Road Network

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

Ceisteanna (200)

Patrick O'Donovan

Ceist:

200. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the N24 through Oola, County Limerick will be resurfaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27066/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and operation of individual roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (201)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

201. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if matters raised by a person (details supplied) in correspondence will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27077/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy is referring to correspondence dated 14 June, 2018 from the St. Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group, which sets out the Group's objections to Fingal Country Council being nominated as the Competent Authority for the purpose of EU Regulation 598/2014. 

I will be responding to the Group directly in the coming days.

After-School Support Service Provision

Ceisteanna (202)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

202. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a community organisation can provide after school childcare to preschool children as part of its provision of after school childcare to primary school children under the CCSP; if so, if it needs to be registered as a preschool with Tusla; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26948/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, through the Early Years Inspectorate (EYI), is the independent statutory Regulator of early year’s services in Ireland and has a responsibility for inspecting pre-schools, playgroups, nurseries, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged up to six years. The Tusla EYI role is to promote the quality, safety and appropriate care of children by robust inspection of the sector. In accordance with the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 published in December 2016, any new service wishing to become established as an Early Years Service must first be placed on the Tusla Early Years Statutory Register.

At this time, there are no regulations under this act for school aged children’s services. However, if the service in question wishes to provide childcare places to pre-school aged children they are required to be registered with Tusla as all pre-school aged services are subject to Tusla inspection in line with the above regulations.

Also, as the service in question is seeking to provide childcare places under the Community Childcare Subvention Plus Scheme (CCSP), there is a requirement for the service to be registered with Tusla as stated in The Rules for DCYA Funding Programmes 2017, clause 3.2.13:

‘CCS Plus providers must be registered with Tusla for the places being provided’.

A service can become registered by making an application to Tusla Early Years Inspectorate using the Registration Application Form (RAF), which can be obtained from Tusla Early Years Inspectorate’s Registrations Office. The service can contact their local Community Childcare Committee for support with the registration process.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (203)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

203. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the inequity of funding for family resource centres and that the Ballymun Child and Family Resource Centre receives less funding than the 11 new centres recently brought into the programme; if this anomaly in funding will be corrected; the reason this disparity in funding exists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26998/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre Programme.

Acting as a focal point within their communities, Family Resource Centres provide a holistic service of child, family and community support and advocacy to all children and families in their communities.

I have been advised by Tusla that the Ballymun Family Resource Centre has been allocated funding of €120,542 in 2018, which is an increase of €10,000 over 2017.

Tusla has advised that funding for individual Family Resource Centres can differ, depending on a range of factors, including:

- the size and population of the catchment area,

- the degree of economic disadvantage in the area, and

- the existing distribution of services in the area.

At the end of 2017, there were 109 Family Resource Centres in receipt of funding from Tusla. Tusla was provided with additional funding of some €3m in 2018 for the Family Resource Centre Programme. This investment has enabled Tusla to expand the Programme with the inclusion of 11 additional centres, bringing the total number of Family Resource Centres to 120. Additional funding of up to €10,000 was also allocated to existing Family Resource Centres this year.

Decisions with regard to funding levels in 2019 will be taken in the context of the Estimates process.  It is not possible therefore at this stage to advise on what level of funding will be available to the Family Resource Centre Programme next year. 

I strongly value the work of Family Resource Centres in communities throughout Ireland, and I will be making the case for a continued investment in the centres in 2019 and beyond. I will continue to support the centres in the valuable work they do, working with vulnerable children and families, particularly in areas of disadvantage.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (204)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

204. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason for the disparity between the 11 new family resource centres recently established and some of the existing resource centres (details supplied) in which the level of disadvantage and need is extremely high; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27108/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre Programme.

Acting as a focal point within their communities, Family Resource Centres provide a holistic service of child, family and community support and advocacy to all children and families in their communities.

Tusla has advised that funding for individual Family Resource Centres can differ, depending on a range of factors, including:

- the size and population of the catchment area,

- the degree of economic disadvantage in the area, and

- the existing distribution of services in the area.

I have been advised by Tusla that the centre to which the Deputy refers has been allocated funding of €120,542 in 2018, which is an increase of €10,000 over 2017.

A number of Family Resource Centres which fall under the remit of Tusla's Family Resource Centre Programme are working with people who are experiencing homelessness and many have developed local responses to the needs of families in emergency accommodation. The range of services provided include family fun days, homework support, after school programmes, play therapy and transport services. 

