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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012

Vol. 755 No. 2

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 13, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 14 to 57, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 58 to 65, inclusive, answered orally.

Juvenile Offenders

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

66 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of meetings she has had with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the Oberstown project; and the dates on which these meetings were held. [8061/12]

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

75 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the meetings she has held with the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the construction of a national children’s detention centre in Oberstown, County Dublin; the outcome of the meetings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8107/12]

John McGuinness

Ceist:

76 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she expects funding for construction of a national children’s detention centre in Oberstown, County Dublin, to be approved this year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8109/12]

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

84 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the Irish Youth Justice Service has reassessed the projected cost of the Oberstown project as she has requested; if she will provide the details of the newly assessed projected cost; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8060/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66, 75, 76 and 84 together.

The proposed National Children Detention Facility (NCDF) is a project to provide residential detention places for all young people detained by the courts on criminal charges, within a children detention school setting at Oberstown, North County Dublin. The Oberstown campus is currently the site of the 3 existing detention schools, Oberstown Boys School, Oberstown Girls School and Trinity House School.

The Government is committed to ending the practice of sending 16 and 17 year old boys to St Patrick's institution. It is a priority of mine to ensure that this practice ends as soon as possible and the funding of the Oberstown project is a key element in resolving this issue. I have asked the Irish Youth Justice Service to reassess the projected cost of the Oberstown project to bring it into line with current price levels and current economic realities. This process is ongoing and the Irish Youth Justice Service has been tasked with progressing to completion during 2012 the design work and tender documentation for the NCDF project. Even when funding for the construction stage of the project is finalised, this work will still have to be completed. I do not propose to comment on estimated project costs in advance of any tendering process.

I had consultations on this issue with the Minister for Justice and Equality in advance of the taking over legal responsibility for this area from 1 January 2012. I met with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the funding of the Oberstown project on 29 November 2011, 6 December 2011 and 10 January 2012. I wrote to him on 17 January 2012 to emphasise the priority that should be attached to this project. I do not propose to comment further on these consultations, except to say that the House can be assured that I will continue to make the case at Government level on the priority that should be given to this project.

Finally, in taking over responsibility for the children detention schools last month I tasked a group to look at interim and innovative solutions that could provide alternatives to detention in St. Patrick's Institution for as many 16 and 17 year old boys as possible. The group is chaired by the Secretary General of my Department and comprises senior officials from the Irish Youth Justice Service, Irish Prison Service, and the Probation Service. I understand that the group is making significant progress and I expect to be in a position to provide details of the short term measures to be taken on foot of the group's deliberations shortly.

Family Support Services

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

67 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views that the child and family support agency will not be independent from the new Health Service Executive directorate; if she remains committed to establishing the agency independent from the main health service organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8118/12]

I established the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency in September 2011 in response to the Programme for Government commitment to "fundamentally reform the delivery of child protection services by removing child welfare and protection from the HSE and creating a dedicated Child Welfare and Protection Agency, reforming the model of service delivery and improving accountability to the Dáil". The Task Force is chaired by Ms Maureen Lynott.

Child welfare and protection services are operating within the HSE during 2012 on a transitional basis pending the establishment of a dedicated, stand alone agency next year. Such a separate and dedicated agency remains a key part of the Government's reform of children's services and I intend to bring forward legislation to establish this Agency during the current year. The Task Force, which I have established, will advise my Department in regard to the necessary transition programme to establish a Child and Family Support Agency, and will base its work on best practice in child welfare, family support and public administration; consistent with the Government's public sector reform agenda.

In relation to the Agency it has been asked to:

Propose a vision and the principles to guide operations;

Advise on the appropriate service responsibilities, and the delivery of same;

Review existing financial, staffing and corporate resources; and propose a methodology for resource allocation;

Propose an organisational design and operating child welfare and protection service model;

Prepare a detailed implementation plan;

Identify the main priorities and core relationships required;

Oversee the implementation and monitor progress, pending establishment of the Agency.

The Task Force held its eleventh meeting earlier this month. Work is also being advanced through two sub-groups. I look forward to receiving the report of their work, which will inform preparations for the new Agency, including the drafting of legislation.

The Task Force has been asked to advise as to the appropriate service responsibilities of the new Agency. The Government has already decided that child welfare and protection services will transfer along with the Family Support Agency. The full remit of the Agency remains to be seen and the recommendations of the Task Force are awaited in this regard. Whatever the final make-up, there will of course be important linkages with the HSE regarding service provision of health services for children and young people, as necessary. However, the Agency will operate independently from the HSE, with its own management team and a reporting relationship to my Department as part of new and more accountable governance arrangements.

I am anxious to advance the full establishment of the Agency at as early a date as possible, subject to the work of the Task Force and necessary legislative provision. I would envisage tabling legislation before the House later this year to provide for the Agency's setting up in 2013.

Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 63.

Children in Care

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

69 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to increase the level of input children in care have in the provision of care services. [8070/12]

Central to the care and protection of children in care is listening to their voice. This principle has underpinned national policy and operational practices over the past number of years, in particular for children in the care of the State. Children in residential care and foster care are allocated a social worker whose role includes visiting the child in their placement and talking with them about their day to day life, and longer term plans. The child's wishes inform Care Plans, and children often attend at Care Planning Meetings to express these directly or with the assistance of their social worker.

It is important to note that the National Standards for Children in Residential Care and National Standards for Children in Foster Care explicitly state that children are to be consulted so as to gain their input into issues that influence their daily life. This includes choices regarding meals, recreation and other activities. HIQA inspect against these standards and in their inspection reports HIQA have found that, overall, children are consulted. The HSE and the Irish Youth Justice Service have taken steps to ensure that children in care and detention are familiar with the work of Empowering People in Care (EPIC). This agency meets with and advocates for children in care.

The Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse made two key recommendations in relation to the voice of the child as follows. The first was that they should be able to communicate concerns without fear and secondly that children who have been in child care facilities are in a good position to identify failings and deficiencies in the system, and should be consulted.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse 2009 Implementation Plan , commonly known as the Ryan Implementation Plan contains a series of measures, designed to ensure that children and young people have a stronger voice and are consulted.

My Department led a major consultation exercise with children and young people in the care of the State over the course of 2010. Over 200 children and young people took part in consultation sessions. The aims and objectives of the consultations were to get the views of children and young people in the care of the State on the issues that really matter to them and on which they would like to be heard; to explore existing mechanisms for children and young people to express their views and to make recommendations on future structures to be established for children and young people to express their views. The Report, entitled "Listen To Our Voices" was launched by me last July.

At the launch of the "Listen To Our Voices" last July, I indicated that I would be establishing a Voice of Children in Care Implementation Group to be facilitated by my Department. Its work and direction will be informed and influenced by children and young people. It is planned to establish the Group in the current year and my Department is currently working with the HSE on this basis.

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

70 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the total number of young persons currently in receipt of after care services from the Health Service Executive; the number of aftercare workers employed by the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8057/12]

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

85 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will outline the current after care supports that are available for children and young persons who are leaving care; if she will provide figures for the proportion of said children and young persons who are provided with after care supports; her proposals on addressing shortcomings in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8082/12]

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

Section 45 of the Child Care Act 1991 places a statutory duty on the HSE to form a view in relation to each person leaving care as to whether there is a "need for assistance" and if it forms such a view, to provide services in accordance with the legislation and subject to resources. All young people who have had a care history with the HSE, be it foster care, residential care, high support, or special care are entitled to an aftercare service based on their assessed needs. The core eligible age range for aftercare is 18 years and up to 21 years. This can be extended until the completion of a course of education in which he/she is engaged up to the age of 23 years of age. The HSE has not routinely collected national data in respect of children who leave the care of the state each year, therefore it is not possible to provide data on the proportion of such children in receipt of aftercare. It is intended that implementation of a National Childcare Information System, which is due to go to tender this year, will provide for the routine collection of detailed information of children in care and those leaving care. However, I am advised by the HSE that 1,146 young people were in receipt of an aftercare service at the end of December 2011.

Some 90% of children in care are in foster care and a large number of these remain living with their foster families, supported financially by the HSE, on reaching 18 years of age. These young people continue in education and training as planned. This remains a key component of aftercare for young people when they leave care. Children who have been in residential care, short term foster placements, multiple placements and those who have dropped out of education/training are most at risk and in need of support when they leave care. The most important requirements for young people leaving care are for secure, suitable accommodation as well as further education, employment or training and social support. Aftercare provision incorporates advice, guidance and practical support. An individual holistic needs assessment identifies a young person's need for accommodation, financial support, social network support and training and education in the months before their 18th birthday. The level of support required will vary for each individual.

There are approximately 45 dedicated aftercare workers in the HSE and recruitment of 10 additional aftercare workers is under way. In addition, many social workers while not dedicated aftercare workers, provide aftercare as part of their workload. The HSE also provides funding and has agreements in place with a number of bodies including Focus Ireland and Clare Care, to provide full-time aftercare workers.

The National Aftercare Service is underpinned by a National Policy and Procedures Document which has been developed in cooperation with the key stakeholders including the voluntary sector agencies involved in Aftercare provision and my Department. The policy commits to promoting and achieving the best outcomes for young people leaving care and in ensuring consistency of support to these young people. The most vulnerable group of young people leaving care are those who have dropped out of education and training and those who have left residential care. Some of these young people have mental health problems or a disability. The HSE is alert to this group and the implementation group is working together to improve their circumstances. The HSE has committed to monitor implementation of this policy in the 2012 National Service Plan. I will review demand and uptake of the service over the course of 2012, with a view to assessing how the service is addressing need.

Health Service Staff

John Browne

Ceist:

71 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the 60 additional social workers promised for 2011 were not in place, the reason this was the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8087/12]

The HSE made provision for the recruitment of an additional 62 social workers in 2011. The recruitment process is being managed by the HSE National Recruitment Service. The HSE indicated in December 2011 that all of these posts had been either filled or accepted. I am advised by the HSE that twenty five individuals have already taken up duty with the remainder expected to come on stream in the coming weeks. My Department will continue to closely monitor the position with regard to the recruitment of the additional personnel.

The additional social workers are being targeted at priority areas of the service having regard to an overall assessment of workload undertaken by the National Director and his team. The recruitment of the additional social workers is one element of a wider change agenda within the HSE, through which I believe we can deliver better outcomes for children and families. This reform agenda will lead to the establishment of a new Child and Family Support Agency which will provide a dedicated focus on child protection and support families in need.

Proposed Legislation

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

72 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date on which she will introduce legislation to put Children First on a statutory footing; the date on which she will publish the policy framework to implement this on a statutory basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8062/12]

The revised Children First Guidance was launched by me in July 2011. Government approval to place the Children First National Guidance on a statutory basis was given on 12 July 2011. Since then considerable detailed policy examination of the best approach has been undertaken. Consultations have been undertaken with a number of voluntary bodies and experts working in this field and I can advise that the preparation of the Heads of Bill and General Scheme is underway. I will bring these to Government at the earliest possible date. It is my intention to refer the Heads of Bill to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for discussion in line with the commitment to early consultation with committees set out in the Programme for Government.

The policy approach which is being developed is focused on the National Children First Guidance published July 2011 and the promotion and well-being of children generally; the provision of safe services for children; cooperation amongst professionals and organisations where children are at risk of neglect and abuse and mandating key individuals to report child abuse known to them. The latter objective is aimed at removing ambivalence, reluctance or refusal by people and organisations in positions of trust and authority to report child abuse and cooperate with the relevant authorities.

The policy is also bearing in mind other complementary legislative proposals to strengthen child protection being brought forward by Minister Shatter, namely, the National Vetting Bureau Bill and the Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes Against Children and Intellectually Disabled Persons) Bill. I have taken the opportunity to consult informally with a number of experts in relation to the development of the policy in this area. A key issue for consideration is to maximise the engagement of adult volunteers with children across a range of voluntary activities (i.e. sports, arts) whilst ensuring that that systems are put in place to keep children safe. Formulating policy of this nature is complex. My aim is to develop a legislative regime which is practical in terms of implementation; supportive of staff and volunteers that work in children's services; but which puts the safety of children as the paramount consideration for all those working with children.

Juvenile Offenders

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

73 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the details of any proposed interim options put to her by the Irish Youth Justice Service to end the practice of sending children to St. Patrick’s Institution. [8059/12]

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

94 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date on which the practice of sending 16 and 17 year olds to St. Patrick’s Institution will end; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8058/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 94 together.

The Government is committed to ending the practice of sending 16 and 17 year old boys to St Patrick's institution. It is a priority of mine to ensure that this practice ends as soon as possible. I visited St Patrick's Institution twice in November last year, prior to assuming legal responsibility for the children detention schools from the Minister for Justice and Equality in January 2012. I received a briefing from the Governor and his staff on the efforts that are made on a daily basis to provide appropriate, safe and secure care for 16 and 17 males. I also visited each of the children detention schools on the Oberstown campus during 2011.

The Government appreciates that, as far as possible, the 16 and 17 year old age group is accommodated and cared for differently from the other offenders held in St. Patrick's Institution, in line with best practice and child protection guidance procedures. Nevertheless, it is unacceptable that children continue to be detained with adult prisoners and the Government is committed to ending this practice.

I am pursuing both interim and medium term arrangements to address this matter. In the context of my taking over responsibility for the children detention schools last month I tasked a group, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, to identify interim measures which could reduce the number of 16 and 17 year old boys detained in St. Patrick's Institution. The group comprises officials from the Irish Youth Justice Service, the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service. I understand that the group has made considerable progress. I expect to have a report on the matter shortly and will examine the position in conjunction with the Minister for Justice and Equality.

I have also asked that the Irish Youth Justice Service reassess the projected cost of the proposed National Children Detention Facility on the Oberstown campus, North County Dublin to bring it into line with current price levels and current economic realities. This process is ongoing and the Irish Youth Justice Service has been tasked with progressing to completion during 2012 the design work and tender documentation for the NCDF project in Oberstown. I am also in ongoing consultations with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the funding of the Oberstown project. The House can be assured that I will continue to make the case at Government level on the priority that should be given to this project.

Constitutional Amendments

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

74 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the structures she is putting in place to consult Opposition parties on the children’s referendum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8115/12]

The Programme for Government 2011 states that the Referendum on Children's Rights is a priority, and that the wording of the proposed referendum will be along the lines of that proposed by the All Party Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children (JCCAC). From the outset of deliberations in relation to the constitutional amendment on children's rights the need for all party consensus on this topic was highlighted. As a member of the JCCAC I can attest to the level of all party co-operation afforded the then Government in the work of the Committee.

Since taking office, both myself and officials of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs have had a very considerable number of meetings and communications with the Attorney General and her officials to progress this commitment. A draft wording is being prepared by the Office of the Attorney General in co-operation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and there is on-going contact and meetings between officials of the Department and of the AG's office focusing on ensuring that the proposed Referendum reflects the deliberations and conclusions of the Joint Committee and the commitment in the Programme for Government.

It is my intention to consult with parties by way of briefings as the output of the deliberations which are currently underway emerges. I also envisage that the issue will be dealt with in the Joint Committee on Health Children and Youth Affairs. It is my intention to seek approval from Government for the proposed wording, with a view to holding the referendum this year.

Questions Nos. 75 and 76 answered with Question No. 66.

Family Support Services

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

77 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the cuts in funding to the Family Support Agency community based counselling services, including the Genesis psychotherapy and family therapy service in Dublin 15; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that these cuts will lead to the closure of these services; if she will review this decision; if she will renew the funding of these services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3807/12]

The Family Support Agency, under my Department, operates the Scheme of Grants to voluntary organisations providing marriage and relationship, child and bereavement counselling services. Some 600 organisations receive funding each year, including the organisation in question, which is one of 28 larger organisations that receive multi-annual funding under the scheme.

On 5 December 2011, the Government announced the funding levels being made available to my Department in 2012. As part of the national effort to address Ireland's fiscal deficit, the Family Support Agency, like all other State bodies, has been asked to make significant savings across all the programmes which it administers.

The Agency is required to achieve savings of €1.265m (12%) in 2012 on the Scheme of Grants to voluntary organisations providing marriage and relationship, child and bereavement counselling services. The Agency is acutely aware of the challenges that the reduction in funding raises for the voluntary organisations concerned and has asked the larger organisations to focus on identifying the scope for greater efficiency through reducing administration and overhead costs in order to protect the front line services.

In 2012 an allocation of €26.465m has been made to the Family Support Agency to fund its services. This includes funding of over €9.4m for the Scheme of Grants for the counselling organisations. The Agency has recently invited applications for the 2012 funding and an application form has been sent to the organisation in question.

Health Service Staff

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

78 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the public sector retirement scheme will affect front line child protection services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8097/12]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

100 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of social workers who retired during this month or who are due to retire this month; the Health Service Executive areas in which they are based; her plans to replace these employees who are retiring; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8054/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 100 together.

The latest information from the HSE indicates that approximately 45 social workers in the Children and Family Services have applied for early retirement. The distribution of this number geographically is as follows:

15 from HSE Dublin Mid Leinster;

8 from HSE Dublin North East;

13 from HSE South; and

9 from HSE West.

This figure is, of course, subject to change between now and the end of February. While the number due to retire is relatively low in the overall context it will, nonetheless, require a considered management response by the HSE. In this context, the National Director of Children and Families Services, Gordon Jeyes, will apply his discretion over the course of the year to the filling of vacancies, subject to this not compromising the achievement of employment targets and subject to services being provided within available resources.

I am very much aware of the financial and service challenges facing the HSE in 2012. This is the case across all care groups. The challenges are such as to require acceleration of the reform programme. This process of reform is a central element of the wider programme of reform for child and family services including the establishment of a new and dedicated Children and Family Support Agency to which the Government is fully committed.

My Department will be working very closely with the HSE throughout the year to ensure that the priorities set out in the HSE National Service Plan are implemented where they relate to children and family services. We have set an ambitious programme of work, one which is designed to significantly strengthen the policy, legislative and practice framework. Our shared goal is the delivery of appropriate, effective and consistent services, notwithstanding the very challenging and demanding circumstances in which these services are delivered.

Adoption Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

79 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will publish the preliminary proposals the Health Service Executive has developed regarding the outsourcing of assessment agencies for the purposes of inter-country adoption; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8053/12]

The HSE is continuing to develop its proposals in relation to arrangements for providing intercountry adoption assessments. The issues involved are the subject of ongoing discussions with my Department. The Adoption Act 2010 provides that bodies other than the HSE may undertake adoption assessments on behalf of the Executive where they have been accredited by the Adoption Authority of Ireland for this purpose. The arrangements for delivery of this service will be considered against the backdrop of changes in the level of demand for adoption assessments, the overall cost effectiveness of different service delivery arrangements and the management of priorities within the HSE Children and Families Service. Details of the proposals will be made public when the discussions have concluded.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Derek Keating

Ceist:

80 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs following her visit to Vietnam, if she will outline to Dáil Éireann if she entered into any protocols or agreements that will resolve the difficulties of foreign adoptions for Irish parents from that country; if there has been any resolution of these difficulties; the likelihood of a restoration of foreign adoption agreement with the Vietnamese authorities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7852/12]

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption entered into force for Vietnam on 1 February 2012. The ratification of the Hague Convention by Vietnam, the associated changes in Vietnamese law and the arrangements being put in place to support on the ground implementation are hugely significant changes in the intercountry adoption regime in that country since adoptions between Ireland and Vietnam ceased. Ireland withdrew from negotiations on a bilateral agreement. The Vietnamese Government, very prudently in my view, ceased allowing adoptions from that jurisdiction in 2010 in order to focus on responding to the issues raised in two separate reports, prepared by the International Social Service on behalf of UNICEF Vietnam and the Department of Adoption of the Ministry of Justice, Vietnam, and to focus its efforts on the ratification of the Hague Convention.

As I have reported my recent visit to Vietnam, which focused on intercountry adoption, was very positive. It coincided with a visit of a delegation from the Adoption Authority of Ireland to Vietnam to discuss administrative matters in relation to intercountry adoptions on foot of Vietnam's ratification of the Hague Convention.

Under section 72 of the Adoption Act 2010, the Adoption Authority may enter into administrative arrangements with another contracting State. In this context, the Authority has prepared and submitted to the Vietnamese authorities a suggested scheme of administrative arrangements to be established between Ireland and Vietnam for the resumption of intercountry adoption between the two States. The Authority is awaiting the response of the Vietnamese authorities to this proposal.

The Adoption Authority has also recently announced its approval of ARC Adoption Ltd as a registered accredited body for the purposes of adoption mediation within Vietnam. Further applications from other bodies remain under consideration by the Authority and a decision is anticipated shortly in this regard. Agencies accredited by the Adoption Authority of Ireland also require the approval of the Vietnamese authorities.

Health Service Inspections

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

81 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the actions that the Health Service Executive has taken to implement the Health Information Quality Authority recommendations on the Gleann Alainn residential unit in Cork. [8078/12]

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

102 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs since the publication of the last Health Information Quality Authority report, the number of children who have been locked in their bedrooms form 7.30 p.m. in the Gleann Alainn, Cork, residential unit; the number of times that restraints have been used; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8079/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 102 together.

In October 2011, the Heath Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) conducted an unannounced inspection of Gleann Alainn Special Care Unit. It found at the time of their inspection, that it was in a state of crisis, due primarily to the poor standard of management which impacted negatively on the delivery of care to the children, the day-to-day practices of the staff and the capacity of the unit to fulfil its purpose and function as a special care unit.

In January 2012, HIQA carried out a further inspection. I met with HIQA last week to discuss their findings and I was informed that considerable improvements have been made and majority of their recommendations have been addressed. This inspection report is expected to be published by HIQA by the end of this month.

The HSE has advised me that in the period in question i.e. since the publication of the HIQA report (2nd December), no child has been confined to their bedroom and one child was restrained for a period of one minute.

Adoption Services

Clare Daly

Ceist:

82 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason the Adoption Authority has failed to produce an annual report since 2008; and the measures she and the Adoption Authority are taking to improve the reporting of search and reunion services carried out by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, adoptions agencies and the Health Service Executive. [8081/12]

The latest available annual report of the former Adoption Board is in respect of the year 2008. A report in respect of 2009 and the period up to end October 2010, when the Board was replaced by the Adoption Authority of Ireland is not yet available. The priority focus of the Board has been on directing available resources to the establishment of the new Adoption Authority and the ratification of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. However, I expect that a report in respect of this period will be produced and submitted to my Department at the earliest opportunity.

The Adoption Authority of Ireland was established in November 2010 under the terms of the Adoption Act, 2010. Section 117 of the Act provides that the Authority shall prepare and adopt an annual report in relation to the performance of the Authority's functions during the preceding year. The first annual report of the Authority, which will cover the period from its inception to the end of 2011, is therefore due to be presented before the end of June 2012.

Annual reports previously prepared by the former Adoption Board included information on information and tracing services. I expect that this aspect of the Authority's work will continue to feature in the annual reports of the new agency.

Foster Care

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

83 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 18 of 15 December 2011, if she has received the following requested information from the Health Service Executive: the number of persons currently acting as foster carers here; the number of relative foster carers here; the number of foster careers who have not been Garda vetted; and the number of foster carers who are still waiting for Garda vetting; and if she will supply this information as requested. [8052/12]

I have asked the HSE to provide me with the additional information requested by the Deputy as a matter of urgency and I will forward same on receipt.

Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 66.
Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 70.

Missing Persons

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

86 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if it is her intention to have the national missing children’s hotline, when established, run by a State agency or outsourced to a private company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8064/12]

Under EU telecoms rules agreed in 2009, the 116000 number is reserved in all EU member states for a missing children hotline. My Department established and led a cross-sectoral Project Team, including representatives of my own Department, the Department of Justice and Equality, ComReg and An Garda Síochána to advance this matter.

The position is that Comreg, who have responsibility for allocation of this number in Ireland, received an application to operate the Hotline from the ISPCC. Following cross departmental consultation and an examination of the issues involved by the Project team, Comreg has now allocated the number to the ISPCC.

In the coming months the Project Team will now work to ensure that the Hotline becomes operational as soon as possible and operates in a way that supports and augments existing arrangements to secure child protection.

Child Care Services

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

87 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way she interacts with other Government Departments in order to ensure the evaluation of legislation which affects children from a child-focused perspective; if she will outline her role in the development and implementation of the child poverty strategy across the relevant organs of the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8008/12]

My Department is charged with leading the development of harmonised policy and quality integrated service delivery to secure better outcomes for children and young people. The Department, as part of the deliberative process of Government, routinely contributes observations on proposals for legislation and any possible impacts on children and young people that are identified through the impact assessment and poverty proofing processes, undertaken in line with Cabinet Handbook.

The many dimensions to the well-being of children and young people require my Department to work across Government and with a wide range of stakeholders to promote the physical, emotional and economic well being of children and young people. Building strong collaborative relationships with Government departments to achieve these aims is a key objective in the Department's Strategy Statement 2011-2014.

Tackling child poverty is a priority for Government and a goal of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007- 2016, coordinated by the Department of Social Protection. Children are more likely to be poor if they are living in lone parent households with low labour market participation and dependant on income support. The departments of Social Protection, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Education and Skills, are working to deliver a range of measures aimed at getting people back to work.

My Department works closely with the Department of Social Protection in a "whole of Government approach" to tackling poverty in the population. The Department is represented on the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare established by the Minister for Social Protection to examine issues to do with the interactions of the tax and welfare systems so that they provide good incentives for parents to take up and remain in work and thereby contribute to the reduction of poverty and child poverty, in particular. As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, improving children's outcomes is my primary objective. The development of the Children and Young People's Policy Framework, 2012 -2017, as the overarching framework under which policy and services for children and young people will be developed and implemented in the State, is an important initiative for cross departmental collaboration to secure this objective. Early childhood care and education programmes, in particular those that are aimed at low income families, are priorities to enhance children's opportunities for social and educational development and to support parents undertaking training and participating in employment. The network of 107 family resource centres that are funded by the Family Support Agency, under the remit of my Department have an important role in this regard. These programmes and the results of pilot projects to enhance children's development in Tallaght, Northside and Ballymun, which are jointly funded by my Department with a philanthropic organisation, will inform the Government's plans to develop a new area based approach to child poverty.

My priority, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, is to enhance the role of early intervention and support programmes for the most vulnerable children and their families in the context of the new Child and Family Support Agency.

Sexual Offences

Seamus Kirk

Ceist:

88 Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to improve inter-agency co-operation between the Health Service Executive and the Garda in respect of the investigation of sexual offences against children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8101/12]

The HSE's Children and Family Services are engaged in a significant programme of reform. A major element of the change programme in 2012 involves implementing consistent child protection procedures in line with the revised Children First Guidance which I launched in July 2011 with the HSE and An Garda Síochána. As part of the drive to improve the response to child abuse the HSE published a supporting Child Welfare and Protection Practice Handbook, which I also launched with the HSE and An Garda Síochána. The Handbook was circulated to all HSE staff in order to support the drive for greater consistency in terms of the application of Children First across the system. There has also been good progress in advancing preparatory work on the establishment of the new Child and Family Support Agency and on the preparation of legislation to underpin Children First.

