Online Safety

Ceisteanna (96)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

96. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Taoiseach the status of the preparation and publication of an action plan which his Department is co-ordinating further to the open policy debate on online safety held earlier in 2018. [26977/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The Action Plan for Online Safety being developed by a cross-Government team is well advanced. I expect it to be submitted to Government in the coming weeks for approval and publication.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (97)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

97. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on recent failures related to the payroll system in the Defence Forces leaving members with late payment of wages and late distribution of payslips. [27028/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Since 2017, payrolls for the Defence Forces are processed by the Department's payroll provider, the National Shared Services Office (NSSO). Payments to Defence Forces personnel are made by the NSSO using electronic funds transfer. Also, as part of the move to the NSSO, online payslips were introduced to replace the paper payslips then in use.

My Department has not been made aware of any recent late payments of wages to members of the Defence Forces or late provision of online payslips but if the Deputy can forward any details I will have the matter examined further.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (98)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

98. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he met Prince Charles when he visited Ireland; and if so, the issues that were discussed. [26879/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I had the privilege of welcoming the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Ireland for their fourth visit in as many years. Although we did not have a formal meeting, we did have the opportunity, at various points during their programme in Cork, to discuss a number of issues of interest, including our mutual interest in marine issues, and the wider British-Irish relationship. I assured the Royal couple that they would always be welcome in Ireland, and that we hope to see them here again.

Gender Equality

Ceisteanna (99)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

99. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the work of his Department's sub-committee of the management board on gender equality, equality and diversity established in 2016; the details of the events it has organised or participated in to celebrate and support equality and diversity domestically and through his Department's mission network overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26980/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department is fully committed to ensuring that our staff are representative and reflective of the people and society we serve. The Department’s Management Board Sub Committee on Gender Equality, Equality, and Diversity was first established in 2012 to provide momentum and leadership to efforts to improve gender balance in the Department. In 2017, the Sub Committee’s remit was formally expanded to include broader diversity and equality issues as outlined in the Employment Equality and Equal Status Acts, together with the issue of discrimination on socio-economic grounds.The Sub Committee (supported by a Gender Equality Action Plan Working Group and a Working Group on Equality and Diversity) is the governance structure for the consideration of equality and diversity issues; policy on these issues is of course led and managed by the Department’s human resources team and informed by central Civil Service policies. The Department also works closely with the Civil Service Management Board in the development of new approaches to gender equality. Work on gender equality is structured through the Department’s Gender Equality Action Plan which sets out a number of key objectives to help improve gender balance at all grades, at home and abroad. Important initiatives taken under the Action Plan include the roll-out of unconscious bias training, mentoring and coaching for women in leadership roles, and the establishment of a Gender Equality Network which organises seminars and discussions on gender open to all staff.

Efforts have specifically been made to ensure gender balance in promotions and particularly at senior positions where inequalities are historically most evident. In 2012, at the establishment of the Sub-Committee, 27% of Counsellors/Principal Officers in the Department were female. As of 2018, the percentage of female Counsellor/Principal Officers is 34%, highlighting the success of efforts made by the Department to address inequalities, while also evidencing the need to continue efforts already being implemented.

The Working Group on Equality and Diversity has now developed a complementary Action Plan which will be launched shortly and which will drive initiatives around inclusion, equality, and diversity in our human resources approach and in our external and internal communications. As part of the Action Plan, I will shortly be launching the Department’s LGBT+ Staff Network. This Network aims to be a supportive space for LGBT+ staff, secondees and their spouses at home or overseas.

There are regular events at the Department’s Headquarters to promote gender equality, equality and diversity. In 2017, six events were held and to date there have been four events on issues on gender equality, equality and diversity in 2018. Events have included topics such as ‘Inclusion and Disability’, ‘Gender Equality in Leadership’, ‘LGBT+ History’, and ‘Diversity in the Diplomatic Service’. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am committed to communicating our values to our partners around the world and to visible demonstrations of our support for human rights and equality. The Department’s diplomatic network and the Irish Aid programme work directly, and in cooperation with, other EU Member States to engage with Governments on a range of governance and human rights issues, including gender equality and the rights of the LGBT+ community. The Human Right Unit in my Department supports embassies in their engagement on these issues, including the provision of appropriate training to staff in advance of their postings overseas.

In March this year Ireland also chaired the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, leading to the adoption of Conclusions which focused on gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

In May 2018, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, I launched a social media awareness campaign on Twitter reiterating Ireland’s commitment to the rights of LGBT+ individuals and encouraging our global network to show solidarity by supporting the hashtag #FollowTheRainbow.

