Landfill Sites

Ceisteanna (210)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

210. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which landfill sites are being replaced with alternative means of waste disposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18329/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

European, national and regional waste policy are all predicated on the management of waste in line with the waste hierarchy, whereby the prevention, preparation for re-use, recycling and other recovery of waste are preferred (in that order) to the disposal of waste. For instance, collectors of waste must conduct their activities in accordance with the relevant legislation and the conditions of their waste collection permits which, inter alia, require that waste is managed in line with the waste hierarchy.

Waste management planning, including infrastructure provision, is the responsibility of local authorities under Part II of the Waste Management Act, 1996. The three Waste Management Planning Lead Authorities monitor on an on-going basis the generation and management nationally of municipal solid waste and other waste streams. Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance, in specific cases, by a local authority of their statutory functions under the Act.

The Government's policy of increasing the landfill levy to its current level of €75 per tonne has provided a real financial incentive for waste operators to divert as much material as possible from being disposed of at landfill. The success of the above and many other policy and legislative measures, including the National Waste Prevention Programme and the phasing-out of flat rate fees for household waste collection, which encourage waste prevention, preparation for re-use, recycling and other recovery, has meant that more waste can be put to environmentally sustainable and productive use as opposed to being buried in the ground. 

Up until November 2017, different household waste collectors accepted different items for recycling, which lead to some confusion on which items go in which bin. Now, however, following co-operation between my Department, the regulatory authorities, the waste industry, Repak and environmental NGOs, we have a single, standard national list of items and materials that can be placed in the recycling bin.  Removing confusion will play an important role in improving the quality of the waste presented for recycling. This will help to ensure that these items are actually recycled, as opposed to being contaminated accidentally by householders and sent to landfill. Supporting householders to 'do the right thing' in terms of recycling is important. Householders are also being supported through a number of awareness and education initiatives such as the Recycling Ambassadors Programme and recyclinglistireland.ie.

Statistics compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency show that we have come a long way in a relatively short period of time in terms of improving our recycling and recovery rates and reducing our reliance on landfill. In this regard, National Waste Statistics are available to download at www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/ including the State's progress in meeting targets under EU waste legislation including the Waste Framework Directive; the Landfill Directive; and the Producer Responsibility Directives (Packaging, End-of-Life Vehicles, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Batteries and Accumulators).

Of particular note is the reduction in the disposal (landfill) rate of managed Municipal Solid Waste, which fell from 41% in 2012 to 21% in 2014. Furthermore, 79% of managed municipal waste was recovered in 2014 (compared to 59% in 2012). Recovery includes treatment processes such as recycling or use as a fuel (e.g. incineration which converts waste to energy or co-incineration, including the use of solid recovered fuel as part of the cement manufacturing process).

Air Pollution

Ceisteanna (211)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

211. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which air pollutants have been identified at the various monitoring points throughout the country; if specific action is required in response to specific increases in air pollution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18330/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC) and the Fourth Daughter Directive (Directive 2004/107/EC of 15 December 2004). These Directives also include rules on how Member States should monitor, assess and manage ambient air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with co-ordinating and managing the monitoring programme.

Under the Directives, EU Member States must designate "zones" for the purpose of managing air quality.  For Ireland, four zones were defined in the Air Quality Standards Regulations, 2011. The zones in place in Ireland in 2017 are Zone A: the Dublin conurbation; Zone B: the Cork conurbation; Zone C: comprising 23 large towns in Ireland with a population of more than 15,000; and Zone D: the remaining area of Ireland.

Ireland currently has a nationwide network of 33 monitoring stations which measure levels of air pollutants in the four zones. This information is delivered to the public in near real-time at www.airquality.epa.ie. The numbers and locations of the monitoring equipment for each pollutant are determined by the requirements of the Directives for ambient air monitoring in each zone.

The Agency's most recent annual Air Quality Report was published in November 2017 and provides an assessment of air quality in Ireland for 2016.  Values for all network sites were below the EU annual limit value, but exceeded the stricter World Health Organisation guideline values for a number of pollutants at individual sites.  The report indicates that pollutant concentrations compare favourably with other EU Member States.  It cautions, however, that it is particularly important to address PM2.5, which has been highlighted by the European Environment Agency as being responsible for the majority of air pollution-related premature mortalities in Ireland, and that NO2 concentrations in urban areas are close to the EU annual limit value, with increases in traffic numbers or certain weather conditions potentially leading to exceedances. The report can be found at the following link:

http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/quality/epaairqualityreport2016.html.  

