Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (111)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

111. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of planned school building works at a school (details supplied); and the timeframe for the completion of these works. [21584/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department's Capital Programme.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Schedules of Accommodation for the proposed project have issued to the school and my Department is currently finalising the project brief with the aim of progressing the project into the architectural planning process at an early date. My Department will be in direct contact with the school authority in this regard.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (112)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

112. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are other issues that may delay the legal process of transfer of property for the new build at a school (details supplied); and if so, the details of same. [21590/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The conveyancing process in relation to a site for this school building project is currently underway. As is the case with any specific site acquisition, it would not be appropriate for my Department to provide detailed information on the conveyancing process.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Ceisteanna (113)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

113. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of resource teachers recruited in each of the years 2005 to 2017 and to date in 2018, by county, in tabular form. [21595/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools were published on 7 March 2017.

These Circulars set out the details of the new model for allocating special education teachers to schools.

The revised allocation process replaces the generalised allocation process at primary and post primary school level for learning support and high incidence special educational needs, and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocation process which provided additional resource teaching supports to schools, to support pupils assessed as having Low Incidence disabilities.

The new Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile.

Allocations based on the school profiles were issued to all schools on 7 March, 2017.

The aim of this new model is to deliver better outcomes for children with special educational needs. Substantial research, analysis, consultation with service users and stakeholders, and piloting have gone in to the development of this model and all of the evidence points to the fact that this new system will deliver better outcomes for children.

No school, has lost supports as a result of the implementation of the new model. In addition, no school received an allocation, for the support of pupils with complex needs, less than the allocation they received to support such pupils during the 2016/17 school year.

An additional 900 teaching posts have been provided in the 2017/2018 school year to support the introduction of this new allocation model. The provision of an additional 900 teaching posts is a very significant investment in the provision of additional teaching support for pupils with special educational needs in our schools.

The additional funding provided additional supports to over 1300 schools who identified as needing additional supports as a result of the new model while ensuring that no school received a reduced allocation.

The numbers of learning support and resource teachers from 2009 to 2017, and Special Education Teachers in 2017/2018 are set out in the tables.

For the 2017/18 school year to date, 13,306 additional special education teaching posts have been allocated, of which 13,281 have been allocated to schools, with 25 posts having been allocated to the NCSE to develop support services for schools.

Due to the manner in which the allocation of resource teaching posts was recorded prior to 2009, where additional allocations were only made to schools once all surplus allocations in schools were accounted for, accurate details of the resource teaching allocations made prior to 2009 are not available.

Details of the breakdown of allocations for special education posts on a per county basis for the years 2012/13 to 2017/18 are available at http://ncse.ie/statistics

Due to the manner in which data was collected and recorded prior to 2012, details of the breakdown of allocations for special education posts on a per county basis are not available for the years prior to the 2012/13 school year.

General Allocation Model Learning Support and Resource Teaching posts

School Year

GAM LS Posts

RT Posts

Total

2009/10

4454

4869

9323

2010/11

4454

5175

9629

2011/12

4475

5265

9740

2012/13

4863

5265

10128

2013/14

4882

5721

10603

2014/15

4954

6203

11157

2015/16

5015

6821

11836

2016/17

5072

7429

12501

New Special Education Allocation Model

Year

Primary

Post Primary

Total

2017/18*

9321

4049

13306

*As at March 2018. Includes 25 posts allocated to the NCSE to develop support services for schools. The remaining 94 post which have yet to be allocated are available to allocate to schools for appeals, demographic growth, or where exceptional circumstances arise in schools.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (114)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for an additional classroom and resource room for a school (details supplied); if the application will be prioritised in view of the rising projected pupil numbers for the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21600/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department received an application, in recent weeks, from the school referred to for the provision of additional classroom and resource accommodation. The application is currently under consideration and my Department will be in direct contact with the school authorities when the assessment process has concluded.

Schools Establishment

Ceisteanna (115)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

115. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for an Educate Together or other non-denominational secondary school to serve children in Dublin 8 and 12; and if the recently announced schools in Dublin will include Dublin 8 and 12 in their catchment areas. [21601/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, I announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.  Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process. 