In order to support the consistent implication of Children First across all sectors, I established an Interdepartmental Group on which relevant Government Departments are represented and which is also attended by nominees from the HSE and An Garda Síochána. Furthermore, a HSE/Garda high level strategy group was established this year representing the Office of National Director of Children and Family Services and the Office of the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána in order to ensure close liaison and cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the HSE Children and Family Services in all aspects of child welfare and protection services. An Garda Síochána are also represented on two multi-disciplinary, multi-agency committees established by the HSE to examine the assessment, therapy and counselling needs of children who have been sexually abused and to make recommendations concerning service requirements.

The proper recording of sexual crimes against children is a matter for An Garda Síochána to address in the context of their record systems. I understand, however, that Garda policy in this context specifies the immediate creation of a PULSE record, and that front-line Gardaí know exactly what is required of them in such situations. In relation to the timeliness of investigations it is my understanding that the Gardaí accord a high priority to the investigation of child sexual abuse and will continue to co-operate with other agencies to ensure that investigations are completed as quickly as possible.

Child Abuse

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

89 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she has studied the incidents of child abuse reported over the past ten years with a view to determination of policy in so far as it is possible to eliminate the potential for recurrence; if from the information available it is now perceived that strategic and adequate intervention might have prevented the scale, extent and continuation of any such abuse of a sexual, physical or psychological nature in respect of children and young adults; the measures she now proposes to take of a legislation and administrative nature in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8034/12]

Over the last number of years we have seen the publication of some very significant reports arising from inquiries, investigations and research conducted into child abuse. I read these reports with great concern and sadness, and the collective learning from this work has helped to inform, motivate and shape the Government's ongoing response to the issue of child abuse in all its forms.

It is difficult with hindsight to speculate at this point as to whether such abuse could have been prevented. In the case of historic inquiries different attitudes and a greater awareness of the prevalence of abuse may certainly have altered the landscape. It is clear that children were failed by the system and by those charged with their protection. More generally national and international research has linked incidents of child abuse with domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction amongst families. We need to tackle this on a number of fronts, through early intervention and the provision of family support; by ensuring that the social work profession is sufficiently trained to make professional decisions; and perhaps more importantly by promoting and developing much greater societal awareness of child neglect and abuse and the risk posed to vulnerable children.

It is also the case that we need to put in place a strengthened policy, legislative and practice framework to respond to the issue of child abuse in Ireland. I would say in this context and in terms of looking forward that the creation of a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs has been a very significant step by the Government in recognising and acknowledging the importance of this issue and that the protection of children is given the highest political priority. Within the Department I have set a very strong agenda that has as its aim the strengthening of the policy, legislative and structural framework around child welfare and protection, to include required reform of service provision. Since coming into office I published revised Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children. The Guidance deals with the recognition, reporting and management of child safety concerns. The previous Guidance was in place over the last decade. The revised Guidance sets out specific protocols for HSE social workers, Gardaí and other front line staff in dealing with suspected abuse. In particular the Guidance focuses on the impact of neglect, and the negative effect of domestic violence and addiction on children. The scope of Children First extends beyond the reporting of suspected abuse. It emphasises the importance of multi-disciplinary, inter-agency working in the management of such concerns. Key to this is the sharing of information between agencies and disciplines in the best interests of children and the need for full co-operation to ensure better outcomes. The Guidance also emphasises society’s role in protecting children.

The HSE also published a supporting Child Welfare and Protection Practice Handbook for all its staff in order to support the drive for greater consistency in terms of the application of Children First across the system.

Separately, my Department is developing legislative proposals to make compliance with Children First a statutory obligation. The legislation will reflect a broad based approach to compliance with obligations extending beyond reporting to one of safeguarding children at risk and the objective will be to ensure the greater protection of children by strengthening the existing system for reporting and responding to suspected child abuse.

Putting Children First on a statutory footing was a key recommendation of the Ryan Report and went hand-in-hand with other recommendations including the commitment to recruit additional child protection social workers. These posts will significantly strengthen the capacity of the state’s child protection and family support services. The Ryan report also recommended improved induction training for graduate social workers including a reduced caseload in their first year of practice.

I am also working very closely with my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, who is sponsoring two additional pieces of legislation which will see the vetting of those working with children put on a statutory footing, and which will also provide for penalties for those withholding information relating to the commission of child abuse. The effect of these legislative changes will see a significantly strengthened framework to better protect children at risk.

The legislative changes are being matched by a strong and parallel focus on the reform of child welfare and protection services. This will lead to the establishment of the new Child and Family Support Agency, to which the Government is committed. This process is being assisted by the work of the Task Force which I established in September, 2011 and which met for the eleventh time last week. The establishment of the new Agency is part of a wider "change agenda", which is aimed at strengthening the organisational capacity, business processes and systems necessary to deliver safe and reliable child protection services in line with Government objectives.

Children in Care

Sandra McLellan

Ceist:

90 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she intends to direct the Health Service Executive to expand the guardian ad litem service. [8074/12]

Appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL) is provided under section 26 of the Child Care Act 1991. Under this provision, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to a child who is the subject of care proceedings, if it is satisfied that it is necessary in the interests of the child and in the interests of justice to do so. They are always appointed where a child is subject to Special Care proceedings. Section 26 also provides that the costs incurred by any person acting as a guardian ad litem shall be paid by the HSE. I should point out that neither I or the HSE has a role in the appointment of guardians. This is a matter for the courts.

There is a commitment in the Ryan Implementation Plan to engage with colleagues to agree a future policy for management and funding of the service. My Department is currently reviewing provision of GAL services having regard to previous reports and current data on demand. Officials are working closely with the HSE in this regard with a view to establishing the most appropriate arrangements for the future organisation and delivery of this service. Preliminary discussions have also taken place with the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence in relation to this matter.

Education Welfare Service

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

91 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will report on the operation of the National Education Welfare Board; the way the NEWB monitors and invigilates school attendance across the country; the number of staff in the NEWB that are assigned to this responsibility; if she will indicate the average absentee rate at primary and post-primary schools on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis and on recent trends in those rates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7853/12]

The complex issue of school attendance is systematically addressed through the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. This act established the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) in 2002 — mandating it with supervising and implementing the provisions of the Act to effectively ensure that ‘each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education' (Section 10). The legislation establishes a framework for promoting regular school attendance, participation and retention as well as tackling the manifold problems of absenteeism and early school leaving. The Act also charges the NEWB with responsibility for children who are being educated outside of recognised schools, for example at home, as well as 16-17 year olds who leave school to take up employment.

Since mid-2009 the Board has an expanded remit which includes responsibility for the Home School Community Liaison scheme and the School Completion Programme in addition to the Educational Welfare Service. Under the extended remit, the Board is obliged to devise a single strategic approach to attendance, participation and retention. The Board is currently engaged in developing an integrated service model which would respond to the complexity of issues that impact on attendance, participation and retention. That model will be implemented in the academic year 2012-2013. This implementation will include appropriate management information systems to capture data for the measuring and monitoring of outcomes.

In relation to monitoring school attendance, the NEWB has 90 sanctioned Educational Welfare Service posts, 74 of which are currently filled (59 Educational Welfare Officers, 12 Senior Educational Welfare Officers and 3 Regional Managers). The Board also informs me that 2 Educational Welfare Officers are due to retire at the end of the month.

Since the commencement of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, schools are obliged to submit an Annual Attendance Report ("AAR") to the NEWB on the levels of school attendance each year. An overall report derived from this data is produced by the Education Research Centre (ERC).

I am advised by the Board that the data is not collected in such a way as to allow all the breakdowns requested by the Deputy; I can, however provide the annual data from recent years as a significant indicator of non-attendance rates. In summary out of a primary student population of 424,138 students in 05/06 rising to 487,504 in 09/10 the number of days lost overall at primary level was 6.3% in 05/06, 6.2% in 06/07, 6.5% in 07/08, 6.3% in 08/09 and 6.2% in 09/10.

Out of a post-primary student population of 271,349 students in 05/06 rising to 297,777 in 09/10 the number of days lost overall at post-primary primary level was 7.8% in 05/06, 7.9% in 06/07, 8.1% in 07/08, 8.3% in 08/09 and 7.9% in 09/10.

Analysis of this data identifies key findings such as:

There has been the highest annual attendance returns ever to the NEWB from schools in 2009/10: 97% from Primary and 96% from Post Primary;

The numbers of student days lost (taking primary and post primary schools together) is running at 6.8% and is at the lower end for the five year period 2005 to 2010.

As part of the on-going work around the aforementioned integration of services the Board is currently reviewing case management practices. The review will ensure a co-ordinated case-managed response to attendance involving each of the NEWB strands and schools and will be mainstreamed across the service from September 2012. The current review is affording the simultaneous opportunity to explore the optimum way of collecting relevant data so that maximising student attendance, participation and retention remain core objectives of each school.

In the interim, and whilst the model of integrated practice is being finalised, the Board has put in place a number of measures to ensure a service to all schools. In areas where there are gaps, the following categories of referral have to be accorded priority:

No school place.

Refusal to enrol.

Non transfer from Primary to Post Primary School.

Where a student has been expelled.

Court directed work.

Child discharged from residential care without a school placement.

Educational welfare issues combined with child protection/serious child welfare concerns.

School Completion Programme

Michael Colreavy

Ceist:

92 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding the review of the school completion programme; if she will provide a commitment that this will not be negatively impacted by cuts to DEIS schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8067/12]

The School Completion Programme (SCP) is an initiative that aims to have a positive impact on the levels of pupil retention in primary and second level schools and on the number of pupils who successfully complete the Senior Cycle, or equivalent. The majority of schools supported by the School Completion Programme receive this assistance as part of the School Support Programme, under the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) initiative.

The SCP targets individual young people of school-going age, both in and out of school, and arranges supports to address inequalities in education access, participation and outcomes. It is based on a project model which takes an integrated approach to the aforementioned matters involving not only primary and post primary schools, but also parents and relevant statutory, voluntary and community agencies.

Although the 2012 Estimates process was the first for my Department, I have had to find savings as part of the national effort to address Ireland's fiscal situation. With regard to the SCP the Comprehensive Expenditure Report identifies the requirement for savings of 6.5% per annum over the period 2012-2014. This equates to a saving of €2m in the Programme in 2012.

As a first step in considering how to achieve these savings, my Department and the National Educational Welfare Board will complete a major review of the SCP by mid 2012. The review is being undertaken in conjunction with the Board's current work to develop an integrated national approach to educational support services. This review will enhance the ongoing process of integrating the programme within a single national approach to attendance, participation and retention in schools.

I remain committed to supporting those children and young people most in need and in particular most at risk of early school leaving. Indeed a core objective of the review is to ensure that funds are appropriately targeted in this regard. I also appreciate that the achievement of these savings will require difficult trade-offs but it is anticipated that the review will identify operational efficiencies and other reforms which may serve to mitigate the impact of necessary savings.

The broader issue of any adjustments to the School Support Programme is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills, given that responsibility for DEIS policy resides with his Department.

Health Service Audits

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

93 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide the details of the results of the audit of alternative care services. [8068/12]

In 2011, the Health Service Executive (HSE) commissioned independent consultants to undertake a review of the capacity for alternative care services. The review examined services for Special Care, High Support, Foster Care, Residential Care, Emergency Care, Out of Hours, Aftercare and Separated Children Seeking Asylum. The purpose of the review was to audit the current need and current capacity for alternative care services and to establish the projected need for care placements in the HSE for the period 2011 to end 2013. It also made recommendations regarding the development of services to meet the projected needs for the period 2011-end 2013.

The audit was undertaken last March and the report has been finalised recently. I expect to receive a copy of this report shortly and it is anticipated that the HSE will publish the report in due course.

Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 73.

Constitutional Amendments

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

95 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the date on which she will introduce a children’s rights referendum Bill. [8056/12]

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

606 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on whether it will be possible to hold the children’s rights referendum in 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1933/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 606 together.

The Programme for Government 2011 states that the Referendum on Children's Rights is a priority, and that the wording of the proposed referendum will be along the lines of that proposed by the All Party Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children (JCCAC). From the outset of deliberations in relation to the constitutional amendment on children's rights the need for all party consensus on this topic was highlighted. As a member of the JCCAC I can attest to the level of all party co-operation afforded the then Government in the work of the Committee.

Since taking office, both myself and officials of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs have had a very considerable number of meetings and communications with the Attorney General and her officials to progress this commitment. A draft wording is being prepared by the Office of the Attorney General in co-operation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and there is on-going contact and meetings between officials of the Department and of the AG's office focusing on ensuring that the proposed Referendum reflects the deliberations and conclusions of the Joint Committee and the commitment in the Programme for Government.

It is my intention to consult with parties by way of briefings as the output of the deliberations which are currently underway emerges. I also envisage that the issue will be dealt with in the Joint Committee on Health Children and Youth Affairs. It is my intention to seek approval from Government for the proposed wording, with a view to holding the referendum this year.

Child Care Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

96 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which she has examined the full extent of issues appertaining to youth affairs with particular reference to identification of the issues primarily affecting young persons materially or psychologically; the extent to which she can engage with the various stakeholders with a view to ensuring that, when possible, immediate action of a supportive nature is taken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8035/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

617 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which she and-or her Department has identified the need for child and youth support services at community level in all regions throughout the country; the extent to which the adequacy of such services have been identified; her plans for further development in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8393/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

619 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which community child and youth services has been identified as a necessary support for children and young people in the modern world; if any special emphasis is likely to be placed on such requirements in the future with particular reference to the need to provide safe and positive recreational alternatives for young persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8395/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

620 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she has received communications from various youth organisations throughout the country in the context of modernising child and youth policies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8396/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96, 617, 619 and 620 together.

Funding of some €56.626m is available from my Department in 2012 to support the provision of youth services and programmes to young people throughout the country through a number of schemes. These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme, the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund and certain other provisions including the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, Youth Information Centres, the European Youth in Action Programme (administered by Léargas — the Exchange Bureau) and Gaisce — the President's Award.

This funding supports the delivery of a range of youth work programmes and services for all young people, including those from disadvantaged communities, by the voluntary youth sector. Youth work programmes and services are delivered to over 1.2m young participants in the various programmes by some 1,100 youth work staff and by a volunteer base of over 60,000.

The main objectives of the Youth Affairs area are to develop and implement coherent, coordinated and relevant youth policies and strategies to support the youth sector in providing effective non-formal education and developmental opportunities for young people through which they can enhance and develop their personal and social skills and competencies.

In that context, as previously advised to the Deputy, a new youth strategy is being developed by my Department. Through this work a clear policy framework will emerge that will aim to enhance the development, participation and support of young people.

As part of this work my Department has commissioned a review of international best practice in the field of youth development and support. The findings of this review will inform my Department's policy objectives and future funding provision with the aim of ensuring that the young people participating in youth services derive maximum benefit.

It is my intention that this policy framework will also facilitate and promote co-ordination and coherence across departments and services and will set out the priorities, rationale and criteria for future funding programmes. It will also accommodate issues relevant to young people within the 10-24 age range in informal or out-of-school settings that fall within the remit of my Department. The overall objective will be to clarify and enhance coherence, connectivity, coordination and delivery in youth services and related out-of-school services for young people and to ensure such provision is both quality and outcomes based.

The Youth Strategy is being developed in the overall context of the development of a new National Children and Young People's Policy Framework 2012-2017 by my Department, thereby ensuring support for the provision of services in the context of a whole child perspective.

Ensuring quality service delivery is an ongoing priority for my Department and in that context two quality standards initiatives are being progressed in the youth area that will help to ensure improvements in good practice, that services are outcomes focussed and that the young people involved are deriving the maximum benefit from their participation in the services and programmes provided.

Through the National Youth Work Advisory Committee (NYWAC), my Department is involved in ongoing and productive dialogue with the youth sector. This committee is composed of a chairperson and 32 members drawn equally from the voluntary and statutory sectors involved in the administration and provision of youth work programmes and services. Thirteen nominees from the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and four from the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) are represented on the committee.

This committee advises me on matters relating to the development and coordination of youth work policies, programmes and services. The committee meets on average four to five times a year a year. Through this committee, a forum is provided through which specific issues and concerns can be addressed and progressed.

Proposed Legislation

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

97 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when she will make a decision regarding the banning corporal punishment in the home; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8072/12]

Section 246 of the Children's Act 2001 provides very clear legal deterrents to the use of excessive physical discipline within the home setting or otherwise:

246.—(1) It shall be an offence for any person who has custody, charge or care of a child wilfully to assault, ill-treat,neglect, abandon or expose the child, or cause or procure the child to be assaulted, ill treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed, in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to the child’s health or seriously to affect his or her well-being.

A common law defence or reasonable chastisement does not apply but this has not prevented the Irish courts from handing down severe sentences in cases where parents have been accused and convicted of assault or use of excessive force.

It is important to note the valuable research emerging on this topic in Ireland. Recent research from the longitudinal study of children in Ireland shows that the great majority of parents do not use smacking as a form of discipline. The most frequently used method of discipline was "discussing/explaining why the behaviour was wrong and this discipline strategy was used by almost ninety percent of mothers (88%). Less than one percent (0.5%) of mothers reporting smacking their children "regularly or always".

The priority is to reinforce this trend and provide positive support and encouragement to good parenting. There are a range of valuable parenting programmes and support services for families throughout the country.

Asylum Applications

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

98 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the progress made to date on addressing concerns relating to the care of unaccompanied minors claiming asylum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7851/12]

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

105 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has met with the Department of Justice and Equality to discuss the issue of the transfer of minors seeking asylum to adult services and the impact it has on the continuity of their education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8073/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 105 together.

Under the Child Care Act 1991, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for the care and protection of separated children seeking asylum until they reach 18 years of age. The immediate and ongoing needs of separated children seeking asylum (SCSA) as well as their application for refugee status are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in accordance with the Child Care Act, 1991 and the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended). Where children are identified by An Garda Síochána, at the point of entry, the circumstances are investigated and if there are any concerns about the welfare of the child, they are placed into the care of the HSE.

The Implementation Plan on the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009, contained a commitment that the HSE would end the use of separately run hostels for separated children seeking asylum and accommodate children in mainstream care, on a par with other children in the care system. In accordance with this commitment, the HSE phased out hostel type care for separated children seeking asylum and since January 2011, hostels have not been used to accommodate unaccompanied minors. Instead each child is cared for either in a foster care placement or a children's residential centre.

The HSE has developed a national policy on the standards and services to be provided to separated children seeking asylum. The policy seeks to achieve equity and equality of services to separated children seeking asylum vis a vis all children at risk and to ensure that there is no differentiation of care provision, care practices, care priorities, standards or protocols until the young person reaches 18 years. The number of separated children seeking asylum has steadily declined since its peak of 1085 in 2001 to just 105 in 2010.

My Department along with the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Law Reform and the HSE work closely together to plan for the transition to adult service for young asylum seekers who reach 18 years of age. I am meeting Minister Shatter to discuss a number of issues, including this matter, later this week.

Health Service Staff

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

99 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will ensure complete recruitment of a specialist therapeutic team for children in special care and detention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8076/12]

The Implementation plan, published in 2009 in response to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ryan Implementation Plan), included a commitment to the establishment by the HSE in consultation with the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) of a national therapeutic and multi-disciplinary care team for children in detention and special care. The specialist multi-disciplinary team could also provide an in-reach service to boys aged 16 and 17 years who are detained in St Patrick’s Institution. It also states that the HSE will review need and establish resourced multi-disciplinary assessment teams for children and young people at risk.

Notwithstanding the financial constraints applying in 2012, I am pleased to advise the Deputy that it has been agreed that any posts previously funded under the Ryan Implementation Plan, and not yet filled, may be filled in 2012. This includes the establishment of the national therapeutic and multi-disciplinary care team for children in care and detention.

The HSE has committed in its National Service Plan for 2012 to completing the establishment of this team.

When fully in place this key national service will ensure all children placed in secure care, whether on welfare or offending grounds, will have access to specialist clinical interventions in line with their assessed individual needs. The HSE has been funded for this service, as part of the funding provided in respect of the Ryan Implementation Plan.

Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 78.

Family Support Services

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

101 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding the establishment of the child and family support agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8071/12]

I established the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency in September 2011 under the chairmanship of Ms Maureen Lynott.

The Task Force will advise my Department in regard to the necessary transition programme to establish a Child and Family Support Agency, and will base its work on best practice in child welfare, family support and public administration; consistent with the Government's public sector reform agenda.

In relation to the Agency it has been asked to:

Propose a vision and the principles to guide operations;

Advise on the appropriate service responsibilities, and the delivery of same;

Review existing financial, staffing and corporate resources; and propose a methodology for resource allocation;

Propose an organisational design and operating child welfare and protection service model;

Prepare a detailed implementation plan;

Identify the main priorities and core relationships required;

Oversee the implementation and monitor progress, pending establishment of the Agency.

The Task Force held its eleventh meeting earlier this month. Work is also being advanced through two sub-groups. I look forward to receiving the report of their work, which will inform preparations for the new Agency, including the drafting of legislation. A dedicated new budget sub-head was established for the first time in the HSE Vote, in preparation for the planned establishment of the Agency in 2013. A process is currently underway in conjunction with the HSE to further review and refine the detailed components of this sub-head.

I am firmly committed to the transformation of Ireland's child protection and welfare services. Central to this is delivering transparent and accountable management and budgeting. The establishment for the first time of a dedicated budget sub-head within the HSE Vote for children and families is an important part of the ongoing "change agenda", which is aimed at strengthening organisation capacity, business processes and systems, and will pave the way for the transition to the new Child and Family Support Agency in 2013. Management of these services will be led by the National Director (Mr Gordon Jeyes) who already has a very close working relationship with me and my Department. These developments are an integral part of preparations for the new stand alone Agency.

I am anxious to advance the full establishment of the Agency at as early a date as possible, subject to the work of the Task Force and necessary legislature provision. I would envisage tabling legislation before the House later this year to provide for the Agency's setting up in 2013.

Question No. 102 answered with Question No. 81.

Health Service Reports

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

103 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the progress made to date on implementing the recommendations in the report on the Roscommon child care case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7850/12]

I provided the Deputy with detailed responses on this issue on the 3rd November, 2011 and the 15th December, 2011. The HSE was asked for an update on the position and has provided the following information in addition to that already provided:-

The Report recommendation that a review of the effectiveness of the Home Management Services in respect of working with families where chronic neglect is an identified issue has been completed and a pilot project has been undertaken in South Roscommon looking at improving communications between Social Workers and other disciplines. This project is underway and is scheduled for review in May, 2012. The Sexual Abuse Treatment Unit established in Galway is due to be evaluated shortly by the HSE.

Adoption Services

Clare Daly

Ceist:

104 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the measures she and the Adoption Authority of Ireland will take to define, investigate and remedy illegal Irish adoptions, both domestic and inter-country, in particular to ensure that adopted persons’ identities have not been erased or altered thus to make future searches for or by original families impossible. [8080/12]

The question raised by the Deputy must be considered in the context of both current and historic adoptions.

In relation to current adoption practice, with effect from 1 November 2010, intercountry adoptions can be effected with other countries which have ratified the Hague Convention or with countries with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement. The Hague Convention is a co-operative agreement drawn up to allow countries to mutually support one another in protecting the best interests of children in the intercountry adoption process. It is designed in such a way as to allow for mirrored mechanisms and structures to mutually assure countries of the safety and standard of intercountry adoptions in those countries. The Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) performs the function of a Central Authority under the Adoption Act 2010, in accordance with the Convention. In choosing to deal primarily with Hague countries, the AAI has the mechanism to work collaboratively with equivalent structures in that country. Each Central Authority has the responsibility to oversee standards in respect of those parts of the process taking place within their respective jurisdictions. This mutual arrangement is designed to give the AAI, the Government and, most importantly, those involved in the adoption process assurance as to the standards being set and the oversight of the system.

It is not realistic that the Government, or the AAI, could regulate activities relating to the adoption process outside of these State-to-State arrangements. Nor would it be possible for the AAI to work on a case by case basis to oversee individual adoptions extra-jurisdictionally as they are being effected. A system whereby the AAI considered whether adoptions are compliant with the required standards after they have been effected would be unfair both to the children and prospective adoptive parents involved. It leaves open the possibility of adoptions being unrecognised which is contrary to the best interests of the child. The role of the Central Authority in the sending country is therefore critical to the process of national assurance.

The recent statements in the House on the issue of intercountry adoptions provided an opportunity for Deputies to raise a number of important issues around this issue. I found the debate to be constructive and informative and I was particularly pleased to note the many contributions, including that of the Deputy, highlighting the central importance of the best interests of the children concerned in all our intercountry adoption activities.

As regards historic cases the Adoption Authority of Ireland holds records of adoptions effected since the introduction of statutory adoption in 1952. It holds no records relating to birth registrations.

An audit was undertaken in 2010 related to records retained by the Authority of contact received from persons who have been told and/or believe themselves to be adopted, in respect of whom, no adoption record exists. This indicated that 99 people who have identified themselves as adopted do not have a corresponding adoption file. Around 50% of these relate to so-called "adoptions" prior to the introduction of the statutory adoption regime under the Adoption Act, 1952 (which was commenced on 1 January, 1953). This work has continued following the commencement of the Adoption Act 2010 — as these queries continue to arise.

The Authority has indicated its intention to undertake further work to explore the full extent of the issue. The Board of the Authority will then consider possible next steps to contribute to an understanding of the issue including the provision of advice to me on the issue. It is important to note that the Authority has no statutory responsibility in respect of the matter but is extremely sensitive to the issue. Notwithstanding that, it should be noted that, in a number of individual cases, where the facts have been available to the Board or the Authority, it has advised the appropriate authorities in respect of any activities which it believed contravened the Adoption Act(s) for the relevant period.

The drafting of legislation with regard to Information and Tracing is one of my top priorities. Work is underway in relation to the preparation of the Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption. It is intended that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority to have access to records currently held by a wide range of Information Services, give the Authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records and place the National Contact Preference Register on a statutory basis. The Bill will also provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority having the overarching responsibility for the service. I intend to take this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity.

Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 98.

Departmental Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

106 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will provide an organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within his Department. [7746/12]

A copy of my Department's organisation chart is as follows. It is also available on my Department's website —www.taoiseach.gov.ie.

Statistical Data

Seamus Kirk

Ceist:

107 Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Taoiseach the number of persons over the age of 65 years in County Louth as of January 2012; if he will provide a gender breakdown of the figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7749/12]

The detailed results of the 2011 Census of Population, which are due to be published at the end of March, will include a breakdown of the population by age and county in April 2011. In the meantime, the exact information requested by the Deputy is not available.

However, the annual Population and Migration Estimates include an estimate of the number of persons aged 65 years and over in each Regional Authority area. These estimates are not compiled at County level. The latest annual estimate for the Border Region (of which Louth is part) is that there were 60,800 persons aged 65 or over in the region in April 2011: 28,600 men and 32,200 women. The annual estimates are subject to revision when the more detailed Census results become available.

