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].

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

1 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Taoiseach if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46589/10]

No employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of my Department has received a bonus payment in the past twelve months.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

2 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Taoiseach if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46669/10]

No civil servant in my Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months.

Work Placement Programme

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

3 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons that have been given work placements nationally and in each local authority area under the work placement programme since its introduction [46680/10]

The Work Placement Programme commenced in June 2009. To date a total of 2,496 starts have been recorded under the Programme of which 1,224 were in the graduate stream and 1,272 were in the non-Graduate Scheme. The table shows the regional breakdown (FÁS does not record data by local authority area):

June 2009 to 6th December 2010

FÁS Region

Areas/Counties

WPP1 (Graduate)

WPP2 (Non-Graduate)

Total

Dublin Central

Baggot Court, D’Olier House, Parnell Street, Ballyfermot, Cabra

250

214

464

Dublin North

Baldoyle, Balbriggan, Swords, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Finglas

83

93

176

Dublin South

Rathfarnham, Crumlin, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Loughlinstown

132

131

263

Midlands

Kildare, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath

85

145

230

Mid West

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

95

90

185

North East

Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan

111

93

204

North West

Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo

36

62

98

South East

Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary South, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow

117

163

280

South West

Cork, Kerry

187

162

349

West

Galway, Mayo, Roscommon

128

119

247

Total

1,224

1,272

2,496

Data: WPP CSS Reports Starts — 06/12/2010.

FÁS Training Programmes

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

4 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason FETAC is carrying out audits at some FÁS centres; when the process is expected to finish; the outcome of such audits to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46683/10]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

13 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the precise number of individual cases which were the subject of the recent FÁS communication to FETAC regarding certification queries from the northeast; the reason the communication took place; the FETAC response to same; the outcome since in the North East; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46679/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 and 13 together.

I understand that FÁS is making progress in the implementation of its new Training Standards System and is dealing with the backlog of certificates due to qualifying learners. During this exercise in the North East Region, significant processing issues in respect of a small number of courses were identified by FÁS giving rise to errors on certificate requests for 53 learners on 6 courses. No certificates had issued to learners. However, as a result of these issues, FÁS decided to undertake a more detailed review.

I understand that FÁS informed FETAC on 10 November of the issues identified. FETAC are now conducting an examination of the issues with FÁS, involving visits to all FÁS centres that request certificates from FETAC. Pending the finalisation of their examination and to ensure that errors do not occur on certificates, FETAC have decided to place a temporary hold on issuing certificates to FÁS learners in respect of award types which may be subject to the errors encountered. It is expected that the FETAC examination will be concluded later this month.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Michael Creed

Ceist:

5 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if it is now accepted that victims of institutional abuse in the Magdalene laundries should be included in the residential redress scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46566/10]

The Residential Institutions Redress Scheme was introduced in 2002 as an exceptional measure to address a very particular circumstance and was never intended to be a panacea for every injustice committed on children. The issue of including the Magdalen Laundries in the scheme was raised during the passage of the Residential Institutions Redress Bill and the request to include the laundries generally was not acceded to. However, in recognition of the fact that some children were transferred from scheduled institutions to laundries, section 1(3) of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002 provides that a child who was resident in a scheduled institution and who was transferred to a laundry where they suffered abuse while so resident, will be deemed, at the time of the abuse to have been resident in the scheduled institution.

Following the publication of the Ryan Report in May 2009, there were a range of demands for the redress scheme to be extended to include specific categories of institutions, including the Magdalen Laundries, as well as specific institutions. The Government considered these demands and in its statement of 15th April last noted that it did not propose to revise the arrangements. As the Deputy will be aware, the Irish Human Rights Commission recently published its assessment of a request to carry out an enquiry into the treatment of women and girls who resided in Magdalen Laundries. While the Commission has decided not to conduct an enquiry itself, as it is entitled to do under the legislation which established it, the Commission has recommended that a statutory mechanism be established to investigate the matters raised and in appropriate cases to grant redress where warranted. The Government has asked the Attorney General in consultation with relevant Departments to consider the Commission's report.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

6 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of her Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to her or if she was informed of the matter; if so, the views she expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46581/10]

The position in relation to the issues raised is being checked with the bodies and organisations under the auspices of my Department. I will revert to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

Departmental Groups

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

7 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 77 of 30 November 2010, if she will provide the name or names of the person from each of the 12 organisations represented on the group; the persons who were present at each meeting; if minutes were taken at these meetings and circulated; the location of where the meetings took place; the cost per meeting in terms of the total travel and subsistence costs incurred; if she will publish the updates provided to the senior officials group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46632/10]

Since the establishment of the Upskilling Co-ordination Group, there have been 10 meetings of the group to date and minutes have been taken and circulated at each meeting.

Organisations have been represented by different individuals at the 10 meetings of the group due to some individuals not being available to attend. Appendix A lists the names and organisations of those who attended each meeting. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation held the meetings of the group in their offices in Dublin 2. However, since the Government restructuring earlier this year, the Department of Education and Skills chaired the last meeting which was held in Marlborough Street. It should be noted that neither Department has paid travel and subsistence costs incurred by individuals attending meetings of the group.

The Upskilling Co-ordination Group directly informs the ongoing monitoring and implementation of the National Skills Strategy through the participation of officials of my Department on the Group.

Appendix A

28 June 2007

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

John Daly

DETE

Denis Rowan

FAS

Martin Lynch

FAS

Roger Fox

FAS

Eileen Banks

Enterprise Ireland

Eamon Ryan

CEB

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Kay Hallahan

Forfas

14 Jan 2008

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Eamon Balmer

DETE

Ciara Phelan

DETE

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Laura Duggan

Enterprise Ireland

Denis Rowan

FAS

Martin Lynch

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Diane Dignam

Skillnets

Micheal Tunney

CEBs

3 March 2008

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Ciara Phelan

DETE

Des O’Loughlin

DES

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Denis Rowan

FAS

Martin Lynch

FAS

Ian Menzies

Skillnets

Diane Dignam

Skillnets

Eamon Ryan

CEBs

Oisin Geoghan

CEBs

7 July 2008

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Ciara Phelan

DETE

Seamus Hempenstall

DES

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Denis Rowan

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Carl Blake

Skillnets

Martin Shanahan

Forfas

Andrew Colgan

Forfas

6 Oct 2008

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Ciara Phelan

DETE

Seamus Hempenstall

DES

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Martin Lynch

FAS

Joe McGuinness

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Carl Blake

Skillnets

Diane Dignam

Skillnets

Andrew Colgan

Forfas

19 Jan 2009

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

John McDermott

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Eamon Balmer

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Seamus Hempenstall

DES

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Joe McGuinness

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Diane Dignam

Skillnets

Marie Bourke

Forfas

Oisin Geoghegan

Fingal CEB

Greg Swift

Dublin CEB

Michael Moriarity

IVEA

18 Feb 2009

Pat Hayden

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Martin Lynch

FAS

Joe McGuinness

FAS

Marie Bourke

Forfas

Conor Hand

Forfas

Oisin Geoghegan

Fingal CEB

Greg Swift

Dublin CEB

3 April 2009

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

John McDermott

DETE

Niall Egan

DETE

Eamon Balmer

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Seamus Hempenstall

DES

Tony Hall

Enterprise Ireland

Joe McGuinness

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Andrew Colgan

Forfas

Marie Bourke

Forfas

Oisin Geoghegan

Fingal CEB

Margaret Ryan

National CEB

Greg Swift

Dublin CEB

Michael Moriarity

IVEA

Mary Armstrong

HEA

Dr Richard Thorn

IOTI

8 June 2009

Dermot Mulligan

DETE

Pat Hayden

DETE

Vincent Landers

DETE

John McDermott

DETE

Padraig Creed

DETE

Tom Slevin

DES

John Mcgarr

Enterprise Ireland

Joe McGuinness

FAS

Liam Treacy

FAS

Alan Nuzum

Skillnets

Marie Bourke

Forfas

Oisin Geoghegan

Fingal CEB

Margaret Ryan

National CEB

Greg Swift

Dublin CEB

Michael Moriarity

IVEA

Louise Sherry

HEA

Dr Richard Thorn

IOTI

15 July 2010

Minister Seán Haughey

DES

Dermot Mulligan

DES

Vincent Landers

DES

John McDermott

DES

Padraig O’Conail

DES

Niall Egan

DES

Paul Keating

DES

Fiona Gallagher

DES

Seamus Hempenstall

DES

Bryan Fields

FAS

Marie Bourke

Forfas

Andrew Colgan

Forfas

Diane Dignam

Skillnets

Carmel Moloney

Enterprise Ireland

Greg Swift

CEBs

Dr Mark Glyn

IOTI

Inez Bailey

NALA

Michael Moriarity

IVEA

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

8 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills with regard to the 18 religious teaching orders involved in the Residential Institutions Redress Board, if she will provide in terms of monetary value or property value in the case of properties, both the total sums pledged to the State and the sums outstanding or awaiting to be transferred to the State’s accounts as of 1 December 2010 under the following headings, the 2002 contribution of €128 million, the €111 million cash transfer proposed in 2009, the €235 million property transfer proposed in 2009 and the outstanding €200 million contribution to ensure the €680 million target is reached in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46633/10]

In relation to the €128m contribution by the eighteen Congregations under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement, the completion of legal arrangements in the case of 26 properties, valued at €25,880,465, remain outstanding, although the physical transfers of these properties have taken place. In addition, a potential shortfall of €160,000 has been projected between the value of properties to be transferred and the total amounts due under the Agreement. However, this is subject to change if good and marketable title cannot be realised on certain properties and the final shortfall or surplus will not be known until all properties are completed under the terms of the Indemnity Agreement. In response to the call for further substantial contributions following publication of the Ryan Report, the Congregations offered additional contributions, which they have valued at €348.51m. These contributions comprise some €111m cash to be provided over a number of years (including €4m towards the provision of counselling and therapeutic services); €2m by way of a waiver of rent and €235.51m in proposed property transfers to various State bodies and voluntary organisations. As was acknowledged at the time, the offers involved complex property proposals which would require detailed discussions with the Congregations to enable the State to adopt a definitive position in relation to them.

