individual Economic Appraisals contained within these contracts is not available within the required timeframes but can be provided upon request.

The information presented is based on the Special EU Programmes Body Consultant Register as at 16 November 2010 and costs outlined within Tables 1-3 are based on the total costs stipulated at the time of award of contract. Should a contract complete under budget, this will not be reflected within the Tables. The Special EU Programmes Body appraisals make up the majority of external reports and reviews commissioned by Special EU Programmes Body.

Please note that there are a number of instances where a contract has been awarded to a provider for completion of a block of Economic Appraisals. Detail on the individual Economic Appraisals contained within these contracts is not available within the required timeframes but can be provided upon request.

The information presented is based on the Special EU Programmes Body Consultant Register as at 16 November 2010 and costs outlined within Tables 1-3 are based on the total costs stipulated at the time of award of contract. Should a contract complete under budget, this will not be reflected within the Tables. The Special EU Programmes Body estimates that the number of contracts to which this applies is negligible. Should however, further costs be incurred on a contract, these will be described as Annex Bs within Tables 1-3.

Table 1: External Reports and Reviews Conducted by SEUPB in 2008

Name of Report or Review

Cost

Cost

£

East Border Region Multi-Annual Plan

8,166

North East Partnership Multi-Annual Plan

11,103

Centre for Sport & Interculturalism

8,812

Programme Branding Review

40,000

EA Annex B — East Border Arts Project (Original Annex A 95/04)

3,466

EA Annex B — Sharing a vision for our coastline (Original Annex A 39/06)

2,879

EA Annex B — Geographical Information Project (Original Annex A 45/06)

2,726

EPI Project

3,525

Destination North West

4,230

Cross Border Railway Cluster

3,290

NWEEC Waste Management

3,290

Impact Evaluation for the INTERREG IIIA Programme

25,554

Assessment & EA of the Multi Annual Plans submitted by COMET, ICBAN & NWRCBG

17,927

EA Annex B — Composting for the Mushroom Industry

5,950

Off Shore Electricity Transmission Grid Between Ireland, N. Ireland & Scotland

6,991

Economic Appraisal (EA) — Programme specification for the Creative Industries Sector

5,611

To undertake an independent assessment and review of the Project Kelvin.

5,875

Economic Appraisal to cover additional founds to the SYNERGY Project.

4,112

Addendum to the Economic Appraisal to cover additional funds to the Digital Media Works Project

2,937

To undertake an Economic Appraisal of the Sail West Project Under INTERREG IVA

6,756

To undertake an Economic Appraisal on PEACE III, Priority 2.1 project — Balloo Community Wetland Project — North Down Borough Council

5,874

To undertake an Economic Appraisal on PEACE III, Priority 2.1 project — Castlesaunderson — All Ireland Scouting/Jamboree Centre — Cavan County Council

8,166

Production of Common Chapter (North/South) Activity Report for 2006

18,682

EA- Annex B — North East Partnership Multi-Annual Plan

2,115

East Border Region Multi-Annual Plan

2,673

EA & project assessment of 4 local authority peace & reconciliation action plans

29,421

EA & project assessment of 5 local authority peace & reconciliation action plans

37,600

EA & project assessment of 5 local authority peace & reconciliation action plans

32,959

Economic Appraisal Transforming Conflict in Border Communities

9,635

Analysis study of Protestant working class areas and the development of a Peace III project proposal

20,327

EA on actions contained within EBR’s Collaboration Theme of their Multi Action Plan

21,358

EA on actions listed within ICBAN’s Collaboration Theme of their Multi Action Plan

15,030

EA on actions listed within North West Region Cross Border Group’s Collaboration of Multi Action Plan

12,500

Management of the successful dissolution of LSP companies seeking to close following P2 programme

53,239

EA Northern Ireland Prison Service application

4,600

EA of 9 PEACE III 1.1 projects

33,120

EA of 6 PEACE III 2.1 projects

22,080

Total

785,897

Table 2: External Reports and Reviews Conducted by SEUPB in 2009

Name of Report or Review

Cost

Cost

£

Design and implementation of a functional records management policy & system

19,164

EA on the Resource I/Reg IVA Project

5,750

EA Achieving Sustainable Councils

5,750

EA Connexions

4,082

EA Blackwater River Catchment Project

5,750

EA on Workspace at Enniskillen Airport/Innovative Enterprise Prog/HAATCH Projects

14,950

EA Annex B EA PEACE III Priority 1.1 Children and Young People Building Relations(original 70/07)

1,028

EA Annex B Conflict Transformation from the bottom up(original 75/07)

2,937

EA on business incubation support for Belfast/North Down/Sligo

6,325

EA on the innovation and growth programme for NEP which aims to build the success of previous Product Transfer programme

3,565

Establish a Rural Environmental Co-operative which will provide cross border catchment services to farmers and rural households in Lough Melvin

6,325

EA for proposed collaboration project from RNIB with NCBI and deafhear

6,613

EA Collaboration to fund a project aimed at building infrastructure to address current shortage of language service professionals working with the deaf

4,025

EA Collaboration between DHSSPS & DELHLG & NIFRS with six fire and rescue services in the border

4,313

EA Annex B — EA Success through Succession — (original annex A = 41/08)

3,140

EA Cooperation and Working Together — (original Annex A = 33/08)

5,493

EA On Diversity Across Border Projects

4,025

Ea Borderwise Cross Border Project

4,542

To undertake additional work required on the common Chapter Report

920

EA on two operations within marine tourism and angling development project

3,795

Annex B Create dvd to mark the closure of PEACE and INTERREG IIIA (original 87/08)

8,321

Development of SEUPB Website so it meets current best practice

52,499

EA Developing Governance in Transition/Vital Links/Int Childhood Network/FAIR/ The Most Project

14,850

Annex B EA BNcB

3,482

Business Plan for Peace III Priority 2.1 project Clones Erne East Sports Partnership

6,037

EA for an energy project

5,750

2 EA The Power of Possibility and Developing a Peace Building Infastructure

8,395

EA on PEACE II 1.1 Promoting Inter-Culturalism North/South

4,600

EA of the Construction Business project under the Enterprise Theme of ICBAN’s MAP

3,479

EA of The Green Business Project under the Enterprise theme of ICBANs MAP

4,594

EA on the Cultural Tourism Network project form the COMET MAP

4,477

EA of 3 projects in the NEP MAP under tourism theme Biker Trip/Causeway Coast/Gobbins

12,592

EA on 3 projects under the Tourism Theme of the North West Regions Multi Action Plan

9,487

EA of 4 projects in the ICBAN MAP= Border uplands/ECO Tourism/Crossborder angling/Events and Festival Management Support

16,503

Review PEACE III+INTERREG IVA programmes performance

74,115

EA Annex B Borderwise Cross Border Project

1,144

EA Annex B Connexions

1,064

EA Annex B on Loughs Agency, Marine Tourism & Angling Project in Foyle and Carlingford

3,770

EA Annex B on the ifactory application

1,880

EA for East Border Region Partnership application under tourism

12,075

Completion of Sports Dev Plan for PEACE III Clones Erne/East Sports Partnership

4,600

EA Annex B Consultant to address comments from DETI on BNCB proposal under INTERREG IVA

799

EA on 2 FAIR projects/CAPABLE project/BOBCAT project

6,635

EA of one Co-operation Ireland project — Effective Choices Helping Ourselves

3,450

EA on the continuation of WAVE key services

6,900

EA Annex B To update Tradelinks II application

1,552

EA Annex B EBR Wider Cross border Regional Work

1,573

EA Intertrade Ireland/East Border Region/North West Region Cross Border Group

4,600

EA Annex B on the Resource I/Reg IVA Project

1,088

5 EA relating to The Administration Costs of the Cross Border P/ship Groups receiving funding under INTERREG IVA

14,087

Propose a methodology to the Member States on the appropriate methods and rates to be applied to facilitate simplification of management administration and control of ERDF funded organisations

8,104

To review the contract and completed works for the Strabane-Lifford Waterways

3,237

3rd Annex B EA on the Tradelinks II application-worked not covered in original TOR

120

EA Annex B Sailwest

6,095

2 EA Moving away from violence project and International network of youth centred public service providers project

9,200

4 EA Group A Forward learning/Sligo Vo Educ Comm/Rural Dev Council/NW Play resource centre

14,778

4 EA Group B Cooperation Ireland/Irish congress of Trade unions/PSNI/BCC Growing a learning city

14,778

Perception Surveys

10,275

EA Annex B North West Regional Sports campus

548

EA 2nd Annex B North West Regional Sports campus

1,150

2 EA Spatial Planning Analysis and Info sharing and Urban-village renewal

7,100

To undertake a needs analysis study on West Tyrone Voice and to develop a project pipeline in order to submit an application

3,750

Undertake Greenbook EA Settlement Regeneration Programme

2,507

Due Diligence Report on North and West housing Ltd

5,623

12 Green book economic appraisals

61,922

12 Green book economic appraisals

53,820

12 Green book economic appraisals

63,705

12 Green book economic appraisals

41,193

10 Green book economic appraisals

67,850

Commercial appraisal assignment of a company in the property/aircraft maintenance sector Enniskillen airport

5,520

EA Annex B Conflict Transformation from the bottom up(original 75/07)1st annex b=08/09

1,762

12 Green book economic appraisals

61,922

Consultant to carry out the work and activities of working group one of the Peace Network

25,500

EA Annex B HAATCH/Enniskillen airport and the Innovative Enterprise Programme

2,555

Total

1,040,280

Table 3: External Reports and Reviews Conducted by SEUPB in 2010

Name of Report or Review

Cost

Cost

£

Review of the proceeds of the sale of Castlesaunderson lands by scout foundation-jamboree centre project

587

Preparation of proposal for the member states on the application of flat rate costs calculated by standard scales of unit cost to health sector project

9,790

In depth analysis of Major Grant Project,Project Kelvin, to address queries from European Court of Auditors.