State Bodies

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

108 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Taoiseach the number of agencies, authorities, boards, committees, working groups, tribunals, council services, task forces, agencies or other quangos set up be him since February 2011; the number abolished since then; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7750/12]

No agencies, authorities, boards, committees, working groups, tribunals, council services, task forces or other quangos were established or abolished by me since February 2011.

Appointments to State Boards

Shane Ross

Ceist:

109 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Taoiseach if he will list all appointments to State boards and agencies made by him since he came to power; the persons appointed; the boards and agencies to which they were appointed; the remuneration details of each appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7829/12]

Details of the appointments I have made since coming into office on 9 March, 2011 are set out in the table. No remuneration is paid to persons in relation to the appointments listed:

Appointments made by the Taoiseach since 9 March, 2011

Name

Organisation

Appointment made to the

Date of Appointment

Prof. Edgar Morgenroth

Associate Research Professor, Economic and Social Research Institute

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Prof. John McHale

Economist, National University of Ireland, Galway

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Prof. Mary Daly

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Prof. Anna Davis

Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Prof. Seán Ó Riain

Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Dr. Michael O’Sullivan

Head of UK Research and Global Asset Allocation, Credit Suisse, London

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Ms Mary Walsh

Chartered Accountant

National Economic and Social Council

June 2011

Dr. Michelle Morris

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin.

National Economic and Social Council

July 2011

Mr. Martin Fraser,Chairperson of NESC

Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach

National Economic and Social Council

August 2011

Mr. Shay Cody

IMPACT

National Economic and Social Council

September 2011

Mr. John Murphy

Secretary General, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

National Economic and Social Council

November 2011

Mr. John Shaw, Deputy Chairperson of NESC

Assistant Secretary, Department of the Taoiseach

National Economic and Social Council

January 2012

Departmental Staff

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

110 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach if any remuneration, stipend, expense facility, financial facility or similar payment is being made from the Exchequer to any senior public servant who has retired from his Department beyond any accrued pension entitlements; if any such payment has been sanctioned for current senior public servants who are about to retire from his Department; if he will list the name, positions and details of any relevant moneys paid or scheduled to be paid of any person in receipt of or sanctioned to receive such a payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8278/12]

No such payments are being made or are scheduled to be paid.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

111 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach if he will outline on a yearly basis form 2008 to 2015 in respect of staff leaving the public service in his Department; the cost of lump sums; the cost of severance payments; the cost of pensions of those leaving the service through retirement or other means; the loss of the pension levy from employees who have left; the loss of superannuation payments from retired or departed employees, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8443/12]

In the time allowed it is not possible to provide a detailed response to the Deputy. The information will be provided to you as soon as possible.

EU Presidency

David Stanton

Ceist:

112 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will give an indication of three key areas that will be focused on during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8138/12]

Work across all Government Departments is continuing to identify the priorities and objectives of the Irish Presidency of the Council of Ministers in 2013. These will be outlined in detail in the Irish Presidency programme that will be published in December 2012. As with all Presidencies, the Irish Presidency priorities will, to some extent, be influenced by the progress made by the Danish and Cypriot Presidencies in 2012 in advancing issues on the EU agenda. However, the Government has already identified a number of themes that will be of particular importance during the Presidency. In response to the current economic and financial situation that we face, a particular emphasis will be attached to achieving progress on measures to boost Europe's global competitiveness, stimulate sustainable economic growth and above all, to create jobs.

The Government will also seek agreement on any aspects of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), that remain outstanding. The MFF sets out the EU budget from 2014-2020.

Alongside the MFF process, other issues to be addressed are of major importance to Ireland and the future development of the EU including the Common Agriculture Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, and initiatives such as Horizon 2020 (the EU's future framework programme for research and innovation) which will be critical for the EU's economic development. Other important issues areas will include energy, climate change and environmental issues.

The Government will continue to work intensively throughout 2012 to refine Ireland's Presidency priorities across all policy areas. Ministers will consult closely with our Partners and the EU institutions as the programme process continues. The Government will also continue to liaise with stakeholders in Ireland including representatives of civil society to ensure that the programme addresses issues of national importance for Ireland.

Foreign Conflicts

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

113 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the ongoing political situation in Syria and in particular the ongoing human rights abuses of Syrian citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7594/12]

I have on a number of occasions stated clearly my grave concerns at the deteriorating situation in Syria and condemned the unacceptable violence and repression which is now estimated to have claimed some 7,000 lives since last March. In my address to the Security Council in New York on 9 February, I described the current situation in Syria as completely intolerable and condemned the appalling suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the Assad regime. I also discussed the situation with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon and US Deputy Secretary of State Burns during the course of my visit to the United States last week.

Given the serious implications for regional peace and security, it is deeply regrettable that the Security Council has so far been unable to speak with a single voice on Syria, in failing to pass a Resolution on 4 February which otherwise commanded the full support of the Council. The ramifications of this failure have been made painfully clear in the past week as the violence in Syria, and in particular the appalling attacks on the civilian population in cities such as Homs, Bab Amr and Hama, has increased significantly. There is a desperate need for humanitarian access, including medical assistance, to citizens in these areas.

The international community can no longer continue to ignore the daily escalation of bloodshed and repression as the Assad regime seeks to extinguish the legitimate desire of ordinary Syrians for democracy and renewal. There is a clear onus on the international community to protect the people of Syria from further suffering and to promote a speedy resolution of this conflict through peaceful political dialogue. It is clear that President Assad will not begin this process without additional pressure from the international community.

I welcome the continued strong leadership of the Arab League as well as the UN Secretary General and others in the international community who are striving to end the violence in Syria. The UN General Assembly is due to discuss the situation and receive a briefing from High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay on 13 February. The current appalling human rights situation is also likely to be addressed at the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council later this month. Syria will also figure heavily on the agenda for the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 27 February which I will attend and where there is likely to be consideration of how to increase even further the already considerable international pressure on the Assad regime to change course.

Arab League Ministers met in Cairo on 12 February and decided to increase sanctions against Syria, to support Syria's non-violent opposition, and to appoint former Jordanian Foreign Minister Al-Khatib as Arab League envoy to Syria. The Arab League plan adopted last November and recently considered by the UN Security Council still represents the most credible basis for resolving the current crisis. All sides need to desist from further violence and to allow the main elements of the Arab League plan, including withdrawal of all military forces to barracks, release of all detainees and the stepping down of President Assad to allow the start of a political transition, to be implemented. In relation to the Arab League's proposal for a joint UN-Arab peace-keeping force to be established, this is a proposal which offers a further opportunity for the UN Security Council to live up to its responsibilities in the area of international peace and security and revisit the current crisis as soon as possible.

Ireland and its EU partners, working with the UN, the Arab League and international partners such as the US and Turkey, are determined to maintain strong and united political pressure on the Syrian regime until it ends the violent repression against its own people and begins a process of transition.

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

114 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps that have been taken to persuade the British Government to release all files related to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7595/12]

The question of obtaining access to information held by the British Government on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings has been pursued for many years by successive Governments and with the support of Members on all sides of the Oireachtas. There was a significant and lengthy inquiry by a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Barron, from 2000 to 2003. In addition a thorough examination by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights resulted in a series of four reports published in November 2004. Following on from the recommendations of this committee, a full Commission of Investigation was established in May 2005. This was conducted by Mr. Patrick McEntee, Senior Counsel, and its final report was published in April 2007. In July 2008, the Dáil passed an all-party motion on the matter which was transmitted to the House of Commons. I have met with the victims and survivors of this terrible atrocity and am fully aware of the pain and suffering they have had to endure. I have raised the matter of access to information related to the bombings with my ministerial counterparts in the British Government and the Taoiseach has done likewise, most recently at his meeting with Prime Minister Cameron in London on 12 January. The Government will continue to pursue the issue at both ministerial and official level and remains committed to bringing about a measure of closure to those who have suffered as a result of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings.

Nuclear Proliferation

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

115 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will support the application of economic sanctions to Israel in order to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons and bring about a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. [7610/12]

Israel has never officially declared itself to possess nuclear weapons. It is one of just three states not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is acknowledged as a cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. In both national and EU statements, and through our participation in the New Agenda Coalition, Ireland has repeatedly called on all three states not party to the NPT to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapons states and to conclude a full scope safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ireland regards the establishment of a Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems as a particularly important objective. I am very pleased that at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Ireland brokered agreement on a text which emphasised the importance of establishing such a zone and which set out a number of practical steps towards achieving this, including the convening of a conference in 2012. We are hopeful that all countries in the region, including Israel and Iran, will participate in the Conference and in the process going forward.

Ireland is rightly regarded as having a long and very close association with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as being a very active proponent of complete nuclear disarmament. The Deputy can be assured that full implementation of the NPT remains a key foreign policy objective for the Government as we enter the 2015 NPT review cycle, which begins in Vienna in late April.

I am repeatedly urged to consider sanctions against Israel for various reasons. I have made clear that, like all previous Irish Governments, the Government does not support such sanctions, and further that there would be no possibility whatever of achieving an EU consensus in favour of such sanctions.

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

116 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he shares the view of the US director of national intelligence, as the director reported to the US Congress on 31 January, that Iran has not got an active nuclear weapons programme. [7611/12]

The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran, issued on 8 November, concluded that there are strong grounds for serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme and concluded that information available indicated that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The report is based on information drawn from a wide variety of sources and deemed by the IAEA to be "consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved, and time frames". The IAEA is, of course, the internationally recognised watchdog on this issue, with unrivalled technical expertise and a record of absolute impartiality and independence. The Government, together with the US, EU and other international partners such as China and Russia, is extremely concerned about the findings of this report. The US Director of National Intelligence on 31 January stated that "Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so."

Given the lack of any indication from Iran that it is as yet ready to comprehensively address these concerns, the international community continues to pursue a twin-track approach of sanctions and dialogue. In his remarks on 31 January, the US Director of National Intelligence also noted that Iran's "cost-benefit" approach to nuclear decision-making provides the international community with opportunities to influence Tehran. The EU, US and Canada, with the support of other international partners, have introduced further restrictive measures against Iran following the IAEA report in the hope that these will bring the Iranian authorities back to the negotiating table soon to address comprehensively the widespread international concerns, as set out in numerous UN Security Council and IAEA Resolutions, regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme. The international community, including Ireland, the EU and the US, is united in the view that sanctions must be maintained until Iran does so.

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

117 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there are any circumstances in which Ireland would support military action against Iran because of its nuclear activities. [7612/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

118 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there are any circumstances in which Ireland would grant the US or other NATO countries the use of Shannon Airport to facilitate military action against Iran because of its nuclear activities. [7613/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 118 together.

It is the firm conviction of this Government, and its EU partners, that the grave and valid concerns about Iran's nuclear programme must be resolved through diplomatic negotiations alone and by no other means.

The E3+3, comprising Germany, France and the UK together with the US, Russia and China, represents the international community in negotiations with Iran. I fully support the efforts of the EU's High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the E3+3 and it is deeply regrettable that Iran's authorities have yet to respond to her letter of October 2011 calling for a resumption of talks.

In response to the failure on the part of Iran to address the international community's concerns following the publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on the Iran nuclear issue on 8 November 2011, the EU has implemented two further rounds of sanctions against Iran which were approved by the Foreign Affairs Council at its meetings on 1 December and 23 January. The US, UK and Canada have also implemented further tough bilateral sanctions against Iran, in response to the IAEA report. The aim of all these measures is to persuade Iran to return to the negotiating table so that the issues raised in the IAEA report and in repeated UN Security Council and IAEA Resolutions can be addressed.

It is the earnest hope of this Government, as well as its EU, US and international partners, that productive negotiations with Iran will restart soon to address comprehensively all the many serious issues relating to its nuclear programme, including its possible military dimensions.

Departmental Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

119 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within his Department. [7740/12]

The officials and their responsibilities within my Department are as follows:

SECRETARY GENERAL

David Cooney

Political Division

Legal Division

Trade Promotion Division

Anglo-Irish Division

Europe Division

Development Cooperation

Corporate Services Division

Strategy and Performance Division

DG David Donohue

Legal Advisor James Kingston

DG Colm O’Floinn

DG Niall Burgess

DG Anne Barrington

DG Brendan Rogers DDG Michael Gaffey

DG Barrie Robinson

DG Margaret Hennessy

Disarmament Security Policy Human Rights Terrorism and Drugs UN OSCE and Council of Europe CFSP and coordination Belarus Moldova Caucasus Central Asia

Trade Promotion Liaison with State Agencies Export Trade Council Economic Messaging Culture and Information

N. IrelandUKUSCanadaAustralia

Europe, incl. Russia (excl. Belarus, Moldova and Caucasus) Enlargement Coordination on EU External Relations

Irish Aid Sub-Saharan Africa Indo-China Timor Leste

Middle East Unit

Asia and Latin America Unit

Irish Abroad and Global Irish Network Unit

Evaluation and Audit Unit

Consular Service

(incl. N. Africa, Gulf and Iran)

Asia (excl. Central Asia, Indo-China and Timor Leste) Oceania Latin America Caribbean

Press Section

Passport Service

Protocol Service

Ministerial Appointments

Shane Ross

Ceist:

120 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will list all appointments to State boards and agencies made by him since he came to power; the persons appointed; the boards and agencies to which they were appointed; the remuneration details of each appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7823/12]

There are no State agencies, and consequently no State boards, under the aegis of my Department

Employment Rights

Ann Phelan

Ceist:

121 Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the protocol section of his Department is currently in the process of drafting a protocol in respect of protecting the rights and interests of domestic workers employed by diplomats currently residing here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7936/12]

As stated in my response to a similar question on 31 January, my Department is working with the Department of Justice and Equality and other relevant Government Departments with a view to implementing additional protections, including revised procedures related to entry requirements for private domestic workers in diplomatic households consistent with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. Revised procedures will be introduced as soon as this work has been completed and agreement has been reached with the relevant Government Departments on the measures to be implemented.

Northern Ireland Issues

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

122 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised the issue of the non-implementation of paragraph 20 of the Weston Park agreement in regard to a prisoner (details supplied) in Northern Ireland with the Northern Ireland and British Authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7965/12]

I understand that the prisoner in question has initiated legal proceedings which are currently before the courts. It would not be appropriate for me to comment any further at this stage other than to confirm that officials from my Department continue to monitor developments very closely.

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

123 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress made on securing an independent all-Ireland inquiry into the Omagh bombing as requested by families of the victims; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7982/12]

The bombing in Omagh in August 1998 was an atrocity which resulted in appalling loss of life and injury. The search for closure by those who have been affected by this atrocity has not been an easy or swift process. Criminal proceedings against those who undertook this terrible act have not resulted in a successful prosecution and I understand that an appeal is currently underway regarding the verdict of the landmark civil case taken by the families seeking compensation against a group of men alleged to have been involved in the Omagh bombing. The Government does not propose to establish an all-Ireland inquiry into the bombing. An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland maintain close contact regarding all matters of cross border crime and any new evidential opportunities related to the Omagh bombing will be fully pursued in the spirit of this enhanced relationship.

Emigrant Support Services

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

124 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will lobby key members of the US Senate during his visit to Washington DC by requesting them to support the E-3 visa scheme which would allow up to 10,000 working visas a year for Irish emigrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7994/12]

As I outlined in my reply to question No. 47 of 25 January, enabling Irish people to apply for E-3 temporary U.S. work visas has been a particular focus of the Government's efforts in the context of our overall ongoing exchanges with the U.S. Administration and Congress on immigration-related issues. The Taoiseach and I discussed immigration issues with President Obama when we met with him on 23 May last year in Dublin and I also did so in separate exchanges which I had during the course of 2011 with Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During my visits of last week to Washington D.C. and New York, I reviewed progress on E-3 issues during further separate contacts which I had with Deputy Secretary Bill Burns of the U.S. State Department and also with Senator Leahy, Senator Scott Brown and Senator Charles Schumer and members of the Friends of Ireland group at House of Representatives level.

As the Deputy will be aware, Senators Schumer, Leahy and Durbin and Senators Brown and Kirk had tabled draft Bills which would enable the provision of E-3 visas to Irish applicants. Both Bills have since been referred for examination by the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee and I am pleased that progress is being made towards securing the bi-partisan consensus that will be required if a good overall result is to be achieved.

In my discussions with them last week, I thanked Senators Leahy, Schumer and Brown for their ongoing efforts in this regard and encouraged them to persist towards reaching a positive outcome. I also assured them of the Government's continuing close interest and support in this connection, which we are exercising through our Embassy in Washington.

The Embassy is in turn working in tandem with key stakeholder groups from throughout the Irish-American community. The Taoiseach also met last week in New York with representatives from several of these groups, including the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres. I would also like to acknowledge and thank all these groups and others from within Irish-America for their vital help and support in rallying momentum behind our collective efforts.

I am heartened by the advances that have been made so far towards enabling Irish people to apply for E-3 visas. However, and together with our friends and allies on Capitol Hill and amongst the Irish-American community, I am conscious that the current U.S. domestic political climate around immigration issues and the Presidential elections taking place there later this year mean that nothing can be taken for granted. The Government will therefore continue to engage closely through the Embassy with key players at both U.S. Senate and House of Representatives levels over the period ahead with a view to further advancing our Irish E-3 visa objectives.

Irish Language

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

125 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when he intends to make public the Irish language version of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. [7998/12]

The translation of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union is being done by the Council Secretariat and the intention is for the Council Secretariat to publish all linguistic versions simultaneously. This is expected in the coming days. The English language version of the Treaty is available at the following link —http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=DOC/12/2&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en.

Constitutional Amendments

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

126 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if, in the event that a referendum on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not take place, he intends to have the treaty ratified in advance of the passing of enabling legislation through the Oireachtas, such as the fiscal responsibility Bill, or if ratification would only take place after the enabling legislation is signed into law by the President; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7999/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, following agreement on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union at the informal meeting of the European Council on 30 January, and a subsequent meeting of the Government, I sought the views of the Attorney General formally on what will be required by way of ratification in Ireland. The Attorney General is now studying the legal implications carefully, and will, in due course, deliver her advice.

Once her advice is received, the Government will consider it and will take whatever steps are necessary. It is not helpful to speculate at this point on what those steps might be.

The Deputy can be assured that whatever path towards ratification is required, the Oireachtas will be appropriately involved in the process.

Middle East Peace Process

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

127 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the arrest and detention of a person (details supplied) by the Israeli authorities under their administrative detention procedure, the fact that they are currently more than 50 days into a hunger strike; and if he will support the call by Amnesty International for the Israeli authorities to try or release them immediately. [8010/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Ceist:

128 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will call on the Israeli Government to cease the practice of administrative detentions as called by various human rights organisations. [8011/12]

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

I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. The subject is generally acknowledged to be a leader of Islamic Jihad. The circumstances of the subject's hunger strike are not fully clear. He is understood to be on hunger strike in protest over what he calls his unjust detention and mistreatment by Israeli authorities. Mr. Adnan was originally detained on 17 December and is at present held in a civilian hospital in Israel where he is being attended by civilian medical staff, not by military or prison doctors. He has been visited on four occasions so far by the International Committee of the Red Cross. I am however concerned that his hunger strike may now be reaching the point where his health could be seriously endangered. We have raised this case with our partners at EU level in Israel, and are monitoring the situation closely.

Unfortunately, States facing serious terrorist threat sometimes have to enact emergency powers, and it cannot be denied that Israel faces such threats. But any such powers should be as minimal as possible, carefully safeguarded and in accordance with international law. The present requirement in Israel is that detention orders be regularly renewed, and the evidence on which they are sought presented to the judge.

Nonetheless, and particularly in a situation where the Palestinian population live under permanent military rule, there is a clear risk of the abuse of such powers. I am concerned that detention orders, rather than an extraordinary measure only applied in the most exceptional cases, are used as part of the broader system of control of Palestinians and of legitimate protest as well as violent action. Nor can it be right that such detention orders be renewed indefinitely, without a case coming to trial. I therefore support the call of NGOs and others that this practice be brought to an end.

Ireland and our EU partners have represented these views to the Israeli authorities for some time, and the number of cases of administrative detention has fallen during that period. We will continue to press on this issue.

Diplomatic Representation

Clare Daly

Ceist:

129 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount that has been spent on Irish embassies, by location, for each of the past five years. [8025/12]

Our Missions abroad are involved in a wide range of activities which include representing and advancing government policies with other States and in international organisations; economic and cultural promotion; frontline consular and passport services to Irish citizens overseas; engaging with Irish communities and harnessing the resource they offer in assisting economic recovery; and managing programmes, particularly in Irish Aid priority countries The budget of each overseas Mission for 2007 to 2011 is provided in the table below. These budgets are considered to be the locally-devolved administrative budget, including local staff salaries but not salaries of diplomatic staff, which are a charge on the Headquarters budget. Likewise, my Department's small capital budget is not allocated to missions on an ongoing basis but is managed from Headquarters.

The Missions highlighted in bold manage significant programmes on behalf of Irish Aid, funded from Vote 29. These budgets reflect the additional management and oversight required for the effective implementation of those important programmes.

Administrative Budget for Mission

2007 €

2008 €

2009 €

2010 €

2011 €

429,990

600,261

466,900

ABUJA

260,424

548,135

372,660

556,374

267,599

ADDIS ABABA

1,199,888

1,064,185

898,000

898,685

747,137

ANKARA

412,851

429,022

405,487

422,633

397,809

ATHENS

532,525

477,093

484,116

525,292

488,109

ATLANTA (opened 2010)

26,885

147,400

BEIJING

789,116

838,728

973,084

841,615

750,784

BERLIN

999,025

1,181,612

1,009,825

930,500

929,251

BERNE

331,968

463,006

507,174

450,170

445,899

BOSTON

365,638

353,824

472,391

392,032

344,629

BRASILIA

540,443

510,761

450,012

579,964

524,784

BRATISLAVA

384,325

380,840

416,857

354,215

377,803

BRUSSELS (EMBASSY and P.F.P.)

1,202,904

1,126,087

1,230,063

930,301

844,610

BRUSSELS (PR-EU)

3,582,121

3,457,843

3,805,678

4,194,314

3,307,842

BUCHAREST

566,044

577,947

484,421

457,869

485,075

BUDAPEST

485,572

511,156

495,581

444,950

465,593

BUENOS AIRES

351,725

372,254

383,751

454,202

426,217

CAIRO

445,209

569,536

500,311

460,651

396,657

CANBERRA

742,471

743,869

681,238

788,271

760,756

CARDIFF (closed 2009)

213,966

182,170

79,757

CHICAGO

383,173

358,542

325,799

342,853

340,825

COPENHAGEN

540,031

476,526

430,412

448,180

445,389

DAR ES SALAAM

819,916

1,242,513

1,049,784

720,238

878,000

DILI (due to close in 2012)

205,402

189,962

211,483

148,716

215,600

EDINBURGH

319,133

261,682

227,646

236,941

220,194

FREETOWN

197,673

204,871

215,114

199,440

537,000

GENEVA

1,124,538

1,096,146

1,134,003

1,142,564

1,282,450

HANOI

609,377

743,614

580,390

607,332

745,000

HELSINKI

655,345

634,690

637,618

539,507

539,283

HOLY SEE (closed 2012)

740,532

498,334

437,683

455,820

420,987

KAMPALA

1,376,603

1,915,553

1,338,000

1,140,515

1,231,532

KUALA LUMPUR

380,607

418,700

359,821

409,445

388,340

LILONGWE

413,536

717,165

623,196

445,750

644,185

LISBON

496,611

548,396

437,493

376,459

431,630

LJUBLJANA

454,887

489,219

428,186

451,370

427,868

LONDON (including Passport Office)

5,610,590

4,669,648

4,065,867

3,702,234

3,396,000

LUSAKA

1,293,799

1,499,747

1,586,698

1,097,048

1,324,700

LUXEMBOURG

716,923

709,845

738,042

724,074

435,287

MADRID

1,242,986

1,273,566

1,239,494

1,106,768

1,038,990

MAPUTO

1,377,425

1,717,913

1,427,000

983,406

1,086,500

MASERU

700,082

795,256

523,259

512,812

656,700

MEXICO

696,226

598,562

475,576

528,437

442,290

MOSCOW

970,958

896,238

873,407

1,064,758

766,233

NEW DELHI

669,453

839,809

611,455

967,485

704,242

NEW YORK — C.G.

2,281,554

1,903,026

1,920,283

1,915,099

1,836,245

NEW YORK- PMUN

2,443,225

2,681,0741

1,546,199

2,081,792

1,755,273

NICOSIA

406,801

428,485

417,208

419,656

365,313

OSCE — VIENNA

455,567

459,195

434,483

504,823

494,500

OSLO

715,292

787,891

634,870

601,640

615,300

OTTAWA

658,038

605,680

700,330

590,775

580,960

PARIS (incl OECD)

1,867,828

1,852,135

1,804,602

1,817,710

1,635,188

PRAGUE

524,173

573,544

604,233

612,292

598,634

PRETORIA

1,407,145

1,318,279

968,255

1,111,600

1,182,650

RAMALLAH

419,099

373,828

286,792

354,106

347,291

RIGA

437,135

438,808

372,586

360,659

210,748

RIYADH

404,299

386,430

547,777

381,231

347,071

ROME

1,292,690

1,270,120

1,202,705

1,180,581

1,193,087

SAN FRANCISCO

500,358

628,525

417,187

428,014

394,350

SEOUL

643,540

767,822

438,633

833,161

413,750

SHANGHAI

512,507

466,888

511,801

667,532

567,923

SINGAPORE

913,131

865,908

805,922

833,820

828,590

SOFIA

617,814

452,737

425,518

367,670

408,350

STOCKHOLM

458,461

426,780

435,176

591,585

616,107

STRASBOURG

523,150

454,730

439,469

424,895

422,091

SYDNEY

546,538

511,344

489,353

587,275

647,462

TALLINN

445,663

426,396

352,791

415,288

390,376

TEHRAN (due to close in 2012)

315,881

361,419

347,641

417,048

348,049

TEL AVIV

666,237

574,527

737,733

623,858

573,639

THE HAGUE

1,066,280

1,079,734

949,973

921,078

749,539

TOKYO

1,543,374

1,604,708

2,079,7742

1,637,651

1,888,548

VALLETTA

369,535

329,452

330,122

372,090

322,379

VIENNA

677,684

664,055

633,729

662,725

670,686

VILNIUS

677,347

545,639

452,692

425,124

416,380

WARSAW

909,879

996,352

713,657

842,848

754,711

WASHINGTON DC

1,540,392

1,268,050

1,250,786

1,329,159

1,149,777

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

130 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of member states of the EU and other European nations that have embassies or consulates which serve the Vatican while simultaneously serving as diplomatic missions to other member states; the reasons the Vatican find this practice so unacceptable from the Republic of Ireland, in view of our grave financial predicament. [8151/12]

There is no EU or other European State which has a resident Embassy or Consulate accredited to the Holy See which also serves as a diplomatic Mission to an EU Member State, although a number of Embassies accredited to the Holy See are also accredited to the Sovereign Order of Malta and/or San Marino. For what I understand are historical reasons, the Holy See does not accept accreditation from a resident Embassy that is also accredited to the Italian Republic.

