Water and Sewerage Schemes Grants

Ceisteanna (254)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

254. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the provision of a septic tank grant for those who require to replace their existing septic tanks and do not have the resources to do so themselves but that have not been inspected will be considered. [1842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas library, brought into operation a grant scheme to assist with the cost of remediation of domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks, which are deemed, following inspection under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Inspection Plan, to require repair or upgrading.

In April 2018, I established a Working Group to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services. The Group’s aim is to recommend measures to ensure an equality of outcome between those who receive water services from Irish Water and non-Irish Water customers. The Working Group is considering all elements of rural water services including Group Water Schemes, Group Sewerage Schemes, domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks and individual domestic water supplies / private wells. This include enhancements to the scheme for septic tanks to better support the programme of measures in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 - 2021, published in 2018.

The terms of reference of the review provide for a two-strand approach. Strand 1 was to consider the composition and distribution of funding for the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. Strand 2 is considering the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the rural water sector.

I recently received a report on Strand 1 of the Working Group's deliberations. Following my consideration of its recommendations, I expect to announce details of the programme priorities for the 2019 to 2021 funding cycle shortly. This is to include revisions to the grant scheme for domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (255, 256)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

255. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of employees in his Department; the number professionally qualified with organisations (details supplied); the number with other relevant professional qualifications; and the number with no professional qualifications, in tabular form. [1891/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

256. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of employees in his Department authorised to engage in procurement; the number professionally qualified with organisations (details supplied); the number with other relevant professional qualifications; and the number with no professional qualifications, in tabular form. [1908/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 255 and 256 together.

There were 719.35 full time equivalent staff in my Department at the end of December 2018, of which 223.28 FTE were professional/technical grades and 496.07 FTE were general administrative grades. The vast majority of staff in the professional and technical stream would require professional qualifications relevant to their specific job for example, planners, engineers, architects, accountants. However a large proportion of staff in general administrative grades also hold qualifications in a wide range of areas such as law, economics, business, HR and finance. My Department does not hold a central register of the professional institute memberships of individual staff members.

My Department is committed to providing opportunities for staff for continuing career and professional development, through both general and targeted training programmes. In that context, and in addition to the internal policy and procedures documents in place to support the range of staff who may, from time to time, be involved in procurement of goods/services, my Department supports staff to undertake training and education to support delivery of those functions. My Department also engages on an ongoing basis with the Office of Government Procurement to utilise frameworks that are in place or to seek advice in respect of specific procurement matters. In addition, given the extent to which the procurement of goods and services funded by my Department is undertaken through the local government sector, a comprehensive shared service arrangement, at both the strategic and operational levels, has been in place in the sector for a number of years in order to support the professional delivery of procurement services.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (257)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

257. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to introduce the residential tenancies (amendment) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1955/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 2018 was published on 19 December 2018. I intend to bring the Bill through the legislative process in the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible during the current Oireachtas session.

National Cultural Institutions

Ceisteanna (258)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

258. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the board of a theatre (details supplied) ratified the annual plans for the theatre; the corporate governance model that is applied between the board and artistic directors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1817/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Board of the theatre referred to by the Deputy appoints the Director(s) and sets overall strategy policy. On artistic programming, the Board's role is to ensure the Directors’ programming choices reflect strategy, showing creativity, diversity and ambition while maintaining financial sustainability and meeting the Board’s commitment to increased gender equality. Artistic decisions and the day-to-day running of the theatre are the remit of the Directors.

As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I acknowledge the necessity for the theatre referred to by the Deputy, as with all theatres, to have a level of artistic freedom in terms of its programming. However, I also recognise the necessity for a strong working relationship with all stakeholders including theatre practitioners. This is vital for the continued success of theatre in this country.

The theatre is a recipient of public funding from both my Department and the Arts Council. The Board and Directors of the theatre concerned have stated that their commitment to supporting the widest range of artists, making best use of its resources to bring their work to a growing and diverse audience.

The theatre's Board regularly engages with the Arts Council and with my Department, and some of the issues raised in the letter I received from theatre practitioners on 7 January had already been under active discussion between the theatre and the Arts Council in recent months. The Board of the theatre Board has also stated that the Directors’ programming over the past two years, and into 2019, reflects the policy and strategic direction.

The theatre's five-year strategy (2019-2023) is published on its website. Central to the vision is for creativity to drive the theatre, developing the artists and audiences of the future.

National Cultural Institutions

Ceisteanna (259)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

259. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her contacts and meetings with a theatre (details supplied) in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1818/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I have had a number of contacts and meetings with the theatre referred to by the Deputy in 2018. On 13 June, I met with the Chair of the Board. On 13 December, I met with the Chair of the Board and the co-directors at an event to mark the launch of the theatre's 5-Year Strategy.