6,345

Evaluation of PEACE III, Priority 1.1 Project Positive relations

10,141

12 Economic Appraisals

54,990

12 Economic Appraisals

56,400

12 Economic Appraisals

54,919

12 Economic Appraisals

45,825

12 Economic Appraisals

57,208

To undertake a review of Theme 1.2 of the PEACE III Programme

19,385

EA Annex B EBR Action for Bio Diversity

1,329

EA Annex B NWR Spatial Planning

4,698

EA Annex B EBR Energy and training and monitoring

1,117

EA Annex B NWR Urban and Rural Village renewal

835

EA Annex B NEP Causeway Connections

1,469

EA Annex B NEP Gobbins and Sliabh Liag

2,291

EA Annex B ICBAN Angling Project

1,469

EA Annex B ICBAN Eco Tourism Project

1,469

EA Annex B HATTCH, Enniskillen Airport. ICBAN’s enterprise application

4,821

To undertake a review of the impact of the activities under each local action plan Theme 1.1 PEACE

19,385

Addendum to EA Castlesaunderson all Ireland scouting jamboree project

1,762

Addendum to EA of Orange Community Network

1,410

Development and design of SEUPB intranet system

12,480

Forensic Audit of a lead Partner- suspected fraud

32,900

Report to ascertain the impact of the removal of project partner from the Irish Peace Centres project

4,641

Perception and awareness survey

11,039

EA on Two sub-projects within the Lough Agency Marine Tourism and Angling Development Projects

2,876

Attitudinal Survey within the PEACE III Programme

41,019

Addendum to economic appraisal for Women into Public Life.

1,243

The Rural Enabler

4,700

Total

515,402

Anglo Irish Bank

Consultancy charges outside the normal course of business in 2009 and 2010 (cash out basis and to Sept 2010) were as follows:

Name of the Report or Review commissioned

€m

Restructuring Plans

18.8

Nama related charges

16.7

Legacy issues

9.3

Liability Management exercise

7.4

Redundancy & HR

1.5

ELG Scheme

0.1

CIFs Scheme

0.2

Nationalisation

1.6

Other*

1.5

*Other includes special items primarily consists of consultants hired to assist with the restructuring plans and NAMA related valuation costs.

Central Bank of Ireland

In addition to the reports listed above a number of reports or reviews were carried out by external parties on behalf of the central bank of Ireland (including the Financial Regulator for pre-October 2010) in the period 2008 to date in 2010. Details of the reports are included in the following tables:

2008

Name of Report or Review

Financial Capability Study consultancy for 2008/09

Loanbook analysis and assessment review

Review of trading controls

Consumer tracking research

Report on calculating a consumer rebate

Review of the Life Assurance Disclosure Regulations

Consumer Research for Review of the Intermediary Market

Total costs for 2008: €4,295115

2009

Name of Report or Review

Review of Business Processes

Review of Directors Loans

Review of Banking System pre NAMA (at request of Department of Finance)

Total Costs 2009: €778,724

2010

Name of Report or Review

Strategic Review of the Credit UnionSector in Ireland (requested by the Minister for Finance)

Organisational effectiveness of financial sector regulators/Supervisors

Due Diligence Report (at request of Department of Finance)

Review of NAMA Asset Valuation Methodology

Total Costs to date 2010 : €2,031,423

In addition the consultative consumer and industry panels commissioned reports in 2008 to date in 2010. The reports cost €114,836 in 2008, €4,860 in 2009 and €4,599 in 2010.

Company Law

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

84 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Finance the options available to a company director who cannot afford the amount demanded to liquidate their company regarding their family home which was put up as security, being repossessed to pay their debts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43531/10]

Policy matters in relation to company law and bankruptcy are the responsibility of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and the Minister for Justice respectively in the first instance.

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

85 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of funding allocated from the National Treatment Purchase Fund to referrals from Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9 in 2008 and 2009 and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43382/10]

As the Deputy's question relates to the operation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, my Department has asked the Chief Executive of the Fund to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the information requested.

Hospital Staff

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

86 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of consultant plastic surgeons attached to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; the average waiting times to see a plastic surgeon in Beaumont; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43383/10]

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

Health Services

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

87 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the policy in each Health Service Executive area for the provision of special needs assistants to children attending preschools; if she will outline in tabular form, which HSE areas provide this service and which do not; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43384/10]

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Special Educational Needs

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

88 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children her policy on the provision of special needs assistants to preschool children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43385/10]

As the Deputy is aware, a cross-sectoral working group was established by the Office for Disability and Mental Health earlier this year to develop and agree a framework for the inclusion of young children with disabilities in mainstream pre-school settings. I am advised that the Group's report will be completed in the coming weeks. It will then be circulated to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Education and Skills for further consideration in the light of available resources and competing priorities for 2011 and subsequent years.

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

89 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [43422/10]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply. My Department has requested Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have the matter investigated and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

90 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [43423/10]

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

Michael Ring

Ceist:

91 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive the back to school footwear and clothing allowance [43433/10]

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

Mental Health Services

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

92 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide an update on the development of community-based mental health services as envisioned in the A Vision for Change policy of 2006; the number of patients that have been moved from institutional care settings to the type of community based accommodation proposed in this report; if the progress in implementing this report is being delayed due to reductions in health funding; the original proposals for the care of children in the A Vision for Change document; if any of these proposals have been implemented and if the number of children currently being cared for in settings that were originally intended for adults; if current staffing levels are sufficient to provide the type of care proposed under A Vision for Change; if current staffing levels and standard of care can be maintained following budget 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43438/10]

‘A Vision for Change' — The Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, will be implemented over a 7 to 10 year period and progress has been achieved to date including, shorter episodes of in-patient care, improved child and adolescent mental health services, fewer involuntary admissions and the involvement of service users in all aspects of mental health policy, service planning and delivery. Work is also advancing on the mental health capital programme which will provide the infrastructure necessary to enable us to migrate from a traditional, institutional based model of care, to a patient-centred, flexible and community based mental health service.

There are substantial resources already invested in mental health and the immediate priority is to reconfigure and remodel these resources. As bed capacity in the old institutions reduces, staff will be redeployed to the community. At the end of 2009 there were one hundred and twenty-four adult community based mental health teams in place and further teams will be developed as resources allow. The 2010 Employment Control Framework for the health service provided an exemption from the moratorium and allowed for the filling of 100 psychiatric nursing posts. In addition, 90 posts have been reconfigured and are being targeted towards priority areas.

‘A Vision for Change' identified gaps in the child and adolescent mental health service and made several recommendations relating to the development of such services. The Health Service Executive has prioritised the development of mental health services for children and adolescents and significant progress has been made in this regard. There are now 55 multidisciplinary teams in place and a further 8 teams are in development. During 2009, bed capacity for children and adolescents almost doubled, bringing the total number of in-patient beds to 30. Bed capacity will increase further this year with the opening of two purpose built, child and adolescent, 20-bed units in Bessboro, Cork and Merlin Park, Galway. This additional capacity, together with the Mental Health Commission Code of Practice, which requires that no child under 17 is to be admitted to an adult unit from 1 December 2010, and no child under 18 is to be admitted to an adult unit from 1 December 2012, will ensure that the admission of children to adult services will be significantly reduced.

The financial difficulties facing the country do not in any way dilute the Government's commitment in the area of mental health, and in this regard I accept that the impact of any cuts on frontline services must be minimised, and that we must ensure going forward that the needs of service users remains the highest priority.

The question relating to the number of patients that have been moved from institutional care settings to community-based accommodation is a service matter, and, accordingly, has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Ambulance Service

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

93 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the situation regarding the withdrawal of the Swords ambulance as notified by Dublin City Council management and in view of the fact that the withdrawal is founded in an inter-agency dispute with the Health Service Executive refusing to pay for same, if she will arrange to sort matters out with the various agencies under their remit. [43444/10]

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

Mental Health Services

James Bannon

Ceist:

94 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide funding to open the residential house in Ballymahon, County Longford for persons with intellectual disability (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43461/10]

James Bannon

Ceist:

95 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide funding to open the residential house in Aughnacliffe, County Longford for persons with intellectual disability (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43462/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 95 together.

As the Deputy's questions relate to service matters, I have referred these questions to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services

James Bannon

Ceist:

96 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will expedite financial assistance to a person (details supplied) to avail of intensive physiotherapy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43463/10]

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

Hospitals Building Programme

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

97 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she and the Health Service Executive will ensure that the new wing of Letterkenny Hospital including 72 beds, a medical assessment unit and the critical accident and emergency unit will be opened on time and that the sub-contractors involved who are owed money will be paid, despite the liquidation of the main contractor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43465/10]

The management and delivery of the health capital programme is a service matter for the Health Service Executive. Therefore the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

98 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a certain vaccine for a child (details supplied) in County Cork. [43474/10]

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

Hospital Services

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

99 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will meet with a group (details supplied) to discuss an issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43479/10]

The Government decided in July 2005 that the best option for improving geographic access for patients in the North West to radiation oncology services in the short term was to facilitate access to Belfast City Hospital and accordingly, a Service Level Agreement is in place for the referral of radiation oncology patients from Donegal to BCH. This is in addition to the services available at St Luke's Hospital, Dublin and at University Hospital Galway.

The Government also decided in 2005 to explore the scope in the medium term for developing a joint venture based on a satellite centre in the North West linked to Belfast City Hospital. In April 2008, Minister McGimpsey of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSS&PS), Northern Ireland announced the provision of a satellite centre (linked to Belfast City Hospital) to be located in Altnagelvin. It will provide the additional radiotherapy capacity needed to meet an anticipated increase in cancer in Northern Ireland. It also recognises the potential for cross border co-operation in the development of this resource. I welcomed the announcement by Minister McGimpsey and officials from my Department and their counterparts in Northern Ireland continue to hold discussions in this regard. Following discussions at the North-South Ministerial Council with Minister McGimpsey, I understand that the facility is now expected to be operational by 2016.

My Department and the HSE's National Cancer Control Programme have nominated representatives to the Cross Border Sub Group, the Project Board and the Service Design and Workforce Planning Subgroup for the development. I have committed to providing a capital contribution to the development, in recognition of the fact that approximately one third of the patients who will attend the Altnagelvin Centre will be from Donegal and the surrounding areas. In addition, the Health Service Executive's National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) will contribute on an agreed basis to the operating costs in respect of patients from the Republic of Ireland who attend this service. It remains the position that the Business Case for the development has now been finalised and is under consideration by Minister McGimpsey.

I met with the group referred to by the Deputy last year during which a number of issues were discussed, including the development at Altnagelvin. My Department has also been in correspondence with them within the past year. I have recently received a further request to meet the group and am currently considering it in the context of my other commitments during the coming weeks.

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

100 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children in the context of the Health Service Executive west’s rationalisation of acute hospital services and other service reconfigurations, if she will rule out the closure of Roscommon hospital and the transfer of beds to another site as part of those plans. [43488/10]

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

101 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children the specific proposals relayed from the Health Service Executive to her regarding the rationalisation of acute hospital services and other service reconfigurations in the HSE west region. [43489/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 101 together.