International Agreements

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

131 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason the European Stability Mechanism Treaty was signed by embassy officials on 2 February 2012 rather than the Minister for Finance; the standard practice for the signing of such international treaties; if he will list any previous occasions on which an international treaty was signed by an embassy official rather than a Government Minister; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8246/12]

The European Stability Mechanism Treaty was signed on behalf of each signatory state by its Permanent Representative to the European Union on 2 February 2012. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides that international agreements between states must be signed on their behalf by a Head of State, a Head of Government, a Foreign Minister or someone authorised by any of the foregoing. International law makes no distinction as to whether any such person is a politician or an official and it is normal diplomatic practice for Ambassadors to sign international agreements on behalf of their governments. Ireland's Permanent Representative to the European Union has been authorised by me to sign on behalf of Ireland any international agreement the signature of which has been authorised by the Government. The Government authorised signature of the ESM Treaty at its meeting on 30 January 2012. A list of international agreements signed on behalf of Ireland in the last six months, with the name and function of the signatory, is set out below:

1 Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, Ireland, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Cyprus, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Finland; signed by Rory Montgomery, Permanent Representative to the European Union, on 2 February 2012.

2 Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity; signed by Anne Anderson, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on 1 February 2012.

3 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America; signed by John Neary, Ambassador to Japan, on 26 January 2012.

4 Convention between Ireland and the Republic of Panama for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and Capital Gains; signed by Eamon Gilmore, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, on 28 November 2011.

5 Convention between Ireland and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Tax Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income; signed by Niall Holohan, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 19 October 2011.

Departmental Staff

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

132 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if any remuneration, stipend, expense facility, financial facility or similar payment is being made from the Exchequer to any senior public servant who has retired from his Department beyond any accrued pension entitlements; if any such payment has been sanctioned for current senior public servants who are about to retire from his Department; if he will list the name, positions and details of any relevant moneys paid or scheduled to be paid of any person in receipt of or sanctioned to receive such a payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8273/12]

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade currently employs five retired civil servants. While it is not customary to name officials or retired officials I am setting out in the table below the reason, grade, duration and remuneration details relating to each case:

Nature/Reason

Duration in 2012

Remuneration costs in 2011

Estimated remuneration costs in 2012

Retired Deputy Secretary

To act as the Tánaiste’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus in connection with Ireland’s Chairmanship of the OSCE, 2012

30 weeks

€0

€62,449

Retired Assistant Secretary

To act as Head of Task Force in connection with Ireland’s Chairmanship of the OSCE, 2012

Full year

€78,868

€78,868

Retired Assistant Secretary

To review departmental files prior to their submission to the National Archives

10 Weeks

€7,018

€7,018

Retired Assistant Secretary

To act as Passport Appeals Officer under the Passport Act, 2008

Dependant on number of cases dealt with

€0

Dependant on number of cases dealt with

Retired Development Specialist

Review of development cooperation programmes and projects commissioned by the Department

5 days

€9,342

€2,133

No other payments of the type described have been sanctioned for retiring officials of my Department.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

133 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will outline on a yearly basis from 2008 to 2015 in respect of staff leaving the public service in his Department; the cost of lump sums; the cost of severance payments; the cost of pensions of those leaving the service through retirement or other means; the loss of the pension levy from employees who have left; the loss of superannuation payments from retired or departed employees, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8437/12]

With regard to staff of my Department, the calculation and payment of superannuation benefits is a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Severance payments totalling €316,943.84 were made to former Ministerial Personal Appointees in 2011.

Diplomatic Representation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

134 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will give an update on a case (details supplied). [8476/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has constantly monitored this case and the person detained has been visited regularly by our Ambassador in New Delhi and by our Honorary Consul in Colombo. I am advised that this case was heard in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court on Friday 3rd February 2012 and that the Court was advised that the person detained is to be indicted in the High Courts of Colombo, Sri Lanka shortly. I am further advised that the next Fundamental rights hearing will be held on the 19th March 2012. I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to follow developments on the case and also keep the family fully advised.

Tax Code

Clare Daly

Ceist:

135 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the case that the total VAT currently being charged on ESB bills is being charged on the total bill including the carbon tax and if this is so the basis for same. [8184/12]

I would point out initially that the carbon tax does not apply to electricity and as such ESB bills do not include a carbon tax element, to which VAT would apply. The amount on which VAT is chargeable, in accordance with section 37(1) of the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010, is the total consideration receivable by the supplier, "including all taxes, commissions, costs and charges whatsoever" but not including the VAT itself.

VAT is governed by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. Article 78 of the VAT Directive provides that the taxable amount shall include "taxes, duties, levies and charges, excluding the VAT itself".

In this respect, where a supply of service, such as a gas bill, includes carbon tax, VAT law dictates that VAT should be calculated on the carbon tax element of the charge as well as the charge for the service. The same situation applies in the case of other excises, including for example excises on petrol, auto-diesel, tobacco and alcohol products.

Guidance in relation to the VAT treatment of the total consideration receivable by a supplier is set out in the VAT Guide. This publication is available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie.

International Agreements

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

136 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism Treaty will take place before or after the passing of the European Stability Mechanism Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8229/12]

The ESM treaty was signed by Euro Area Member States on 2 February 2012. The original version of the treaty was signed on 11 July 2011, but it has been modified to incorporate decisions taken by the Heads of State and Government (HoSG) of the Euro Area on 21 July and 9 December 2011, aimed at improving the effectiveness of the mechanism. The treaty will have to be ratified by the 17 Euro Area Member States. The ESM treaty will enter into force as soon as Member States representing 90% of the capital commitments have ratified it. The ESM will become operational as soon as possible. A target date of July 2012 has been set, which is a year earlier than originally planned. As a permanent mechanism, the ESM will take over the tasks currently fulfilled by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM). With the accelerated entry into force, the ESM will now operate alongside the EFSF for 12 months.

Primary legislation will be required to enable Ireland to ratify the ESM Treaty and implement its provisions. It is expected that the required legislation will be published this term. Ireland cannot ratify the ESM Treaty until the required legislation is enacted.

Tax Code

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

137 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 8 February 2012, in terms of State and semi-State commercial companies employing contractors, if Revenue has carried out an investigation into whether so-called contractors are in fact employees and the purpose of the contractor status is to minimise personal taxation and if he approves of this policy; his views that this facilitates tax avoidance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8309/12]

Unfortunately, it was not possible to collate the information required for this answer in the time allowed. I will provide the Deputy with the answer in writing shortly.

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

138 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding excise rate on diesel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8450/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of mineral oil tax and for tackling the illicit trade in mineral oil products, that they are acutely aware of the various illegal activities that lead to loss to the Exchequer of mineral oil tax. The most serious risk in this regard is the large scale laundering of markers from mineral oil (diesel), and the onward supply and sale of the laundered product as auto diesel. Marked mineral oil is subject to a reduced rate of mineral oil tax on condition that it is not used in road vehicles. The suggestion has been made that the present system of marking diesel for non-auto use should be replaced by one in which all diesel would be subject to the same rate of mineral oil tax, with repayment arrangements for certain users. A system of this kind would, however, give rise to additional administrative work for both the users concerned and for the Revenue Commissioners, would impose cash flow costs on users and could be open to fraud and abuse. The focus, therefore, is on strengthening the existing regime for taxing diesel at differential rates, including the implementation of enhanced licensing systems, acquiring a more effective marker, and continued robust enforcement action.

Departmental Staff

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

139 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the overtime cost attributable to staff attendance for the exceptional opening of Revenue’s lo-call service on Saturday, 7 January 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7545/12]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the cost of overtime attributable to staff attendance for the exceptional opening of Revenue's lo-call service on Saturday, 7 January 2012 is €39,080.67.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

140 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance when the return of income form 12 for 2011 will be available from the Revenue in view of the fact that many pensioners are being advised to complete the form and it is not yet available. [7560/12]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the 2011 version of the Form 12 is currently being finalised and should be available very soon. This is in line with the usual timetable for the production of the form. In the meantime, if a taxpayer wishes to complete a return of income for 2011 they should contact their local Revenue office where they will be issued with an adapted version of the 2010 Form 12 for that purpose. However, they will not be disadvantaged in any way by waiting for the correct form. I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are currently developing a significantly shorter version of the existing Form 12 specifically to cater for the needs of pensioners and other PAYE taxpayers whose tax affairs are more straightforward. The intention is that a draft of the short Form 12 (Form 12S) will be circulated to a range of groups representing the elderly and other pensioners for their views on the layout of the proposed new form, its suitability and ease of completion. It is Revenue's intention to complete the consultation process as quickly as possible and to have the Form 12S available for completion as a matter of urgency.

Patrick Deering

Ceist:

141 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider a special higher tax rate for those in receipt of retirement packages greater than €200,000.00. [7609/12]

It is not clear from the question whether the Deputy's reference to "retirement packages" is to retirement lump sums or to the combination of lump sum and pension. An individual in receipt of pension income is liable to tax on that income at his or her marginal rate of income tax. I have no plans to change these arrangements. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that two separate tax treatments can apply to lump sum payments depending on the nature of the lump sums paid to a retiring individual. (These rules apply equally to all employees — public and private sectors). The details of these treatments are set out hereunder. It should be noted that the lifetime limits on the amounts of lump sums that can be paid tax-free under pension arrangements or as termination payments were reduced to €200,000 in last year's Finance Act. I have no plans for further changes in this area at this time.

Retirement lump sums paid under pension arrangements

The following arrangements apply to retirement lump sums paid under Revenue approved pension arrangements:

Lump sum amounts up to €200,000 are paid free of tax. They are also paid free of Universal Social Charge (USC).

The portion of a lump sum between €200,001 and €575,000 is taxed on a ring-fenced basis at 20%. (This means that no tax credits or other tax reliefs can be set against this portion of the lump sum.) No USC is chargeable.

Any amount of a lump sum in excess of €575,000 is taxed at the individual's marginal rate of tax (credits and other tax reliefs are available). In this instance, USC is chargeable on the excess.

These amounts are lifetime amounts with prior lump sums aggregating with later lump sums.

Termination lump sums

Section 201 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and Schedule 3 to that Act set out the legislation in relation to the exemptions that apply to ex-gratia payments including retirement gratuities, and the taxation of any balance after applying these exemptions. The same rules apply to all employees and office holders in receipt of ex-gratia payments.

Statutory redundancy payments are exempt from income tax. In addition, there are additional exemption limits for ex-gratia redundancy payments or retirement gratuities in excess of the statutory redundancy amount, namely—

a basic exemption of €10,160 plus €765 per complete year of actual service in excess of the statutory redundancy payment;

Or

Standard Capital Superannuation Benefit i.e. 1/15th of the person's annual income (average of the last three years) for each year of employment less any tax-free lump sum which is received or receivable under any approved or statutory pension scheme.

It is open to the taxpayer to choose whichever relief is of most benefit.

The basic exemption from income tax as outlined above can be further increased by up to €10,000 if the person is not a member of an occupational pension scheme. (This can only be claimed if the person has not made any claims in respect of a lump sum retirement gratuity received in the previous 10 tax years.)

Any amount of redundancy payment or retirement gratuity in excess of whichever exemption applies is liable to income tax.

As mentioned, under the provisions of section 8 of the Finance Act 2011, the maximum lifetime amount that may be paid tax free in respect of a retirement gratuity is, with effect from 1 January 2011, €200,000.

EU Payments

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

142 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the total payments made by the State to the EEC-EU broken down on a year-by-year basis since we joined the Union in 1973; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7624/12]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

143 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the total payments received by the State from the EEC-EU broken down year-by-year since Ireland joined the Union in 1973; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7625/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.

In relation to payments made by the State to the European Union and total payments received by the State from the European Union since 1973, these details are at Table 10 of the document "Budgetary and Economic Statistics" published by my Department in September 2011. The document can be obtained from the following website address:

http://www.finance.gov.ie/documents/guidelines/bessept2011.pdf

A copy of the Table 10 is set out for your convenience.

The Deputy should note that it has not been the practice to include research receipts paid directly to private entities in this table as these are collated in a different manner; however the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation have supplied the following figures, for awards to Irish participants in projects funded under the European Framework Programmes for Research and Development:

€ Million

FP 1 (1984-1986)

N/A

FP 2 (1987-1991)

€44

FP 3 (1990-1994)

€88

FP 4 (1995-1998)

€191

FP 5 (1999-2002)

€148

FP 6 (2003-2006)

€188

FP 7 (2007-2013)

€362 (to Nov 2011)

Table 10 — Receipts from and Payments to the EU Budget

Year

Receipts from EU Budget€m

Payments To EU Budget€m

Net Receipts€m

% of GDP

1973

47.1

5.7

41.4

1.1%

1974

85.6

7.0

78.6

1.9%

1975

138.5

12.4

126.1

2.4%

1976

151.7

17.0

134.7

2.1%

1977

346.5

28.1

318.5

4.1%

1978

520.9

58.5

462.3

5.0%

1979

671.8

77.0

594.9

5.4%

1980

711.8

112.9

598.9

4.6%

1981

643.5

133.8

509.7

3.2%

1982

764.5

173.6

590.9

3.2%

1983

924.0

234.5

689.5

3.4%

1984

1,100.5

257.1

843.4

3.7%

1985

1,433.2

270.8

1,162.3

4.7%

1986

1,455.9

305.1

1,150.8

4.4%

1987

1,397.1

324.0

1,073.1

3.8%

1988

1,474.9

314.6

1,160.3

3.9%

1989

1,644.7

362.6

1,282.1

3.8%

1990

2,210.6

359.2

1,851.4

5.1%

1991

2,794.9

442.1

2,352.8

6.2%

1992

2,531.9

448.7

2,083.1

5.2%

1993

2,849.8

575.8

2,274.0

5.3%

1994

2,338.0

641.9

1,696.1

3.7%

1995

2,566.5

689.2

1,877.3

3.6%

(Revised GDP)

3.5%

1996

2,820.4

687.1

2,133.3

3.6%

1997

3,190.0

652.0

2,537.9

3.7%

1998

3,015.1

989.4

2,025.7

2.6%

1999

2,678.9

1,051.0

1,627.9

1.8%

2000

2,607.2

1,075.0

1,532.2

1.5%

2001

2,417.6

1,220.0

1,197.6

1.0%

2002

2,519.6

1,011.2

1,508.3

1.2%

2003

2,581.1

1,190.4

1,390.7

1.0%

2004

2,610.8

1,185.5

1,425.3

1.0%

2005

2,379.1

1,496.9

882.2

0.5%

2006

2,201.6

1,529.7

671.9

0.4%

2007

2,085.3

1,570.0

515.3

0.3%

2008

2,064.5

1,586.7

477.8

0.3%

2009

1,810.4

1,486.3

324.1

0.2%

2010 (e)

1,882.2

1,352.4

529.8

0.3%

65,667.6

23,935.4

41,732.2

2.9%

Notes:

National annual figures may differ in some instances to European Commission published figures. This is due to a number of factors including different accounting periods and practices.

2010 figures are estimates. Rounding may affect totals.

Sources: Department of Finance and Paying Authorities.

Banking Sector Regulation

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

144 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the cost to AIB from staff overtime including the total overtime bill and total overtime hours worked broken down by month from January 2011 to January 2012; the average number of hours of overtime worked by affected staff; the number of staff working overtime broken down by month from January 2011 to January 2012 and expressed in numerical terms and as a percentage of the total workforce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7655/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, notwithstanding the fact that the State is a significant shareholder in AIB, the bank is run on a commercial arm's length basis and I do not have a role in the day-to-day commercial and operational decisions taken by the board and management of the bank. In relation to employment costs, the management and board of the bank are aware of their duties to their shareholders to ensure that all costs incurred by the bank are necessary and reflect the needs of the business.

Disabled Drivers

Jack Wall

Ceist:

145 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if there is any assistance for a person wishing to purchase a car for a person with a medical disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7683/12]

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and VRT (up to a certain limit) on the purchase of a car adapted for the transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, to those who meet certain disability criteria. The disability criteria for eligibility for the tax concessions under this scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994. To get the Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must be severely and permanently disabled and satisfy one of the following conditions:

a) be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

b) be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

c) be without both hands or without both arms;

d) be without one or both legs;

e) be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;

f) have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

If the Primary Medical Certificate is refused, the person may appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. I would point out that the Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Banking Sector Regulation

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

146 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm if a retention agreement has been circulated between a company (details supplied) and IBRC and if there was a public procurement process for this agreement; if he will further confirm if the retention agreement is for this company to advise upon the UK commercial loan book and if not, if he will detail what the company may have appointed to advise IBRC upon; the duration and cost of such a retention agreement; if such a retention agreement prevents one of the largest distressed debt purchasers in the world the company to purchase any IBRC assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7689/12]

While IBRC is wholly State owned, it is not formally covered by public procurement rules as its commercial remit makes it subject to market forces. Under the Relationship Framework the Board of the bank is responsible for the day to day operations of the bank. The bank has retained the services of the ‘strategic advisory arm' of the Group, referred to in the question. The bank has previously been requested by my Department to confirm that there is no conflict in relation to the appointment. The bank obtained independent advice that this entity operates independently of the ‘investment arm' of the Group. The appointment was made having regard for the Bank's procurement policy. Details of the terms and purpose of the bank's appointment of this advisor are commercially sensitive and it is not appropriate to disclose such information.

State Aid

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

147 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if with respect to the disposal of bank assets in IBRC that a clear model in accordance with EU state aid rules has been formulated in the event IBRC decides to proceed with specific asset sales; if disposal of IBRC assets shall always be sold directly by the bank or through a third party; if he will outline if asset disposal by IBRC can be done in accordance with EU state aid rules without the appointment of a third party adviser; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7690/12]

IBRC is bound to adhere to the requirements of the EU Commission state aid decision on the revised restructuring plan for Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society. The commitments set out in the decision are monitored by a monitoring trustee approved by the Commission. The Commission decision does not determine whether or how assets should be sold by the Bank or through a third party. The Bank has the capacity to either use third party advisors or sell directly and in practice both mechanisms are used in order to achieve the most economically advantageous result for the taxpayer. The Bank does have a robust procurement policy and process for the appointment of any advisors or other providers of services to the Bank and this is used in support of the sales process.

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

148 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline if with respect to disposal of bank assets in Allied Irish Bank that a clear model in accordance with EU state aid rules has been formulated in the event Allied Irish Bank decides to proceed with specific asset sales; if he will explain if disposal of Allied Irish Banks assets shall always be sold directly by the bank or through a third party; if asset disposals by Allied Irish Bank can be done in accordance with EU state aid rules without the appointment of a third party advisor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7691/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, a key component of the Financial Measures Programme is the establishment of deleveraging plans to reduce the Irish banking system to an appropriate size and to stabilise its funding base. The Central Bank has agreed with the troika that a sustainable Loan to Deposit Ratio for the aggregate domestic banking system is 122.5%. As a first step in the Financial Measures Programme process, banks were instructed to segregate their loan assets strategically into core and non-core portfolios. The key principle governing the definition of core portfolios was the need to service the retail, SME and corporate banking requirements of the Irish economy, including cross-border trade and investment, acknowledging that some limited element of international business remains essential. In doing so, the banks needed to ensure that at the end of the process a viable core bank, independent of direct or indirect State support and capable of returning to the capital markets in the medium term, would remain. To this end, separate Non-core teams have been established by each of the banks to focus on managing the deleveraging process. AIB's Non-core team continues to manage AIB's deleveraging as required under the Financial Measures Programme.

AIB is in the process of agreeing its Restructuring Plan with the European Commission. Once that process has concluded compliance with its commitments will be monitored by a Monitoring Trustee approved by the Commission. My understanding is that the Restructuring Plan will not prescribe a particular method or structure of sale. Normally a bank retains the ability to conduct deleveraging using the most appropriate structure for that transaction, in order to obtain a competitive price whilst satisfying any further requirements under its Restructuring Plan. I have been informed by AIB that for material disposals, it often uses the services of agents in the marketing and sales process if it believes this will ensure the price achieved on disposal of assets is maximised.

National Asset Management Agency

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

149 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if the National Asset Management Agency continues to pay salaries to NAMA borrowers when NAMA has appointed receivers over their assets; if NAMA allows the NAMA borrower to recoup any rental income from assets where receivers have been appointed over their assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7692/12]

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

150 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the funds made available to NAMA borrowers from assets which are in NAMA to pay for the legal fees incurred by the borrower in attempting to prevent NAMA appoint a receiver over their assets; the number of borrowers in NAMA who have commenced proceedings against NAMA but continue to receive a salary from NAMA in accordance with their agreed business plans with NAMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7693/12]

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

151 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the number of borrowers in the National Asset Management Agency who have one or more performing assets in NAMA; if these NAMA borrowers are allowed recoup income from the performing NAMA asset as well as the salary which the borrower is receiving from NAMA in accordance with their business plans with NAMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7694/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 to 151, inclusive, together.

I am informed by NAMA that it does not pay salaries to its debtors. In certain cases, NAMA allows debtors to retain part of the income from their income-producing assets to pay overheads, including salaries. In other cases, such as development assets, NAMA will provide funding for overheads to enable works to be brought to completion, where this makes commercial sense.

On appointment, one of the duties of a receiver is to take control of the assets and any income produced by them will therefore no longer be available to the debtor concerned. NAMA informs me that arrangements which have been in place to allow income to be retained or to provide funds to meet overheads no longer apply after receivers have been appointed over a debtor's assets.

NAMA informs me that its credit approval process requires debtors to obtain NAMA authorisation for expenditure. NAMA does not authorise expenditure by debtors on legal actions intended to prevent enforcement action. Nor does it authorise the retention of income in cases where proceedings have commenced.

As of end-September 2011, the percentage of performing loans in the NAMA portfolio was 21%. Debtors with performing loans make payments of interest and principal from their income-producing assets to NAMA and, in certain cases, they may also, with authorisation from NAMA, retain part of the income from these assets to pay overheads, including salaries.

NAMA advises me that the number of debtors who have one or more performing assets is not readily available. NAMA has undertaken to provide me with this information and, accordingly, I will issue a reply to the Deputy as soon as the information is to hand.

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

152 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the number of borrowers in NAMA who have one or more assets in NAMA that receives rental income from the State, a State owned entity or semi-State entity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7695/12]

I am informed by NAMA that details regarding NAMA borrowers who have assets producing rental income from the State, State entities or semi-State entities are not yet available. However, NAMA informs me that the loan due diligence process is currently approaching completion and a database with detailed information on the collateral securing acquired loans, including lease arrangements, is in the process of being developed. The Agency expects to have the type of information sought by the Deputy later in the year.

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

153 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail the processes and procedures by which loans shall be assigned to any of the 16 loan sale advisers which have already been appointed by the National Asset Management Agency; the number of employees in NAMA who formerly worked for any of the loan sale advisers appointed on the panel; if he will name any of the loan sale advisers appointed for whom no NAMA employee has ever worked for; if he will detail the names of the loan sale advisors where NAMA employees have previously worked and will be directly or indirectly responsible to in the decision making process for determining which broker shall be appointed for which loan sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7697/12]

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

154 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail which month or quarter of 2012 that NAMA has targeted to sell on the US and European loans where they have appointed 16 loan sale advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7698/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 153 and 154 together.

NAMA has appointed two panels of Loan Sale Advisors for both Europe (including UK) and the US to assist the agency in selling acquired loans that are linked to assets in those markets. There are 13 firms on the Europe panel and 10 firms on the US panel. Seven firms are common to both panels, which means that there are 16 firms in total.

NAMA informs me that particular loan sale assignments will be allocated following competitive mini-tenders within each of the panels.

NAMA advises me that there are some officers in the Agency who have worked for firms on one or both panels. NAMA also advises me that, given its remit under the NAMA Act, it must recruit staff with the requisite experience and expertise and that it would not therefore be possible to recruit officers who have not worked with firms on NAMA panels, particularly given the breadth of activities with which the larger law and accountancy firms are involved.

The key issue, however, is that NAMA takes steps to ensure conflicts of interest do not occur. Under Section 42 of the NAMA Act, before he or she is assigned to NAMA, each officer is required to provide a statement of his or her interests, assets and liabilities to the Chief Executive Officer of NAMA and the Chief Executive of NTMA. Furthermore, a key item for any NAMA evaluation group for procurement of services is a declaration by each member that they have no conflict of interest. NAMA advises me that this enables the Agency to ensure

that potential conflicts of interest in the management of the loan portfolios are managed effectively; and

that staff do not participate in decisions which may involve the allocation of work to companies for which they worked previously.

As regards the sale of US or European loans, NAMA will shortly begin the process of identifying certain segments of its loan portfolio for sale. NAMA advises that the volume and timing of actual sales will depend on whether NAMA considers that market bids represent good value for the taxpayer in any particular instance.

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

155 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the amount the National Asset Management Agency has spent on legal fees in total since its establishment; if he will provide a breakdown of the legal fees spent each year since its establishment; if he will provide a breakdown of the names of the top ten recipients of legal fees from NAMA each year since its establishment; and the amount these recipients received each year from NAMA. [7724/12]

The details requested by the Deputy are set out hereunder. It should be noted that the details are on a cash paid basis as opposed to the accrual accounting basis that must be used in the Agency's annual financial statements. It should also be noted that the figures for 2012 are those incurred up to 6 February only.

Total Legal expenses by year (€)

Year

Base Amount

2010

9,746,625.68

2011

16,455,532.56

2012

1,349,117.41

Total

27,551,275.65

Top Ten suppliers to date (€)

1

Arthur Cox

3,074,552.86

2

Hogan Lovells International LLP

2,926,301.47

3

Allen and Overy LLP

2,473,941.32

4

Maples and Calder

2,046,545.39

5

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

1,577,475.09

6

Byrne Wallace

1,507,035.68

7

William Fry Solicitors

1,445,142.62

8

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

1,374,989.35

9

Dillon Eustace

1,189,329.74

10

Beauchamps Solicitors

1,166,591.81

Top Ten Suppliers by year

2012

1

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

324,087.32

2

Hogan Lovells International LLP

164,437.04

3

William Fry Solicitors

152,472.45

4

Byrne Wallace

114,664.76

5

Beauchamps Solicitors

68,014.10

6

Simmons and Simmons LLP

62,056.91

7

Maples and Calder

56,959.78

8

SNR Denton UK LLP

46,350.20

9

Taylor Wessing LLP

42,991.63

10

DLA Piper UK LLP

42.488.52

2011

1

Hogan Lovells International LLP

1,482,460.33

2

Maples and Calder

1,436,958.03

3

Arthur Cox

1,161,824.36

4

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

1,147,062.53

5

McCann Fitzgerald

1,030,955.02

6

Allen and Overy LLP

1,012,815.95

7

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

858,613.10

8

William Fry Solicitors

851,490.29

9

Beauchamps Solicitors

809,880.15

10

Byrne Wallace

787,574.42

2010

1

Arthur Cox

1,896,827.73

2

Allen and Overy LLP

1,424,973.95

3

Hogan Lovells International LLP

1,279,406.10

4

Dillon Eustace

708,632.76

5

Byrne Wallace

604,796.50

6

Maples and Calder

552,627.58

7

William Fry Solicitors

441,179.33

8

Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney

424,198.20

9

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

407,353.51

10

LK Shields Solicitors

376,848.75

Departmental Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

156 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within his Department. [7739/12]

An organisational chart detailing the responsibilities of certain officials in my Department is as follows.