As the Deputy will be aware, having considered the report of the independent Panel appointed to assess statements of their affairs submitted by the Congregations and the responses of the Congregations, the Government outlined its view that the overall costs of the response to residential institutional abuse, should be shared on a 50:50 basis between the taxpayer and those responsible for the residential institutions. Assuming that the Congregations' offers of contributions are fully realised, the collective contribution of the Congregations would be €476.51m (including contributions made under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement), leaving a target of over €200m to reach the 50% share of some €680m. The Government has requested that additional contributions be provided to the greatest degree possible in cash as a contribution to the planned National Children's Hospital.

My Department, as lead Department handling these matters, has been liaising with the Congregations and the various State bodies to determine the potential use of the various property offers and their acceptability to the State. Meetings have taken place with all the Congregations at which the potential for them to augment their offers has been discussed. My Department will be reporting to Government shortly in relation to this matter. The Government is proposing to use €110m of the offers of contributions to be made by the religious Congregations over the next few years to establish a Statutory Fund. Following a wide ranging consultation process, my Department expects to report to Government shortly on the matter and will be submitting a Scheme of a Bill to provide for the Statutory Fund. To date €20.6m has been received in contributions towards the proposed Statutory Fund. These contributions have been deposited in an interest bearing account in the Central Bank of Ireland pending the establishment of the Statutory Fund. The following table summarises the position as requested by the Deputy.

Contributions by Religious Congregations towards the costs of Redress

Sums Pledged

Sums Realised

Sums Outstanding

€m

€m

€m

2002 Indemnity Agreement

Cash — original

28.44

28.44

— adjustment

13.28

13.28

Property — original

76.86

37.54

26.04

— adjustment

(13.28)

Cash for Education Fund

12.70

12.70

Counselling and Support Services

10.00

10.00

Total

128.00

101.96

26.04

Additional Contributions Offered 2009

Cash

113.0

20.60

92.40

Property (as valued by Congregations)

235.51

235.51

Total

348.51

20.60

327.91

Overall Total Contribution

476.51

122.56

353.95

An additional contribution of €203.49m is required to meet the target contribution of €680m.

Examination Fees

Catherine Byrne

Ceist:

9 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason young persons attending courses in carpentry, plumbing and so on in institutes of technology are being forced to pay fees for examinations and materials, which they simply cannot afford to pay; her views that this will prevent many young persons from gaining qualifications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46644/10]

The apprenticeship training programme is delivered jointly by FÁS and the Institutes of Technology who have responsibility for delivering Phases 4 and 6 of the programme. Apprentices in employment receive a training allowance payable by FÁS for the duration of time they are studying in an Institute of Technology.

Since 2004 a pro rata student services charge has been levied on apprentices attending Phases 4 and 6 of their apprenticeship programme in the Institutes of Technology. This is equivalent to one third of the standard annual student services charge. FÁS meets approximately 70% of this charge on behalf of the apprentice and the balance which covers examination fees is payable by the apprentice directly to the Institute of Technology.

In line with standard practice, an Institute of Technology may, at its sole discretion, waive the requirement to pay the examination fee, where, through its existing hardship assessment procedures, or otherwise, forms the opinion that there is a case to waive the fee.

Language Schools

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

10 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will review the current status of an application with the Advisory Council for English Language Schools for operating a TEFL course by a company (details supplied); when the application process will be progressed; the reasons for the delays; when this application will be decided upon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46647/10]

Operational matters relating to the registration of providers in the English Language sector are handled by the Advisory Council for English Language Schools (ACELS), operating within the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). In view of this I have forwarded your query to the NQAI for direct reply to you.

School Staffing

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

11 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed employment of qualified teachers in the classroom who will be in receipt of social welfare payments only; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46656/10]

The Public Service Agreement 2010-14 provides that there will be full support in the Civil Service and State agencies for programmes and initiatives to support and assist the unemployed, including the FÁS Work Placement Programme (WPP). My Department has recently issued a circular which permits schools to participate in this FÁS programme if they so wish. The programme will allow schools to apply to FÁS to take on one or more people for a work experience placement for between 25 and 40 hours a week and for a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 9 months.

This involves a placement for a defined period, rather than employment, with the terms and conditions of the placement being provided for in the FÁS materials and being specified by each individual school as deemed appropriate. The WPP provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines which has not existed up until now and provides an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. The individuals on placement will, in turn, have the opportunity to utilise and develop their own skills. Schools may choose to offer placements to teaching graduates. A registered teacher in a placement may undertake normal teaching duties where the BOM/VEC consider this appropriate and can make suitable arrangements. It is a condition of the programme that any placements must not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post. This provision includes substitute vacancies.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

12 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if any civil servant in her Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46661/10]

I can confirm that no bonus payments have been awarded to Civil Servants at my Department in the past twelve months.

Question No. 13 answered with Question No. 4.

Property Valuations

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

14 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the upward revaluation of hotels which bears no relationship to earning capacity and if the exceptional circumstances review clause which existed prior to 2001 should be restored for rateable valuation to provide temporary relief [46677/10]

I should point out that the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his duties under the Valuation Act 2001 and I, as Minister for Finance, have no function in decisions in this regard. Under section 28(4) of the Act, a Revision Officer of the Commissioner may carry out a revision of valuation in relation to a particular property only if a material change of circumstances (MCC) has occurred since the property was last revised. MCC is defined in section 3 of the Act as a change of circumstances, which consist of a new building, a change in value due to structural alterations of an existing building, total or partial demolition of a building or a sub-division or amalgamation of relevant property.

The definition does not allow for a revision of valuation where the change in value is due to economic factors, differential movements in property values or other external factors such as roads or other infrastructural development in the vicinity of a property. The valuation of all commercial property, including hotels, is determined by reference to the values of comparable properties on the same valuation list. It is acknowledged that all property owners/occupiers, including the hospitality sector, are currently facing economic challenges and the only means, under statute, by which external influences on individual property values can be adequately addressed by the Commissioner, is through the national revaluation programme which is currently under way.

However, as was mentioned in the adjournment debate in the Dáil on 12th October 2010, the Valuation Act 2001, which has been in operation for eight years, is being reviewed. The Commissioner is now examining certain provisions of the Act with a view to bringing forward reform proposals and in the context of this review, the various issues surrounding the "material change of circumstances" have been included in the deliberations.

Tax Code

Jack Wall

Ceist:

15 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due a tax rebate for 2006 to 2009, inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46547/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person concerned did not pay tax during the years 2006 and 2007. While she did pay tax during the year 2008 no refund is due. For the year 2009 a tax refund is due and will issue shortly to the person concerned.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

16 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46584/10]

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to bodies under the aegis of my Department is as follows:

National Treasury Management Agency

With the exception of the Chief Executive, all staff of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) have individual contracts of employment which are negotiated on an individual contract basis by the Agency and are confidential. The remuneration arrangements specified in these contracts include, in most cases, a performance-related pay element. In 2010, the Agency made performance-related payments to staff for the year ended 31 December 2009. However, it also secured an 8% reduction in overall remuneration for its existing staff complement in 2010 compared with 2009.

The terms and conditions of the Chief Executive, including remuneration, are determined by the Minister for Finance after consultation with the Advisory Committee of the NTMA. As the terms of remuneration are subject to individual contract, I regard the information sought on the amount of the bonus payment as private. I can, however, confirm that, in 2010, a bonus of €200,000 was paid to the former Chief Executive of the NTMA in respect of 2009.

An Post National Lottery

As set out in the Annual Report, the Chief Executive voluntarily waived his entitlement to performance related pay for 2009.

Public Private Partnerships

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

17 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46593/10]

Under the terms of the present delegated sanction arrangements covering capital expenditure, the approval of the Department of Finance must be sought by a line department before it can enter into a new contractual arrangement for a PPP project. That approval process assesses the affordability of the project having regard to agreed financial allocations. In light of the recently agreed financial allocations under the Government's Four Year Plan for the Department of Transport, my Department has considered the proposal for the N11 and Newlands Cross project and issued approval to proceed. It is the responsibility of the National Roads Authority and its parent Department, the Department of Transport, to ensure that this project is delivered on time and within budget and in accordance with the mandatory value for money guidelines.

Tax Code

John Browne

Ceist:

18 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the delay in approving a refund for stamp duty to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford despite the fact that all documentation has been submitted to the Revenue Commissioners. [46600/10]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a refund of stamp duty under the relief available for transfers to young trained farmers can be granted where the purchasers meet, in full, the qualifications and conditions set down in Section 81A(8) Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999. As both of the purchasers did not meet these conditions in full and as they were not spouses at the time of transfer, they do not qualify for the relief and therefore a refund of stamp duty does not arise. Should the person in question wish to appeal this decision, she may do so under the provisions of Section 21(2) Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999.

