Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (81)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

81. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to upgrade the barrage on the river Fergus in Clarecastle, County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9081/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am advised by the Office of Public Works that that office has no responsibility for the maintenance of the barrage on the River Fergus at Clarecastle, County Clare. Responsibility for the barrage rests with Clare County Council as part of the Fergus Drainage District.

The Council has advised that it has carried out maintenance works in recent years on the sluice doors on the barrage.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (82)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

82. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated capital expenditure by Department for each of the years 2023 to 2027 (details supplied), in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9093/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Annex 1 of the National Development Plan sets out capital ceilings for each Ministerial Vote Group for the five year period 2018 - 2022. As stated in section 3.6 of the Plan, these five-year ceilings will be maintained on a rolling basis for the period of the Plan, updated annually in the annual Estimates process to include a new fifth year. Capital ceilings by Ministerial Vote Group for the subsequent five year period 2023 - 2027 are not determined under the Plan on the same basis as the information contained in Annex 1. The allocation of funding included within capital ceilings for each Ministerial Vote Group to state agencies for the delivery of particular investment projects or programmes is a matter for the relevant Department and is not determined centrally by my Department.

Table 3.2 of the Plan sets out indicative funding allocations for the full period of the Plan on a thematic basis relating to each of the 10 National Strategic Outcomes for the National Planning Framework. As stated in section 3.6 of the Plan this funding reform was introduced to encourage Departments to develop investment proposals directly targeted at the achievement of NPF priorities and which contribute to the clear articulation of a strategic 10-year vision for Ireland’s public capital infrastructure. The identification of this destination can then guide and inform the design and implementation of their investment spending from 2018 onwards. The Deputy will note that table 3.2 also contains information on some of the main Strategic Investment Priorities, in respect of which indicative funding allocations have been provided under the Plan as well as the main Departments involved in delivering strategic priorities under each of the NSOs.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (83)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

83. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated capital expenditure by each State supported body in each of the years 2018 to 2027 under the national development plan 2018 to 2027, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9094/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Annex 1 of the National Development Plan sets out capital ceilings for each Ministerial Vote Group for the five year period 2018 - 2022.  As stated in section 3.6 of the Plan, these five-year ceilings will be maintained on a rolling basis for the period of the Plan, updated annually in the annual Estimates process to include a new fifth year.  Capital ceilings by Ministerial Vote Group for the subsequent five year period 2023 - 2027 are not determined under the Plan on the same basis as the information contained in Annex 1.  The allocation of funding included within capital ceilings for each Ministerial Vote Group to state agencies for the delivery of particular investment projects or programmes is a matter for the relevant Department and is not determined centrally by my Department.

Table 3.2 of the Plan sets out indicative funding allocations for the full period of the Plan on a thematic basis relating to each of the 10 National Strategic Outcomes for the National Planning Framework.  As stated in section 3.6 of the Plan this funding reform was introduced to encourage Departments to develop investment proposals directly targeted at the achievement of NPF priorities and which contribute to the clear articulation of a strategic 10-year vision for Ireland’s public capital infrastructure.  The identification of this destination can then guide and inform the design and implementation of their investment spending from 2018 onwards.  The Deputy will note that table 3.2 also contains information on some of the main Strategic Investment Priorities, in respect of which indicative funding allocations have been provided under the Plan as well as the main Departments involved in delivering strategic priorities under each of the NSOs.   

Minor Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (84)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

84. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works has received an application for works under the minor works scheme to prevent or mitigate against erosion in Ardfry, Renville and Oranmore from Galway County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9122/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Coastal erosion and coastal flooding issues are a matter for Local Authorities to investigate and address in the first instance and it is open to Galway County Council to carry out coastal protection and flood mitigation works using its own resources.

I have been advised by the Office of Public Works that no applications for projects at Ardfry, Renville or Oranmore have been received to date under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.

Funding of €1,144,800 was allocated to Galway County Council in 2014 for coastal protection repair works for infrastructure damaged during the storms of December, 2013 and January, 2014. Additional funding of €498,000 in this regard was allocated to the Council in 2015.

The initial allocation included funding of €12,000 for a project at Renville Seafront Walk, Oranmore and this funding was fully drawn-down.

Of the total funding of €1,642,800 provided to the Council in 2014 and 2015 for storm damage repairs, €1,504,556 has been expended to date. The Council has advised that it plans to complete outstanding works on a coastal project at Ardnagreevagh, Renville in 2018 at an estimated cost of €138,243, when the total allocation of funding will be expended.

Minor Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (85)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

85. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works has received an application for works from Galway County Council under the minor works scheme to prevent or mitigate against erosion at Leenane; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9123/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have been advised by the Office of Public Works that an application was submitted by Galway County Council on 29 January 2018 under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for works at Leenane Village.

This application is currently being assessed and the Council will be advised of the outcome as soon as possible.

Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (86)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

86. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 181 of 30 January 2018, the date on which the Office of Public Works plans to serve notice to vacate the premises of Stepaside Garda station; if the assessment of Stepaside Garda station has not commenced, the date it will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9145/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My officials have advised me that the position outlined in Parliamentary Question 181 of 30 January 2018 remains unchanged.

In accordance with the contractual agreement in place with the guardian of the property, a 25 day notice to vacate is required.

The date on which the premises must be vacated will be determined when the works on the former station are assessed and a commencement date decided.

A brief of requirements has been requested from An Garda Síochána. Once received, the OPW will be in a position to determine the commencement date of refurbishment works.

Office of Public Works

Ceisteanna (87)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

87. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if work by the Office of Public Works requested by persons (details supplied) living near the Phoenix Park will be ensured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9163/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Commissioners of Public Works have raised the issue of ivy overhanging the Phoenix Park boundary wall at numbers one and two St Joseph's Cottages, Blackhorse Avenue with the Phoenix Park Special School.

I can confirm that these works are a matter for the Health Service Executive and they have been notified of the issue.

Office of Government Procurement

Ceisteanna (88, 89, 90)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

88. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he will take to ensure that companies that are awarded public works contracts do not employ persons on bogus self-employment contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9215/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

89. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will request the Office of Government Procurement to update its awarding criteria for public works contracts to require tendering companies to guarantee that persons will not be employed on bogus self-employment, zero hours or if-and-when contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9216/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

90. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the vetting process undertaken by the Office of Government Procurement as part of the public contract tendering processes to ensure that persons are not employed on bogus self-employment, zero hours or if-and-when contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9217/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 to 90, inclusive, together.

Public procurement is the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. National rules governing public procurement must comply with the relevant EU, WTO and national legal requirements and obligations. The aim of European and national rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.

In this regard, public procurement rules include provisions that allow Member States to require a contractor to comply with EU and National legislation on the protection of labour rights. As a consequence public procurement procedures require applicants to meet certain standards when applying for public contracts and applicants are required to make declarations in relation to their financial standing, their legal standing and in relation to payment of taxes and social contributions.

Contracting authorities may also require applicants for public contracts to declare that they have not breached their obligations in the fields of environmental, social and labour law established by Union law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and labour law provisions listed in Annex X of 2014/24/EU.

These requirements are set out in the template documents used in tendering for goods and services which have been developed by the Office of Government Procurement in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

The management of a tendering process for a public contract is a matter for each contracting authority. It is the responsibility of each contracting authority to assess that tenderers comply with all the requirements of the process.

Public bodies are required to reject a tender where it can be established that it is abnormally low because it does not meet with the obligations imposed by environmental, social and labour law.

Once awarded, the conditions of the public works contracts require the contractor to certify compliance with employment law, to maintain records of all those employed on the site, regardless of whether they are employees of the contractor or their subcontractors, and the hours worked by them. Where requested, the contractor must also provide details of the payments made to those employed on the site. Where the contractor fails to comply with their obligations under the contract or employment law, deductions may be made from payments due under the contract until the situation is rectified.

It is important to note that employment law and its enforcement, in both public and private contracts, is a matter for the relevant State authorities, including the Workplace Relations Commission and the Departments of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Schools Establishment

Ceisteanna (91)

John Brassil

Ceist:

91. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to progress the opening of a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9044/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, I have announced new plans aimed at accelerating the provision of multi-denominational and non-denominational schools across the country, in line with the choices of parents, families and school communities and the Programme for Government commitment to reach 400 such schools by 2030. 

I would point out that the previous model of divestment yielded only a very limited number of schools for transfer to multi-denominational patrons (10 since 2013).  I believe that the new schools reconfiguration for diversity process has the potential to significantly increase patron diversity in our school system.  

While these new structures are being introduced, my Department will continue to work with the main stakeholders to progress delivery of diversity in areas already identified (of which Killarney is one), in 2018 and beyond. 

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (92)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

92. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the period of time which a person can receive a SUSI grant as a postgraduate (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9100/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the Student Grant Scheme grant aid for postgraduate study is limited to a maximum of four years in total. Account is taken of all previous attendance and attainment at postgraduate level when considering grant aid entitlement for postgraduate study, regardless of whether a person previously received a grant or not.

I understand that the person to which the Deputy refers has utilised two years to achieve her master’s degree and is now pursuing a four year Ph.D. As this person has already studied for two years at postgraduate level, he/she will only be eligible to be considered for a further two years funding at postgraduate level.

Question No. 93 withdrawn.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (94)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

94. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of officials and advisors that travelled from his Department to the launch of the NDP, NPF in County Sligo; the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9153/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

One advisor and one official from the Department of Education and Skills travelled to the launch of the NDP and NPF in Sligo on 16 February.  The costs of same will be known once travel claims have been submitted and processed.

