County and City Managers' Association

Ceisteanna (550)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

550. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the detail of an association (details supplied); the function and role it has vis-à-vis Government; the body which funds it on a day to day basis; the amount of funding it receives annually from the State; the role it has to play in policy creation within his Department; if it has statutory powers; if so, the exact legislation which underpins it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41147/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The County and City Management Association (CCMA) is the organisation through which senior managers in local government provide sectoral leadership across business and programme areas. The CCMA operates through a number of committees, each of which is concerned with a specific policy area and these committees interact with relevant Government Departments and Agencies on a structured basis.

While the CCMA works closely with Government Departments and other key stakeholders on key public service delivery issues, my Department has no function in relation to its internal operations and does not provide funding to it.

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (551)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

551. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to revert to the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to the wording of the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016. [41149/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I wrote to the Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on 11 July 2018 to provide an update on work to develop an alternative wording for a constitutional amendment on the public ownership of water services with a view to amending the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016.

Government is firmly committed to public water services remaining in public ownership and this is reflected in the Water Services Acts. The Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025 approved by Government and published by me in May 2018 acknowledges that there is widespread support for this view, as recognised in the Oireachtas approval in April 2017 of the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services which supports the concept of a referendum on the issue of water services continuing in public ownership. The Water Services Policy Statement further notes that the question of the holding of a referendum is currently before the Dáil Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government where I have indicated my willingness to facilitate the holding of a referendum if a robust wording can be agreed, and where this does not have unintended consequences for group and private water services.

Contacts and discussions have been taking place between my Department and the Office of the Attorney General, with this engagement considering different approaches to the wording of a Constitutional amendment. In this regard, in early July I received written advice from the Attorney General on the matter and officials in my Department have been reviewing this. My aim is to be in a position to bring a recommendation to Government on a wording capable of being prepared as an amendment to the Bill. I hope to have clarity on the intended approach during the coming month when I plan to write again to the Committee.

In the meantime, I would welcome the opportunity of meeting with the Deputy, who is a sponsor of the Bill, to advise on recent progress. My office will make contact with the Deputy in this regard.

Ministerial Communications

Ceisteanna (552)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

552. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business in his Department; and if so, if it will be published. [41526/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department's ICT function provides a Department secure email service. My Department has ICT Security Policies in place and requires users to not include departmental confidential information within personal email. The ICT Security Policies are not published on security grounds.

Official Engagements

Ceisteanna (553)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

553. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he and or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41538/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I can confirm that neither myself, nor any of my officials, attended the 2018 Ryder Cup in a work-related or official capacity.

Budget Submissions

Ceisteanna (554)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

554. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding a budget 2019 submission; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41130/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Deputy is aware, the 2019 Budget Estimates will be announced today by my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment prior to that official announcement.

Wildlife Control

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (555, 556, 557, 558, 559)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

555. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide a copy of each application for a licence to carry out control actions on seagulls including the reason for each application; and the case made to justify each application from 1 January 2016 to date in 2018. [40650/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

556. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide a copy of each licence granted that permitted control actions on seagulls including site reports from rangers in circumstances in which such arose; the determination made towards the granting of each licence; and the reason for granting each licence by reference to EU legislation and or national legislation and pertinent EU or national derogation provisions. [40651/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

557. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide a copy of each decision to refuse a licence sought to carry out control actions on seagulls including site reports from rangers in circumstances in which such arose since 1 January 2016; the determination made towards the refusal to grant such a licence; and the reason since for refusing such a licence by reference to EU legislation and or national legislation. [40652/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

558. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a licence was issued for public safety reasons only with regard to all licences issued by her Department since 1 January 2016 permitting control action on seagulls, as distinct from public health and safety as is specified in the EU birds directive legislation and derogation provisions; the evidential basis for such a determination; and the distinctions made to justify preclusion of the public health segment of a composite phrase in the legislation. [40653/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

559. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the evidential basis for determinations with regard to all licences issued by her Department since 1 January 2016 permitting control action on seagulls in cases in which licences were issued for public health and safety reasons; and the precise evidential characteristics that warranted recognition of the complete legally specified public health and safety reason provisions. [40654/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 555 to 559, inclusive, together.

There are provisions under sections 22 and 42 of the Wildlife Acts allowing for the granting of licences and permits to control bird species, including seagulls, in certain circumstances. These applications are examined in my Department on a case by case basis and a decision on each individual application is made in consultation with regional officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department.