Tax Relief

Joan Burton

Ceist:

19 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the conditions under which tax relief on loan interest is claimable by taxpayers; if the provision of tax relief is contingent on loan interest being made and the loan being serviced; the circumstances in which a borrower involved in construction or property development could attract tax relief on interest charged on a loan but where that interest is not being paid or is in arrears; the extent to which this tax relief can be offset against other income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46634/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that interest is allowed in computing trading profits or losses, including profits or losses arising in a construction or property development trade, to the extent that it is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade involved. As with other trading deductions, interest is allowable based on accounting principles and where an accrual of interest arises, a deduction would generally be available where interest is charged on a business loan even though the interest may not yet be paid. Where interest is not paid and the debt is released then, where a deduction had been allowed in calculating trading profits, the amount of interest released is treated as a trading receipt in the period in which the release happens. For rental income purposes, 75% of the interest on borrowings used in the purchase, improvement or repair of a rental property is an authorised deduction for rental income purposes. The authorised deductions, including interest, are computed as if the person entitled to the rent was carrying on a trade in relation to the let property. This means that, as with trades, a deduction for interest on a rental property loan would be on the basis of interest accrued.

I am also informed by the Revenue Commissioners that tax relief is available, subject to certain terms, conditions and restrictions, to individuals in respect of interest paid on monies borrowed for the purchase, repair, development or improvement of the individual's sole or main residence (i.e. mortgage interest relief). Relief may only be claimed for the tax year in which the interest is paid and is usually granted through the Tax Relief at Source (TRS) system.

Tax relief is also available, subject to certain terms and conditions, for the purpose of acquiring an interest in, or making a loan to, a company, or for the purpose of acquiring an interest in a partnership. Relief may only be claimed for the tax year in which the interest is paid. There is no restriction on the amount of interest in respect of which relief can be claimed.

Similarly, relief for interest treated as a charge on a company's income, rather than as a deduction in computing its profits, for example interest on a loan applied in acquiring an interest in another company, is allowed in the accounting period in which it is paid.

Finally, as respects the extent to which a deduction for interest can be set off against other income, I am informed that where an interest deduction creates or increases a trading loss, that loss is, in the case of a sole trader, available for offset against other income in the same year or it may be carried forward for offset against profits of the same trade in subsequent years. The treatment of trading losses arising to corporates is quite complex and is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature of the company's trade. However, trading losses for an accounting period may be carried forward as above and may also, subject to restrictions, be used in the same or prior accounting period. Restrictions are also in place in relation to the utilisation of losses on residential development land.

Rental losses on Irish property may only be offset against the profits from the letting of Irish property in subsequent years.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

20 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax relief allowed on interest on property related borrowings for each year from 2000 to date in 2010 for personal residential property that is mortgage interest relief, rental properties and other property or construction sector loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46635/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available is in respect of the estimated cost of mortgage interest relief on borrowings for the purchase, repair, development or improvement of a principal private residence and also for interest on borrowings used in the purchase, improvement or repair of a rental property. The available information is set out in the following table:

Estimated Cost

Tax Year

Interest Relief (Residential)

Interest Relief (Rental)

€m

€m

2000

199

N/A

2001*

169

N/A

2002

193

N/A

2003

221

222

2004

232

284

2005

280

393

2006

350

594

2007

545

877

2008

705

1,150

2009

486

N/A

2010 (11 months)

340

N/A

*Short tax year.

Mortgage interest relief on borrowings for the purchase, repair, development or improvement of a principal private residence was given by way of tax relief at source (TRS) with effect from 2002.

The information provided for interest relief for rental property is based on claims for interest relief on all rental properties included in personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers declaring interest on borrowings to be offset against rental income assessable under Case V, Schedule D. It is not possible to separately identify how much of this cost is associated with residential property. It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return form 12 is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return form 11. This return is the source of the figures provided in this reply.

The estimates for rental property are based on assuming tax relief to be allowed at the top income tax rate of 42% (up to 2006) and 41% for later years and the figures provided could therefore be regarded as the maximum Exchequer costs in respect of those taxpayers.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not in a position to provide data on rental property for 2009 and 2010 as the tax returns have either just been recently filed or are not yet due. The figures for 2008 are subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended. Corresponding suitable data is not available for the years 2000 to 2002.

The Deputy will no doubt be aware that the level at which interest repayments can be claimed against tax for residential rental properties was reduced from 100% to 75% in section 5 of the Finance Act 2009 at an estimated full year yield of €95 million.

Data in relation to interest paid that has been claimed as a deduction against corporation tax by companies involved in the property or construction sectors is only available for the tax years 2007 and 2008. It is tentatively estimated that the maximum cost, assuming the standard rate of corporation tax, of allowing a deduction for interest payable by these companies was in the region of €129 million for 2007 and €165 million for 2008. This does not take into account that some companies may not have had enough profits to absorb all of these expenses and includes the potential cost associated with all allowable interest payments by these companies.

The sector identifier on the tax records that is used to identify the property or construction sectors is based on the 4-digit NACE code (Rev. 1), which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system.

Tax Code

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

21 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 67 of 2 December 2010, his views on whether the referenced statutory requirement imposes unfair difficulties on genuine families, including citizens of this State who have lived in Northern Ireland and have now returned to live at home in this jurisdiction; if he will review the statutory instrument; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46641/10]

As outlined in my previous response the vehicle that is the subject of this question was granted a permanent exemption from the payment of VRT in November 2010 under Section 134 (1)(a) of the Finance Act 1992. The exemption was granted to the registered owner of the vehicle and, accordingly, under the conditions detailed in Regulation 4(6) of Statutory Instrument No. 59 of 1993, the registered owner and he alone is permitted to drive the vehicle in the State until November 2011. The decision to grant exemption from payment of VRT carries a certain statutory requirement which must be met in return for the exemption. I do not accept that such requirement imposes any unfair difficulties for any citizen especially given the level of relief being provided. Consequently, I have no plans to review the Statutory Instrument in question.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

22 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance the amount the flat rate VAT refund to farmers has cost the Exchequer in each of the past five years, including the current year; if he will provide a breakdown of VAT refunds on capital investments and VAT refunds on goods and services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46643/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the cost to the Exchequer of applying the Farmers Flat Rate refund scheme is tentatively estimated as follows:

Year

€m

2006

195

2007

209

2008

229

2009

244

2010

180

The figures of aggregated VAT refunds made to VAT unregistered farmers under the VAT (Refund of Tax) (No. 25) Order 1993 in respect of capital investments and certain goods and services for the years 2005 to 2009 inclusive, the latest year for which the information is available, are as follows.

Year

€m

2005

32.0

2006

38.7

2007

60.3

2008

156.4

2009

176.6

Statistical data are not available in such a way as to enable a distinction to be made between refunds for capital investments and refunds in relation to goods and services.

Department Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

23 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46664/10]

Following is the information requested by the Deputy.

Assistant Secretary Awards

Following recommendations made by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector, schemes of performance-related awards were introduced for the levels of Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service, as well as for the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner ranks in the Garda Síochána and the ranks of Brigadier General and Major General in the Defence Forces.

The schemes of awards are based on performance by reference to demanding targets. The pool for performance awards is 10% of the pay bill for the group concerned. Within that overall limit individuals can receive payments of up to 20% of pay.

Following my announcement on 5 February 2009 relating to the discontinuation of the scheme for Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Secretary and related grades subject to consultation with the relevant Staff Associations, there is now no specific provision for payment under this scheme.

This scheme was the only full bonus scheme in operation in the Civil Service. The following arrangements which apply to other grades provide for reward for exceptional merit or effort in particular cases.

Special Service Payments

Principals and Assistant Principals have a separate scheme which arises as a result of the restructuring agreement for these grades under the Programme for Competitiveness and Work. It provides that 1% of payroll for these grades be made available in the form of Special Service Payments, for which staff are invited to apply, based on the following criteria:

contribution by the individual to the work of the Department in his/her job;

special demands of the job;

experience brought to the job.

19 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received special service payments for 2008 in the amount of €53,394.

27 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received special service payments for 2009 in the amount of €55,670.

Seniority Allowances

52 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received seniority allowances during 2010 in the amount of €115,395.44.

Merit Awards

In 1993, the then Minister for Finance sanctioned expenditure in respect of Merit Awards to individual staff members or groups of staff below Assistant Secretary level by way of recognition for exceptional performance of duty which was based on 0.1% of the salary allocation (as published in the Revised Estimates) in any one calendar year. This percentage was revised to 0.2% in 1998.

An independent committee administers the Merit Awards scheme up to AO/HEO level; an Assistant Secretary group administers the Awards at Assistant Principal and Principal level. Nominees for the annual Merit Awards must, during the year, have demonstrated one or more of the following criteria:

given an exceptional performance in some aspect of his/her work;

demonstrated unusual commitment and dedication to some aspect of his/her work;

made a notable contribution to the successful achievement of the section's targets.

In March 2009, it was decided in light of the budgetary position, to suspend the merit award scheme.

Staff Suggestion Scheme

The Departmental Partnership Committee (DPC) agreed to the reactivation of the Staff Suggestion Scheme within the Department of Finance on a trial basis for 2 years. The revised scheme came into effect on 1 April 2009. The purpose of the Scheme is to facilitate and encourage the submission of suggestions by eligible staff aimed at improving Department of Finance operations/efficiency.

One staff member (Clerical Officer) was awarded €500 to be paid in two annual instalments of €250. The savings accruing to the Department exceeded the cost of the reward.

Ex-gratia payments are made in a number of situations which are outside the remit of the schemes already mentioned.

Two staff members received ex-gratia payments during 2010 as follows:

A Higher Executive Officer for her work in recovering outstanding money due to the Department was awarded €1,000. Following this, new monitoring and control measures have been put in place to ensure the situation does not recur.