Many of our embassies have also participated in annual Pride events including most recently Embassies Warsaw, Washington and Zagreb.

Human Rights Cases

Ceisteanna (100)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

100. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) has been imprisoned under an administrative detention order since 2 July 2017 and has reportedly been denied the right to a fair and public trial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27021/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I am aware of the case of the person concerned, whose administrative detention order has just been renewed for a further period reported to be four months. She has been in administrative detention without trial for a year, having already been detained, under administrative detention and a conviction whose basis was very unclear, for much of the period since April 2015. I understand that she is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is an outlawed group in Israel and considered a terrorist group by the EU. However, no real and credible imputation of personal involvement in violent activities has been made against her.

My view on this case, and on the practice of administrative detention generally, is very clear. While no-one can doubt the particular threats and security concerns which Israel faces, administrative detention should only be used, if at all, in the most serious of cases and in the face of serious and immediate threat. In all other cases, persons should be charged and tried in the courts, able to hear and challenge the evidence against them. No evidence of such a serious and immediate threat has been presented, in a way which would allow the person in question to address it, in this case.

In general, there is serious concern that administrative detention is being applied on an increasingly routine basis against people who are politically active and critical of the occupation of the Palestinian territory, without any evidence being made available to indicate that these individuals constitute a security threat. Such periods of detention are often rolled over and extended indefinitely.

All of these criticisms have been conveyed to the Israeli authorities, most recently in the context of the Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the Human Rights Council in January of this year, when Ireland reiterated that detainees must have the right to be informed of the charges underlying any detention, have access to legal assistance, and receive a fair trial. Ireland has also been instrumental in having them included in EU Council Conclusions on the situation in Israel and Palestine.

It is incumbent on Israel to charge this person with credible and evidence-based offences, or to release her. I note that a leading article in one of the main Israeli newspapers yesterday made the same call.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (101)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

101. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Government's position on the new policy of the United States Government in respect of the removal of undocumented children from their parents; if his attention has been drawn to reports of the conditions of the detention centres in which these children are being held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27107/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Irish people have been rightly appalled by the images which have recently emerged of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the southern US border and held in detention by the US authorities. I have no desire to become involved in a US domestic debate about immigration. Clearly, every state has the right, indeed the duty, to police its own borders and to enforce its immigration laws. This duty should, however, be discharged in the case of all countries in line with their international obligations and with respect for the human rights of all involved, especially children.

Ireland, as a State party to the Convention to the Rights of the Child, is of the view that in all actions that involve children, the best interests of the child should have primary consideration.

I therefore urge the US government to immediately reverse this policy of separation.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (102)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

102. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance if his Department will cost a capital plan for each of the years 2019 to 2023 with the national development plan, NDP, for the same period (details supplied). [26942/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, in order to assess the impact of capital smoothing of the proposed voted capital expenditure model the actual capital expenditure in 2016 and 2017 along with that planned for 2018 have to be included in the calculation, as these impact on 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The following table takes this into consideration and, combining it with the plan as submitted, results in the following amounts of capital expenditure recognised under the expenditure benchmark each year:

Expenditure

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Exchequer capital expenditure, € millions

8,500

8,900

9,618

10,118

10,618

Amount after capital smoothing applied, € millions

981

952

1,030

1,080

530

Exchequer capital expenditure,  per cent of GNI* ^

3.8

3.8

4.0

N/A

N/A

Exchequer capital expenditure, per cent of GDP ^

2.6

2.6

2.7

N/A

N/A

^Nominal GDP and GNI* out to 2021 were published in annex 2 of the Stability Programme Update 2018. These series have not been estimated beyond 2021.

 In regards to the request to cost the National Development Plan - in my response to PQ 160 on 27 February I set out the impact on net fiscal space for the years 2019 -2021. This detailed response takes into account the Exchequer and non-Exchequer impact as well as the issue of capital grants versus gross fixed capital formation.

Table 3 of the 2018 Summer Economic Statement takes these details into consideration in the calculation of fiscal space under the expenditure benchmark.

Excise Duties

Ceisteanna (103)

John Deasy

Ceist:

103. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to reduce or remove the emergency tax placed on fuel after the economic crash a decade ago in view of the rising petrol and diesel prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26949/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The financial crisis brought about increases to fuel excise duties to raise badly needed revenues in the face of a decreasing tax yield. However, excise duties applying to petrol and diesel have remained static since 2012. 

The table below shows how Irish fuel excise duties ranks in EU terms over the last decade.