Department of Finance: Management Chart

February 2012

Minister's Office

Press Office

Division

Senior Staff

Secretary General

Vacancy

International Financial Institutions/EU Budget and Finance Directorate

Paul Ryan

Human Resource Manager

Niall Ó Ceallaigh

Second Secretary General

Ann Nolan

Financial Services and Taxation Division

Aidan Carrigan, Derek Moran

Second Secretary General

Mr John Moran

Banking Division

Neil Ryan

Shareholding Management Unit

Michael Torpey

Second Secretary General

Jim O’Brien

Budget and Economic Division

Michael McGrath

Financial Services and Taxation Division

Second Secretary General — Ann Nolan

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

Aidan Carrigan

Reform of Financial Regulatory Structures, Credit Unions

Central Bank

Credit Unions

Financial Service Consumer Issues, Mortgage Arrears

Anti Money Laundering and Fin Sanctions and Asset Freezing, FATF

Consumer Credit Directive and Financial Ombudsman and Council, IFSAT

EU Financial Services Policy and Legislation,

Central Co-Ordination Unit

Investment Services and Securities, Funds, UCITS, EU Fin Supervision

Insurance, IFS

NAMA

Bank Legislation

Legal Advisor

Derek Moran

Business tax team — EU and International

Business tax team — Tax Incentives

Business tax team — IFSC

Business tax team — Corporation Taxation

Income Tax Policy

Income tax Incentives

VAT

Excise Duty, VRT

Energy Tax Policy

Capital and saving Tax

Finance Bill, Tax Clearance

Pension Taxation

Banking Division

Second Secretary General — John Moran

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

John Hogan

Credit and Lending Policy

Mortgage arrears

Neil Ryan

Systemwide Funding and Deleveraging, Bank Sector Balance Sheet Management

Bank Sector HR and IR Policy

D.G. Comp, State Aid

Stability Monitoring and Planning, ELG Operation

Michael Torpey

Shareholding Management Unit

Budget and Economic Division

Second Secretary General — Jim O'Brien

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

Michael Mc Grath

EU Co-ordination/Ecofin/Eurogroup/EFC/ EWG

EU Economic Governance/EU 2020/EU EPC/ NESC and NSB Liaison/ Budget and Economic Statistics/Monthly Economic Bulletin

Analysis

International Economy/OECD

Central Budget Office

Statistical Issues

NTMA Issues/Debt Management/Funding/EIB

Domestic Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasts

Labour Market/Incomes

EU/IMF External Programme Compliance Unit

EU Advisory Unit

International Financial Institutions/EU Budget and Finance Directorate

Director: Paul Ryan

Director

Responsibilities

Paul Ryan

International Financial Institutions, including IMF (SCIMF) — not External Programme), World Bank, ADB, EBRD and CEB.

EU Budget/EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-12

Departmental Finance Unit including Corporate Services1 (excluding HR/Personnel)

PMG Pensions2

PMG Banking2

Control Unit2

Accounts Section2

Exchequer Section2

Business Admin Unit2

1Shared service to Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

2Shared service to a number of Departments/Agencies.

Corporate Services Division

Human Resource Manager : Niall O'Ceallaigh

HR Manager

Responsibilities

Niall O’Ceallaigh

Employee Relations/Performance

Workforce Planning/Resourcing

Tax Code

Áine Collins

Ceist:

157 Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify whether the Garda reserve allowance is taxable income or a travel allowance and if it is included in assessment for third level grant applications. [7792/12]

The position is that the annual allowance paid to a Garda Reserve is income for tax purposes. The assessment procedure for third level grant applications is a matter, in the first instance, for the Minister for Education and Skills.

Banking Sector Regulation

Peter Mathews

Ceist:

158 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding banking practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7812/12]

Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code (the Code) if a customer is a "consumer" for the purposes of the Code, a financial institution, regulated by the Central Bank, must gather and record sufficient information from the consumer prior to offering, recommending, arranging or providing a product or service and that information must be appropriate to the nature and complexity of the product or service. The Central Bank has advised me that there are no requirements in the Code requiring financial institutions to seek tax clearance certificates from their customers but nor does the Code prohibit the request of such information. The Bank has also advised me that a mortgage loan account must operate in accordance with the terms and conditions applying to the mortgage agreement and that financial institutions regulated by the Central Bank may look for updated information when the nature of a product is about to change.

The Revenue Commissioners have advised me that from their point of view they do not require tax payers to provide Tax Clearance Certificates to financial institutions.

National Asset Management Agency

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

159 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance further to his announcement on budget day 6 December 2011, when he intends to formally establish the National Asset Management Agency advisory group; the number of members who will form the advisory group; the anticipated nature of its composition in terms of sectoral background and relevant experience of its members; the role he envisages for the advisory group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7813/12]

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

164 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the new National Asset Management Agency advisory group which he announced in December; if the group has been established; the members of the group; the salaries, expenses or other benefits for membership of this group; how often the group meets; the group’s accountability to the Government and or to NAMA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7952/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159 and 164 together.

I have appointed Mr Michael Geoghegan to chair a small group of advisors to advise me on the future strategic direction of NAMA. Mr Geoghegan has agreed to carry out his role on a pro bono basis.

I am currently considering the names of potential candidates who have the appropriate experience and background to work effectively on the group of advisors with Mr Geoghegan. I expect to announce the other members shortly. At that stage, I will also announce the group's terms of reference, as well as its reporting framework and arrangements in relation to costs.

Ministerial Appointments

Shane Ross

Ceist:

160 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance if he will list all appointments to State boards and agencies made by him since he came to power; the persons appointed; the boards and agencies to which they were appointed; the remuneration details of each appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7822/12]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following table:

Appointments made to boards since March 2011

Name of Body

Name of appointee

Date appointed/ reappointed

Remuneration Received

Disabled Drivers Medical of Appeal

Dr Angela McNamara

Re-appointed on 7 Nov 2011

Dr McNamara is entitled to a session rate of €607.20 when attending each appeal Board sitting.

*Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC)

Mr Roger McGreal

15th Nov 2011

€73,600 p.a

Mr Oliver Ellingham

14th Oct 2011

€73.600 p.a.

Fiscal Advisory Council (established June 2011)

Mr. Sebastian Barnes

7th July 2011

Council members not already working in Irish public sector roles receive a stipend of €5,000 per annum. Council members employed in the Irish public sector receive no payment for their role on the Council.

Professor Alan Barrett

Dr. Donal Donovan,

Professor John McHale

Dr Roisin O’Sullivan

*The Directors of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation were appointed by the board of the bank with my approval. For the sake of completeness, I have formed a panel of suitably qualified people in 2011 for possible appointment or nomination to the board of certain banks following a public expressions of interest process. Recently, Bank of Ireland has appointed Mr Patrick Haren who was included on this panel to their Court (board).

Financial Services Regulation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

161 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding US advisers. [7832/12]

The Central Bank of Ireland has instituted a new Fitness and Probity Regime which came into effect on 1 December 2011 and will be fully implemented by 1 December 2012. The Regulations apply to Pre-Approval Controlled Functions and Controlled Functions. The Regulations apply to financial service providers other than Credit Unions. The Regulations identify 41 senior positions as Pre-Approval Controlled Functions such as Chief Executive Officer, Director or Heads of Compliance, Risk, and Internal Audit. Central Bank approval is required before appointments are made to these positions. The Regulations also prescribe specific categories as Controlled Functions and persons performing these functions include the staff that exercise a significant influence on conduct of the affairs of the financial service provider, monitor compliance or perform functions in a customer-facing role. The Fitness and Probity Standards are being implemented on a phased basis as follows:

From 1 December 2011, apply to persons performing Pre-Approval Controlled Functions;

From 1 March 2012, they will apply to persons appointed to Controlled Functions (other than Pre-Approval Controlled Functions). This is to include new offers of employment and internal transfers/promotions which may involve a Controlled Function role after that date;

They will apply to all persons occupying Controlled Functions as at 1 December 2012.

A full overview of the Fitness and Probity regime can be found on the CBI's website at the following link: http://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/processes/fandp/pages/ introductiontofitnessandprobity.aspx

The institution referred to in the Deputy's question has confirmed that a US headquartered firm, was engaged by the Chairman of EBS to perform an independent assessment of the EBS Chief Executive's fitness and probity. The output report was submitted to the Central Bank of Ireland on 3 February. The institution has indicated that the decision to take expert advice was taken in the context of this key position as CEO of the subsidiary and member of the Executive Committee on the institution.

The procurement of external service providers is a matter for the management and board of the institution. I have no role in the day-to-day commercial and operational decisions of the banks, which include these matters. These decisions are taken by the board and management of the institution. As the Deputy will be aware, notwithstanding the fact that the State is a significant shareholder in the institution, the bank is run on a commercial arm's length basis as per the Memorandum on Economic and Financial Policies agreed with the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

In relation to costs incurred, the management and board of the institution are aware of their duties to their shareholders to ensure that all costs incurred by the bank are necessary and reflect the needs of the business.

National Asset Management Agency

Stephen S. Donnelly

Ceist:

162 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance with regard to the recent advertisement by the National Asset Management Agency for a company to provide management services for a qualified investment fund, the estimated size of this fund, in value; the assets, or asset types, that will be transferred to the fund; if loan and property valuations and due diligence will be conducted on these assets before their transfer to the fund; the way the funds will be marketed; the origin of this initiative, that is with a proposal from within NAMA or from within the Department of Finance, or from elsewhere; the analysis that was conducted prior to this decision; if he will release a copy of that analysis; and the rationale for the initiative. [7874/12]

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

170 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance with respect to the establishment of a qualified investment fund by the National Asset Management Agency, the scale of the funds involved in this fund; which assets will be transferred to the fund; will the establishment of this fund or transfer of assets to the fund involve more loan and property valuations and due diligence before assets are transferred to the funds; the way the funds will be marketed; if this will involve the taking on of more staff beyond NAMAs existing top-line 200 employee claim; if this initiative emerged from within NAMA, the Department of Finance or another body; if the initiative will prevent property coming onto the market and thereby prevent property reach a clearing price and bottom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8131/12]

Michael McCarthy

Ceist:

172 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance in relation to the qualified investment fund being set up by the National Asset Management Agency, the type of assets that will be transferred to the fund; how large the funds will be; the way the funds will be marketed; from whom the idea to establish the QIF came; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8149/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162, 170 and 172 together.

I am informed by NAMA that it is currently tendering for Investment Management, Custodian and Fund Administration services with a view to establishing a Qualifying Investment Fund (QIF). Preparations are currently being made by NAMA to obtain the requisite regulatory approval and to set in place the appropriate governance and operational arrangements with a view to establishing a number of such funds during 2012.

The proposal emanated from within NAMA and has received approval in principle from the NAMA Board. NAMA advises me that the analysis which was presented to the Board contains commercially sensitive information and it has no plans to publish it.

The proposal would involve NAMA acquiring property assets, on an arm's length basis, from receivers (or from debtors who would cede secured property directly to NAMA) and to package them into various combinations which could be monetised through sale to investors. It is proposed to assemble portfolios based on asset types (office, residential, retail, etc.) or geographical region (Ireland, Dublin, UK, etc.) and to secure international investment based on specialist investor preferences.

It is not envisaged that additional due diligence will be required given the substantial amount of information which has already been collated on loans and on the property assets securing them.

If regulatory approval is granted, the Board will consider issues such as the size of the QIF and its marketing.

It is not envisaged that additional recruitment of staff will be required as the administration and management of the Fund will operate on an arm's length basis from NAMA. As the Fund is intended to facilitate the investment of funds from abroad into the Irish commercial property market, NAMA anticipates that its impact will therefore be positive.

Financial Services Regulation

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

163 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the Central Bank of Ireland legislation permits a regulated financial institution, without the express permission of the customer, to transfer money out of an account held by one of its customers and to offset it against an amount owing by the same customer to the bank in a separate loan account with the same institution. [7877/12]

I have been advised by the Central Bank that the legislation governing the Central Bank does not permit nor does it prevent a financial institution regulated by it (regulated entity), from transferring money out of an account held by one of its customers and offsetting it against an amount owing by the same customer to the bank in a separate loan account with the same institution, without the express permission of the customer. This practice referred to as "off-setting" can be provided for in lending contracts and would be more a matter for contract law. I have also been advised by the Central Bank that provision 8.6 (i) of their Consumer Protection Code requires lenders to advise consumers in arrears of any impact of the non-payment on other accounts held by the personal consumer with that regulated entity including the potential for off-setting of accounts, where there is a possibility that this may occur under existing terms and conditions.

Question No. 164 answered with Question No. 159.

Tax Code

Jim Daly

Ceist:

165 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible for a person that has a savings account designated exempt from deposit interest retention tax to apply for a refund of tax deducted previous to the date the exemption was granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7955/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that an individual who qualifies for exemption from Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) may apply for a refund of tax deducted prior to the date the exemption was granted, if he or she fulfilled the conditions for granting the exemption at the time the DIRT was deducted. The conditions for granting exemption from DIRT are:

1. the individual (or his or her spouse or civil partner) is aged 65 or over during the year and their gross income from all sources (e.g., old age pension, deposit interest etc) is less than:

(a) €18,000 (or €36,000 in the case of a married couple / civil partnerships) for the 2011 tax year, or

(b) €20,000 (or €40,000 in the case of a married couple) for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 tax years.

2. the individual (or his/her spouse or civil partner) is permanently incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity from maintaining himself or herself and he or she (and his/her spouse or civil partner) would be entitled to a full refund of DIRT if their tax credits exceed any tax payable (including DIRT) for the tax year. The claim for a refund of DIRT should made by submitting a Form 54 Claims for the relevant year to the individual’s local tax office. Refunds of DIRT are covered by the overall four-year time limit that applies to tax refund claims.

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

166 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the potential amount that could be raised for the Exchequer by removing the current capital gains tax exemption for disposal of a site to a child. [7972/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, as information on the value of the gain arising from the disposal of a site to a child is not required in capital gains tax returns, there is no dedicated basis for separately identifying the potential amount that could be raised for the Exchequer by removing the current exemption. However, on the basis of indicative information on the relevant tax returns, it is unlikely that the yield would exceed €1 million in a full year.

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

167 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has examined the issue of placing a cap on the disposal of a business or farm on retirement and within families. [7973/12]

In Budget 2012 I announced a modification of retirement relief from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to encourage timely transfer of farms and businesses. Disposals of farm or business assets within families will continue to be fully relieved from CGT where the transferor is aged between 55 and 65 years. Where the transferor is aged 66 or over, the relief will apply subject to an upper limit of €3 million on the value of the assets. For such disposals outside families, the current upper limit of €750,000 will continue to apply where the transferor is aged between 55 and 65 years; where the transferor is aged 66 or over, the upper limit will be €500,000. Individuals who are currently aged 66 years or who reach age 66 between now and the end of 2013 can continue to avail of the current regime (that is, no limit for intra-family transfers and €750,000 for transfers outside the family) until 31 December 2013. The Finance Bill 2012, being introduced to the Dáil today, will give effect to these measures.

Departmental Expenditure

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

168 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the total number of contracts awarded for legal, professional and consultancy services in his Department, National Treasury Management Agency, National Asset Management Asset, any agency that falls under his remit and the covered institutions for the years 2010 and 2011; the value of these contracts; the duration of these contracts; the firms to whom the contracts were awarded; if the contracts were put out to tender and when they were not put out to tender the reason behind this decision and the selection process in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8013/12]

The table details the information requested by the Deputy in relation to my Department and the Agencies under the remit of my Department. As the Deputy is aware, I do not have a role in the day to day commercial decisions taken by the boards and management of the covered banks, including in respect of the employment of external consultants and advisors. The management and board of the banks are aware of their duties to their shareholders to ensure that all costs incurred are necessary and reflect the needs to the business. The financial institutions covered by the State Guarantee use consultants in respect of many aspects of their operations. The Department of Finance does not compile a comprehensive list of these consultants. Such fees paid in respect of arrangements entered into with individual firms are deemed commercially sensitive.

The Financial Services Ombudsman Council, Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau and Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal are also self-funded enterprises and I do not have a role in the day to day decisions taken by these bodies.

The NTMA group (including National Treasury Management Agency, State Claims Agency, National Pensions Reserve Fund, National Development Finance Agency and NAMA), is unable to provide the information requested in the time available. A reply will issue to the Deputy as soon as the information is to hand.

The Central Bank of Ireland cannot provide details of payments to individual consultants due to commercial confidentiality reasons. Their total professional fees for 2010 amounted to €7,097,044 (which includes legal fees of €1,070,974). Professional fees for 2011 amounted to €35,954,471. The majority of this (€29 million) relates to the PCAR/PLAR exercises performed in relation to the Irish credit institutions and also includes legal fees of €2,918,842.

The Central Bank has over the last several years retained McCann FitzGerald as its principal external legal adviser to provide specialist legal services to the Bank primarily in the areas of central banking, financial regulation, and High Court proceedings to which the Bank is a party. Additionally, the Bank has also engaged Arthur Cox to provide specialist financial services legal advice on individual projects; and the Bank has also retained the services of Byrne Wallace to provide specialist employment law advisory services. A number of individual barristers have also been used when required. The Bank reviews it legal panel arrangements from time to time.

Summary of contracts awarded — legal, professional and consultancy 2010 and 2011

Office/Agency

Value

Duration

Service provider

Tendered?

If not, why not and how was the provider selected?

Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

€12,908

The work specified in the contract was carried out between September 2011 and January 2012.

Dr. Robert Hagemann

No

Dr Hagemann is an expert in this field and was known to have the specific expertise required and to have satisfactorily undertaken similar work for the OECD. The contracted work was a key input into IFAC’s report on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. At the time of awarding the contract, intended publication of the FRB was end 2011, therefore a rapid turnaround was an initial requirement.

Department of Finance

€15,125

May-10

Paul O’Higgins Senior Council

Yes

Department of Finance

€38,287

Feb — June 2010

Regling (KR Economics)

No

Mr Regling was appointed by the Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., to work alongside Mr Watson to conduct a preliminary investigation into the crisis in the banking system in Ireland.

Department of Finance

€59,814

Feb — June 2010

Watson (John Howell)

No

Mr Watson was appointed by the Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., to work alongside Mr Regling to conduct a preliminary investigation into the crisis in the banking system in Ireland.

Department of Finance

€7,638

Jan — Feb 2011

David Lennon

No

Counsel appointed on recommendation of Office of Attorney General

Department of Finance

€6,939

Jan — Feb 2011

Garret Byrne B.L

No

Counsel appointed on recommendation of Office of Attorney General

Department of Finance

€2,783

Renewed annually

A&L Goodbody Secretarial

Awarded by Dept of Industry and Commerce in 1985

A&L Goodbody helped establish SAT for the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1985, when Insurance Corporation of Ireland when into administration.

Office of the C&AG

€16,000

4 months

Petrus Consulting Ltd

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€32,800

2 months

Milliman Ltd

No

This was deemed a continuation of previous contract due to specialised knowledge and facts already with the Contractor

Office of the C&AG

€12,500

5 months

Tom Walsh

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€4,500

2 months

Productive Personnel Ltd

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€26,116

17 days

David Rainey

No

It was property advice in relation to the Audit of the National Asset Management Agency. The Office was advised by the valuation Office and Mr Rainey who is a former Commissioner for Valuation in Northern Ireland. It was considered impracticable to tender the work due to conflict of interest.

Office of the C&AG

€40,165

less than 6 months

Philip Lee Solicitors

No

After approaching a number of the large legal firms it became evident that tendering for legal services in relation to NAMA would be impracticable due to conflicts of interest

Office of the C&AG

€2,000

a week

Grace Dempsey

No

Individual chosen due to specialist knowledge

Office of the C&AG

€1,993

2 days

Access Accounting Ireland Ltd

No

Upgrade of existing accounts package made tendering impracticable

Office of the C&AG

€3,960

4 days

Access Accounting Ireland Ltd

No

Upgrade of existing accounts package made tendering impracticable

Office of the C&AG

€112,000

3 years

Philip Lee Solicitors

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€32,835

3 years

Deloitte

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€27,000

4 years

Mazars

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€34,500

1 year

DHKN

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€32,500

1 year

DHKN

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€27,500

1 year

Moores Stephens Nathans

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€27,600

1 year

Moylan Mulcahy

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€38,500

1 year

OSK

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€29,500

1 year

DHKN

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€21,700

1 year

DHKN

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€31,735

1 year

Moylan Mulcahy

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€33,000

1 year

Moore Stephens Nathans

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€62,002

2 years

Crowleys DFK

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€60,100

2 years

O’Connor Pyne

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€60,198

2 years

Moylan Mulcahy

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€45,842

2 years

Crowleys DFK

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€44,000

2 years

Moore Stephens Nathans

Yes

Office of the C&AG

€65,600

2 years

LHM Casey McGrath

Yes

Revenue

2010: €716,246.01 2011: €746,715.76

6 years from 1/1/10

Holmes O’ Malley, Sexton Limerick

Yes

Revenue

2010:€1,095,244.072011:€1,006,232.03

6 years from 1/1/10

Ivor Fitzpatrick and Co. Dublin

Yes

Revenue

2010: €239,377.62 2011: €571,874.15

6 years from 1/1/10

Lavelle Coleman and Co. Dublin

Yes

Revenue

2010: €615,068.15 2011: €687,422.49

6 years from 1/1/10

Mason hayes and Curran, Dublin

Yes

Revenue

2010: €712,809.63 2011: €918,844.76

6 years from 1/1/10

Matheson Ormsby Prentice, Dublin

Yes

Revenue

2010: €730,064.68 2011: €802,525.59

6 years from 1/1/10

Pierse and Fitzgibbon, Listowel

Yes

Revenue

2010: €639,838.16 2011: €111,744.98

New cases to end 2009.

George V. Maloney, Cavan.

Yes

Revenue

2010: €33,233.86 2011: €33,553.30

1 Aug 2008 — 31 Jul 2012

Connolly Sellors Geraghty

Yes

Revenue

2010: €3,876.84 2011: €7,814.18

1 Aug 2008 — 31 Jul 2012

Lee Solicitors

Yes

Revenue

2010: €3,222.20 2011: €3,437.61

5 Jan 2009 — 4 Jan 2013

Robert Cussen and Son

Yes

Revenue

2010: €6,100.00 2011: €7,660.00

1 Aug 2008 — 31 Jul 2012

Patrick F Treacy and Co

Yes

Revenue

2010: €8,719..26 2011: €6,691.30

1 Aug 2008 — 31 Jul 2012

McMahon Williams

Yes

Revenue

2010: €32,282.80 2011: €32,068.99

2 years from 1/11//11

Gerard O’ Leary

Yes

Revenue

2011: 10,690.35

Driver Focus

Selective

Public Procurement Threshold for tendering is > €25,000. However, in line with procurement guidelines a number of quotations would have been obtained before making the final selection (selective tendering). Also, specialist knowledge would have been a factor.

Revenue

2011: €229.04

Darlington Consulting

Selective

Revenue

2011: €300.00

Murray McCarter

Selective

Revenue

2011: €150.00

Riverside Medical Centre

Selective

Revenue

2011: €6,993.03

Baker Ryan Tilly Glennon

Selective

Revenue

2010: €7,278.00

Vector Workplace and Facilities Mgt Ltd.

Selective

Revenue

2011: €943.80

Vector Workplace and Facilities Mgt Ltd.

Selective

Revenue

2010: €21,980.27

Polaris HR Consultants

Selective

Revenue

2010: €2,178.00

James Adams

Selective

Revenue

2010: €8,712.00

DZMG — Archives Consulting Services

Selective

Revenue

2010: €3,003.35

Professor Sean Doyle

Selective

Revenue

2010: €871.20

Elevator Consulting Ltd

Selective

Revenue

2010: €544.50

Innovative Food Solutions

Selective

Revenue

2010: €2,099.81

Philip Lee

Selective

Revenue

2010: €15,447.40

Philip Lee

Selective

Revenue

2010: €656.80

Arthur Cox

Selective

Revenue

2011: €2,922.15

Arthur Cox

Selective

Revenue

2011: €14,345.18

Arthur Cox

Selective

Revenue

2010: €3,525.20

Doran Cray Architectural Services

Yes

Consultant architects were appointed by OPW in accordance with the necessary procedures from Property Maintenance Consultants list.

Revenue

2011: €12,856.50

Doran Cray Architectural Services

Yes

Revenue

2010: €5,141.75 2011: €66,535.22

Achilles Procurement Services

Selective

Specialised knowledge. Also, circa. €38,000 went to 3rd parties in legal and other fees.

Banking Sector Regulation

Clare Daly

Ceist:

169 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the reason KBC bank refused to say if it would pass on the European Central Bank interest rate cut of 14 December to variable mortgage rate holders; the steps he proposes to take to ensure that they will make a statement in the event of future interest rate changes. [8024/12]

Neither I nor officials from the Department of Finance have responsibility for the decisions of KBC Bank regarding the passing on of the ECB interest rate reductions to mortgage customers, nor have I any powers to compel the Bank to make a statement on the interest rate that is charged to their mortgage customers. The lending institutions in Ireland are independent commercial entities. Ultimately the pricing of financial products, including standard variable mortgage interest rates, is a commercial decision for the management team and board of each lending institution, having due regard to their customers and the impact on profitability, particularly where the cost of funding to each lending institution, including deposit pricing, is under pressure. The Deputy will be aware of the Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, a copy of which can be accessed on www.centralbank.ie.

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 162.

Tax Code

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

171 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the activity in commercial property transfers has been monitored since budget 2012 was announced; and if the reduction in the higher rate of stamp duty has any noticeable impact on that activity. [8141/12]

As I announced in the Budget, a single Stamp Duty rate of 2 per cent will apply to non-residential property transactions executed on or after Budget night 6 December 2011. A significant proportion of the Stamp Duty yield received since 6 December from commercial property transactions is likely to relate to transactions which predate the Budget change and accordingly it is too early at this stage to determine what impact the change will have on the Stamp Duty yield or the level of activity.

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 162.