A Clerical Officer who worked over and above her normal duties following the resignation of her supervisor was awarded €500.

Medical Cards

Charlie O'Connor

Ceist:

24 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Health and Children the arrangements now in place to deal with inquiries regarding medical card applications and associated issues in the Tallaght area; her views on the service previously provided in this regard at the Mary Mercer health centre in Jobstown; the position regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46530/10]

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

Health Services

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

25 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will be taken on an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46540/10]

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

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

26 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason an operation for the removal of a wisdom tooth cannot be arranged under the National Treatment Purchase Fund in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46549/10]

The National Treatment Purchase Fund arranges treatment, including the removal of wisdom teeth, for patients who have been on a surgical waiting list for more than three months. It is open to the person in question or anyone acting on their behalf to contact the Fund directly in relation to their case.

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

Hospital Services

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

27 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway is not entitled to have an operation carried out at Merlin Park hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46550/10]

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

However, I would like to advise the Deputy the Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides that, subject to limited statutory charges, all persons ordinarily resident in the country are eligible for all in-patient and out-patient public hospital services, including consultant services. The scheduling of patients for treatment is a matter for the hospital concerned and is determined on the basis of clinical need. Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an early appointment, he or she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the hospital.

Health Services

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

28 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Meath will receive an appointment for a dental procedure; the reason for the delay in granting the appointment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46552/10]

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

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

29 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the significant waiting times for dental appointments in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46553/10]

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

Mental Health Services

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

30 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details for all mental health services and support services in each of the Health Service Executive administrative areas; the addresses and the services they provide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46554/10]

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

Social Welfare Appeals

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

31 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children when an appeal on supplementary welfare allowance will be heard in respect of a person (details supplied). [46556/10]

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

Medical Cards

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

32 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision on an application for a medical card will issue in respect of a person (details supplied). [46557/10]

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

Child Care Services

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

33 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children the action taken following an assessment by the Health Service Executive through Beechpark services in the case of a child (details supplied) in County Dublin; if the necessary supports will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46570/10]

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

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

34 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cases in the west in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 where settlements were made to members of staff and their families due to false accusations that were not given the fairness of due process and if she will confirm the overall figure of financial settlements paid out for each year. [46571/10]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

35 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cases in the west in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 where settlements were made to non-staff members and their families due to false accusations that were not given the fairness of due process and if she will confirm the overall figure of financial settlements paid out for each year. [46572/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 35 together.

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

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

36 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cases in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 where settlements were made to members of staff and their families due to false accusations that were not given the fairness of due process and if she will confirm the overall figure of financial settlements paid out for each year. [46573/10]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

37 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cases in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 where settlements were made to non-staff members and their families due to false accusations that were not given the fairness of due process and if she will confirm the overall figure of financial settlements paid out for each year. [46574/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 37 together.

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

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

38 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of her Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to her or if she was informed of the matter; if so, the views she expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46586/10]

The Performance Related Award Schemes in operation in non-commercial State-sponsored bodies were introduced following a decision by the Government on the implementation of the recommendations of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector.

Awards made under the schemes approved by my Department and the Department of Finance are a matter for the Boards of the non-commercial State-sponsored bodies concerned and must be in accordance with the principles set out by the Review Body. In this regard, awards should be related to the achievement of highly demanding and challenging targets and stretch objectives which are difficult but not impossible to achieve.

The schemes are currently suspended and no awards were made in respect of 2009 or 2010.

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

39 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of legal fees incurred by An Bord Altranais for years ending 2008 and 2009. [46594/10]

I am advised by An Bord Altranais that it incurred legal fees of €1,479,342 in 2008 and €935,780 in 2009. These fees relate to fitness to practise cases.

Health Service Staff

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

40 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if replacement staff will be provided for two orthodontists (details supplied) who are due to take maternity leave in the new year and if so, when will the replacement staff will take up their duties; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46625/10]

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

Medical Cards

Catherine Byrne

Ceist:

41 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children if a decision has been made on a medical card appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46645/10]

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

Michael Ring

Ceist:

42 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Mayo. [46646/10]

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

General Practitioner Co-operatives

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

43 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to change and co-ordinate the operations of the various out-of-hours general practitioner services; if, in particular, it is planned to bring Southdoc under the administration of the Health Service Executive; the way that will affect persons employed in the service in positions other than doctors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46648/10]

General Practitioner (GP) out-of-hours co-operatives are an essential part of our primary care services and help to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, care needs are met in the primary care setting. While there is no obligation on GPs to participate in co-operatives, GPs contracted under the General Medical Services Scheme must make suitable arrangements to enable contact to be made with them (or a locum/deputy) for emergencies outside normal practice hours. Co-operatives provide an ideal facility to enable GPs to discharge this obligation.

There were over 983,000 contacts with GP out-of-hours co-operatives in 2009 and the total cost of funding out-of-hours services was in the region of €110 million.

A National Review of GP Out-of-Hours Services was published by the HSE in March 2010. It is the first national review to be undertaken since the commencement of publicly funded GP co-operatives in 1999. It reviewed the 9 GP co-operatives and the 4 extended-hours services that are currently in place.

The Review makes a series of recommendations designed to strengthen and standardise out-of-hours services across the country, including:

Out-of-hours services to be extended to cover parts of the country where there is currently no such provision. Each of the 4 HSE regions will now engage with non-participating GPs with the aim of ensuring full out-of-hours coverage nationally.

The number of call centres to be reduced from 7 to 4.

A working group comprising representatives from the HSE, the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Association of General Practitioner Co-operatives has been established to advance the implementation of the recommendations.

As the aspects of the Deputy's question concerning Southdoc relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the HSE, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address these matters and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

44 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46650/10]

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

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

45 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if any civil servant in her Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46666/10]

No staff member in my Department has received a bonus payment in the last twelve months.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

46 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past twelve months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46591/10]

The payment of bonus payments is a matter for the Board of the State Company concerned. Under the Minister for Finance's Guidelines on Contracts, Remuneration and other Conditions of Chief Executives and Senior Management of Commercial State Bodies, a representative of my Department attends and contributes views at the Remuneration Committee meeting of each commercial State body where bonus payments for Chief Executives are being considered.

I wrote to each commercial State body in February 2009 requesting that consideration be given by the Board to achieving a significant reduction in or elimination of bonus awards to Chief Executives payable for 2009 and also 2010.

Under the above guidelines, details of any bonus payments made are required to be published in the annual accounts of the State body.

I also wrote to non-commercial State bodies in May 2009 stating that it would be appropriate that consideration of any bonus payments to Chief Executive Officers be suspended pending the issue of further guidelines from the Department of Finance. These issued in February 2010 and requested that bonus schemes in non-commercial bodies be suspended indefinitely.

Bonuses awarded to senior management level employees of State Bodies other than the Chief Executive Officer are a matter for the agencies involved.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

47 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46671/10]

No civil servant in my Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months.

Employment Rights

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

48 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that seven domestic workers employed by diplomats have complained to the Labour Relations Commission about their treatment by their employers, and that three of these cases are so serious they have been referred to the Garda anti-trafficking unit; and if he will introduce measures similar to those in place in Belgium, Germany and Britain, where diplomatic visas are issued with stipulations that diplomatic employers comply with an existing code of practice on the protection of their domestic staff. [46462/10]

I would refer the Deputy to the reply given on 7 December 2010 (Question No. 216) by my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs in response to a similar question. In that reply the Minister for Foreign Affairs set out the actions being taken by his Department, which oversees the operation in this State of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, in respect of private servants/domestic workers at embassies.

My Department has no function in relation to matters that involve the Labour Relations Commission. In relation to allegations concerning alleged criminal behaviour, as the Deputy is aware, these are matters for investigation by the Garda Síochána.

In the matter of visas and visa policy generally in respect of so-called domestic workers, my Department continues to liaise closely with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Garda Training

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

49 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if there are specific regulations which apply to the use of batons by gardaí; if there are areas of the body which are precluded from being targeted during the use of a baton; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46544/10]

I have sought the information required from the Garda authorities and I will revert to the Deputy as soon as it is received.

Prison Facilities

Joe Costello

Ceist:

50 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if there are shops in each of the prisons throughout the country; the person who runs the shops in each prison; the person who benefits from the profits; the turnover in each of the past five years; the profit in each case in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46563/10]

There is a tuck shop operating in each prison which is operated and staffed by the Irish Prison Service. Profits from the prisoner purchases are used to support prisoners through the Prisoner Assist Programme Fund. The operation of the tuck shops is currently under review by the Irish Prison Service. I hope the Deputy will understand however that the financial information requested is commercially sensitive as the outcome of this review may result in a national or EU tender.

Garda Recruitment

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

51 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will confirm that the moratorium on Garda recruitment has been lifted; when the proposed recruitment drive for garda trainees is likely to commence, if he still stands by his commitment that the campaign would begin in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46569/10]

The moratorium on recruitment and appointments continues to apply to An Garda Síochána with provisions for exceptions following agreement with the Minister for Finance. The purpose of organising a recruitment campaign earlier this year was to begin the process of establishing a panel of potential applicants who could go on to be recruited as members of An Garda Síochána. This early planning is essential considering that the recruitment and training process — from initial formal application to attestation as a sworn member — could take up to 14 months to complete.

Since that announcement was made, the National Recovery Plan 2011- 2014 was developed and published. The plan provides for a reduction in the number of members of An Garda Síochána to 13,000 by the end of 2014. This reduction, and the rate at which it is achieved through retirements, will be taken into account in determining when recruitment will commence.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

52 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46587/10]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

64 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46667/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52 and 64 together.

