Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 5, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 6 to 52, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 53 to 60, inclusive, answered orally.

Air Services

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

61 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport the reason he plans to cease public service obligation payments to airlines operating at regional airports from July 2011 under the national recovery plan; if he is satisfied that EU policy regarding connectivity is the correct benchmark for a small country like Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2262/11]

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

63 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Transport if he will publish the value for money review on regional airports without further delay in order to facilitate an informed debate on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2312/11]

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

81 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport his policy for the development, operation and maintenance of our existing regional airports; his views on whether any other regional airport is no longer viable; if he has carried out any analysis on the future of those airports where the public service obligation and capital support has been withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2257/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 63 and 81 together.

As I have said already in the House in response to a Priority PQ number 53, the Government decision to support the continuation of a Public Service Obligation route between Donegal and Dublin and between Kerry and Dublin and to cease requiring Public Service Obligation routes between Dublin and Sligo, Knock, Galway and Derry from July 2011 was taken following full consideration of the conclusions and recommendations of the Value for Money (VFM) Review of Exchequer Expenditure on Regional Airports. The VFM Review is part of the Government's Value for Money and Policy Review initiative introduced to secure improved value for money from public expenditure. The Review evaluates past Exchequer expenditure against the Regional Airport Programme objectives and examines the scope for achieving those objectives more efficiently and effectively in the future.

The Review was published on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 and is available for download on my Department's website. The Review involved extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders including the regional airports, the BMW Regional Assembly, IDA, IAA, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Aer Arann and Ryanair. Under updated EU legislation governing the PSO air services, more stringent conditions will apply in the future, having regard for example to the availability of other transport connections and especially rail services with a travelling time of three hours or less. I believe this is a reasonable benchmark when considering levels of connectivity in Ireland.

The change in EU legislation, the substantial investment in surface transport, the completion of the Review and the requirement to make best use of scarce Exchequer resources, were all taken into consideration by Government in making this decision. Overall, I believe that the combination of an improved surface transport network together with a more consolidated air service network to regional airports, along with the State Airports at Cork, Shannon and Dublin, provides the necessary connectivity to underpin Ireland's sustainable development. As all the regional airports are privately owned, the question of their commercial viability is a matter for each of them to consider. My focus is on making the best use of scarce Exchequer funds for the good of the Irish public.

In addition to the PSO scheme, there are two other schemes which provide Exchequer support to the Regional Airports — an Opex scheme which provides money to airports to cover all or part of their operational losses in any given year and a Capex scheme which provides finance towards the cost of necessary infrastructure at our regional airports. I am giving further consideration to these schemes and will revert to Government shortly with proposals.

Severe Weather Events

Michael Ring

Ceist:

62 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport if he will publish clear guidelines for local authorities and local communities to allow them work together to salt and grit local roads using voluntary efforts and community organisations in partnership with local authority offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2361/11]

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

69 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Transport if he will consider, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, making resources available to provide salt bunkers for distribution by local authorities to allow residents in housing estates store and access salt supplies for local roads and vulnerable estates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2337/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 69 together.

The Government Emergency Task Force, under the auspices of the Department of Defence, is the framework around which national emergency responses are co-ordinated. Under the published emergency planning procedures, the national response to severe weather events is led by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The Department of Transport plays a support role in responding to such events. The Severe Weather Inter-Department Co-ordination Group met daily over the duration of the severe weather to co-ordinate the national response and monitor impacts across all sectors countrywide. Following a meeting last Wednesday that Group have already commenced a review of the overall response to the recent event. The review will, amongst many issues, include transport related matters, community involvement and salt management issues.

Clearly the priority will be to continue to ensure there is sufficient salt supply to keep the national primary road network open during any sustained period of severe weather. I am also of the view that public authorities should examine ways of supporting community groups in "self help" efforts. As I have indicated this is an issue which will be considered in the review currently underway. The review is expected to be largely completed over the next 6 weeks and Government Departments including my Department will be actively contributing to the review based on their experience over the recent spell of severe weather.

Question No. 63 answered with Question No. 61.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

64 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Transport if he will require the National Roads Authority to purchase salt stocks centrally for local authorities as well as keeping responsibility for centralised salt provision for primary routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2332/11]

Brian Hayes

Ceist:

66 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport if he has reviewed the amount of salt and grit that will be kept in stock throughout the winter months in view of salt shortages due to freezing weather conditions in recent months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2327/11]

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

67 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport if he will ensure that there is public transport service in Dublin after 9 p.m. in adverse weather conditions; if necessary that winter tyres be available for Dublin Bus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2271/11]

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

71 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Transport the steps he will take to ensure that adequate salt supplies are sourced and distributed by the National Roads Authority to local authorities across the State so as to ensure that recent severe problems are not repeated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2196/11]

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

87 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport if he will review the operations of the Government task force dealing with the present weather crisis with a view to providing a national transport strategy for dealing with transport requirements in extreme weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2252/11]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

90 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the communication he has had with the Dublin Airport Authority and the National Roads Authority following December’s travel disruption due to the difficult weather conditions; his plans to implement new strategies to keep transport links open in the case of such conditions in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2198/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64, 66, 67, 71, 87 and 90 together.

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding for the Transport sector. As the Deputies will be aware, the issues raised by them mainly fall within the operational responsibilities of the relevant agencies, be it the National Roads Authority, the public transport companies and the Dublin Airport Authority in which I have no function. I refer the Deputies to my response to today's priority questions 54 and 57.

Rural Transport Services

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

65 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport if he will publish the value for money review on the rural transport programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2323/11]

It is intended to complete the Report on the Value for Money and Policy Review of the Rural Transport Programme in the coming weeks. Thereafter, the Report will be published following consideration by Government.

Questions Nos. 66 and 67 answered with Question No. 64.

Transport 21

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

68 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the objectives identified in the national transport plan, Transport 21, which have so far been realised; the projects, if any, deleted from those originally announced by him at the launch of the plan; the additional projects included in the interim; the degree to which the economic situation has impacted or is likely to impact on the delivery of the plan; if the priorities and time schedule remain as originally anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2410/11]

Transport 21 aimed to develop Ireland's transport system, by significantly expanding capacity, increasing integration, enhancing quality, increasing accessibility and ensuring sustainability. The programme proposed to achieve these aims through various objectives including the completion of the inter-urban motorway network and improvements to the rest of the national roads network; the transformation of the public transport network in Dublin and the improvement of regional and rural public transport systems.

As the Deputy is aware substantial progress has been made since 2006 on the various Transport 21 projects included in these objectives:

The five major inter-urban motorways, the M50 upgrade and the M3 motorway from Clonee to North of Kells have been completed.

The Cork-Midleton line and the first phases of the Western Rail Corridor and the Navan line have been completed.

The Kildare railway line has been upgraded and a number of new Dublin suburban stations have opened.

The Luas Docklands and Cherrywood extensions have opened and City West is due to open in quarter 2 this year.

The Irish Rail fleet has been renewed and over 500 buses have been purchased.

Due to the changed economic circumstances, resulting in reduced capital allocations for transport investment over the coming years, it will now not be possible to complete all of the remaining projects originally identified in Transport 21 by 2015. However to date no projects have been cancelled and planning and design will continue so that projects can commence as funding becomes available. The National Recovery Plan sets out the revised capital allocations for transport for the next 4 years, totalling over €4.8 billion.

Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 62.

Cycle Facilities

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

70 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the success of the Dublin bike scheme; if he recognises its potential for expansion; his plans to encourage the introduction of the bike scheme into other cities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2248/11]

I am aware of the success of the Dublin Bike Scheme and would welcome its further expansion, both in Dublin, and as similar schemes in other urban areas. Dublin City Council was responsible for the introduction of the Dublin Bike Scheme and introduction of similar schemes in other areas would be a matter for the local authorities concerned.

Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 64.

EU Directives

Joan Burton

Ceist:

72 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport his assessment of the rejection, by the European Parliament in June 2010, of the EU commission proposals to amend EU Directive 200215/BC concerning the working time of truck drivers; if he plans to apply the directive to self-employed drivers; his plans to amend Statutory Instrument 2/2005 in accordance with the EU decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2240/11]

The recent decision by the European Parliament to reject the jointly agreed position of the European Commission and Member States concerning the application of the Working Time Directive to self-employed mobile transport workers required all Member States to re-assess the legislative framework governing working time in this area. In Ireland's case, a draft Statutory Instrument recasting S.I. 2 of 2005 that will implement this decision has been drawn up in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority. The Department is currently consulting with the European Commission regarding practical enforcement issues arising across Member States, with a view to ensuring that Ireland's legislation will reflect best practice across the EU. Following the outcome of that consultation with the Commission, I will move quickly to legislate in this area.

Transport Infrastructure

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

73 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport if he will put together a transport or business plan to make Shannon Airport and Foynes seaport hubs for international transport involving the distribution of international cargo to EU countries. [2246/11]

The updated Mid-West Regional Planning Guidelines list as an objective the completion of a Strategic Integrated Framework Plan for the Shannon Estuary which among other things would identify suitable areas for economic growth and development in the estuary. Shannon Foynes Port Company is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders in seeking to maximise the potential offered by its location on one of the country's best deepwater locations. The Company has recently established a branded website www.shannonestuary.ie, which advocates the development of the area as a global deepwater shipping resource. The Company continues to work closely with development agencies at both a national and regional level in seeking further potential commercial opportunities.

Additionally the Port Company, together with the Irish Development Agency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Shannon Development, has developed the concept of promoting Shannon Estuary as Europe's Ocean Energy hub. This concept offers considerable potential that will benefit both the Shannon region and the national economy in general. The position in relation to Shannon Airport is that in 2009 the Dublin Airport Authority concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Lynx Group, a global airport cargo facility company, to explore jointly the feasibility of developing a major cargo facility at Shannon Airport.

The DAA has undertaken an evaluation of the business case for the project and is in active discussions with the Lynx Group on this proposal. Consideration of the best way to support the project will take account of the extent of potential investment by the DAA on foot of its evaluation of the business case and any support that could be provided by the State subject to compliance with EU state aid rules. I will be happy to bring the Deputy's suggestion to the attention of the Shannon Foynes Port Company and the DAA.

Public Service Agreements

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

74 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport the manner in which he is implementing the Croke Park agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2253/11]

Progress on the Transport Sector Public Service Agreement Action Plans 2010-2014 was submitted to the Public Service Implementation Body on 6th January 2011. The plans identify progress on the actions specific to my Department and for each Non-Commercial State Agency under my remit. Six actions have been completed on schedule at end December 2010 and good progress is being made on 2011 targets.

My Department and agencies engaged with staff and their unions on the action plan. In my own Department's case it utilised an on-line staff suggestion scheme, as a result of which a number of practical ideas for cost savings and efficiencies are being assessed for implementation. A monitoring and progress reporting structure has been put in place.

A Departmental Working Group has been established to review and monitor the Action Plan throughout the life of the Agreement. Quarterly meetings are held between the Management Board of my Department and the CEOs (and their equivalents) of the agencies, with the next meeting scheduled for Wednesday 19th January 2011. In addition a working group containing representation from the agencies meet on a monthly basis to monitor and report progress on the specific action items. Copies of the Action Plans are published on the Department's and the Agencies' websites.

Cycle Facilities

Joe Costello

Ceist:

75 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport his plans for 10% of commuter travel to be made by bicycle by 2020 throughout the country; the national percentage at present; the percentage of travel by bicycle he expects in Dublin and other cities in 2020; the percentage at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2245/11]

Both Smarter Travel — A Sustainable Transport Future and the National Cycle Policy Framework set out Government policy for cycling, with the overall objective of developing a culture of cycling in Ireland to the extent that by 2020, 10% of all trips will be by bike. The most recent census data available indicated a 2% national modal share for cycling in 2006. Dublin City Council's May 2010 City Centre Cycle Count (which is not directly comparable to census data) indicated that bikes made up almost 5% of traffic in the area surveyed (an increase of 18.9% over the previous year). While this is encouraging, further significant increases in cycling numbers will be required in Dublin and other urban areas, if the national target of 10% of all trips by bike by 2020 is to be achieved. My Department has commissioned a pilot National Transport Survey, through the Central Statistics Office, which should, when completed, provide a reliable measure of cycling use for transport purposes.

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 60.

Port Development

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

77 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport his policy for the operation of seaports here; the reason there is no mention of such a policy in Transport 21 2005-2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2256/11]

Policy in relation to the State's commercial seaports is outlined in the Ports Policy Statement, which was published in 2005. In September 2010 I announced a public consultation period on a review of current policy and the consultation document is available on my Department's website; www.transport.ie. The public consultation period has now concluded and my Department is considering the submissions received. Current policy is that the State's ports, which operate as commercial entities, are expected to fund all capital investments without recourse to the Exchequer. It is on this basis that no funding is provided for port infrastructure under Transport 21.

Departmental Agencies

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

78 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport the number of agencies and bodies under his jurisdiction; the budget for each in 2010; the number of boards and the number of board members; the number of persons he has appointed to each board in each year since 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2263/11]

There are currently 31 State Agencies under the remit of my Department, including five Harbour Authorities under the Harbours Act 1946. In 2010 the Department provided the following allocations towards the general administrative expenses of the following agencies:

• Railway Procurement Agency

€10,144,000

• Railway Safety Commission

€1,000,000

• National Roads Authority

€14,496,000

• National Transport Authority

€3,712,000

• Road Safety Authority

€26,546,000

• Medical Bureau of Road Safety

€4,357,000

• Marine Casualty Investigation Board

€376,000

There are currently 30 Boards under the remit of my Department consisting of 273 members in total. The information requested by the Deputy regarding the number of persons I have appointed to each board in each year since 2007 is attached in tabular form.

Board Appointments 2007-2010

Body

Appointments

2007

2008

2009

2010

Advisory Council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation

4

0

5

17

Arklow Harbour Commissioners

0

0

2

0

Baltimore & Skibereen Harbour Commissioners

0

0

5

0

Bantry bay Harbour Commissioners

0

0

3

0

Bus Átha Cliath

6

6

8

1

Bus Éireann

5

5

5

2

Cork Airport Authority

6

9

8

2

Drogheda Port Company

4

2

0

2

Dublin Airport Authority

0

3

11

0

Dublin Port Company

8

0

1

1

Dublin Transportation Office

1

16

0

0

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company

9

0

1

0

Dundalk Port Company

10

0

0

0

Galway Harbour Company

7

1

1

0

Íarnród Éireann

7

4

8

1

Irish Aviation Authority

1

2

3

2

Kinsale Harbour Commissioners

0

0

3

0

Marine Casualty Investigation Board

3

1

0

0

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

1

0

4

0

National Roads Authority

4

2

3

2

National Transport Authority

0

0

7

4

New Ross Port Company

5

0

1

1

Port of Cork Company

8

0

0

0

Port of Waterford Company

0

0

6

1

Railway Procurement Agency

5

0

0

1

Railway Safety Advisory Council

13

0

0

7

Shannon Airport Authority

5

5

11

2

Shannon Foynes Port Company

6

6

0

0

Tralee & Fenit Harbour Commissioners

0

0

3

0

Wicklow Port Company

9

0

0

0

EU Directives

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

79 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to EU Directive 2010/40/EU, the new legal framework for the deployment of intelligent transport systems in the field of road transport across Europe and for interfaces with other modes of transport; the steps he is taking to implement this framework policy here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2265/11]

Directive 2010/40/EU establishes a framework in support of the co-ordinated and coherent deployment and use of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) across Europe. It applies to ITS applications and services in the field of road transport and to their interfaces with other modes. The directive provides the European Commission with extensive powers to develop and adopt common specifications and standards for specific ITS services. The following ITS services are identified as initial priorities for the Commission's work:

EU-wide real-time traffic information,

EU-wide multimodal travel information,

road safety related minimum universal traffic information,

the accident notification concept eCall, and

both information and reservation services for truck parking.

Deployments of the respective ITS services within a Member State must be undertaken in accordance with specifications adopted under delegated acts.

The directive entered into force on 27 August 2010 and Member States are required to transpose the directive by 27 February 2012. A working group, comprising representatives of Government Departments, State Agencies, An Garda Síochána, local authority representatives and the national ITS association is assisting my Department with preparing the draft legislation.

Traffic Calming Measures

Jack Wall

Ceist:

80 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport his policies for the introduction of a 40 kph speed limit to allow local authorities reduce speeds in view of the fact that the 30 kph speed limit is proving difficult to implement in certain zones. [2276/11]

The Road Traffic Act 2010 amends section 9(2) of the Road Traffic Act 2004 by introducing a 40 km/h special speed limit in respect of a road or roads in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister. The revised guidelines for the application of special speed limits are currently under preparation and expected to be published later this month. The 40km/h regulatory sign is also required to be included in the revised statutory instrument for Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations which are currently under revision with a proposed completion date of the second quarter of 2011. The relevant section of the 2010 Act will be commenced when these Regulations are in place.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 61.

Taxi Regulations

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

82 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport when the office of the Taxi Regulator was transferred to the National Transport Authority, NTA; if the resources and funds of the office have also been transferred and will be at the disposal of the NTA; the way the office will now operate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2266/11]

Under Statutory Instrument 614 of 2010, the Commission for Taxi Regulation (CTR) was dissolved at the request of the National Transport Authority (NTA) on I January 2011. From that date the CTR was subsumed into the NTA along with its staff and functions. The Commission's permanent staffing complement of twenty-three has transferred to the National Transport Authority but will remain at their Headquarters in 35 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2. Fees in respect of the licensing of small public service vehicles, drivers and dispatch operators accrue to the Authority under Section 50 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003 following the dissolution of the Commission for Taxi Regulation.

Discussions took place over a long period between the National Transport Authority and the former Commission on Taxi Regulation on the details of the assimilation process such as the integration of financial and Information Technology processes. This was vital to ensure an effective transition to the new institutional arrangements. With effect from 1st January, the National Transport Authority will carry out the principal functions of the Commission as set out in Section 9 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2003, namely the development and maintenance of a regulatory framework for the control and operation of small public service vehicles and their drivers.

Public Transport

David Stanton

Ceist:

83 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport his role in the development of public transport commuter services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2281/11]

I and my Department provide the policy, legislative and funding framework for public transport in line with the Government's investment priorities. We also support the delivery of transport investment programmes and public transport services by the transport implementing agencies. I believe that the establishment of the National Transport Authority, based on its wide-ranging mandate under the provisions of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 and the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009, offers significant opportunities to target appropriate investment in and funding of commuter services in the future.

Taking account of the constrained funding available under the current four-year budgetary framework, the focus of my Department and its agencies will be on gaining greater efficiencies from existing public transport and commuter services and systems and providing new infrastructure within available funding. Priority will also be given to planning and designing future developments within the financial constraints. As a result the aim will be to achieve commuter journey time savings and congestion reduction and thereby contribute to national competitiveness.

Shipping Fleet

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

84 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport if he has any plans to establish an Irish shipping fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2268/11]

Ireland has a merchant shipping fleet and the present fleet consists of some thirty ships, over 500 GT, with an average age of less than seven years. These ships are privately owned, except for those of the Marine Institute and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. The standard of ship flying the Irish flag is high and Irish ships are very well regarded internationally. Ireland is currently ranked in 8th position on the "White List" of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the main league table for shipping states.

The international maritime regulators are increasing the requirements for shipping and from the 1st of January 2011 the Paris MoU introduced a new inspection regime. Under this scheme in order for a ship to qualify as a "Low Risk" ship it must fly the flag of a State which is on the "White List" and which has completed the International Maritime Organisation's Audit. Ireland met both of these criteria by the deadline of 1 January 2011, and was one of only 22 States worldwide out of a possible 169 which complied.

This "Low-Risk" status has significant benefits for ships flying the Irish flag. Such ships will be subject to a significantly reduced inspection and regulatory burden. They will also benefit from advantages in the charter market where such status enhances the selection of ships and the charter rates. My policy is for Ireland to remain on the "White List" and to retain the "Low Risk" status. Therefore ships seeking to register must meet and maintain the required standards.

Horse Drawn Carriages

Joe Costello

Ceist:

85 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport if he will detail the operation of the horse drawn jarvey transport system in each town and city in which it operates; the number of carriage drivers in the trade in each town or city; the method of regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2244/11]

I have no role in the day-to-day regulation of horse drawn jarvey systems. However, I understand that some local authorities have made bye-laws relating to the control of horse drawn carriages. The relevant local authorities may be able to provide the detailed information sought by the Deputy.

Traffic Management

Joan Burton

Ceist:

86 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport when he plans to regulate the operation of rickshaws and pedal bike passenger carriers in Dublin; if he will establish a licensing and insurance regime for their operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2241/11]

I have no role with regard to the regulation of rickshaws or pedal bike passenger services.

Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 64.

Cycle Facilities

Liz McManus

Ceist:

88 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport the funding allocated for cycling routes here; the amount of money which was not spent; the reasons for same; the allocation for 2010; his plans to ensure that the allocation is spent in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2254/11]

My Department has allocated funding of some €22.5m projects relating to cycle routes, some of which are development projects relating for example to scoping studies. Expenditure in 2010 was €5.9 million compared with the €13.5 m originally estimated. The underspend was due to unavoidable delays on a number of major routes, and financial provision for such projects has been carried forward into this year.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 60.
Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 64.
Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 60.

Air Services

Liz McManus

Ceist:

92 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport his aviation policy; the reason there is no mention of an aviation policy in Transport 21 2005-2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2255/11]

My policy is to ensure that the aviation sector supports Ireland's economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost-effective and sustainable manner and to ensure maximum connectivity for Ireland with the rest of the world. In doing so now, the challenge is to ensure that Irish aviation is well positioned to take advantage of economic recovery. Regarding Transport 21 2005-2015, this is a capital investment framework. It provides for capital investment in road and public transport infrastructure and for investment in regional airports.

Transport 21 included a provision of €100 million to support capital investment under a Regional Airports Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme at the six regional airports. Following EU State aid clearance for the scheme and assessment of applications, in February 2007, the Government approved expenditure of €86m for specific projects at the airports. However, the current difficulties with the public finance have impacted on the roll out of the scheme and since July 2008, grant aid has been limited to those projects or project elements that were already contractually committed in July 2008 or urgently required safety work.

Transport Infrastructure

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

93 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport the reason the ratio of capital investment between public transport and roads infrastructure remains skewed by a factor of 2.5:1 in the 2011 budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2258/11]

The Government committed in the National Recovery Plan to almost €5 billion investment in transport infrastructure over the next four years. This investment is continuing in line with the principles set out in the Government's Infrastructure Investment Priorities published in July 2010. In this context, the focus of investment is increasingly shifting towards public transport and is reflected in the allocations towards roads and public transport provided in the 4-Year National Recovery Plan. While initial allocations to roads are skewed towards roads in 2011 and 2012 in order to fund the completion of the Major Inter Urban Routes and a number of remaining national roads projects of key strategic importance, it is planned that the level of investment in transport infrastructure will be greater for public transport than roads in 2013 and subsequent years.

Road Safety

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

94 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport the number of deaths on the Irish roads in each month of 2010; if he is satisfied with the progress being made by the road safety strategy in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2259/11]

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) responsibility for the collection of structured information on road collisions lies with the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Road fatalities and road collision statistics are available on the Road Safety Authority's website www.RSA.ie. The core objective of the 2007-2012 Road Safety Strategy, with its 126 Actions spread across the areas of Education, Enforcement, Engineering and Evaluation, is to reduce road deaths to no greater than 60 fatalities per million population by the end of 2012. This is an average of 21 road deaths per month or 252 deaths per annum.

Under action 83 of the Strategy the RSA is tasked with reporting on the 126 actions in the Strategy. Their report on the implementation of the actions for 2009 show that of the 55 actions to be competed in 2009, 39 were completed in full and on time, a further 8 actions are nearing completion or completed outside of the target date and the remaining 8 actions are incomplete. The report on the actions for completion in 2010 will be submitted to me later this year.

However, 2010 saw the lowest number of road deaths on record at 212, an average of 18 road deaths per month. While the core objective has been reached ahead of its target date, we must now concentrate our efforts in ensuring that the figure is not exceeded for each of the remaining years of the Strategy.

Departmental Agencies

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

95 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport if he plans to reduce the number of quangos in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2267/11]

There are currently 31 State Agencies under the remit of my Department, including five Harbour Authorities under the Harbours Act 1946. All of these perform a range of important transport functions. I am taking a number of measures to rationalise and improve the effectiveness of these agencies.

The Commission for Taxi Regulation was subsumed into the National Transport Authority on 1st January 2011. The Dublin Transportation Office had earlier been subsumed into the Authority in 2009. I am currently transferring responsibility for the Harbour Authorities to Local Authorities. A number have already been transferred. I expect that further transfers will take place in 2011. In line with the McCarthy Report proposals, I have decided to merge the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency. This will be progressed during 2011.

It is also my intention to amalgamate the Commission for Aviation Regulation and the regulatory functions of the Irish Aviation Authority with the National Transport Authority. The net effect will be that the number of State Agencies under the remit of my Department will be reduced substantially and in a manner that will ensure the enhanced efficiency in the delivery of transport services.

Ministerial Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

96 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if he will list all appointments made by him between 14 December 2010 and 13 January 2011 to State boards, agencies, quangos, bodies, authorities and other bodies within the aegis of his Department; the person appointed in each such case; the remuneration associated with the position; the selection process employed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2489/11]

I did not make any appointments to State boards, agencies, quangos, bodies, or authorities within the aegis of my Department between 14 December 2010 and 13 January 2011.

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

97 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by him in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2667/11]

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

Name

Title

Annual Salary applicable 2009

Expenses Claimed 2009

Annual Salary applicable 2010

Expenses Claimed 2010

Annual Salary applicable 2011

Expenses Claimed 2011

1Oliver O’Connor

Special Adviser

177,547.00

0

156,241.00

0

0

0

Brian Murphy

Special Adviser

137,737.00

0

132,687.00

0

132,687.00

0

2Declan Ryan

Special Adviser

97,109.00

0

92,672.00

0

0

0

Peter Clinch

Special Adviser

213,092.00

347.12

181,243.00

1,882.41

181,243.00

0

Padraig Slyne

Special Adviser

100,392.00

0

96,295.00

0

96,295.00

0

3Deirdre Gillane

Special Adviser

0

0

95,550.00

0

98,424.00

0

1Oliver O’Connor left the Department on 15/9/2010.