In 2017, there were 109 Family Resource Centres in receipt of funding from Tusla. Tusla was provided with additional funding of some €3m in 2018 for the Family Resource Centre Programme. This investment has enabled Tusla to expand the Programme with the inclusion of 11 additional centres, bringing the total number of Family Resource Centres to 120. Additional funding of up to €10,000 was also allocated to the existing 109 Family Resource Centres this year.

Decisions with regard to funding levels in 2019 will be taken in the context of the Estimates process.  It is not possible therefore at this stage to advise on what level of funding will be available to the Family Resource Centre Programme next year. 

I strongly value the work of Family Resource Centres in communities throughout Ireland, and I will be making the case for a continued investment in the centres in 2019 and beyond. I will continue to support the centres in the valuable work they do, working with vulnerable children and families, particularly in areas of disadvantage.

Charitable and Voluntary Organisations

Ceisteanna (205)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

205. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of Pobal's proposed review into its charity status; if the review will be conducted in-house; the timeline for completion of the review; if his Department or the Office of the Attorney General has an input into the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27118/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Pobal is a not for profit company limited by guarantee.  Charitable status was granted to the company by the Revenue Commissioners on the 20th November 1996.  In accordance with Section 40 of the Charities Act, 2009, Pobal was entered onto the Register of Charitable Organisations automatically on 16 October 2014. 

Notwithstanding this, Pobal has informed my Department that it has engaged a firm of Solicitors to conduct an independent review of its charitable status.  The work is now underway and it is expected that the review will take 3-4 months. 

The board of Pobal will communicate the outcome of the review to my Department through the existing corporate governance and oversight arrangements.  The Charities Regulator has been informed of the process.

Charitable and Voluntary Organisations

Ceisteanna (206)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

206. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his Department has had contact with the Charities Regulator with regard to its review of State agencies that also hold charitable status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27119/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Charities Regulator is an independent authority and was established in October 2014 under the Charities Act 2009. The key functions of the Regulator are to establish and maintain a public register of charitable organisations operating in Ireland and ensure their compliance with the Charities Acts. I have no function in this matter.

In line with section 40 of the Charities Act 2009, all organisations which had been granted charitable status by the Revenue Commissioners when the Charities Regulator was established in October 2014 were automatically entered on the Register of Charities.  I understand that there are a number such charities on the Register of Charities which currently provide government services and/or which are statutory bodies.

Under its business plan for 2018 the Charities Regulator plans to carry out a number of targeted sector reviews, which may include charities which are statutory bodies.

The Charities Regulator’s 2018 business plan also includes the publication of a sectoral report, based on an analysis of data held on the Charities Register. This report will analyse issues such as the income and expenditure of the sector, overall economic and social impacts, legal structure and governance, and charitable donations. This report is scheduled for publication during the third quarter of 2018.

Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure

Ceisteanna (207, 211)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

207. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the full year cost of increasing all social welfare payments by €5, €10, €15 and €20, respectively, by payment type, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27000/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

211. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of increasing all working age payments by €5, €10, €15 and €20 by payment type, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27037/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 and 211 together.

The costings sought by the Deputy are detailed in the following table.