No bonus payments have been made to civil servants in my Department or to senior management in any State Body or organisation under the aegis of my Department in the last twelve months.

Prison Facilities

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

53 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of hours the library in each prison is scheduled to open each week; the percentage of scheduled opening times that these libraries were actually open from June to October 2010 inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46615/10]

Library facilities are available in all prisons. The majority are managed by qualified staff from the Local Authority Library Services whose salary costs are refunded by the Irish Prison Service. Prison staff assist the librarian staff and operate library services in some prisons. The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table in relation to nine prisons.

Prison

Scheduled Opening Hours (per week)

% hours open June – October 2010

Midlands

32

33

Portlaoise

36.5

80

Cloverhill

35

65

Mountjoy

35

27

St Patrick’s Institution

35

100

Wheatfield

28

23

Loughan House

7

79

Shelton Abbey

10

83

Castlerea

20

28

In relation to the other five prisons comparable data is not available. These prisons operate varying access arrangements structured to reflect demand including, scheduled and ad hoc opening hours. The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Prison Service, in common with the Public Service in general, has been affected by the moratorium on recruitment. Library opening hours were restricted in most prisons over this period because of the need to re-allocate staff to other priority functions. Where it is necessary to reassign certain staff members to frontline areas for security and operational reasons this is done on a rotational basis to ensure minimum disruption.

Prison Accommodation

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

54 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of persons in prison and the number in each institution; the total number of prisoners not held in single cells or rooms and the number of these in each institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46616/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The information is as of 7 December 2010.

Prison/Place of Detention

Number in Custody

Number in custody not held in single cells

Arbour Hill

155

71

Castlerea

382

256

Cloverhill

464

425

Cork

320

308

Dóchas Centre

136

90

Limerick

296

224

Limerick (female)

38

24

Loughan House

103

32

Midlands

560

225

Mountjoy

697

434

Portlaoise

258

107

Shelton Abbey

89

49

St. Patrick’s Institution

210

101

Training Unit

112

37

Wheatfield

596

379

Total

4,416

2,762

As the Deputy will appreciate the Irish Prison Service must accept all prisoners committed by the Courts into its custody. It is the case that there has been a consistent increase in the total prisoner population over recent years. This situation is particularly apparent over the past 12 months during which time the total number in custody has increased by 365. This represents a rise of over 9% in the numbers in custody.

The Irish Prison Service has been engaged in an extensive programme of investment in prisons infrastructure which has involved both the modernisation of the existing estate and the provision of extra prison spaces. Since 1997 in excess of 1,930 new prison spaces have come on stream in the prison system. These include the new prisons in Castlerea, the Midlands, Cloverhill and the Dóchas Centre, new accommodation in Limerick, Portlaoise, Castlerea and Wheatfield prisons and at the open centres in Shelton Abbey and Loughan House.

The Irish Prison Service plans to commence construction later this month on a new accommodation block in the Portlaoise/Midlands prisons complex which will provide 300 prison spaces in the medium term. Work is also due to commence in the short term on converting an administrative building on the Dóchas site into a new accommodation block which will provide 70 spaces.

The Deputy will also be aware of the Government's commitment to developing a new prison campus at Thornton Hall, County Dublin. The new prison facility will provide accommodation for 1,400 prisoners with operational flexibility to accommodate up to 2,200 in a range of security settings.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

55 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of prisoners in total and in each institution that are at present in custody; the number required to slop out; the number required to use normal toilet facilities in the presence of others; the number that are sole occupants of a cell that has a normal flush toilet installed or have access at all times to normal private toilet facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46617/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is not currently available. It will be provided as soon as possible.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

56 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of prisoners in total in each institution that are locked up for 23 hours a day or more in a normal day for reason of protection, punishment or other reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46618/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The information is as of 7 December 2010.

Prison/Place of Detention

Number in custody on 23 hour lock up

Arbour Hill

0

Castlerea

29

Cloverhill

0

Cork

21

Dóchas Centre

0

Limerick

9

Loughan House

0

Midlands

14

Mountjoy

88

Portlaoise

0

Shelton Abbey

0

St. Patrick’s Institution

45

Training Unit

0

Wheatfield

46

Total

252

Protection prisoners are those prisoners who would be considered to be under threat or "at risk" in the general population due, for example, to gangland feuding, drug debts, because they gave evidence in a court case or because of the nature of their offence. Efforts are made on a continuous basis to reduce the numbers of protection prisoners who fall into this category and regular transfers take place to other institutions where a prisoner will not require protection.

Prison Committals

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

57 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans in the interest of transparency to publish on the Irish Prison Service website the numbers in custody in each institution on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46619/10]

I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is currently in the process of enhancing its existing website and the provision of more detailed statistical information is being considered as part of this enhancement.

Departmental Reports

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

58 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform when he will publish details of the new immigration regime for full-time non-EEA students [46621/10]

The Final Report and Recommendations of the Interdepartmental Committee to oversee reform of the non-EEA student immigration regime was published on 22 September 2010. The Report entitled ‘New Immigration Regime for Full Time non-EEA Students', which is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie), contains more than 20 recommendations designed to reform the student immigration regime in a manner that is better integrated with Ireland's immigration policy generally while providing a stronger regulatory framework for the sustainable development of the international education sector. The Report was approved by Government.

A number of these recommendations will now come into effect from 1 January 2011 including the introduction of maximum periods of residence in the State on foot of a student permission and the introduction of a differentiated approach as between "Degree Programme" courses and those at the "Language or Non Degree Programme" level.

Special transitional arrangements have been set for those students already in the State who will be affected by the new regime. In addition clear guidelines regarding the operation of the new regime will shortly be published on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). These guidelines will be of benefit to students currently in Ireland as well as to students who wish to travel to Ireland in the future for the purpose of pursuing a course of study.

Prison Accommodation

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

59 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the cell sizes in square metres of the most typical cells in each closed prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46622/10]

In the original wings of our older prisons — Mountjoy Male Prison, St. Patrick's Institution, Limerick Prison and Cork Prison — a typical cell would have a floor area of approximately 8 square metres.

Three new cell blocks have been commissioned in recent years at Portlaoise, Castlerea and Wheatfield prisons. All of the cells in these facilities contain an ensuite shower, toilet and wash hand basin. The total floor area ranges from just over 9 sq meters at Portlaoise to approximately 13 square metres in the case of the new block at Wheatfield.

The size of the cells in the proposed new Midlands prison will be in the region of 13 square metres.

Departmental Expenditure

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

60 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the average cost of keeping a person in prison in 2009, including current expenditure from all public sources using the methodology that was employed by the Irish Prison Service in determining this figure before it changed the method of calculation as outlined in the 2008 annual report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46623/10]

In 2008, I asked the Irish Prison Service to review their methodology for calculating the average annual cost of keeping an offender and to bring it more in line with other jurisdictions. The new methodology, which I approved, was introduced in time for the publication of the 2008 Annual Report.

It now excludes costs which are not under the direct control of the Irish Prison Service. Therefore, the teachers' salary costs are excluded from this exercise as these costs are not provided for under the Prisons budget allocation. Similarly, capital expenditure, including building/equipment assets and small works, is excluded from the calculations in the interest of facilitating comparison between prison types.

The Irish Prison Service no longer maintains all of the information required to readily recalculate the average cost of keeping an available staffed prison space using the previous methodology. To carry out such a recalculation would in any event require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort which could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.

Irish Prison Service

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

61 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of dogs now in the Irish Prison Service dog unit; the number of staff involved in this unit; the cost per annum of this unit; if such costs are included in the average costs given now in annual reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46626/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Canine Unit of the Irish Prison Service currently has 26 dog handlers with a complement of 37 trained dogs.

The Irish Prison Service does not collate costs for the Canine Unit separately. To provide such figures to the Deputy would require the manual examination of records. Such an examination however would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort which could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.

For Annual Report purposes, all costs associated with the Canine Unit are reallocated under each of the various prison types when calculating the cost per available staffed prison space.

Prison Staff

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

62 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of staff in the Irish Prison Service operational support units; the annual cost of these units; if such costs are included in the average costs given now in annual reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46627/10]

I can inform the Deputy that there are currently 143 staff (142 posts, 2 job sharers) including the Governor assigned across all units of the Operational Support Group (OSG). Current vacancies in the OSG stand at 17, including management and officer grades. The direct cost figure associated with the OSG for the full year of 2009 is €10,627,700.12. This figure represents direct costs only and does not include a portion of central administration costs.

For Annual Report purposes, all central costs, including those associated with the OSG, are included when calculating the relevant cost per available staffed prison space for each of the various prison types.

Garda Recruitment

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

63 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number and the dates on which garda recruits will be taken on in 2011; if the advertisement of June 2010 still applies; the number of applications on hand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46631/10]

The moratorium on recruitment and appointments continues to apply to An Garda Síochána with provisions for exceptions following agreement with the Minister for Finance. The purpose of organising a recruitment campaign earlier this year was to begin the process of establishing a panel of potential applicants who could go on to be recruited as members of An Garda Síochána. This early planning is essential considering that the recruitment and training process — from initial formal application to attestation as a sworn member — could take up to 14 months to complete.

Since that announcement was made, the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 was developed and published. The plan provides for a reduction in the number of members of An Garda Síochána to 13,000 by the end of 2014. This reduction, and the rate at which it is achieved through retirements, will be taken into account in determining when recruitment will commence.

The Garda recruitment process is managed by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Commissioner and I have no function in that matter.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 52.