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

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

102 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan can expect to get their MRI scan which was first arranged for January 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43499/10]

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

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

103 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under her remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if she will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43509/10]

The Deputy's question of 11th November 2010 sought information in respect of reports and reviews commissioned by my Department from 2008 to 2010 and this information has been provided. However information in respect of agencies or boards under my Department's remit is not held by my Department and I have asked them to reply directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

John McGuinness

Ceist:

104 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if a medical card will be approved on appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; the reason the card was granted and then withdrawn after a short period; and if she will expedite a response. [43534/10]

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

John McGuinness

Ceist:

105 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application for a medical card will be reassessed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will expedite a response. [43536/10]

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

Environmental Policy

Michael Ring

Ceist:

106 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport the funding in place for the smarter travel programme and if this funding is national funding or European funding. [43418/10]

€23 million is provided for smarter travel and carbon reduction measures in Subhead B.5 of my Department's Vote for 2010. This does not include any element of European funding.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

107 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43513/10]

External reports and reviews commissioned by State Agencies are a matter for the Agencies concerned.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

108 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the current backlog of applications in the Garda central vetting unit; the way he intends to tackle this backlog; if he is aware that this backlog is preventing persons from taking up employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43386/10]

The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for a large number of organisations in Ireland which are registered with the Gardaí for this purpose. Since 2004 the vetting service has been, and continues to be, extended to organisations working with children and/or vulnerable adults. Over that period there has been a substantial increase in the numbers of vetting applications received by the GCVU. In 2007 it received 187,864, rising to 218,404 in 2008. In 2009 it received over 246,000 applications.

The processing time for vetting applications fluctuates in line with periods of increased demand. Furthermore, additional time may be required to process an individual vetting application in cases where clarification is required as to the details provided or where other enquiries need to be made, for example, when the person in question has lived and worked abroad. There will always be a reasonably significant time period required to process a vetting application. Registered organisations have been advised to take account of this in their recruitment and selection process. However, the Gardaí make every effort to reduce this to the minimum possible consistent with carrying out the necessary checks. I am informed by the Garda Authorities that at the end of October there were over 60,000 vetting applications in the course of being processed and that the current average processing time for vetting applications received at the GCVU is approximately 12 weeks.

The allocation of Garda resources, including personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. Due to the high volume of applications, an additional ten persons have recently been recruited to the Vetting Unit on a temporary basis. In addition, overall staffing arrangements at the Unit are kept under review.

Joint Policing Committees

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

109 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform when a committee (details supplied) will be established. [43387/10]

Joint policing committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Their purpose is to provide a forum where An Garda Síochána and the local authority — the two organisations which make the most significant contribution to preventing and tackling crime in a specific area — can come together, with the participation of members of the Oireachtas and community and voluntary interests, on matters affecting their area.

On 24 September 2008, I launched, with my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, guidelines for the committees, which took into account the experience gained during a pilot phase and which provided for the establishment of committees in all 114 local authority areas by the relevant local authority and the Garda Commissioner. Paragraph 3.2 of the guidelines provides that a local authority shall, after consultation with the Garda Commissioner or an officer authorised by him or her to consult with the local authority, by resolution establish a committee.

An Garda Síochána is in contact at local level with the local authority in the location referred to and will jointly establish the committee when the local authority is in a position to do so, following the passing by it of the necessary resolution.

Missing Persons

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

110 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the date on which he gave the go-ahead for the establishment of an AMBER alert system; the progress to date on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43392/10]

Following my request to the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to assess the need to establish a dedicated Missing Persons Unit within An Garda Síochána, including a response similar to AMBER alert, and to report their findings to me, the Inspectorate published its report last year. One of its main recommendations was that an emergency alert system for missing children, similar to the AMBER alert system in place in other countries, should be established.

Such systems are deployed where a set of clear criteria are met — that a child has been kidnapped; the child is at imminent risk of serious injury or death; there is sufficient information to describe the child; and the circumstances are such that an alert can be useful.

In April, 2009 I gave the go ahead for the implementation of this recommendation. An Garda Síochána is committed to its implementation and has commenced work on developing the most appropriate structure to give effect to the recommendation, taking account of progress at international level in the development of alert systems for missing children.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that an Assistant Commissioner has been appointed to oversee the introduction of such an alert system in this jurisdiction. The development of such a system is complex and requires a multi-agency approach. It will provide An Garda Síochána with access to on-air broadcasters and other means of communication during the critical period immediately after a child abduction. This will require the co-operation of a range of agencies, including Government Departments, phone service providers, electronic and print media, television and radio service providers and the public.

Garda Equipment

Pat Breen

Ceist:

111 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 277 of 5 October 2010, if he will provide further details (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43407/10]

I am advised by the Garda authorities that expenditure on the purchase of Garda vehicles amounted to €11.1 million in 2007 and €7.6 million in 2008.

Residency Permits

Michael Ring

Ceist:

112 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the length of time it normally takes to change a person’s status from stamp 2 to stamp 3. [43417/10]

It is not possible to provide an accurate answer to the Deputy without further details as the position will vary depending on the facts of the case. If the Deputy has a particular case in mind he should write to my officials in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) who will examine the circumstances and advise accordingly.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made by e-mail direct to INIS using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose.

Question No. 113 held out.

Cash for Gold Schemes

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

114 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his views on the recent proliferation of cash for gold shops; if persons selling gold to these shops need to provide personal identification or receipts for the item they are selling, and if these shops are required to keep records of same; if the proprietors of these outlets require any kind of licence or permit to operate; his plans to introduce legislation regulating the operation of these outlets; if he has ever received complaints about these outlets and if investigations have been carried out on the basis of same; if planning approval or change of use permission is required for such premises; if the Garda Síochána has expressed concern regarding these shops; and if a link between house break-ins and these shops is suspected or proven. [43440/10]

The Deputy will be aware that there has been a significant increase in the number of outlets offering to buy gold for cash in towns and cities in the State. I understand that some established jewellers also offer to buy gold and jewellery for cash. The prevalence of this trade would appear to be linked to the high price that gold now commands on international markets, and the ‘cash for gold' concept would appear to be an international phenomenon. I am aware that the trade gives rise to concerns reported in communities about crime that may be linked to the cash for gold trade.

The informal purchase of jewellery is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation; however, the circumstances under which jewellery is being bought or sold may indicate the commission of certain offences, for example handling stolen property and/or possession of stolen property under sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.

Section 17 of the Act in essence provides that a person is guilty of handling stolen property if he or she, knowing that the property was stolen or being reckless as to whether it was stolen, dishonestly receives or arranges to receive it, or undertakes, or assists in, its retention, removal, disposal or realisation by or for the benefit of another person, or arranges to do so. A person guilty of handling stolen property is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or both.

Section 18 of the Act in essence provides that a person who, without lawful authority or excuse, possesses stolen property knowing that the property was stolen or being reckless as to whether it was stolen, is guilty of an offence. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.

An Garda Síochána enforce the provisions of the criminal law in respect of theft and robbery including the theft and robbery of jewellery and gold. Should members of the public have suspicions that goods being sold or traded may be stolen, the correct action is for these suspicions to be referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation. I have received a small amount of correspondence in the matter.

To take account of concerns about the matter, my Department has formally asked the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána to ascertain his view as to the extent, if any, that criminal offences are being committed in the procurement and receipt of gold and similar items in transactions carried out at the cash for gold locations. In particular the Commissioner has been requested to examine whether the trade may be linked generally or in particular areas to burglary offences; whether Criminal Justice legislation, and in particular, the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 is adequate in the context of cash for gold transactions; whether criminal elements involved in organised crime or otherwise may be connected with the operation and ownership of the cash for gold outlets; and whether any new legislative provision may be required to address criminality in respect of cash for gold transactions.

I can assure the Deputy that as soon as the outcome of this examination of the matter is to hand, I will make an assessment as to what if any action, legislative or otherwise may be required.

The issue of any requirement for planning approval, or change of use permission for such premises is a matter for my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

115 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43510/10]

In addition to the information provided to the Deputy in Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 11 November 2010, details of the following external reports or reviews commissioned by State Agencies or Boards under the remit of my Department are set out below:

Reports / reviews commissioned in 2008

Report following technical evaluation of tenders for a new Local Area Network for the Property Registration Authority (PRA)

Technical study of consolidation and virtualisation of the PRA's computer environment

Report relating to long-term storage and management of PRA paper records

Report following audit and compliance review of PRA Software Licence regime

Report relating to Disaster Recovery Planning for PRA Computer sites

Risk Assessment Report and IT Risk Assessment Report — Legal Aid Board

Quality Assurance Review and Analysis of all Member's Decisions — Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Report on the "Needs and Concerns of Victims of Crime in Ireland" prepared by University College Cork for the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime

Reports / Reviews commissioned in 2009

Report providing technical advice prior to tender and technical evaluation of Tenders for new telephone system for the PRA

Reports / reviews commissioned in 2010

Technical report regarding replacement of existing Document Imaging system in the PRA

Technical advice for procurement of new computer network for the PRA's Roscommon office including assistance with preparation of Invitation to Tender and report following evaluation of technical aspect of bids

Quality Assurance Review of Member's Decisions Focused on High Court Jurisprudence — Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Management Report on the ‘Court Support Services' — Voluntary organisation providing support to victims of crime

Total spending on the above reports and reviews was €171,000 in 2008 and €6,000 in 2009. Details of the amount expected for all of 2010 will not be available until early next year.

Overseas Development Aid

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

116 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his plans to continue funding for a programme (details supplied). [43394/10]

This year, the Government has provided a total of €671 million in official development assistance (ODA), €536 million of which is administered by Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs under the Government's aid programme. Ireland's aid programme has a clear focus on the reduction of poverty and hunger, especially in the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 20% of our total assistance is channelled through development Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), reflecting the strong role played by Ireland's NGOs and missionaries in the developing world, and the support they have consistently received from the Irish people.

The organisation referred to by the Deputy is a children's rights NGO based in the Philippines. It has received over €300,000 in support from Irish Aid since 2004. In 2007, a three-year grant of €218,319 was allocated to support a community-based programme to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable women and children. I expect that the final payment of €73,769 from this grant allocation will be made to the organisation in the near future.

Future allocations of funding to development NGOs will, of course, be dependent on the budgetary resources available for the aid programme. Information on future funding rounds under Irish Aid's civil society funding scheme will be provided on the Irish Aid website atwww.irishaid.ie.

