Child and Family Agency Staff

Ceisteanna (306)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

306. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of Tusla staff who have been provided with formal training in their rights and obligations under data protection legislation since the establishment of the agency. [5228/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I have asked Tusla to supply the information requested directly to the Deputy. A copy of Tusla's response will be sent to me.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (307)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

307. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of the third party organisations contracted by Tusla to provide services that have a formal data processor contract in place with Tusla, as is required by data protection legislation. [5229/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the subject matter of the Deputy's question relates to an operational matter, I have referred the matter to the attention of Tusla for a direct reply.

Apprenticeship Data

Ceisteanna (308)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

308. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons enrolled in apprenticeships in her Department and State agencies under her remit by gender in tabular form; and if she will list each such apprenticeship. [5251/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department has no persons enrolled in apprenticeships.

Charities Regulation

Ceisteanna (309)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

309. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a reply will issue to a query from a person (details supplied) relating to the income threshold for voluntary organisations and charities; his plans to change the limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5097/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

All organisations registered by the Charities Regulatory Authority are required to provide information to the Regulator on their activities on an annual basis. The financial information required by the Regulator depends on the gross income of the charity and the type of charity.

Current arrangements provide for the submission of information by unincorporated charities with a gross annual income of more than €100,000. An increase in this limit is not proposed at this time.

Full details in relation to annual reporting requirements are available on the Regulator's website at www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie/en/cra/pages/faqs

Walks Scheme

Ceisteanna (310)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

310. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to have the Hymany Way section from Portumna to Aughrim and from Aughrim to Ballygar included as part of the walk scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5069/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department administers the Walks Scheme which facilitates the development and maintenance of many of Ireland’s walking trails. The scheme involves landholders as key participants in the provision of high quality walking trails, by contracting them to undertake maintenance work on sections of National Way Marked Ways and other priority walks that traverse their lands. The landholders receive modest payments for maintenance work undertaken, in line with agreed work plans.

The scheme currently covers 39 trails, with payments made to approximately 1,900 landholders to maintain those trails.

The Programme for a Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development include a commitment to increase the number of trails covered by the Walks Scheme and my officials are working towards this objective. I intend to initiate a comprehensive review of the scheme’s operation this year in order to determine how best to expand the scheme and maximise the impact of the resources available to me. This review will inform any decisions to be made regarding new walks to be included in the scheme.

As significant consultation will be required with both landholders and other stakeholders, it is unlikely that any increase in the number of walks covered by the scheme will be implemented until late 2018 or early 2019.

Internal Audits

Ceisteanna (311)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

311. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Audit standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5117/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development which was established in July 2017, is in the process of setting up a range of financial functions.

A new internal audit function is a priority to contribute to the improvement of the organisation’s governance, risk management and control procedures using a systematic, disciplined and risk-based approach.  When fully operational, the internal audit unit will be bound by charter and by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Internal Audit Standards, to external reviews at least once every five years by a qualified, independent reviewer or review team from outside the organisation.  An Audit Committee has already been established by the Department and has an oversight role also.

Apprenticeship Data

Ceisteanna (312)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

312. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of persons enrolled in apprenticeships in his Department and State agencies under his remit by gender in tabular form; and if he will list each such apprenticeship. [5263/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established in July 2017 following the appointment by the Taoiseach of a new Minister with responsibility for Rural and Community Development.  Its goal is to facilitate the advancement of sustainable economic and social progress in rural Ireland and to foster sustainable community development throughout Ireland.   

The Department has the following agencies under its remit: 

- Pobal

- Western Development  Commission;

- Charities Regulatory Authority; and

- Irish Water Safety.

I can confirm that the Department, and its agencies, currently have no persons enrolled  in apprenticeships.

Dog Breeding Industry

Ceisteanna (313)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

313. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the way in which is it possible for an unregistered dog breeding enterprise (details supplied) to operate without planning permission unimpeded by either his Department or the local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5286/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Under the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010, dog breeding establishments are required to register with the relevant local authority.

I have no function in relation to the registration of individual establishments, as this is a matter for local authorities. However, enquiries have been made regarding the enterprise referenced in the Deputy’s question. The relevant local authority has indicated that while the enterprise is a commercial website for the online sale of dogs, the associated premises is registered with the local authority as a dog breeding establishment.

Planning permission is a matter for the relevant planning authority or An Bord Pleanála and I have no function in this matter.

Civil Registration Service

Ceisteanna (314)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

314. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004 to enable notaries public to solemnise marriages in civil wedding ceremonies for persons who do not wish to carry out a humanist or religious ceremony on the weekends; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4999/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The legal basis for the appointment of marriage solemnisers in Ireland may be found in Part 6 of the Civil Registration Act 2004, as amended.

Section 54 of that Act provides for the categories of bodies and organisations which may apply for registration of persons on the Register of Solemnisers maintained by an t-Árd Chláraitheoir (Registrar General).

These are:

- The Health Service Executive for the registration of a registrar employed by the Executive,

- A religious body (as defined) for the registration of a member of that body, and

- A secular body (as defined) for the registration of a member of that body.

There are currently no plans to amend the legislative provisions in relation to the appointment of marriage solemnisers.

Working Family Payment Data

Ceisteanna (315)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

315. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of Army personnel who received family income supplement in 2017 and to date in 2018. [4991/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) formerly Family Income Supplement (WFP) is an in-work support, which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers with child dependants and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment. There are over 57,000 families with more than 129,000 children in receipt of WFP.

To qualify for WFP, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment, which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. A couple may combine their hours of employment to meet the qualification criteria. The applicant must also have at least one qualified child who normally resides with them or is supported by them. Furthermore, the average family income must be below a specified amount, which varies according to the number of qualified children in the family.

The figures for Defence Forces families in receipt of WFP are as follows:

Year

Number of Recipients

2017

180

2018

175*

*As at the end of January 2018

For the purposes of consistency it is important to note that the figures for 2017 above are based on the amount of families in receipt of WFP at week 52 of that year, as such the figures may go up or down depending on the week in the year.

Working Family Payment Data

Ceisteanna (316)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

316. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of Garda personnel who received family income supplement in each of the years 2013 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [4993/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Please see below the number of Garda personnel that received Working Family payment (WFP), formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS) in each of the years 2013 to 2017 and to date in 2018.

WFP Garda Recipients

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017*

2018

20

24

23

27

24

25

*denotes up to 31 January 2018

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Housing Assistance Payment Administration

Ceisteanna (317)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

317. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if rent supplement will continue to be paid to those persons whose landlords refuse to enter the housing assistance payment scheme. [5002/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Rent supplement plays a vital role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting approximately 34,400 recipients for which the Government has provided €180 million for in 2018.

The Deputy will be aware that the strategic policy direction of the Department is to return rent supplement to its original purpose of being a short-term income support with the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, available nationwide from 1 March 2017. There are currently over 32,000 active HAP tenancy arrangements of which almost 9,000 are direct transfers from rent supplement.

All new applicants with housing needs assessments must present to the local authorities for HAP rather than rent supplement. People in receipt of rent supplement for over 18 months are being requested to contact their local authority to have their housing needs assessed, thus beginning the transfer process to HAP. The target is to complete all transfers from long term rent supplement to HAP in 2020. Failure of a landlord to participate in HAP does not affect an existing recipient’s continued entitlement to rent supplement.

I can assure the Deputy that officials in my Department make every effort to ensure that persons in receipt of rent supplement are supported in the transfer to HAP. Communication with landlords in respect of the HAP scheme is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.