Year

Petrol

Diesel

2008

12th

9th

2009

11th

3rd

2010

11th

4th

2011

10th

4th

2012

11th

4th

2013

11th

4th

2014

11th

5th

2015

12th

6th

2016

12th

7th

2017

11th

7th

2018

12th

10th

Source: EU Commission Excise Duty Tables

Excise on diesel in Ireland was the 3rd most expensive in the EU in 2009 and, arising from the fact that there have been no increases since 2012, is now the 10th most expensive. Similarly, many Member States apply higher excise duties on unleaded petrol than Ireland.

It is the long standing practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment on measures which may or may not be included in the upcoming budget.

Insurance Compensation Fund

Ceisteanna (104)

John Deasy

Ceist:

104. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance when the Insurance (Amendment) Bill will be published, which will include a provision to give effect to full compensation to third-party claimants of a company (details supplied) by way of a balance payment of 35% by the State to those that have settled their claims. [26950/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Setanta Insurance was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.

The Deputy will be aware that under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, monies may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF), with the approval of the High Court, in relation to an insolvent insurer, to meet claims up to a limit of 65% or €825,000 of the claim, whichever is the lesser.

The Deputy will also be aware of my decision in principle that the State will ensure that Setanta third party claimants are compensated in full, which was announced on 30 January. I am pleased to confirm that a provision  giving effect to this decision has been included in the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, which was published on 19 June.

I am hoping that, with the cooperation of Members of the House, the Bill will pass all Stages in an efficient manner. Once enacted, it will allow for the payment of 100% of the compensation due to Setanta third party personal injury motor insurance claimants including the additional 35% to those who have settled their claims and have already received compensation of 65% of their claim. The same principle of full payment will apply to third party property motor insurance claimants subject to a limit of €1.22m (in line with Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland limits).

It is however important to note that only claims which have been settled can be included in applications to the High Court for payment from the ICF. The process of settling claims is still ongoing and is subject in some cases to complex negotiations between all relevant parties. It is hoped that by the State taking steps to ensure that third party claimants are compensated in full, this will continue to encourage the settlement of all outstanding claims as quickly as possible.

Insurance Costs

Ceisteanna (105)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

105. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance if consideration will be given to the issues raised by an organisation (details supplied) in relation to insurance reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27019/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I welcome the proactive role that the Alliance for Insurance Reform is taking in regard to the issue of the cost of insurance, particularly for businesses.  I can assure the Deputy that my Department and I are both very conscious of the impact that the volatility in insurance prices in the last few years has had on consumers and businesses and am well aware of the issues raised by the Alliance.  The Alliance has featured prominently in the media and put its viewpoints across at Joint Oireachtas Committee appearances, while its members have submitted a large number of representations to the Department, both directly and through TDs and Senators.  Moreover, the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy T.D., has formally met with the Alliance, and relevant issues were discussed to some level of detail. 

With regard to the ’10 asks’ of the Alliance in particular, most of the issues which have been raised by it were considered in detail by the Cost of Insurance Working Group in the course of its work to produce its two reports namely, the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance. A number of these issues are in the process of being implemented such as amending section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and linking sections 25 and 26 so that exaggerated and misleading claims are automatically referred to the Gardaí for investigation. There are other recommendations however such as changing the approach to calculating the Book of Quantum where we have clearly indicated to the Alliance that there are constitutional issues which need to be first considered thus explaining why we have referred the matter to the Law Reform Commission for examination.

I have also pointed out to the Alliance that reinstating the “Blue Book” is a matter for the Central Bank of Ireland and as Minister, this is not an issue I have any influence over.  Notwithstanding this, my Department remains open to maintaining constructive engagement with the Alliance on its key ‘asks’.

Finally, it is important that the Cost of Insurance Working Group continues to focus on implementing the recommendations of the two Reports so we can see what impact  the completion of all the actions have on the cost of insurance before looking to introduce more changes.  As I have stated previously, I believe that the cumulative effects of the implementation of all the recommendations should include increased stability in the pricing of insurance for consumers and businesses and improved availability of insurance generally.

Tax Rebates

Ceisteanna (106)

James Browne

Ceist:

106. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Finance the reason a full refund of PAYE was not paid to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27075/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that a full refund of PAYE tax is generally not made until after the end of the tax year when the full earnings of the taxpayer are known.

However, given the difficult health circumstances of the person in question, Revenue will review their year to date tax situation and will expedite any repayment due to them. A Revenue official will make direct contact the person in the coming days to advance matters.