2Declan Ryan left the Department on 14/5/2010.

3Deirdre Gillane started in the Department on 31/5/2010.

In addition to the Special Advisers listed in the table above, I have 2 Special Advisers who are civil servants on secondment to my Department.

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

98 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by him in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2682/11]

The table below details all foreign travel by me from 1st January 2010 to date. Costs in respect of the Government Jet are not included as they are paid by the Department of Defence.

Costs of Foreign Travel from 1st January 2010 to date

14 January — Meeting with Prime Minister Brown, London

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€370.45

25 January 2010 — Meeting with Prime Minister Brown, London

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€529.22

11 February — European Council, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€337.50

12-18 March — St Patrick’s Day Programme, USA

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Air Ticket/ Cancellation Charge

€164.06

Car Hire

€10,616.12

Name of Hotel

Hilton Hotel, Chicago

Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco

St Regis Hotel, Washington

Cost of Hotels

€1,684.87

Nature of entertainment expenses

Lunch with Members of the Ireland America Economic Advisory Board / Porterage charges

Total cost of Entertainment expenses

€2,704.04

25-26 March — European Council Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€1,315.00

Name of Hotel

Radisson Blu

Cost of Hotel

€500.00

7 May — Meeting of Heads of State or Government of the Euro Area, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€312.50

17-18 May — E.U. Latin American & Caribbean Summit and bilateral meetings, Madrid

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Name of Hotel

Hotel Hesperia

Cost of Hotel

€211.86

17 June — European Council, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€682.50

Name of Hotel

Radisson Blu

Cost of Hotels (Cancellation charges)

€217.00

23 June — Meeting with Prime Minister Cameron, London

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

25 June — British-Irish Council Summit, Guernsey

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

11-15 July — Official trip to New York/Atlanta

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€9,218.90

Name of Hotel

Fitzatrick’s Hotel, New York

Carlton Hotel, Atlanta

Cost of Hotels

€838.39

Nature of entertainment expenses

Dinner to mark the opening of the new Irish Consul Generalate in Atlanta (14 guests in total )

Entertainment expenses

€935.88

16 September — European Council, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Car Hire

€657.50

4-5 October — ASEM VIII Summit and bilateral meetings, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

28 -29 October — European Council, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

13 December — British-Irish Council Summit, Isle of Man

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

16-17 December — European Council, Brussels

Mode of Travel

Government Jet

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

99 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2697/11]

There were a total of 157 foreign trips made by officials in my Department. The breakdown requested by the Deputy is not readily available. The table details the total cost of foreign trips made by the Taoiseach, Ministers of State and officials in my Department from 1st January 2009 to date.

Foreign Travel Costs

2009

2010

2011

Air Travel*

115,354.11

56,036.00

0

Hotel Costs

87,262.45

36,561.75

190.49

Taxi

1,489.08

950.57

0

Car Hire

48,721.14

29,178.85

0

Rail/Train

366.98

2,636.92

0

Ferry

0

686.00

0

Other receipted expenditure

2,341.40

6,894.12

0

*Excluding the cost of the Government Jet which is met by the Department of Defence.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

100 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of hotel accommodation used by him within the State while on ministerial duties in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which he stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2727/11]

The table below details hotel accommodation within the State used by me on official duties during the years 2009 to date.

Date

Name of Hotel

Purpose of Trip

Cost

18 March 2009

Park Inn, Shannon Airport

Return flight from Washington to Baldonnel was diverted to Shannon Airport at 12.30am due to weather conditions.

€101.23

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

101 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2742/11]

The table below details foreign trips made by official in programmes and bodies under the aegis of my Department from 1st January 2009 to date.

Law Reform Commission

Date

Purpose of Journey

Flight

Hotel Cost

Hotel Name

Public Transport/ Taxis

2009

Jan

2 Officials attended End of Life Decision Making: Dilemmas and Directions, Legal Research in Birmingham

€135.92

Nil

Nil

€123.21

May

1 Official attended Trier-Cross Border mediation conference in Luxembourg for Legal Research

€254.10

€396.00

Park Plaza Trier

Nil

2010

April

1 Official attended The Fourth Conference of the Commission on European Family Law: the Future of Family Property in Europe, in Cambridge

€160.96

€114.50

€11.80

June

2 Officials attended “5 Jurisdictions Meeting” in London for meeting of 5 Law Reform Commissions

€862.08

£546.39

Bloomsbury Hotel

Nil

July

1 Official attended “Meeting of the European Forum of Official Gazettes” in Rome

€166.00

€259

Nazionale Hotel

Nil

Irish Newfoundland Partnership

Year

Purpose

Air travel costs

Hotel

Taxis

Entertainment Expenses

March 2009

1 official INP meetings in St. John’s, Newfoundland and planning meetings regarding the official opening of Irish exhibition in The Rooms

€3,331.59

Sheraton Hotel €913.06

€104.84

€357.54

May 2009

1 official INP meetings in St. John’s, Newfoundland

€1,014.06

€0

€45.89

€0

September 2009

3 officials INP meetings in St. John’s and official opening of Irish exhibition in The Rooms

€2,597.23

Sheraton Hotel €1,464.04

€140.96 (2 officials)

€0

National Forum on Europe

Year

Purpose

Air travel costs

May 2009

Meeting in Brussels

€158.84

NESDO

The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) comes under the aegis of my Department. The information sought is contained in the following tabular statement. Air travel in all cases was by way of commercial airlines. The total cost of foreign trips in 2009 was €8,644.57 and in 2010 was €4,408.06. There have been no foreign trips made by officials of NESDO so far in 2011.

It was not possible in the time available to capture all the detail requested by the deputy, as some of it applies to two former constituent bodies of NESDO, the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP) which were discontinued on 1 April 2010. I will communicate with the deputy when the complete information is available.

Date

Purpose of Journey

Flights

Hotel Cost

Hotel Name

Taxis

Other

Apr-09

Berlin Work in Net Conference

223.05

14.50

Apr-09

East Midlands Hospital of the Future Meeting with Peter Totterdell

83.69

265.09

Hotel Izaak

May-09

Boston, Harvard, Women’s Leadership Board

2,216.40

880.00

Charles Hotel Boston

2009

Speaker Helsinki University of Technology

443.76

96.50

May-09

London (Details on purpose of journey to follow)

118.81

37.24

Jun-09

Brussels/Maastricht, Symposium on Health Care Reform

240.74

Hotel Costs paid by third party and claimed from NCPP

Hotel Mabi

Jun-09

Amsterdam Institute for Advanced labour Studies

Details to follow

Details to follow

Details to follow

62.70

81.4

Jun-09

Sofia, ESC AGM of the Secretary Generals

527.92

178.00

Grand Hotel, Sofia

83.50

11.95

Aug-09

Copenhagen to Oslo to Dublin (Details of purpose of journey to follow)

479.87

169.37

Hotel Bristol, Oslo

56.90

13.68

Aug-09

Boston, Harvard, Womens Leadership Board

1,443.19

Details to follow

Charles Hotel Boston

58.90

Aug-09

Amsterdam International Summer School

157.02

Hotel paid for by Host organisation

Sep-09

Conference Liege re Europe Report

166.48

178.00

Ramada Plaza, Liege

92.70

Oct-09

Budapest /Sofia Conference — Details to follow

200.51

Details to follow

Details to follow

62.70

Mar-10

London, International Strategy Workshop at the Institute for Govt

193.55

441.11

Details to follow

87.88

7.49

Apr-10

Nottingham, Project Workshop for Hospital of the Future Project

83.69

265.09

Izaak Walton Hotel,

May-10

Speaking at conference in Cornell University

526.25

1,277.94

Fitzparticks, Manhattan

May-10

European Social Council Meeting Madrid

158.09

342.40

Hotel NH Nacional

51.19

Sep-10

Brussels European Social Council

654.98

257.00

Details to follow

61.40

Cabinet Sub-Committees

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

102 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will name all Cabinet sub-committees in operation here in the years 2009 and to date in 2011; and the number of times each committee has met in 2009 and to date in 2011. [2747/11]

The names of the Cabinet Committees in operation in 2009 and the number of meetings held in 2009 are set out in the table below. No Cabinet Committee meetings have been held to date in 2011.

Cabinet Committee

Number of meetings in 2009

Economic Renewal and Jobs

12

Science Technology and Innovation(subsumed into Economic Renewal and Jobs in June 2010)

1

Health

8

Social Inclusion, Children & Integration

2

Irish and the Gaeltacht

3

Transforming Public Services

7

Climate Change and Energy Security

2

European Affairs

6

Aspects of International Human Rights

2

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

103 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Taoiseach if he will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [3026/11]

The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is responsible for the regulation of charities in Ireland. Detailed questions in relation to the amount of funding provided to charities, from the State or from other sources, should be addressed to him.

FÁS Training Programmes

David Stanton

Ceist:

104 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of inquiries currently taking place pertaining to certification of courses relating to FÁS; the bodies or persons carrying out any such investigations; when she expects any such investigations to be complete; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2024/11]

FETAC is currently conducting an examination of the processes underpinning the requesting of certificates by FÁS from FETAC. It is doing so with the full co-operation of FÁS. The examination commenced in November and is expected to be completed shortly.

School Accommodation

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

105 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will confirm in writing the verbal commitment given by her Department to fund the rent for a property at a location (details supplied) to provide the urgently required replacement school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2049/11]

I wish to clarify for the Deputy that my Department advised the school authority in August 2010 that it was not in a position to grant aid the relocation of the school in question to another property. In reaching this decision, my Department considered the costs associated with a relocation together with the fact that a building project is being advanced which will provide a permanent solution for the long term accommodation needs of the school.

My Department did, however, agree to consider any reasonable proposal submitted by the school authority to provide improved accommodation in the interim. In this regard, an improved rental quotation for the property in question was submitted by the school authority. This new proposal is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority in due course.

The Deputy will be aware that a new school building is being provided for the school in question. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department expects to commence the tender process for the appointment of a Design Team for the project in the near future. My officials will be in contact with the school authority in this regard at that point.

Special Educational Needs

David Stanton

Ceist:

106 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of children currently enrolled in autism spectrum disorder special schools and the average unit cost per child per annum to the State in special schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2074/11]

My Department is committed to ensuring that all children including those with special needs can have access to an education appropriate to their needs. This facilitates access to individualised education programmes, fully qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants and the appropriate school curriculum with the option, in line with each child's ability, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. The cost of provision derives from a combination of factors and my Department focuses on delivering supports to schools to enable the schools provide an appropriate education to all children enrolled. The level of teacher posts, special needs assistant posts etc varies in line with the type of special educational need supported in each school. Different rates of capitation funding apply. Transport costs may vary depending on the location of the school. Other contributing factors would include the cost of continuous professional development or new school buildings and so on. Accordingly, it is not possible to calculate a single per unit cost that reflects the level of investment in special schools generally.

However, in general, over €1 billion was allocated in supporting special educational provision last year. There are now in excess of 20,000 adults in our schools working solely with pupils with special needs. This includes over 10,000 special needs assistants; over 9,000 resource and learning support teachers employed in mainstream schools; over 500 teachers in special classes and over 1,100 special school teachers. I have arranged for officials in my Department to forward directly to the Deputy the number of children currently enrolled in special schools for children with autism.

Schools Building Projects

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

107 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue on an application for the provision of an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2085/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for funding for additional accommodation. The application is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority in due course.

School Staffing

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

108 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons employed in the vocational education sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2087/11]

Currently approximately 10,458 whole time equivalent (wte) teaching posts and 754 SNA (wte) posts are allocated to VEC schools. In addition, as of 31st March 2010, the most recent date for which full figures are available, there were approximately 2,042 WTE non-teaching posts in the VEC sector funded from my Department's pay budget. The Deputy should note that approximately half of these posts are occupied by staff undertaking maintenance or administrative duties in schools.

Higher Education Grants

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

109 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a vocational education committee appeal following refusal of a higher education grant will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2088/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

School Patronage

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

110 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has received a copy of a draft position paper by an organisation (details supplied) regarding the lack of appropriate provisions for the rights of non-religious parents and students to be respected; if she has issued a formal response to this document; if she has made a submission to the Irish Human Rights Commission which is currently writing a report on the place of religion in education from a human rights perspective having regard to the observations made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2110/11]

I have not received a copy of the draft position paper by the organisation you mention. I understand that the document in question is a preliminary version of a submission which the organisation in question proposes to make to the Irish Human Rights Commission.

The Irish Human Rights Commission has issued a discussion paper which explores the place of religion in education from a human rights perspective. I understand that on the basis of the feedback received from individuals and organisation and further analysis, the Commission will make recommendations to the Government pursuant to Section 8(d) of the Human Rights Commission Act 2000. As it will be a matter for Government to respond to these recommendations in due course, I as Minister have not made a submission to the Commission.

Teaching Qualifications

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Ceist:

111 Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the situation regarding the demise of a college (details supplied) in County Kilkenny and the impact this has had on students; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that FETAC indicated to students undertaking the diploma in Montessori teaching that their course was protected as it is longer than three months and that learners currently enrolled on programmes lasting longer than three months may transfer to alternative providers operating in a similar field under protection for learners arrangements made by the provider as required under the Qualifications Act 1999 and FETAC will facilitate the transfer as soon as the relevant documentation becomes available; if she is further aware that FETAC has now indicated that it is not in a position to assist students in this regard; if such arrangements can now be made in view of the delay, inconvenience and uncertainty caused, which would have impacted on students making alternative arrangements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2117/11]

I am aware that the college the Deputy refers to is no longer offering courses and ceased trading in October 2010. Under the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999, FETAC-registered providers, delivering programmes of three months duration or more on a commercial and profit making basis, are required to have policy and procedures for the Protection for Learners, aimed at ensuring that there are adequate arrangements in place in the event of a provider ceasing operations. Such arrangements can include having an agreement in place with at least two other providers, to enable learners to transfer to continue their programmes should the provider cease operation.

The college referred to by the Deputy did not have protection for learners arrangements in place for this particular course. The course was structured as a series of six minor FETAC awards, each of which was less than three months in duration, although learners would have paid for the entire course in advance. When FETAC became aware that the course was being offered in this manner, it instructed the college to put protection for learners arrangements in place. The college failed to do this before it ceased trading.

Some 32 learners who had already completed assessments as part of the programme have returned their work to FETAC and it will be processed for certification. An additional 31 learners have not completed any assessments. FETAC has written to these learners advising them of other providers offering similar awards and is making all reasonable efforts to enable them to access a course.

School Transport

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

112 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding school transport in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2118/11]

Under the terms of my Department's Primary School Transport Scheme, pupils who reside 3.2 kilometres or more from, and are attending their nearest suitable national school, as determined by my Department, are eligible for free school transport. The pupil referred to by the Deputy, in the details supplied, is not attending his nearest national school and is therefore not eligible for school transport. However, Bus Éireann, which operates the school transport schemes on behalf of my Department, has advised that this pupil was incorrectly categorised as eligible for the 2009/2010 school year and availed of a free school transport service. Under the circumstances, my Department, as an exceptional measure, has sanctioned the continuation of free transport for this pupil for the 2010/2011 school year.

It is open to pupils who are not attending their nearest school to apply for concessionary transport to the school which they are attending. Concessionary transport is offered subject to a number of terms and conditions, including the availability of spare seating on an existing service. In this regard, the parents of the pupil in question should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office.

Schools Building Projects

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

113 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if, in view of the revised construction arrangements in place on a school building project (details supplied) in County Kildare, if she will indicate a realistic time frame for the completion and opening of the new school facility; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2156/11]

The school referred to by the Deputy is included in the 2nd bundle of primary/post-primary projects being provided under my Department's PPP programme. The other schools in the bundle are Bantry Community College and Gaelscoil Bantry, Co. Cork, Abbeyfeale Community College, Co. Limerick, Wicklow Town Community College and Athboy Community School. The Macquarie Partnership for Ireland (MPFI) consortium was awarded the contract for the delivery of the 6 schools in early June 2010 and construction works commenced immediately. Under the contract all schools are due to be completed in late 2011 and it is envisaged that all schools will be delivered as per contract.

School Staffing

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

114 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a new principal at a new amalgamated school (details supplied) will take up position; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2157/11]

The recruitment and appointment of the Principal at the school referred to by the Deputy is the responsibility of its Board of Management. My Department has given its approval for this post of Principal to be filled from 1 February 2011.

Departmental Properties

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

115 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the addresses and cost per annum of all premises that are rented or leased by the vocational education committees including those used for the purposes of Youthreach, vocational training opportunities scheme and Traveller training centres; the estimated remaining length of each lease in respect of each building; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2185/11]

My Department is compiling the information requested by the Deputy and will respond directly to the Deputy when this information is to hand.

School Staffing

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

116 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the current arrangements regarding supervision and substitution in primary and second level schools; the level of funding allocated to supervision and substitution in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2186/11]

Details of the Supervision and Substitution scheme for primary and second level schools are set out in the attached Circulars, P29/03 and PPT01/03. The managerial authority of a school may employ a substitute to replace a teacher absent from teaching duty on an approved absence. Examples of absences for which substitution is allowed are certified illness, maternity and adoptive leave, in-service courses, carers' leave.

Changes to the substitution arrangements for absences on uncertified sick leave at primary and second level and official school business at second level were introduced from the 1st January, 2009 and they continue to apply. The changes are outlined in Circulars CL0110_2008 and CL0115_2008 which are attached. The costs for both the supervision & substitution scheme and substitution for approved absences are listed below.

Post Primary teachers (excluding the VEC sector)

1. Substitution Costs €57.619m; 2. Supervision Scheme €34.190m.

Primary teachers

1. Substitution Costs €100.9m; 2. Supervision Scheme €57.542m.

Circular Letter 0110/2008

To: BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT OF POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION COMMITTEES

Substitute cover for registered teachers employed in post-primary schools — Amendments to existing arrangements.

As a result of the 2009 Budget provisions for Education, arising from current economic challenges, and following subsequent proposals from the management bodies of post-primary schools, new arrangements are being put into place for substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in post-primary schools and for official school business in post-primary schools.

These arrangements are being put in place with effect from 1 January 2009 and will remain in place for the remainder of the 2008/09 school year while a review of the supervision/substitution 37 hour scheme and related matters takes place.

1. Allocation of Hours:

Each post-primary school will be provided with a defined number of hours of substitution cover outside of the supervision and substitution scheme to provide cover for teacher absences arising from uncertified sick leave and official school business. This will be calculated on the basis of the number of pupils in a school with a minimum number of available hours for all schools with less than 100 pupils. Thus for the remainder of the school year 0.16 hours substitution cover will be allocated for each pupil in a school as per the school's recognised pupil enrolment on the 30th September 2007. Examples are an allocation of 32 hours for a 200 pupil school and 64 hours for a 400 pupil school.

The allocation of substitution hours for secondary and community/comprehensive schools will be issued by the Teacher Allocation Section before the commencement of the new school term. It will be issued in an amended staffing allocation schedule and shall be titled "substitution". The "substitution" allocation will not be taken into account in calculating Posts of Responsibility. The claims for substitution for uncertified sick leave and official school business should be made from the part time hours allocation on the On Line Claim System.

Allocations to VECs will be provided in the normal way and will be calculated on the same basis.

2. Substitution Cover for Other Absences.

The existing arrangements for substitute cover for other absences of teachers from teaching duty will continue to apply.

3. Supervision/ Substitution Scheme.

The supervision/ substitution scheme will continue to operate and teachers who undertake the duties in accordance with the terms of the scheme will continue to receive the annual payment. School managerial authorities are requested to ensure that the supervision substitution scheme is operated to maximum effectiveness in all schools.

P. Maloney,

Payroll Division,

December, 2008.

Primary Circular 29/03

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

PRIMARY BRANCH

TO BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT, PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

SUPERVISION FOR MID MORNING AND LUNCHTIME BREAKS

Introduction:

The Minister for Education and Science wishes to advise Boards of Management, Principal teachers and teachers in primary schools of the arrangements regarding payment of supervision monies to primary school teachers.

1. Duty of Care

Rules 121(4) and 124(1) of the Rules for National Schools and Section 23(2) of the Education Act 1998 oblige teachers to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of pupils and to participate in supervising pupils when the pupils are on school premises, during school time and/or on school activities. Accordingly, the responsibility of all teachers individually and collectively to provide a duty of care at all times towards the children in the school in which they teach, including periods of supervision, is not changed.

The overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of school supervision will continue to rest with the Principal teacher. The terms of Circular 16/73 will continue to apply i.e. “the Principal teacher should organise supervision for the order and general behaviour of the pupils during school hours. In particular, s/he should organise and participate in the effective supervision of the pupils during breaks, lunch-breaks, assembly and dismissal”.

2. Maximum number of hours supervision due to a school

2.1 A school is entitled to 37 hours supervision per annum for each full-time teaching post (including temporary full-time teaching posts), or to a minimum of 122 hours per school, whichever is the greater.

This figure takes account of

the nature of supervision at primary level

the age range of pupils and

guarantees the current levels of care and supervision

provided to all primary pupils.

N.B.: A full-time temporary teaching post refers to a temporary teaching post sanctioned for a full school year.

2.2 The number of full-time teaching posts allocated to a school on 30th September in a school year determines the number of hours supervision due to a school in that year. Example : If a school has 10 full time teaching posts on 30th September, a maximum of ten supervision payments of 37 hours each will be made to the school for the school year.

2.3 There are no circumstances where additional supervision monies can be paid to a school over and above the staffing allocation on 30th September.

2.4 Where there is a shared teaching post, this post is counted in the base school when calculating entitlement to supervision allocation.

3. Contract to undertake supervision

3.1 A teacher undertaking supervision duties must sign a letter of contract with the Board of Management. Sample attached at Appendix A. The letter of contract must be certified by the Chairperson, Board of Management and retained in the school for at least six years.

Sample A: relates to teachers committing to undertake supervision duties of 37 hours per annum on an on-going pensionable basis to retirement.

Sample B: relates to teachers committing to provide 37 hours supervision for a full school year, but deferring decision regarding pensionability until 1 September, 2004.

Sample C: relates to newly appointed teachers opting to provide 37 hours supervision but deferring decision on pensionability for 1 year from the date of their first appointment.

4. Roster for Supervision

4.1 The Principal teacher should prepare the roster for supervision and, where possible, this should normally be drawn up before the start of the school year.

4.2 The roster should include arrangements for providing supervision for short-term absences of 28 days or less i.e. for teachers to swap days they are due to do supervision duties. It should be submitted to the Board of Management for approval and should be retained in the school for inspection by Department officials.

4.3 The roster should be posted in a prominent position within the school so that all teaching staff have access to it.

5. Eligibility of Teachers to Undertake Supervision Duties and Receive Payment of Monies

5.1 A permanent or long-term temporary teacher who undertakes supervision duties in a primary school must opt to provide a minimum of 37 hours supervision per school year in order to receive payment with salary from the Department. (For the purpose of this circular a long-term temporary teacher is a teacher employed under contract with a Board of Management for a full school year).

5.2 The Department will issue a grant to the Board of Management to facilitate payment to a teacher who opts to do less than 37 hours supervision per annum.

5.3 Job-sharing teachers may undertake supervision duties on their rostered teaching days and will receive annual payment with salary for a maximum of 18.5 hours supervision in a school year.

5.4 Permanent/temporary teachers in shared posts are paid for undertaking supervision duties. Local arrangements for carrying out the 37 hours supervision duties by the shared teacher should be made between the Boards of Management concerned. Supervision payment will issue with salary to the teacher at the base school.

5.5 A replacement teacher appointed in a permanent or long-term temporary capacity that commences or ceases employment with a Board of Management during the school year will receive payment with salary on a pro-rata basis for the period for which supervision was undertaken in the school.

5.6 If a teacher moves to a permanent post in another school s/he must sign a supervision contract with the new Board of Management in order to undertake supervision duties and to be eligible to receive payment of supervision monies at the new school. However, such an arrangement can only be entered into if the teacher is filling an existing vacancy in the school. Any additional posts allocated to a school after 30 September cannot be counted for supervision payments.

5.7 If a teacher is absent from a school on special leave under Rule 116 (Study Leave) a grant for supervision duties will be paid to the Board of Management for the period of the absence. It is a matter for the Board of Management to arrange payment for the person who undertakes supervision duties for the absent teacher.

5.8 The nature of certain teaching posts in primary schools, i.e. visiting teachers/teachers on secondment, does not allow for their availability to undertake supervision duties in the school. Consequently, no payments for supervision can issue to such teachers.

Short-term absence: (28 days or less)

5.9 Short-term absences (28 days or less) should be covered by local arrangements e.g. colleagues covering for each other, and Boards of Management should have a policy in relation to supervision for such absences. Where a temporary or substitute teacher employed to cover an absence of 28 days or less undertakes supervision duties payment for these duties will be made via a grant to the school. In the event that a substitute or temporary teacher is employed for a number of absences of four weeks or less, the substitute/temporary teacher cannot combine such separate days worked in order to receive supervision payment.

Long-term absence:

5.10 A permanent or long term temporary teacher absent in excess of 28 consecutive days on any type of leave during the school year, including absences before and after a holiday period, e.g. mid-term breaks, Christmas and Easter breaks (the holiday period is included when counting towards the absence), will be paid supervision monies on a pro rata basis i.e. they will not receive supervision monies for this absence. However, if the Board of Management certifies that full supervision duties were carried out in the school year by the absent teacher (i.e. 37 hours) then payment can be made. Examples of instances where such an absent teacher can fulfill the full 37 hours supervision include:

If another teacher in the school has opted out of supervision and there are hours available. In such an instance the grant due to issue to the school will be reduced accordingly; or

If a colleague covers for the absent teacher and the absent teacher then covers for the colleague on his/her return.