I also attended two performances at the theatre in 2018.

National Cultural Institutions

Ceisteanna (260)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

260. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the role she has in relation to the operation of a theatre (details supplied); the reason for policy interventions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1819/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I have responsibility for setting overall vision and strategic direction for Ireland’s cultural sector. I acknowledge the necessity for this theatre, as with all theatres, to have a level of artistic freedom in terms of its programming but I also recognise the necessity for a strong working relationship with all its stakeholders.

This theatre to which the Deputy refers is not a State Body as defined by the 2016 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. It is a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Acts. Its Board consists of the Chair and 10 ordinary members.

My Department undertakes the following main functions in relation to this theatre:-

- As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I appoint the Chair and two of the ordinary members of the Board. Of the remaining members, one is a staff representative and seven are appointed by a Selection Committee.

- My Department provides the theatre's annual capital grant. The Arts Council provides the theatre's annual current grant.

- Funding for the theatre's development project under Project Ireland 2040.

Arts Funding

Ceisteanna (261)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

261. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the €2.13 million in funding through Culture Ireland for Irish arts globally in 2019; the projects with County Offaly involvement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

On Monday 31 December, 2018 I announced approval of over €2.13m in funding by Culture Ireland for the promotion of Irish arts globally in 2019.

Included in the awards is a total of €975,000 in annual funding for the promotion of Irish literature, music and film through resource organisations and Ireland’s cultural centres in Paris and New York who partner Culture Ireland to present ongoing programmes of Irish artists abroad.

The breakdown of the annual funding is as follows:

Body

Amount allocated

Centre Culturel Irlandais

€180,000

First Music Contact

€160,000

Irish Arts Center

€245,000

Irish Film Institute Intl.

€100,000

Literature Ireland

€290,000

Total

€975,000

The remaining €1.16m is awarded to over 160 projects enabling Irish artists and arts organisations to present their work covering architecture, circus, dance, film, literature, music, opera, theatre and the visual arts in more than 40 different countries and build on Ireland’s strong global reputation for creativity.

At present the Culture Ireland website lists funding of €1,094,190 as two multi-disciplinary applications totalling €62,000 were approved in principle pending meetings with the applicants and details of these projects will be published shortly.

In relation to the projects with County Offaly involvement, Culture Ireland offers support to Irish professional artists, arts organisations and international presenters to present work by Irish artists at significant international venues and festivals. As applications are made by organisations and international presenters and it is the applicant's address which is provided to Culture Ireland, it is not possible to say which artist have a County Offaly involvement.

Applications made throughout the year are assessed in three funding rounds. Following completion of first round there are currently no Culture Ireland applications from Co. Offaly artists or arts organisations being funded in 2019 however, there will be a further two rounds of funding from Culture Ireland for projects taking place in 2019.

Cultural Policy

Ceisteanna (262)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

262. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the cultural ambassadors initiative; the ambassador from County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

On Monday 7 January, 2019 I announced the appointment of five Cultural Ambassadors to assist in and enhance the promotion of Ireland in the global arena under the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative.

Master musician and founding member of The Gloaming, Martin Hayes, leading architects, Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, awarding winning actress Ruth Negga and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon have all accepted the role of Cultural Ambassador for a period of three years.

The Cultural Ambassadors will endeavour to raise the public focus on arts and culture as a means of promoting Ireland globally, provide advice and input on strategic cultural initiatives and participate in key events and projects. The first such event is a conference of cultural stakeholders being held on 24 January which will discuss and debate how best to advance Ireland’s global visibility and strengthen global relationships.

Further appointments of Cultural Ambassadors may be made over time in line with the Government's geographic and other priorities.

Yvonne Farrell is originally from County Offaly. Yvonne, a graduate of UCD, is a co-founder with Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects established in 1978. Both, Farrell and McNamara, are Fellows of the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland), and International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and elected members of Aosdána. Grafton Architects are winners of numerous international awards including the World Building of the Year Award 2008 for their building for the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan, which is widely acclaimed and recognised as a seminal contemporary work. They are currently working on the commission to design the new Marshall Building for the London School of Economics, the new School of Economics for University Toulouse 1 Capitole; the new Town House Building at Kingston University London; and the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Project – The New City Library in Dublin.

Farrell and McNamara were the curators for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the first Irish architects ever to have been awarded this honour.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (263, 264)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

263. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of employees in her Department; the number professionally qualified with organisations (details supplied); the number with other relevant professional qualifications; and the number with no professional qualifications, in tabular form. [1884/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

264. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of employees in her Department authorised to engage in procurement; the number professionally qualified with organisations (details supplied); the number with other relevant professional qualifications; and the number with no professional qualifications, in tabular form. [1901/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 263 and 264 together.