Compensation Claims

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

65 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had the opportunity to review a particular case (details supplied); his views on whether the person is deserved of an apology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46546/10]

The Deputy's Question refers to an individual who has sought compensation for alleged mishandling of a recruitment process by the Agency for Personal Services Overseas (APSO) in 1997. APSO was a limited company which was wound up in 2004. I am sure the Deputy will understand that, for legal reasons, I cannot enter into the details of this case. However, I can state that the Department of Foreign Affairs has denied any liability in the matter and that this fact was communicated to the person concerned on the basis of the fullest consideration of the issues involved.

Human Rights Issues

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

66 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support Amnesty International’s campaign for the Mothers of Soacha in Colombia in relation to extra-judicial executions. [46575/10]

I am aware of the campaign by the Mothers of Soacha in relation to the alleged extrajudicial killings of their sons by the Colombian military in 2008. My concerns about impunity, including the specific case of the Mothers of Soacha, have been raised both bilaterally with the Colombian authorities and by the EU. The Colombian Ambassador to Ireland has agreed to bring these concerns to the attention of the Colombian Government. The case of the Mothers of Soacha was raised at the fourth round of the EU-Colombia human rights dialogue, which took place in Bogota on 23 November. Vice President Garzón has agreed to meet with the Mothers of Soacha and I understand that this meeting will take place on 11 December.

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

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

67 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46585/10]

There are no State Agencies operating under the auspices of my Department. However, there are four bodies operating under the aegis of my Department — the Development Education Advisory Committee (DEAC); the Government Emigrant Services Advisory Committee; the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group; and The Board of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission). The Fulbright Commission is financed jointly by the Irish and US Governments but it enjoys autonomy of management and administration, including relating to the remuneration of its staff, in accordance with the Educational Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Act, 1991. The remaining bodies are advisory committees, the administrations of which are all serviced by my Department and do not involve the direct employment of any staff.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

68 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46665/10]

No bonus payment has been made over the last 12 months to any civil servant employed in my Department. Furthermore, a long-standing scheme whereby officers retiring from the Department received a flat rate taxable award of €500 in recognition of the contribution made during their careers was discontinued in August 2010. A total of €14,500 was disbursed under that scheme to 29 retirees over the past year.

Social Welfare Appeals

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

69 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 731 of 19 January 2010, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the person (details supplied) has still not received a decision on their appeal which was lodged on 16 October 2009, 14 months ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46541/10]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, following receipt of the relevant Departmental papers including comments on the grounds of appeal, the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. However, the Appeals Officer has referred the case to the Deciding Officer for clarification on certain matters. Every effort will be made to have this appeal dealt with as quickly as possible.

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.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

70 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on an appeal for domiciliary care allowance will issue in respect of a person (details supplied). [46560/10]

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.

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.

Social Welfare Benefits

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

71 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide details of the number of persons in County Meath who have availed of the mortgage interest supplement in the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; the level of funding for the mortgage interest supplement in County Meath in the aforementioned years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46564/10]

Expenditure on mortgage interest supplement is not available on a county basis. The information in relation to recipients from 2007 is shown in the tabular statement.

Recipients of Mortgage Interest Supplement in County Meath

2007 to Present

Year Ending

Number of Recipients

2007

167

2008

438

2009

998

2010*

1,297

*Number at 6th November 2010.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

72 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social Protection if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46588/10]

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.

No bonus payment was made to any staff member of the above statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department in the past twelve months.

Social Welfare Benefits

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

73 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the level of jobseeker’s allowance payable in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; if he will facilitate an appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46614/10]

The weekly rate of jobseeker's allowance payable to the person concerned is €73.90. Means from his part-time work and his partner's employment are deducted from his weekly rate of payment.

If the person concerned is unhappy with the means assessment it is open to him to lodge an appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

74 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection the responsibilities, if any, community welfare officers have to ensure that those in receipt of rent allowance are receiving their allowance for accommodation that is registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46651/10]

The registration of a tenancy with the PRTB is not a qualifying condition for entitlement to rent supplement and I have no plans in making this a requirement for the scheme.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, landlords are legally obliged to register tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). Not all tenancies are required to be registered with the PRTB as the relevant legislation, the Residential Tenancies Act, provides for certain exceptions:

Business premises, even where partly residential

A dwelling to which Part II of the Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Act 1982 applies (i.e. formerly rent controlled dwelling occupied by the "original tenant or his/her spouse) or to which Part II of the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980 applies (i.e. long occupation equity lease tenancies)

A dwelling let by a local authority or voluntary housing body

A dwelling occupied under a shared ownership lease

A holiday let

A dwelling in which the landlord is also resident

A dwelling in which the spouse, parent or child of the landlord is resident and there is no written lease or tenancy agreement

A dwelling that is occupied rent free.

Where registration is required, the landlord has up to one month after the commencement of the tenancy to register it with the PRTB at the standard fee and longer to register at a higher fee.

It is not, therefore, practical for the Department to insist that a tenancy be registered before rent supplement can be paid to the tenant as the establishment of the tenancy will be dependent on rent supplement being awarded.

The Department works closely with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to help ensure that rent supplement tenancies comply with the statutory system of tenancy regulation and safeguards. The Department advises the PRTB of all new rent supplemented tenancies to assist them in implementing tenancy regulations and co-operates in any initiatives taken by the PRTB to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act.

It is accepted that there is a need to ensure that all landlords, including those renting out property to people in receipt of rent supplement, comply with the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act. The PRTB has been given powers to deal with unregistered landlords and the information provided by the Department to the Board should help them to exercise these powers, while not placing rent supplement recipients in an unworkable and vulnerable position.

There is a statutory requirement on a landlord to register a tenancy with the PRTB. Imposing a requirement on a landlord to notify the Department of registration of a tenancy with the PRTB would be a duplication of functions between State agencies and is considered unnecessary.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

75 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social Protection if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46668/10]

The scheme of performance related awards at the levels of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary in the Civil Service was discontinued in early 2009. No bonus payments were made to civil servants in my Department in the 12 month period from 1 December 2009 to 30 November 2010.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

76 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of her Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to her or if she was informed of the matter; if so, the views she expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46590/10]

In respect of the agencies currently under the aegis of my Department whose remuneration includes bonuses, decisions to award payments at senior management level in any instance are not made by me as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport but, rather, by the boards of the agencies concerned, subject to the terms and criteria contained in the associated remuneration schemes agreed with the CEOs, or equivalents. Accordingly, the basis of any such awards are matters for the boards of the agencies concerned. However, the payment of bonuses is suspended pursuant to the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. The relevant agencies under the aegis of my Department have been requested to implement these provisions.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

77 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if any civil servant in her Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46670/10]

No Civil Servant in my Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months.

Planning Issues

Joe Costello

Ceist:

78 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide guidelines for An Bord Pleanála to ensure that oral hearings take place in the local authority area where the railway order or planning permission is sought. [46561/10]

The convening of oral hearings is a matter for An Bord Pleanála. I understand that the Board normally arranges for oral hearings to take place in the local authority area where a railway order or planning permission is sought. In the case of certain large scale road and rail projects, it may be the case that the proposed development involves works within the functional area of more than one local authority, and a venue is chosen with appropriate facilities at a reasonable cost and with ease of access, including by public transport.

In respect of proposals within the Dublin area, an oral hearing venue may be in a central location outside the particular local authority area where the proposed development is to be located.

I am assured that An Bord Pleanála seeks, at all times, to facilitate participants attending oral hearings, and I have no plans to issue guidelines in this regard.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

79 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46583/10]

No employee at senior management level in any agency or body under the aegis of my Department received a bonus payment in the past twelve months.

Local Authority Expenditure

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

80 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will consider a special allocation to Cork County Council to cover the cost of heating for local authorities where no heating systems exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46630/10]

My Department has, over the past number of years, overseen a significant exchequer investment in the improvement of heating systems and energy efficiency of the existing stock of local authority dwellings. Although central heating has been provided in all new local authority dwellings as a matter of course since 1994, there were an estimated 36,000 dwellings constructed prior to this date without central heating. To address this deficit, a special four-year programme, the National Central Heating Programme, was introduced in 2004 for the installation of central heating, associated thermal insulation measures, and temperature controls in these dwellings.

This programme ended last year, following the improvement of almost 28,000 dwellings, and was replaced by the more comprehensive National Retrofitting Programme. The new National Retrofitting Programme provides grant funding up to €15,000 per unit, with a higher grant of €35,000 available for properties that have been vacant for 6 months or more, and sets local authorities the objective of achieving a C1 BER following the works.

Typically the range of works involved, depending on the unit, is as follows:

attic insulation to meet current building regulation standards;

replacement of windows and external doors in compliance with current regulations;

air-tightness testing e.g. "blower-door" test and remedial action;

wall insulation [cavity, external cladding, internal improvement, as appropriate];

replacement of boilers over 10 years old with condensing boilers to current standards and installation of space and water heating controls;

installation of radon protection measures e.g. external sump;

any other measures as are required to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling.

Under this progressive programme, Cork County Council received a 2010 allocation of €1,850,000 with a further €970,000 provided to town councils in the county. To date some €706,000 has been claimed under the programme, and the Council has recently advised that it does not expect fully to draw down its 2010 allocation.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

81 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46663/10]

No civil servant in my Department has received a bonus payment in 2010.

Health and Safety Issues

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

82 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the specific method by which odourless gas will be able to be detected at a particular gas terminal (details supplied); the body or authority to which incidences of leakage will be reported; which body or authority members of the public can contact should they detect or suspect a leak; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46543/10]

As I outlined in my response to Question No. 228 of 4 November 2010, the design and construction of the Corrib Gas terminal is based on best international engineering practice for gas processing terminals. The terminal is designed to ensure against a leak of gas and the developer has proposed systems that would detect a leak. The methodology proposed is standard and involves proven fire and gas detection systems.