All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve.  This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Dublin 8 or Ballyfermot-Dublin12 school planning areas, a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school was announced to be established in 2020 as a regional solution to serve the Dublin 6-Clonskeagh and Dublin 6W school planning areas which are adjacent to Dublin 8 and 12, and a new 600 pupil post-primary school was announced to be established in 2021 in the Dublin2-Dublin4 school planning area which is adjacent to the Dublin 8 area. In addition, a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school is scheduled to be established in 2018 to serve the Dublin2-Dublin4, Dublin 6-Clonskeagh and Dublin 8 school planning areas as a regional solution.

School Inspection Reports

Ceisteanna (116)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

116. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the concerns which have been raised regarding the school management by teachers at a school (details supplied) in County Louth. [21617/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department’s Inspectorate carried out a Whole-School Evaluation in Scoil Eoin Báiste National School, Castletown, Dundalk, Co. Louth in October 2017 and this report was published on my Department’s website www.education.ie in January 2018.

The report identified a number of recommendations for the school where improvement is required.

Responsibility for implementing recommendations in an inspection report rest, in the first instance, with the management and patron of a school. As Section 15 of the Education makes clear, it is the duty of the board of a school to manage the school on behalf of the school’s patron and for the benefit of the students and their parents.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (117)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

117. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the privatising of bus routes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21628/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

Currently over 116,000 children, including over 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.

Bus Éireann is obliged to tender all works, goods and services in line with the European Directives on public procurement, which includes school transport services performed by contractors under the School Transport Scheme.

In this regard, Bus Éireann has advised that the school transport service referred to by the Deputy is currently out to tender.

Bus Éireann has also confirmed that the scheduled public bus services referred to will continue to operate as per the scheduled timetable

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (118)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

118. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills the full year cost of increasing the capitation grant at primary and secondary level by 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21631/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The estimated cost of increasing the capitation grant at primary and secondary level by 5% is provided in the following table:

Estimated full year cost of 5% increase in capitation funding

School

Amount

Primary Schools

€5.0m

Post-Primary Schools

€4.7m

Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade. In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion. Through budget 2017 and Budget 2018, we are now investing €1 billion more in education.

I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years. The first cuts to capitation were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance. Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions I have included in the Action Plan for Education.

The process is under way for restoring grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff. The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation. A similar type approach in relation to improvements in grant funding was applied, as appropriate, at post-primary level.

School Staff

Ceisteanna (119, 121)

John Brassil

Ceist:

119. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a classroom teacher for a school (details supplied) will be retained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21656/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tom Neville

Ceist:

121. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter regarding a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21694/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the appeal process and application form are available in Circular 0010/2018, "Staffing Arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2018/19 School Year", which is published on the Department website.

My Department has received a staffing appeal from the school referred to by the Deputies. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board will meet to review appeals for the 2018/19 school year in the coming weeks and the school will be notified of the outcome of the appeal.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Schools Refurbishment

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 119.

Ceisteanna (120)

John Curran

Ceist:

120. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to finance deep energy retrofit of schools over the coming years to meet climate change rules. [21663/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Over the lifetime of the NDP, Government and EU energy efficiency and climate change legislation will require upgrading of the energy performance of existing schools. My Department, with SEAI, completed an energy pilot project in 2017 for the energy upgrade of ten existing schools to establish opportunities and innovative delivery models, as well as a menu of best practice retrofit options. My Department has agreed to collaborate with SEAI on the delivery of a further National Energy Efficiency Upgrade Pilot Programme for Schools in 2018 and 2019 on a matching funding basis. This builds on the successful pilot programme completed last year.

The shared objectives of the next phase of the pilot programme are to implement a range of energy efficiency measures in a number of typical schools and to test a variety of approaches with a view to developing a scalable model of energy efficiency retrofits in the school sector to be rolled out into the future. In this regard, it is envisaged that deep energy retrofits will need to be factored into future school refurbishment programmes during the lifetime of the NDP.

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 119.

School Staff Appeals Mechanism

Ceisteanna (122)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

122. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an appeal by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21705/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the appeal process and application form are available in Circular 0010/2018, "Staffing Arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2018/19 School Year", which is published on the Department website.