Cost of varying increases in social welfare payments

-

Full year cost of a €5 increase

Full year cost of a €10 increase

Full year cost of a €15 increase

Full year cost of a €20 increase

Scheme

€m

€m

€m

€m

Working Age Payments

Social Insurance Schemes

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension

7.98

15.96

23.94

31.92

Deserted Wife's Benefit

1.08

2.16

3.24

4.32

Invalidity Pension

15.44

30.88

46.32

61.76

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

0.28

0.56

0.84

1.12

Disablement Pension

1.28

2.56

3.84

5.12

Illness Benefit

14.49

28.98

43.47

57.96

Injury Benefit

0.42

0.84

1.26

1.68

Incapacity Supplement

0.28

0.56

0.84

1.12

Jobseeker's Benefit

8.53

17.06

25.59

34.12

Carer's Benefit

0.71

1.42

2.13

2.84

Health and Safety Benefit

0.02

0.04

0.06

0.08

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit

5.35

10.7

16.05

21.4

Paternity Benefit

0.31

0.62

0.93

1.24

Social Assistance Schemes

Blind Pension

0.34

0.68

1.02

1.36

Widow/ers or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension

0.36

0.72

1.08

1.44

Deserted Wife's Allowance

0.03

0.06

0.09

0.12

One-Parent Family Payment

10.17

20.34

30.51

40.68

Carer's Allowance

11.35

22.7

34.05

45.4

Half Rate Carer's Allowance

3.11

6.22

9.33

12.44

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

0.13

0.26

0.39

0.52

Jobseeker's Allowance

38.23

76.47

114.87

153.1

Jobseeker's Allowance - for those aged 18 to 24 years of age

4.15

8.3

12.44

16.59

Jobseeker's Allowance - for those aged 25 years of age

0.72

1.44

2.17

2.89

Pre-Retirement Allowance

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

Disability Allowance

39.67

79.34

119.01

158.68

Farm Assist

2.33

4.66

6.99

9.32

Back to Education Allowance

2.08

4.16

6.24

8.32

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

2.33

4.66

6.99

9.32

Community Employment

6.02

12.04

18.06

24.08

TÚS

1.8

3.6

5.4

7.2

Rural Social Scheme

1.11

2.22

3.33

4.44

Gateway

0.0

0.01

0.01

0.02

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

4.57

9.14

13.71

18.28

Total Working Age Payments

184.72

369.46

554.35

739.08

Pension Payments

Social Insurance Schemes

State Pension (Contributory)

110.16

220.32

330.48

440.64

Widow/er's Contributory Pension (Aged 66 and over)

22.23

44.46

66.69

88.92

Deserted Wife's Benefit (Aged 66 and over)

0.57

1.14

1.71

2.28

Death Benefit Pension (Aged 66 and over)

0.09

0.18

0.27

0.36

Social Assistance Schemes

State Pension (Non Con)

25.14

50.28

75.42

100.56

Carer's Allowance (Aged 66 and over)

0.66

1.32

1.98

2.64

Half Rate Carer's Allowance (Aged 66 and over)

1.57

3.14

4.71

6.28

Total Pension Payments

160.42

320.84

481.26

641.68

Total for Social Assistance and Social Insurance

345.14

690.30

1,035.61

1,380.76

Other Payments or Supplements

Domiciliary Care Allowance

2.43

4.85

7.28

9.71

Child Benefit

73.79

147.58

221.37

295.17

Carer Support Grant

0.56

1.12

1.68

2.24

Household Benefits

26.27

52.54

78.81

105.08

Fuel Allowance

50.76

101.52

152.28

203.04

Telephone Support Allowance

33.02

66.04

99.06

132.08

Increase for Qualified Child

87.89

175.78

263.67

351.56

Living Alone Allowance

54.99

109.98

164.97

219.97

Over 80s Allowance

42.89

85.78

128.67

171.56

Other Payments Total

372.6

745.19

1,117.79

1,490.41

Overall Total

717.74

1,435.49

2153.40

2,871.17

The costs shown above are on a full year basis and are based on the estimated number of recipients in 2019. It should be noted that these costings are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2019.

It should also be noted that these costings include proportionate increases for qualified adults and for those on reduced rates of payment, where relevant.

Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure

Ceisteanna (208)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

208. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of paying a 100% Christmas bonus; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27001/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Last December, an 85% Bonus was paid to some 1.2 million long-term social welfare recipients, including pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, lone parents and the long-term unemployed, at a cost of €218.6 million. The cost of a 100% Bonus is estimated at circa €257 million in 2018.

As was the case in previous years where a Bonus was subsequently paid (2014 to 2017 inclusive), there is no provision in the 2018 Revised Estimates for the payment (at any rate) of a Christmas Bonus in 2018. Any decision taken regarding the payment of a Bonus in 2018 will have to be consistent with the legal requirements set out in the domestic Fiscal Responsibility Acts 2012 and 2013 and the targets set for Ireland by the EU Stability and Growth Pact.

Jobseeker's Benefit Payments

Ceisteanna (209)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

209. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of equalising jobseeker's benefit rates and bringing payments for persons under 26 years of age in line with the current rates of payments for other age groups; the estimated cost equalising jobseeker's benefit payments factoring in a €5 increase; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27013/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The jobseeker’s schemes provide income support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full-time employment. The 2018 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure this year on the jobseeker’s schemes of €2.17 billion.