Notwithstanding the favourable comparison with EU annual limit values, the report notes that maintaining our standard of air quality is a growing challenge.  With this in mind, I am committed to bringing forward Ireland's first ever National Clean Air Strategy.  The Strategy, which I intend to publish in the coming weeks, will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote integrated measures across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives.

A key part of the Strategy will be the expansion of our monitoring and data gathering capacity, to better inform policy choices. Following a review by the EPA of air quality monitoring and information provision in Ireland, a decision was taken to develop a new Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP) which aims to enhance and build on current arrangements. The new national Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme is being developed under Section 65 of the EPA Act, 1992 as amended. One of the key objectives of the programme is to enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public.  The statutory basis for the programme underlines the importance placed on air quality monitoring in Ireland.  The AAMP will double the number of ambient air quality monitoring stations in Ireland by 2022, and enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. Further details on the timeframes for the expansion of the network will be released as they become available. I fully support this important initiative, and have committed funding of some €5 million over the lifetime of the programme.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (212)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

212. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which efforts are being made to maximise the production and use of electric cars by way of replacement for existing petrol or diesel models; the extent to which this might impact on emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18331/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Low Emissions Vehicle Taskforce, which is co-chaired by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, is considering the measures and options available to Government to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles. This has led to an expanded range of supports for electric vehicles, which include:

- the EV purchase grant of up to €5,000;

- VRT relief of up to €5,000 for the purchase of Battery Electric Vehicles and up to €2,500 for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles;

- 0% Benefit-in-Kind for Battery Electric Vehicles;

- the EV Home Charger grant of up to €600 towards the cost of the installation of a domestic charge point;

- grants of up to €7,000 for EVs for the taxi sector;

- Accelerated Capital Allowances for businesses;

- low rate of annual motor tax of €120 per annum; and

- tolling reductions of 50% for Battery Electric Vehicles and 25% for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (which will be introduced later this year)

Budget 2018 effectively doubled the allocation of my Department from €5 million to €10 million to further support the growth of electric vehicles.

In this regard , earlier this month, a new Electric Vehicle Public Awareness Campaign was launched by the SEAI. This campaign includes a website (www.DrivingElectric.ie) providing information on buying and driving an EV including the models available and links to dealers to arrange a test drive. There will also be an advertising campaign “The Face of Driving Electric” which will highlight how electric vehicles are compatible with virtually everyone’s daily lives. Public road shows and fleet trials will be rolled out later in the year providing more people the opportunity to trial electric vehicles.

The increasing use of electric vehicles, along with increases in electricity production from renewable sources, will contribute to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.  In addition, it will assist in reducing emissions of air pollutants associated with diesel and petrol vehicles, such as fine particulate matter, which have a detrimental impact on both human health and environmental ecosystems.

At the end of March this year, there were over 4,500 electric vehicles on Ireland's roads. I expect the wide range of support measures and incentives that are in place to increase the rate at which electric vehicles are being taken up.

Alternative Energy Projects

Ceisteanna (213)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

213. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the full extent of the development of the alternative energy sector over the past five years with a view to the benefit to the environment and the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18332/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive sets Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to achieving this target through meeting 40% of electricity demand, 12% of heat and 10% of transport from renewable sources of energy, with the latter target also being legally binding.

Published data from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) indicates that 27.2% of electricity, 6.8% of heat and 5.0% of transport energy requirements were met from renewable sources at end 2016. Overall, SEAI analysis shows that 9.5% of Ireland’s energy requirements in 2016 were met from renewable sources. 

Information on Ireland’s progress in the development of the alternative energy sector over the past five years is available in SEAI’s publication titled Energy in Ireland 1990-2016 (Page 32, Table 9) which is available at https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Energy-in-Ireland-1990-2016-Full-report.pdf.

The table shows that the contribution of renewable energy to our 16% target has grown from 7.1% at end 2012 to 9.5% at end 2016.

Parking Regulations

Ceisteanna (214)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

214. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will review with Dublin City Council its policy of paid parking and clamping of vehicles which are parked in designated spaces while using charging points in view of the campaign to encourage persons to switch to electric vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18314/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Road Traffic Act provides local authorities and county councils the power to make bye-laws governing the type of parking controls operating within their own regions. It is a matter for each individual authority to consider how it wishes to charge for parking, including EVs while parked at charge points. Enforcement procedures also lie directly with each local authority or county council. However, I am fully aware of the important role that EVs can potentially play in reducing Irish transport emissions and therefore am committed to exploring multiple mechanisms to encourage their increased their take-up.

It may interest the Deputy to know that my Department and the Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), have jointly convened an interdepartmental Low-Emitting Vehicles (LEV) Task Force to consider the range of measures and options available to Government for the purpose of accelerating the deployment of low carbon technologies, especially EVs.

