Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (295)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

295. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7788/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance, CA, is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing fulltime care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

A person can be considered to be providing fulltime care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

Although the person concerned may not qualify for a Springboard course at present due to her caring requirements, it is still appropriate for my department to bring notice of these courses to the attention of lone parents in case their circumstances are due to change soon.

However all recipients of social welfare payments must abide by the conditions that attach to each scheme and recipients of carer's allowance cannot engage in employment, self-employment or training and education courses outside their home in excess of 15 hours per week.

Any increase in the hours allowed for engaging in these activities would dilute the definition of full-time care and attention which is integral to the scheme and my Department has no plans to do that at present.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (296)

John Brassil

Ceist:

296. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the delay in processing a disability allowance appeal by a person (details supplied) will be investigated. [7789/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

A review was carried out on this lady’s disability allowance, DA. It was found that she had been absent from the state for an extended period and an overpayment was raised against her.

The person in question has lodged an appeal with the independent social welfare appeals office, SWAO. All the relevant papers requested by that office were submitted by my Department on 12 February 2018. The SWAO will be in touch with the person in due course in relation to the progress of the appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (297)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

297. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if in the determination of an application for a State pension by a person (details supplied) their entire working life was accounted for; if the application can be reviewed in view of these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7816/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

To qualify for a contributory state pension a person must have at least 520 full rate paid contributions. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance record of 412 reckonable contributions which is insufficient to qualify for the contributory pension. They have no recorded contributions for the tax years from 1975 to end December 2016 inclusive. The person was notified in writing of this decision on 12 June 2017. Attached to that letter was a copy of their contribution record, as held by my Department, upon which their entitlement was calculated.

If the person concerned considers they have additional contributions that have not been recorded, it is open to them to forward documentary evidence of the missing periods of employment to my Department and their pension entitlement will be reviewed.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government recently announced proposals that pensioners who qualified for contributory state pension since September 2012, and whose rate of entitlement was impacted by the 2012 rate band changes, may apply for a review to have their entitlement considered under a new total contribution approach, TCA. However, as the person concerned does not satisfy the minimum qualifying condition for contributory state pension, they will not be affected by this proposal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Exceptional Needs Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (298)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

298. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration will be given to an application for an exceptional needs payment in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7817/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned was issued with a supplementary welfare allowance, SWA, exceptional needs payment application form on 6 February 2018. As of yet, the completed application form, together with any supporting documentation that may be required, has not yet been received by the designated person.

Once a completed application form has been received it will processed as quickly as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Widow's Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (299)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

299. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration will be given to an application for a widower's pension in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7818/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

According to the records of my Department, an application for widow, widower or survivor’s contributory pension has not been received from the person concerned to date. The person’s entitlement can only be assessed on receipt of a completed application form.

Application forms for both widow, widower or survivor’s contributory pension and one-parent family payment, to which the person may have an entitlement, have been issued to the person concerned.

On receipt of a complete application form a deciding officer will assess the person’s entitlement and notify them in writing of the decision without delay.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Water Quality

Ceisteanna (300)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

300. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the work being carried out to monitor and maintain water quality in the Lee catchment area in County Cork especially with regard to the prevention of human and animal waste entering the river catchment and the treatment of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7770/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, oversees national programmes of monitoring and reporting on the quality of rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters and groundwater, including in relation to the Lee, Cork Harbour and Youghal Bay catchment.  The EPA’s most recent published report in this regard is water quality in Ireland 2010 to 2015, which is available at the following link: www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/waterqua/waterqualityinireland2010-2015.html. 

A range of measures to maintain and enhance water quality is set out in Ireland’s draft river basin management plan, RBMP, 2018 to 2021 which was published in February 2017 pursuant to the EU Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) for a mandatory six-month public consultation exercise.  The draft RBMP, which is available at  http://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/river-basin-management-plans/public-consultation-draft-river-basin-management, sets out national programmes of measures to meet the environmental objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive, including preventing the deterioration of water bodies and protecting, enhancing and restoring them to at least good status.  The draft RBMP is currently being finalised, and I intend to publish the final plan in April 2018.

In respect of urban waste water pressures on water bodies, the principal measure involves compliance with the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC) and compliance with the EPA’s discharge license emission limit values.  Investment for the period to 2021 has been prioritised by Irish Water based on ensuring appropriate levels of treatment for compliance with emission limit values, meeting the requirements for protected areas, and the elimination of raw sewage discharges where they occur. 

With regard to domestic waste water treatment system pressures on water bodies, an important measure is the domestic waste water treatment provisions included in the Water Service (Amendment) Act 2012, which govern the operation and maintenance of such systems, as well as the associated risk-based inspection regime.

As for risks to water bodies from animal waste, the primary agricultural measure to support water quality is the Nitrates Regulations, the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017, and the associated Nitrates Action Programme, prepared pursuant to the EU Nitrates Directive, Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.  Ireland’s fourth Nitrates Action Programme 2018 to 2021 focuses, inter alia, on intercepting and breaking nutrient transport pathways and preventing sediment and nutrient losses to waters.

Gender Recognition

Ceisteanna (301)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

301. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department has prepared written guidelines for staff and the public on dealing with transgender matters; if they are published; if staff have received training in respect of this; if his Department is participating in or making a submission regarding the review being undertaken in respect of the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7572/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

While my Department has not provided specific training or guidelines for staff in relation to transgender matters, all staff are aware of and adhere to the 2015 Dignity at Work policy and we ensure that dignity is afforded to all transgender customers and staff of the Department.  My Department has not made a submission to the review group but we await the outcome of their review and will engage in relation to any recommendations which may arise from it.

Local Authority Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (302)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

302. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the delegated sanctions to Limerick City and County Council to hire extra outdoor staff in order to repair roads in County Limerick in each of the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018. [7593/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I have delegated authority to the chief executive of Limerick City and County Council to fill any vacancy that arises in the context of their outdoor and indoor workforce plans.

Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, it is the chief executive of Limerick City and County Council who is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the Council. In this regard, the assignment of local authority staff to a particular function, such as roads repairs, is a matter for the chief executive.