Living City Initiative

Ceisteanna (107)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

107. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of units availing of the relief in each year since May 2015 by special regeneration area, by owner occupier residential relief, rented residential landlord relief and commercial relief, by cost to the State; the number that were for conversion; the number of each of the three reliefs that were for refurbishment in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27098/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the Living City Initiative (LCI).

I am advised by Revenue that applications are only required to be made to the relevant local authority under the owner-occupier and rented residential elements of the scheme. Applications are not required to be made to the local authority under the commercial element of the scheme. Based on the most recent information received by Revenue from the City and County Councils, the number of applications received per eligible city since LCI commenced in May 2015 is as follows:

City

Applications   Received

Dublin

45

Cork

36

Limerick

14

Waterford

16

Kilkenny

9

Galway

2

Information in relation to the amount actually claimed, the cost to the Exchequer and the number of claimants for the 2015 tax year is as follows:

Year

Number of claimants

Amount claimed

€M

Maximum tax cost assumed at 41% for Inc.Tax and 12.5% for CT

€M

2015

12

0.3

0.1

 

Revenue inform me that claims for the 2016 tax year are currently being analysed and updates of this information should be published shortly in the 'Certain Property Based Tax Exemptions' table, located on their website at the following link:  

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/statistics/tax-expenditures/property-reliefs.pdf

 Finally, I am informed by Revenue that due to the low number of taxpayers claiming this relief, and Revenue’s obligation to observe the confidentiality of taxpayer information, it is not possible to provide further breakdowns as requested by the Deputy. Also, the information on tax returns is not submitted in a format that allows the collection of data by area or by whether the units were for conversion or refurbishment.

Tax Rebates

Ceisteanna (108)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

108. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the cost per year of the hybrid VRT rebate; if the cost is being retained in the expenditure base for 2019 in view of the fact that it is scheduled to expire at the end of 2018; his plans to extend the rebate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27099/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the amount of VRT remitted/repaid for new and used Hybrid electric and plug-in Hybrid electric vehicles is provided in the following table. Please note that figures provided for 2017 are provisional and may therefore be subject to revision. Figures for 2018 reflect data for January to May only.

Year

Cost

€ Millions

2001

€  0.06

2002

€  0.04

2003

€  0.03

2004

€  0.98

2005

€  1.65

2006

€  5.00

2007

€  8.39

2008

€  8.63

2009

€  1.27

2010

€  2.54

2011

€  0.95

2012

€  1.13

2013

€  1.37

2014

€  1.83

2015

€  3.00

2016

€  6.08

2017 (provisional)

€10.34

2018 (to May)

€  0.11

It is the long standing practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment on measures which may or may not be included in the upcoming budget. 

VAT Rebates

Ceisteanna (109)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

109. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if a VAT reclaim is being considered on petrol vehicles for businesses; the full year cost of a VAT reclaim on petrol for companies; his views on whether there would be additional anti-avoidance issues with VAT reclaim on petrol over a VAT reclaim on diesel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27100/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Irish VAT law does not provide for a VAT rebate for diesel or petrol. The different treatment of VAT as regards petrol and diesel relates to the VAT input deductibility entitlement of VAT registered taxpayers. Businesses who make supplies that are charged to VAT are entitled to claim input VAT on their business expenses. VAT registered persons are entitled to claim the cost of VAT on the purchase of diesel used in the course of their business, as is the case with most business costs. However, section 60 of the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 prohibits VAT deductibility by businesses on certain goods and services which, by their ubiquitous nature, are not easily distinguishable from general non-business use. This is for anti-avoidance reasons.

Expenditure on petrol, as well as expenditure on food, drink, accommodation, and entertainment, is specifically excluded from deductibility entitlement, even where the petrol or other goods and services are acquired or used for the purpose of a taxable business. 

Under Article 176 of the EU VAT Directive, Ireland can retain certain restrictions on VAT deductibility that were in place before 1979. As VAT input deductibility has been restricted on petrol since 1972, Ireland can retain that block on deductibility. While it is legally possible to apply the normal rules of VAT deductibility to petrol, once the block on deductibility is eased or removed it would not be possible to re-introduce it. There is a case for petrol and diesel to be treated equally in terms of input deductibility entitlements as there is a greater level of diesel run personal motor vehicles in operation today than in the past. However, the provisions of Article 176 prohibit the application of a new deductibility restriction on diesel expenditure. As anti-avoidance concerns regarding petrol expenditure deductibility continue, the restriction on VAT deductibility remains valid.