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

173 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if provision was made in the 2011 Finance Act for tax relief to be claimed for home energy improvements; if so, the way a person may make an application; if not, the reason there is a delay in introducing this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8159/12]

Section 13 of Finance Act 2011 provided for income tax relief at the standard rate for expenditure incurred by individuals on a range of works carried out to improve the energy efficiency of residential premises situated in the State. The underpinning legislation for the scheme was subject to Commencement Order. However, that legislation, on review, was found to have flaws and would have required amendment before it could be implemented.

As part of the announcement in the Jobs Initiative, the Government undertook to provide further funding for the grants available under the Better Energy Homes scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Because of these circumstances, I decided to review the requirement for a co-existing tax incentive for similar works and, following this review, I decided not to proceed with the introduction of the tax relief scheme.

It is worth pointing out that it was never envisaged that individuals could qualify for both the grants and the proposed tax relief. Refocusing the funding such that it is provided via the grants scheme clarifies Government support measures for energy efficiency works.

Liquor Licences

Seán Kenny

Ceist:

174 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the number of beer, wine and spirits off licences issued in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8220/12]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the numbers of beer, wine and spirits off licences issued for the calendar years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012 are as follows:

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Numbers Issued

Numbers Issued

Numbers Issued

Numbers Issued

Numbers Issued

Spirit Retailer’s Off Licence

1,487

1,770

1,537

1,722

57

Beer Retailer’s Off Licence

1,525

1,779

1,541

1,732

58

Wine Retailer’s Off Licence

3,718

3,705

3,206

3,405

136

Total

6,730

7,254

6,284

6,859

251

These licences are issued either singularly such as "Wine Retailer's Off Licence" or in combinations such as Spirits and/or beer, and/or wine. Off licences can also be issued in combination with Wholesale Dealer licences. Therefore, the above figures reflect the actual number of each category of licence issued and cannot be taken to reflect either numbers of licensees or premises. The second issue to note is that as the figures above relate to the calendar year and not the licence year, which runs from 1st October to 30th September, it is possible for a licensee to be reflected twice in the above figures. The Deputy may be interested to note that statistical annual data of this nature is available on the Revenue Commissioners website www.revenue.ie and the link to specific data in relation to excise is at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/about/publications/statistical/2010/index.html Current year data regarding liquor licences, which includes premises and licensee information and is updated on a monthly basis, is available to the public at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/index.html

The most recent publication is as of 7th February 2012.

Tax Code

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

175 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his views on the belief that there are 270,000 persons awaiting mortgage relief as announced in budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8237/12]

As announced in the Budget, the proposed new 30% rate of tax relief in respect of interest paid on qualifying homes for first time buyers who took out their first qualifying home loan in the period between 2004 and 2008, both dates inclusive, comes into effect as regards the 2012 tax year and subsequent tax years. As with many of the reliefs announced in the Budget this comes into effect when the Finance Bill, which was published last week, is enacted. I should point out that mortgage interest tax relief, including the proposed new 30% rate of relief, in respect of interest paid on qualifying home loans is given by qualifying lending agencies, including local authorities, through the tax relief at source (TRS) system. This requires the various lending agencies to make the adjustments in their computer systems.

In advance of the passing of the Finance Act, I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they have been in ongoing contact with all qualifying lenders, some 132 in total, to ensure that the necessary software changes to the lenders' tax relief at source (TRS) systems are made to cater for the new 30% rate of tax relief so that, when the Finance Bill is passed into law, the relief, which will be retrospective to 1 January 2012, can be passed onto the borrowers by qualifying lenders without undue delay. The speed with which the software changes can be developed and implemented by lenders may vary from lender to lender. Revenue is currently engaging with all of the lenders in arranging to have the new rate tested and implemented as soon as possible.

It should be noted that approximately 189,000 mortgage accounts are entitled to the new higher 30% rate. The Deputy will be aware that a mortgage account may have one or more individuals associated with it and in total there are approximately 270,000 individuals associated with these 189,000 accounts.

As an interim relieving measure Revenue has already informed lenders that they may grant tax relief at an existing rate of 25% to those who will be entitled to the 30% rate of relief. When the necessary software necessary to implement the 30% rate of tax relief is in place, the lenders will grant the additional 5% relief retrospectively. The reason the 25% rate can apply now is simply because that rate is already in the software systems as part of the existing first time buyer tax relief regime.

Paschal Donohoe

Ceist:

176 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance the rate of deemed disposal tax and when it is due; the persons liable for this tax on investments or managed funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8249/12]

The Finance Act 2006 introduced a new chargeable event for investment undertakings and life office investment products, which are subject to the "gross roll-up" regime introduced in Finance Act 2000. This chargeable event occurs at the end of an eight year period commencing on the date of the initial investment, and at the end of each subsequent period of eight years commencing when the previous eight year period ends. Deemed disposal tax arises in respect of Irish resident investors and is at a rate of 33% of the gain on the deemed disposal for such chargeable events occurring on or after 1 January 2012. Certain tax exempt Irish resident investors, such as pension funds and charities, are exempt from the deemed disposal tax.

Investment undertakings and life offices remit the deemed disposal tax to Revenue in January and July in each year. They appropriate or cancel part of the investment holdings of the investors concerned by such amounts as are required to meet the tax liabilities arising.

Irish resident investors who invest in offshore funds or in foreign life policies, which come within the taxation regime introduced in Finance Act 2001 for such investments, are responsible for paying tax on deemed disposals under the self-assessment system.

Departmental Staff

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

177 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if any remuneration, stipend, expense facility, financial facility or similar payment is being made from the Exchequer to any senior public servant who has retired from his Department beyond any accrued pension entitlements; if any such payment has been sanctioned for current senior public servants who are about to retire from his Department; if he will list the name, positions and details of any relevant moneys paid or scheduled to be paid of any person in receipt of or sanctioned to receive such a payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8272/12]

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

183 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline on a yearly basis from 2008 to 2015 in respect of staff leaving the public service in his Department; the cost of lump sums; the cost of severance payments; the cost of pensions of those leaving the service through retirement or other means; the loss of the pension levy from employees who have left; the loss of superannuation payments from retired or departed employees, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8436/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 and 183 together.

In the time allowed it is not possible to provide a detailed response to the Deputy. The information will be provided directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Job Losses

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

178 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance his plans in relation to the redundancies for staff in AIB which were announced in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8299/12]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to a recent Parliamentary Question (ref: 5664/12 of 1 February 2012) on this subject which set out the position in relation to the issues raised in his question.

National Asset Management Agency

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

179 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a full breakdown of the firms paid professional fees such as accountants, solicitors and other advisors of the National Asset Management Agency since the date of NAMA’s inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8321/12]

NAMA informs me that it cannot provide all the details requested by the Deputy in the time available. NAMA has undertaken to provide me with this information before the end of the week and, accordingly, I will issue a reply to the Deputy at that stage. In the meantime, I can provide the Deputy with certain information on legal fees. These details are set out as follows.

NAMA advise that the details are on a cash paid basis as opposed to the accrual accounting basis that must be used in the Agency's annual financial statements. It should also be noted that the figures for 2012 are those incurred up to 6 February only.

Total Legal expenses by year (€)

Year

Base Amount

2010

9,746,625.68

2011

16,455,532.56

2012

1,349,117.41

Total

27,551,275.65

Top Ten suppliers to date (€)

1

Arthur Cox

3,074,552.86

2

Hogan Lovells International LLP

2,926,301.47

3

Allen and Overy LLP

2,473,941.32

4

Maples and Calder

2,046,545.39

5

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

1,577,475.09

6

Byrne Wallace

1,507,035.68

7

William Fry Solicitors

1,445,142.62

8

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

1,374,989.35

9

Dillon Eustace

1,189,329.74

10

Beauchamps Solicitors

1,166,591.81

Top Ten Suppliers by year

2012

1

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

324,087.32

2

Hogan Lovells International LLP

164,437.04

3

William Fry Solicitors

152,472.45

4

Byrne Wallace

114,664.76

5

Beauchamps Solicitors

68,014.10

6

Simmons and Simmons LLP

62,056.91

7

Maples and Calder

56,959.78

8

SNR Denton UK LLP

46,350.20

9

Taylor Wessing LLP

42,991.63

10

DLA Piper UK LLP

42.488.52

2011

1

Hogan Lovells International LLP

1,482,460.33

2

Maples and Calder

1,436,958.03

3

Arthur Cox

1,161,824.36

4

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

1,147,062.53

5

McCann Fitzgerald

1,030,955.02

6

Allen and Overy LLP

1,012,815.95

7

A&L Goodbody Solicitors

858,613.10

8

William Fry Solicitors

851,490.29

9

Beauchamps Solicitors

809,880.15

10

Byrne Wallace

787,574.42

2010

1

Arthur Cox

1,896,827.73

2

Allen and Overy LLP

1,424,973.95

3

Hogan Lovells International LLP

1,279,406.10

4

Dillon Eustace

708,632.76

5

Byrne Wallace

604,796.50

6

Maples and Calder

552,627.58

7

William Fry Solicitors

441,179.33

8

Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney

424,198.20

9

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

407,353.51

10

LK Shields Solicitors

376,848.75

Tax Yield

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

180 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the value of legitimate green diesel fuel transactions recorded for the years 2010 and 2011; the current monitoring system for the sale of green fuel; if there is any record or database of purchasers of green diesel and quantities purchased per transaction; if he will provide an estimate of the loss in quantity and cost in revenue due to fuel laundering for the years 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8401/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the quantities of marked diesel for which mineral oil tax was paid in 2010 and 2011 were 1.226 billion litres and 1.155 billion litres respectively, and the net mineral oil tax receipts for those years in respect of that fuel were €51.04 million and €50.49 million. Premises or places from which marked diesel is sold or delivered, other than tax warehouses or certain small-scale operations, are required to be approved by the Revenue Commissioners in accordance with the Mineral Oil Tax Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 442 of 2001). Those Regulations also require the keeping of specified records of stocks, sales and movements of fuels by mineral oil traders.

The Finance Bill 2012 proposes to enhance the supervision and control of the mineral oils supply chain by requiring that, in future, any person dealing in marked mineral oils will have to be licensed by the Revenue Commissioners to do so. It is envisaged that this important change will be complemented by amendments to the Mineral Oil Tax Regulations that will lay down new requirements for the recording and reporting of transactions by mineral oil traders.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible to estimate accurately the loss to the national Exchequer from particular activities in the shadow economy such as fuel laundering. It is clear, however, that illegal activity in the fuel market is significant, and that it poses a threat to the tax yield and to legitimate business. Combating it will, therefore, continue to be a priority for the Revenue Commissioners, and the legislative action that is being taken will provide additional support for them in this important work.

Tax Code

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

181 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Finance in view of the financial difficulties arising from the extraordinary economic and financial situation being experienced by persons who purchased a second residential property as a means of securing funds for retirement and so forth, if he will consider increasing the amount claimable of mortgage interest against tax from 75% to 100%, particularly as the cost of running a non-residential property is a legitimate business expense. [8411/12]

As the Deputy notes an individual who rents out their residential property may be allowed a deduction (subject to certain conditions) in computing the taxable rents from that letting of 75% of the interest accruing on money borrowed to purchase, improve or repair that property. The level at which interest repayments could be claimed against tax for residential rental properties was reduced from 100% to 75% in April 2009 as part of an urgent revenue-raising package aimed at stabilising the public finances. The restriction, which applies to interest accruing on or after 7 April 2009, significantly reduced the cost of this relief to the Exchequer.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the amount of tax foregone in 2009(the most recent year available) by allowing a deduction for interest on borrowings to be offset against all rental income assessable under Case V, Schedule D for both residential and commercial property was estimated at €745 million. Increasing the relief for residential properties to 100% could result in an additional annual cost to the Exchequer of the order of €100 million.

The need to stabilise public expenditure, which formed the backdrop to the introduction of the 2009 restriction, still exists. The terms of the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland commit the State to further substantial decreases in public expenditure. While tax expenditures in many areas have been reduced to broaden the tax base, a 25% restriction on the allowable interest available to residential landlords does not seem excessive and I have no plans to undo the 2009 Act provision.

Sovereign Debt

Kevin Humphreys

Ceist:

182 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance the amount of Irish sovereign debt purchased in the secondary market which is held by the European Central Bank; if he will provide a breakdown by purchase date and the rate that was paid; the amount in total that would be saved if this debt was repaid to the ECB at the rate it paid in the secondary market; if he will ask the ECB to redeem these bonds at the rate paid in the secondary market as is now being proposed for Greece; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8421/12]

There has been much speculation in recent months about the extent of the European Central Bank's (ECB) purchases of sovereign debt on the secondary markets. The Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland maintains the register of holders of Irish Government bonds. I am informed by the Central Bank however that the ECB does not disclose its holdings of sovereign debt and therefore it is not possible to supply the information requested by the Deputy.

Question No. 183 answered with Question No. 177.

Crime Prevention

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

184 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if, in the context of correspondence (details supplied), which was submitted to his Department, he will take steps to deal with the issue outlined therein; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8470/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of mineral oil tax and for tackling the illicit trade in mineral oil products, that they are acutely aware of the various illegal activities that lead to loss to the Exchequer of mineral oil tax. The most serious risk in this regard is the large scale laundering of markers from mineral oil (diesel), and the onward supply and sale of the laundered product as auto diesel. Marked mineral oil is subject to a reduced rate of mineral oil tax on condition that it is not used in road vehicles.

Revenue employs a broad range of compliance and enforcement strategies to detect and counteract illegal practices involving mineral oils. These include ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of the problem; development and sharing of intelligence with agencies on both sides of the border; the conduct of intelligence driven operations using covert surveillance to identify oil laundry locations; seizure of illicit product, laundering equipment and vehicles; physical sampling at road checkpoints; and prosecution of those involved in illegal activities in relation to mineral oils.

The Revenue Commissioners are conscious of a number of suspect retail outlets that have opened in various parts of the country and are taking steps to review their compliance with all aspects of the law. In the latter half of 2011 Revenue commenced a vigorous campaign targeting specific locations nationwide, with the intention of immediate closure of unlicensed outlets and the challenging of other instances of non-compliance. As part of this drive, warning letters have been issued to unlicensed retail outlets and a number of these have been effectively closed down by the actions of Revenue enforcement teams. This campaign is ongoing and Revenue is in the process of seizing illicit product and closing down a further number of unlicensed or otherwise illegal retail outlets.

The Finance Bill 2012 proposes to enhance the supervision and control of the mineral oils supply chain by requiring that, in future, any person dealing in marked mineral oils will have to be licensed by the Revenue Commissioners to do so. It is envisaged that this important change will be complemented by amendments to the Mineral Oil Tax Regulations that will lay down new requirements for the recording and reporting of transactions by mineral oil traders.

In 2011 nine oil laundries and 327,000 litres of laundered fuel were seized, together with nine oil tankers and twenty-nine other vehicles. Sixteen persons were arrested in the course of these operations and files have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who has to date issued directions to prosecute on indictment in respect of two of the cases. In addition to this a further 718,181 litres of illicit mineral oil has been seized, the large majority from retail outlets or in the course of delivery to such outlets. To date in 2012, a total of 53,530 litres of Mineral Oil has been seized from retail outlets.

The Revenue Commissioners would advise the public to purchase their diesel from known branded outlets, and where they have any concerns or suspicions about a particular outlet to report these to Revenue or the Irish Petrol Retailers Association, which represents the majority of legitimate retail outlets in the State, and who are working closely with the Revenue Commissioners to counteract the threat posed by the sale and distribution of illicit mineral oil.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

185 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which he understands contractual and non-contractual bonuses continue to be paid by institutions covered by the eligible liabilities guarantee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8481/12]

I refer the Deputy to my reply (ref: 41005/11 of 11 January 2012) on this subject when he last raised this issue. The respective operating agreements with the covered institutions, which underpin the State's investments, contain prohibitions on the payment of bonuses save in exceptional circumstances such as meeting obligations on foot of a court order.

As has been the practice to date with pre-existing contractual rights, the legal advice that continues to be available is that such rights prevail and, as the Deputy will appreciate, with the passage of time such entitlements become less material in view of the prohibitions described above.

State Savings Products

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

186 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm the overall amount of money currently managed by the National Treasury Management Agency through the various State savings products; if he will provide a breakdown of the overall amount by the type of product, savings bonds, savings certificates, national solidarity bond and so on; the way the money is managed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8483/12]

I am advised by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) that at end-2011 the amount of State Savings was €14 billion which represented 12% of the national debt of €119 billion. The breakdown of State Savings by product at end-December 2011 was as follows:

€ billions

3 year Savings Bonds

4.8

5½ year Savings Certificates

4.2

6 year Instalment Savings

0.5

4-10 year National Solidarity Bond

0.6

Deposit Accounts (including Savings Stamps)

2.5

Prize Bonds

1.4

Total

14.0

State Savings constitute part of the overall national debt which is managed by the NTMA.

Ministerial Correspondence

Jack Wall

Ceist:

187 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills his comments and views in relation to a submission (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7729/12]

My Department is in receipt of separate correspondence from the company referred to by the Deputy. My officials have made contact with the company and will respond to the company in due course.

European Globalisation Fund

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

188 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the SR Technics European Globalisation Fund funding; the amount of funding that has been spent; if any funding was left unspent and returned to the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7979/12]

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

200 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm the amount, date and to whom European Globalisation Adjustment Fund grants were disbursed to with regards to SR Technics by his EGF policy and operations. [7651/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 and 200 together.

On foot of an application made by the Irish authorities in October 2009 in support of workers made redundant in 2009 at the SR Technics aircraft maintenance facility at Dublin Airport, EU funding of €7.45m was subsequently received from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in December 2010. Including required matching national funding, a total of €11.46m was available to fund active labour market measures including guidance, training, apprenticeship, further and higher education opportunities and enterprise supports, subject to demand and up-take.

The relevant EGF programme ended on 9 October 2011. The recent EGF review consultation document circulated by my Department in December 2011 estimated that in the region of 1,850 supports and interventions were provided to the redundant workers over the period of this EGF programme. These included grant aid for self-employment and business start ups from relevant City and County Enterprise boards and EGF training grants administered by FÁS.

Activity data and relevant management information is currently being gathered and collated from the relevant service providers by WRC Social and Economic Consultants Ltd., who are contracted to deliver certain administrative and technical support services to EGF funded programmes in Ireland, including in respect of the closure of the SR Technics programme.

To date, on the basis of claims received, the Department has paid some €1,300,073 on EGF programme measures pertaining to the SR Technics workers. A number of additional claims are currently being processed by my Department or are awaited in the context of the ongoing verification and certification process.

A Final Report and statement justifying expenditure is being prepared by my Department and is required to be submitted to the European Commission by 9 April 2012. Until the Final Report and accompanying statement are prepared and submitted and considered and duly responded to by the European Commission, it is not possible to state how much funding will be required to be reimbursed to the EU. However, it is anticipated that total expenditure on this programme will be significantly lower than the total funding available.

FÁS Training Programmes

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

189 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason an organisation in Balbriggan, County Dublin (details supplied) has not been selected by FÁS as a location for training of unemployed persons in 2012; if she will have this issue reviewed as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7987/12]

I am informed that the FÁS Training Centre located in Baldoyle has responsibility for the operation and administration of contracted training in North Dublin which includes the Balbriggan area.

In 2011, FÁS Baldoyle Training Centre conducted a performance review of its training portfolio and provision provided over the previous two years. This review in conjunction with the FÁS training strategy and corporate objectives has determined the 2012 training portfolio and the allocation of training provision.

In light of the prevailing economic conditions it is imperative for training courses to achieve critical performance measurements to justify continuing budget allocation. The FÁS analysis of the courses delivered in the Balbriggan area highlighted that in some cases the required training outcomes, particularly placement into employment were not being achieved. Consequently, the initial 2012 allocation of training provision located in the Balbriggan area has been adjusted from the 2011 provision.

I have been informed that a number of contributing factors were taken into consideration when allocating funds for the allocation of contracted training provision. With the closure of the FÁS Cabra Training Centre and the FÁS City Training Centre in recent years the provision of direct training facilities has resulted in a greater dependence on contracted training. A greater number of urban dwelling clients no longer have direct public transport routes to the remaining FÁS training locations. However, Balbriggan residents can access FÁS Baldoyle Training Centre directly by mainline rail, within the payable travel allowance. If individuals are successful in obtaining employment there is no guarantee the jobs will be located in the Balbriggan hinterland.

FÁS selects approved training contractors through an equitable and transparent procurement process although, it must be born in mind that training contracts are not automatically awarded to particular training contractors located in a specific area. I am however, given to understand that Balbriggan Enterprise Development Group remains on the FÁS approved tender list of contracted trainers and will be provided with the opportunity to tender for training provision in a number of geographical areas, in accordance with their approved areas of expertise and competence.

The FÁS Baldoyle Training Centre contracted training provision and allocation is continually reviewed and the provision of training in the Balbriggan area will continue to be considered in this process.

School Staffing

Noel Harrington

Ceist:

190 Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has examined the role that guidance teachers and councillors employed in schools in providing assistance to pupils regarding their personal health and mental health issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8181/12]

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

239 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the context of section 9 of the Education Act on giving secondary school principals discretion about the employment of school counsellors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8032/12]

Noel Harrington

Ceist:

243 Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will initiate discussions with the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to review the role of school guidance teachers and councillors in their role in providing assistance and advice to pupils regarding their personal health and mental health issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8175/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 190, 239 and 243 together.

All schools must continue to provide guidance to their pupils. However, from September 2012 guidance provision will be managed by schools from within their standard staffing allocation. As things currently stand and before any changes are made, 42% of second level schools do not presently have a full-time guidance counsellor.

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. Decisions on how this is done will be taken at school level and I am confident that schools will act in the best interest of students when determining precisely how to use the teaching resources available to them.

Guidance is a whole school activity and under existing arrangements each school is expected to develop a school guidance plan as a means of supporting the needs of its students. These requirements have not changed and my Department's forthcoming circular will make this clear and point schools to the relevant documentation and guidance available to support such work by schools.

My Department will be issuing a circular to schools in the coming weeks for the 2012/13 school year.

Grant Payments

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

191 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of boarding schools in which pupils are entitled to attend and be paid the remote area grant subject to being eligible under the conditions of this grant; the names of these schools; the locations and roll numbers of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7553/12]

The purpose of the Remote Area Boarding Grant is to give pupils who are educationally disadvantaged because of their remoteness from schools an opportunity to attend school on the same basis as other pupils not so disadvantaged.

A list of boarding schools providing free second-level education is available on my Department's website.

School Accommodation

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

192 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of prefabs currently being used by schools at locations (details supplied); and the number of pupils currently being educated in these structures. [7557/12]

Information on rented prefabricated accommodation is recorded by my Department on a county by county basis. Attached is a list of schools where prefab accommodation is currently being rented in Dublin City and County.

My Department does not hold information on the numbers of pupils in individual schools who currently occupy temporary accommodation; this depends on the organisation of class groups by schools within available accommodation and may vary from year to year. Local school managements are responsible for organising their class numbers, year on year, to achieve the optimum local efficiencies.

Rented Prefabs at Schools in Dublin City and County — February 2012

283 Rented Prefabs at 95 Schools

Roll No.