Question No. 117 answered with Question No. 8.

European Union Accession

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

118 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the possibility of Albania becoming a member of the European Union. [43396/10]

The European Commission adopted its 2010 enlargement package on 9 November, which included the Commission's 2010 Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports on Western Balkan countries. These reports will provide a basis for further discussion and conclusions at the December Council. Commissioner for Enlargement and External Relations Stefan Fuele emphasised the importance of the EU's enlargement policy and stressed the significance of credibility in the process, in terms of conditionality and the efforts of candidate counties.

Albania applied to join the EU in 2009. In its report, the Commission, although acknowledging good progress by Albania over the past 12 months, did not recommend that the Council grant the status of candidate country to Albania. Rather, it said that "negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened once the country has achieved the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria, and in particular the Copenhagen political criteria requiring the stability of institutions guaranteeing notably democracy and the rule of law." The Copenhagen criteria, as they are known, are the conditions a country must meet before it can join the EU, and include the areas of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, economic policy and the general ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

119 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43508/10]

There are no state agencies operating under the responsibility of my Department. There are currently four boards which operate under the aegis of my Department: the Development Education Advisory Committee; the Government Emigrant Services Advisory Committee; the Fulbright Commission (The Board of the Ireland — United States Commission for Educational Exchange) and the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group.

The Advisory Board for Ireland Aid operated until 2008, when its term of appointment came to an end. One of its primary functions was to commission academic research on issues relevant to the Government's official development cooperation programme. Some work commissioned from the Institute of International Integration Studies (IIIS) on Policy Coherence for Development was ongoing at the time the Advisory Board ended its operations in 2008. This was subsumed into the work of my Department. There were three pieces of work involved: a scoping research on key policy coherence issues; a study on policy coherence on agriculture and development; and a policy indicators project. These projects involved costs of €364,000 in 2008 and €10,655 in 2009. Two of the projects are completed and the policy indicators project will be completed shortly.

The Development Education Advisory Committee commissioned a research study, Mapping the Past, Charting the Future: A Review and Analysis of the Irish Government's Engagement with Development Education in Ireland, in early 2010. The study is being conducted by Dr. Matthias Fiedler, Irish Development Education Association (IDEA), Dr. Audrey Bryan, St. Patrick's College of Education, Ms Melíosa Bracken, MSc, School of Education, UCD, and Dr. Vanessa Andreotti, School of Maori, Social and Cultural Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and will be completed before the end of 2010. It will be formally considered by the committee at its next meeting in January 2011 and final costs will be in the region of €25,000. It is envisaged that the report will be made public in early 2011.

The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (known as the Fulbright Commission) commissioned consultants in 2009 to review the board's awards and activities, organisation and strategic direction. The fee for this consultancy was €5,853.

Question No. 120 answered with Question No. 31.

EU Enlargement

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

121 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the current and likely future position in respect of EU enlargement with particular reference to the Western Balkans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43515/10]

The prospect of accession to the Union is a very important element in the overall diplomacy of the EU in its neighbouring Balkan region. It bolsters and acts as an incentive to reform efforts, both economic and political, promotes regional cooperation and the resolution of disputes and should lead over time to greater stability, progress and benefits for Europe as a whole. Ireland is actively engaged in this process, both in internal EU discussion and in contacts with Western Balkan countries. The European Commission adopted its 2010 Enlargement Package on 9 November. Commissioner for Enlargement and External Relations Stefan Fuele emphasised the importance of the EU's Enlargement policy and stressed the significance of credibility in the process, in terms of conditionality and the efforts of candidate counties.

Regarding Croatia, the Commission confirmed that the accession negotiations have reached their "final phase". Emphasis was placed on work still to do in terms of fundamental rights and judicial reform if Croatia wanted to avoid a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism after accession. The situation will be further assessed in the first quarter of 2011.

Regarding potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans, Commissioner Fuele announced that negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened with Montenegro and Albania once they have achieved the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria and in particular the Copenhagen political criteria requiring the stability of institutions guaranteeing notably the rule of law. The Commission recommended that the Council grant Montenegro the status of candidate country. No such recommendation was made in regard to Albania, in relation to which the Commission made an additional reference to the need to guarantee democracy. The Commission reaffirmed its opinion on Macedonia, namely that a solution is necessary to the name issue. Serbia was deemed to be well-placed to fulfil the requirements under the SAA and was continuing to cooperate with the ICTY, which is seen as an essential condition for membership. While regional cooperation was highlighted as a Serbian strength, a more positive attitude towards cooperation with Kosovo was urged, in particular in relation to regional economic cooperation. On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission said that there was a need for a government to be formed quickly and for reforms, notably aligning the constitution with the European Court of Human Rights. There was also a need to move forward on the conditions to allow the Office of the High Representative to be removed. Kosovo was deemed to have made progress in a number of areas but still faced major challenges, notably in regional cooperation.

Question No. 122 answered with Question No. 6.
Question No. 123 answered with Question No. 28.
Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 8.
Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 43.

Human Rights Issues

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

126 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which he and his EU or UN colleagues continue to engage with the authorities in Iran regarding addressing human rights issues arising from arrest and imprisonment of academics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43520/10]

I am gravely concerned about the deterioration in the human rights situation in general in Iran since the Presidential election in 2009. We have witnessed the continued repression of civil and political rights in Iran, including in relation to freedom of expression and assembly, arbitrary arrest and torture in detention. This highly targeted repression has been particularly stringent against not only academics but also members of Iran's religious and ethnic minorities, political activists, journalists and bloggers, human rights defenders and members of the legal profession in Iran who represent clients detained by the authorities. These actions are in clear violation of Iran's international obligations under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, of which Iran is a signatory. I drew attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran in my address to the UN General Assembly on 27 September. In my remarks, I called upon Iran to respect and fulfil the international obligations it has undertaken in the field of human rights, in both law and practice. I have also made clear our concerns about the treatment of human rights in Iran in contacts with members of the Iranian Government, most recently at a meeting which I had with Foreign Minister Mottaki in Dublin on 9 June. I have written to Foreign Minister Mottaki on a number of occasions to express my concerns about, and to raise specific aspects of, the human rights situation in Iran.

Ireland has also been active in raising issues relating to human rights in Iran within the specific UN bodies which deal with human rights. Along with our EU partners, we have traditionally supported the annual Resolution on the human rights situation in Iran which is adopted by the General Assembly and have again been active in relation to this important resolution at the current session. In our national intervention at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva on 17 September, we raised concerns relating to the death penalty in Iran. I urge the Iranian authorities to introduce a moratorium on executions pending the abolition of the death penalty in accordance with UN General Assembly resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.

The EU has also been pressing at the highest levels for Iran to abolish the cruel and inhumane practice of stoning and to meet its international human rights obligations. A detailed démarche was delivered on behalf of the EU in Brussels to the Iranian Ambassador to the EU on 4 November in relation to several specific human rights cases including the case of Ms Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Officials in my Department have raised this case with the Iranian Ambassador most recently earlier this month following worrying reports that Ms Ashtiani was scheduled to be imminently executed. Ireland will continue to raise our concerns regarding the human rights situation in Iran, both bilaterally and at multilateral organisations.

EU Enlargement

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

127 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding discussions on EU enlargement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43521/10]

The European Commission adopted its 2010 Enlargement Package on 9 November. Commissioner for Enlargement and External Relations Stefan Fuele emphasised the importance of the EU's Enlargement policy and stressed the significance of credibility in the process, in terms of conditionality and the efforts of candidate counties. Regarding Croatia, the Commission confirmed that the accession negotiations have reached their "final phase". Emphasis was placed on work still to do in terms of fundamental rights and judicial reform if Croatia wanted to avoid a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism after accession. The situation will be further assessed in the first quarter of 2011.

The Commission's Progress Report on Turkey acknowledged Turkey's continuing reform process with reference to the constitutional reform package. The report suggested that the rate of progress could be better. Fulfilling obligations regarding the Ankara Protocol and progress towards bilateral relations with Cyprus are seen as urgent.

Iceland's screening is to start later this month. Screening involves the Commission working with the Icelandic authorities to examine Iceland's laws, compare them with those of the EU, and determine what differences exist. This is in order to identify areas that may need adjustment so as to be in line with the EU system. The Commission stressed the importance of ensuring Iceland's citizens were kept properly informed about the implications of EU membership.

Regarding potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans, Commissioner Fuele announced that negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened with Montenegro and Albania once they have achieved the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria and in particular the Copenhagen political criteria requiring the stability of institutions guaranteeing notably the rule of law. The Commission recommended that the Council grant Montenegro the status of candidate country. No such recommendation was made in regard to Albania, in relation to which the Commission made an additional reference to the need to guarantee democracy. The Commission reaffirmed its opinion on Macedonia, namely that a solution is necessary to the name issue. Serbia was deemed to be well-placed to fulfil the requirements under the SAA and was continuing to cooperate with the ICTY, which is seen as an essential condition for membership. While regional cooperation was highlighted as a Serbian strength, a more positive attitude towards cooperation with Kosovo was urged, in particular in relation to regional economic cooperation. On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission said that there was a need for a government to be formed quickly and for reforms, notably aligning the constitution with the European Court of Human Rights. There was also a need to move forward on the conditions to allow the Office of the High Representative to be removed. Kosovo was deemed to have made progress in a number of areas but still faced major challenges, notably in regional cooperation.

Foreign Conflicts

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

128 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the level of discussion he has had with his EU colleagues regarding the situation in Colombia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43522/10]

EU Ministers last discussed the situation in Colombia in 2007 when we adopted Conclusions which expressed the Council's full support for the Colombian government in its search for a negotiated solution to the internal armed conflict. The Council reaffirmed its readiness to assist the Colombian government, state institutions, civil society and international organisations in providing support for activities that promote peace, truth, justice, reparation and reconciliation and in providing support for activities that advance the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration process under the Justice and Peace Law. Following the conclusion of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Colombia in May of this year, it is expected that the adoption of the Agreement will be considered by EU Ministers in 2011.

Diplomatic Representation

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

129 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which he directly or through the aegis of the EU has encouraged improved relations between the EU, the US and Cuba; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43523/10]

I met with the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla on 19 May during his visit to Dublin. During this meeting, we discussed a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including EU-Cuba and Cuba-US relations. At the Foreign Affairs Council in October, Ministers considered recent developments in Cuba, including the ongoing release of political prisoners and the announcement of economic reform. The High Representative was tasked with exploring the future relationship between the EU and Cuba. It is my view that recent developments in Cuba are significant and merit a response on the EU side in order to advance our bilateral relationship and encourage further progress.