Departmental Functions

Ceisteanna (95)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

95. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the delay in issuing P60s to teachers in view of the fact that P60s must be issued within six weeks of the end of the year and that the deadline for 2017 was 15 February 2018; if P60s are being issued on time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9218/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

There are approximately one hundred and thirty thousand staff paid on payrolls operated by my Department who will receive a P60 for 2017.  The Deputy will appreciate that there are a number of processes that must be completed prior to the issue of the P60s. My Department is making arrangements to have the P60s issued as soon as possible.

School Enrolments

Ceisteanna (96)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

96. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to issue a directive on the effective implementation of the right to opt out of religious instruction schools under a religious ethos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9234/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the Constitution and in accordance with Section 30 of the Education Act 1998, parents have a right to have their children opt out of religion classes if they so wish.

I believe that difficulties could be avoided if, from the outset, a school's arrangements for those students who do not wish to attend religious instruction are made clear to parents. In that regard, the Programme for Government contains a commitment to publish new school admissions legislation taking into account current draft proposals.

The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill includes a specific requirement that school enrolment policies must include details of the school's arrangements for any students who do not wish to attend religious instruction. I believe this is an important measure which will help ensure transparency from the outset as to how a school will uphold the rights of parents in this regard.

Furthermore another crucial way of dealing with this issue is to provide additional choice to parents and in this regard the Programme for Government includes a commitment to increasing the rate of provision of multi-denominational schools reaching 400 by 2030.

This is not to say that schools are currently doing nothing when they receive such requests from parents or that there is no advice for schools available. The follow-up paper to the Report of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector which was published in 2014 outlines good practice and options for promoting diversity in all schools. The paper gives an overview of different types of arrangements that schools have put in place to facilitate those pupils who wish to opt-out of religious education.

The paper encourages school authorities to consider their policies and practices and to review whether they are taking the steps necessary to welcome all pupils and make them feel included. I understand that in the case of catholic schools, the Catholic Schools Partnership subsequently published guidelines for catholic schools in relation to the inclusion of all pupils and that this also contains suggestions on how such schools can manage the "opt-out" of religious education.

These are important steps, which alongside the circular I recently published for state multi-denominational schools, help to inform parents in an open and transparent way how their requests to have their children opt out of religious instruction are handled by schools.

Housing Management Companies

Ceisteanna (97)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

97. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to ensure property management fees are not allowed to spiral out of control; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that management fees have significantly increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9042/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The position is that the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 was enacted with the primary purposes of reforming the law relating to the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments and facilitating the fair, efficient and effective management of owners' management companies (OMCs). These are companies registered under the Companies Acts, the members of which are the owners of residential units within the development and which are established for the purposes of ownership and management of the common areas.

The 2011 Act contains provisions relating to such matters as:

- the transfer of common areas to the OMCs (sections 4 and 5);

- the voting rights of members of OMCs (sections 14 and 15);

- the provision of annual reports by OMCs to members (section 17);

- arrangements for the holding of annual meetings to approve annual service charges (section 18);

- the establishment of a sinking fund to cover refurbishment outlays (section 19);

- arrangements for the making of House Rules (section 23); and

- the establishment of a court-based dispute resolution process (section 24).

The Act also contains provisions which encourage the resolution of disputes that may arise between parties by means of mediation rather than recourse to court proceedings.

In relation to annual service charges I should point out that it is a matter for each individual OMC to determine the amount of the service charge on an annual basis. Section 18 of the Act requires OMCs to establish and maintain a scheme of annual service charges from which they may discharge expenditure incurred on the provision of common or shared services to the owners and occupiers of residential units in the development, including insurance, waste management and security services. The Act sets out clearly that the service charge must be calculated on a transparent basis, and be equitably apportioned between the residential unit owners. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, both the annual service charge and the services to be provided must be approved by a general meeting of the members of the OMC.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (98)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

98. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of persons (details supplied) that wish to remain permanently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9025/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it wrote to the legal representatives of the person concerned on 15 February 2018 in connection with an application for a residence card pursuant to the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.

I am further advised that INIS requested the person concerned to submit evidence of the EU citizen's current activities in this State within 10 working days. I understand that INIS expects to issue a decision on the application for a residence card in early March 2018 based on the information available at that stage.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Independent Review Mechanism

Ceisteanna (99)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

99. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos 147 and 148 of 15 February 2018, the exact extension provided in each of these statutory inquiries in view of the fact that some have not yet commenced; and his views on whether they will be able to complete their task in a timely fashion. [9033/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Firstly I want to say, contrary to the Deputy's assertion, that work has been ongoing in relation to all five of the inquiries since the middle of last year. These inquiries were established by Orders made by my predecessor on 15 May 2017. Officials from my Department subsequently met with the retired judges appointed to conduct the Inquiries to provide them with all relevant documentation held by the Department and a considerable amount of work has been done since then.