Under my Department's Rules and Procedures for Offshore Petroleum Production Operations a matter such as a gas leak would be classified as an urgent matter that must be brought to the attention of my Department, by the infrastructure operator, without delay.

There are a number of other statutory bodies that have regulatory functions with respect to risk assessment including, An Bord Pleanála, Mayo County Council, the Health and Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency. It would be a matter for each of those bodies to determine the reporting procedures in relation to any incident.

The Deputy may be aware that the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010 confers responsibility on the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) for the regulation of upstream petroleum activities with respect to public safety. The statutory safety framework required by this legislation is currently being established by the CER and any incidents of leakage will fall within the remit of this new regime once it is published.

Whatever the regulatory framework, any third party concern in relation to the safe operation of infrastructure, such as the Corrib Gas terminal, should also be reported to the operator of that infrastructure.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

83 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46578/10]

I can inform the Deputy that decisions to award payments in respect of employees at senior management level in bodies under the aegis of my Department, whose remuneration includes bonuses, are made by the boards of the agencies concerned, subject to the terms and criteria in the agreed associated remuneration schemes. Accordingly, the bases of any such awards are matters for the boards of the agencies themselves.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

84 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46658/10]

No member of staff in my Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months.

Grant Payments

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

85 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a specific payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Cork and if he will expedite the digitisation of lands. [46538/10]

An application under 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 13 May 2010. The 50% advance payment, which issued on 18 October 2010, was on the basis of the land cleared at that stage, as a number of parcels declared required digitising.

Balancing payments under the scheme, which commenced 1 December, would, in normal circumstances, be confined to those whose applications are fully processed, specifically, where all digitising is finalised. However, following recent consultation with the EU Commission, agreement was reached whereby, 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 digitised land confirmed otherwise eligible.

I am pleased to say that, because of this change, many farmers, including the person named, whose balancing payments would otherwise have been delayed until their digitising is complete, will now receive an interim balancing payment. These farmers, including the person named, will receive the final instalment of their balancing payment when their maps are re-digitised and their applications are fully clear.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

86 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to Parliamentary Question No. 215 of 14 October 2010, when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) In County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46565/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 23 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 person named submitted an application with 8 land parcels, 5 of which required re-digitisation. My Department has now completed this re-digitisation process. Payments to the person named were made under the Single Payment Scheme on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010. The advance payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was issued to the applicant on 22 September 2010. This application is currently being processed with a view to final balancing payments issuing shortly under both Schemes, provided no further errors are identified.

Michael Creed

Ceist:

87 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will clarify the circumstances surrounding an alleged overpayment of single farm payment in 2007 which is now being recouped in 2010 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; if the person was given proper notification of this fine and a right of appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46568/10]

The Department's records indicate that in 2007, the amount of nitrogen from livestock manure applied to land on the holding of the person named above (including that deposited by animals) was 269.46 kgs per hectare, which exceeded the limit of 170 kgs per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations.

My Department wrote to the person named on two occasions in June and July 2008 notifying him that he had exceeded the Nitrogen limit for 2007, and asking him if there were any reasons why he believed the total Nitrogen from livestock manure applied to his lands was not above the 170 kg limit.

As no response was received to either of these two letters, the person named was notified of the deduction on 18 June 2010 and was advised of his right of appeal. There is no record of any appeal having been received. He was subsequently notified of the actual amount involved on 23 September 2010.

It was open to the person named to appeal this deduction, within a three month time limit from day of final decision (18 June 2010), by letter to the Agriculture Appeals Office, Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. The Agriculture Appeals Office is an independent body established to provide an appeals service to farmers in respect of decisions of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food relating to entitlements under the various schemes available.

While the three month deadline has passed, a case can still be made to the Agriculture Appeals Office for acceptance of a late appeal. In making the appeal a person must include all the facts and contentions upon which they intend to rely, together with such documentary evidence that they may wish to submit in support of an appeal.

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

88 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received their area based payment or their single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46576/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 19 April 2010. The advance payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme and the Single Payment Scheme payment issued to the person named on 21 September and 18 October respectively based on the clear eligible area. However, a number of the land parcels listed on the application required digitisation.

As a result of this re-digitising over-claims were identified on two of the parcels declared by the applicant and he was written to in this regard; a reply was received on 2 December 2010 accepting the over claims. The application is now fully processed and balancing payments due in respect of the Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Area Scheme will issue shortly to the person named.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

89 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46577/10]

The implementation and operation of each performance related award scheme is the responsibility of the board of the agency concerned.

My Department does, however, play a role in monitoring performance related awards for CEOs of the commercial and non-commercial bodies under the aegis of my Department.

A bonus payment of €40,539 was made to the CEO of one of the bodies under the aegis of my Department in the past twelve months, in respect of his performance in 2009. This matter was not referred to me as the agency concerned was not under the auspices of my Department at that time.

Grant Payments

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

90 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a decision will issue on an application for free single farm payment entitlements from the national reserve in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46596/10]

No Single Payment entitlements were established for the person named as he did not receive any premia payments under the coupled regime during the 2000-2002 reference period. The person named submitted applications under the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 National Reserve.

The person named applied under Category A of the 2005, 2006 and 2008 National Reserve which catered for farmers who, after 1 January 2000, acquired land free of charge or for a nominal sum from a farmer who had retired or died by 16 May 2005 and who had leased out his/her holding to a third party during the 2000-2002 reference period. The person named was deemed ineligible under this category as he acquired the land prior to 1 January 2000.

Under the 2007 National Reserve the person named applied under Category C, which catered for farmers for whom at least 40% of their existing Single Payment was derived from direct payments associated with sheep production (Ewe Premium/Rural World Premium) during the reference period. Their existing Single Payment must have been less than €10,000 and the value of individual payment entitlements must have been less than the District Electoral Division (DED) average value. The maximum allocation under this category was €1,000.00. The person named was not eligible under this category, as he did not establish a Single Payment.

John Browne

Ceist:

91 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the balance of a force majeure single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford. [46599/10]

The person named has received his full payment based on the eligible land declared under the 2008 Single Payment Scheme 2008. Having successfully processed the application under force majeure and the 2008 application, payment was issued to the person named on 21 January 2010. There is no further payment due to the applicant.

Property Registration

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

92 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason there is such a time lag for the registration of a plot of ground (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46624/10]

The delay in registration is due to the complexity involved with a right-of-way mapping conflict. Consultation is taking place between officials from my Department and the Property Registration Authority with a view to resolving the matter as quickly as possible. I have requested that the Deputy be kept appraised of developments.

Grant Payments

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

93 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not been paid their area based payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46628/10]

An application under the Single Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 11 May 2010. In relation to the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, the Terms and Conditions governing the Scheme require, inter alia, that applicants maintain a minimum stocking density on their holding of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare declared, for at least three consecutive months, during the calendar year of application. However, where the holding of an applicant is identified as not meeting this minimum requirement, the person in question is invited to submit evidence of satisfactory stocking i.e. Flock Register, Horse Passports or details of a REPS or Commonage Framework Plan, which provides for a lower stocking level.

My Department's records currently do not show the person named as having yet achieved the minimum stocking density. The person named was written to on 19 November 2010 and invited to submit appropriate evidence of the numbers of livestock maintained on his holding. On receipt of a satisfactory response from the person named, the application will be further processed with a view to payment at an early date.

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

94 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not been paid their single farm payment or area based payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46629/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 21 April 2010. The advance payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme and the Single Payment Scheme payment issued to the person named on 21 September and 18 October respectively based on the clear eligible area. However, a number of the land parcels listed on the application required digitisation. This process is now complete and balancing payments due in respect of the Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Area Scheme will issue shortly to the person named.

John Browne

Ceist:

95 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment due to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will issue. [46636/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 14 May 2010. Payments under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme commenced nationally on 18 October 2010. The person named submitted an application with 62 land parcels, 21 of which required re-digitisation. Payments under the Single Payment Scheme were made on land parcels that were clear for payment on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010 respectively.

My Department is currently completing the re-digitisation of the remaining 21 land parcels. Immediately this process is complete, provided no further errors are identified, the application will be processed in full with a view to payments due issuing shortly thereafter.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

96 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46652/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 13 May 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 person named submitted an application with 8 land parcels, 4 of which require re-digitisation. Payments under the Single Payment Scheme were made in respect of eligible land parcels on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010 respectively. An advance payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was made on 22 September 2010. My Department is currently completing the re-digitisation of the remaining 4 land parcels. Immediately this process is complete, provided no further errors are identified, the application will be processed in full with a view to payments due issuing shortly thereafter.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

97 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46657/10]

No civil servant has received any such payment in the past 12 months.

Grant Payments

Niall Collins

Ceist:

98 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the position regarding an application for the single farm payment scheme and the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46672/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 27 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 person named submitted an application with 7 land parcels, 3 of which require re-digitisation. Payments under the Single Payment Scheme were made in respect of eligible land parcels on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010. My Department is currently completing the re-digitisation of the remaining 3 land parcels. Immediately this process is complete, provided no further errors are identified, the application will be processed in full with a view to payments due under both Schemes issuing shortly thereafter.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

99 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when single farm payments will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46673/10]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 12 May 2010.

This application was selected for a Ground Eligibility inspection. The inspection process is complete and the results have now been processed.