In the latter instance, the temporary or substitute teacher employed to cover the absence in excess of 28 days should not be called to do supervision to replace the absent teacher and there are no circumstances in which a payment for supervision will be made for this substitute/ temporary teacher.

5.11 If a short-term temporary teacher employed for a period in excess of 28 consecutive days or a substitute teacher employed in excess of 4 consecutive weeks is called upon to do supervision duties, the payment for the absent teacher will be reduced accordingly and payment will issue with salary on a pro-rata basis to the short-term temporary teacher/substitute teacher.

6. Payment of Grants to Schools

6.1 Schools where all teachers do not opt to undertake supervision duties

In schools where a teacher(s) opts not to undertake supervision duties, the Department will issue a grant (equivalent to 37 hours for each teacher who opts out plus an additional payment of 10.75% to cover the employers rate of PRSI) to Boards of Management. This will enable Boards to pay other teachers in the school who undertake supervision duties in excess of 37 hours annually or to employ external supervisors (i.e. non teaching staff). Section 5.6 also refers.

6.2 1, 2 and 3 teacher schools

In the case of 1, 2 and 3 teacher schools the standard payment (37 hours) will be made to each teacher undertaking supervision duties. A further grant will be payable to the Board of Management by the Department to facilitate the cost of external supervisors or any additional payments due to teaching staff as a consequence of working in excess of 37 hours supervision.

Based on an minimum entitlement of 122 supervision hours per school, grants will range as follows:

1 teacher school — 85 hours;

2 teacher school — 48 or 20 hours (see paragraph below in relation to 2 teacher schools) and

3 teacher school — 11 hours

One teacher schools:

In one teacher schools the Board of Management may employ an external supervisor(s) to undertake supervision duties. This is to enable the Principal teacher to comply with the terms of 12.1 of the Organisation of Working Time Act (1997).

Two teacher schools:

Each two-teacher school is entitled to 122 hours supervision.

Under present arrangements, the 2nd teacher in a two teacher school who is in receipt of the Special Duties Allowance as per Primary Circular 7/03 must undertake 28 hours of this supervision and is receiving payment for this in the special duties allowance. Consequently, the balance of supervision hours payable for such schools under the terms of this circular is 94 hours. If the 2nd teacher in a two teacher school is a Privileged Assistant or is in receipt of an allowance on a personal basis or is not in receipt of the special duties allowance, such teachers are not obliged to undertake supervision duties as per the terms of Primary Circular 27/02 (i.e. undertake 28 hours supervision).

Three teacher schools:

Each teacher in a three-teacher school, who opts to do supervision duties will receive payment with salary for the 37 hours undertaken. A grant will issue to the Board of Management for the balance of supervision, i.e.11 hours, if all three teachers have undertaken the duties.

6.3 External Supervisors

If the process of seeking volunteers from the teaching staff of the school to undertake supervision duties does not produce enough school based volunteers to cover the school supervision needs, the Board of Management may source and recruit personnel to provide supervision services, e.g non-teaching staff or external supervisors. Please see Primary Circular 18/03 in relation to the employment of such personnel.

The Board of Management will make payment for supervision duties undertaken by such personnel from grants provided by the Department which will be based on the balance or proportion of the balance of the schools' non-committed supervision hours.

6.4 Statutory Deductions

Where a Board of Management makes payments to teachers/external personnel, responsibility for statutory deductions (tax, prsi) should be dealt with directly by the Board of Management with the relevant statutory bodies.

7. Pensionability of Monies paid to Teachers for Supervision

7.1 Teachers, who are in pensionable service and who opt-in to supervision duties under a 37-hour per annum contract on an on-going basis to retirement, will have the supervision payment made pensionable, subject to the payment of contributions and the rules of the Superannuation Scheme.

7.2 In order for serving teachers to qualify for pensionability of supervision monies, they must opt in to supervision duties on or before the 1st September 2004. Teachers who are on authorised leave of absence (eg. Career break, secondment) and who are not in service in September 2004 will be given an option to opt in to supervision on a pensionable basis on their return.

7.3 Since the start of the 2002/2003 school year, newly qualified teachers in their first appointment, in order to qualify for pensionability, must opt in to supervision duties within twelve months of first appointment.

7.4 A teacher, who has opted to partake in the supervision duties, but later opts out, will forfeit pensionability (for supervision monies) and will not be allowed under any circumstances to re-enter such a commitment. The teacher will not, in such circumstances, be entitled to a refund of superannuation contributions paid in respect of supervision payments. The teacher must advise the Board of Management of his/her decision on or before the 30th June prior to the commencement of the next school year. The teacher may continue to provide supervision duties on a volunteer basis and receive grant payment from the Board of Management.

7.5 Where teachers make an ongoing commitment to supervise, the commencement date for pensionability shall be the 1st September 2001 in the case of serving teachers who delivered the appropriate supervision in each year since that date or the date of appointment in the case of new teachers who delivered appropriate service from that date. On entering the commitment teachers will be required to make the appropriate pension contribution with effect from these dates. Pension contributions effective from 1 September 2001 will be deducted from any supervision payment due to a teacher opting in to pensionability. Pension deductions will be made from the supervision payments for the 2003/2004 school year.

7.6 Any supervision duties undertaken for less than 37 hours duration or less than 18.5 hours in the case of job sharing teachers (other than where a teacher has been available throughout the school year to provide 37 hours supervision but where a Board of Management does not call on delivery of all the committed hours) or duties undertaken in excess of 37 hours in a school year are not pensionable.

8. Payment for the 2003/2004 school year

8.1 Arrangements will be made to include payments with teachers' salary at the end of the current school year, pending receipt of certification of supervision duties undertaken from Boards of Management.

8.2 Payments to substitute teachers will issue as soon as possible thereafter.

8.3 In an effort to assist schools with the costs arising from the employment of external supervisors, arrangements will be made to pay grants to schools as soon as possible in 2004. However, in order for such arrangements to be put in place, schools must complete the enclosed form Supervision — 2003/04 (Teachers Who Have Opted Out Of Supervision Duties) and return it to the Department by Friday 12th December 2003.

This circular may be accessed on the Department of Education & Science website at www.education.ie. (Access through Education Personnel/Primary/Circulars & information booklets).

J. Bracken

Primary Branch. November, 2003.

Contract for Supervision Duties

(full-time primary school teachers)

A

I _________ hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision duties on a pensionable basis under a 37 hour per annum contract on an ongoing basis to retirement in accordance with the terms of Primary Circular 18/03. I understand that, should I cease to meet this commitment, pensionability will be forfeited and I will not be allowed to re-enter such a commitment.

Or

B

I __________ hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision duties under a 37 hour contract for the school year 2003 / 2004 in accordance with the terms of Primary Circular 18/03 but wish to defer a decision on pensionability until on or before 1 September 2004.

Or

C

I __________, have commenced teaching on and hereby give a commitment to undertake 37 hours supervision duties per annum in accordance with the terms of Primary Circular 18/03. I wish to defer decision on pensionability for 1 year.

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Teacher)

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Chairperson, Board of Management)

Please retain with school records for a period of six years. This document should not be sent to the Department.

Circular Letter PPT01/03

To: Management Authorities of second-level schools.

(i) Supervision of pupils during the morning and lunchtime breaks and before and after school

(ii) Extension of approved substitution to cover uncertified sick leave and Teachers’ absences from class because of other approved school activities (e.g. games, competitions and other extra-curricular activities).

1. Introduction

1.1 This Circular Letter replaces and supersedes Circular M 39/02. The Minister for Education and Science wishes to inform authorities of post-primary schools of the arrangements for the pensionability of supervision and substitution payments and restate and clarify the revised arrangements for supervision and substitution in second level schools. The purpose of this circular letter is:

a) To advise schools regarding the new arrangements for paid supervision and substitution that will apply arising from agreement between the parties at the Teachers’ Conciliation Council.

b) To set out the conditions that will apply to the pensionability of supervision and substitution payments.

c) To outline to schools the funding/payment arrangements that will apply

d) To confirm the extension of paid substitution

1.2 Context of the Agreement on paid Supervision and Substitution

Teachers are routinely involved in supervision of pupils in their care as part of their contractual duty of care in a variety of situations. Supervision of pupils in classes under their control is an integral part of teachers' professional duties and the contracts of employment. This proposal relates to supervision of students during periods that are not assigned to any teacher and which had previously been provided by teachers on a voluntary basis.

The paid substitution element of this agreement is intended to cover situations where a suitable substitute is not immediately available. This has, up to the present, generally involved other members of the teaching staff substituting/supervising for their absent colleagues on a voluntary basis. It is this substitution that is intended to be provided under the new paid supervision and substitution arrangements.

While the scheme envisages that supervision and substitution will be provided by teachers, the circular letter also makes provision for the situation, which may pertain in those schools where teachers are not available to carry out this work.

The scheme, which applies to all post-primary schools, is outlined below. Detailed operational guidelines specific to the three different sectors (Community and Comprehensive, VEC and Voluntary secondary schools) may be circulated by the relevant management authorities following consultation with the relevant teacher unions. The Department may also issue further elaboration/clarification as required.

2. Basis of Scheme for Supervision and Substitution

2.1 Schools will be allocated hours for supervision and substitution on the basis of 37 hours per wholetime teacher equivalent (WTE) per school year. The WTE figure used for the allocation of supervision and substitution hours will be based on the teacher allocation as on the 1st September each year to the school.

2.2 Hours will be allocated to VECs on the basis of the teacher allocation as on 1st September each year to the scheme.

2.3 Payment will be made in July of each year on the basis of certified delivery as provided in the scheme. The payment will be calculated by reference to the hourly rate, appropriately weighted to give proportionate effect to any increases in the rate in the school year ending on the 30th June preceding payment. It is intended that payment will be made through the normal payroll system on the basis of certification by the Principal or Board of Management/VEC in relation to the commitment entered into by each individual teacher and the actual hours delivered. Further discussions will be held with the parties on agreeing arrangements for an advance payment in December.

3. Contractual Arrangements for Teaching Staff

3.1 Permanent, temporary and part-time teachers employed in the school may volunteer at the commencement of the school year for supervision and substitution duties over the course of the year. A copy of the contract for permanent wholetime teachers is attached as Appendix 1. Other contracts will issue in due course.

3.2 Wholetime volunteers will be required to contract to deliver a minimum of 37 hours supervision and substitution over the course of the school year. Part-time and job-sharing teachers who volunteer will be required to deliver supervision and substitution on a pro-rata basis. This will cover both the supervision and substitution requirements of the school as determined by the school authorities following a consultation process. In the event that the full allocation of hours available to the school is not exhausted by the volunteers on the basis of the minimum commitments, the additional hours may be distributed among the volunteers, or any number thereof, on a pro-rata basis or as agreed locally, subject to a maximum allocation of 49 hours per annum, in the case of wholetime teachers,not being exceeded.In addition to the maximum allocation of 49 hours per annum, a part-time teacher may commit to the difference between the annual contracted part-time teaching hours with the school/VEC and 735 hours.

3.3 The supervision and substitution contract will provide that volunteers, who are wholetime teachers, will not normally be required to provide more than 1 hour 30 minutes per week on the contracted duties in a given week. However, the contract will provide that a teacher may agree to undertake contracted duties for more than 1 hour 30 minutes in a particular week on the request of the Principal. Additional time worked in such circumstances will be reckoned towards the total annual commitment.

3.4 The system of extra and separate payment for both supervision and substitution is for service in addition to normal class contact hours. Payment for supervision duties may not be made for periods within assigned timetabled class periods. In applying the system of additional and separate payments for both supervision and substitution the practice of timetabling teachers for these duties within normal teaching hours should cease. Similarly direct delivery of supervision and substitution duties should no longer form part of the duties of an Assistant Principal or Special Duties post.

3.5 On the basis of the contractual arrangements outlined above, teachers will qualify for additional annual payments, on the basis of an hourly rate of €37 w.e.f. 1 September 2002. Payment will be made on the basis of actual delivery. However, in the event that management does not demand delivery of the 37 contracted hours during the course of the school year, payment for the 37 hours contracted commitment will be made. Final payment on this basis will be made in July each year.

3.6 In the event of the allocation of hours to a school not being exhausted by the contractual arrangements the remaining hours may be used by the school to:

(i) pay teachers in addition to their contractual arrangements in respect of any additional casual supervision and substitution they provide, or

(ii) pay any other teacher, if no contracted teacher is available, to perform these duties on a casual basis.

4. Operational Arrangements for Supervision/Substitution

4.1 The Principal should consult with the volunteers in deciding on the timetable for supervision duties. Supervision duties should be timetabled over the course of the school year.

4.2 Residual hours available after the timetabling of supervision will be available for substitution. The specific arrangements for a substitution timetable should be made following consultation between management and teachers. The total time assigned to substitution and supervision may not exceed 1½ hours in any given week (save where otherwise agreed with the teacher). A commitment from teachers to be available for two timetabled class periods per week will form part of these arrangements.

Where, in any given week, a teacher is not called upon for substitution, the unmet commitment remains but is subject to a maximum delivery in any future week of 1½ hours within the two designated class periods (save where otherwise agreed with the teacher).

5. Pensionability of Supervision and Substitution Payments

5.1 Teachers who are in pensionable service and who give a commitment in writing to undertake supervision and substitution duties under a 37 hour contract on an ongoing basis to retirement will have the agreed payment made pensionable subject to the payment of contributions and the rules of the Superannuation Scheme. The pensionability of supervision and substitution payments for part-time teachers will be addressed in the context of the discussions on the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001.

5.2 Serving teachers, in order to qualify for pensionability, shall make the necessary commitment on or before the 1st September 2004.

5.3 New teachers, in order to qualify for pensionability, shall make the necessary commitment within 12 months of first appointment. Details of teachers who have entered such a commitment should be notified to the Department of Education and Science in order that payment of the pension contribution can commence.

5.4 A teacher, who has entered such a commitment, but later ceases to meet the commitment, will forfeit pensionability and will not be allowed to re-enter such a commitment. The teacher will not, in such circumstances, be entitled to a refund of superannuation contributions paid in respect of supervision and substitution payments. Such teachers must advise their boards of management of their decision on or before the 30th June prior to the commencement of the relevant school year. However, this will not be a barrier to the provision of paid supervision and substitution on a casual basis.

5.5 Where teachers make an ongoing commitment, the commencement date for pensionability shall be the 1st September 2001 in the case of serving teachers who have delivered the appropriate service in each year since that date or the date of appointment in the case of new teachers. On entering the commitment teachers will be required to make the appropriate pension contribution with effect from these dates.

5.6 The pensionability of the supervision and substitution payment is restricted to the minimum commitment of 37 hours over the course of the year.

5.7 A teacher who is not entering a commitment to undertake supervision and substitution duties under a 37 hour contract on an ongoing basis to retirement may continue to provide supervision and substitution duties on a casual non-pensionable basis. Such teachers should advise their board of management of their availability on or before the 30th June preceding the next school year.

6. Supervision

6.1 School management has a responsibility to discharge its duty of care to pupils and to provide adequate supervision of pupils during the full period of time that schools are in operation.

6.2 Teachers are routinely involved in a variety of situations in the supervision of pupils in their care as part of their contractual duty of care. Supervision of pupils in classes under their control is an integral part of a teacher's professional duties and contract of employment. The issue being addressed in this scheme relates to supervision of students on the school premises outside of specified classroom teaching duties that has, up to the present, generally been provided by teachers on a voluntary basis. Under this scheme, the Department will make resources available to schools to provide supervision on a paid basis.

6.3 The supervisor in discharging his/her duty should take such care as to ensure the health and safety of the pupils as is reasonable in the circumstances.

7. Substitution

7.1 Substitution is the replacement of an absent teacher by another qualified teacher and substitution arrangements should aim to maximise appropriate teaching during substitution periods.

7.2 At present, the Department provides for paid substitution for specified approved teacher absences. In the case of absences for which paid substitution is available, schools normally employ a suitable qualified substitute as soon as possible to teach the subjects and classes of the absent teacher.

7.3 Under the terms of this agreement, the Department will now provide schools/VECs with resources to extend paid substitution for absences of teachers on uncertified sick leave, and other approved absences on school business, with a view to minimising the disruption of teaching programmes and improving the service to pupils. This substitution should be arranged in the normal way by the employment of a substitute teacher.

7.4 In addition, in order to facilitate school management in dealing with short-term unplanned or unexpected absences, teachers already employed by the school may commit to and be paid for casual substitution under the supervision and substitution arrangements set out in Paragraph 3 of this Circular. This does not alter the existing arrangements for part-time teachers to undertake duties as a substitute in the normal way.

8. Arrangements for Payment.

The following arrangements for payment have been agreed.

8.1 A claim form should be completed by each teacher who wishes to apply for payment. A copy of the claim form is attached as Appendix 11.

8.2 Valid claims should be certified by the Principal and retained in the school. The Principal of each school should notify the Department/VEC of the list of teachers eligible for payment on a composite claim form. The composite claim form will be forwarded to schools in due course.

8.3 The Department / VEC will arrange for payment of the teachers concerned through the teacher payroll system on receipt of the composite claim form.

8.4 Further discussions will be held with the parties on agreeing arrangements for an advance payment in December.

9. Supplementary Arrangements

9.1 The process of seeking teacher volunteers (from amongst the permanent, temporary and part-time teachers employed by the school) may not produce enough school-based volunteers to cover the school's supervision and substitution needs. In such circumstances, school management may source and recruit personnel to provide supervision services before school, at break-times and after school, and (where substitute teachers are not available) supervision of classes where teachers are absent on uncertified sick leave or on other approved absences on school business.

9.2 Such personnel employed by the school as supervisors may be paid either on a casual basis or on a contract basis from funds provided by the Department based on the balance or proportion of the balance of the non-committed supervision and substitution hours. Supervisors who contract for the delivery of supervision services will be remunerated at a weekly rate of €370 per week for which they will be expected to provide a minimum of ten hours and up to a maximum of twenty hours actual supervision per week. Supervision on a casual hourly basis or in excess of 20 hours for contracted staff in any week will be paid at a pro-rata rate.

9.3 These supplementary arrangements will continue to be kept under review in consultation with school management authorities.

10. Accounting Requirements

In the normal way each school/VEC will be required to keep records of the utilisation of the hours allocated under the supervision and substitution arrangements. Each school/VEC will also be required to provide a balancing statement showing the hours allocated, the hours certified for payment and expenditure on the employment of non teaching staff where applicable.

11. Review

The operation of the arrangements of this scheme will be monitored at national level throughout the year, and reviewed at the end of the school year, by a group representative of the parties to this agreement and may be revised as appropriate.

12. General

Queries regarding individual payments to teachers should be addressed to Post Primary Teachers Section in Athlone (Tel: 090-6474621).

Queries in relation to pensions should be addressed to Pensions Section (Tel: 090-6474621).

Queries in relation to school funding should be addressed to Post Primary Administration (Tel: 0506-24336).

13. Dissemination of Circular

Please provide a copy of this circular to the appropriate representatives of parents and teachers for transmission in the normal way.

John Dennehy

Secretary General

10th January 2003

Appendix 1

Contract for Supervision and Substitution Duties

(permanent wholetime teachers)

A. I _________ hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision and substitution duties for 37 hours per school year on an ongoing basis to retirement in accordance with the terms of the Circular Letter PPT01/03. I understand that, should I cease to meet this commitment, pensionability will be forfeited and I will not be allowed to re-enter such a commitment.

or

B. I __________ hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision and substitution duties for 37 hours for the school year 2002/2003 in accordance with the terms of Circular Letter PPT 01/03. I understand that this is on a non-pensionable basis.

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Teacher)

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Principal/Board of Management)

Optional

C. In addition to the commitment to undertake substitution and supervision duties of 37 hours I undertake to provide additional casual supervision and substitution hours when available as and when the need arises.

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Teacher)

Signed ______________ Date __________

(Principal/Board of Management)

Appendix 11

Claim for payment for voluntary Supervision/Substitution in the school year 2002/2003.

To: ______________________ Principal

From: _____________________Applicant

( Block Capitals)

In accordance with the terms of Circular Letter PPT 01/03 I hereby claim payment for voluntary Supervision/Substitution outside timetabled class contact hours on the basis that I have delivered on my contracted commitment of 37 hours over the course of the 2002/2003 school year.

In addition I hereby claim payment for an additional ___ non-pensionable hours which I delivered over and above my contracted commitment of 37 hours in the school year.

Signed: _____________________ Applicant

Date: _____________

I certify that the above claim has been verified by reference to school records and is in accordance with the terms of Circular Letter PPT01/03.

Certified: ________________ Principal

Date: _________

Circular Letter 115/2008

To: BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS

1. Substitute cover for registered teachers employed in primary schools — Amendments to existing arrangements.

1. (a) As a result of the 2009 Budget provisions for Education, arising from current economic challenges, and following subsequent proposals from the management bodies of primary schools, new arrangements are being put in place for substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in primary schools.

1. (b) These arrangements are being put in place with effect from 1 January 2009 and will remain in place for the remainder of the 2008/09 school year while a review of the supervision, substitution arrangements and related matters takes place.

1. (c) With effect from the 1st January, 2009, the general rule will be that substitute cover will not be provided for the first day of an absence of a teacher on uncertified sick leave in a school.

1. (d) There will be two exceptions to this general rule. The first will be that substitute cover will be provided for the first day of an absence of a teacher on uncertified sick leave in schools with two or less classroom teachers.

1. (e) The second will be that in the event that two or more teachers in a school are absent from teaching duty on the first day of uncertified sick leave, substitute cover will be provided for the second and subsequent teachers that are absent.

1. (f) The existing arrangements for substitute cover for other absences of teachers from teaching duty will continue to apply.

2. Checks for the Employment of Substitute Teachers.

2. (a) A recent newspaper report of journalists being offered employment as substitute teachers gaining access to two schools while purporting to be qualified teachers serves as a timely reminder of the importance of carrying out adequate checks when school staff are being recruited. For school authorities, when employing persons for teaching or other positions, good practice should involve the checking of recent employment records, qualifications, experience and names of referees. While many substitute teachers have previous experience of working in schools and may be known to the authorities in particular schools, there is clearly a heightened requirement for vigilance in checking the prior employment record where the person seeking employment is not known to the school or is approaching it for the first time. Good practice is warranted in any event, regardless of the specific issue with regard to safeguarding against any child protection risk.

2. (b) In the context of child protection specifically, the arrangements for vetting of teaching and non-teaching staff are set out in Department circular 0094/2006, which issued to all schools in June 2006. This circular is available on the Department's website. Irrespective of the position on vetting by the Garda Vetting Unit, where facts or information come to a board of management's attention calling into question a person's suitability to work with children, it is a matter for the board to be satisfied that the person is suitable to work in that capacity.

The position will naturally have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

2. (c) A Board of Management must consider the various circumstances of the case, give due weight to all relevant factors and afford fair procedures to the individual concerned before making a decision.

H. Loftus,

P. Maloney,

December, 2008.

Report Cards

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

117 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the report card templates drawn up by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment; if she has issued a circular requiring all schools to use these cards, particularly when a student transfers from primary to secondary school; her views regarding the use of these report cards and the obligations arising from the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2191/11]

The report card templates developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment are available for schools to use and they provide a useful mechanism for schools to report to parents on the progress of their children.

Circular Letter 0138/2006 requires schools to ensure that standardised testing is implemented on an annual basis in English Reading and Mathematics at the end of first class OR the beginning of second class, AND at the end of fourth class OR the beginning of fifth class. This circular advises schools that the results of testing should be reported to parents in respect of their children in accordance with the reporting templates which were then being piloted by the NCCA. There is no requirement in the circular to pass the report card to a second level school when the pupil transfers.

Section 22 of the Education Act 1998 requires the principal and teachers of a school to regularly evaluate students and periodically report the results to parents. The Data Protection Acts 1998 to 2003, which cover both electronic data and information held in manual form, generally require that personal data may be shared with other parties only for the specific purpose for which it was gathered, and generally only with legal cover or consent.

Section 28 of the Education Welfare Act, 2000 enables the data controller of a prescribed body to share personal data with another prescribed body for a relevant purpose. This includes recording a person's education or training history or monitoring his/her progress for the purpose of determining how best he/she can be assisted. SI 639/2005 prescribes the bodies which may share information as being the Minister for Education and Science, the National Council for Special Education, the National Educational Welfare Board, and any recognised school or centre for education. Schools may therefore share information with other schools or centres for the purpose of monitoring students' educational progress and catering for their educational needs.

Page 80 of Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum — Guidelines for Schools, which issued to all primary teachers at the end of 2007 sets out information on Data Protection and the sharing of assessment information with other parties.

Higher Education Grants

Michael Ring

Ceist:

118 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid the third level maintenance grant. [2214/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

119 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid the third level maintenance grant. [2215/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

120 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid the third level maintenance grant. [2216/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

121 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid the third level maintenance grant. [2217/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

122 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid the third level maintenance grant. [2218/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

124 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2382/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

125 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2383/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

126 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2384/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

127 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2385/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

128 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2386/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

129 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be granted their third level maintenance grant in view of the fact that the non-payment of this grant is causing financial hardship. [2387/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 to 122, inclusive, and 124 to 129, inclusive, together.

The process of assessing and paying third level or further education grants is a matter for the relevant local authority or VEC. I am aware that the timing of processing and paying of grants varies between the 66 awarding authorities depending on a number of variables including the volume of applications received, staffing resources and whether or not properly completed application forms have been submitted. Work prioritisation across different functions, and how available staff are deployed to execute those functions are matters for the management of each VEC and local authority concerned.

This year's student grant schemes include a number of significant administrative and service improvements aimed at addressing the issue of delay. These included addressing the issue of cash flow for grant awarding authorities to enable the timely payment of grants through the introduction of an advance payment arrangement.

My Department is in constant contact with grant awarding authorities to monitor the situation in relation to the processing and payment of student grants. Before Christmas, it wrote, on my behalf, to the heads of the grant awarding authorities to inform them that I am anxious to ensure that remaining applicants receive decisions on their grant applications as soon as possible and requesting their co-operation in prioritising this work in their Councils/Committees.