My Department has received a staffing appeal from the school referred to by the Deputy. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board will meet to review appeals for the 2018/19 school year in the coming weeks and the school will be notified of the outcome of the appeal.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (123)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

123. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of vehicles attached to the Limerick Garda roads policing unit in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21516/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and this is in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total, in the period 2013 to 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I have however been informed by the Garda authorities that 11 vehicles have been allocated to Limerick Divisions Roads Policing Units in each of the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date, comprising six cars, one van, three motorbikes and one 4x4.

Court Sittings

Ceisteanna (124)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

124. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps being taken to reduce the delay for the trial of criminal proceedings in the Dublin Circuit Court; if further judges will be assigned to conduct criminal trials on the circuit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21522/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. Furthermore, the scheduling of court cases and the allocation of Circuit Court business is a matter for the President of the Circuit Court and the presiding judge who are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.  

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that the waiting time for the hearing of criminal trials in the Dublin Circuit Court increased to 14 months by the end of 2017 and that this is directly attributable to the number of very long trials coming before the courts, including some particularly complex cases. 

The Courts Service has further advised that delays in the hearing of cases can occur for a number of reasons, many of which are outside the control of the Courts and the Courts Service, for example, the unavailability of a witness or vital evidence, delays in the furnishing of reports or because the parties and/or legal practitioners are not ready to proceed on allocated dates. This gives rise to adjournments which can have a major impact on the time taken to complete the hearing of a case and on the number of cases which can be disposed of in a court sitting. 

The Courts Service has informed me that the President of the Circuit Court assigns 6 judges to criminal business in Dublin and that every effort is made to maintain the assignment of 6 judges to dealing with criminal business.  Waiting times are kept under ongoing review and the Courts Service continues to work with the President of the Circuit Court to support the efficient disposal of court cases, to ensure that waiting times are kept to a minimum and to target judicial resources at the areas of greatest need.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

Ceisteanna (125)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the most recent attempt at arbitration in respect of the abandoned town centre, Naas, County Kildare took place; when the process will be reactivated; if a reason has been provided regarding the extraordinary delays in respect of the conclusion of the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21575/18]

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 and seven temporary part-time arbitrators available to be nominated to act in cases in which the property arbitrator is unable to act. The Courts Service is satisfied that this is sufficient to meet the demand for services in this area.  

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 and therefore is not in a position to provide the detail requested by the Deputy above.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (126)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

126. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to a campaign for a new Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21629/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations.

In addition, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. This includes identifying and progressing any necessary remedial or refurbishment works required at individual stations. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016 – 2021, which is an ambitious 5 year building Programme reflecting the priorities of An Garda Síochána, will benefit some 30 locations throughout the State. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Programme does not include the provision of a new Garda station in Tallaght, and I further understand from the Garda authorities that there are no plans to undertake a major refurbishment of this Garda station.

However, I am informed by Garda authorities that the Programme does include the provision of a Property and Exhibit Store (PEMS) at Tallaght Garda Station and that the development of this property storage facility is ongoing in conjunction with the OPW.

Finally, I am informed by the Garda authorities that to assist with accommodation in the existing Garda station in Tallaght, the OPW has provided additional accommodation for An Garda Síochána in close proximity to the station, at the Plaza Office Complex, Tallaght. I understand that An Garda Síochána took up occupation of this accommodation in October 2009.

Family Reunification

Ceisteanna (127)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

127. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the family reunification humanitarian assistance programme will be launched; the reason the programme was not launched in April 2018 as had previously been indicated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21640/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Last Saturday, 12 May, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, and I launched the first call for nominations under the Irish Humanitarian Admission Programme 2.  The scheme referred to by the Deputy is called the IHAP.  

I am pleased that the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) has completed its commitment to relocate people from Greece and that, since its inception, the overall programme has also surpassed its original commitments on resettlement. The second phase of the programme has now begun with increased commitments on resettlement and the commencement of the new Humanitarian Admission Programme. Operating under discretionary Ministerial powers, the Programme will provide an opportunity to people in Ireland, who have immediate family members affected by the unprecedented scale of mass displacement to nominate family members under this programme.

Under the IHAP, I wish to prioritise immediate family members in the most vulnerable situations internationally and following consultations with the UNHCR, persons from the following countries will be eligible under the scheme: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Burundi. These countries comprise the top ten major source countries of refugees listed in the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.