School Name

Address

Town/Townland

County

00697S

St Brigid's Mixed Ns

Castleknock

Dublin

00697S

St Brigid's Mixed Ns

Castleknock

Dublin

00697S

St Brigid's Mixed Ns

Castleknock

Dublin

00697S

St Brigid's Mixed Ns

Castleknock

Dublin

00752A

Central Model Senior Mixed NS

Marlborough St

Dublin

01170G

Naul National School

Naul

Dublin

01170G

Naul National School

Naul

Dublin

01170G

Naul National School

Naul

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

06200O

St Mary’s BNS

Grotto Place

Booterstown

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

07546J

Our Lady of Lourdes NS

Goldenbridge

Inchicore

Dublin

09932B

Stanhope St Convent

Stanhope St

Dublin

12014D

St Andrew’s NS

Chapel Hill

Lucan

Dublin

12014D

St Andrew’s NS

Chapel Hill

Lucan

Dublin

12014D

St Andrew’s NS

Chapel Hill

Lucan

Dublin

14180H

Holmpatrick NS

Convent Lane

Skerries

Dublin

16333Q

St. Patricks JNS

Skerries

Dublin

16333Q

St. Patricks JNS

Skerries

Dublin

16461C

St Finian’s NS

Newcastle Lyons

Dublin

16461C

St Finian’s NS

Newcastle Lyons

Dublin

16461C

St Finian’s NS

Newcastle Lyons

Dublin

16461C

St Finian’s NS

Newcastle Lyons

Dublin

16461C

St Finian’s NS

Newcastle Lyons

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16675V

Mulhuddart NS

Powerstown Road

Tyrrelstown

Dublin

16860Q

Corpus Christi NS

Home Farm Rd

Drumcondra

Dublin

16972E

SS Peter and Paul JNS

Chapel Street

Balbriggan

Dublin

16972E

SS Peter and Paul JNS

Chapel Street

Balbriggan

Dublin

16972E

SS Peter and Paul JNS

Chapel Street

Balbriggan

Dublin

17055T

Scoil Naomh Mhuire

Saggart

Dublin

17055T

Scoil Naomh Mhuire

Saggart

Dublin

17055T

Scoil Naomh Mhuire

Saggart

Dublin

17055T

Scoil Naomh Mhuire

Saggart

Dublin

17083B

Scoil Mhuire gan Smal

Dublin 8

Dublin

17472M

Hedgestown NS

Hedgestown

Lusk

Dublin

17559B

St. Mary’s NS

Garristown

Dublin

17569E

St Oliver Plunkett NS

Balrothery

Balbriggan

Dublin

17569E

St Oliver Plunkett NS

Balrothery

Balbriggan

Dublin

17691E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17912O

St John Boscos SBS

Navan Rd

Dublin

17912O

St John Boscos SBS

Navan Rd

Dublin

17912O

St John Boscos SBS

Navan Rd

Dublin

17912O

St John Boscos SBS

Navan Rd

Dublin

17912O

St John Boscos SBS

Navan Rd

Dublin

17953F

Edmondstown NS

Edmondstown

Rathfarnham

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17961E

Lusk NS

Chapel Rd

Lusk

Dublin

17977T

Scoil Aine

Raheny

Dublin

17978V

Naiscoil Ide

All Saints Drive

Raheny

Dublin

17978V

Naiscoil Ide

All Saints Drive

Raheny

Dublin

18046A

Scoil Bhríde BNS

Church Ave

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18046A

Scoil Bhríde BNS

Church Ave

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18046A

Scoil Bhride BNS

Church Ave

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18047C

Scoil Bhride GNS

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18047C

Scoil Bhride GNS

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18047C

Scoil Bhride GNS

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18047C

Scoil Bhride GNS

Blanchardstown

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18210K

St Michaels House Special School

College St

Baldoyle

Dublin

18386B

Marist NS

Crumlin

Dublin

18386B

Marist NS

Crumlin

Dublin

18411U

St Marys NS

Bancroft Ave

Tallaght

Dublin

18411U

St Marys NS

Bancroft Ave

Tallaght

Dublin

18411U

St Marys NS

Bancroft Ave

Tallaght

Dublin

18412W

Scoil Phadraic C

Donabate

Dublin

18632N

SN Eoin Bosco

Navan Rd

Dublin

18671A

St Michaels House

16/17 Grosvenor Rd

Rathgar

Dublin

18763F

St Michaels Special NS

Ballymun Rd

Dublin

18763F

St Michaels Special NS

Ballymun Rd

Dublin

18763F

St Michaels Special NS

Ballymun Rd

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18778S

St. Mochta’s NS

Porterstown Road

Clonsilla

Dublin

18815V

Our Lady of Lourdes

Rochestown Ave

Dun Laogharie

Dublin

18976W

St Colmcilles BNS

Chapel Lane

Swords

Dublin

18976W

St Colmcilles BNS

Chapel Lane

Swords

Dublin

18977B

St Colmcilles GNS

Chapel Lane

Swords

Dublin

18977B

St Colmcilles GNS

Chapel Lane

Swords

Dublin

18977B

St Colmcilles GNS

Chapel Lane

Swords

Dublin

19066L

Loreto Primary

Dalkey

Dublin

19220S

Scoil Ide

New Rd

Clondalkin

Dublin

19220S

Scoil Ide

New Rd

Clondalkin

Dublin

19221U

Scoil Aine

New Rd

Clondalkin

Dublin

19221U

Scoil Aine

New Rd

Clondalkin

Dublin

19221U

Scoil Aine

New Rd

Clondalkin

Dublin

19259W

St. Patricks GNS

Foxrock

Dublin

19374W

Our Lady’s Grove NS

Goatstown Rd

Goatstown

Dublin

19374W

Our Lady’s Grove NS

Goatstown Rd

Goatstown

Dublin

19374W

Our Lady’s Grove NS

Goatstown Rd

Goatstown

Dublin

19374W

Our Lady’s Grove NS

Goatstown Rd

Goatstown

Dublin

19390U

St. Marks SNS

Tallaght

Dublin

19435Q

St Francis Xavier JNS

Roselawn Rd

Castleknock

Dublin

19435Q

St Francis Xavier JNS

Roselawn Rd

Castleknock

Dublin

19435Q

St Francis Xavier JNS

Roselawn Rd

Castleknock

Dublin

19435Q

St Francis Xavier JNS

Roselawn Rd

Castleknock

Dublin

19470S

St Francis Xavier JNS

Coolmine

Castleknock

Dublin

19472W

St Marks JNS

Springfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19472W

St Marks JNS

Springfield

Tallagh

Dublin

19472W

St Marks JNS

Springfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19472W

St Marks JNS

Springfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19472W

St Marks JNS

Springfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19510E

Talbot SNS

Bawnogue

Clondalkin

Dublin

19510E

Talbot SNS

Bawnogue

Clondalkin

Dublin

19510E

Talbot SNS

Bawnogue

Clondalkin

Dublin

19515O

St. Teresa’s NS

Balbriggan Rd

Balbriggan

Dublin

19515O

St. Teresa’s NS

Balbriggan Rd

Balbriggan

Dublin

19515O

St. Teresa’s NS

Balbriggan Rd

Balbriggan

Dublin

19515O

St. Teresa’s NS

Balbriggan Rd

Balbriggan

Dublin

19535U

St Cronan’s SNS

Brackenstown

Swords

Dublin

19535U

St Cronan’s SNS

Brackenstown

Swords

Dublin

19535U

St Cronan’s SNS

Brackenstown

Swords

Dublin

19535U

St Cronan’s SNS

Brackenstown

Swords

Dublin

19535U

St Cronan’s SNS

Brackenstown

Swords

Dublin

19545A

St Patricks JNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19574H

Divine Word NS

Marley Grange

Rathfarnham

Dublin

19574H

Divine Word NS

Marley Grange

Rathfarnham

Dublin

19601H

St Philip the Apostle JNS

Mountview

Clonsilla

Dublin

19605P

Scoil Mhuire JNS

Blakestown

Dublin

19624T

St Catherine’s NS

Kenure

Rush

Dublin

19624T

St Catherine’s NS

Kenure

Rush

Dublin

19624T

St Catherine’s NS

Kenure

Rush

Dublin

19625V

Scoil Realt na Mara

Balbriggan Rd

Skerries

Dublin

19625V

Scoil Realt na Mara

Balbriggan Rd

Skerries

Dublin

19625V

Scoil Realt na Mara

Balbriggan Rd

Skerries

Dublin

19628E

St Fiachras SNS

Montrose Park

Beaumount

Dublin

19628E

St Fiachras SNS

Montrose Park

Beaumount

Dublin

19628E

St Fiachras SNS

Montrose Park

Beaumount

Dublin

19636D

St Patricks SNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19636D

St Patricks SNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19636D

St Patricks SNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19636D

St Patricks SNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19636D

St Patricks SNS

Corduff

Blanchardstown

Dublin

19652B

Sacred Heart NS

Tallaght

Dublin

19660A

Rush NS

Rush

Dublin

19660A

Rush NS

Rush

Dublin

19660A

Rush NS

Rush

Dublin

19660A

Rush NS

Rush

Dublin

19662E

St Michael’s Primary School

Dominican Campus

Ballyfermot

Dublin

19676P

Scoil Aine Naofa

Esker

Lucan

Dublin

19676P

Scoil Aine Naofa

Esker

Lucan

Dublin

19757P

St Michaels Special NS

Skerries

Dublin

19782O

St Brigids JNS

Brookfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19782O

St Brigids JNS

Brookfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19782O

St Brigids JNS

Brookfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19782O

St Brigids JNS

Brookfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19782O

St Brigids JNS

Brookfield

Tallaght

Dublin

19785U

St Bernadettes SNS

Quarryvale

Clondalkin

Dublin

19785U

St Bernadettes SNS

Quarryvale

Clondalkin

Dublin

19785U

St Bernadettes SNS

Quarryvale

Clondalkin

Dublin

19785U

St Bernadettes SNS

Quarryvale

Clondalkin

Dublin

19817H

Scoil Mhuire

Woodview

Lucan

Dublin

19817H

Scoil Mhuire

Woodview

Lucan

Dublin

19817H

Scoil Mhuire

Woodview

Lucan

Dublin

19817H

Scoil Mhuire

Woodview

Lucan

Dublin

19834H

St Aidans NS

Brookfield

Dublin

19834H

St Aidans NS

Brookfield

Dublin

19834H

St Aidans NS

Brookfield

Dublin

19834H

St Aidans NS

Brookfield

Dublin

19877C

Holy Family SNS

River Valley

Swords

Dublin

19877C

Holy Family SNS

River Valley

Swords

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19878E

Holy Rosary PS

Old Court Avenue

Firhouse

Dublin

19907I

Gaelscoil Mologa

Charleville Road

Dublin

19949B

Muslim NS

19 Roebuck Rd

Clonskeagh

Dublin

20012S

Griffith Barracks Multi D School

The Old Guard House

South Circular Rd

Dublin

20012S

Griffith Barracks Multi D School

The Old Guard House

South Circular Rd

Dublin

20028K

Setanta Special School

Stillorgan

Dublin

20028K

Setanta Special School

Stillorgan

Dublin

20028K

Setanta Special School

Stillorgan

Dublin

20028K

Setanta Special School

Stillorgan

Dublin

20035H

St. Gabriels NS

Cowper St

Dublin

20043G

Gaelscoil Chnoc Liamhna

Sean Bhothar Chnoc Liamhna

Cnoc Liamhna

Dublin

20047O

Gaelscoil Bharra

Ascal an Fhasaigh

Cabra

Dublin

20047O

Gaelscoil Bharra

Ascal an Fhasaigh

Cabra

Dublin

20139T

Inchicore NS

Sarsfield Road

Inchicore

Dublin

20139T

Inchicore NS

Sarsfield Road

Inchicore

Dublin

20139T

Inchicore NS

Sarsfield Road

Inchicore

Dublin

20152T

North Dublin Muslim School

Cabra

Dublin

20152T

North Dublin Muslim School

Cabra

Dublin

20152T

North Dublin Muslim School

Cabra

Dublin

20168D

Glasnevin Educate Together NS

Church Ave

Glasnevin

Dublin

20168D

Glasnevin Educate Together NS

Church Ave

Glasnevin

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20190T

Holy Trinity NS

Glencairn Drive, The Gallops

Leopardstown

Dublin

20223I

Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada

Bothar an Ghrifin

Leamhcan

Dublin

20223I

Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada

Bothar an Ghrifin

Leamhcan

Dublin

20304I

St. Francis of Assisi

Belmayne

Dublin

20308Q

Belmayne ETNS

Belmayne

Dublin

20334R

Gaelscoil Ros Eo

Rush

Dublin

20334R

Gaelscoil Ros Eo

Rush

Dublin

20334R

Gaelscoil Ros Eo

Rush

Dublin

20348F

Hollywell ETNS

Swords

Dublin

20348F

Hollywell ETNS

Swords

Dublin

20348F

Hollywell ETNS

Swords

Dublin

20348F

Hollywell ETNS

Swords

Dublin

20348F

Hollywell ETNS

Swords

Dublin

60092U

Clonkeen College

Clonkeen Rd

Blackrock

Dublin

60092U

Clonkeen College

Clonkeen Rd

Blackrock

Dublin

60092U

Clonkeen College

Clonkeen Rd

Blackrock

Dublin

60343T

St Josephs Sec School

Convent Lane

Rush

Dublin

60343T

St Josephs Sec School

Convent Lane

Rush

Dublin

60343T

St Josephs Sec School

Convent Lane

Rush

Dublin

60370W

St Fintan’s High School

Sutton

Dublin

70010V

Balbriggan Community College

Chapel Street

Balbriggan

Dublin

70010V

Balbriggan Community College

Chapel Street

Balbriggan

Dublin

70230M

Killester College

Collins Avenue

Dublin

76062B

Castleknock Community College

Castleknock

Dublin

76062B

Castleknock Community College

Castleknock

Dublin

76085N

Gaelcholaiste Reachrann

Grange Abbey Rd

Donaghmede

Dublin

76085N

Gaelcholaiste Reachrann

Grange Abbey Rd

Donaghmede

Dublin

76085N

Gaelcholaiste Reachrann

Grange Abbey Rd

Donaghmede

Dublin

76085N

Gaelcholaiste Reachrann

Grange Abbey Rd

Donaghmede

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

76130P

Luttrellstown Community College

Luttrellstown

Dublin

81002K

Mount Temple Comprehensive School

Malahide Road

Dublin

81002K

Mount Temple Comprehensive School

Malahide Road

Dublin

81002K

Mount Temple Comprehensive School

Malahide Road

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

01795A

Central Model Infants School

Marlborough St

Dublin

03359N

Ballyroan Boys NS

Ballyroan Road

Rathfarnham

Dublin

19877C

Holy Family SNS

River Valley

Swords

Dublin

Teachers’ Remuneration

Simon Harris

Ceist:

193 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total travel expenses paid to teachers shared between schools, in tabular form, for each of the years 2008 to 2012; the number of teachers who availed of such expenses; the average payment made per teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7563/12]

Simon Harris

Ceist:

194 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the projected travel expenses which will be paid to teachers shared between schools following the revisions to the general allocation model; the methodology employed to arrive at this projection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7564/12]

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

The information sought by the Deputy from 2008 to 2012 is set out in the table. Shared-full-time teaching posts and travel between schools is a long standing feature of the primary system. The cost of this travel in 2011 was just over €1.3m. My Department does not anticipate any significant increase in these costs in 2012. The teaching allocation for many schools under the General Allocation Model (GAM) has not been updated since it was first introduced in 2005. This has led to inequity and inefficiencies. The GAM clustering arrangements that date back to 2005 may no longer be the most appropriate and efficient arrangements for 2012. The updating of the GAM allocation for all schools is now being done and this will take effect from September 2012. Under the new and simplified arrangements the GAM hours are being allocated in 5-hour blocks (equivalent to 1 school day) to facilitate clustering of hours into full-time posts and which will also, where feasible, facilitate a teacher going to a neighbouring school from the start of a school day. The Department will be giving autonomy to schools to decide who to cluster their GAM hours with. This should facilitate schools clustering with their nearest neighbouring schools and thereby ensure that travel and travel costs are minimised. The Department will be working closely with schools and the relevant education partners to ensure that the arrangements operate as efficiently as possible.

Summary of Travel Expenses paid to Primary Teachers from 2008 to 2012 to date

Year

Total Expenditure paid in the year

Number of teachers

Average payment per teacher

2008

1,786,514.64

1,130

1,581

2009

1,653,176.40

1,144

1,445

2010

1,319,244.43

1,134

1,163

2011

1,335,924.70

1,035

1,291

2012 to date

169,344.03

276

614

School Staffing

Clare Daly

Ceist:

195 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way staff in Longford Vocational Education Committee who are availing of the early retirement scheme are being re-employed into the same positions on a part time basis; the number of these cases that exist; the positions to which they relate; and in view of the cuts at VEC level, the budgets from which these payments are being funded. [7567/12]

I announced measures in November 2011 permitting post-primary schools to re-employ teachers who retire between 1 December 2011 and 29 February 2012 and who, immediately before their retirement, have been teaching students preparing to sit the Junior or Leaving Certificate examinations in 2012. Such teachers may be re-employed until the summer holidays for the teaching duties for which they were timetabled immediately before their retirement.

In the case of the VEC referred to by the Deputy, my Department has been advised that one teacher who availed of the early retirement scheme has been re-employed on a part-time basis for 18 hours per week from 9 January, 2012 on a fixed term contract to the end of the 2011/2012 school year. Payments to any staff re-employed must be funded by the VEC from its annual instruction pay grant.

Personal Vacation Days

Clare Daly

Ceist:

196 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider reversing the decision made by the previous Government to cut extra personal vacation days to teachers who engage in voluntary overseas work. [7604/12]

A teacher's entitlement to extra personal vacation (EPV) days is on the basis of attending approved summer courses. My Department has in place, a quality assurance system that approves all summer courses and evaluates a sample of summer courses. This is necessary to ensure that the summer courses on offer to teachers and which are eligible for EPV days, foster and facilitate quality learning.

As the Deputy can appreciate it would not be possible for my Department to quality assure summer courses which are located overseas and therefore I have no plans to reintroduce EPV days for these courses.

Information and Communications Technology

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

197 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a breakdown of the second level schools due to be connected to high speed 100Mbps broadband under the national roll-out of high speed broadband in 2012, 2013 and 2014. [7614/12]

A working group comprising representatives from my Department, HEAnet and the Department of Communications and Natural Resources have recommended a strategy for the roll out of 100mbps to post primary schools. All schools will be connected by the end of 2014. The strategy which has been accepted by Government is based upon the best technical advice available and designed to achieve best value for money. Any issues arising in the course of the roll out will be referred to the Steering Group in the first instance for guidance.

The national roll-out will be completed over three stages with 200 schools being connected by September 2012, a further 200 being connected next year and the remaining 250 schools being connected in 2014. The first 200 schools to be installed are located in areas which are served by poorer performing technologies viz. Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath.

The next 200 schools will be selected once work is complete on the re-tendering of schools under the current schools broadband programme and once the first 200 schools have been connected to the 100Mbps scheme.

Higher Education Grants

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

198 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the date on which the centralised office for higher education grants will be in place; the location of same; when it will come into operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7642/12]

Plans are well underway to replace the 66 existing student grant awarding bodies with one single grant awarding authority. I have appointed the City of Dublin VEC to operate the centralised authority commencing operation for all new grant applicants for the 2012/13 academic year and implementation arrangements are well advanced for this purpose. The office will be located in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, adjacent to the headquarters of City of Dublin VEC.

It is intended that the new grant awarding authority will accept all new student grant applications from the 2012/13 academic year onwards. The existing 66 grant awarding bodies will continue to deal with the renewal of applications for their existing grant-holders for the duration of their current courses. This will wind down the involvement of the existing grant awarding bodies in the student grants function over a three to four year period.

I am sure the Deputy will agree that this is a positive example of genuine public sector reform. The establishment of the single student grant awarding authority will provide for fundamental reform of the student grants system and represents a concrete development in meeting the objectives set out in the action plan for the education sector on the Croke Park Agreement. I believe it will ensure a better level of customer service for all those who use the student grant system.

School Staffing

Pat Breen

Ceist:

199 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the concerns regarding the future of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7649/12]

The new simplified approach to the General Allocation Model of support for schools will make it easier to automatically update it annually in line with the changes in the number of classroom teachers in each school. Schools will also have autonomy on how to deploy the resource between language support and learning support depending on their specific needs. The arrangements for the staffing allocation under the General Allocation Model (GAM) are specifically designed to facilitate GAM hours being clustered into full-time posts — either entirely within their own school or with a nearby neighbouring school. The new GAM allocations are being done in 5-hour blocks which is the equivalent of the tuition time for a full school day. Teachers that are in shared posts between schools can therefore operate local arrangements that enable their travel to a neighbouring school to be done, where possible, from the start of the school day thus avoiding loss of tuition time.

Any re-clustering of learning support (GAM) and language support hours into full-time posts will be operated at school level with schools having greater autonomy rather than the previous Department led approach.

However, because of the later timeline for the allocation of resource hours by the NCSE, schools will not be permitted to combine GAM and NCSE approved resource hours together into full-time posts.

My Department will be notifying schools in the coming weeks of the new staffing arrangements for 2012/13 school year.

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 188.

School Staffing

Pat Breen

Ceist:

201 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7656/12]

Pat Breen

Ceist:

202 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to concerns regarding the future of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7659/12]

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

204 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will detail the effect that the changes to staffing schedules for schools with less than four teachers as outlined in budget 2012 will have on two teacher schools; if he will detail what will happen when such a school is in line to lose a teacher, in view of the fact that departmental guidelines state that you cannot have a one teacher school; if he foresees the closure of such schools or does he envisage a situation whereby there will be one teacher schools or some other arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7682/12]

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

223 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the retention of a teacher at a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7889/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 201, 202, 204 and 223 together.

My Department will be notifying schools in the coming weeks of the new staffing arrangements for the 2012/13 school year. It will include detail of the staffing appeals process and appeal criterion for those small schools that are projecting increased enrolments that would be sufficient to allow them to retain their existing classroom posts over the longer term.

As part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between September 2012 and September 2014. Even when all of these phased increases are implemented, the threshold for small schools will still be significantly lower than the minimum of 28 pupils that was required for the appointment of a second teacher in schools prior to the mid-1990s.

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible. If amalgamations take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department.

Disadvantaged Status

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

203 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills the rationale behind the decision to strip a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24 of its DEIS band 2 status and that in view of the social and economic demographics of the school’s catchment area, and the large percentage of children attending the school from low income families, if consideration will be given to reversing the decision to revoke the school’s DEIS status. [7662/12]

DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) provides for a standardised system for identifying levels of disadvantage and an integrated School Support Programme (SSP). The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS, was managed by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of my Department and supported by quality assurance work co-ordinated through the Department's regional offices and the Inspectorate.

The school to which the Deputy refers was among a number of schools that was judged by an independent identification process in 2005 not to have a sufficient level of disadvantage among their pupils to warrant their inclusion in DEIS.

A review mechanism was put in place in 2006 to address the concerns of schools that did not qualify for inclusion in DEIS but regarded themselves as having a level of disadvantage which was of a scale sufficient to warrant their inclusion in the programme. There was no application for review received from the school referred to by the Deputy.

The current economic climate and the challenge to meet significant targets on reducing public expenditure limits opportunities and means that there is no capacity to provide for additionality to the DEIS programme.

Question No. 204 answered with Question No. 201.

Schools Building Projects

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

205 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will actively support the completion of the junior and senior schools (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [7685/12]

The project for the school to which the Deputy refers, commenced construction in February 2011. It is anticipated that the project will be complete in quarter 3 of 2012.

School Enrolment

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

206 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review a matter in respect of a person (details supplied). [7686/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

250 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school placement in respect of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 15. [8225/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 250 together.

The selection and enrolment of pupils in schools is the responsibility of the authorities of the individual school. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in an area. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice. As schools may not have a place for every applicant, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.

Under section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents choice are respected.

Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 provides for an appeal by a parent or guardian to the Secretary General of my Department, or in the case of a vocational education committee (VEC) school to the VEC in the first instance, where a board of management of a school, or a person acting on behalf of the board, refuses to enrol a student in a school, expels a student or suspends a student for 20 or more days in any school year. My Department has no authority to compel a school to admit a pupil, except in the case of an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 being upheld.

The parents/guardians of the pupil in question may wish to contact my Department at the section 29 appeals administration unit, Friar's Mill Road, Mullingar, County Westmeath, phone 044-9337008, if they wish to take an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The NEWB may be able to offer assistance and advice on securing a school placement within the pupil's area. The contact details for the NEWB in the area is National Educational Welfare Board, Block 3 Floor 1, Grove Court, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, phone number 01-8103260.

State Examinations

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

207 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a breakdown of the costs involved in having second level leaving certificate mock examinations marked externally; his views on parents having to pay for the marking of mock examinations; and should he ensure mock examinations are assessed internally as a cost saving measure. [7715/12]

Mock examinations are not part of the State examinations system. The decision to organise and/or charge for mock examinations is made at school level, and mock examinations are not a requirement of my Department. Schools are provided with capitation and school services grants to meet their running costs. Post-primary schools receive school services grant of €201 per pupil plus a capitation grant of €317 per pupil. DEIS schools also receive additional funds for targeted interventions to improve educational outcomes for students at risk. Schools are free to prioritise these resources in accordance with the overall needs of the school.

Assessment is part of the core work of every teacher. While many schools wish to provide students with the experience of assessment under examination conditions, I see no educational advantage in such arrangements being externally marked. Ideally, if there are to be mock exams, they should be marked by the class teacher. Having the class teacher involved in assessment and giving clear feedback to students on strengths and weaknesses is a vital part of assessment for learning. While schools in the free education scheme may seek voluntary contributions from parents, they may not charge fees for teaching and learning activities scheduled as part of the school day, or exclude students from such services for non payment of a fee. It is important for schools to be sensitive to the financial pressures on families.

The Department is not in a position to provide additional funding towards the cost of mock examinations.

Schools Building Projects

Robert Dowds

Ceist:

208 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a site for a new school building (details supplied). [7721/12]

My Department has carried out a number of site assessments with a view to identifying a suitable site for the school referred to by the Deputy. Due to commercial sensitivities attaching to site acquisitions generally it is not possible for me to comment further at this time.

Disadvantaged Status

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

209 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will explain the qualifying criteria for the designation of DEIS band one and two schools; the frequency that DEIS band status is reviewed; the person responsible for initiating a review of a DEIS school's status; and the appeals procedures should a school lose its DEIS status. [7726/12]

The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS in 2005 was managed by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of my Department and supported by quality assurance work co-ordinated through the Department's regional offices and the Inspectorate. ERC's overall approach was guided by the definition of educational disadvantage set out in the Education Act 1998 as "the impediments to education arising from social or economic disadvantage which prevent students from deriving appropriate benefit from education in schools". The identification process was devised by the ERC and had regard to and employed the existing and most appropriate data sources available.

In the primary sector, the identification process was based on a survey carried out by the ERC and the identification of schools for participation in DEIS followed an analysis of the survey returns from primary schools.

Furthermore, an appeal mechanism was put in place in 2006 to address the concerns of schools that did not qualify for inclusion in DEIS but regarded themselves as having a level of disadvantage which was of a scale sufficient to warrant their inclusion in the programme.

An ongoing evaluation of DEIS has been underway since the roll-out of supports commenced in 2006. My Department commissioned the Educational Research Centre to undertake this evaluation, the aim of which is to monitor the implementation of the programme and assess its impact on students and schools at primary and post primary levels. In addition, the Inspectorate of my Department conducted evaluations of planning in a sample of 36 DEIS schools, 18 primary and 18 post-primary. A national composite report on the effectiveness of DEIS planning in primary and post-primary schools has been completed and this report along with the ERC report have been published.

My Department will fully consider these evaluation reports before any decisions can be made regarding the future of DEIS. While a key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target resources at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage, the current economic climate and the challenge to meet significant targets on reducing public expenditure limits opportunities and means that there is no capacity to provide for additionality to the DEIS programme.

School Curriculum

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

210 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he considers that a study should be carried out on the students from the project maths schools now in third level education on the way they are faring with the mathematical aspects of their courses and the way they compare with students of the old syllabus. [7727/12]

Project Maths began in all second level schools in September 2010, building on the experiences of 24 Project Schools which started the programme in 2008. This is being supported by a national programme of professional development for teachers which began in 2009, and will continue to at least 2013.

A Project Maths implementation support group, as an industry/education partnership, reported in 2010 on how stakeholders from business, second level and higher education can work together to achieve the objectives of Project Maths. The recommendations of this report are being progressed.

Research has also been commissioned on the impact of Project Maths on student's attitudes and attainment. In the meantime, the results of the examinations in the 24 Project Maths schools have been published in the leaving certificate in 2010 and 2011, and the junior certificate in 2011. These show an improvement in the proportions scoring grades A,B or C, and fewer students scoring at Grade E, F, N and G.

My Department has produced the national strategy to improve literacy and numeracy among children and young people 2011-20, "Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life" which is designed to promote a significant improvement in mathematical skills across primary and second level schools. The strategy sets out a range of integrated actions in regard to helping parents to support their children's learning, professional development of teachers, expansion of the duration of initial teacher education, and improving school leadership, assessment and school management and review.

Teaching Qualifications

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

211 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he expects the Teaching Council to complete the survey with mathematics teachers in view of the fact that it was only 58% complete and did not include the exact qualifications of the mathematics teachers as the standard of qualification deemed qualified can vary greatly. [7728/12]

The survey conducted by the Teaching Council provided a good overview of the qualifications of math teachers. All post-primary schools were requested to participate in the survey and there were 422 valid responses. The results provide a clear picture of what is actually happening in schools and help the Department to plan for meeting the training needs of teachers. The survey is now closed and there are no plans for any further follow up.

The Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock announced on 12 September 2011 proposals to introduce a course for teachers of mathematics who may not have an approved qualification in the subject. The competition to identify providers of the course is underway and it is anticipated that courses will be in place this year.

Departmental Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

212 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within his Department. [7737/12]

An organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within my Department is set out as follows for the Deputy's information:

Higher Education Grants

Áine Collins

Ceist:

213 Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify whether the Garda Reserve allowance is taxable income or a travel allowance and if it is included in assessment for third level grant applications. [7793/12]

The Deputy will appreciate that the decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for the relevant grant awarding authority.

However, I am informed that payments made in respect of the Garda Reserve Allowance are taxable and are therefore included in the assessment of income for student grant purposes. The assessment of means under my Department's Student Grants Scheme is based on gross income from all sources.