Schools Amalgamation

Michael Creed

Ceist:

123 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed amalgamation of schools (details supplied) in County Cork; if a site has been acquired for the construction of a new school arising from this amalgamation; if contracts for purchase have been completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2223/11]

In 2002, agreement was reached to amalgamate the two primary schools referred to by the Deputy. The application for capital funding to facilitate this amalgamation was assessed and assigned a band rating of 1.4.

The Department approached County Cork Vocational Education Committee seeking their assistance towards identifying a suitable site for this proposed amalgamation. County Cork Vocational Education Committee published an advertisement in April 2010, requesting submissions from interested land owners for potential sites for the proposed new school. On foot of the advertisement, a total of 5 proposals were received and a suitable site has been identified. The VEC has concluded its assessment of the sites and has, I am advised, had discussions with the planning authority on the suitability of the preferred site. I further understand that the land owner has also made contact with the Local Authority in relation to this matter. However given the sensitivities associated with land acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to comment further at this point in time.

The acquisition of the site and the delivery of the school building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Questions Nos. 124 to 129, inclusive, answered with Question No. 118.

School Accommodation

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

130 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 96 of 15 December 2010, if she has made a decision regarding the location of the new school in the Clane and Prosperous area of north Kildare; and who will set up the new school. [2414/11]

A review of the procedures for the establishment of new primary schools is currently being carried out under the Commission on School Accommodation. In the interim it is not proposed to recognise any new primary schools, except in areas where the increases in pupil numbers cannot be catered for in existing schools and which require the provision of new schools. The Commission is due to report to me shortly at which time I will have to consider the policy matters and necessary arrangements and revised procedures that will need to be put in place. The establishment of new schools, including the request for a new school in the Clane/Prosperous area, will be considered in this context.

School Transport

David Stanton

Ceist:

131 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the decision, if any, she has made to cease the exemption under the closed school rule; if she will list the schools that will be affected under this change; the reasons for this decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2415/11]

The information note accompanying the press release on 7th December setting out the main features of the 2011 estimates included the following in relation to the closed school rule (CSR):

Changes in the 2011/2012 school year, arising from the value for money review, will mean that the distance criteria will be applied to all pupils attending primary schools and the exemption under the closed school rule will cease. This means that children categorised for transport under the CSR who reside less than 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) from the school of attendance and who are availing of free transport to that school under the CSR will lose transport eligibility.

From the 2012/2013 school year, eligibility based on the CSR and the central school rule will cease for all new children entering primary schools. Existing primary pupils availing of transport under the CSR will retain transport eligibility for the duration of their schooling, provided the requisite distance criteria are met.

Thus, transitional school transport arrangements under the general terms of the scheme, will remain in place for a reducing number of pupils over a maximum period of seven years until this group of children have all completed their primary education.

A sample survey undertaken as part of the Value for Money Review on transport arrangements for pupils availing of transport under the CSR showed that the majority of pupils are in fact attending their nearest open school, so this change will not have any practical impact on students attending the majority of schools. Bus Éireann is now conducting a full assessment on behalf of the Department to establish the number of pupils who do not meet the distance eligibility criteria and the number of schools affected by the change. It is planned that this work will be completed by the end of the school year. The Department of Education and Skills assesses school accommodation needs in each area based on local demographic trends, current and projected enrolments, recent and planned housing developments and the capacity of existing schools to meet demand for places.

This rule, which has remained fundamentally unchanged since 1968. This change means that the distance criteria will be applied equitably nationally and that consistency will be introduced in relation to planning for school places. In the case of any future primary school amalgamations, eligibility for school transport will be based on distance from and attendance at the nearest school, as determined by my Department.

Schools Building Projects

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

132 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when work will commence on the extension and sports hall for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2425/11]

The project to which the Deputy refers is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. The design team lodged the planning application with the Local Authority in November last and have submitted applications for Fire Certificate and Disability Access Certificate (DAC). On receipt of the necessary statutory approvals the design team will complete and submit their stage 2(b) report to my Department for technical review. Assuming no issues arise, it is envisaged that the project will then progress to tender and construction.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

133 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when work will commence on the extension and sports hall for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2426/11]

The project to which the Deputy refers is currently at tender stage. Upon receipt of the tender report from the Board of Management and assuming that no issues arise, the project will be authorised to proceed to construction. It is anticipated that the project will commence construction in the second quarter of 2011.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

134 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when work will commence on the new school buildings for an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2427/11]

The project to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of the tender process. Subject to no issues arising, it is anticipated that construction will commence shortly.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

135 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when she will lodge a planning application for permanent school buildings for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2428/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, it is intended to provide a 1,000 pupil permanent post primary school on a permanent site for the school to which the Deputy refers. Fingal County Council are leading the negotiations in relation to the acquisition of a site for the school in question, at my Department's request, in accordance with the Fingal Model Agreement. Fingal County Council have advised the Department that the elected members have formally approved the disposal of the site to the Department and contracts are awaited. In the meantime, the school is operating in temporary accommodation on an existing VEC site. The Department recently received an application for the rental of additional temporary accommodation to meet the school's anticipated needs for September 2011 and this application will shortly be assessed.

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

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

136 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will explain the rationale behind her decision to permanently purchase prefabricated classrooms at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; the cost of this transaction; the arrangements in place for the construction of permanent proper classroom facilities at this school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2429/11]

As the Deputy is aware, my Department's review of policies and procedures for the provision of temporary classroom accommodation is well underway. The review incorporates the development of standard specifications for temporary accommodation, the development of new contractual terms to incorporate buy-out and relocation options to cater for individual local circumstances and appropriately protect the interests of the Department and school authorities. Another strand of the review is negotiations with prefab suppliers to buy out existing rental contracts or reductions in annual rent, as appropriate. An initial group of schools with rented prefabricated accommodation, including the school referred to by the Deputy, has been identified for priority negotiations with suppliers to buy out existing rental contracts.

The focus of this review is the development and adoption of practical measures and policies to achieve best value for money in the area of temporary accommodation in schools. The selection criteria for buy-out options have identified schools where lengthy and/or costly rental contracts exist. Officials from my Department visited the school in question in October 2010 and examined the prefabs being rented. On 29th November 2010 the school authorities were informed that my Department had decided to purchase the rented accommodation as it provided better value for money for my Department. The school were also advised that the purchase of the rented accommodation would not affect the school's application for a permanent extension which has been assigned a band rating of 2.4.

I would like to assure the Deputy that the school's application for an extension will continue to be considered for progression through the School Building and Modernisation Programme. In light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of that project at this time. As negotiations are on-going on the buy-out of other school rental contracts, the cost of the buy out of the rental contract at the school in question cannot be provided as this information is commercially sensitive.

School Staffing

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

137 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will respond to correspondence (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2459/11]

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act 2009 (the Act) determined the criteria for reducing the pay of public servants with effect from January 2010. However, when the Act was introduced, there was a question as to how a public servant should be determined for the purposes of this Act. Subsequently, following receipt of legal advice, it has now been determined that all staff employed by a recognised school or VEC come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act.

While it is correct to say that fee-charging schools do not receive capitation or ancillary grants, the legislation has determined that all persons employed by a recognised school (including a fee-charging school) or VEC, regardless of the source of the money used to fund their salary, the lack of ability of any Minister or Department to determine on their appointment or set their pay rates, and irrespective of whether or not they are eligible for, or members of, a public service pension scheme, are "public servants" within the meaning of the Act.

It is important to point out that the fact that affected staff employed by recognised schools and VECs come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act does not alter their employment status in any other respect. In view of the time lapse involved in reaching a determination on this issue, the Minister for Finance has allowed for a temporary exemption from the application of the Act for these categories of staff up until 31 December 2010. Accordingly, my Department issued Circular 0070/2010, on 26 November 2010, which outlined that adjustments in salary should be applied with effect from 1 January 2011, to all relevant staff in the employment of recognised schools or VECs, who were not already affected by the pay reductions introduced under the Act. Some of the categories of staff affected by this Circular included school secretaries in all recognised schools (including fee-charging schools).

Higher Education Grants

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

138 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will make allowances for a student whose application for a third level grant is stalled because of an unusually difficult situation regarding a property that is currently classified as an asset belonging to one of their parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2460/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

Teaching Qualifications

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

139 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has read the report, prepared on behalf of the Teaching Council, of the current practices, standards, priorities and outcomes of the educational procedures in a college (details supplied) in County Limerick; her views on the outcomes and conclusions of the report, in view of the significant fall in the PISA 09 results here; the action she will take regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2468/11]

As the Deputy is aware, in accordance with Section 38 of the Teaching Council Act 201, the Teaching Council has a statutory role in relation to the review and accreditation of the programmes of teacher education and training provided by institutes of higher education and training in the State.

The Council's role in reviewing and accrediting programmes of initial teacher education will allow it to ensure that high standards of entry to the profession in Ireland are maintained. It is important for our young people, and society as a whole, that these standards be upheld and it is also important for the purpose of maintaining the reputation of the profession. The review of four programmes in both 2009/2010 and in 2010/2011 marks a significant first step for the Council and for all the partners in education who have contributed to the development of the Council's Review and Accreditation Strategy.

The reviews were carried out by independent Review Panels working on the Council's behalf. Each panel reviewed the programmes based on a thorough assessment of programme documentation and a three-day visit to each college. Over the course of the visits, the panels met with programme staff and students as well as graduates of the programme and employers of those graduates. They also inspected teaching and learning facilities, observed a sample of lectures, viewed students' project work and visited schools where teaching practice was taking place.

I am pleased that the Council has recently published the reports, including recommendations, of the first four reviews, including that of the College referred to by the Deputy. That particular report recommends to the Teaching Council that the programme be granted accreditation. The report also identifies a significant number of strengths in relation to the College's staff, work ethic, value system, experience of the students and so on, while it also makes specific recommendations in relation to the time allocated to programme components and the preparation of students in particular educational areas, amongst other things.

I understand that the Council will be engaging with the institutions concerned in relation to the implementation of the relevant recommendations, and I look forward to the outcome of that engagement. I am confident also that the open availability of these reports to the wider initial teacher education sector will serve as a guide to other providers in developing and improving their own initial teacher education programmes and the sector as a whole will benefit accordingly. The PISA report, which was published by the OECD on 7 December 2010, showed results in reading and maths which were lower than in previous years. While national and international experts have advised that we should treat the results of just one PISA test with caution, I believe that the outcomes show that we must make a major effort to improve our literacy and numeracy standards.

This means we must press on with our reform agenda and the national rollout of the changes to post-primary Mathematics involved in Project Maths. In November 2010, I launched "Better Literacy and Numeracy for Children and Young People", a major draft national plan to improve literacy and numeracy in schools and I have invited submissions from interested parties. The plan will bring radical changes to teacher education, curriculum and assessment at school level and nationally. The Teaching Council will also be working with the Department to advance the aims of the plan. I am convinced that implementing a comprehensive package of these reforms is needed to place Irish students among the highest performing students in literacy and numeracy world-wide.

School Staffing

John Deasy

Ceist:

140 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason Circular 0070/2010 specifying pay cuts under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 for school employees such as cleaners, caretakers, school secretaries and others has been issued now; the legal advice she received regarding these categories of school staff when the Act was initially implemented and the way this legal advice has now changed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2492/11]

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 (the Act) determined the criteria for reducing the pay of public servants with effect from January 2010. However, when the Act was introduced, there was a question as to how a public servant should be determined for the purposes of this Act. Subsequently, following receipt of legal advice, it has now been determined that all staff employed by a recognised school or VEC come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act.

In view of the time lapse involved in reaching a determination on this issue, the Minister for Finance has allowed for a temporary exemption from the application of the Act for these categories of staff up until 31 December 2010. Accordingly, my Department issued Circular 0070/2010, on 26 November 2010, which outlined that adjustments in salary should be applied with effect from 1 January 2011, to all relevant staff in the employment of recognised schools or VECs, who were not already affected by the pay reductions introduced under the Act. Some of the categories of staff affected by this Circular included school secretaries, caretakers and cleaners. It is not the practice to make public legal advice.

Site Acquisitions

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

141 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the sum paid by her towards the purchase of a site (details supplied) for a new school building in County Dublin; the valuation that was applied to the land concerned and by whom; if she has agreed to contribute towards the cost of new buildings belonging to the purchaser arising out of this sale. [2499/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that in recognition of the emergent demands for school provision in the overall Lucan area, my Department has been in discussions with the South Dublin County Council with a view to seeking their assistance in securing additional capacity. An agreement, in principle, has been reached between my Department and the Council in relation to the acquisition of a circa 4 acre site at the Lands at Esker Lane Lucan County Dublin for the purposes of re-locating an existing Educate Together School which is now reaching capacity in its current accommodation.

To this end, South Dublin County Council recently approved the disposal of circa 4 acres of a currently used site in Esker for a consideration of €0.45m per acre for the freehold interest of the site. The Deputy will appreciate that discussions and negotiations in relation to the price agreed were conducted in the context of advices available to, and the expectations of the Local Authority. The Deputy will also be aware that the disposal of these lands required the agreement of the Elected Members of the Council. I am pleased to report that same has been secured. As part of this agreement involves the re-location of the existing Parks Depot on these lands, the Council will also require to be put in funds for the costs of re-locating this facility at an estimated cost of €2.25m plus VAT. The transfer of these funds, pursuant to the agreement, will be arranged in the coming days.

School Transport

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

142 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a substantial response will issue to this Deputy’s correspondence to her and her acknowledgement on 21 October 2010 (details supplied). [2507/11]

The Deputy will be aware from my previous reply that only pupils who reside 3.2 kilometres or more from, and are attending, their nearest national school, as determined by my Department, are eligible for free school transport. There is no provision within the School Transport Scheme for my Department to sanction either free transport or grant-aid for pupils in the circumstances outlined by the Deputy in the details supplied. The families of the pupils concerned should continue to liaise with their local Bus Éireann office should they wish to apply for concessionary fare paying school transport.

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

143 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by her in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2659/11]

I have appointed two non-civil servant special advisers, Mr. Michael Shovlin, Special Adviser, and Mr. Sean Perry, Press Adviser, since my appointment to the Department of Education and Skills on 23 March 2010. Mr. Shovlin and Mr. Perry served at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (now Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation) during the tenure of my appointment as Minister at that Department. Details of expenses in respect of 2009 to 23 March 2010 are held by that Department.

The salary scales relevant to Mr. Shovlin is that of Principal Officer Higher: €85,957 — €89,399 — €92,853 — €96,295 — €99,236 — €102,335 — €105,429. The salary scales relevant to Mr Perry is that of Principal Officer: €80,051 — €83,337 — €86,604 — €89,898 — €92,672 €95,550 — €98,424. Expenses including travelling and subsistence allowances, where applicable, are paid in accordance with normal civil service regulations and amounted to €7,832.65 from 23 March 2010 to end 2010 and €584.39 in 2011 to date, in respect of the two advisers.

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

144 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by her in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2674/11]

The only official overseas visit undertaken by me as Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills in 2010 and to date in 2011 was the Education Trade Mission to the United States in September 2010. This mission was organised and arranged by Enterprise Ireland and its primary purpose was to promote Ireland as a destination for full-time study by US students. With the exception of the cost of the gifts given during the visit, the costs of Ministerial participation were met by Enterprise Ireland, in accordance with that agency's policy for Ministerial-led trade missions. A total of 15 gifts were given during the visit at a cost of €745.41.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

145 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in her Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2689/11]

A total of 411 trips were undertaken by officials in my Department in the years 2009 and 2010. No costs, as yet, have been incurred for 2011. It would not be administratively feasible to extract and provide the level of detail sought in respect of each of these trips. However, it is possible to provide aggregate information for travel by officials during this period, and if the Deputy is interested in any specific official trips, arrangements can be made to provide the full level of detail sought. Expenditure on air travel during the period amounted to €110,004. Expenditure on ground transportation totalled €5,287. Expenditure on accommodation totalled €75, 173. Official entertainment is only undertaken where it is considered absolutely necessary and is undertaken very rarely in the course of Foreign Travel. Expenditure is governed by the provisions of the Department of Finance circular on official entertainment and officials in my Department are required to ensure the strictest economy in its expenditure. Separate figures are not maintained for official entertainment carried out while travelling.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

146 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide details of hotel accommodation used by her within the State while on ministerial duties in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which she stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2719/11]

The information requested is being compiled at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy shortly.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

147 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of her Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2734/11]

Travel by public bodies under the remit of my Department is an operational matter for the individual bodies themselves and the information is not collated centrally. It is the responsibility of all bodies operating under the aegis of my Department to ensure full compliance with the Department of Finance Foreign Travel Guidelines, published in 2009. The Guidelines have been brought to the attention of these bodies by my Department.

In line with the revised code of practice for the Governance of State Bodies published in 2009, the Chairperson of each body, must on, an annual basis, a) affirm that all appropriate procedures for financial reporting, internal audit, travel, procurement and asset disposal are being carried out and b) certify that Government Travel Requirements are being complied with in all respects. The relevant line sections in my Department actively liaise with those bodies operating under my Department, who are required to provide the relevant documentation relating to corporate governance as outlined in the revised code. In the circumstances, my Department does not hold details of the information sought.

Higher Education Strategy

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

148 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her plans to create technological universities; the way these plans will be progressed and implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2748/11]

The new National Strategy for Higher Education which I published last week has been endorsed by the Government as the basis for the development of the higher education sector over the next two decades. The new Strategy affirms the importance of having institutions with a diversity of missions and provides a clear pathway of evolution for Institutes of Technology, which includes the potential to amalgamate on a regional basis and to seek re-designation as Technological Universities, on the basis of defined performance criteria. Such criteria will be robust and will be based on the strong foundation of the existing Institute of Technology mission.

International expertise has been engaged to assist in finalising these criteria and I expect to be in a position to publish them later this Spring. My officials and the HEA will also be available to engage in direct discussions with individual institutions on their future strategic intentions in terms of regional cluster formations, and where appropriate alliances or mergers. The implementation of all the recommendations in the Strategy, including the preparation of formal legislative proposals, will be overseen by an Implementation Board to be chaired by the Secretary General of my Department.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

149 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will outline any systems in place in her Department to capture feedback from students in third level education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2750/11]

Best practice quality assurance processes involve the capturing of student feedback and complying with quality assurance procedures are the responsibility of the higher education institutions in the first instance. A range of student feedback arrangements are in place across higher education institutions. At a policy level, my Department has regular engagement with the Union of Students in Ireland.

The new national Strategy for Higher Education which I launched last week focusses on key performance areas of the higher education system and outlines a framework to analyse and improve the quality outcomes of the system. Of vital importance is the quality of the student experience and in this regard, the Strategy recommends that a national student survey system should be put in place and the results published. The Strategy further recommends that higher education institutions put in place a comprehensive student feedback system coupled with structures to ensure that action is taken promptly in response to student concerns.

Implementation of the recommendations in the Strategy will be overseen by an Implementation Board to be chaired by the Secretary of my Department. It is hoped to make early progress on the national student survey system and the HEA have been asked to begin assessing the scope and nature of such a survey.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

150 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the specific systems in place to ensure that all teaching staff in the third level sector are qualified and competent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2751/11]

A key recommendation in the new Strategy for Higher Education which I published last week is that higher education institutions should ensure that all teaching staff in the third level sector are qualified and competent. It is acknowledged that while significant advances in teaching and learning in our higher education institutions have been seen in the past number of years, it is important that best practice in this area becomes standard practice across the system.

Internationally there is also increased recognition of the need for higher education academics to meet similar standards and the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance offer clear direction in this regard. The implementation of the recommendations in the Strategy will require strong partnership and as employers, the higher education institutions themselves will have responsibility for implementation of the recommendation regarding teaching qualifications. Implementation of the recommendations in the Strategy will be overseen by an Implementation Board to be chaired by the Secretary General of my Department.

Special Educational Needs

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

151 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding funding (details supplied). [2795/11]

As previously outlined to the Deputy all centres participating in the ABA pilot scheme funded by my Department have been granted recognition as special schools for children with autism. I am pleased to update the Deputy that following their recognition the new schools are currently progressing well in the transitional phase. The majority of them have appointed Principal Teachers and have commenced the recruitment process for other teaching posts. It is my intention to continue to support the transitional process.

The issue that the Deputy raises on behalf of the parents in question relates to a privately run centre to which my Department has no role in funding. However I am aware that a bi-lateral arrangement was agreed between this centre and a centre participating in the pilot scheme. My Department was not party to the arrangement. On request officials from my Department facilitated a meeting of the Boards last year to discuss the position. However I must again emphasise that the resolution of funding and enrolment issues are a matter for the Boards locally. Furthermore I must also emphasise that a school placement is available for the child concerned.

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

152 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the National Council for Special Education has accepted that an extra special class should be provided for a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that an additional teacher has been agreed for the school, however, despite the case for an extra class being accepted and an extra teacher agreed, it will be impossible to provide the extra class due to the fact that no special needs assistants are to be allocated for that class; her views on whether this is logical, fair or equitable in view of the fact that there are five pupils involved and that each would be entitled as a right to an SNA were they to attend mainstream schools and that only two extra SNAs would be required to enable the extra class to be established; and if she will take immediate steps to rectify the situation. [2796/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in all mainstream and special schools. This includes determining the level of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support in schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The NCSE has advised my Department that they are satisfied that there are sufficient SNA resources at present in the school concerned, which would allow them to cater for all of the children in the school, including those in the proposed new special class.

Site Acquisitions

Joan Burton

Ceist:

153 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if the acquisition of a 15 acre school site in Kellystown Dublin 15 has taken place; the consideration paid in respect of this site; when the acquisition price was agreed; the terms of the contract for the acquisition of the site; if she will confirm reports that the price was agreed to reflect the full market price of zoned residential land even though the site was at that time zoned for green belt use; the time line for delivery of permanent buildings for a college (details supplied) on this site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2797/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, Fingal County Council carried out the negotiations in relation to the acquisition of a site for the school in question, at my Department's request, in accordance with the Fingal Model Agreement. Under this Model agreement, Fingal County Council identify and secure the purchase of the necessary sites required for school purposes and for the provision of community facilities as part of the future development of the site. Fingal County Council have advised my Department that the elected members have recently formally approved the disposal of the site to my Department. Once the site has been transferred to my Department, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

154 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [3020/11]

My Department does not collate statistics under the heading of Investment in Charities. While my Department provides funding to a number of bodies which may be registered charities, such funding is based on criteria other than charitable status and accordingly details of amounts paid to charitable organisations are not held.

Local Authority Charges

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

155 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Finance in view of the current economic downturn and the ensuing fragility of businesses, the rationale for the revaluation of all commercial and industrial property throughout the country which is resulting in rate liability increases of upwards of 100% in many cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2012/11]

The Valuation Act, 2001 which came into effect on 2nd May, 2002, provides for the revaluation of all commercial and industrial property in the State. The Commissioner of Valuation has sole responsibility for all valuation matters under the Act, which includes the implementation of the revaluation programme. The purpose of revaluation is to bring more equity, fairness and transparency into the local authority rating system. Ideally, occupiers of properties of similar value in the same local authority area should have a similar rates liability. Following completion of the initial national revaluation programme, I am satisfied that there will be a much closer and uniform relationship between rental values of property and their commercial rates liability and that this relationship will thereafter be maintained by means of the recurring revaluations provided for in the Act.

It is not the purpose of the national revaluation programme to increase the total amount of commercial rates collected by local authorities. In fact, the relevant legislation (Valuation Act, 2001 and the Local Government Business (Improvement Districts) Act, 2006) provides that the commercial rates income of local authorities in the year following a revaluation is capped. The only increase in the total rates income of a local authority permitted in the year following publication of the new Valuation list is an increase for the rate of inflation. While some ratepayers have had their valuations increased, others have had a decrease and where such fluctuations occur, they relate to the redistribution of the rates burden on ratepayers, depending on the relative shift in rental values of the properties they occupy. The redistribution of the rates liability following revaluation is a function of market conditions at the date of valuation and the composition of the valuation list in terms of property type. Therefore the trend of reduced or increased rates liability in certain sectors in the revaluations to-date may not be replicated in the revaluations of other areas.

When the revaluation of a local authority is complete, the Valuation Office issues a proposed Valuation Certificate and a summary valuation report to each ratepayer. If the ratepayer is unhappy with the proposed valuation or other details in the certificate, she or he may make representations. When the representations have been considered, the Valuation Office issues final certificates to all ratepayers and publishes the new Valuation list.

Following publication of the new valuation list, there is an extensive appeal system available to ratepayers. Initially, they can appeal to the Commissioner of Valuation within 40 days of the publication date and, if still dissatisfied with the Commissioner's decision on appeal, have a further right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal which is an independent body. The decision of the Valuation Tribunal is final on the amount of the valuation; however, there is a further right of appeal to the High Court and the Supreme Court on a point of law.

Ministerial Appointments

John Perry

Ceist:

156 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Finance the number of appointments he has made to the Valuation Tribunal since his appointment; the names and details of the appointees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2028/11]

I have made eleven appointments or reappointments to the Valuation Tribunal since I became Minister for Finance. The names and details of the appointees are as follows:

Name

Occupation

Date Appointed

Term ofcurrent appt

1

Fred Devlin *Deputy Chairperson

Valuer

4/1/2010

5 years

2

John Kerr *Deputy Chairperson

Valuer

4/1/2010

5 years

3

Mairead Hughes *

Hotelier

7/9/2008

5 years

4

Tony Taaffe

Solicitor

16/06/2008

5 years

5

James Browne

Barrister

28/07/2008

5 years

6

Fiona Gallagher

Barrister

28/07/2008

5 years

7

Veronica Gates

Barrister

04/08/2008

5 year

8

Niall O’Hanlon

Barrister

17/11/2008

5 years

9

Frank Walsh

Valuer

17/11/2008

5 years

10

Michael Connellan Jnr

Solicitor

23/11/2009

5 years

11

Patricia O’Connor

Solicitor

22/02/2010

5 years

*Reappointed.

