State Properties

Ceisteanna (187)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

187. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 91 of 23 November 2017 and 68 of 17 January 2018, the status of lands at a location (details supplied) for which Fingal County Council has sought a deed of waiver to transfer the land to its ownership; the timeframe for his Department to make a decision and respond to the council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13132/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Under Section 28(2) of the State Property Act, 1954, land vested in or held in trust for a body corporate immediately prior to its dissolution, (other than land held by such body in trust for another person) becomes property of the State in the person of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The interest acquired by the Minister is described as a defeasible interest as it may be defeated by restoration of the company up to 20 years after dissolution.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has the discretion, under Section 31 of the State Property Act 1954, to waive property that has devolved to the State under Section 28, if he believes it is proper to do so having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

An application for waiver of the property referred to has been made by Fingal County Council, which is being reviewed by the CSSO. A significant amount of the required documentation has been provided by Fingal County Council. Part of the process involves alerting various stakeholders that a waiver of the Minister's interest in the property is being sought, and allowing them a period of time to submit observations. The time limit for submitting these observations has not yet expired so a final consideration of the application cannot be made for a number of weeks. In the meantime the Office of Public Works has informed Fingal County Council that it has no objection to them carrying out any emergency works on the site.

Central Bank of Ireland

Ceisteanna (188)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

188. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Central Bank of Ireland since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13141/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has no responsibility for the Central Bank of Ireland in relation to requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise.  Funding, staff resources and expertise are a matter for the Central Bank Commission and the Commission is not required to seek the permission of the Department in relation to those matters.  The Central Bank is statutorily independent under both Irish and EU law and is not subject to the rules of voted expenditure in the manner suggested in the Deputy's question.

State Bodies

Ceisteanna (189, 190, 191)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

189. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Commission for Public Service Appointments since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13142/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

190. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Standards in Public Office Commission since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13143/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

191. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Office of the Ombudsman since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13145/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

As the allocation for the vote of the Office of the Ombudsman includes the Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission and the Commission for Public Service Appointments, one cannot look at each in isolation and I will therefore respond to Questions Nos. 189, 190 and 191 collectively.

The Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission and the Commission for Public Service Appointments are funded through the Office of the Ombudsman Vote which comprises of 5 separate statutory bodies (the Office of the Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner for Environmental information and the Commission for Public Service Appointments).  The Management Team of the Office of the Ombudsman, which is headed by a Director General, has responsibility for the administration of all the component offices and comprises of senior management from all the various offices.

Annual submissions are made to my Department as part of the Estimates process, which outline the anticipated additional resourcing requirements likely to impact on the Vote during the following year. I am advised that The Director General and the Management Team regularly review the administrative workload and adequacy of staffing resources in each of the component offices. They subsequently decide on where resources can most usefully be allocated and staff can be transferred between the various offices.

During the course of the Estimates process for 2017 and 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman sought additional staffing resources for the extension of the Ombudsman's remit to cover Direct Provision and the resources that would be required if the remit of the Ombudsman was extended to cover complaints from prisoners.  It also sought funding for an Assistant Legal Advisor at Assistant Principal level and an additional Assistant Principal whose responsibilities would include work on Strategic and Business Planning, Risk and Governance. 

The Office also sought additional staffing resources for the conducting of investigations under the Ethics Acts and in anticipation of the commencement of enforcement provisions under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, both of which come under the Standards in Public Office Commission.  It was further indicated that there would be additional resources required for the implementation of the provisions of the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015, but that they would be difficult to estimate.

There were no specific additional funding requirements for the CPSA included in the Estimates submissions for the Office of the Ombudsman for 2017 and 2018. 

My Department consider requests for additional resources from these Offices collectively, in the context of the adequacy of the overall funding provision for the Office of the Ombudsman Vote, rather than consideration of requests individually.

Ministerial Staff Data

Ceisteanna (192)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

192. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of each non-Civil Service appointment he has made to a role in his Department; the persons appointed; the role, qualifications and salary of each; and the guidelines that apply in respect of party-political fundraising. [13164/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I wish to inform the Deputy that there are currently two Special Advisers employed in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Ms Deborah Sweeney was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from 6 May 2016. Ms Sweeney was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Mr. Stephen Lynam was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from 6 May 2016. Mr. Lynam was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Ms Sweeney is currently on the fourth point of the Principal Officer PPC Scale.  Mr. Lynam resigned as Special Adviser on 16 March 2018 and was on the third point of the Principal Officer PPC scale.