While Ireland and our European Union partners consider the United States' foreign policy toward Cuba to be a bilateral issue, the European Union has clearly expressed the opposition of its Member States to all unilateral measures against Cuba which are contrary to commonly accepted rules of international law. Ireland, in common with our partners in the European Union, is of the view that the US economic embargo on Cuba seriously hampers the economic development of Cuba and negatively affects the welfare of the Cuban people. On 26 October 2010, Ireland and our EU partners once again voted at the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution calling for an end to the US embargo.

I have made clear in my contacts with my United States and Cuban colleagues that I am available to assist if they so request in bringing the two sides closer to the normalisation of their bilateral relations.

Question No. 130 answered with Question No. 45.

Foreign Conflicts

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

131 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress in the matter of conflict resolution, alleviation of starvation, genocide and human rights abuses at various known locations in Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43525/10]

There are several countries in Africa which are suffering from conflict, food shortages, and human rights abuses, and some which have suffered genocide. I do not propose to go into details on each of them individually. The international community continues to intervene to address these issues on the African continent, whether on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

With regard to the issue of hunger and famine, it is estimated that more than a billion people today do not have enough food. Ireland is responding to this challenge, working bilaterally in our Programme Countries with our EU partners and other donors, and at a global level through the UN agencies. Since the publication of the report of the Hunger Task Force in September 2008, Ireland's focus on hunger reduction has become a cornerstone of Irish Aid's development programme. With regard to Africa, efforts are concentrated on the three priority areas identified in the report, namely: increasing smallholder agricultural productivity in Africa; targeting under-nutrition (especially maternal and infant); and promoting governance and leadership action on tackling global hunger. Nowhere is this work more challenging than in African countries affected by conflict, where it is critically important to move quickly with large-scale emergency food assistance in order to save lives.

We know that more can be done to address the causes of hunger and famine. To this end, at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in September in New York, I hosted a meeting with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to accelerate action against hunger. At this meeting, Ireland and the US came together to highlight the urgency of tackling under-nutrition in pregnant women and children under the age of two and to build new partnerships with global political, business and civil society leaders. Our two countries launched the "1,000 Day" initiative to focus on the period from pregnancy to a child's second birthday and to galvanise international action on this issue. We were both very encouraged by the support that we received by the international community, including the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, EU Commissioner Georgieva, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. Irish officials are working with their US officials to galvanise action in this regard.

With regard to security, UN and EU peacekeeping missions in Africa have a role in stabilising former and current conflict zones. Members of the Irish Defence Forces have participated in numerous UN and EU peacekeeping missions in Africa, including in the Congo, Eritrea, Liberia and most recently in Chad.

Situations which conform to an internationally accepted definition of genocide are thankfully extremely rare. Nevertheless, there are a number of current situations in Africa which give rise to extreme concern. The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide is mandated to alert the international community to the potential of genocide in a particular country or region, and to make recommendations on actions to prevent or halt genocide.

Human rights concerns remain central to our foreign policy. Together with our EU partners, Ireland monitors closely the human rights situations in many countries throughout the world, on the basis of information obtained from a variety of sources including both official and non-governmental organisations. Where and when the situation warrants, we make known our concerns about human rights violations to the Governments in question. We do this either bilaterally, through the EU, or through action at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, including, in the case of the latter, through the new Universal Periodic Review process whereby the human rights performance of each UN State is reviewed.

Active participation in multilateral organisations such as the EU, the UN and the Council of Europe provides opportunities for Ireland to voice its concerns regarding human rights abuses. Through these organisations, international pressure can be brought to bear on those responsible for the violation of human rights.

In developing a sustainable approach which properly addresses the root causes of all these issues, and other problems, African leadership and responsibility are crucial. This is recognised by the EU and UN, which are both working to build the capacities of African States and the African Union to respond to these challenges. Ireland is committed to playing its part in this work, and I believe that our comprehensive and inclusive approach to these challenges stands the best chance of facilitating real and positive change in the lives of millions of people in Africa.

EU Treaties

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

132 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the current or expected position regarding a further EU treaty; the extent to which the issue of suspension of voting rights has been addressed in that context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43526/10]

At its meeting of 28-29 October, the European Council endorsed the report of the task force on economic governance chaired by President Herman Van Rompuy and agreed on the need for Member States to establish a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area. The European Council has agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting on 16 and 17 December, with a view to taking the final decision on both the outline of a crisis mechanism and on a limited Treaty amendment, so that any change can be ratified by mid-2013 at the latest. President Van Rompuy also expressed the intention to consult Member States — in a separate and subsequent exercise — on the issue of the right of euro area members to participate in decision-making in EMU-related procedures in the case of a permanent threat to the stability of the euro area as a whole. No timeframe has been set for these consultations.

Social Welfare Benefits

Michael Ring

Ceist:

133 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive the one parent family payment. [43375/10]

The circumstances of the person concerned are being examined. When enquiries have been completed a decision will be made and she will be notified of the outcome. She is currently in receipt of a supplementary welfare allowance payment at the maximum weekly rate of €225.80.

Social Welfare Code

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

134 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will reconsider the decision which came into effect in June 2009 regarding maintenance being assessed as income for family income supplement purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43380/10]

The legislative provisions for family income supplement (FIS) are contained in the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 — Chapter 11 of Part II, Sections 227 to 233 as amended and the Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provisions) Regulations, 2007 Sections 172 to 177 as amended. Under these provisions all income is assessable when calculating eligibility for FIS with the exception of income from the following;

Child Benefit

Carer's Allowance

Guardian's payments

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

Rent Allowance for tenants affected by the de-control of rents

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Foster Child Allowance

Income from casual employment by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as a home help

Income from a charitable organisation

Income from providing accommodation to students studying Irish in Gaeltacht areas under a scheme administered by the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Income from maintenance payments is not one of the specified exclusions and, so, is assessable in full for the purposes of calculating entitlement to FIS.

There has been no change in the legislation concerning the assessment of maintenance payments for FIS purposes since that scheme was introduced. However, prior to June 2009, the practice for FIS assessments was to disregard any maintenance which was provided specifically for child/ren. Following a review of procedures and as there was no legislative basis for such a disregard, this practice ceased and since June 2009 maintenance has been assessed in full for the purposes of FIS.

Social Welfare Benefits

James Bannon

Ceist:

135 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for mortgage relief in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43459/10]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has acknowledged receipt of an appeal against its decision not to award a mortgage interest supplement to the person concerned. The HSE has advised that it will process this appeal as soon as possible.

Social Welfare Appeals

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

136 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on a jobseeker’s application in respect of a person (details supplied). [43475/10]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17 May 2010. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received back in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 06 September 2010 and the appeal will be referred in due course to an Appeals Officer who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

137 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will support a matter (details supplied). [43494/10]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. The person concerned will be informed when arrangements have been made. In order to be fair to all appellants, oral hearings are arranged in strict chronological order.

I am assured by the Chief Appeals Officer that she is keeping current processes under continuous review with a view to achieving a more effective throughput of appeals, while ensuring that any progress does not conflict with due process in terms of the rights of appellants and adherence to the requirements of natural justice. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

138 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43511/10]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Pensions Board, the Citizens Information Board and the Social Welfare Tribunal. In addition the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department. On 1 July 2009, the Combat Poverty Agency integrated with the Office for Social Inclusion within this Department to form the Social Inclusion Division. From 1 May 2010, responsibility for the Social Inclusion Division transferred to the Department of Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs. Responsibility for the Family Support Agency also transferred to the Department of Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs on 1 May 2010 and the position regarding that agency will be included in that Department's reply.

There were no external reports/ reviews commissioned since 2008 by the Pensions Board, the Pensions Ombudsman or the Social Welfare Tribunal. The details of reports commissioned in respect of the Citizens Information Board are contained in the attached Table. The relevant details for the Combat Poverty Agency are currently being compiled and will be made available to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Reports and Reviews commissioned from 1/1/2008 to date

Agency/Board

Name of Report/Review

Cost

Citizens Information Board

Volunteering in Citizens Information Service (Research)

29,273

Citizens Information Board

Portfolio Valuation (property)

11,495

Citizens Information Board

Actuarial Valuation of Pension Scheme Liabilities (2008)

4,718

Citizens Information Board

Actuarial Valuation of Pension Scheme Liabilities (2009)

8,505

Citizens Information Board

Actuarial Valuation of Pension Scheme Liabilities (2010)

8,470

Citizens Information Board

Development of Organisational Strategy

47,932

Citizens Information Board

Organisational Review

54,675

Citizens Information Board

Evaluation of Advocacy Programme for People with Disabilities in the Community & Voluntary Sector

113,068

Citizens Information Board

MABSIS Technical & Security Audit

10,500

Citizens Information Board

CIS & MABs Asset Audit

10,900

Citizens Information Board

Accessible Information: Update

3,872

Citizens Information Board

Research Contract: Pathways to Services Research

23,766

Citizens Information Board

Preparation of Media Relations Protocols for CISs

4,000

Citizens Information Board

MABS Mortgage Debt Research

21,780

Sports Capital Programme

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

139 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the position regarding payment of a grant amount to a club (details supplied) in County Cork under the sports capital grant programme. [43472/10]

The grantee in question was allocated a number of grants under the Sports Capital Programme between 1996 and 2004. The grant allocations are subject to the terms and conditions of the Programme, which include the execution of a Deed of Covenant and Charge. A Deed provides,inter alia, for a refund of the grant in the event of the facility not continuing to be used for the purpose for which the grant was allocated. The Department’s legal adviser, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office (CSSO), deals with the grantee’s solicitor in executing these Deeds. The Department received notification from the CSSO yesterday that the legal requirements in respect of this allocation are complete. The Department will immediately write to the club reminding them of any outstanding documentation required to obtain formal approval for the drawdown of the grant.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

140 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under her remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if she will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43512/10]

The commissioning of external reports and reviews by State agencies/boards under the aegis of my Department is a matter for those State agencies/boards themselves. Nevertheless, I have requested the relevant State agencies/boards to provide the requested information directly to the Deputy.