Members of the Tribunal are appointed by the Minister for Finance under the provisions of Section 12 of the Valuation Act 2001 for a period of 5 years. They are only paid for actual sittings of the Tribunal.

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

157 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [2076/11]

My Department makes payments to charities through its administration of the "Scheme of Payments to the Promoters of Certain Charitable Lotteries". The amount of funding provided for the Scheme in 2011 is €6m. Information on payments under the Scheme in previous years is available in the annual Revised Book of Estimates and the annual audited Appropriation Account for the relevant years.

Tax Collection

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

158 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the number of consortia registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the purposes of benefitting from section 268-1 of the Finance Act for the purposes of offsetting capital allowances against all trading income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2109/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that as there is no legislative requirement to provide information along the lines sought by the Deputy, these details are not available.

Pension Provisions

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

159 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if a person who has been forced to take early retirement on health grounds may withdraw money from a pension fund before retirement age in order to apply the money to other purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2115/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under Revenue rules an employee retiring on ill-health grounds may have his or her retirement benefits paid immediately, in the form of a lump sum and pension, regardless of the employee's age, based on the service record the individual would have had if he or she had continued in service until normal retirement age. The precise benefits payable will of course depend on the rules of the particular scheme and on whether it is a defined benefit or defined contribution arrangement.

I am also advised that it is only in cases of "exceptional circumstances of ill-health" that the Revenue Commissioners will allow the full commutation of a pension whereby it can be paid as a lump sum subject to tax at 10%. This phrase is to be interpreted strictly and narrowly. It is not intended to refer to the kind of ill health that prevents a person from working but to cases where the expectation of life is unquestionably very short. Commutation of the pension in such cases can only take place where the administrator is satisfied based on the receipt of adequate medical evidence that terminal illness is in point and that the expectation of life is measured in months rather than years.

Tax Code

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

160 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance if retailers involved in the sale of alcohol beverages at below cost can subsequently reclaim from the Revenue the VAT paid by them on the original purchase of the alcohol from suppliers as an input cost/VAT credit; if his attention has been brought to concerns expressed in other jurisdictions regarding VAT offsets/credits being secured by retailers who offer alcohol for sale in cut price promotions; if he will provide details on the extent to which such claims for VAT input cost offsets or credits have been made here in 2009 and 2010; his views on whether it is desirable from a public policy perspective that VAT credits should be used in such a manner to fund the cut price sale of alcohol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2134/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under EU and domestic VAT rules traders who are registered for VAT collect VAT on the goods and services that they sell. In turn such traders are entitled to recover the VAT they incur on their business inputs used in the purchase or production of goods or delivery of services. VAT is a tax on the value added to a supply and the collection and recovery of VAT takes place at each stage of the chain of supply from manufacturing to retailer. Consequently, if there is a decrease in value at any stage in the process the trader is entitled to a refund of the excess of VAT incurred over that collected. Separate figures are not available for input VAT on goods that were subsequently sold at a discount because traders' VAT returns show only the total input VAT and the total output VAT for the period covered by the return.

Tax Collection

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

161 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance if he will investigate the withdrawal of a specific allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork with a view to having it re-instated. [2184/11]

The position is that the number of tax years for which tax relief is available on the interest paid on qualifying home loans is confined to the first 7 tax years of the mortgage in accordance with the Finance Act 2009. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that in this instance, the loan in question was taken out in 2002. The person concerned is no longer entitled to mortgage interest relief and cannot, therefore, have the relief reinstated.

Decentralisation Programme

Michael Creed

Ceist:

162 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details regarding contractual arrangements entered into by him arising from the proposal to decentralise Government offices to a location in County Cork (details supplied); if the site in question has been paid for, if so the amount paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2222/11]

The proposed decentralisation to Kanturk, County Cork, is scheduled to be reviewed by the Government in 2011. The Commissioners of Public Works have not entered into any contractual arrangements concerning the proposal to decentralise Government offices to Kanturk. In this regard, neither a site has been purchased nor money paid.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Ceist:

163 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the total redemptions of senior, unsecured, unguaranteed debt at each of the credit institutions subject to the eligible liabilities guarantee on a monthly basis for each month from October 2010 to December 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2380/11]

The total unguaranteed senior, unsecured debt redeemed by the covered institutions in December 2010 was €935m. I am waiting for information from the Central Bank for October and November 2010 which I will forward on to the Deputy when I receive it. The total unsecured, unguaranteed senior bond debt in the covered institutions due to mature in 2011 is €8.3 billion. Due to considerations relating to commercial and market sensitivity and confidentiality consideration to which the Central Bank is subject in relation to the disclosure of regulatory information, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of the information as requested by the Deputy.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

164 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the total redemptions of senior, unsecured, unguaranteed debt at Anglo Irish Bank during January 2011; the total outstanding senior, unsecured, unguaranteed debt at Anglo Irish Bank at end January 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2381/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is as follows. The total redemptions of senior unsecured unguaranteed debt at Anglo Irish Bank during January 2011 is €805 million. The total outstanding senior unsecured unguaranteed debt at Anglo Irish Bank at end January 2011 (as at close of business on 31 January 2011) is expected to be €3.15 billion. Please note that the amounts provided are EUR equivalent and are based on exchange rates as of 31 December 2010.

Job Creation

Michael Creed

Ceist:

165 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance the job creation initiatives contained in budget 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2392/11]

The National Recovery Plan outlines the measures necessary to put the public finances in order. It also identifies the areas of economic activity that will provide growth and employment in the next phase of our economic development and specifies the reforms the Government will implement to accelerate growth in these key sectors. The essential conditions for growth are either already in place, or policies to achieve them are being pursued.

A range of specific policy actions will further support the process of recovery. These can be broadly categorised as follows:

labour market reforms to remove barriers to employment and disincentives to work,

reforms to improve the non-labour elements of cost competitiveness, and

supportive sectoral policies to assist recovery across the enterprise base.

These policy actions will support the export recovery, which can, in turn, deliver high value employment and act to stimulate the domestically trading sectors of the economy. Given that Ireland is a small open economy, sustainable growth in the long-term must be export-led.

Budget 2011 progressed specific policy measures to improve the environment for job creation as the economy improves. These include:

The commitment to maintain the 12.5% corporation tax rate;

The extension of the three year corporation tax exemption for start up companies commencing a new trade in 2011 and the linking of the relief to the amount of employers PRSI paid by a company;

The continued investment in industry by the development agencies, including EI, IDA, SFI and the County Enterprise Boards;

An additional 15,000 activation places and supports being provided, through the National Employment Action Plan, to ensure that the unemployed have the opportunities for education, training and work experience;

The extension of the Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme to the end of 2011;

The transformation of the Business Expansion Scheme into an Employment and Investment scheme;

The reduction in the air travel tax to €3 from March 1, 2011.

Registration of Title

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

166 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding an application by Fingal County Council for a deed of waiver in its favour for land (details supplied) in County Dublin, which is currently being dealt with by the Chief State Solicitor’s office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2395/11]

In September 2008, The Chief State Solicitor's Office requested Fingal County Council to submit the appropriate Folio and File Map pertinent to this matter. These documents, which are still awaited, are required to progress this application.

Tax Code

Michael Creed

Ceist:

167 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance the liability for inheritance tax on the transfer of an agricultural holding to a nephew who has the required agriculture education benefit from concessions in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2435/11]

A transfer of farmland may give rise to tax liabilities under Capital Acquisitions Tax, which includes inheritance tax (CAT), Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Stamp Duty. CGT is payable by the person disposing of the land while CAT and Stamp Duty are payable by the person receiving the land. However, a number of generous reliefs and allowances reduce the tax burden in such cases. The educational qualifications held by the person receiving the land are not relevant to the liability to CAT or CGT, but they may be relevant to the liability to Stamp Duty.

Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that for the purposes of CAT (gift and inheritance tax), the relationship between the person who provided the gift or inheritance (i.e. the disponer) and the person who received the gift or inheritance (i.e. the beneficiary), determines the maximum tax-free threshold- known as the "Group threshold" below which gift or inheritance tax does not arise.

There are three group tax-free thresholds based on the relationship of the beneficiary to the disponer. The tax-free threshold that applies is the specific tax-free threshold for the year in which the gift or inheritance is received. The current tax-free thresholds are as follows:

Group A: €332,084 — applies where the beneficiary is a child (including adopted child, step-child and certain foster children) or minor child of a deceased child of the disponer. Parents also fall within this threshold where they take an inheritance of an absolute interest from a child.

Group B: €33,208 — applies where the beneficiary is a brother, sister, a nephew, a niece or lineal ancestor or lineal descendant of the disponer.

Group C: €16,604 — applies in all other cases.

Gifts or inheritances received by a beneficiary from within the same group threshold are aggregated for the purposes of determining whether any tax is payable on the current benefit. Tax at the rate of 25% is payable once the relevant tax-free threshold is exceeded.

Where an agricultural holding is transferred to a nephew/niece, either by way of gift or by way of inheritance, two separate important reliefs from CAT may also apply, apart from the nephew's/niece's normal tax-free threshold, which is the Group B threshold of €33,208. Qualifying farmers can avail of agricultural relief, which reduces the value of the agricultural holding by 90% for tax purposes. In order to qualify for agricultural relief, 80% of a farmer's assets, after having received the gift or inheritance, must consist of qualifying agricultural assets.

Also, a nephew/niece who receives a gift or inheritance is entitled to the Group A tax-free threshold of €332,084 rather than the Group B tax-free threshold of €33,208 provided certain conditions are fulfilled. These conditions are that the nephew/niece has worked substantially on a full-time basis for the disponer in the five years prior to the transfer of the agricultural holding in assisting the disponer in the running of the agricultural business.

Overall, therefore, if a nephew/niece qualifies for both agricultural relief and the relief for nephews/nieces, then the nephew/niece could take a gift or inheritance of an agricultural holding up to the value of €3,320,840 before incurring any liability to CAT and assuming that the nephew/niece had received no previous gifts or inheritances from within the same group.

As noted above, the qualifications held by the nephew are not relevant to his CAT liability.

Stamp Duty

Section 81AA of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 provides for an exemption from stamp duty on the transfer of an agricultural holding to a farmer who is under 35 years of age and who is the holder of certain educational qualifications which are listed in Schedule 2B of the Act. Where the exemption does not apply, Stamp Duty is chargeable on the market value of the land transferred. The rates of Stamp Duty which apply are set out in the Table below. The Stamp Duty payable is reduced by 50% where the transferee is a nephew/niece of the transferor.

Market Value

Rate of Duty

Up to €10,000

Exempt

€10,001 to €20,000

1%

€20,001 to €30,000

2%

€30,001 to €40,000

3%

€40,001 to €70,000

4%

€70,001 to €80,000

5%

Over €80,000

6%

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

There are also capital gains tax implications of such a transfer but there may be an entitlement to retirement relief. No capital gains tax will arise if a farmer who is aged 55 years or more and has owned and worked the land for the ten years preceding the disposal, transfers it to a nephew/niece who has worked substantially on a full time basis for the five years prior to the disposal in carrying on, or assisting in carrying on, the farming activity of the farmer.

If the farmer otherwise qualifies for retirement relief, but the nephew/niece does not meet the requirements above, then the transfer is relieved from CGT if the market value of the land does not exceed €750,000 (assuming no previous disposals to which the relief has applied). If there is no entitlement to retirement relief, then CGT is calculated on the market value of the land transferred in the normal way. The current CGT rate is 25%.

National Recovery Plan

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

168 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he has provided for potential revenues from the auctioning of emissions trading scheme carbon permits from 2012 in his revenue projections in the four year plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2437/11]

I can confirm that potential revenues from auctioning of carbon allowances from 2012 have been included in projections under the four year plan. In a previous reply to the Deputy (43455/10) I detailed the possible revenues on the basis of an estimated carbon price, however, as with any market-based instrument, this is subject to significant uncertainty.

Freedom of Information

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

169 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of freedom of information requests received from members of the public in each of the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; the number of requests that were processed; the number that were rejected in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2654/11]

The number of Freedom of Information requests received by my Department and the number of those refused for the years 2000 to 2010 is set out in the attached table. The total number of requests refused in 2010 is not yet to hand but 20 requests were refused up to the end of August 2010. I will provide the Deputy with the end-year figure when it becomes available to me. My Department is committed to providing an efficient and helpful response to Freedom of Information requests and to assisting all requesters with their information inquiries.

FOI Requests 2000-2010

Year

Requests Received

Requests Refused

2000

342

48

2001

326

41

2002

326

43

2003

305

49

2004

78

11

2005

93

12

2006

72

6

2007

66

1

2008

180

15

2009

283

33

2010

337

TOTAL

2,408

259

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

170 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by him in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2662/11]

Since my appointment as Minister for Finance on 7 May 2008 the relevant staffing details are as follows:

Name

Title

Salary Range

Expenses*

Alan Ahearne

Special Advisor

€131,308 per annum

2009 – €423.02

2010 – €1,330.38

2011 – nil

Cathy Herbert

Special Advisor

€84,066 – €103,982

2009 – nil

2010 – nil

2011 – nil

*These figures include travel and subsistence.

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

171 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by him in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2677/11]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

173 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of hotel accommodation used by him within the State while on ministerial duties in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which he stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2722/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 173 together.

The details requested in relation to foreign trips made by me in the year 2010 and to date in 2011 is provided in the table below.

Date

Venue

Purpose

Ground Transport & type

Hotel used and costs

Feb. 14-16 2010

Brussels

Eurogroup & ECOFIN

Ambassador’s Car

Crowne Plaza Hotel costing €159

March 15-16 2010

Brussels

Eurogroup & ECOFIN

Car hire costing €180

none required

May 9 2010

Brussels

Meeting of EU Finance Ministers

Car Hire costing €340

none required

May 21 2010

Brussels

Meeting of Von Rompuy Task Force

Car Hire costing €225

none required

June 7 2010

Luxembourg

Eurogroup & Meeting of Von Rompuy Task Force

Car Hire costing €214

none required

Sept. 6-7 2010

Brussels

ECOFIN & Task Force Meeting

no details

none required

Sept. 22 2010

Brussels

Meeting with Comm Rehn

no details

none required

Oct. 7-13 2010

Washington & New York

IMF/World Bank Meetings & NTMA Events

Car Hire costing €688

Fairfax Hotel (Washington) costing €832.75 & The Phillips Club (New York) costing €829.34

Oct. 25 2010

Brussels

Meeting with Comm Rehn

Car Hirecosting €180

none required

Nov. 16-17 2010

Brussels

Eurogroup & ECOFIN

Car Hirenot available

none required

Jan. 17 2011

Brussels

Eurogroup

Car Hirenot available

none required

The Government Jet was used for all of these trips, the costs were met by the Department of Defence.

I stayed in two hotels within the State in the course of my Ministerial duties. On 21 July 2009 I addressed the Magill Summer School in Donegal and the accommodation provided for me at the Highlands Hotel. Glenties, was paid for by the organisers of the event. On 22 August 2010 I addressed the Beal na Blath Commemoration in Cork and on that occasion I paid for my own accommodation.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

172 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2692/11]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

174 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2737/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 174 together.

In the period in question there were approximately some 1,078 foreign flight undertaken on commercial airlines by officials of my Department. Given the volume involved, it is not possible in the time available to provide the range of information sought by the Deputy in respect of each journey. However the following table gives details of the total annual costs in relation to flights undertaken in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011.

Year

No of foreign flights

Cost of flights

Hotel Costs

Taxi Costs

Public Transport costs

Other expenses

2009

566

122,225

54,247

17,254

5,650

2,827

2010

506

132,367

48,511

14,055

5,013

2,794

2011 Ytd

6

927

860

281

28

23

In relation to the flight costs, a portion of this money is recoupable from EU and other International organisations. Details in respect of usage of the Government jet are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Defence.

Details in respect of bodies under the aegis of my Department are as follows.

Revenue Commissioners

Year

No. of flights

Cost of flights

Transportation costs inclusive of Taxis

Hotel Accommodation

2009

839

24,2618

12,747

237,213

2010

685

202,088

11,296

200,502

2011 Ytd

11

11,878

74

1,273

A significant element of the flight costs are recouped from the EU

State Laboratory

Year

No. of flights

Cost of flights

Transportation costs Including Taxis

Hotel Accommodation

2009

41

9,821

1,082

15,605

2010

35

9,530

1,099

13,343

2011 Ytd

1

141

10

471

Some of the flight costs were recoupable from EU organisation.

Public Appointments service

Year

No of flights

Cost of flights

Transportation costs Including Taxis

Hotel Accommodation

2009

8

1,645

0

1,169

2010

5

552

200

723

2011 Ytd

0

0

0

0

Valuation Office

Year

No of flights

Cost of flights

Transportation costs Including Taxis

Hotel Accommodation

2009

16

1,888

0

607

2010

9

736

0

964

2011 Ytd

0

0

0

0

Office of the Ombudsman

Year

No of flights

Cost of flights

Transportation costs Including Taxis

Hotel Accommodation

2009

46

11,551

792

4,959

2010

30

6,315

916

4,385

2011 Ytd

0

0

0

0

National Treasury Management Agency (including in relation to the NPRF, NDFA and NAMA).

The National Treasury Management Agency have provided the following information in relation to foreign travel undertaken in 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011.

Year

Cost of flights

Accommodation, Meals, Taxis etc*

2009

144,566

60,950

2010

264,272

64,626

2011 Ytd

0

0

*Includes some domestic expenses as the NTMA accounting system does not split such expenses between those incurred in Ireland and those incurred abroad.

Question No. 173 answered with Question No. 171.
Question No. 174 answered with Question No. 172.

Public Service Staff

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

175 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons employed by the State earning less than €20,000 per year; the number of persons employed by the State earning less than €30,000 per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2785/11]

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

176 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the numbers of public sector workers earning less than €20,000, €30,000, €40,000, €50,000, €60,000, €70,000, €80,000, €90,000 and €100,000 and earning more than €100,000 per annum. [2786/11]

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

177 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the numbers of public sector workers earning less than €20,000, €30,000, €40,000, €50,000, €60,000, €70,000, €80,000, €90,000 and €100,000 and earning more than €100,000 per annum excluding various forms of income from public sources to groups that would not normally be regarded as being employed within the public service, for example, persons receiving fees and those on the State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2787/11]

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

178 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public servants earning more than €100,000, €120,000, €150,000, €200,000, €250,000, €300,000, €350,000, €400,000, €450,000 and €500,000 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2788/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 to 178, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant sector-based information available on employees taxed under the PAYE system is derived from income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2008 and represents about 96 per cent of all returns expected at the time the data were compiled for analytical purposes. The figures include PAYE taxpayers who are required to return an income tax return Form 11 where non-PAYE income is greater than €3,174, it does not segregate earnings from public sources and those from other sources. Therefore, the earnings figures shown may include income from non public-sector sources.

The data also includes various forms of income from public sources to groups that would not normally be regarded as being employed within the public service, e.g. those receiving fees, those on State Boards etc. On the basis of the available tax-based data it is not possible to identify and exclude income from public sources to groups that would not normally be regarded as employed within the public service or to distinguish the earnings of employees associated with atypical work patterns. Accordingly, it is likely that the number of lower paid public servants is overstated. On this basis the total numbers of public sector employees, and the breakdown of those numbers by income ranges, is set out as follows.

Income Tax Year 2008

Range of Gross income

Public Sector Employees* Total Number

€0 – €20,000

110,663

€20,001 – €30,000

68,447

€30,001 – €40,000

70,191

€40,001 – €50,000

60,831

€50,001 – €60,000

38,797

€60,001 – €70,000

25,092

€70,001 – €80,000

17,338

€80,001 – €90,000

12,178

€90,001 – €100,000

8,058

€100,001 – €120,000

9,738

€120,001 – €150,000

6,176

€150,001 – €200,000

2,619

€200,001 – €250,000

737

€250,001 – €300,000

382

€300,001 – €350,000

256

€350,001 – €400,000

135

€400,001 – €500,000

102

Over €500,000

87

Totals

431,827

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

179 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the salaries of judges; the number of judges earning more than €100,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2789/11]

There are currently 146 members of the Judiciary. Details of annual salary rates payable to members of the Judiciary are set in the following table.

Position

Chief Justice

295,916

President, High Court

274,779

Judge, Supreme Court

257,872

President, Circuit Court

249,418

Judge, High Court

243,080

President, District Court

183,894

Judge, Circuit Court

177,554

Judge, District Court

147,961

As part of Budget 2011, I indicated that legislation will be brought forward to provide that the salaries for future appointments to the judiciary will be reduced by at least 10% with a maximum salary cap of no greater than €250,000 p.a.

Departmental Bodies

David Stanton

Ceist:

180 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 140 of 12 January 2011, the number of times the working group established to develop a structured and coherent approach to the further management and development of the former Irish Ispat site at Haulbowline, County Cork, has met; the dates of any such meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2790/11]

The Working Group, established by Government, to develop a structured and coherent approach to the further management and development of the former Irish ISPAT site at Haulbowline, County Cork, met on four occasions in 2010. The dates of these meetings were as follows: 5 April, 31 May, 4 November & 16 December. In addition to these meetings, the Chair, on behalf of the Working Group, met with a number of interested stakeholders on the 1 September 2010 and 11 October 2010. Furthermore, there have been two site visits conducted on the 31 May 2010 and 11 October 2010.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Michael Ring

Ceist:

181 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the legal position between Ireland and Belarus in regard to adoption. [2105/11]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

215 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the legal position between Ireland and Belarus in regard to adoption. [2104/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 215 together.

Belarus has ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The Adoption Act, 2010, commenced on 1st November 2010. This coincided with Ireland's formal ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. All inter-country adoption arrangements are now governed by the terms of the Adoption Act, 2010, and all adoptions from a Hague country must be compliant with the rules set out in the Hague Convention.

Child Care Services

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

182 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if a child aged four at next birthday and enrolled for primary school in September 2011 can avail of the early school educational subsidy in January 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2431/11]

I have responsibility for implementing the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which provides for a free pre-school year to eligible children in the year before they commence primary school.

Children qualify for the free pre-school year where they are aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months in September of the relevant year. This means that children born between 2 February 2006 and 30 June 2007 are eligible for the free pre-school year which commenced in September 2010 and children born between 2 February 2007 and 30 June 2008 will be eligible in September 2011. Only children who are in the eligible age range at the commencement of the school year can enrol for the free pre-school provision during that school year. The child in question will be eligible in September 2011 but if the parents decide to send the child to primary school at that time s/he will not be able benefit from the ECCE scheme.

The objective of the ECCE scheme is to make early learning in a formal setting available to all children in the year before they commence primary school. Services participating in the pre-school year are expected to provide appropriate age related activities and programmes to children within a particular age cohort. It is necessary, therefore, to target the pre-school year at a particular age cohort and to set minimum and maximum limits to the age range within which children participate in the scheme. In setting the minimum and maximum age limits, account was taken of a number of factors, including the variation in school admission policies and the fact that the majority of children commence primary school between the ages of 4 years 6 months and 5 years 6 months.

Food Safety

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

183 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if prosecutions have been initiated in regard to infringements of the food safety regulations concerning display and information on gas flushed chicken fillets and her views regarding the lack of public information on the safety of gas flushed chicken fillets and the handling of this product. [2500/11]

All chicken fillets sold in Ireland must comply with the European Community's stringent food safety and labelling requirements. Food Business Operators are responsible for producing safe food and labelling safe food in compliance with food safety legislation. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) in conjunction with its official agencies carries out official controls in retail butcher shops and supermarkets to ensure chicken fillets are labelled in accordance with the law and to ensure that the consumer is fully informed about the product they are buying and are not misled. The FSAI has produced guidance for industry, enforcement officers and the public regarding food labelling requirements. This information is available on the Authority's website. In addition, the Authority has advice available to consumers about safe handling practices for raw meat and poultry.

In 2010, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) in conjunction with the HSE Environmental Health Service conducted a survey into the microbiological quality of raw chicken fillets that were distributed to butchers in gas flushed bulk packs and are sold loose to the consumer. The survey found that the majority of butchers (92%) stored chicken fillets at the recommended temperature of 5 degrees or cooler. 8% did not provide a use-by date as required. The results indicated that certain chicken fillets may be a cause for concern with respect to spoilage as the use-by date was unrealistically long for the product to remain unspoiled in the consumer's fridge. No prosecutions have been taken to date. Environmental Health Officers of the HSE followed up on non compliant samples with retailers and continue to monitor compliance.

Health Services

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

184 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the funding made available to the national counselling service per annum since 2000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2013/11]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

185 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of new referrals to the national counselling service per annum since 2000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2014/11]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

186 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons waiting to access the national counselling service; the total number of persons waiting up to three months to access the service, between three months and six months; between six months and 12 months; 12 months and more; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2015/11]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

187 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons employed by the national counselling service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2016/11]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

188 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of permanent and temporary vacancies in the national counselling service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2017/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 to 188, inclusive, together.

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

Health Service Staff

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

189 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the national counselling service is exempt from the public service moratorium; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2018/11]

The National Counselling Service (NCS) is a professional, confidential counselling and psychotherapy service available free of charge in all regions of the Health Services Executive. The client group of the NCS includes adults who have experienced trauma and abuse in childhood, with priority given to adult survivors of institutional abuse in Ireland. The HSE has given priority in its National Service Plan to the provision of counselling services to those affected. The HSE's Employment Control Framework exempts the counsellor grade from the current public sector moratorium on recruitment and filling of vacancies.

Children in Care

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

190 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Ryan report implementation plan action number 12, whereby the Health Service Executive will develop a national specialist multi-disciplinary team for children in special care and detention by July 2010 has been implemented; the estimated cost of implementing this recommendation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2019/11]

The HSE Service Plan for 2011 includes a commitment to the establishment of multi-disciplinary assessment services for children and young people at risk, and development of a multi-disciplinary team for children in care and detention (with Irish Youth Justice Service). The full year cost has been calculated at €3m and funding is provided from the service plan.