In respect of three Inquiries, an extension until 31 March 2018 has been granted for the delivery of final reports. In the cases of the two remaining Inquiries, extensions have been granted until 30 June 2018. These extensions have been granted in order to afford to the Inquirers adequate opportunity to consider fully all matters relevant to their terms of reference.

As I advised the Deputy in my reply to question 147 of 15 February 2018, I believe that it is in the interests of all involved that the inquiries be given sufficient time to examine and report on the issues in question. As inquiries progress, additional information or documentation can come to light and this can impact on the time required to fully inquire into the matters within the ambit of each inquiry.

Naturalisation Certificates

Ceisteanna (100)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

100. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for naturalisation by a person (details supplied); if the appropriate interim stamp can be facilitated pending a decision with particular reference to the health circumstances of the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9036/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 12 February 2018. Processing of this application is on-going, with a view to establishing whether the conditions for naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, are satisfied. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The records indicate that the current permission to reside in the State granted to the person concerned is due to expire on 4 March 2018. It is up to the person concerned to seek permission to remain beyond the expiry of her current permission. All non-EEA nationals are required to keep their permission to remain in the State up to date at all times, and to have such permission registered. Failure to do so may adversely affect an application for a certificate of naturalisation.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

General Data Protection Regulation

Ceisteanna (101)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

101. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if administrative fines can be imposed on general practitioners acting in the course of their work if section 136 of the Data Protection Bill 2018 is enacted in legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9054/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The position is that Article 83 of the General Data Protection Regulation provides for the possible imposition of administrative fines on data controllers in cases in which its provisions have been infringed. Paragraph 7 of that Article provides that it is a matter for each Member State to decide whether, and to what extent, administrative fines may be imposed on public authorities and bodies. Section 136 of the Data Protection Bill 2018 provides that an administrative fine may be imposed on a data controller that is a public authority or body only where it is acting as an undertaking within the meaning of the Competition Act 2002.

The GDPR does not provide for exemptions from the administrative fine provisions for other categories of data controllers, such as health practitioners. A decision on whether or not to impose an administrative fine in respect of an individual case will be a matter for the

Data Protection Commission, having given due regard to the mitigating and aggravating factors set out in paragraph 2 of Article 83.

Domestic Violence Policy

Ceisteanna (102)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

102. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the outstanding actions required for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention; the expected timeframe for completion of those actions; the reason for the delay in ratifying the Convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9056/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I and my Government colleagues are totally committed to tackling violence against women and domestic violence. The Programme for Government commits to full implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

The actions necessary to ratify the Istanbul Convention are contained in the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021, published in January, 2016.

The implementation of most of these actions is underway including public sector training/education by a range of State agencies, the development of a Risk Assessment Matrix by An Garda Síochána, and commissioning of national helpline services to respond to issues of domestic and sexual violence.

The outstanding actions are legislative and require delivery of two pieces of legislation:

i) The Domestic Violence Bill which was published on 3 February 2017. The Bill has passed all stages in the Seanad and Second Stage in the Dáil. Committee stage is expected to commence shortly in the Dáil. It is hoped that this Bill will be enacted in the near future. The enactment of this legislation is key to advancing the ratification of the Istanbul Convention as its enactment will deliver four of the actions required under the Convention.

iii) The one remaining legislative action is the enactment of legislation for extraterritorial jurisdiction. Work on this action is underway and it is anticipated that this legislation will be published in the first half of 2018.

When the required legislative actions are implemented, Ireland will be in a position to ratify the Convention.

Property Valuations

Ceisteanna (103)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

103. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the location of the public property arbitrator has been identified; if it is possible to make contact by phone, letter or email; if its work programme has been published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9068/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, when the State compulsorily acquires land for public purposes and there is a dispute between the vendor and the purchaser regarding the amount of compensation which should be paid, the vendor may apply to the Land Values Reference Committee (comprising the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and the President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland) for the appointment of a Property Arbitrator to arbitrate on the amount to be paid. Property Arbitrators are appointed under section 2(1) of the Property Values (Arbitration and Appeals) Act, 1960 by the Land Values Reference Committee and all property arbitrations are required by law to be held in public.

In order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have made enquiries and the Courts Service has informed me that there is currently one full-time property arbitrator, Mr. Michael Neary, whose contact details are publicly available as follows: Michael Neary, Property Arbitrator, 34 Trees Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

The Courts Service has also informed me that Mr. Neary is a designated public official under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 in accordance with section 6(4) of the Act.

Seven temporary part-time arbitrators are available to be nominated to act in cases in which the Property Arbitrator is unable to act.

Neither my Department nor the Courts Service has any function in relation to the work programme of Property Arbitrators who are appointed by the Land Values Reference Committee.