The work of the Taskforce has been divided into three work streams focusing on: Market Growth Stimuli and Visibility; Infrastructure, Energy Regulation and Pricing; and Planning Legislation, Building Regulations and Public Leadership. Preliminary recommendations from the Taskforce were considered in the 2018 budgetary process and a suite of continued and new EV supports were announced as part of Budget 2018.  A list of current incentives to promote EVs is available on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website.

During the final meeting of the Market Growth Stimuli and Visibility Working Group both public and private parking authorities were invited to participate in discussions relating to parking charges; it is expected that recommendations from the Taskforce will be presented to Government in the coming weeks.

Coastal Protection

Ceisteanna (215)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

215. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding coastal reclamation in areas surrounding the Boyne River inlet in County Louth and the eastern area of County Meath following recent extreme weather; if reports have been undertaken to examine the change in the coastal reclamation requirements; if reports have been undertaken to examine the silt deposits in the Boyne River inlet and other related reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18119/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Coastal reclamation is a matter for the relevant local authorities and as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have no function in relation to this matter.  I am not aware of any reports undertaken to examine change in coastal reclamation requirements or to examine silt deposits in the Boyne River inlet.

Taxi Data

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Ceisteanna (216)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

216. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of taxi SPSV licences registered with the NTA for drivers and owners in County Louth in 2017; the number of S15A forms submitted to and accepted by the regulator in each of the years 2015 to 2017 from SPSV licence holders in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18151/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the licencing of taxis, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

As “Section 15 Assignment” (S15A) forms are submitted directly to the Authority, it is best placed to provide the data, which is being sought by the Deputy.

Accordingly, I have referred your questions to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (217)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

217. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount his Department has spent on social media training and consultancy in each of the years 2011 to 2016. [18173/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The information requested by the Deputy is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/expenditure-external-services.

The information is updated twice yearly. The first six months of 2018 will be published later in the year.

Departmental Staff Training

Ceisteanna (218)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

218. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if training has been delivered in his Department on the use of social media; the frequency and cost of this training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18209/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Department does not currently maintain any permanent social media presence and has not to date delivered training to staff on the use of social media platforms

Railway Stations

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Ceisteanna (219)

John Brady

Ceist:

219. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason for the decision on the unmanning of County Wicklow train station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18281/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the Company for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Ceisteanna (220)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

220. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has had discussions with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection regarding extending the back to school clothing and footwear allowance to children covered by the ECCE scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18107/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I have committed my Department to producing Ireland’s first-ever National Early Years Strategy later this year. The National Early Years Strategy will focus on the period of early childhood, from birth to age five, and will cover various aspects of children's lives. The strategy will take a joined-up, cross-government approach to the issue of supporting children and their families during the early years and focus on supporting families, good health and positive early learning.

The development of the Strategy is being informed by national and international evidence on what makes most difference in helping to ensure that the early experiences of young children are positive. Consultation on the important issues that the strategy should address has been undertaken with young children as well as with representatives of key organisations and interest groups in the area. A further consultation event will take place in the coming months. The drafting of the Strategy is well advanced and discussions are taking place with colleagues across Government to progress its development.

The work of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is key to financially supporting families with young children. Discussions between officials in DEASP and DCYA in respect of the Early Years Strategy have commenced and are ongoing. An Inter-Departmental Group including a representative from DEASP has been convened and has begun its work.

Decisions about commitments in the Strategy will be taken by Government in the coming months and in light of the budgetary context.

Development of the Strategy is a priority for me and for my Department, and I will move to publish the Strategy later this year.

Given the importance of these first five years for childhood development and for development over the life course, this Strategy offers considerable potential to transform the lives of young children and their families over the next decade.

Youth Services Provision

Ceisteanna (221)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

221. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has considered the need for youth service provision in the Meakstown and Charlestown areas of Dublin 11. [18108/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities.

Finglas Youth Resource Centre is funded under my Department’s Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund. This fund was established by the Government in 1998 to assist in the delivery of preventative strategies in a targeted manner, through the development of youth facilities, including sports and recreational facilities, and to provide services in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop. In 2017 this project received an allocation of €354,134, an increase of 5% over its 2016 allocation.

Finglas Youth Resource Centre also received Local Drug Task Force funding of €82,518 in 2017. The 21 Local Drug Task Force projects provide a range of supports for young people by way of targeted drug prevention and awareness programmes as well as referrals.

My Department recently completed an exercise with Pobal and each Education and Training Board which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping exercise will assist my Department and each Education and Training Board in developing a detailed social demographic profile, in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels, which will inform future developments and investment in youth services.