The Service Plan commitment arises from Action 12 of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse 2009 Implementation Plan, which states that the HSE will develop a national specialist multi-disciplinary team for children in detention and special care in consultation with the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS). In addition Action 15 states that the HSE will review need, and establish resourced multi-disciplinary assessment teams for children and young people at risk. A multi-disciplinary Working Group representing the HSE and the Irish Youth Justice Service was established in 2010 to progress implementation of the commitment. The Group reported in 2010.

The proposal of the Working Group recommends developing a four-pronged model comprising:

1. A national assessment and intervention service for children at risk.

2. On-site therapeutic services for high support and special care units.

3. On-site therapeutic services for children detention schools.

4. A parallel development of a forensic child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) for children and young people with significant mental health needs requiring more specialist input.

Recruitment of staff for the service has commenced with priority being given to the provision of psychological services. The HSE has committed to the recruitment of additional posts to the service in the coming months.

Health Service Staff

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

191 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of social workers employed by the State on both a temporary and permanent basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2020/11]

The Employment Control Framework 2011-2014 for the health sector gives effect to the Government policy on employment in the public sector, which includes the moratorium on recruitment and promotion. However, the Framework does allow for the filling of certain exempted grades, including social workers, and there are also grades/posts to which special provisions apply. In addition, the Health Service Executive can also make exceptions to the moratorium on recruitment under certain conditions.

The number of social workers employed in the public health service at the end of November 2010 (the latest data available), based on the categories of employment as recorded on the health service personnel census, is as follows:

Numbers of social workers employed in the public health service, by contract type, as at November 2010

WTE Permanent

WTE Job-Sharing

WTE Temporary

WTE Locum

WTE Part-Time

WTE Sessional

WTE Training

Total WTE excl. Career Break

2,091.55

37.28

101.16

6.60

153.86

0.57

0.00

2,391.02

Children in Care

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

192 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of funding required to implement the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009 Implementation Plan; the amount of funding allocated to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2021/11]

Additional funding of €15m was provided in 2010 to progress the Implementation Plan approved by Government following the publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. This funding forms part of the HSE base funding provision for 2011 and is, therefore, available again in the current year. In addition, a further amount of €9m has been provided in 2011. This additional funding serves to highlight the priority attached by Government to the full implementation of the actions identified in response to the Commission's Report.

The need for additional funding to implement the Report will be considered having regard to a range of issues, including efficiencies to be achieved by the HSE through the restructuring of the children and families service generally.

Child Care Services

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

193 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children’s services committees established to date; the location of these committees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2022/11]

Children's Services Committees (CSCs) are part of what is known as the Working Together for Children initiative. The first phase included four CSCs which are located in Dublin City, South Dublin, Donegal and Limerick City. These are implementing work plans which they have already agreed. A further six CSCs in the following locations are at different stages of development: Fingal; Kildare; Longford/Westmeath; Kerry; Louth and Carlow. It is hoped that all ten CSCs will have workplans or revised plans agreed by June 2011. It is anticipated that a third phase of CSCs will begin preparatory work in 2011.

The national social partnership agreement Towards 2016 outlines a framework on the needs of children and young people and the establishment of the National Children’s Strategy Implementation Group (NCSIG). This high-level group is chaired by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA). The vision of the NCSIG is that children, young people and their families will receive the support and services they need to create better futures for children, through all local agencies and organisations working together. The aim is to avoid duplication of effort, support sensible collaboration in service delivery and also provides an opportunity for agencies to assess the gaps sometimes caused by agency or service boundaries.

The model for integrated service delivery is being developed through the establishment of Children's Services Committees (CSCs) on a phased basis. All organisations and agencies working locally on behalf of children and young people are represented on the Children's Services Committees or sub committees.

Health Services

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

194 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide detail on the location where the out-of-hours social work crisis intervention services operate; the estimated cost to roll out an out-of-hours service nationally; the consultation that has taken place with the social work profession; if the Croke Park agreement provides for any development in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2023/11]

The HSE provides out-of-hours services:

(a) In the greater Dublin area through the Crisis Intervention Service (CIS) and

(b) Outside the greater Dublin area through the Emergency Place of Safety Service

The CIS provides an out-of-hours emergency social work service to young people aged under 18 years who are in crisis in ten Local Health Offices in the Eastern region. The CIS comprises the following:

Day social work team

Emergency social work service which is available from Monday to Sunday between 6pm and 6am and each Saturday / Sunday / Public Holiday between 9am and 5pm.

Night reception centre

Emergency Foster Care families

Emergency residential beds

After care support flats

Crisis Intervention Partnership delivered in partnership between the HSE and Focus Ireland.

Referrals to the CIS are received by telephone from service providers working at night i.e. Gardai / Hospitals / Ambulance service.

In June 2009, the HSE established the Emergency Place of Safety service whereby Gardai can access an appropriate place of safety for children found to be at risk out of hours under section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991. This service provides a standardised response across the country for children who can be placed in a family setting. This service operates outside the Eastern region as these are served by the CIS.

In addition to the above the HSE Service Plan for 2011 includes a commitment to pilot and evaluate out-of-hours social work services in two areas (Donegal and Cork). Work is at an advanced stage in the development of these pilot projects with discussions underway with staff representatives in this regard. The Croke Park agreement provides a context for these discussions. A decision on progression to a national roll-out of the out-of -hours social work service will take place in the context of the evaluation of these two pilot projects and other relevant data from the other out-of-hours services. The estimated cost of developing the service nationally will also be informed by the pilot process.

Medical Cards

Pat Breen

Ceist:

195 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2025/11]

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

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

196 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will issue on an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2033/11]

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

Health Services

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

197 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [2034/11]

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

Medical Cards

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

198 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will issue on an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2037/11]

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

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

199 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will issue on an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2039/11]

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

Accident and Emergency Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

200 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she will take to deal with the crisis at the accident and emergency departments in hospitals. [2043/11]

The waiting times for patients attending emergency departments in many hospitals during the first week of January were unacceptable and I very much regret the delays that patients experienced. I met with the HSE last week to discuss the situation and to review its plans for ensuring that this situation does not recur. The HSE has assured me that it will take all possible steps to improve waiting times in emergency departments, so that all patients are assessed, treated and discharged or admitted without unnecessary delay.

The HSE has taken specific steps to cope with the increase in activity that is normally experienced at this time of year. These include curtailing elective surgery and opening beds which are normally closed for seasonal reasons. Other actions taken by hospitals include increasing the number of ward rounds to ensure that any patients who are ready to go home are discharged, with support as necessary from community-based services.

Hospitals are also ensuring that discharges are carried out early in the morning and over the weekend, to make beds available for patients being admitted through their emergency departments. In addition, the HSE is working to have senior clinical decision makers and diagnostic services speedily available for emergency department needs. The HSE has also provided for increased GP out-of-hours services through the expansion of the GP co-ops.

The HSE will continue to implement these measures as necessary under their Escalation Framework. The key to addressing the difficulties in emergency departments is to deal with the issue across the entire healthcare system. I have asked the HSE to ensure that minimising waiting times for patients in emergency departments, and the use of trolleys, is accorded a top priority.

Medical Cards

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

201 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is proposed to have essential oils included under the medical card scheme; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that certain conditions can be alleviated by the use of essential oils; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2056/11]

Suppliers of drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances can apply to the HSE for products to be reimbursed under the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme and the community drugs schemes. In order for a medicinal product to be considered for reimbursement it must meet specified criteria. These include the following:

The product must be a medicinal product authorised by the Irish Medicines Board or the European Commission.

The product must be such that it is ordinarily supplied to the public only on foot of a medical prescription.

The product should not be advertised or promoted to the public.

The products referred to by the Deputy do not meet the above criteria.

Health Service Staff

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

202 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the numbers employed in the Health Service Executive in September 2009 and September 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2060/11]

The Government has made clear that a critical part of its strategy to restore the public finances is to achieve sustainability in the cost of delivering public services relative to State revenues. To help achieve this goal, it will be necessary to restructure and reorganise the public service and to reduce public service numbers over the coming years. This requires that the moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the health service will continue to apply until the numbers have fallen to the level set out in the Employment Control Framework 2011-2014 for the health sector. The Framework gives effect to the Government policy on employment in the public sector.

However, the Framework does allow for the filling of certain exempted grades and there are also grades/posts to which special provisions apply. In addition, the Health Service Executive can also make exceptions to the moratorium on recruitment under certain conditions. The numbers employed in the public health service (including the HSE), as at September 2009 and 2010, are as follows:

Numbers (WTE excluding career break) employed in the public health service

30/09/2009

30/09/2010

Difference between 30/09/2009 and 30/09/2010

Health Service Executive

72,385

71,430

-956

Voluntary Agencies P&C Services

15,160

15,005

-155

Voluntary Hospitals

22,644

22,367

-277

Total

110,189

108,801

-1,388

Community Welfare Service

Pat Breen

Ceist:

203 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2068/11]

Responsibility for the Community Welfare Service has in fact already transferred to the Department of Social Protection, with effect from 1 January 2011. All HSE staff working in this Service are now seconded to that Department and will, on completion of a 9-month secondment period, become civil servants in October 2010. However, until then, these staff remain employees of the HSE. Under Section 22 of the Health Act 2004, responsibility for the management and deployment of staff resources is a matter for the Health Service Executive. As a result, this matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

204 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2069/11]

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

205 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated cost of inspecting disability residential centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2071/11]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

206 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated cost of inspecting disability residential centres and other disability services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2072/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205 and 206 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Health Act 2007 makes provision for the introduction inter alia of a mandatory scheme of registration and inspection of residential settings for people with disabilities and envisages a role for the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in this regard. In 2009, the cost of introducing such a scheme was estimated to be in the region of €7 million to €9 million.

National Quality Standards: Residential Settings for People with Disabilities have been published by HIQA and are under consideration by the Minister for Health and Children. These standards will provide a national framework for quality, safe services for adults with disabilities in residential settings. Given current fiscal constraints a move to full regulation and inspection of this sector presents significant challenges. In this context, the Department, the HSE and HIQA agreed that progressive implementation of the standards should commence on an administrative basis and become the benchmark against which the HSE assesses both its own directly operated facilities and other facilities that it funds.

Residential care services for older people have been subject to mandatory registration and inspection by HIQA since 1 July 2009. In 2010 the Department of Health and Children engaged in useful preliminary discussions with HIQA in relation to the possible extension of this model of registration and inspection to designated centres for people with disabilities and the resource implications of same. Given the complex nature of residential service provision for people with disabilities — ranging from congregated settings to dispersed housing in the community — further consideration is being given by my Department to the most appropriate models of registration and inspection and this work is ongoing.

With regard to these and all other HSE funded disability services, currently service providers are required, as part of their service level arrangements, to have systems in place to assess quality and standards and to specify the actions being taken to maintain and monitor quality and service standards. Examples of such monitoring actions could include audit tools appropriate to the service, service user evaluations and satisfaction surveys, and carer and service evaluations.

Health Services

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

207 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if children who have a prosthetic limb and who need a replacement on a regular basis will have it automatically sanctioned rather than having to wait each time for sanction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2075/11]

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

James Reilly

Ceist:

208 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of primary care centres planned under the primary care strategy and currently in development by the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2078/11]

The HSE has developed a generic model Primary Care Centre brief to accommodate Primary Care Teams. Approximately 270 possible locations for such centres were identified by the HSE. These were advertised in two stages in late 2007 and mid 2008. The HSE has summarised the progress to date as follows:

Approximately 220 new primary care centres are currently under consideration.

In 210 locations, the HSE Board has agreed to proceed with negotiations with interested parties.

107 centres are currently in contractual negotiations which will accommodate 137 teams.

12 centres procured by lease agreement are complete and in operation.

A further 5 centres are expected to open in the first quarter of 2011.

The HSE expects at least 115 primary care centres to be operational by 2013, supporting 160 teams.

The HSE has indicated that all these figures are approximate and that projections will change every quarter due to negotiations being progressed or finalised, projects not progressing due to various issues, including planning, banking and market issues. The HSE is continuing to develop a number of Primary Care Centres funded through its Capital Allocation. A number of these centres are at advanced stages of development.

James Reilly

Ceist:

209 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost to implement the palliative care national development framework, 2009-2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2079/11]

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

James Reilly

Ceist:

210 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to develop a national dementia strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2080/11]

Dementia is a most distressing condition both for those suffering from it and their families, and presents a significant and growing challenge to health and social services. Alzheimer's disease represents about 70% of the cases of dementia. People are living longer and as a consequence are more likely to develop some form of dementia. While dementia is not solely related to age, the prevalence is higher in older people and increases with age. It is estimated that about 5% of people over 65 years of age have some form of dementia with this figure rising to 20% for people over 80 years of age. The demographic make–up of Irish society is changing. The population is growing older and the number of people aged over 65 is estimated to almost triple over the next 30 years.

As I have indicated previously, my Department has started the process of developing a policy on dementia that will support the delivery of long-term care services having regard to future demographic trends and the consequential increase in demand for long-term care. This policy will be developed on the basis of the best evidence available from national and international sources. Officials in my Department have engaged with relevant stakeholder groups on the first stage of the process which is to assemble the research and evidence upon which the policy will be developed. I expect this will be received in 2011, at which stage work on the policy will commence formally.

The Health Services Executive (HSE) is currently exploring the potential for changes in care pathways for people with dementia, and will make recommendations for the future provision of dementia care across all health and social services. An audit is at an advanced stage within the HSE of the current specialist dementia care services available both in residential/hospital and community services and it is hoped to have it completed shortly. This audit will inform future planning and development of services for people with dementia. The educational needs of staff will also be identified to inform any future staff requirements for working in the area of dementia care. This work will also feed into the overall Dementia Policy formulation.

Hospitals Building Programme

James Reilly

Ceist:

211 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the Central Mental Hospital project; the cost to develop this hospital; the way this project will be funded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2081/11]

The development of the new Central Mental Hospital remains a priority for the Government and the HSE has been asked to submit a business case for the project and to explore alternative funding options to deliver the new hospital. An alternative site has been identified and preliminary discussions have taken place between the HSE and the planning authorities.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Michael Ring

Ceist:

212 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive an appointment for a procedure at the University College Hospital, Galway. [2099/11]

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

Health Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

213 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2101/11]

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

Pat Breen

Ceist:

214 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare has not been facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2103/11]

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

Question No. 215 answered with Question No. 181.

Cancer Screening Programme

James Reilly

Ceist:

216 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details on the national breast screening programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2123/11]

James Reilly

Ceist:

217 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to expand the age range relating to the national breast screening programme; the timeframe and details for same; the estimated cost to expand this service to 70 year olds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2124/11]

James Reilly

Ceist:

218 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to expand the age range relating to the national breast screening programme; if so, the timeframe and details for same; the estimated cost to expand this service to 47 year olds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2125/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 to 218, inclusive, together.

The BreastCheck Programme was rolled out nationally at the end of 2009. The Programme provides free mammograms to all women aged 50 — 64. The Breastcheck Programme Report 2009-2010 noted that 121,160 women were screened by BreastCheck during 2009 and early 2010 and 845 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, representing 7.0 cancers per 1,000 women screened, compared to 7.3 cancers per 1,000 in 2008. Breastcheck will be extended to women in the 65-69 age group as soon as resources and capacity allow. In the meantime women of any age who have concerns about breast cancer should seek the advice of their GP who will, if appropriate, refer them to the symptomatic breast services in one of the eight designated specialist cancer centres.

The HSE's National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) has estimated that there are approximately 85,000 women in the age group 65-69 and that the additional cost of expanding the programme over a number of years would be around €5 million, with a capital investment of approximately €3 million. However its main priority at present is to maximise national uptake in the 50-64 year age cohort. The other priority for the NCSS is to ensure that preparatory work for the national colorectal screening programme takes place this year in order for screening to commence in early 2012 for men and women in the 60 to 69 age group.

The NCSS has advised that while it is well accepted that age is a risk factor for breast cancer (the older a woman is the more likely she is to get breast cancer) a woman's relative risk of dying from breast cancer after the age of 65 actually decreases. The effectiveness of screening below age 50 remains an issue of debate. Several randomised controlled trials in screening have included younger age groups but have not confirmed significant reduction in mortality in the 40-49 age group.

In 2008 the Board of the NCSS commissioned an internal review to examine the evidence for reducing the lower screening age limit from 50 to 47 years. The review concluded that while a reduction in screening age might be of some benefit to some younger women, the merits of extending the programme age range downwards from a population-based screening perspective is still a matter of debate.

Children in Care

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

219 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter regarding the Child Care (Amendment) Bill. [2132/11]

Aftercare is recognised as a key element to achieving positive outcomes for young people leaving care, aiming to assist young people in care in bridging the transition from care to independent adult life in the community. Aftercare is provided for under Section 45 of the Child Care Act, 1991, which states:

"45.—(1) Where a child leaves the care of a health board, the board may, in accordance with subsection (2), assist him for so long as the board is satisfied as to his need for assistance and, subject to paragraph (b), he has not attained the age of 21 years.

(b) Where a health board is assisting a person in accordance with subsection (2)(b), and that person attains the age of 21 years, the board may continue to provide such assistance until the completion of the course of education in which he is engaged.

Consideration has been given to the legal position with regard to the provisions of aftercare services, having regard to the existing legislative provisions of the Child Care Act, 1991. In relation to calls from agencies to place Aftercare on a statutory footing, i.e. to amend Section 45 of the Child Care Act, 1991 from a "may" to a "shall", the legal advice is that the Act creates a statutory power, and the HSE, as recipient of this power, must put itself in a position where it can exercise the power should the need arise. There is therefore no need to amend the Act as has been suggested. In order to ensure that there was no doubt about the matter and to emphasise the importance of aftercare services, in accordance with Section 45(4) of the Child Care Act, I wrote to the HSE in June 2010 clarifying the issue and directing the HSE to formulate and implement aftercare policies.

In accordance with the findings of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009, the Government prepared an Implementation Plan in July 2009 and funding of €1.0M was set aside by the HSE in its 2010 Service Plan, for the development of aftercare services in 2010. The HSE are in the process of recruiting ten additional Aftercare workers effective from 1st November, 2010 and are providing funding to the Irish Association of Young People in Care (IAYPIC) to develop a national advocacy and support service for young people in care, leaving care and aftercare.

My Office has developed proposals to ensure the implementation of Recommendation No. 16 of the Implementation Plan and a National Aftercare Policy is currently being developed to be made widely available to the relevant care staff and service providers and will be made available on the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs website.

Health Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

220 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2166/11]

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

Pat Breen

Ceist:

221 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children awaiting orthodontic treatment on the public health list in County Clare; the length of time they are awaiting treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2168/11]

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

Accident and Emergency Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

222 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients who presented at the accident and emergency department at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ennis, County Clare, from 1 January 2010 to 31 January 2011; the average waiting time for those patients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2169/11]

Pat Breen

Ceist:

223 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients who presented at the accident and emergency department at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010; the average waiting time for patients during this period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2170/11]

Pat Breen

Ceist:

224 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the action being taken to address the crisis at the accident and emergency department at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where patients are being left on trolleys for extended periods; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2171/11]

I propose to take Question Nos. 222 to 224, inclusive, together.

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

Medical Cards

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

225 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied). [2176/11]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

226 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of applications received to date from persons in County Meath under the new nursing home support scheme; the number of these applications that have been fully processed with the decision issued to the applicant; the amount of money expected to be spent on the scheme in County Meath in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2180/11]

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

Social Welfare Benefits

Mary Upton

Ceist:

227 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will outline the proposed changes to applications for rent allowance; if the staff involved locally in this scheme have been notified of these changes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2193/11]

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

Health Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

228 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2202/11]

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

Hospital Services

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

229 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that children originally waiting five months for an appointment at the ophthalmology clinic in Crumlin children’s hospital, Dublin, are now having to wait an additional six months for their appointment due to staffing shortages and if she will make provision for additional doctors to be immediately taken on to address the shortfall, as is necessary if children are to be seen within a reasonable time frame. [2203/11]

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

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

230 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 142 of 15 December 2010, the number of beds lost to the hospital system in areas such as Monaghan, Dundalk, Navan, Ennis, Nenagh and so on; if she will advise on a hospital-by-hospital basis the way increased beds were provided as shown by the total number of beds available in her reply of 15 December 2010; her views on whether it is strange that there would be so many extra beds available yet so many hospitals have closed down; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2238/11]

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

Health Services

John Perry

Ceist:

231 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Health and Children if home help will be reinstated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo in view of the extenuating circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2239/11]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

232 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be given an outpatient appointment to see an orthopaedic consultant. [2378/11]

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

Pat Breen

Ceist:

233 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children when an appointment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2388/11]

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

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

234 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a methadone clinic (details supplied). [2393/11]

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

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

235 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [2404/11]

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

Health Service Staff

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

236 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a statutory register for dental assistants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2422/11]

The Dental Council is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of dentists. Under Section 53 of the Dentists Act, 1985, the Council may establish schemes for the recognition of grades of auxiliary dental workers with the consent of the Minister for Health and Children. Schemes have been established for Dental Nurses, Dental Hygienists, Clinical Dental Technicians and Orthodontic Therapists.

The Council is responsible for maintaining the registers of auxiliary dental workers covered by the Schemes and registration is obligatory except for those Dental Nurses whose duties do not include the taking of radiographs. The introduction of obligatory registration for all auxiliary dental workers will be considered in the context of the proposed review of the Dentists Act 1985.

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

237 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a family (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [2446/11]

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

Health Service Staff

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

238 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of orthodontists currently available to public patients in Letterkenny Hospital, Donegal; if she will replace the orthodontist who recently left; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that patients are now being asked to travel to Sligo to receive treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2451/11]

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

Drugs Payment Scheme

James Reilly

Ceist:

239 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the annual thresholds for the drugs payment scheme on a per annum basis from 1999 to 2010, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2461/11]

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme no individual or family pays more than €120 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines and medical appliances. The scheme is easy to use and significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines and medical appliances. There is no annual threshold. The monthly thresholds since the scheme was introduced in 1999 are listed in the table below.

DPS Monthly Threshold

Date Effective

53.33

July 1999

65.00

1 August 2002

70.00

1 January 2003

78.00

1 January 2004

85.00

1 January 2005

90.00

1 January 2008

100.00

1 January 2009

120.00

1 January 2010

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

240 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will assist in having an outpatient appointment arranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [2470/11]

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

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

241 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment with a dietician. [2471/11]

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

Health Services

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

242 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive dental treatment prior to the orthodontic treatment for which they have been waiting seven years. [2473/11]

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

Care of the Elderly

John Deasy

Ceist:

243 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason homes providing short-term respite care are required to provide the same level of qualified nursing support as homes providing long-term residential care or nursing home care; her plans to change the regulations in respect of registering care homes for persons that do not require nursing care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2493/11]

It is important that we have effective mechanisms in place to maintain and enhance public confidence in the delivery of quality services. The welfare and safety of each individual resident guides us in reforming the health service and the Government place great importance on the policies, standards and legislation we are implementing. Residents, their families and the public need to be reassured that an independent regulator is monitoring the care people receive.

The Health Act, 2007 provides this, with a regime designed to protect the public through an independent inspection and registration system for residential services. On 1 July 2009 statutory responsibility was given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services, part of the Health Information and Quality Authority, for registering and inspecting all residential care settings for older people. This responsibility is underpinned by a comprehensive quality framework comprising the Health Act 2007, the Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations and the National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland. Our overall emphasis is on promoting a high quality individual centred service, delivered to those who require it and in the most appropriate setting. In this regard all designated centres, as defined by the Health Act 2007, providing residential services for older people, must comply with both the Regulations and Standards.

I can, however, advise the Deputy that my Department recently commenced a review of the Care and Welfare Regulations. As part of the review submissions are welcomed from any individual, group or other body who wishes to make a contribution. Closing date for receipt of submissions is Monday, 31 January 2011 and further details are available at www.dohc.ie/consultations. The issues raised in submissions, including issues specific to this type of service, will be borne in mind when carrying out this review, which is due to be completed by mid-2011.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Michael Ring

Ceist:

244 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the length of time a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is on the waiting list for an appointment with a rheumatologist and the estimated timeframe in which they may expect to be called. [2498/11]

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

Consultancy Contracts

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

245 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the information technology system or any other element of the processing of wages and salaries within the Health Service Executive has been outsourced to any foreign country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2502/11]

Management of the Health Service Executive's payroll is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Equipment

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

246 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the breakdown of a piece of equipment in a hospital (details supplied) is causing the postponement of orthopaedic surgery for over six months now; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2506/11]

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

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

247 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by her in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2664/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out below in tabular form. For ease of reference, I am presenting the information on a year by year basis.

Year

Name

Job Title

Salary

Expenses

2011

Patricia Ryan

Special Advisor

€138,655

Derek Cunningham

Special Advisor — Press and Communications

€124,046

Year

Name

Job Title

Salary

Expenses

2010

Patricia Ryan

Special Advisor

€138,655

€2,636

Derek Cunningham

Special Advisor — Press and Communications

€124,046

€3,336

Year

Name

Job Title

Salary

Expenses

2009

Patricia Ryan

Special Advisor

€150,712

€4,730

Derek Cunningham

Special Advisor — Press and Communications

€134,384

€2,416

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

248 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by her in 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2679/11]

Two official trips were undertaken by me in the period concerned. One was to New Zealand for St Patrick's Day 2010 and engagements as Minister for Health and Children. On this trip I was accompanied by my husband and three officials from the Department. The other to Brussels was for an informal meeting of EU Ministers. The costs requested can be broken down as follows:

New Zealand 6th March to 22nd March

Flight Costs

By commercial air line

19,990

Hotel Costs

Stamford — Auckland

3,563

Crown Plaza — Christchurch

729

Bolton — Hotel Wellington

875

Subsistence Claims

Conference Rate

6,211

Ground Transportation

Taxis

2,391

Entertainment

Dinner for Honorary Consul

665

Other

Gifts

475

Total

34,899

Brussels 4th to 6th July 2010

As I was in London on personal business prior to the meeting I travelled to Brussels by Eurostar costing €238. I was accompanied by one adviser. The return journey was by government jet. The only other costs associated with this trip were subsistence claims of €289.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

249 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in her Department in 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2694/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being collated within my Department and will be forwarded as soon as it is available.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

250 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of hotel accommodation used by her within the State while on ministerial duties in 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which she stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2724/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being collated within my Department and will be forwarded as soon as it is available.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

251 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of her Department in 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2739/11]

The information requested is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

252 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [3024/11]

My Department provides funding to organisations based upon their service or other contribution rather than their charitable status per se. Funding is provided to many organisations through the National Lottery fund for various projects in any given year. Most of these organisations would have charity status. A list of the organisations that received lottery funding in 2010 is available on the Department of Health & Children website at www.dohc.ie.