Given the volume of material sought here, I am arranging for my Department to provide the Deputy with information in tabular format on the number of such licences/permits issued by my Department since January 2016 to date to control seagulls. The information will include details as to the control method employed, such as the removal of nests or eggs, the location in each case and the reasons for granting the licence/permit. Details will also be provided on the applications for the control of seagulls refused by my Department during the same period.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to my reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos 555 to 559, inclusive, of 9 October 2018. Tables regarding the number of licences/permits granted and refused by my Department under the Wildlife Acts for seagulls since January 2016 to date are available at the following link:
Tables 1 and 2 list the licences/permits granted under Sections 22 and 42 respectively while Table 3 lists the applications refused.

Arts and Culture Capital Scheme

Ceisteanna (560)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

560. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will announce a new arts and culture capital scheme from 2019 onwards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40872/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Project Ireland 2040 has given explicit recognition to the importance of our culture, language and heritage to our sustainable development by the unprecedented commitment by Government to invest €1.2 billion over the next decade. Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027 sets out the Government’s objectives for capital investment in Ireland’s culture, language and heritage. The plan sets out significant investment on a phased basis over the next 10 years including €785 m for Culture. This level of investment will transform our cultural infrastructure right across the country and includes plans to reinvest in our regional cultural infrastructure.

The recent Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 is focused on the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing stock of arts and culture facilities throughout the country. To date, funding of €10.214 m has been allocated to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams. This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to a range of facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces. A full list of all successful projects is available on my Department’s website at the following link https://www.chg.gov.ie/arts/creative-arts/grants-and-funding/.

This Scheme is making a huge difference to each of the individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to a new round of grant funding under Arts and Cultural Capital Scheme to be announced in the near future.

Wildlife Rangers

Ceisteanna (561)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

561. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the estimated full cost of recruiting an extra 50 full-time conservation rangers for the National Parks and Wildlife Service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40884/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that, based on current pay levels, the estimated cost of recruiting an additional 50 full-time Conservation Rangers for the National Parks and Wildlife Service would be €1,302,986 per annum.

Architectural Heritage

Ceisteanna (562)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

562. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for the restoration of a castle and a house (details supplied); if alternative plans exist for the two buildings; if funding has been allocated to Monaghan County Council in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40947/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our architectural heritage, is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, as are the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners as regards heritage assets.

The buildings referred to by the Deputy are in local authority ownership. In relation to the first building, I understand the local authority is working to assess the potential to redevelop and find a long term sustainable use for it. As part of this process I am informed that an appraisal of the building was carried out by consultants on behalf of the County Council, a public consultation was held by the local authority and the consultants’ report was presented to the Council in April 2018.

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Structures at Risk Fund (SRF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.3 m and €2 m, respectively, to these schemes.

I have also provided funding of €1 m in 2018 for the Historic Towns Initiative, which is a joint initiative of my Department and the Heritage Council. This initiative is supporting six historic towns in 2018 which are carrying out significant heritage regeneration projects. I understand that the local authority were successful in applying for funding under the Initiative this year for works to the second building mentioned, but the application was subsequently withdrawn by the local authority pending their consideration of a long-term plan for the future of the building.

In terms of future funding, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018–2027 represents a major capital investment scheme of €1.2 billion over the next 10 years, which will include increased investment in protecting and celebrating our built heritage across the country. More details on the commencement and completion dates for projects and programmes, as well as the timing of the expenditure in relation to them, will emerge as we go through the process of appraisal and planning as required under the Public Spending Code.

Harbours and Piers Funding

Ceisteanna (563)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

563. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount of funding granted for an update on Magheroarty Pier, County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41009/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, the development of the pier at Machaire Rabhartaigh has been included in Project Ireland 2040. My Department is working with Donegal County Council and relevant stakeholders to progress this proposal to the planning stage. Among the earliest tasks of this phase of the project will be a full costing of its various elements. As is the norm with any major capital project funded by my Department, funding will be approved at different stages of the project from the start-up stage to completion, depending on the availability of resources and in line with the provisions of the Public Spending Code.