The information available on tax records does not allow petrol purchases by businesses to be separately identified. Therefore, it is not possible to furnish an estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of allowing a VAT reclaim on petrol for businesses.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (110)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

110. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if a benefit in kind incentive is being considered for the use of hybrid electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles; the estimated full year cost of such an incentive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27101/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Energy and Environmental Tax Strategy Group Paper will examine the issue of the tax treatment of private cars when provided by an employer to an employee.

It is the long standing practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment on measures which may or may not be included in the upcoming budget.

Office of Public Works Properties

Ceisteanna (111)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

111. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when maintenance work will be carried out on a property (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26961/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have been advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that they have noted the requirement for maintenance works at the Garda Station at Lorrha. Remedial works to improve the visual condition of the property are scheduled to commence shortly.

Public Procurement Contracts

Ceisteanna (112)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

112. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Government Procurement will consider the introduction of a mandatory seasonal disconnect of gas facilities in schools in order to save money during the summer months when the schools are on summer break and do not require a gas connection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27014/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Procurement is a key element of the Government's Reform agenda. The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) was established to drive the reform agenda, adopt a strategic approach to public procurement, leverage the State's spending power and deliver savings for the State.

Framework agreements are one of a number of ways in which the OGP engages with the market to achieve value for money in the delivery of much-needed public goods and services.  Framework agreements are established through competitive procurement processes and are agreements with suppliers or service providers which set out terms and conditions under which specific contracts can be made during the term of the agreement. 

There is ongoing engagement between the OGP and our public sector clients so that the necessary contracts and frameworks are put in place to meet their requirements.   

The OGP has established a Multi-Supplier Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland.  This Framework Agreement was put in place following consultations with representatives from the Education, Central Government, Local Authority, Health and the Security Services Sectors.

The OGP is currently working on the next generation Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland.  In this regard, it has sought input from the Sectors.  Any proposals, including cost saving initiatives, that are put forward and that are feasible will be taken into consideration.

While the OGP is facilitating the procurement process, it should be noted that the management of schools is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills.

Public Sector Staff Data

Ceisteanna (113)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

113. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of bilingual officers that are proficient in and willing to deliver a service to the public in Irish and English that have been recruited to the Civil Service through competitions organised by the Public Appointments Service, PAS, in the past 12 months in respect of grades (details supplied). [27033/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is an independent statutory recruitment body for the civil service. PAS carry out general service competitions for the Civil Service and in many cases establish Irish language streams in those competitions.

Information relating to the number of assignments from PAS to Civil Service Departments and offices for functional bi-linguals is set  out in the table.

PAS have informed me that there is current, limited availability on a number of panels, and that a bi-functional competition for Clerical Officers will be advertised in the next few weeks. PAS also intend to run a bi- functional competition at Executive Officer level later in 2018.

Grade

2017

2018

Totals

CO

20

2

22

EO

4

0

4

AO

4

0

4

HEO

1

0

1

AP

2

0

2

Totals

31

2

33

TLAC do not establish Irish panels but job advertisements for senior grades may have a requirement for Irish if required by a department or office but such information is not readily available. 

Public Consultation Process

Ceisteanna (114)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

114. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the commitment in A Programme for A Partnership Government on providing an accessible portal to provide the public information regarding consultations in relation to events occurring in their communities. [26884/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the Public Consultations Portal, which was included in the Programme for a Partnership Government, will be launched shortly.

The Portal will provide a single mechanism by which people can access information on consultations at local, regional and national levels. 

The portal has been developed by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer in consultation with the Open Government Unit in my department.  It will allow people who access it to search for consultations by policy area and organisation, such as a Government Department, Local Authority or Public Body.  Users will be able to receive email notifications of new consultations by policy area or organisation and share consultations on social media or by email. 

A lot of work has been put into making sure the user interface is simple and easy to use and that the portal will be kept up to date with all live consultations across central and local government. 

We hope that the Portal will help to promote meaningful citizen engagement in policy making.

Home Tuition Scheme Provision

Ceisteanna (115)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

115. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if home tuition will be facilitated for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26964/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the purpose of the Home Tuition Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons, are unable to access a school placement.

As always, the preferred approach is that, where possible, children with special educational needs are educated in school settings where they may have access to individualised education programmes, fully-qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants, the appropriate school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils.

Accordingly, Home Tuition is provided as an interim measure only and should not be regarded as an optional alternative to a school placement.

The child referred to by the Deputy is currently in receipt of home tuition. My officials have advised that the child is enrolled in a school placement for the forthcoming school year.