Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (225, 230)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

225. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the proposed works to be carried out at a property (details supplied). [20916/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

230. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding a project (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21275/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 and 230 together.

The competitive tender procurement process for the restoration of the ground floor of Doneraile House, Co. Cork, with ancillary exhibition and visitor reception facility, is nearing completion. When all tenders have been received, assessed, and a contract awarded, further information as to programme can be provided.

Public Appointments Service

Ceisteanna (226)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

226. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the outsourcing of the aptitude tests for Public Appointments Service competitions to a UK provider will be reconsidered in view of the error that occurred in the principal officer competition in 2017. [20927/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Service (PAS) is an independent statutory body which provides professional recruitment and selection services to the civil and public service. As with all assessment tests, test providers are selected following a competitive public procurement exercise.

PAS continually monitor all their processes with regard to competitions to ensure as much as is possible that issues such as the one referred to are avoided in the future.

I want to assure the Deputy again that no candidate was disadvantaged as a result of the error.

Office of Public Works Properties

Ceisteanna (227)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

227. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works holds or is in the process of acquiring economic interest in the site of the former customs post at Bridgend, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20954/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the former customs post site at Bridgend, Co. Donegal was sold in 2006 and that the OPW is not in the process of acquiring an economic interest in the property.

State Properties Data

Ceisteanna (228)

John Deasy

Ceist:

228. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the State’s annual bill for the rental of buildings and property; and the State’s annual income from the rental of buildings and property. [20978/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The annual rent in respect of buildings and property rented by the Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) is €96m. Rental income from properties, received by the CPW in 2017, was €1,826,337.97.

The Commissioners are not in a position to provide the annual bill for the rental of buildings and property held under agreements that other Departments or public bodies may have entered into nor can they provide a figure on income that other Departments or public bodies may receive.

Office of Public Works Properties

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 225.

Ceisteanna (229)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

229. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the provision of mobile phone services in an area (details supplied) will be facilitated. [21080/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The property referred to by the Deputy is a historic property. It is the policy of the Office of Public Works (OPW) not to install telecommunications masts at such properties.

However, as part of the OPW's Mast Programme, the OPW will request its third party service provider to engage with all Mobile Network Operators (MNO) who may have an interest in providing an enhanced service at an appropriate OPW owned site in the Doneraile area.

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 225.

Departmental Staff

Ceisteanna (231)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

231. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of staff in his Department assigned solely or primarily to work on North-South issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21269/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department's Brexit/EU/North South Unit has primary responsibility for North-South issues across the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It is comprised of six staff, along with an attaché based in the Permanent Representation in Brussels. The Unit is responsible for the EU-funded PEACE and INTERREG programmes and for matters relating to the North South Ministerial Council. It also coordinates with other areas of the Department dealing with North-South issues, particularly in relation to the North-South Implementation Bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement.

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (232, 233, 234)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

232. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when a report by a company (details supplied) on proposed flood defences at Burnfoot, County Donegal will be submitted to the OPW; and when a decision on flood defences at Burnfoot will be made. [21290/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

233. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the flood defence works planned for Buncrana and Luddan, County Donegal by the OPW include flood defences to protect the homes at Elm Park, Buncrana, County Donegal. [21291/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

234. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which homeowners and businesses recently flooded in County Donegal and not covered by planned OPW works as announced in May 2018 and not considered to be the responsibility of Donegal County Council, are expected to protect themselves from future flooding events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21292/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 232 to 234, inclusive, together.

The OPW is undertaking this further assessment of Burnfoot to determine, through more localised assessment and including a review of any change in the hydrological circumstances for the town, if a flood relief scheme is viable for the protection of the town. The OPW’s further assessment of Burnfoot is nearing completion. I expect to be in a position to make a decision and an announcement in relation to Burnfoot in the very near future.

The recently announced Flood Risk Management Plans proposed a flood relief scheme for Buncrana-Luddan consisting of a series of sea walls, flood embankments and floodwalls to protect against coastal and fluvial flood events. The flooding which occurred at Elm Park will be considered as part of the development of detailed design of a scheme for Buncranna that will also include further environmental assessment, public consultation and review of costs and benefits.

Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. Donegal County Council may carry out flood mitigation works using its own resources. The Council may also apply to the Office of Public Works for funding of flood mitigation works under this Office's Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. The purpose of this scheme, introduced in 2009, is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The OPW has approved 34 Minor Works schemes in Donegal at a cost of €1.5 million. Details of these schemes are on the OPW website, www.opw.ie.

For properties at risk outside of the areas assessed under the CFRAM study there are a range of measures, in addition to the Minor Works Scheme, that are available to help prevent, protect and mitigate their flood risk, including:

- Planning guidelines to prevent building in flood-prone areas,

- Emergency response planning to help prevent and mitigate flood damage during a flood event that will be supported through the development of the National Flood Forecasting Service,

- Voluntary Home Relocation (once-off) Scheme for those worst affected by the floods in 2015.

The Office of Public Works is currently researching options for Government to consider for any possible feasible support to Individual Property Protection in the future.

Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (235)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

235. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status in relation to providing structures at a location (details supplied) by the OPW; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21312/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I can confirm that the Office of Public Works (OPW) is working with Garda Estate Management (GEM) in relation to the provision of the structures referred to by the Deputy. A design and specification has been agreed with GEM. OPW has commenced the tendering process for the provision of the first of them.