Planning Issues

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

141 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide assistance on a matter (details supplied). [43416/10]

The developer of a residential estate is statutorily required to complete the development in accordance with the terms of the planning permission. A development which has not been completed in accordance with the planning permission is unauthorised development. Enforcement of planning control is a matter for the planning authority, which can take action where a development requiring planning permission has not obtained this permission, or where permission has not been complied with.

Planning authorities have substantial enforcement powers under the Planning and Development Act 2000. A planning authority may issue an enforcement notice, non-compliance with which is an offence, in connection with unauthorised development (which includes failure to comply with planning conditions) requiring such steps as the authority considers necessary to be taken within a specified period. If an enforcement notice is not complied with the planning authority may itself take the specified steps and recover the expense incurred in doing so. A planning authority may also seek a court order requiring any particular action to be done or not to be done.

The Planning Acts also place clear statutory obligations on planning authorities in relation to unauthorised development. A planning authority must issue a warning letter in relation to written complaints regarding unauthorised development, or other unauthorised development it becomes aware of (except in the case of trivial or minor development). The planning authority must then carry out an investigation and where it establishes, following such an investigation that unauthorised development (other than development that is of a trivial or minor nature) has been or is being carried out and the person who has carried out or is carrying out the development has not proceeded to remedy the position, the planning authority must issue an enforcement notice or make an application for a court order unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so.

The 2000 Planning Act also contains other relevant provisions in relation to the completion of housing estates:

Sections 34(4)(g) and 180(2)(b) of the Act provide that a planning authority may attach a condition to a planning permission requiring the giving of adequate security for the satisfactory completion of a development, and, if the development is not subsequently completed satisfactorily, may apply the security to that satisfactory completion.

Section 160 of the Act provides that a planning authority may apply to the Circuit Court or the High Court for an order requiring that a development be carried out in accordance with the permission.

Accordingly it is clear that planning authorities have very substantial powers to compel the completion of housing estates by developers in accordance with the terms of the planning permission.

Section 180 of the 2000 Planning Act provided that where estates have not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority and enforcement proceedings have not been commenced within the relevant period, the planning authority must, if requested to do so by the majority of the residents of the estate, initiate the procedures for taking the estate in charge. A further provision has been added in the 2010 Act to provide that a planning authority may take in charge an unfinished estate, at the request of the owners of the housing units, at any time after the expiration of the planning permission, in situations where enforcement actions have commenced or where the planning authority consider that enforcement action will not result in the satisfactory completion of the estate by the developer. Planning authorities have also been empowered to take in charge part of an estate or some, but not all, of the facilities in an estate. The decision as whether to take an estate is taken in charge is ultimately one for the elected members of a local authority.

Social and Affordable Housing

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

142 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if there is a scheme developed by him to accommodate persons who have purchased under his Department’s affordable housing schemes who need to move homes but find themselves in negative equity because such persons could not hope to sell their home and buy another because of the obstacle of negative equity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43431/10]

Affordable housing is privately owned housing and, as such, is subject to the fluctuations of the market. Affordable purchasers are in the same position as other private purchasers who are in negative equity and for the great majority of homeowners negative equity will never be anything more than a notional loss in value.

It is not intended to introduce a scheme on the lines proposed in the question; however where the clawback amount payable on the resale of affordable housing would reduce the proceeds of re-sale below the initial price actually paid legislation provides for the amount of clawback payable to be reduced to the extent necessary to avoid that result.

Local Authority Housing

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

143 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the value of a council’s equity in a house sold under shared ownership reduces in proportion to the fall in the market price of the house; if he will make arrangements whereby persons who are forced to sell their home would see an equitable share of the loss and value borne by the council; if he will indicate in the event of a forced sale the ranking in priority in access to the proceeds of the mortgage holder and of the local authority who has a share in the home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43432/10]

For purposes of the shared ownership scheme, the redemption value of the outstanding local authority share, for transactions commenced from 1 January 2003, is based on its initial cost adjusted annually to compensate for differences between the rent paid on the local authority's share and the interest calculated by reference to the prevailing interest rates. The scheme is structured so that, on redemption, the price of the outstanding share is not determined on the basis of a percentage of current market value, but is, rather, a function primarily of its initial capital cost. Accordingly, the issue of an authority accepting a loss due to the current economic climate may not arise.

The same calculation methodology is utilised in the event that the owner of a house purchased through shared ownership wishes to sell the house on the open market.

For transactions commenced before 1 January 2003, the cost of purchasing an additional share, or the redemption value of the outstanding share, is its initial cost updated in line with the most recently published Consumer Price Index to the time of purchase.

Any person occupying a dwelling under the shared ownership scheme can apply to the relevant local authority to have the loan repayment period extended and arrears capitalised, so as to make repayments more manageable. It is also open to a person to seek to return the dwelling to the ownership of the local authority.

Animal Welfare

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

144 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he is satisfied all aspects of animal welfare are being considered by the Ward Union in relation to moving deer along. [43435/10]

My responsibilities under the Wildlife Acts relate primarily to the conservation of populations of certain protected species, which includes the granting of licences for the hunting of certain protected species.

It is my understanding that the activity referred to in the question involves following a scent, and that it does not come within the scope of the Wildlife Acts.

Local Authority Housing

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

145 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the average waiting time for local authority tenants who are due to get a home extension on medical grounds; the criteria used in deciding which applicants are prioritised on these lists; if such extensions are funded from housing capital grants for the relevant year; if his Department or each individual council decides how much or the percentage of the housing fund that will be spent on these extensions; the average waiting time for applicants who live in the Dublin city council local authority area; and his views on the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 where the person has been on the waiting list for an extension since 2007. [43439/10]

Decisions in relation to the matters in question, including criteria for prioritisation, are entirely a matter for each local authority and information on the average waiting time is not collected by my Department. Such extensions are funded from authorities Internal Capital Receipts (ICRs). In addition, having regard to the decline in the overall availability of ICRs, my Department's 2010 housing capital allocation to local authorities, published on www.environ.ie, includes an allocation in respect of Improvement Works In Lieu (IWILs) /Extensions/Disabled Persons Extensions programmes in order to assist local authorities in undertaking such extensions. Dublin City Council received an allocation of €1,750,000 for 2010 for such works.

Retail Sector Developments

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

146 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the context of the recent proliferation of cash-for-gold shops, if planning approval or change of use permission is required for such premises. [43441/10]

In relation to the matter of planning permission, the position is that under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2010 and the associated regulations, all development commenced on or after 1 October 1964 requires planning permission unless specifically exempted. Section 3 of the Act defines development as "the carrying out of any works on, in, over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any structures or other land".

Article 10 of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 provides that, subject to the conditions and exceptions set out in that article, development which consists of a change of use within any one of the classes of use specified in Part 4 of Schedule 2 is exempted development. Class 1 of Part 4 of Schedule 2 is use as a shop.

"Shop" is defined as "a structure used for any or all of the following purposes, where the sale, display or service is principally to visiting members of the public—

(a) for the retail sale of goods,

(b) as a post office,

(c) for the sale of tickets or as a travel agency,

(d) for the sale of sandwiches or other food or of wine for consumption off the premises, where the sale of such food or wine is subsidiary to the main retail use, and "wine" is defined as any intoxicating liquor which may be sold under a wine retailer's off-licence (within the meaning of the Finance (1909-1910) Act, 1910), 10 Edw. 7. & 1 Geo. 5, c.8,

(e) for hairdressing,

(f) for the display of goods for sale,

(g) for the hiring out of domestic or personal goods or articles,

(h) as a launderette or dry cleaners,

(i) for the reception of goods to be washed, cleaned or repaired,

but does not include any use associated with the provision of funeral services or as a funeral home, or as a hotel, a restaurant or a public house, or for the sale of hot food or intoxicating liquor for consumption off the premises except under paragraph (d), or any use to which class 2 or 3 of Part 4 of Schedule 2 applies".

The interpretation and application of the legislation is a matter for the planning authorities in the first instance and would of course ultimately be a matter for the Courts in any case coming before them. Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 enables any person to seek a declaration from the planning authority as to whether an activity, structure, etc., is or is not development, or is or is not exempted development, and to refer such a declaration to An Bord Pleanála for review.

Local Authority Housing

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

147 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding arrangements with financial institutions in his Department’s various housing schemes; the financial institutions that currently provide mortgages for affordable homes and the arrangement with first and second claim; the arrangement with the low-cost sites scheme; if it differs from the affordable homes scheme; if it is correct that the local authorities insist on first claim here, and that as such financial institutions will not approve mortgages; and the other options available to co-op members (details supplied) who cannot get a mortgage. [43446/10]

Mortgage finance for affordable housing has traditionally been available from the local authorities backed by Housing Finance Agency lending. This continues to be the case. However, in recent times, Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank, the EBS, Irish Intercontinental Bank, First Active, Haven Mortgages and more recently Ulster Bank are now providing mortgage finance for affordable housing applicants.

The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 provided for agreement between a housing authority and a lending institution in relation to the postponement of the authority's clawback charge in favour of the lending institution's charge on the property to secure a loan advanced by it to the applicant for the purchase of the property from the authority.

My Department is aware that some applicants who have bought sites under the low cost sites scheme have experienced difficulties in obtaining mortgages from certain financial institutions. This arises where a financial institution objects to a local authority having the first charge on the property for clawback purposes. My Department has advised authorities where this problem has arisen that it is not a requirement of the scheme that the authority has a first charge, and that it should enter into discussions with the financial institutions involved at local level with a view to seeking a resolution to the issue.

Turbary Rights

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

148 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the sale of bogland in a special area of conservation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim. [43477/10]

Having regard to available budgetary resources, priority is being given under the bog purchase scheme to those wishing to sell their interest in the 31 raised bog sites which were nominated for designation as Special Areas of Conservation between 1997 and 1999, on which the derogation for turf cutting has now ended. The person in question owns land within a Natural Heritage Area designated in 2004. The derogation will not end on this site until the end of 2013.

As a result, this application does not qualify for priority treatment at this time.

Water and Sewerage Schemes

Jack Wall

Ceist:

149 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding a sewerage treatment plant (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43487/10]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 245 of 10 November 2010, which outlines the position in regard to the plant in question.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

150 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit from 2008 to 2010, inclusive; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43506/10]

Information in relation to external reports and reviews commissioned by State Agencies and Boards under the aegis of my Department is a matter for these bodies themselves.