The current weekly maximum personal rate of jobseekers benefit is €198. Where a claimant has average weekly earnings of less than €300 in the relevant tax year they are paid a graduated rate. The relevant tax year for 2018 is 2016. The estimated full year cost of equalising the personal rate would be approximately €22 million. This cost would increase by a further €10 million factoring in a €5 increase.

The estimated full year cost of increasing the jobseekers allowance under 26 rates for all recipients would be approximately €94 million. The Deputy should be aware that the reduced rates of jobseekers allowance do not apply to recipients with a qualified child, those making a linked claim within the previous 12 months to which the maximum personal rate applied or those transferring directly to jobseekers allowance from disability allowance. The reduced rates also do not apply to 18 to 24 year olds who were in care before they reached the age of 18.

The costings provided are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2018. Any changes to the jobseekers schemes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Payments Waiting Times

Question No. 211 answered with Question No. 207.

Ceisteanna (210)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

210. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the waiting time for social welfare payments (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27016/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The information (where available) requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement.

Average Weeks to Award

May 2018

State Pension Contributory

6

State Pension Non-Contributory

13

Jobseeker's Benefit

1

Jobseeker's Allowance

2

Maternity Benefit

6

Disability Allowance

13

Illness Benefit

1

Invalidity Pension

7

Carer's Allowance

15

Domiciliary Care Allowance

10

Partial Capacity Benefit

14

Question No. 211 answered with Question No. 207.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ceisteanna (212)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

212. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when an application by a person (details supplied) will be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27048/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence including that adduced at the oral hearing, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (213)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

213. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a dental benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27057/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Qualification for dental benefit is based on satisfying certain PRSI conditions, which vary depending on the age of the person concerned. In this case, the person concerned would need to have paid 260 PRSI contributions at Class A, E, H, P or S, since first starting work, and also have at least 39 qualifying contributions paid at the correct rate, or credited, in the relevant tax year/s on which the claim is based.

While she has 260 PRSI contributions paid since first starting work, she does not have 39 contributions paid or credited in any year between 2013 and 2016; the relevant the tax years on which the current eligibility check is based. As a result, she does not qualify for dental benefit at this time.

However, if the customer has a Medical Card, she should contact her local HSE office, who will be able to advise her on her entitlements under the HSE scheme.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ceisteanna (214)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

214. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27063/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (215)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

215. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) will receive a reply; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27080/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Under the programme my Department provides funding for local sponsoring organisations to provide training, upskilling and educational opportunities for jobseekers and other vulnerable groups in the community.

This funding is granted under an annually renewable legal agreement/contract between the sponsoring organisation and the Department. Article 3 of the agreement/contract states that, “The Sponsor shall at all times be an independent contractor for all purposes and the relationship of principal and agent shall not exist between the parties and all persons recruited by the sponsor shall be their/her/his sole responsibility.” The supervisor is legally in the employment of the local sponsoring organisation. Their contracts of employment list the sponsor as the employer. They are not employees of my Department, nor are they public servants.

The focus on the development of individuals on schemes is captured by the supervisor in the Individual Learner Plan for each participant and this must be available for inspection by the Department as required along with the necessary back up documentation. With this in mind, the Department provides funding for the employment of supervisors on a 39 hour week basis to provide adequate time to the sponsoring organisation to provide the necessary supports for the daily management of the scheme.

The Deputy will appreciate that robust controls and monitoring are required to ensure that public monies are being spent in an effective and efficient manner. In this regard there are at least two monitoring visits carried out by the Department to a scheme on an annual basis – financial monitoring and programme monitoring to ensure compliance with the CE operational procedures. The scheme itself has no paperwork to complete. The monitoring form is completed by officials from the Department.

As the deputy is aware, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) have taken the lead in addressing the entitlement of CE supervisors to occupational pensions. A Community Sector High Level Forum, chaired by DPER is currently examining this issue. Other Departments including my Department are represented on this group, as are the unions and Pobal and a number of meetings have been held.

While I am very conscious that the issue relates to Community Employment supervisors and assistant supervisors, such individuals comprise of just one small group within the wider Community and Voluntary sector any provision of State funding for such a scheme in respect of those employees could potentially give rise to claims for similar schemes on the part of those in the broader sector, thus crystallising the potential level of liability. Any solution to this issue will require careful consideration, in particular the implications for scarce Exchequer resources.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.