Mr. Ed Brophy was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform from 12 February 2018.  Mr. Brophy is currently on the fifth point of the Principal Officer PPC Scale. 

The appointments were made in line with “Instructions to Personnel Officers - Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil”, which include “Guidelines on staffing of Ministerial offices” issued by my Department.  

Please find details below of Ministerial Drivers appointed to my Department:

 Name

 Role

 Salary

Date appointed

Mr Dimitri Cafolla

Civilian Driver to Minister Paschal Donohoe

€691.01 per week

09/05/2016

Mr Derek Murphy

Civilian Driver to Minister Paschal Donohoe

€691.01 per week

29/08/2016

Mr Frank O'Riordan

Civilian Driver to Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan

€691.01 per week

07/07/2017

Mr Jeremiah Roche

Civilian Driver to Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan

€691.01 per week

07/07/2017 

Ministerial Staff, in line with all staff working in my Department, are bound by the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, and Circular 09/2009 Civil Servants and Political Activity.

Schools Property

Ceisteanna (193)

John Curran

Ceist:

193. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made to date by his Department in releasing its interest in a building (details supplied). [12998/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm that I have agreed in principle to release my interest in the school building referred to by the Deputy.

Officials in my Department have been in contact with the property owner's representative to inform them of the steps which need to be taken in order to release my interest in the property. 

The legal process required to release my interest in the property is currently underway and the Chief State Solicitor's Office acting on behalf of my Department is liaising with the legal representative of the property owner in this regard. 

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (194)

John Curran

Ceist:

194. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills when approval for stage 2B will issue for a project (details supplied). [12999/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project to which the Deputy refers to is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) detailed design stage, which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents.

All statutory approvals have been secured.

Following the receipt and review of a Brief Change report, the Design Team is currently revising the Stage 2(b) submission and will submit the revised documents to my Department for review. 

When the revised Stage 2(b) has been reviewed my Department will revert to the school at that time with regard to the further progression of the project to tender stage.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (195)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

195. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13002/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs), for fulfilling the functions of the NCSE Council within a designated area in relation to the identification of and delivery and co-ordination of education services to children with disabilities. The NCSE employs SENOs to provide a nationwide system of local services. Locally based SENO responsibility includes planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, including supporting children and parents in identifying school placement options and resource needs. Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for children with special educational needs. There are currently 83 sanctioned SENO posts in the NCSE. These include 1 Head of Local Services, 9 Senior SENO posts and 73 SENO posts.

Since 2014, the number of SENO posts have increased from 67 to 73 while the NCSE's SENO management structure was strengthened in 2014, with the creation of a new professional post of Head of Local Services to directly manage the SENO grades.

From 21st March 2017, the Special Education Support Service (SESS), the National Behavioural Support Service (NBSS) and the Visiting Teacher Service for Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Children who are Blind/Visually Impaired (VTHVI) transferred from my Department to the NCSE and joined with the services already being provided by NCSE's SENOs and administrative staff to form a new NCSE Support Service. This new service aims to develop schools' capacity to include students with special educational needs and to promote a continuum of educational provision which is inclusive and responsive.

A list of SENOs and their Contact details by county is available on the NCSE website at http://ncse.ie/seno-contact-list.

School Funding

Ceisteanna (196)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

196. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if capital funding will be made available to a school (details supplied) in view of increasing enrolments and inadequate accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13050/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department received an application for the provision of additional accommodation at the school referred to in respect of both classroom and ancillary accommodation.

When assessing the application it was noted that the existing school accommodation comprises of four mainstream classrooms, two Special Education Teaching (SET) rooms, a library/computer room, staff room and a general office. With a staffing complement of four mainstream teachers and one SET teacher it was determined that, as there was currently no deficit of mainstream class accommodation, additional accommodation was not required at this point. My Department wrote to the school authority to convey the position.

I further wish to advise, should enrolment numbers justify the appointment of an additional mainstream teacher, and if it was not possible to accommodate such a teacher within the school, the school could submit an application to my Department for an additional classroom accommodation at that point.