Planning Issues

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

151 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government regarding provisions in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 for the extension to existing planning permissions, if he believes this legislation to be retrospective legislation and therefore unlawful; if he believes this section will be challenged in the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43530/10]

Section 28 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 amends Section 42 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, which had provided that an extension of the duration of planning permission would be given on application where substantial works had been carried out within the original duration of the permission. While this entitlement remains, section 28 of the 2010 Act added a provision allowing for an extension of permission where substantial works have not been completed, or where the development has not commenced, subject to certain conditions.

The new provision does not remove any benefit which any person held before its enactment and I do not consider therefore that it is operating retrospectively or retroactively. However, in any event, it would be a matter for a court to make any such determination, in the event that the issue came before it.

Tax Yield

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

152 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the expected revenue for the Exchequer from the carbon windfall tax introduced by the Electricity Regulation (Amendment) (Carbon Revenue Levy) Act 2010 for each year until carbon auctioning is introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43454/10]

The Electricity Regulation (Amendment)(Carbon Revenue Levy) Act 2010 which came into effect on 1st July 2010 provides for the recovery of carbon windfall gains from electricity generators until the end of 2012.

The Act provides for the establishment of a fund administered by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), to whom the levy is paid by the generators. It also provides that this fund is to be used for the benefit of the Exchequer as directed by the Minister for Finance and myself. The Government has decided that the proceeds of the levy are to be used for the continuation of rebates to Large Energy Users (LEU) until 2012.

The first levy period covering 1st July to 30th September 2010 and CER has advised my Department that revenues in the region of €20 million in respect of this period have been received.

In terms of anticipated revenue from the levy for 2011 and 2012, the levy receipts will vary in each levy period depending on the amount of electricity actually generated in that period, the carbon intensity of the generation in that period, the average cost of the carbon credits and the percentage at which the levy is calculated. The percentage, which currently stands at 65%, may be varied at a later stage as provided for in the Act.

Postal Services

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

153 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will clarify the situation regarding the third postal directive; the way this matter is being dealt with; if it is being dealt with by primary legislation or statutory instrument; if he anticipates job losses in An Post following the liberalisation of the postal market and if they envisage the need to set up any kind of compensation fund for same; the measures he will take to ensure that employment and service standards are protected within the postal market following liberalisation; if consideration has been given to recital 16 of this directive, which states that social considerations should be taken into due account when preparing the opening up of the postal market; the steps being taken to ensure that a liberalised postal market will continue to provide the universal service obligation which provides a guaranteed five day postal service as currently offered by An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43437/10]

The Third Postal Services Directive provides for the final step in the gradual and controlled opening of the postal services market to competition. Primary legislation to transpose this Directive has been drafted and Government approval has been given to publish the new Bill shortly.

The issues for Ireland arising from the implementation of the Directive have been widely and comprehensively consulted upon, and as with all legislative proposals, a regulatory impact analysis was conducted.

In designing the new regulatory framework, the key principles are the maintenance of a universal postal service, the essential element of which is the collection and delivery of mail to every address in the State on every working day, and the development of a competitive sector providing competitively priced, high quality postal services to both business and residential customers.

In relation to employment and service standards within the postal sector, these are the responsibility of the management of postal service providers. In addition, general employment legislation applies across the economy as a whole.

I look forward to the debate on the draft legislation when it is published, and will be working towards having it enacted before the end of the year.

Departmental Investigations

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

154 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43501/10]

I can inform the Deputy that external reports and reviews commissioned by State Agencies and Boards under the aegis of my Department, and the amount spent on these reports and reviews is a day to day operational matter for the Agencies and Boards concerned. As the Deputy will be aware, Public Bodies are required to comply with national and EU public procurement rules when procuring goods and services.

Sugar Industry

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

155 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason decisions relating to the cessation of the sugar industry in Ireland and other EU member states was taken on foot of obsolete data as per report from the EU court of auditors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43528/10]

The European Court of Auditors Report on the Sugar Reform package of 2006 was addressed directly to the European Commission. The purpose of this report is to consider whether the reform of the sugar sector had achieved its main objectives.

One of the issues commented on by the Court was the Impact Assessment carried out by the Commission. This was a theoretical exercise undertaken prior to the commencement of the negotiations to assess the possible impact of the reform proposals on sugar production in Member States. It indicated that the Member States most likely to be affected adversely by the reform measures were Ireland along with Portugal, Greece and Italy.

The European Court of Auditors criticised the Commission for not using up to date information in the impact assessment in the case of a number of Member States. The Commission in its response pointed out that "the reform model did not require an analysis of the current profitability and prospects of every individual sugar producer in the EU. Therefore the Commission did not consider it necessary to collect such data on productivity and efficiency for the model chosen”

As the Commission points out repeatedly in its 17 page response to the Court, under the reform package it was up to operators to decide whether to close processing plants and avail of the compensation package or not. Obviously industry operators would have the most up to date information available to them in making that decision.

Ireland strongly opposed the Commission's reform proposals and sought to have them modified in such a way that an efficient sugar industry might have been retained in Ireland. At all stages during the actual negotiations the most up to date available information on the sugar industry in Ireland was used and the Commission was fully aware of the fact that sugar processing here was consolidated to one factory.

Ultimately, there was insufficient support for the Irish position and our efforts had to be directed at achieving the best possible compensation package. The total compensation package negotiated was worth €353m to Ireland.

Greencore plc, the sole Irish sugar processor and holder of the Irish sugar quota, decided to avail of this scheme and accordingly the company renounced the quota and dismantled the last remaining sugar factory at Mallow in compliance with the conditions of the scheme. The decision by Greencore plc, to cease sugar production in Ireland was a commercial decision, having regard to the sugar market situation prevailing at the time and the impending reform of the sugar sector.

Aquaculture Development

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

156 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the steps he is taking to monitor the importation of sea oysters from France and the possibility of diseased stock being brought into the country and contaminating the Irish oyster beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43393/10]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Oyster Herpes Virus (OsHV1-uvar).

The prevention and control of the virus is a matter of high priority for my Department. Our current approach to this matter is to take all appropriate steps to minimise the risk of infection while allowing trade in oysters to continue. This approach is supported by the aquaculture industry.

The European Commission has made a regulation in line with the Fish Health Directive specifying measures which must be taken by member states to deal with the oyster herpes virus issue. The principal measures contained in this legislation require a surveillance programme to be established to ensure early detection of the virus in heretofore disease free areas, and the establishment of containment areas in respect of sites where the virus has been detected.

The Marine Institute is the competent authority in Ireland for the implementation of the Fish Health Directive and controls are in place in relation to the importation of oysters from containment areas (in Ireland or abroad) to surveillance (disease free) areas. While not totally prohibited, any such importation is subject to certification by the relevant competent authority in France of the disease free status of the consignment. In addition, the Marine Institute also encourages producers to avoid importing oysters from containment to surveillance areas. Furthermore, in the case of importation of oysters from abroad generally, producers are strongly advised to submit samples of the oysters to the Marine Institute for testing prior to importation.

My Department, in conjunction with the Marine Institute, will continue to take all appropriate measures to protect Irish oyster stocks from this virus.

Departmental Offices

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

157 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the position regarding the transfer of his Department’s offices from Galway City to Athenry, County Galway; if this transfer is going ahead and the provision that will be made for service to the Connemara farmers when this transfer of offices takes place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43409/10]

County Galway will see its regional office for the time being established at the Dockgate building in the city centre. This will allow time to evaluate the re-configuration requirements of the former Teagasc training facility at Mellows College Athenry to suit the requirements of the enhanced regional office for Galway County.

Grant Payments

Joe Carey

Ceist:

158 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43419/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 30 April 2010. Payments under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Areas Scheme have commenced nationally on 18 October 2010 and 22 September 2010 respectively.

The application from the person named was submitted with land parcels identified as requiring re-digitisation. My Department has now completed this process. An advance payment of 50% under the Single Payment Scheme will issue shortly. Balancing payments under the Single Payment Scheme are scheduled to commence on 1 December. A payment amounting to €2,447.66 under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was made to the person named on 22 September 2010. This represents 75% of the total amount due to the applicant. The balancing payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme will issue to the person named shortly.

James Bannon

Ceist:

159 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has not received full area based payments, which have been due since last September; if payment will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43460/10]

An application under 2010 Single Payment / Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 29 April 2010. Advance payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme issued on 21 September on the basis of the land cleared at that stage. Parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation; immediately this process is complete, provided no errors are identified, the application will be further processed, with a view to the further payment due issuing shortly thereafter.

The applicant received his full 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme on 18 October. Balancing payments are due to commence on 1 December.

James Bannon

Ceist:

160 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has not received single farm payments, which were due last September; if payment will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43464/10]

An application under 2010 Single Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 10 May 2010. Advance payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme issued on 21 September and under the Single Payment Scheme on 18 October, in both cases on the basis of the land cleared at that stage. A parcel listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation; this is now complete and the balancing payment under the Disadvantaged Areas scheme has issued with the balance due under the Single Payment Scheme due to issue on 1 December 2010.

Tax Reliefs

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

161 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the value of stock relief, agricultural relief and retirement relief to the farming sector in each of the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43467/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioner that the Exchequer cost of the tax reliefs outlined by the Deputy are as follows.

The estimated cost to the Exchequer of stock relief for 2007, the latest year for which information is available, is two million euro. This figure is the estimated cost of renewing the general 25 percent stock relief for farmers and the special incentive stock relief of 100 percent for certain young trained farmers. It should be treated as the best estimate available but the calculation is subject to a considerable margin of error.

The relevant information available on the cost to the Exchequer of retirement relief from capital gains tax on the disposal of assets by the farming sector is based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers, whose main activity was farming. The sector identifier used on the tax records is based on the 4-digit NACE code (Rev. 1), which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system. This information is as follows for the total years available.

Tax Year

Estimated Cost Of Retirement Relief

€m

2007

52.3

2008

49.0

The information available on the cost to the Exchequer of agricultural relief is based on capital acquisition tax returns filed for 2008 and 2009, the latest years available, and are as follows:

Tax Year

Estimated Cost Of Agricultural Relief

€m

2008

113

2009

110

Information in relation to 2007 is not available.

Animal Welfare

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

162 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture; Fisheries and Food the position regarding the introduction of an Animal Health and Welfare Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43473/10]

Preparation of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, which gives effect to commitments in the Programme for Government and the Renewed Programme for Government on issues relating to animal health and welfare is ongoing in my Department. The new Bill will consolidate and update a wide range of existing legislation to ensure that the welfare of all animals, including non-farm animals, is properly protected and that the penalties for offenders are increased significantly. The consolidation of legislation into a single statute should prove considerably more convenient to all those who deal with or have an interest in animal health and welfare matters.