In addition, the HSE provides funding to a large number of voluntary organisations for services, many of these organisations would also have charity status. The HSE also operates its own National Lottery scheme. Details of all the organisations funded by the HSE are set out in its Annual Financial Statements.

Marine Accidents

Dinny McGinley

Ceist:

253 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Transport if he will consider publishing the report into sea tragedies off County Donegal (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2485/11]

Dinny McGinley

Ceist:

257 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Transport if he will consider publishing or at least making the report on sea accidents (details supplied) available to surviving family members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2486/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 and 257 together.

Prior to the establishment of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board in 2002, Reports of Preliminary Inquiries into marine casualties, such as those into the sinking of the Evelyn Marie and the Carraig Una, were considered confidential to the Minister and such reports were not published.

The purpose of a Preliminary Inquiry was to establish the circumstances of the casualty and decide whether a Formal Investigation was warranted based on available evidence. The publication of findings, or making such reports available to other parties outside the context of a Formal Investigation, was considered undesirable on the grounds of potential risk to natural justice procedures in relation to any of the parties affected by the tragedies. As the Preliminary Inquiries in question were carried out on the understanding that they would not be published or made available to other parties outside the context of a formal investigation, it would not be appropriate to do so now.

Air Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

254 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, further to Parliamentary Question No. 224 of 25 May 2010, if he will obtain similar information from the Irish Aviation Authority in relation to the precise distance the red zones commence at either end of runway 06/24 at Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2210/11]

I have been in touch with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) in relation to this matter. The IAA has informed me that the Dublin Airport Authority have confirmed that the red zones commence 200 feet from the runway ends for runway 06/24 at Shannon Airport.

Rural Transport Services

Jack Wall

Ceist:

255 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport his plans to expand the rural transport initiative in view of current weather conditions and the importance of this initiative in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46044/10]

Thirty-six rural community transport groups are being funded under my Department's Rural Transport Programme (RTP), which is operational in every county and plays an important role in combating rural isolation. These groups are working towards maximising coverage in their operational areas having regard to local public transport service needs and the availability of resources. The provision of services under the RTP is a matter for the individual rural transport groups. Local communities know where the transport needs are in their areas and how best to address them. My Department's role is one of facilitator through financial and administrative support, but communities themselves have the lead role in developing the transport services to fulfill these needs.

Motor Vehicle Emissions

Michael Creed

Ceist:

256 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding modification of car exhausts and noise emissions therefrom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2434/11]

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) this is a matter for the Road Safety Authority.

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 253.

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

258 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by him in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2669/11]

The information sought by the Deputy is contained in the tables.

2009

Name

Salary

Expenses

Job title

James Fegan

107,485

4,029.72

Special Advisor

Olive Stephens

100,191

0

Press Advisor

Tanya Harrington (to June 2009)

100,191

0

Specialist Transport, Regulatory, & Policy Co-ordinator

Sean Fitzpatrick

61,966

0

Temporary Press Advisor as cover for Maternity leave

2010

Name

Salary

Expenses

Job title

James Fegan

99,236

5,429.23

Special Advisor

Olive Stephens

92,672

0

Press Advisor

Sean Fitzpatrick

61,966

723.50

Temporary Press Advisor as cover for Maternity leave

2011

Name

Salary

Expenses

Job title

James Fegan

99,236

0

Special Advisor

Olive Stephens

92,672

0

Press Advisor

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

259 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by him in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2684/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled by my office and will be forwarded to her when available.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

260 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2699/11]

Over the period in question officials from my Department would have taken of the order of 600 to 700 foreign trips relating to official business. The information sought is being collated and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

261 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide details of hotel accommodation used by him within the State while on ministerial duties in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which he stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2729/11]

No hotel costs for accommodation within the state was incurred in 2010 or to date in 2011. Details in relation to hotel costs for 2009 are set out below.

Date

Name of Hotel

Cost

Purpose of stay

11 January 2009

The Radisson, Cork Airport

€80

Meeting with the Board of Cork Airport Authority at 8.30am on 12 January 2009.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

262 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2744/11]

Foreign trips made by officials of public bodies within my remit are a day-to day matter for the bodies concerned. I have no function in the matter.

Official Engagements

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

263 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on his recent meeting with the US Secretary for Homeland Security; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2749/11]

I had the pleasure to meet with the US Secretary for Homeland Security Ms. Janet Napolitano on the 30th December last in Dublin Airport. The purpose of her visit was to tour the new U.S. preclearance facility in Terminal 2.

U.S. preclearance at Dublin Airport is due to commence on 19 January. This will allow U.S. bound passengers to clear all U.S. entry controls before they leave Dublin Airport. Currently only U.S. immigration clearance facilities are available at the airport. This new procedure will mean that all precleared U.S. bound travellers will face no further entry processes when they reach the U.S. and will be treated as if their flight had originated at a U.S. domestic airport.

I was very happy to welcome the Secretary to Dublin and for her to see the very fine preclearance facility that the Dublin Airport Authority has provided for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is a constituent part of her Department and who will operate the facility. I see her visit as affirmation of the importance that the United States Government attaches to U.S. preclearance from Ireland.

Road Network

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

264 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Transport the meetings he has had with his opposite number in Northern Ireland regarding the implementation of the dual carriageway project; the up-to-date position regarding this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2755/11]

Under the agreement of March 2007 between the Irish and British Governments on a funding package to support the restored Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government made a commitment to provide funding of £400/€580 million in a roads investment package for Northern Ireland which will contribute to the upgrading of the A5 road from Aughnacloy to Derry/Londonderry to dual-carriageway status.

I have discussed the A5 Aughnacloy to Derry dual carriageway scheme with my Northern counterparts in the context of the Transport Sectoral meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC). Since September 2007 there have been seven meetings of the NSMC in Transport sectoral format, the last of which took place on 20 October 2010, at which the A5 project has been discussed. The A5 project is being implemented by the Roads Service of Northern Ireland (RSNI). A project schedule with key milestones has been established and the project is being progressed in accordance with that schedule. I understand that the third project milestone — Publication of Draft Orders — was achieved in November last year.

Official Engagements

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

265 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the number of meetings and discussions he has had with representatives of Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Bus Atha Cliath in each of the past three years to date; the nature of any innovative proposals or business plan discussed in the course thereof; the likely future impact of such discussion on transport services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2756/11]

I refer the Deputy to PQ No. 59, Reference No. 2409/11, which I answered earlier today.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

266 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the number of meetings he has had with the National Roads Authority in each of the past three years to date; the degree to which the subject matter of any such discussions is likely to impact on road transport policy or the future development of the road transport system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2757/11]

I and my Department keep in regular and ongoing contact with the various transport agencies on matters relevant to general transport policy. My engagement with the National Roads Authority over the past three years has ranged from formal discussions with the full Board to less formal discussions with the Chairman, Board members and the Chief Executive on a variety of occasions such as re opening of new motorways under the Government's Transport 21 Programme. In addition to its statutory functions in relation to the planning, design and implementation of individual projects, the Authority provides important analysis and advice to me which is taken into account in the ongoing development of transport policy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

267 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the number of meetings or discussions or correspondence he has had with the representatives of the various airline companies operating within and to and from this country; the degree to which any such discussions are likely to affect the development of air transport and its competitiveness, with particular reference to the need to maximise such services for the economic benefit of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2758/11]

I have frequent interaction with various airline companies in the context of aviation policy. However, decisions on the operation of air services from any particular State Airport or Regional Airport are commercial decisions for air carriers, in conjunction with the relevant airport authority. The Deputy will be aware that the market for air services in the European Union was fully liberalised in 1992. All European carriers are free to compete and operate on an equal basis within the European market. Within the European Union, Ireland has consistently supported market liberalisation measures and has also sought to influence the wider international framework for aviation to ensure that it continues to promote competition and innovation in the market-place. In this context, the development of our bilateral aviation relations with emerging economic powers, such as China and India, is one of my Department's key long-term goals. The development of airport infrastructure and US preclearance facilities at Shannon and Dublin, which are unique in Europe, complement this strategy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

268 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which he has had discussions with the various airport authorities or representatives thereof in each of the past three years to date; the degree to which the issues discussed have been implemented or are likely to be implemented with a view to the maximisation of economic benefits to the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2759/11]

Both I and my Departmental officials are in contact with the various airport authorities on a regular basis. These contacts would cover a multitude of issues of relevance to the aviation sector. I can assure the Deputy that the context of this interaction is to ensure that the sector supports Ireland's economic and social goals in a safe, competitive, cost effective and sustainable manner.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

269 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent, if any, to which he has had any discussions with the various port authorities throughout the country or their representatives at any level in each of the past three years to date; the extent, if any, to which any such discussions are likely to be of benefit to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sea transport in the context of economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2760/11]

There are ten State owned port companies. In September 2010 the Irish Ports Association hosted its annual conference, which I attended. The annual conference provides me with the opportunity to engage with the sector as a whole. I also meet from time to time with the individual port companies. I emphasise the importance of the maritime sector and that the existence of efficient modern ports increases competition and provides a greater choice of routes for exports and imports.

The ports provide a competitive service and sufficient capacity to meet the needs of our importers and exporters. They have responded quickly to increase their efficiency and achieve even greater economies of scale in response to traffic declines over the last two years. The consensus is that the country's return to economic growth will be export led, and this is already evident. In this regard, it is vital that the ports are in a position to facilitate this and to make their contribution to improving national competitiveness.

In September 2010, I initiated a review of national ports policy to help ensure that the policy framework within which the ports operate helps them address future challenges. The consultation period has now concluded and my Department is considering the submissions received.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

270 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent, if any, to which he has had any discussions with the various shipping companies throughout the country or their representatives at any level in each of the past three years to date; the extent, if any, to which any such discussions are likely to be of benefit to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sea transport in the context of economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2761/11]

Over the last three years I have met, from time to time, with representatives of ports and shipping groups. In addition, officials from my Department meet with representatives from ports and various shipping companies. I have encouraged both ports and operators to improve their overall efficiency and to re-adjust their routes and capacity in order to maintain their service levels for customers, while at the same time reducing their overall operating overheads.

In addition, Noel Ahern T.D., former Minister of State at my Department who had responsibility for maritime affairs, met on several occasions with the management of some shipping companies in 2009. Ciaran Cuffe T.D. the Minister of State at my Department also opened the European Shipping Congress at Dublin Castle in June 2010, on my behalf. Two hundred delegates, including many of Ireland's and Europe's senior port and shipping executives attended this conference. The theme for discussion at the Congress was "strategies and opportunities for recovery in European Shortsea Shipping".

My Department through its agency the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) also regularly meets with shipping companies and continues to support and assist Irish and foreign owners establish new shipping services here, providing them with expert market intelligence and analysis. Shipping demand has declined worldwide in recent years. However, the IMDO's most recent figures indicate Irish export shipping volumes rose by 12% and Ferry passenger numbers rose by 5% in the third quarter of 2010, which is an indication of economic recovery in some areas.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

271 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent, if any, to which he has had any discussions with the various air freight companies throughout the country or their representatives at any level in each of the past three years to date; the extent, if any, to which any such discussions are likely to be of benefit to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sea transport in the context of economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2762/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

273 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which he has engaged in discussions with air freight companies and or their representatives in each of the past three years to date with a view to determining how he can best assist economic recovery through such companies; if he has taken any action, sought any advice or given any indication as to his intention to proceed with such matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2764/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 273 together.

A key goal of my Department is to ensure a planned integrated network which encompasses all modes of transport. This process involves very close liaison between my Department and the three main transport sectors: land transport, aviation and marine. Mindful of the need to ensure that export-led growth is underpinned by national transport policy, my Department is working with key stakeholders and in particular the freight industry to identify and implement measures to secure competitive, sustainable and safe freight transport both domestically and internationally.

While operational responsibility for air and sea transport rests with the relevant Airport and Sea Port authorities, both I and my Departmental officials are in contact with these Authorities on a regular basis. I can assure the Deputy that the context of this interaction is to ensure that these sectors support Ireland's economic and social goals. In addition, my Department engages with air freight and maritime freight stakeholders through its involvement in the All-Island Freight Forum, which it jointly chairs with the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

272 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent of the discussions he has had in each of the past three years to date with private freight transport companies such as the road hauliers association, private bus companies and or others involved in the sector with a view to identifying the issues currently affecting their efforts to expand and assist economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2763/11]

I have met with the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) on two occasions during the period mentioned in the question. Those meetings took place in 2008 and 2009, and covered a wide range of issues of concern to the IRHA. The overall thrust of any meeting I have with the IRHA or with any other similar organisation is always to find ways to help the development of their sector, to resolve any problems or concerns they might have, so that their sector can work with Government to identify and implement measures to secure competitive, sustainable and safe freight transport and therefore play its part in assisting the national economic recovery.

I should also point out that staff in my Department regularly consult with and meet the IRHA and other representative bodies of the haulage and passenger industry regarding haulage and passenger issues. Wherever possible, requests for meetings are always agreed to. Again, my officials treat such meetings as opportunities to provide as much information and assistance as they can for the sector, and to resolve any difficulties or concerns the sector might have, within the framework of transport policy generally.

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 271.

Transport 21

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

274 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the level and extent of any decisions he has made with the various subordinate bodies, groups, agencies or individuals with responsibility for achieving the goals set out in Transport 21; whether he has received any submissions affecting the achievement or development of such objectives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2765/11]

The monitoring arrangements for Transport 21 consist of a High Level Monitoring Group comprising representatives of the relevant Government Departments and assisted by the Chief Executives of the State Agencies with responsibility for implementing the projects in Transport 21. The main role of this Group is to monitor the implementation of projects and programmes provided for in Transport 21 and to review compliance with the Department of Finance's Guidelines. In addition my Department meets regularly with individual agencies to review project implementation, funding and related issues.

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

275 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport if he will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [3028/11]

My Department currently pays a grant of €175,000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a charity registered in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, The Irish Coast Guard provides yearly grants to the volunteer groups of Mountain Rescue Ireland, a registered charity that provides 24 hour emergency service and is a dedicated resource of the Irish Coast Guard. In 2010 a total of €280,000 was paid to Mountain Rescue Ireland.

Citizenship Applications

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

276 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform when an application for citizenship will be decided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2396/11]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in April 2009. The application is being processed in the normal way with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation. It is not possible to provide more specific information in an individual case as processing requirements and time taken to carry out necessary checks vary from case to case.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Garda Transport

Pat Breen

Ceist:

277 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of new Garda vehicles purchased in 2010; the cost of same; his plans to purchase new vehicles in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2026/11]

The information sought by the Deputy has been requested from the Garda Authorities and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.

Garda Strength

Michael Ring

Ceist:

278 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide details of the notification received regarding the number of gardaí who have retired from 1 January 2010 up to 31 December 2010 in tabular format on a county basis. [2032/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the total number of Gardaí who retired during 2010 was 362. I refer the Deputy to my answer of 7 December 2010 to PQ 46467/10 in which I stated that a breakdown of retirees on a county basis in tabular form is not readily available and the compilation of the information, as requested, would require a disproportionate amount of Garda time and resources.

Deportation Procedures

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

279 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the aborted deportation flight from Ireland to Nigeria on 15 December 2010; the reasons for the deportees being returned here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2062/11]

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

280 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he has received a petition from the Irish Refugee Council requesting an independent inquiry into the treatment of deportees on the aborted deportation flight of 15 December 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2063/11]

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

281 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if the treatment of deportees on the aborted deportation flight from Ireland to Nigeria on 15 December 2010 complied with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2064/11]

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

282 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the cost to the Exchequer of the failed deportation flight to Nigeria on 15 December 2010; the number of persons being deported; the current status of the persons who were returned here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2065/11]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

283 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his views on a deportation matter (details supplied). [2077/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

284 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to a deportation that took place on 15 December 2010 in which significant violations of the rights and dignities of the Nigerian passengers have been reported, including that they were kept on the plane for two hours before it departed and not allowed to use the toilet during this time, forcing children to urinate into bottles and that when the plane departed passengers were required to keep the door open when using the toilet, including menstruating women and that they were held in an airport lounge in Greece for 14 hours and offered nothing but crisps during that time although deportees from other countries were offered food and drink; if he will order an immediate independent inquiry into the events and suspend deportations until this inquiry is completed and the matters satisfactorily resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2108/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 to 284, inclusive, together.

A total of 35 persons — all of whom were failed asylum seekers or their dependants — were due to be returned by Ireland to Nigeria by charter flight which left Dublin Airport on 15th December 2010 to go to Lagos via Athens. The flight was organised in conjunction with our European partners in the FRONTEX network where individual member states co-operate with each other in returning immigrants to their country of origin. In addition to the persons being returned from Ireland, there were 64 other persons from the following countries, UK, Austria, Hungary, Norway, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Greece and Germany due to return to Nigeria on this flight. As well as immigration officials (in our case, Gardaí attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau) who accompanied the persons being returned, the flight also had on board a medical team consisting of a doctor and nurse.

On arrival in Athens airport where the persons being returned from Greece and Austria were boarded, the plane developed a technical fault while it was on the ground. At this point the local time was 2.00 am on Thursday 16th December.

Having considered the options — which included sourcing another aircraft — the flight organisers came to the conclusion that the only feasible option was to abandon the flight and return the persons in question to Dublin. It is important to note that had the operators been able to source another aircraft at relatively short notice, it would still have meant a very long delay — possibly 14 hours or longer — before the necessary clearances and other paperwork would have been completed to enable the flight to continue to Lagos. The persons in question were flown back to Dublin on 16th December (the following day) from Athens.

Quite clearly the technical fault which developed with this FRONTEX operated flight could not have been foreseen; in fact Deputies should be aware that this is the first time that such an event occurred in 50 removal flights involving the removal of non-nationals from the State in the past seven years.

I am advised that every effort was made to provide the persons on board the flight with appropriate refreshments and other facilities. These efforts were hampered by the lateness of the hour, the availability of facilities at that time at Athens airport and the requirement to comply with the instructions of the airport authorities. As Deputies will appreciate when technical difficulties arise with flights, considerable disruption is caused to passengers. The situation in this respect is no different when such difficulties arise with charter flights involving failed asylum seekers as it is with commercial flights.

In the matter of sanitary facilities, I am advised that standard arrangements in the aircraft were in place and that adequate facilities were also in place for all passengers who chose to avail of them. I am also advised that according to the information available to my Department and the Gardaí, that the issues in this respect referred to by Deputies involving the persons being returned to Nigeria from Ireland have not been raised to date in the other countries who participated in this flight.

In relation to the matter of deportation itself, I must point out that all persons who are the subject of Deportation Orders have had their cases fully examined under the various headings in Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 before I decided to make an order against them. The option to voluntarily return to their country of origin is available to people who have no legal right to be in the State; however none of the individuals on the flight in question took up the option of voluntary return.

Where a decision is made to make a Deportation Order, the person in question is advised in writing of this decision and of the consequences of the decision which includes placing a legal obligation on the person in question to remove themselves from the State or, failing that, to comply with any reporting requirements placed on them by the Garda National Immigration Bureau so that their removal from the State can be effected. The Deportation Orders in effect in respect of the individuals who returned to Ireland in this instance remain in force and will be enforced by the Gardaí when the necessary travel arrangements are made. The persons in question are therefore still obliged to remove themselves from the State or, failing that, to contact the Garda National Immigration Bureau to facilitate their removal.

By its nature enforced deportation is a difficult process for everyone involved. My Department, in conjunction with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the other members of Frontex is reviewing this operation and if appropriate and reasonable, will put revised practices in place with a view to minimising the risk of this occurring again. Technical faults can and do occur with aircraft and inevitably there is disruption to passengers. Every effort is made to minimise any such disruption but like in all flights where events occur which are outside of control of passengers, no absolute guarantees can be given.

I am satisfied that the deportation operation on 15th December 2010 was properly conducted and accordingly I will not be establishing an independent enquiry into this deportation flight. Finally I am not in a position to indicate at this point the costs incurred during this operation; I can say however that my Department will be insisting that all reasonable costs are recouped from the flight operator.

Youth Services

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

285 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he has received a request for funding towards the establishment of a youth diversion project at a location (details supplied); if this application will be favourably considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2155/11]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question 161 on the Wednesday, 9th June, 2010. The position remains essentially as stated. The focus of the Irish Youth Justice Service and An Garda Síochána in 2011 will be on improving the quality and effectiveness of the existing 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects across the country. I do not, at this stage, expect to announce any new projects in 2011.

Public Order Offences

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

286 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will support a matter (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [2158/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the area referred to is within Raheny Garda District. Local Garda management is aware of difficulties being experienced by local residents due to people congregating in the area.

The area is subject to regular patrols by uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Community Policing and Mountain Bike Units and the District Detective and Drug Units, supplemented as required by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Local Garda management has directed that additional patrols of the area take place. A member of the local Community Policing Unit is specifically assigned to the area referred to and regularly meets local residents to help address their concerns.

Local Garda management closely monitors and keeps under review patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities in the area, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation is kept under review. Current policing plans in the area are designed to address issues of crime and public order offences. Community policing is a central feature and core value of Garda policing policy, and current policing strategies are predicated on the prevention of crime, public order offences and anti-social behaviour.

Departmental Correspondence

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

287 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will furnish a response to correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2164/11]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the correspondence received from the person concerned is being considered by my Department. I should add that detailed information in relation to his case requested from his legal representatives in 2010 has not been received to date. On receipt of same, a decision on his future status in the State will be communicated directly to the person concerned.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Citizenship Applications

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

288 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding an application for citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2411/11]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in July 2007. I decided in my absolute discretion to grant a certificate of naturalisation. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that a certificate of naturalisation issued to the applicant via registered post on 30 June, 2010. To date no application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the second named person.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Property Services Regulation

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

289 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if there are adequate safeguards and guidance for rural landowners leasing farmland, many of them elderly, concerning default of lessees; if he will direct the Property Services Regulatory Authority to review the role and responsibilities of the auctioneers in this area, particularly in relation to information to lessors and services in the case of default by lessees. [2467/11]

The position is the Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009, which has already been passed by the Seanad and is currently awaiting Dail Committee Stage, provides for establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority. While the primary function of the Authority will be to establish and administer a licensing system for property services providers, including auctioneers and letting agents, and investigate complaints arising from the provision of property services by licensees, the Authority will also have broader consumer protection functions in relation to property services.

Section 11(2)(k) of the Bill provides, for example, that the Authority may promote public awareness and disseminate information to the public in respect of property services, in particular the costs of such services, and the risks and benefits associated with the provision of those services. The Authority is also required in the performance of its statutory functions to promote the best interests of clients and other users and potential users of property services in a manner that is consistent with the orderly and proper functioning of the property services markets and the orderly control and supervision of those services.

Crime Prevention

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

290 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the steps that have been taken to curb anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of Kilcock railway station, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2491/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that local Garda management is aware of difficulties being experienced by residents as a result of anti-social behaviour in the location referred to and has directed that additional Garda patrols take place in the area. Local Garda management will continue to monitor the situation closely with the assistance of the Community Policing Unit for the area.

Deportation Orders

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

291 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of Irish citizen children who left this State in each of the years 2005 to 2010 in the company of their parents deported from Ireland as a consequence of breaching of Irish immigration law or a failed application for asylum; to detail in each year the countries to which such parents, accompanied by their child/ren, were returned; the means of transportation by which such children left the State and, if by air, to state whether by chartered or scheduled flight. [2503/11]

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

292 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform in respect of Irish citizen children who left this State in the years 2005 to 2010 in the company of their parents deported from Ireland as a consequence of breaching an immigration law or a failed application for asylum, to state the efforts, if any, this State has made to remain in contact with such children and or to provide to each such child access to the Irish embassy in their country of residence or to the Irish embassy responsible for handling diplomatic representation in that country [2504/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 291 and 292 together.

Between 2005 and 2010, one Irish citizen child left the State with their parents in 2006 on a scheduled flight travelling to Nigeria as a result of the deportation of their parents. In the same period the number of such children who left the State with their parents by chartered flights is as follows: three in 2006, two in 2008, two in 2009 and twelve in 2010. All of the children travelled to Nigeria. These children can avail of all consular services offered by the Irish Embassy in their country of residence which in respect of Nigeria is located in Abuja and can be accessed by the children or their parents acting on their behalf.

Garda Strength

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

293 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of gardaí employed by the State; the average percentage assigned to patrols at any one time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2653/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána, as at the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 14,364. For security and operational reasons, it is not Garda policy to disclose the number or percentage of members on duty at any given time.

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

294 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by him in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2665/11]

The Public Service Management Act, 1997 provides for the appointment of two Special Advisers to assist Ministers in performing their roles and achieving the objectives of Government. Mr Ciarán Ó Cuinn was appointed as my Special Adviser/ Programme Manager with effect from 7 May, 2008. Mr Richard Moore was appointed as my Press Adviser from the same date. Both Mr Ó Cuinn and Mr Moore are paid at the Principal Officer Standard Scale (€80,051 — €98,424). Special Advisers are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses in accordance with relevant Department of Finance Circulars, the details of which are considered personal to the individuals concerned.