Early Childhood Care and Education Data

Ceisteanna (222)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

222. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of sessional ECCE places that are offered by county in tabular form. [18148/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The figures provided in the following table are from the Early Years Sector Profile 2016/17. The figures from the current pre-school year will be published later this year.

 County

3-5 year olds capacity

Carlow

1,689

Cavan

1,919

Clare

3,121

Cork City

3,102

Cork County

10,968

Donegal

4,197

Dublin - Dublin City

10,873

Dublin - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

4,926

Dublin - Fingal

8,556

Dublin - South Dublin

6,960

Galway

6,921

Kerry

3,469

Kildare

5,980

Kilkenny

2,731

Laois

2,516

Leitrim

618

Limerick

5,123

Longford

1,049

Louth

3,437

Mayo

3,188

Meath

5,747

Monaghan

1,781

Offaly

2,079

Roscommon

1,517

Sligo

1,628

Tipperary

4,195

Waterford

2,948

Westmeath

2,797

Wexford

3,923

Wicklow

4,024

Total

121,752

Early Childhood Care and Education

Ceisteanna (223)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

223. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the situation whereby there are only nine crèches in Dublin 4 that offer sessional ECCE places will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18149/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In the absence of clarification, which was requested from the Deputy's Office, I understand that the Deputy's question states that there are only 9 services in the Dublin 4 area which offer sessional ECCE places.  I would however like to clarify that, in the 2017/2018 programme year, 27 services in the Dublin 4 area are providing ECCE, 9 of which are sessional only.  It should also be noted that the majority of these settings also offer additional childcare services.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Ceisteanna (224)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

224. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps her Department takes to monitor capacity within the ECCE system. [18150/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs monitors ECCE capacity through several reporting mechanisms. Primarily, Pobal - in their capacity as administrators of the ECCE programme - provide a comprehensive annual overview of the Early Years Sector and report their findings through the Early Years Sector Profile report. This report provides an accurate overview of childcare places regionally and nationally in three categories; namely, the number of children enrolled on ECCE, the number of children on a waiting list for ECCE (if any) and the number of vacant places by Service Provider. In addition, both Pobal and the DCYA Operations team collect and review statistical data regarding the take up of ECCE places, on a weekly basis, while the Department of Education and Skills also provides my Department with demographic information to assist in the identification of potential demand pressure points.

My Department has considered the available information and is satisfied ECCE provision will be sufficient for the 2017-2018 programme year. ECCE providers have catered for over 121,968, children for this period, and while there can be pressures in some immediate localities; all eligible children have been catered for. We also work very closely with the local area CCCs, and to date no shortage of places has been reported.

Finally, it is worth noting that my Department provided €8.4 million of funding in 2017 through the Early Years Capital Programme. This programme assisted in alleviating pressures in respect of the availability of ECCE places, in certain areas, through the funding of expansion projects.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (225, 226)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

225. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount her Department has spent on social media training and consultancy in each of the years 2011 to 2016. [18159/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

226. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if training has been delivered in her Department on the use of social media; the frequency and cost of this training; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18195/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 and 226 together.

In relation to my Department I can confirm that the costs for the provision of social media training and consultancy for each year from 2011 - 2018 are set out in the following table.

Year

Costs incurred by Department

Social Media Training Delivered

Number of Staff Attended

Social Media Consultancy

2011

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2012

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2013

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2014

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2015

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2016

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

2017

€950

Social Media for Business

2

Nil

2018

€495

Social Media for Business

1

Nil

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (227)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

227. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount his Department has spent on social media training and consultancy in each of the years 2011 to 2016. [18171/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017. Therefore there is no expenditure in this timeframe.

Departmental Staff Training

Ceisteanna (228)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

228. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if training has been delivered in his Department on the use of social media; the frequency and cost of this training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18207/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017. There has been no expenditure to date on training on the use of social media.

Security of the Elderly

Ceisteanna (229)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

229. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will liaise with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to resolve reliability issues which exist in the national landline telephone network (details supplied) across rural areas in view of the fact that issues are causing difficulties for older rural residents who are reliant on this service to operate a panic alarm system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18283/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The objective of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to encourage support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. Funding is available under the Scheme towards the purchase by a registered community-based organisation of equipment, i.e. a personal alarm and/or pendant.

I launched a revised Seniors Alert scheme last year. The main features of the revised scheme centred around the introduction of a 1 year free monitoring charge, increased administration payments to  community groups administering the scheme as well as changes in the self declaration requirements.

There are no immediate plans to review or alter the current scheme.

Issues in relation to the national landline network are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.