OPW will continue to work with GEM on their remaining requirements in this regard.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (236)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

236. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the efforts being made to resolve the issue of establishing an agreed pension entitlement as per the claim being made by community employment scheme supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21341/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I would refer the Deputy to my response to PQ 54985/17 of 16 January 2018.

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (237)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

237. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has received a report (details supplied) on the cost of a tidal barrier in Little Island, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21355/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of the development of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and the statutory public consultation process on the scheme, a comprehensive report on the potential for a tidal barrier for Cork was carried out by engineering consultants Arups on behalf of the Office of Public Works (OPW) which included a cost estimate of the alternative proposal for a tidal barrier put forward by a group, savecorkcity, who are opposed to the proposed OPW scheme. It has come to the OPW's attention in very recent days that the savecorkcity group subsequently commissioned the Delft University in the Netherlands to carry out an assessment of the costs of this alternative proposal as they were set out in the OPW report. Although the Delft report appears to have been completed on the 10th April it was only last week that certain extracts from the report surfaced in the media which made the OPW aware of its existence. The savecorkcity group did not inform the OPW of the report or provide the OPW with a copy of the report or its terms of reference. A copy of the report was requested by the OPW from the savecorkcity group last week and was subsequently provided.

The OPW has had the savecorkcity/Delft report reviewed and can confirm that, when read in full, the report actually validates the order of magnitude costings contained in the OPW’s own tidal barrier report and does not identify any issues which would materially alter the costs estimates in the OPW’s report. The savecorkcity/Delft report comes up with a construction-only cost of €258m compared with the OPW’s cost of €289m. The difference can be attributed to the fact that the savecorkcity/Delft report does not include sufficient allowances for many items including significant embankment elements, any measures to prevent bypass of the barrier, the costs of protection against fluvial flooding and operational and maintenance costs. If these corrections were made in the savecorkcity/Delft report then the whole life cost of the savecorkcity barrier proposal would be very similar to the estimate of €0.5billion contained in the OPW report, and would therefore not be cost beneficial.

It must also be noted that, aside from matters of costs, the location, type and size of the barrier proposed in the savecorkcity proposal is considered likely to be neither technically nor environmentally viable.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (238)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

238. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when a new round of applications will open for positions (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21380/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Service (PAS), is the independent recruiter of people for the civil service through open and interdepartmental competitions.

While there are many factors affecting recruitment the most important are the expected number of staff who will leave in the near future, existing panels in place and the demand for staff based on the work to be carried out by departments/offices.

I understand from PAS that it intends to hold the following competitions in 2018/2019;

Executive Officers - Quarter 3 2018

Higher Executive Officers - To be decided

Administrative Officers - Quarter 3 2018

Assistant Principal Officers - Quarter 2 2018

Principal Officers - Quarter 1 2019

I would emphasise that these dates are subject to change.

The grade of Staff Officer no longer exists in the civil service.

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (239, 240)

James Browne

Ceist:

239. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the public display of the Enniscorthy flood defence scheme will proceed on 28 May 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21397/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James Browne

Ceist:

240. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when public consultation for the Enniscorthy flood defence scheme will take place; the position regarding the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21400/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 240 together.

The River Slaney (Enniscorthy) Flood Relief Scheme is being progressed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in conjunction with Wexford County Council. The Scheme has been provided for in the OPW multi-annual Capital Expenditure Budgets, and is one of the major schemes to be funded from the €940 million allocation for flood relief capital investment under the National Development Plan 2018-27.

Consultants Mott Mc Donald are leading the design engineers of the flood defences element, with Roughan O’Donovan commissioned to design the proposed new road bridge. The existing Seamus Rafter bridge is a contributing factor to flooding in Enniscorthy and must be removed to ensure the success of the scheme. A replacement road bridge will be constructed just downstream of the town (crossing over the existing playground), and a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed in the area of the Seamus Rafter bridge.

Initial site investigations have been completed, along with archaeological and ecological assessments and reports. An advance programme to control and eradicate invasive species of vegetation is currently underway. Further advance construction elements which involve relocation of services and utilities along the Promenade are expected to commence in 2018.

A briefing to update members of Wexford County Council will take place in Enniscorthy on May 21, and following this, a public information display of the scheme will take place on 11th June. Following this, the scheme design and Environmental Impact Assessment Report (and other relevant reports) will be made available to the public through the statutory Exhibition process. All submissions received during this statutory consultation process will be assessed, and designs may be amended as a result. Subsequently, formal Confirmation or approval for the scheme will be sought from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, with construction expected to start in mid to late 2019.

Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (241)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

241. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 259 of 16 January 2018, the status of the report commissioned by the Office of Public Works to examine the feasibility and implications of the suggested changeover of the cycle trails and footpaths along Chesterfield Avenue; if the OPW has undertaken a study regarding the introduction of vehicle traffic calming measures on the road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21407/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works has commissioned an independent report to examine the proposed changeover of the cycle trails and footpaths along Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park. The report will be available before the end of June 2018.

No study has been undertaken with regard to the introduction of vehicle calming measures on Chesterfield Avenue.

Education and Training Boards Places

Ceisteanna (242)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

242. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an appropriate welding course can be facilitated in the case of person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20925/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I understand that the person in question was referred by his local Intreo Office to City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) for participation on a welding course. I understand that a place will be available for him on a course beginning in August.