I propose to submit the proposed heads of this bill to the Government at an early date.

Harbours and Piers

John Deasy

Ceist:

163 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the position regarding the project for the redevelopment of Dunmore East Harbour, County Waterford; the amount of funding for this project under the 2010 harbours programme; the planned commencement and completion dates for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43484/10]

Dunmore East in Waterford is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres, which are owned, managed and maintained by my Department.

In 2010 a total of €261,000 has been allocated for projects at this harbour.

The breakdown of funding provided is as follows:

Project

Repairs East Pier II

26,000

Syncrolift TBT clean-up

25,000

Auction Hall Remedial Works

210,000

Total

261,000

During the past 12 months work on the East Pier has been completed, this involved partial resurfacing of the Pier (including the installation of service ducting and extension of the existing water-main), and the construction of new retaining walls and deck slab at the interface between the East Pier and West Wharf to allow safer HGV access to the West Wharf area of the harbour. The Boatyard area has also been surfaced and drainage installed.

Grant Payments

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

164 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of farmers in Roscommon and Leitrim still awaiting payment of their advance on the single farm payment and disadvantaged areas payment; the reason for the delay and when the delay will be resolved. [43490/10]

The details sought by the Deputy are contained in the tabular statement below.

Under the provisions of the governing EU Regulations, payments under the Single Farm Payment may be made only in respect of eligible land and applicants under the Scheme are obliged annually to declare the land parcels available to them; details of the eligible area of the land parcels are recorded on Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS), my Department's computer-based land parcel tracking system. Details of the use and area claimed for each of some one million parcels on the LPIS system are registered and continually monitored by my Department.

In Ireland, the vast majority of Scheme applicants have been making sufficient deductions from their claims to take account of ineligible areas in that they reduced the area claimed. However, in many cases as no mapping evidence supporting these deductions was provided, the ineligible features were not, therefore, recorded onto LPIS. As LPIS underpins all the area-based payments, worth in excess of €1.8 billion annually, it is crucial that it accurately reflects the true position on the ground, particularly given the audit scrutiny that this Scheme attracts not just in Ireland but also in all Member States. To this end, the initiative I took earlier this year in urging all farmers to map out ineligible areas was crucial and, given the overwhelming response, absolutely vital.

SPS

County

Applied

Fully Paid

Part Paid

Not Paid

Leitrim

3,324

2,448

617

259

Roscommon

5,625

4,757

463

405

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme

County

Applied

Paid

Not Paid

Leitrim

3,539

3,048

491

Roscommon

5,913

5,233

680

I can confirm that the balancing payments under the Single Payment Scheme are on target to begin issuing as and from 1 December. In addition to issuing balancing payments to those farmers whose applications are fully processed and whose maps are fully digitised, payments will also issue to those farmers where some or all of their maps are still to be digitised, with the payment being calculated on the basis of the confirmed eligible land. Because of this decision, which I made following consultation with the EU Commission, many farmers, whose balancing payments would otherwise have been delayed until their digitising is complete, will now receive payment. I estimate that the net effect will be additional payments worth in excess of €100 million issuing in the early days of December.

I am determined that this momentum will be maintained and that the maximum numbers of farmers will receive their full payments as the earliest possible date. At the same time, I must continue to emphasise the absolute urgency in getting the mapping system fully accurate and up-to-date to protect Irish direct payments.

Departmental Agencies

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

165 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43500/10]

The information sought by the Deputy is a matter for the State agencies and Boards themselves.

Industrial Relations

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

166 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43402/10]

Access to the Rights Commissioner Service, the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court under the Industrial Relations Acts is governed by the definition of "worker" in Section 23 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990. Section 23(1)(e) excludes, inter alia, "an officer of a vocational education committee" from this definition of worker. Arising from an agreement between management and union sides to abolish the existing Conciliation and Arbitration machinery for vocational educational committee officers and to bring them within the scope of the Industrial Relations Acts, it is now proposed to amend the definition of "worker" to include such officers, with the exception of teachers, within the definition of "worker" in the 1990 Act. An amendment to this effect is included in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2009, which is currently awaiting Committee Stage in the Dáil.

I understand that, pending the enactment of this legislation, the Department of Education & Skills and Vocational Education Committees have already agreed to facilitate access to the State's dispute resolution machinery by VEC officers on an ad-hoc basis.

It should be noted that VEC officers have access to the State's dispute settling bodies under the range of employment legislation, which does not contain the same exclusions as the definition of ‘worker' under the Industrial Relations Act 1990.

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

167 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if an amendment to section 23 of the 1990 Industrial Relations Act, to provide for the inclusion of persons employed in the public service in the definition of worker for the purposes of this legislation, has been drafted; if it is intended to bring such an amendment forward during the lifetime of the current Dáil; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43411/10]

Access to the employment dispute settling bodies under the Industrial Relations Acts is governed by the definition of "worker" in Section 23 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990. Workers not included within this definition are normally covered by separate schemes of Conciliation and Arbitration.

Workers in some parts of the public service, e.g. Local Authorities, Health Service Executive, are already covered by the definition of "worker" and, accordingly, have access to the State's industrial relations machinery.

Section 23(1)(e) of the 1990 Act excludes, inter alia, "an officer of a vocational education committee" from this definition of "worker". Arising from an agreement between management and union sides to abolish the existing Conciliation and Arbitration machinery for vocational educational committee officers and to bring them within the scope of the Industrial Relations Acts, it is now proposed to amend the definition of "worker" to include such officers, with the exception of teachers, within the definition of "worker" in the 1990 Act. An amendment to this effect is included in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2009, which is currently awaiting Committee Stage in the Dáil.

The question of an amendment to the Industrial Relations Acts to provide for the inclusion of persons employed in the civil service in the definition of "worker" is a matter that is under consideration in the context of ongoing discussions between civil service management and unions. This would involve issues around coverage by the existing Civil Service Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme and is a matter for the Minister for Finance, in the first instance.

Redundancy Payments

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

168 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding a redundancy claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon. [43478/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. 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 wish to advise the Deputy that on the basis of valid claims entered in the Redundancy Payments System in my Department, there is no record of a redundancy claim having been received in respect of the individual in question.

It is my Department's practice not to enter incomplete claims on the system as these claims cannot be processed until the necessary documentation is submitted. Forms are returned to allow missing details and/or supporting documentation to be submitted. Submission of correctly completed Redundancy claim forms (RP50's) with all of the required documentation greatly facilitates the processing of claims.

Under Redundancy legislation the onus, in the first instance, is on the employer to pay to the employee their redundancy entitlements. The employer is then entitled, by virtue of pay related social contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, to recover 60% of the amount paid to the employee.

In circumstances where the employer is unable to pay the redundancy entitlements, a claim can be lodged with the Department and the documentation required in support of lump sum claims is evidence of the employer's inability to pay the redundancy 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.

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.

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

169 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 277 of 4 November 2010, if he will confirm information in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim is correct stating no application for redundancy payment has been received. [43495/10]

In my earlier reply on this matter on 4 November, 2010, I indicated that, according to my Department's records, there is no record of a redundancy claim in respect of the individual concerned lodged with my Department. The individual concerned may have made application for a hearing before the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) to establish the right and entitlement to redundancy payment.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial body under the aegis of my Department, and, as such, I have no role in its day-to-day operation. Enquiries concerning claims submitted to the Tribunal can be made directly with the Tribunal Secretariat by telephone at 01 6313006 or Lo Call 1890 220 222; by email at eat@entemp.ie or in writing at Davitt House, 65A Adelaide Road, Dublin 2.

Once an EAT determination in favour of the individual's claim is available, it should be forwarded with a completed redundancy claim form (RP50) to my Department to enable the Department to make payment to the individual concerned.

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.

Departmental Agencies

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

170 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43505/10]

My Department is compiling the extensive range of information requested and, as I indicated in my response to the identical Question from the Deputy on 11 November, I will communicate further once that exercise has been completed.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

171 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43502/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that it has not been possible in the time available to provide the information requested relating to external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and Boards under my Department's remit between 2008 and 2010. I will arrange to have the information forwarded to the Deputy directly as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure

David Stanton

Ceist:

172 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the amount of funding allocated to the Irish Red Cross by the Exchequer each year since 2007 respectively; if the organisation receives directions from him as to the way this funding should be spent; if he receives detailed reports and accounts as to how this funding is used and expended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43376/10]

The following are the amounts of grant-in-aid allocated to the Irish Red Cross by the Department of Defence since 2007:

2007 — € 931,000.00;

2008 — € 951,000.00;

2009 — € 951,000.00;

2010 — € 951,000.00.

The grant is paid in quarterly amounts to the Society and includes a sum of €130,000 which represents the Government's annual contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The balance is used towards the administration and running costs of the Irish office.

Each year, the Society publishes its independently audited annual accounts and an Annual Report which indicate that the grant-in-aid is properly expended.

The Irish Red Cross Society is an independent statute based charitable organisation with full power to manage its own affairs. The Minister for Defence does not get involved in the day-to-day running of its affairs.

Furthermore, the Geneva Convention places an obligation on Governments to protect the independence of national Red Cross organisations.

Defence Forces Property

David Stanton

Ceist:

173 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 140 of 28 October 2010, the cost of private security firms used to secure property vacated by the military each year respectively from 2006 to 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will provide an annual breakdown of the duration and cost of such security and the locations at which it was provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43379/10]

The costs incurred in relation to securing property vacated by the military for the years concerned was; 2006 — €43,630, 2007 — €183,249, 2008 — €183,839, 2009 — €23,123 and to date in 2010 is €44,943. The Deputy will note that there has been an increase in the costs of security for 2010 compared to the figure quoted in Parliamentary Question No. 140 of 28 October (ref: 39476/10). This is due to enhanced security being put in place on a particular property since August for which invoices have only recently been received.

It is the policy of the Department not to comment on security arrangements for specific properties. As a result details of the location, duration and cost of particular security arrangements cannot be made available publicly.

Departmental Agencies

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

174 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Defence the number of external reports and reviews commissioned by State agencies and boards under his remit in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will name each report and review; the spending on external reports and reviews in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43503/10]

The agencies under the remit of the Department are the Civil Defence Board, the Army Pensions Board and the Board of Coiste an Asgard. I am informed that there were no external reports or reviews commissioned by any of these agencies in 2008, 2009 or to date in 2010.