The IHAP is a humane and flexible response to the needs of those fleeing high-risk areas, and will facilitate their reunion with family members in Ireland. The Programme reaffirms the Government’s commitment and ability to respond positively to humanitarian crises. Persons admitted under this programme will be a key part of the IRPP and will receive a status in their own right rather than a dependency status on their family member. This is important for their long term integration and sense of belonging in our communities.

The first call for proposals runs from 14 May until 30 June 2018 and further open calls will be scheduled in 2018 and throughout 2019. Full details of the programme and the relevant form are available on the INIS website (www.inis.gov.ie ) under the ‘Asylum’ heading.

Prison Service Staff

Ceisteanna (128)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

128. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the senior management of the Prison Service; the level of engagement he has had with them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21650/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware the work being carried out by the Irish Prison Service, led by the Director General, Michael Donnellan, and his senior management team, speaks for itself.  I regularly meet the Director General, senior management and staff on my visits to prisons and at prisons related events.  The Director General is a member of my Department's Management Board and raises any developments and issues of concern there and in the regular meetings I hold with the Management Board as a group.  My officials are also in contact with prison management on a daily basis in relation to a host of issues.

There has been significant reform and modernisation of the Irish Prison Service in recent years. The improvements implemented include the construction of a new prison in Cork, which opened in 2016, and the complete refurbishment of all the wings in Mountjoy. The Irish Prison Service’s Capital Strategy 2016-2021 outlines plans for the complete replacement of the outdated accommodation in Limerick and Portlaoise prisons as well as improvements across a number of other prisons. On completion of the Strategy, the practice of slopping out will be full eliminated.

In addition to introducing a step down unit for female offenders, the Irish Prison Service are developing plans to address the female accommodation situation within the prison estate. This will be achieved by the modernisation and expansion of facilities in Limerick Prison, which will include the provision of high quality prison accommodation and services for female prisoners with a capacity of approximately fifty individual cells and eight transition units.  2017 also saw continued improvement to work and training facilities and visiting facilities across the Prison Estate.

In addition to the major improvements in infrastructure and the reduction of the numbers in custody in recent years, the Irish Prison Service is continuing its implementation of Government policy in focusing on rehabilitative initiatives. A greater emphasis has been placed on rehabilitative and support services and there are a wide range of rehabilitative programmes provided that include education, vocational training, healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. Access to these services is a critical feature for offenders in addressing their offending behaviour.

Greater emphasis is also now placed on pre-release planning with the supports put in place and links made to services in the community for offenders leaving custody greatly improving outcomes. 2017 saw the continued successful implementation of the Community Return Programme. This is an incentivised scheme where carefully selected offenders can be granted structured temporary release in return for supervised community service. It has been in operation since October 2011 and up to the end of 2017, over 2,000 prisoners were released back into the community in a structured manner, which is a compliance rate of 90%. 

The Community Support Scheme is a scheme which was set up to assist with reducing recidivism rates by providing additional supports for prisoners serving sentences of between three and twelve months, giving them a more structured form of temporary release.  This Scheme has recently been extended to Castlerea prison and now covers all prisons across the Estate.  2017 saw 750 people involved in the Community Return and Community Support Scheme.  

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (129)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

129. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new Garda community relations vans that came into the fleet in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of community relations vans that were withdrawn from the fleet in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21695/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and this is in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total, in the period 2013 to 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that, as of 15 May 2018, 14 vehicles are allocated to community relations nationwide. I understand from the Garda authorities that the allocation of Garda vehicles is monitored and reviewed on a continual basis and that vehicles are allocated between districts as required by operational circumstances.

I have further been informed by the Garda authorities that the number of community relations vans (personnel carriers or minibuses) allocated to or withdrawn from the fleet in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018 are as follows:

Year

Allocated

Withdrawn

2016

3

6

2017

3

5

2018

0

0

I understand from the Garda authorities that it is not intended to purchase additional community relations vans in 2018.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (130)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

130. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of an application for a work permit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21515/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

An application for a General Employment Permit for the person concerned was received on 7 April 2018. The Employment Permits Section of my Department is currently processing standard applications received on 8 March 2018 and this application should be processed within the next 5 weeks.