During the course of the Ground Eligibility inspection discrepancies were found with parcel M22803157. Namely there were inadequate deductions made for a roadway and an area of the parcel concerned was not owned or farmed by the person named. The claimed area for the Single Payment Scheme of 15.48ha was reduced to 14.91ha. When tolerance was taken into account this area was increased to 15.04ha. As the total entitlements held are 35.08 and the area not found is under 3% and under 2ha the area put forward for payment is 15.04ha.

Furthermore it was noted at the inspection that there was a failure to take appropriate measures to prevent the encroachment of briars, bushes and dense scrub, which is deemed to be a non-compliance in relation to the requirement to maintain land in Good Agriculture and Environmental Condition. The above non-compliance resulted in a Cross Compliance penalty of 3% being applied to the 2010 direct payments for the person named.

A formal decision issued to the person named on 6 August 2010 that advised him of his right to seek a review of the decision within 21 days to the District Inspector and of his right to appeal the outcome of any such review to the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

The inspection process is completed and the application has now been fully processed. Payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and Single Payment Scheme issued on 1 December.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

100 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a REP scheme 4 payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46674/10]

The EU Regulations governing REPS 4 and other area-based schemes provide that payments issue in two instalments. The first instalment of 75% may be paid once all administrative checks on all applications, as well as cross-checks against areas declared on Single Payment Scheme applications, have been completed. This process is underway and my objective is to make all payments for 2010 as soon as possible. The balancing payment of 25% can issue once all on-the-spot inspections for the year have taken place and these will be completed shortly.

Redundancy Payments

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

101 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding a redundancy claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46537/10]

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 can confirm that my Department received a statutory redundancy lump sum claim in respect of the individual concerned on 12 April 2010. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department has recently authorised the claim for payment. Payment of the redundancy amount due should issue within the next few weeks.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

102 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46582/10]

Other than the occurrence below, there has been no bonus payment to any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of my Department in the past twelve months.

Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

The terms and conditions of the Chief Executive's employment are set out in a fixed term contract of service with the Board, in line with the requirements of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003. The contract contains a provision for a performance related award scheme of a maximum of 20% of total remuneration. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a self-funded agency and receives no funding from the Exchequer. An award relating to performance in 2009 was paid in early 2010 amounting to €31,395.81 gross.

The Chief Executive, notwithstanding the terms and conditions of her contract and that no Exchequer funds are involved, has volunteered to the suspension of the performance related award scheme from 2010.

The decision to pay the performance related award was a matter for the Board of the organisation, and as such there was no requirement to refer the matter to me.

Company Law

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

103 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will make a comprehensive statement on assets liquidation; the payment process to creditors; the order in which various creditor organisations are paid, that is, banks, Revenue Commissioners, contractors and so on. [46642/10]

The order of preferential payments in the winding up of a company is set out at section 285 of the Companies Act 1963 as amended. Monies owed to the Revenue Commissioners are preferred to a significant degree over other debts. The priority of creditors in a winding up is as follows:

1. In accordance with section 16 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 1993, the sums deducted by an employer from the employee's remuneration in respect of PRSI are not included in the assets of a company and do not form part of the funds available for distribution to creditors. The position of the Revenue Commissioners in relation to these deductions has been described as super-preferential as their claim in relation to these monies supersedes the claim of all preferred creditors to the extent that the monies due are taken before the assessment of the assets for distribution.

2. The Revenue Commissioners in respect of PAYE, VAT and in respect of monies recovered from the holder of a charge, which includes a fixed charge over book debts.

3. Creditors secured by a pledge, lien, mortgage or fixed charge in respect of assets the subject of such security.

4. Creditors whose debts are preferential payments under s 285 of the Companies Act 1963, as amended, and other complementary legislation which prioritises creditors, include the following:

i. Local Authorities for unpaid rates

ii. The Revenue Commissioners for Corporation tax on profits and capital gains

iii. The Revenue Commissioners for assessed VAT

iv. The Revenue Commissioners for assessed Income tax of employees to be deducted at source (PAYE)

v. The remaining priorities relate to employee entitlements.

The application of these statutory preferences to any individual case, including to any asset liquidation or payment processes arising under any individual case, will be determined by the circumstances of each particular case, and as such is a matter for the parties involved, and for legal advice or the courts if applicable.

Departmental Staff

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

104 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46662/10]

No civil servant in my Department received a bonus payment in the past 12 months.

Grant Payments

Pat Breen

Ceist:

105 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) has not been facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46545/10]

In the case referred to by the Deputy, an application has only very recently been submitted to my Department and a formal response will issue shortly. My officials are currently following up the circumstances of the case and on foot of this I will revert to the Deputy.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

106 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46579/10]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

108 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46659/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 108 together.

No civil servant in my Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months. With regard to State bodies/agencies funded from my Department's Vote Group, I am advised that a single instance has occurred across the range of those bodies where a bonus was paid to an employee within the past twelve months.

The case in question, which was in respect of performance in 2007, related to the Chief Executive Officer of Waterways Ireland. Payment in this case, which amounted to £8,500 (€9,628), was made in February 2010 and was subject to normal taxation and other deductions.

As Waterways Ireland is a North South Implementation Body, the payment was made in accordance with the CEO performance pay (bonus) regime operating in respect of 2007 on foot of a North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) decision in relation to the remuneration and other conditions of service applicable to Chief Executive Officers of the North South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland. As Waterways Ireland has no board, the payment was approved, in line with that NSMC decision, at senior management level within the two sponsoring Departments for Waterways Ireland, i.e., the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and my own Department. I, as Minister, did not have a role in the matter.

While the bonus in this case related to performance in 20007, I should point out that NSMC noted, at its institutional meeting in November 2009, that both Finance Ministers endorsed in principle that senior officials in the wider public sector in the two jurisdictions should not be awarded performance bonuses with effect from and in respect of the 2008/2009 reporting year and that this should apply to Chief Executive Officers of the North South Implementation Bodies.

Youth Services

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

107 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if core funding will continue to be provided to a national organisation (details supplied) to support practitioners and volunteers working with young persons at risk in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46640/10]

My Department manages a range of schemes and programmes that support the wider community and voluntary sector, details of which are available on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie.

The Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector aims to provide multi-annual funding to national organisations towards core costs associated with the provision of services. Priority is given under this scheme to supporting national organisations which provide coalface services to disadvantaged target groups.

The current funding contracts under the scheme will finish at the end of this year. However, I am pleased to confirm that a new scheme has been developed and will be advertised in the coming weeks. In this regard, I have recently written to the organisations funded under the current scheme to advise them that interim funding will be provided to them for a limited period (to 31 March 2011 at the latest). This will allow for the submission and assessment of applications under the new scheme.

It will be open to the organisation referred to by the Deputy to apply for funding when the new scheme is announced.

Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 106.

State Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

109 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Defence if any employee at senior management level of any State body or organisation under the auspices of his Department has received any bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so, the amounts received and the reasons for same; the person who made the decision to grant this payment and the reason for same; if this matter was referred to him or if he was informed of the matter; if so, the views he expressed; the response, if any, from the body concerned; the subsequent decision taken by such body; the rank of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46580/10]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

113 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Defence if any civil servant in his Department has received a bonus payment in the past 12 months; if so the amount received; the reason given for such payment; who made the decision to grant same; the rank or grade of the recipient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46660/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 113 together.

Performance awards for civil service grades are made to individual staff members and to groups of staff under a scheme for Recognition of Exceptional Performance of duty. In assessing eligibility for awards, regard is given to the nature and quality of the activities involved and to the circumstances under which they were carried out. Attention is also paid to the grade level of the staff members concerned and to what would be regarded as high quality performance from staff in such grades.

In 2010 the Secretary General granted an Exceptional Performance Award to one individual in the sum of €1,500. The award was granted to an Assistant Principal at the Department of Defence in recognition of exceptional performance while working on the Judicial Reviews and the Military Archives Pensions Project. This award is comprehended as a benefit in kind and subject to the relevant statutory deductions.

National Drugs Strategy

David Stanton

Ceist:

110 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the number of times in 2009 and to date in 2010 the air corps has provided air support to the joint task force established to combat drug trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46653/10]

For operational reasons it would not be appropriate to disclose the information sought in this question.

David Stanton

Ceist:

111 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the number of times Naval Service personnel have travelled, at the request of the joint task force, to Lisbon to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre — Narcotics since its establishment in 2007; the cost of each of these trips; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46654/10]

I am advised that Naval Service personnel have travelled to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre — Narcotics (MAOC N) at the request of the Joint Task Force on three separate occasions since the establishment of MAOC N in September 2007. These visits were to planned conferences or handovers, and were not made in an operational capacity. The total cost of these trips, including travel and subsistence was €8,119.

Departmental Staff

David Stanton

Ceist:

112 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the military directorates which are located in Coláiste Caoimhín and Park House, respectively; the number of staff and their grades located in each of those premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46655/10]

The table details the military directorates based in both Colaiste Caoimhin and Park House, along with the number of staff attached to each of those directorates and the ranks of those staff.

COL

LT COL

COMDT

CAPT

LT

Total OFFR

SGT MAJ

BQMS

CS

CQMS

SGT

CPL

Total NCO

PTE

Chaplain

Civilian Employee

Total

Colaiste Caoimhin

Directorate Human Resource Management

1

2

5

11

19

2

12

8

22

3

44

Directorate Of Administration

1

2

6

6

15

1

1

1

1

3

4

11

5

1

32

Directorate Of Legal Services

1

1

0

1

2

Directorate Combat Support Services

1

1

2

2

2

1

5

Head Chaplain

0

1

1

1

2

Total

3

4

12

18

0

37

1

1

3

1

18

12

36

10

1

1

85

Park House

Directorate Of Training

1

1

4

4

10

1

3

4

3

17

Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 109.