Local Authority Funding

Ceisteanna (564)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

564. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount allocated to Donegal County Council to carry out works to the Bunbeg Bridge, Gweedore; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41010/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Deputy may be aware that my Department sanctioned funding of €56,850 to Donegal County Council to carry out works on this bridge in 2005 under the Gaeltacht Village Renewal Scheme. Under this scheme, funding was provided to the relevant local authorities to undertake agreed programmes of works aimed at improving village environments within Gaeltacht regions. It would appear however that the project did not proceed at that time and as the Deputy may be aware, the Gaeltacht Village Renewal Scheme has been suspended for a number of years.

I should also point out that under the Department’s Scéim na mBóithre Áise, funding was similarly provided to local authorities to carry out repair works on minor roads in Gaeltacht areas, subject to a number of criteria, including whether the road in question was under the care of the relevant local authority. Notwithstanding that this scheme has similarly been suspended for a number of years, neither the bridge referred to by the Deputy nor the road in question on which it lies could be considered eligible under that scheme as it is within the care of the local authority.

Structures at Risk Fund

Ceisteanna (565)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

565. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if an application for funding (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41018/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I refer the Deputy to my responses to Parliamentary Questions No. 549 of 25 September 2018 and 262 of 26 September 2018, in relation to the same structure. My Department is currently assessing proposals put forward by the project promoters.

Official Languages Act 2003 Compliance

Ceisteanna (566)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

566. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of State bodies that have not to date submitted a language plan under the Official Languages Act 2003; the name of each such organisation in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41219/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In accordance with Section 11(1) of the Official Languages Act (2003), my Department is actively engaged in the process of agreeing inaugural and subsequent schemes with a large number of public bodies. At present there are 43 public bodies who are in the process of preparing their inaugural language schemes.

Having regard to the reduction in the number of public sector bodies since the commencement of the Act, the drafting of a new Regulation to update the list of public bodies listed in the First Schedule to the Act is currently being progressed as a priority by my Department.

It should be noted that the language schemes currently being implemented cover the majority of public bodies who have regular contact with the general public.

Inaugural draft schemes to be confirmed under section 11 (1) of the 2003 Act

1. Abbey Theatre

2. Adoption Authority of Ireland

3. Bord Gáis Éireann

4. Bord Iascaigh Mhara

5. Bord na Móna

6. Cavan & Monaghan Education & Training Board

7. Charities Regulatory Authority

8. Child and Family Support Agency

9. City of Dublin Education & Training Board

10. Coillte Teoranta

11. Commission for Energy Regulation

12. Competition and Consumer Protection Authority

13. Córas Iompair Éireann Group incorporating Bus Éireann, Bus Átha Cliath & Iarnród Éireann

14. Cork Airport Authority plc

15. Cork Institute of Technology

16. Employment Appeals Tribunal

17. Enterprise Ireland

18. Fáilte Ireland - National Tourism Development Authority

19. Food Safety Authority of Ireland

20. Government Information Services

21. Health and Safety Authority

22. Heritage Council

23. Housing Agency

24. IDA Ireland

25. Inland Fisheries Ireland

26. Irish Blood Transfusion Service

27. Irish Prison Service

28. Irish Sports Council

29. Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board

30. Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board

31. Limerick Institute of Technology

32. Longford & Westmeath Education and Training Board

33. National Archives

34. National Concert Hall

35. National Disability Authority

36. National Library of Ireland

37. National Milk Agency

38. Office of the Appeals Commissioners

39. Office of the Chief Medical Officer for the Civil Service

40. Probation Service

41. The Health Service Executive

42. The Private Security Authority

43. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Ministerial Communications

Ceisteanna (567)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

567. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there is a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business in her Department; and if so, if it will be published. [41520/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As I advised the Deputy in my response to Parliamentary Question 553 of 25th September, official email business in my role as Minister is conducted via Department and Oireachtas email accounts. On occasion, when outside the office, I make use of a private g-mail account on my mobile phone to forward information of a non-sensitive nature to my private office, generally relating to diary appointments or constituency matters.

Minister of State Joe McHugh has also confirmed that only Oireachtas and Department email addresses are used for official business and that no personal email accounts are used for business purposes.

For completeness, I would advise the Deputy that, while my Department operates an Acceptable Usage Policy in relation to the use of ICT equipment, this policy does not specifically preclude the use of personal email accounts for official purposes.

Official Engagements

Ceisteanna (568)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

568. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she and-or officials in her Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41534/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Neither I nor any representatives of my Department attended this event in an official capacity. I can also confirm that neither I nor any of my officials have engaged in any meetings of the kind referred to by the Deputy.