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

295 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide details of any foreign trip made by him in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2680/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is provided in a table. As Minister, I have travelled abroad on 6 occasions since 2010 to date, 4 of which were for the purposes of attending EU Justice & Home Affairs Council Meetings. On the other 2 occasions I travelled to London for meetings with the newly appointed British Home Secretary, Justice Secretary and Immigration Minister and on one occasion for the purpose of representing the Government abroad in France for St. Patrick's Day 2010.

Minister Dermot Ahern, Travel Details January 2010-to date

Minister’s Hotel costs

Air Fare

Car Hire costs for Minister

Number of persons accompanying Minister

November 2010

8th November

Travelled from Dublin to Luxemburg

No cost accrued by the Minister

Ministerial Air Transport

No costs incurred

3 — Included officials who as a matter of course attend JHA Ministerial meetings

Purpose of Trip: EU Informal Justice & Home Affairs Meetings

July 2010

14th July — 16th July

Travelled from Dublin to Brussels

No costs accrued by the Minister

€123.30

No costs incurred

5 — Included officials who as a matter of course attend JHA Ministerial meetings

Purpose of Trip: EU Informal Justice and Home Affairs Meeting*

June 2010

21st June

Travelled from Dublin to London

No overnight costs incurred

Ministerial Air Transport

Not available at present

5 — officials who as a matter of course attend such meetings

Purpose of Trip: Separate meetings with London Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary and Immigration Minister

4th June

Travelled from Dublin to Luxemburg

No overnight costs incurred

Ministerial Air Transport

Not available at present

4 — Included officials who as a matter of course attend JHA Ministerial meetings

Purpose of Trip: EU Justice and Home Affairs Council Meeting

Minister Dermot Ahern, Travel Details January 2010-to date

Minister’s Hotel costs

Air Fare

Car Hire costs for Minister

Number of persons accompanying Minister

March 2010

15th March — 19th March

Travelled from Dublin to Paris

Minister stayed with Ambassador so no costs accru-ed

€182.52

Minister travelled in Ambassador’s car so no costs incurred

2 pax

Purpose of Trip: Represented the Government abroad in France for St. Patrick’s day

January 2010

20th January – 22nd January 2010

Travelled from Dublin to Toledo, Spain

No costs accrued by the Minister

Ministerial Air Transport

No costs accrued by the Minister

7 — Included officials who as a matter of course attend JHA Ministerial meetings

Purpose of Trip: EU Informal Justice & Home Affairs Council Meeting*

*Accommodation & transport was provided by the host Government; accordingly no costs accrued to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

296 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide details of any foreign trip made by officials in his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2695/11]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

298 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide details of any foreign trip made by officials in public bodies under the remit of his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2740/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 296 and 298 together.

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy. As the Deputy may be aware, there are about 24,000 staff in my Department and its associated twenty four public bodies. This includes large nationwide organisations such as An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Irish Prisons Service. To seek to obtain all the information sought, would require a disproportionate use of time and resources, which cannot be justified at a time when there are numerous demands on the public bodies concerned.

Maintaining national representation at EU, Council of Europe, UN and other International fora primarily accounts for expenditure by my Department on foreign travel. I wish to inform the Deputy that the travel and subsistence information requested for the years 2009 and 2010 is available in the Revised Estimates Volume for each of the years concerned. Copies of these documents are available on the Department of Finance's website (www.finance.gov.ie) and in the Oireachtas Library. I also wish to refer the Deputy to the Revised Estimates Volume for 2011 which contains full year Estimates information for my Department. Copies of this document are available on the Department of Finance's website (www.finance.gov.ie) and in the Oireachtas Library.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

297 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide details of hotel accommodation used by him within the State while on ministerial duties in the year 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which he stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2725/11]

The records in my office indicate that in 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, a total expenditure of approximately 520 euro was incurred in the provision of hotel accommodation for me in the State in the exercise of my ministerial duties.

Question No. 298 answered with Question No. 296.

Asylum Applications

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

299 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of asylum seekers who have not had their applications processed and cannot be accounted for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2745/11]

I presume the Deputy is referring to asylum applications that could not be progressed because of a failure on the part of the applicant to co-operate with the asylum agencies. Under the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), such applications are deemed to be withdrawn. Since the introduction of the statutory provision in question in 2003, approximately 6,200 asylum applications have been deemed withdrawn by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner.

Crime Levels

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

300 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the growing concern that the proliferation of cash for gold businesses opening in various parts of the country are causing an increase in thefts and burglaries of gold jewellery; the consideration, if any, given by him to date to the enactment of legislation to ensure such businesses are licensed and required to obtain documentation verifying ownership of items purchased; his views on whether such legislation is desirable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2752/11]

As the Deputy points out, there has been a significant increase in the number of outlets offering to buy gold for cash in towns and cities in the State. I am aware that the trade gives rise to concerns reported in communities about crime that may be linked to the cash for gold trade.

The informal purchase of jewellery is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation; however the circumstances under which jewellery is being bought and/or sold may indicate the commission of certain offences, for example handling stolen property and/or possession of stolen property under sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001. An Garda Síochána enforce the provisions of the criminal law in respect of theft and robbery including the theft and robbery of jewellery and gold. Should members of the public have suspicions that goods being sold or traded may be stolen, the correct action is for these suspicions to be referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation.

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

I can inform the Deputy that my Department has now received the Commissioner's report and is in contact with him in the matter. The Commissioner has indicated that there has been an overall decrease both in the number of burglaries recorded in the years 2005 to 2010 and in the number of burglaries recorded involving jewellery/trophies and antique gold in the same period. He is also of the view that the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 are adequate. I might also add that the Commissioner has indicated that a significant number of the premises in question have been visited by Gardaí and the responsibilities of the owners in respect of purchases of the relevant items under the criminal law have been brought to their attention.

I can assure the Deputy that as soon as the Commissioner's report has been given full consideration by my Department, I will make an assessment as to what if any action, legislative or otherwise may be required.

Asylum Support Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

301 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if and when provision can or will be made for accommodation transfer to Galway city or Dublin in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2766/11]

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. The person referred to in the details supplied is currently availing of RIA accommodation at Dun Gibbons Inn accommodation centre, Clifden, County Galway. The RIA has received a transfer request from this family and has responded to the effect that there were insufficient grounds to merit a change of accommodation at this time.

The Deputy should be aware that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases, including accommodation status at the RIA, may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

David Stanton

Ceist:

302 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of applications for clearance received by the Garda central vetting unit in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011 respectively; the current waiting times for the processing of an application for Garda vetting; the number of persons currently on the waiting list for Garda vetting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2767/11]

The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for a large number of organisations in Ireland which are registered with the Gardaí for this purpose in respect of persons working in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or training capacity in positions where they would have substantial, unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults. There has been a substantial increase in the volume of vetting applications received by the GCVU over recent years and the figures requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011 (to 13/01/11)

187,864

218,404

246,194

291,938

6,549

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that at present, there are approximately 55,000 applications in the course of being processed and the current average processing time for vetting applications received at the GCVU is approximately 11 weeks. The processing time fluctuates in line with periods of increased demand. Furthermore, additional time may be required to process an individual application where clarification is required as to the details provided or where other enquiries are need, for example, when the person in question has lived and worked abroad. There will always be a reasonably significant time period required to process a vetting application. Registered organisations have been advised to take account of this in their recruitment and selection process. However, the Gardaí make every effort to reduce the time to the minimum possible consistent with carrying out the necessary checks.

Asylum Applications

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

303 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of asylum cases pending hearing and determination by the High Court and the average cost to the State of each asylum action taken in the High Court. [2792/11]

The Deputy will be aware the asylum process encompasses the activities of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT), both of which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice and Law Reform in relation to the granting of refugee status. At 31 December 2010 approximately 950 such cases were pending before the High Court where either ORAC, RAT or the Minister were respondents.

A figure for the average cost of an asylum action is not readily available as the costs involved in such an action are generally spread across various areas including the Chief State Solicitors Office, the Refugee Legal Service, the Courts Service and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (including ORAC and RAT).

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

304 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the total number of asylum seekers for whom accommodation is being provided by or on behalf of the State and the cost of such accommodation per week. [2793/11]

The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers and the implementation of the government policies of direct provision and even dispersal around the country. On 9 January 2011, 6,112 asylum seekers were being accommodated by RIA, a reduction of 383 (6%) on the same period last year. These persons are being accommodated in a total of 46 centres in the RIA portfolio. An up-to-date list of these centres is available on the RIA website — www.ria.gov.ie

At 31 December, 2010, 6,107 asylum seekers were being accommodated in RIA centres and the total spend by RIA in 2010 was €79,073,000 (provisional). The average cost of accommodation for asylum seekers per week is not as simply calculated as it might appear. For example, the numbers residing in RIA accommodation change on a day to day basis. Further, RIA expenditure includes not just accommodation. It also includes costs for pre-school services in some centres, direct spending on transport costs in dispersing asylum seekers around the country, utility and maintenance costs for state owned centres and miscellaneous costs.

Moreover, costs incurred by other Departments in relation to the provision of services to asylum seekers — in the areas of health, education, social welfare and so on — are not included in the cost indicated above. The complexity of the issue of accommodation costs for asylum seekers is dealt with in the report ‘Value for Money and Policy Review — Asylum Seeker Accommodation Policy', published in May 2010 which I would commend to the Deputy and which is available on my Department's website: www.justice.ie and on the above mentioned RIA website. The report provides a comprehensive review and analysis of the operation of the asylum seeker accommodation programme and should provide the Deputy with a wide understanding of the complexities involved in this programme.

Garda Operations

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

305 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of gardaí engaged in checking passports at airports and other border controls. [2794/11]

I have requested the information sought from the Garda authorities and when I have this to hand I will write directly to the Deputy.

Overseas Development Aid

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

306 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding an application for the United Nations volunteer internship programme 2011 in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 16; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish Aid has set no upper age limit for the programme; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that the applicant went through a rigorous selection and interview process and was subsequently nominated by Irish Aid for the position of research assistant to the UNDP in Maseru, Lesotho, only to be told by the UNV in Bonn that they were not being selected due to an age limit on its part; if he is aware that the applicant, as a highly educated graduate, is now faced with unemployment as a direct result of this bureaucratic mess; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2061/11]

The Government attaches great importance to the role of volunteers in development. We recognise the need to give people interested in a career in development the opportunity to gain experience of working in the developing world and with the multilateral system. Since 2006, the Government has provided funding through Irish Aid to the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) internship and volunteer programmes, in order to give suitably qualified candidates the opportunity to work with UN programmes in developing countries.

Irish Aid facilitates the initial screening of candidates for these positions, and UNV is responsible for recruitment and placement. The initial screening process for Irish candidates for the 2011 internship programme was carried out by a team of highly qualified external consultants. While UNV provides guidelines which include an indicative age range for candidates, it has until now always accepted Irish nominees on the basis that they were the most suitably qualified, including candidates outside this age range

This year, for the first time, the United Nations Volunteer programme decided not to accept nominees outside the indicated age range. Irish Aid raised the change in practice with UNV, and it was agreed that the candidates affected by the decision would be considered for more senior volunteer positions with UNV. I understand that arrangements are currently being made to interview the candidates affected for volunteer placements. The United Nations Volunteer programme makes all final decisions with regard to recruitment and placements.

Official Travel

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

307 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the itineraries that are in preparation for Ministers and Ministers of State to represent Ireland abroad over the course of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2144/11]

David Stanton

Ceist:

313 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the plans that Ministers and Ministers of State have to take part in St. Patrick’s Day 2011 celebrations across the world; the contact he has had with various governments, embassies, organisations and so on in relation to such celebrations; the locations of celebrations to be attended; the dates and duration of the expected trips; when travel and event plans will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2777/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 307 and 313 together.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has responsibility for co-ordinating the programme of Ministerial St. Patrick's Day visits globally, in co-operation with the Department of the Taoiseach and other relevant Departments. In fulfilling its co-ordination role, my Department will have full regard to the recommendations contained in the recently published strategy document ‘Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy', which emphasises the value of St Patrick's Day in providing a unique opportunity to raise Ireland's profile abroad, in delivering clear marketing messages and in strengthening relations with other countries.

I can confirm that, in line with normal planning practice, officials in my Department have asked Embassies and Missions, in consultation with relevant State Agencies on the ground and other stakeholders, to submit proposals regarding St Patrick's Day in their areas of accreditation. These proposals are currently being assessed in my Department. I would envisage that the Government will consider recommendations based on these proposals in the near future.

Ministerial Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

308 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the name of each non-Civil Service adviser employed by him in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; each adviser’s salary, expenses claims and job title in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2663/11]

The following table sets out the name, salary and job title of each non-civil service advisor employed by me during the period in question.

Name

Title

Period

Annual Salary

Ms. Deirdre Gillane

Special Advisor

2009 – 27 May 2010

2009 – €103,389

2010 – €95,550

Mr. Tim Conlon

Special Advisor

6 September 2010 to date

€84,132

Overtime, travel and subsistence expenses are paid in accordance with normal civil service regulations.

Official Travel

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

309 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by him in the year 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the exact mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel and the nature of the entertainment for which the expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2678/11]

In order to fulfil my duties as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I undertook a number of foreign trips in 2010. I have not undertaken any foreign travel to date in 2011. All of the travel was carried out in pursuit of Ireland's foreign policy objectives, our economic interests, or both. The majority of the travel arose directly from Ireland's active and committed membership of the EU and UN. Other travel commitments were undertaken following careful consideration of the value that a particular visit would contribute to Ireland's economic and foreign policy interests.

The details requested in relation to foreign travel undertaken during the period in question are included in the table below. In the timeframe available, it has not been possible to provide the full details requested. The Deputy may wish to be aware that in some cases, certain costs relating to overseas trips are covered by the host Government. Further, I would not ordinarily incur entertainment expenditure while abroad. Events, such as dinners, where they occur, are hosted by the relevant Ambassador.

My Department is fully compliant with the Department of Finance guidelines on foreign travel. My Department also operates its own detailed internal travel guidelines and practises which ensure cost effective travel practises. The central aim of the Departmental travel policy, which embraces both Ministers and officials, is to minimise official travel costs and to achieve value for money for expenditure necessarily incurred, consistent with the effective discharge of official duties.

Travel Related Costs incurred by Minister Micheál Martin, 2010

Hotel

Air Fares

Ground Transportation

Other

JANUARY 2010

Thursday 14th Jan

Travelled to London (Govt Jet — same day return to Belfast)

Purpose of Trip: Meeting with Prime Minister Brown and Northern Ireland Secretary of State, London during talks on devolution of justice and policing powers to Northern Ireland

FEBRUARY 2010

Monday 25th Jan – 5 February (with break for meetings in London, 4 February)

(2 nights)

Travelled to London and Hillsborough (Govt Jet — same day return)

393.26

Purpose of Trip: Meeting with Prime Minister Brown, FM Miliband and Northern Ireland Secretary of State during talks on devolution of justice and policing powers to Northern Ireland

Monday 22nd February

Travelled to Brussels (Govt Jet — same day return)

Purpose of Trip: Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council

Tuesday 23rd to Friday 26th

(1 night)

Travelled to Egypt and Gaza (Govt Jet )

68.92

1,016.15

Purpose of Trip: Talks in Egypt on Middle East and visit to Gaza.

(Accommodation in Cairo provided by Egyptian MFA)

MARCH 2010

Tuesday 2nd – Wednesday 3rd

(1 night)

Travelled to Geneva (Govt Jet – same day return)

279.11

774.03

Purpose of Trip: Human Rights Council Session

Travel Related Costs incurred by Minister Micheál Martin, 2010

Hotel

Air Fares

Ground Transportation

Other

Friday 5th – Saturday 6th

Travelled to Cordoba (Govt jet)

Purpose of Trip: Informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers

(Accommodation provided by the Spanish Presidency)

Monday 15th – Thursday 18

(3 nights)

Travelled to Washington

533.01

2,190.41

854.41

Purpose of Trip: St. Patrick’s Day Programme of events, Washington

Monday 22nd

Travelled to Brussels (Govt Jet — same day return)

Purpose of Trip: Foreign Affairs Council & General Affairs Council

Wednesday 24th – Thursday 25th

Travelled to Paris

856.54

775.00

Purpose of Trip: Political consultations with FM Kouchner, a meeting with some French-linked members of the Global Irish Network and a number of trade and investment promotions appointments

(Stayed at Ambassador’s residence)

APRIL 2010

Wednesday 28th – Thursday 29th

Berlin and Munich (Govt Jet)

Purpose of Trip: Promotion of Irish economic interests in Germany, a review of EU developments with FM Westerwelle and an exchange of views on major CFSP issues

(Stayed at Ambassador’s Residence)

Travel Related Costs incurred by Minister Micheál Martin, 2010

Hotel

Air Fares

Ground Transportation

Other

MAY 2010

Sunday 2 – Wednesday 5

(3 nights)

Travelled to New York

361.09

2,607.29

46.79

Purpose of Trip: Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Conference and New York Programme

Saturday 22 – Saturday 29

(1 night)

Travelled to Hong Kong (return from Shanghai)

268.85

3,478.34

706.49

143.88

Purpose of Trip: 5 -day visit to China (Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dalian & Shenzhen) which included bilateral meetings with the Chinese Foreign Minister and Vice-Premier; a visit to the Irish Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai and meetings with business leaders, Asia-based members of the Global Irish Network, and academic institutions with Irish links.

(Accommodation, other than Hong Kong, was provided by the Chinese Government)

JUNE / JULY 2010

Monday 14

Travelled to Luxembourg (Govt Jet — same day return)

Purpose of Trip: Monthly meeting of EU Foreign Ministers — General Affairs Council and Foreign Affairs Council

Monday 21

Travelled to Brussels (Govt Jet — same day return).

Purpose of Trip: Pre-Belgian Presidency Working dinner with Belgian FM, Brussels.

Working dinner hosted by the Belgian Foreign Minister to discuss the upcoming Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Sunday 27 – Friday 2 (July)

(5 nights)

Travelled to Kampala and Addis Ababa (Govt Jet)

636.50

Purpose of Trip: Visit to Uganda and Ethiopia, two of the priority countries for the Government’s aid programme, to assess the impact of the aid programme in the fight against poverty and hunger in Africa

AUGUST 2010 (no travel)

Travel Related Costs incurred by Minister Micheál Martin, 2010

Hotel

Air Fares

Ground Transportation

Other

SEPTEMBER 2010

Tuesday 7 –Wednesday 8

Travelled to Vienna (Govt Jet)

159.00

Purpose of Trip: Addressed opening of Ireland’s Forum for Security Cooperation Chairmanship, meeting with OSCE Chair, meeting with Austrian FM

Monday 20 – Tuesday 28

(7 nights)

Travelled to New York

2,338.80

2,609.71

566.20

Purpose of Trip: UN Joint Hunger Event; UN High Level Plenary meeting; UNSG’s High Level Meeting on Disarmament; Attendance at UNGA

OCTOBER 2010

Wednesday 6 –Friday 8

Travelled to Romania and Bulgaria (Govt Jet)

Purpose of Trip: Visits to Romania and Bulgaria

NOVEMBER 2010

Monday 22

Travelled to Brussels (Govt Jet — same day return)

Purpose of Trip: General Affairs Council and Foreign Affairs Council, Brussels

DECEMBER 2010

Tuesday 14

Travelled to London (Govt Jet — same day return)

Purpose of Trip: Meetings with Secretary of State, NI Owen Patterson and MP Shaun Woodward

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

310 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of the entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2693/11]

The nature of work of my Department necessitates extensive travel by officers of the Department. This includes, among other activities, servicing meetings and attending fora arising directly from Ireland's active and committed membership of the EU and UN, overseeing Ireland's official development assistance programme, and the operation of our diplomatic network. Given the amount of travel involved it is not possible, in the time available, to provide all the detail requested. However the table below provides an indication of the total expenditures for the years in question on travel related costs for officials and office holders at my Department. It should be noted that these totals relate to costs incurred at home and abroad, and therefore include travel costs related to the operation of the diplomatic network and not just travel between Ireland and abroad.

My Department is fully compliant with the Department of Finance guidelines on foreign travel. My Department also operates its own detailed internal travel guidelines and practises which ensure cost effective travel practises, both in Headquarters and throughout our network of 76 diplomatic missions abroad. During 2009, my Department engaged in a robust review of existing travel policies in order to ensure full compliance with all existing guidelines and to ensure best practices exist. There have been a number of revisions and reminders in regard to the application of travel policy operating throughout my Department. The central aim of the Departmental travel policy, which embraces both Ministers and officials, is to minimise official travel costs and to achieve value for money for expenditure necessarily incurred, consistent with the effective discharge of official duties.

2009

2010

2011 (to date)

Airfares*

2,222,247

2,280,326

48,581

Hotel and Accommodation

1,160,546

1,116,369

6,184

Subsistence

1,088,435

1,005,682

5,752

*Travel undertaken by Government Jet is not included here as the details relating to this are a matter for the Department of Defence.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

311 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of hotel accommodation used by him within the State while on ministerial duties in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the name of each hotel in which he stayed; the costs associated with each stay and the purpose of each trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2723/11]

During the period in question there has been only one instance where I used hotel accommodation in the State while on Ministerial duties. On the night of 22 June 2010 I stayed in the Maritime Hotel in Bantry, at a cost of €75, to facilitate attendance at the Commemoration Ceremony to mark the 25th Anniversary of the bombing of Air India Flight 182. The ceremony took place at Ahakista, Bantry, Co. Cork early in the morning of 23 June 2010. The Indian Government was represented by Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid and the Canadian Government by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

312 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide details of any foreign trips made by officials in public bodies under the remit of his Department in the years 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011, the purpose of each trip; the costs associated with each trip broken down by air travel, ground transportation, hotel accommodation and entertaining expenses; if air travel was by way of commercial airline or Government jet; the mode of ground transportation used; the name of each hotel; the nature of entertainment for which expenses were incurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2738/11]

There are four bodies operating under the aegis of my Department — the Government Emigrant Services Advisory Committee; the Development Education Advisory Committee (DEAC); the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group; and The Board of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission). No foreign travel by members of the three advisory committees was paid for by my Department during the period in question. Further, these advisory committees, the administrations of which are serviced directly by my Department, do not have independent budgets which would pay for foreign travel.

The Board of the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange is jointly financed by the Irish and US Governments. It enjoys autonomy of management and administration, in accordance with the Educational Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Act, 1991, and therefore I am not in a position to supply the details requested by the Deputy.

Question No. 313 answered with Question No. 307.

Charities Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

314 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will examine and support a matter (details supplied). [3023/11]

The Emigrant Support Programme provides funding to not-for–profit organisations and projects to support Irish communities overseas and to facilitate the development of more strategic links between Ireland and the Global Irish. Grants awarded through the Emigrant Support Programme (including for organisations in Ireland) are published on the Department of Foreign Affairs website at www.dfa.ie . The Reconciliation and Anti-Sectarianism Funds provide financial support to not-for-profit, community-based groups and organisations working to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, throughout the island of Ireland and between Britain and Ireland in accordance with the objectives of the Good Friday Agreement. Details of grants are published on the Department of Foreign Affairs website at www.dfa.ie .

Through the Communicating Europe Initiative grant scheme my Department provides funding for voluntary organisations and education bodies that wish to organise projects or events to raise awareness about how the EU matters in their community. Details of the recipients of funding under this initiative in 2010 were included in the answer to PQ 39680/10. Further details can be provided to the Deputy on request.

Through Vote 29 (International Cooperation), which is administered by my Department's Development Cooperation Division (Irish Aid), funding is provided to hundreds of pilot schemes and projects, including those with charitable status. Irish Aid operates a comprehensive evaluation and audit role in regard to all of these projects. Details of the projects funded by Irish Aid throughout the world, including in Ireland, are contained at the end of each annual report, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas library and on the Irish Aid website at www.irishaid.gov.ie.

Redundancy Payments

Seán Power

Ceist:

315 Deputy Seán Power asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will confirm that an application for redundancy was received in respect of persons (details supplied); when payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2423/11]

On 1 January 2011, the Department assumed responsibility for making redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund. There are two types of redundancy payment made from the fund i.e. 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 statutory redundancy lump sum claims in respect of the four individuals concerned were received on 22 October, 2010. These claims are pending processing. Lump sum claims dating from June 2010 are currently being processed.

Social Welfare Benefits

Michael Ring

Ceist:

316 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive the one parent family payment. [2100/11]

The one-parent family allowance payment claim from the person concerned is currently with a deciding officer of the Department. A decision will be made as soon as possible and she will be notified of the outcome.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

317 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo who was on carer’s benefit was not allowed to transfer to carer’s allowance and the position regarding an appeal for same. [2163/11]

The person concerned was awarded carer's benefit on the 10 July 2008. The decision to award carer's benefit was made at that time based on the medical evidence supplied by the person concerned. As his entitlement to carer's benefit was due to expire, he applied for carer's allowance in respect of the same care recipient. The Departments medical assessor, based on the latest medical information supplied, gave an opinion that the care recipient did not require full time care and attention as prescribed in the regulations. On 15 September 2010, the person concerned was refused carer's allowance. He was notified of this decision and the reason(s) for it.

He has appealed the decision and an appeal has been opened in this case. On 13 January 2011 his file was submitted to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. The Social Welfare Appeals Office will be in contact with him directly regarding this appeal.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

318 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to extend the cover of the free travel pass to the cost of taxis for disabled persons who have to visit hospital (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2173/11]

The free travel scheme is available to people aged 66 years or over, carers in receipt of carer's allowance and carers of people in receipt of constant attendance or prescribed relative's allowance, regardless of their age, receive a free travel pass. It is also available to people under age 66 who are in receipt of certain disability type welfare payments, such as disability allowance, invalidity pension and blind person's pension. People resident in the State who are in receipt of a social security payment from a country covered by EU Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement, and who have been in receipt of this payment for at least 12 months, are also eligible for free travel. The Health Service Executive may also assist with transport costs in certain circumstances.

The current free travel scheme operated by the Department provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators. I have no plans to extend the scheme to include single journeys with taxi companies.

Unemployment Levels