Teachers’ Remuneration

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

214 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a qualification allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7809/12]

Ann Phelan

Ceist:

242 Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if those who have commenced programmes prior to the budget announcement that teachers will no longer receive an allowance for a master’s qualification should benefit from a dispensation, whereby their expectations in relation to a master’s allowance will be honoured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8148/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 and 242 together.

Under Circular 70/2011 teachers who have been engaged in a public sector teaching post on or before 4 December 2011 are eligible to retain the allowances they were entitled to be in receipt of on that date. Existing teachers will not be paid any additional allowance where they acquire any further qualification on or after 5 December 2011.

Circular 3/2012 issued on 31 January 2012 provides that, pending the outcome of a review by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, allowances are not payable to new beneficiaries; ie those who become eligible for receipt of the allowance in question on or after 1 February 2012. Examples of such allowances include any form of qualification allowance or the supervision and substitution payment paid to teachers, and the secretary to the Board of Management allowance paid to school principals. The only exceptions to this prohibition are principal and deputy principal allowances.

I am not in a position to comment on the position of existing teachers who, on 5 December 2011, were undertaking courses until the outcome of the public service-wide review of allowances is known.

Ministerial Appointments

Shane Ross

Ceist:

215 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list all appointments to State boards and agencies made by him since he came to power; the persons appointed; the boards and agencies to which they were appointed; the remuneration details of each appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7820/12]

The information requested is included for the Deputy's information. It should be noted that Board appointments, while made by me, as Minister, are not in all cases made at my sole discretion. Individuals may be nominated for appointment by various organisations as specified in the relevant statute of the body concerned.

The Deputy may also wish to note that my Department has recently corresponded with survivors groups seeking nominations for the new Board of the Education Finance Board (EFB). This Board will effectively be a caretaker board which will serve for a number of months pending the establishment of the Statutory Fund. It is envisaged that the new Fund will assume the functions of the Board and the Board will be dissolved when the fund is set up.

Last December, in accordance with Government policy, expressions of interest were sought from suitably qualified and experienced persons for consideration for appointment to the following boards of Bodies operating under (or will operate under) my Department's aegis:

Leárgas Ltd — The Exchange Bureau

The Higher Education Authority

The Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (to be newly established) Interested applicants were advised to register an Expression of Interest through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) with a closing date for receipt of applications of 10th January 2012. No appointments have been made to date.

Last week expressions of interest were sought from suitably qualified and experienced persons for consideration for appointment to the following boards:

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

The State Examinations Commission (SEC)

The Teaching Council Note: In respect of the SEC no fees will be applicable to the new Commission.

Vacancies on other Boards of Bodies under the aegis of my Department that arise during 2012 will continue to be advertised on my Department's website. The Deputy should note that in making any direct Ministerial appointments, I am not necessarily confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant skills and competencies for the positions.

Breakdown of appointments since March 2011

Agency Name

Number Appointments /re-appointments

Names

Remuneration Fees p.a. (other than standard expenses)

Notes

Foras Áiseanna Saothair

1 appointment

Mr. Michael Moriarty

€11,790

Mr. Moriarty, who is General Secretary of the IVEA, was appointed in July 2011 because of his expertise in the area of Vocational Education which will be particularly useful in the context of the future integration of the FÁS training division and the VECs and the creation of SOLAS, the new further education and training authority.

Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

11 re-appointments (See Note 1)

Mr. Donal O’Rourke, Dr. Padraig Walsh, Ms Margaret O’Connell, Mr. Rory O’Sullivan, Mr. Joseph O’Leary, Ms Deirdre Keyes, Ms Bridie Daly, Ms Margaret Mernagh, Mr. John Mulcahy, Mr. Tony Petit, Ms Shira Mehiman

Not applicable

As FETAC’s term of office expired in December 2011, and to meet with statutory obligations, eligible members of the outgoing Board were re-appointed to the Board until such time as the new QQAAI is established. All 11 re-appointedon 21st December 2011.

Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

2 appointments8 re-appointments (See Note 1)

Dr. Maria Hinfelaar (1st appointed 9/6/2011), Mr. Aengus Ó Maoláin (1st appointed 1/7/2011), Prof. Séamus Smyth, Dr. Finola Doyle-O’Neill, Dr. Marion Palmer, Dr. Íde Ní Fhaoláin, Ms Mary Mc Glynn, Dr. Diarmuid O’Callaghan

Not applicable

As HETAC’s term of office expired in December 2011, and to meet with statutory obligations, eligible members of the outgoing Board were re-appointed to the Board until such time as the new QQAAI (see note 1) is established. All 8 re-appointed on 21st December 2011.

Higher Education Authority

1 re-appointment

Mr Gary Redmond

€7,695

Mr. Redmond was re-appointed in July 2011 by virtue of his re-appointment as President of the USI

National Council for Curriculumand Assessment

2 appointments

Mr. Seán Ó Coinn, Professor Noirín Hayes

Not applicable

Mr. Ó Coinn nominated by Foras na Gaeilge and Professor Noirín Hayes nominated by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Both appointed on the 13th of December 2011.

National Council for Special Education

1 appointment

Ms Maureen Costello

Not applicable

Director of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) appointed in September 2011.

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

1 appointment5 re-appointments (See Note 1)

Mr. Gary Redmond (1st appointed 24/6/2011), Prof. Anne Scott, Ms Marie Bourke, Mr. Eamon Devoy, Ms Audry Deane, Mr. Tony Donohue

Not applicable

All re-appointed on 31st March 2011 with exception of Mr Redmond.

Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB)

11 re-appointments

Dr. Fionnuala O’Loughlin, Dr. Helen Cummiskey, Dr. Harry Bugler, Dr. Mary Bluett, Dr. Ruth Pilkington, Dr. William Delaney, Mr. John Campbell, Ms Ann O’Brien, Ms Samantha Cruess Callaghan, Ms Dariona Conlon

See Note 2

All re-appointed on 16th December 2011

Residential Institutions Review Committee (RIRC)

6 re-appointments

The Hon. Mr. Justice Francis D. Murphy, Mr. John Dalton, Ms Ita Managan, Mr. Justice John Buckley, Mr. Brendan Gogarty, Mr. Colm Gaynor

See Note 3

All re-appointed on 16th December 2011

Skillnets Ltd (See Note 1)

1

Mr. Mícheál Ó Fiannachta

Not Applicable

A Departmental official appointed in June 2011.

Note 1: The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) are to merged to form a new body to be known as the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI) in the coming months.

Note 2: The Chairperson of the RIRB is due to retire with effect from 15th February and will be paid an annual salary for a former President of the Circuit Court subject to abatement to take account of his pension. The other board members of the RIRB are paid a per diem rate and the per diem rate from 1st January 2011 is €668 per day.

Note 3: The Chairperson of the RIRC is paid an annual salary for a Supreme Court judge subject to abatement to take account of his pension. Since October 2011 the Chairperson has taken a 50% voluntary reduction in salary. The other board members of the RIRB are paid a per diem rate and pension abatement applies in the case of members receiving a pension from the State. The per diem rate from 1st January 2011 is €668 per day.

European Globalisation Fund

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

216 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm whether an application has been made to the European Globalisation Fund for workers made redundant in TalkTalk in 2011; if so, when the application was made; the number of workers named in the application; the total funding being sought from the EGF for this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7838/12]

Officials in the Department are currently finalising an application for EGF co-financing of certain measures in support of almost 600 redundant workers at the TalkTalk company in Waterford and a number of ancillary enterprises.

The application has involved considerable consultation to date with representatives of the redundant TalkTalk workers and the relevant service providers at local, regional and national levels and including a grouping chaired by the Waterford City manager. Both I and my officials have met with the relevant parties on a number of occasions since the redundancies were announced with the aim of ensuring the most sustainable and appropriate EGF application is submitted to the European Commission.

As the final details are being put to the application currently I am not in a position to state the total amount of funding being sought at this time. Subject to final inputs it is intended to submit the application by the end of February 2012. Already certain support measures have been provided by local service providers and by Skillnets networks to the redundant workers since the redundancy announcement was made. Recently the Department approved the running of a tailored certificate in career development and skills enhancement for this cohort at the Waterford Institute of Technology in order to provide early interventions and advice to the workers even in advance of the EGF application being submitted.

Departmental Programmes

Michael McCarthy

Ceist:

217 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications that have been received to date for the 17 new graduate skills conversion programmes across the country; if he is expecting over-subscription to the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7842/12]

The 17 programmes on offer in the new level 8 conversion programme will provide for 768 places countrywide. The courses will be delivered on average over two semesters of 12/13 weeks study and will include a period of about 12 weeks work experience. Applications for the programmes can be submitted online through the Bluebrick.ie website. To date 422 applications have been received. The closing dates for applications have not yet passed and participating colleges are still accepting applications. Given the very close involvement of industry in the design and development of these programmes, which are being fully funded by my Department, I would expect a high level of interest on the part of jobseekers.

The question of the provision of additional places will be considered in the light of the outcome of an interim evaluation of the initiative to be carried out by the HEA before the end of the year.

Value for Money Reviews

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

218 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will forward to this Deputy the small schools value for money report; the consultation if any he engaged in with parent representative groups with regard to his planned cuts to teaching numbers in small schools threatening their future viability; and if he will publish the value-for-money audit upon which he has based his budgetary decisions for small schools. [7847/12]

A value for money review on small primary schools is currently under way in my Department. This review is part of the normal review processes undertaken by all Departments on an annual basis on selected areas of expenditure and is being conducted in line with the standard procedure for value for money reviews. Work on the review is well advanced and I expect that the report of the review should be available to me early in 2012. I will then have to consider its outcomes and proposals. When this process is complete, publication will be arranged.

My Department will be notifying schools in the coming weeks of the new staffing arrangements for the 2012/13 school year. It will include detail of the staffing appeals process and appeal criterion for those small schools that are projecting increased enrolments that would be sufficient to allow them to retain their existing classroom posts over the longer term.

As part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between September 2012 and September 2014. Even when all of these phased increases are implemented, the threshold for small schools will still be significantly lower than the minimum of 28 pupils that was required for the appointment of a second teacher in schools prior to the mid-1990s. All schools are being treated equally irrespective of the type of patronage.

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible. If amalgamations take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department.

Teacher Training

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

219 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students attending courses here at present to qualify as primary school teachers; the number of these doing these courses online; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7858/12]

The statistics requested by the Deputy are set out in the attached table. The current average number of graduates from the State-funded colleges is approximately 1,300 per annum.

Hibernia College provides a part-time online course. The College has two intakes per year in October and March. The average number of graduates is 650 per annum.

All courses are subject to review by the Teaching Council to ensure that they meet the required standards.

Bachelor of Education Years 1-3 Current Enrolment

Postgraduate Students commenced February 2011

Postgraduate Students commenced February 2012

Postgraduate Students commenced 2011

Total

1,261

64

65

1,390

94

0

0

94

1,239

74

60

1,373

199

33

35

267

320

62

65

447

685

685

3,113

233

225

685

4,256

School Staffing

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

220 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied that there are enough teachers available to meet the demand for teachers due to the recent retirement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7859/12]

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

257 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he believes that there will be any vacancies available in schools for recently graduated teachers and unemployed teachers who are seeking teaching posts arising from the public sector retirement deal; if there are such vacancies to indicate when he believes they will become available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8456/12]

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

262 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of teachers at primary level and at second level who are expected to retire by the end of February 2012; the number that will be re-employed up to the end of the current school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8473/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 220, 257 and 262 together.

At the outset, I want to be very clear that vacancies created in the teaching profession by the forthcoming wave of public sector retirements up to February 29th 2012 will be filled. Students and pupils will not be left without teachers to teach them as a result of retirements. Furthermore, the turnover in teaching staff will provide many newly qualified teachers with opportunities to gain employment. The filling of vacancies in individual schools will be addressed by Boards of Management at school level.

I am also seeking to reduce the impact of these retirements on students preparing for the State examinations. I am allowing schools to re-employ teachers who retire between 1 December 2011 and 29 February 2012, and who had been teaching classes due to sit State exams in 2012, until the end of the school year. I do not have information of the numbers of retirees who will be re-employed under these special arrangements as it will be a matter for the school and teacher concerned to decide if they wish to avail of them.

In the case of teachers who are not teaching exam classes, replacements can be employed until the end of the school year, subject to the numbers framework.

The information available to the Pensions Unit of my Department in relation to projected retirements nationally from 1 January 2012 to 29 February 2012 are of the order of 729 Primary teachers, 507 Secondary/Community and Comprehensive School teachers and 220 Vocational teachers.

The Government has prioritised, as best as possible, the filling of front-line posts in the Education sector within the constraints of the Employment Control Framework. For example, schools are permitted to fill teaching vacancies that arise within their approved staffing allocations. I am confident that the large pool of qualified and registered teachers will be in a position to continue to provide high quality education to students.

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

221 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has proposals for a central database of all positions to be filled in primary schools that both prospective teachers and schools could register with similar to the website www.publicjobs.ie for the Public Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7860/12]

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998. The Constitution of Boards and Rules of Procedure document 2011 sets out the procedures for appointment of teachers and special needs assistants at primary level.

From 1 December 2011 all advertising of teaching and special needs assistant positions at primary level must be through one of the four listed websites, which include sites run by the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) and the management bodies. Vacancies for the post of principal may also be advertised on www.publicjobs.ie.

I issued Circular 31/2011 in May of last year which requires that, from September 2011, schools at primary and post-primary level maintain a list of appropriately qualified registered teachers who notify the school that they are available for substitute teaching at short notice.

Jobseeking teachers at primary level may also register with the IPPN www.educationposts.ie website for both permanent and temporary roles or may also register with SubSearch, which is run by the INTO. I have no plans to further rationalise recruitment procedures at primary level at this time.

European Globalisation Fund

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

222 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will supply the names of those individuals from County Donegal who were named in the application to the European Globalisation Fund for construction workers made redundant between 2009 and 2010. [7861/12]

I am precluded by the provisions of the Data Protection Acts from supplying the data sought by the Deputy.

Question No. 223 answered with Question No. 201.

School Staffing

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

224 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary school teachers in each county who retired in December 2011. [7902/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

225 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary school teachers in each county who retired in January 2012. [7903/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

226 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary school teachers in each county who have indicated their intentions to retire in February 2012. [7904/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

227 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary teachers in each county who retired in December 2011. [7905/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

228 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary teachers in each county who retired in January 2012. [7906/12]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

229 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary teachers in each county who have indicated their intention to retire in February 2012. [7907/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 to 229, inclusive, together.

The information sought by the Deputy is not compiled in the format sought. Officials in the Pension Unit of my Department are currently fully occupied addressing the pension benefit entitlements for those who are retiring at this time. The number of teachers in Primary Secondary, Community and Comprehensive schools who have applied to retire in the period 1 December 2011 to 29 February 2012 is detailed in the attached table. Information received from the Vocational Education Sector indicate that 220 teachers have applied to retire in that sector during that period.

A circular was issued by my Department, in July, 2011 requesting School Boards of Management to inform all staff in their schools (who are members of an occupation pension scheme) who intend to retire on or before 29 February 2012 that they are required to give 3 calendar months' notice of their date of retirement. The circular also stated that a notification may not be withdrawn on or after the date indicated as the last day of service. It was pointed out in that circular that failure to give the required notice could result in a delay in payment of pension benefits.

Accordingly, the actual number retiring will not be accurately known until after 29 February, 2012. When the work of processing pension benefits for those retiring has been addressed it is intended to commence work on compiling detailed statistical data on the number of teachers who retired and to publish this information on my Departments' website.

Primary Secondary Community and Comprehensive Teachers Retirements based on applications received.

Month

Primary

Secondary and C+C

Total

December 2011

142

110

252

January 2012

136

61

197

February 2012

532

437

969

Total for Period

810

608

1,418

Teachers’ Remuneration

Peter Mathews

Ceist:

230 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding teaching positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7909/12]

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

260 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if, in the context of the attached correspondence (details supplied), he will review the decision to suspend payments of allowances to new entrants pending a review; in view of the impact that this will have upon persons who are currently obtaining their professional qualifications and are due to graduate in the next four months or so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8469/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 260 together.

Under Circular 70/2011 teachers who have been engaged in a public sector teaching post on or before 4 December 2011 are eligible to retain the allowances they were entitled to be in receipt of on that date. Existing teachers will not be paid any additional allowance where they acquire any further qualification on or after 5 December 2011.

Circular 3/2012 issued on 31 January 2012 provides that, pending the outcome of a review by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, allowances are not payable to new beneficiaries; ie those who become eligible for receipt of the allowance in question on or after 1 February 2012. Examples of such allowances include any form of qualification allowance or the supervision and substitution payment paid to teachers, and the secretary to the Board of Management allowance paid to school principals. The only exceptions to this prohibition are principal and deputy principal allowances.

I am not in a position to comment on the position of existing teachers who, on 5 December 2011, were undertaking courses until the outcome of the of the public service-wide review of allowances is known.

State Examinations

Robert Dowds

Ceist:

231 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Education and Skills which company has won the tender for printing the State examination paper in 2012; and the process undergone before the contract was awarded. [7946/12]

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations including organising the preparation of examination papers and other examination materials, holding examinations and determining procedures in places where examinations are conducted including the supervision of examinations.

In view of the above I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you. The normal public procurement procedures apply to such issues.

Departmental Correspondence

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

232 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider the contents of correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7957/12]

My Department is in receipt of separate correspondence from the company referred to by the Deputy. My officials have made contact with the company and will respond to the company in due course.

Third Level Institutions

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

233 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will inform Dáil Éireann of the mean and median class contact hours for professors, associate professors and senior lecturers in the departments of economics of the following third level institutions: University College Dublin, University of Dublin, National University of Ireland Maynooth, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7958/12]

While in practice class contact hours account for approximately one-third of the total time of an academic, the very specific level of detail required by the Deputy is not available within my Department. Staff management and the allocation of class contact hours are entirely a matter for the individual universities concerned.

Departmental Funding

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

234 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills the portion of the education budget that was allocated to the operation of AONTAS in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7966/12]

In 2011, the Department provided funding of €896,000 to AONTAS. The Department's budget for 2011 exceeded €8.8 billion.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Patrick Nulty

Ceist:

235 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding progress in securing additional financial contributions from religious congregations towards redress for survivors of residential child abuse; the amount of additional funding that has been sought; if the congregations have responded positively in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7980/12]

The cost of the response to residential institutional abuse is now estimated to exceed €1.36 billion. The Government believes that this cost should be shared on a 50:50 basis, between the State and the congregations who were responsible for the management of institutions. The contribution of the 18 congregations under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement amounted to €128 million. They have since committed to contribute a further €110 million to the proposed Statutory Fund for former residents, of which €21.05m has already been received. They have also offered properties they value at a further €235.5m to different State bodies and voluntary organisations. If all of these properties were acceptable to the State and their values confirmed, the congregations' offers would fall short of the €680m contribution required to realise a 50:50 share by at least €200m.

Of the properties offered to the State, 12 have been identified as of potential immediate benefit and the transfer of these properties is being pursued. The value of these 12 properties, based on the congregations' own valuations is approximately €60m. Following consideration of the issues involved by the Government I met with representatives of the 18 congregations who were party to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement either on 22 July 2011 or on dates since then. At those meetings I expressed my disappointment that their offers fell well short of the contribution required to realise a 50:50 share. I sought their agreement to exploring a legal mechanism to transfer the title of school properties to the State and my Department is currently examining this possibility.

I will be writing to the congregations shortly to continue to pursue these issues.

Departmental Funding

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

236 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding cuts to smaller schools. [8026/12]

I fully acknowledge that the reduction in resources to second level schools will be challenging for schools. However, the change must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the greatest extent that we can in these exceptional times. The net impact on overall teacher numbers in our schools has been minimised to the greatest extent possible. In the budget announcement for education I made clear that the net impact of the measures relating to second level schools for the school year commencing next September would, after taking account of demographics amount to about 450 posts.

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. Decisions on how this is done will be taken at school level and I am confident that schools will act in the best interest of students when determining precisely how to use the teaching resources available to them.

I have also provided for the filling of 300 Assistant Principal posts in second-level schools over the level originally planned. This will ensure that schools have sufficient management positions to ensure appropriate supports are available for all students. A key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target available funding at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. All 195 second-level school in DEIS will be given targeted support by a more favourable staffing schedule of 18.25:1. This is a 0.75 point reduction compared to the existing PTR of 19:1 that applies in non fee-paying second-level schools.

My Department is currently notifying schools of the new staffing arrangements for 2012/13 school year.

Disadvantaged Status

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

237 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he expects his Department to report to him on the impact of the withdrawal of posts under DEIS; when he proposes to make decisions in relation to the recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8028/12]

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

263 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the concern in an area (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in relation to the proposed changes to DEIS which would adversely affect a number of schools; when the DEIS review is likely to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8479/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 237 and 263 together.

As announced in the house on the 11th January, I have asked my Department for a report on the impact of the withdrawal of certain posts allocated under previous disadvantaged schemes in DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 primary schools.

This report, which is currently being finalised, will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the net effect of a range of factors on teacher allocations in these schools, for example increasing and decreasing enrolments and the reforms to the existing teacher allocations process, all of which will determine the staffing requirement for these schools for 2012/13 school year.

When the report is finalised and submitted to me I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved.

Schools will be notified in the coming weeks of their staffing entitlements under the new arrangements for 2012/13.

Third Level Institutions

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

238 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the Higher Education Authority have yet submitted to him the criteria in relation to the establishment of technological universities; when this report will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8029/12]

The HEA submitted and recommended "Process and Criteria for designation as Technological University" and I have now approved these with the agreement of Government. The criteria set a performance bar appropriate to a national and international understanding of the term "university" so as to safeguard the quality and reputation of Ireland's higher education system. They will also preserve and enhance the diversity required in a modern higher education system by ensuring that any Technological University is not just of high quality but is also clearly differentiated by mission to existing universities through the nature of its research, teaching and engagement activities.

At my request, the HEA published the agreed Process and Criteria document on Monday 13th February 2012 along with other system development papers to give clarity and certainty to institutes of technology that are considering consolidation and designation proposals.

The relevant documents are available to read at www.hea.ie.

Question No. 239 answered with Question No. 190.

Ministerial Correspondence

Pat Breen

Ceist:

240 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8033/12]

I will arrange for a reply to issue direct to the Deputy in relation to the case that he has referred to.

Literacy Levels

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

241 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action being taken to address the findings of Thomas Hammerberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, who estimated on the 15 of September 2011 that 30% of Roma children in Ireland attend school and that 95% of Roma women in Ireland cannot read or write in any language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8144/12]

All children are entitled to pre-school, primary and post-primary education, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity. All children are, in fact, required to attend from age 6-16 years. A student's nationality is noted at primary and post-primary schools. Whether a student from Romania or Hungary etc. is a member of the Roma community is not noted.

If a student has identified educational needs, such as gaining proficiency in the language of instruction or difficulties with literacy or numeracy, then assistance is provided based on the student's educational needs and not on their cultural background. If a student has a poor attendance record, a significant amount of data is collected by the school about the student and provided to the NEWB but data on their ethnicity is not recorded.

The Intercultural Education Strategy was launched in 2010. Amongst its ten key components are "mainstreaming of education provision" and "knowledge of the language of instruction". English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes are provided free of charge by Vocational Education Committees (VECs) as part of adult literacy provision, based on local demand, and are open to all adults (of the 54,000 adult literacy participants in 2010, some 11,500 were ESOL participants). There have been some initiatives organised specifically for Roma women.

Into the future, the approach to provision of further education programmes will continue to be one that is inclusive, mainstreamed and available to all based on identified educational need, irrespective of nationality or ethnicity.

Question No. 242 answered with Question No. 214.
Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 190.

FÁS Training Programmes

Clare Daly

Ceist:

244 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) will be eligible to complete a FÁS plumbing apprenticeship under the scheme for redundant apprentices and when the funding will be available for them to do so. [8185/12]

The Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme 2012 (RAPS) will provide opportunities for redundant apprentices to complete the minimum duration for off-the-job training and assessment with FÁS approved employers for Phase 3, Phase 5 and Phase 7 of the standard based apprenticeship programme.

I am informed that the person in question has currently completed 62 weeks of his apprenticeship only 5 of which were in unsupported employment. He completed his Phase 2 off-the- job training with FÁS from 11th May to 25th September 2009. He then completed his Phase 4 off-the-job training in DIT from 4th January to 18th March 2011.

Subsequently, the person in question participated in the Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS) from the 9th May to 14th November 2011, which allowed him to complete Phase 3 on-the-job training of his apprenticeship. He is currently scheduled to commence his Phase 6 off-the-job training in April 2012.

If he successfully completes his Phase 6 off-the-job training he will then be eligible to complete his Phase 5 and Phase 7 on-the-job training phases by re-engaging with the Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme.

The RAPS interventions will not complete the person in question's apprenticeship, as he will still be a number of weeks short of the mandatory 208 weeks required to complete his apprenticeship.

However FÁS has recently introduced a new Competency Determination Mechanism where apprentices undertake to complete a competence assessment. If eligible apprentices successfully complete this assessment they will be deemed to have completed their apprenticeship. At the appropriate juncture the person in question may also be offered the opportunity to avail of this intervention.

Schools Building Projects

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

245 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will arrange a meeting between representatives of the board of management of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare and appropriate officials in the primary planning and building unit of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8194/12]

My officials in the Department's Planning and Building Unit have no record of receiving a request for a meeting from the school referred to by the Deputy. It is open to the school authority to make direct contact with my officials relating to any accommodation issues it may have.

Departmental Funding

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

246 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the total adult and further education budget per vocational education committee for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8199/12]

In 2011, my Department provided funding of nearly €420 million for further education programmes delivered by Vocational Education Committees (VECs). This covered the pay of staff, non-pay capitation, participant allowances and student support for learners in Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses.

Funding for the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, Youthreach, Senior Traveller Training Centres, the Back to Education Initiative, Adult Literacy and Community Education, the Adult Education Guidance Initiative and a range of other smaller programmes is totalled, broken down by VEC, and set out in the attached table, along with expenditure on student support for PLC learners.

Funding for the pay of staff and an element of non-pay funding for PLC is administered to VECs as part of mainstream allocations. The estimated costs of these for each VEC are set out in the table.

Funding is also allocated to some VECs under the co-operation hours scheme for further education services delivered in non-VEC centres, like prisons. The total estimated cost of this provision nationally is €25 million.

Adult and Further Education provision 2011

VEC

Actual Further Education provision — VTOS, Youthreach, STTC, PLC FE Capitation, BTEI, Adult Literacy, Community Education and Adult Guidance €

Estimated Post Leaving Certificate Pay €

Estimated Post Leaving Certificate Post Primary Capitation €

Actual Post Leaving Certificate Student Grants €

Total €

City of Cork

9,124,313

14,141,176

820,080

2,914,633

27,000,203

City of Dublin

36,830,655

27,310,588

1,586,712

4,318,638

70,046,594

City of Limerick

8,791,491

3,282,353

193,800

1,288,876

13,556,520

City of Waterford

6,224,368