I am informed that the number of employees in my Department is 642. I am further informed that my Department employs professionally qualified staff in many areas: finance; legal; architecture; natural heritage; archaeology; IT; HR and communications.

I am also informed that information garnered during recruitment and promotional competitions indicates that many employees across my Department hold professional qualifications in a wide variety of disciplines; however, individual employees’ professional qualifications are not a matter for the Department record unless an employee is in a post for which a particular qualification is a pre-requisite. The Department does not, therefore, hold records which would supply the information requested by the Deputy. With regard to the particular institutions that the Deputy names: the Department employs a chartered accountant in the role of Department Accountant.

The Department ensures that there is an appropriate focus on good practice in purchasing and that procedures are in place to ensure compliance with all relevant guidelines. While any officer in the Department can be required to engage with the procurement process, payment authorisation levels are set by grade. There is no role in the Department for which a procurement qualification is a pre-requisite.

Heritage Promotion

Ceisteanna (265, 266, 268)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

265. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which she expects to encourage participation in heritage projects at community level in the foreseeable future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1972/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

266. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she expects to support community heritage groups at local level in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1973/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

268. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the discussions she has had with local heritage groups and historical societies with a view to promoting greater interest in history and heritage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1975/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265, 266 and 268 together.

I refer the Deputy to my response to Parliamentary Question 1720/19, answered today, which sets out in detail the consultation process for Heritage Ireland 2030 and the various ways in which my Department is engaging in the course of that process with groups, communities and individuals who have an interest in our heritage.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, has community engagement as a primary focus, and this focus is now enhanced and strengthened under the provisions of the Heritage Act 2018. The allocation of its resources across the range of programmes and initiatives it supports is a matter for the Heritage Council, which is independent in the performance of its functions. Details of the programmes and supports operated by the Heritage Council may be found on its website www.heritagecouncil.ie.

National Monuments

Question No. 268 answered with Question No. 265.

Ceisteanna (267, 270, 271, 273, 274)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

267. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for archaeological excavation of historical sites that have not been investigated with particular reference to encouragement of local interest in such projects from both a tourist and archaeological point of view; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1974/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

270. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which she has earmarked historical sites and buildings throughout County Kildare for protection and promotion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

271. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of listed historical sites and buildings throughout County Kildare which need further protection or are endangered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1978/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

273. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department has monitored the number of semi-derelict or derelict castles or historical buildings in need of extra preservation nationally; her plans for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1980/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

274. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department has surveyed listed buildings and historical sites throughout County Kildare with a view to remedial, restoration and or preservation works; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1981/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 267, 270, 271, 273 and 274 together.

As Minister, I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts of approximately 1,000 national monuments located at approximately 750 sites. The Acts allow me to make a preservation order where I consider a national monument to be at risk. Local authorities are responsible under the Acts for maintaining the national monuments of which they are owners or guardians. Any works to national monuments either managed by the OPW or those in the care of a local authority require my consent under Section 14 of the National Monuments Act 1930 as amended.

Under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, my Department has established and maintains the Record of Monuments and Places, which affords legal protection to over 120,000 recorded archaeological sites and monuments in the State. Anyone proposing works in relation to a monument that is included in the Record of Monument and Places must give my Department two months prior notice before works can start. The National Monuments Service of my Department also continually updates an inventory of archaeological monuments in the State, to ensure protection of newly-discovered archaeological sites. Furthermore, investigations are carried out where my Department receives a report of a threat or damage to a monument. The Record of Monuments and Places for County Kildare may be found on the National Monuments Service’s website.

My function as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to archaeological excavation is to regulate this activity through the licensing system under section 26 of the National Monuments Act 1930, as amended. The majority of archaeological excavations are carried out by private sector archaeological consultants for the purpose of assessing the impact of proposed development on possible archaeological features or mitigating the impact of development on archaeological heritage. A much smaller number are carried out for conservation or research purposes. In deciding whether to grant an archaeological excavation licence, appropriate consideration is given to the need to maintain the integrity of affected archaeological sites. All archaeological excavation licences are granted subject to conditions requiring the excavations to be conducted to an appropriate standard and that reports on the results are furnished to my Department's National Monuments Service.

My role in relation to the protection of our architectural heritage is set out in relevant legislation, as are the roles of local authorities and owners.

The Planning and Development Acts give primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect our architectural heritage by including particular structures in the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Inclusion in the RPS places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future.

As Minister, I can make recommendations to planning authorities for buildings and structures to be included in the Record of Protected Structures. These recommendations arise from the survey of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), which is managed by my Department. I recommend structures rated as being of regional importance or above by the NIAH to the planning authorities for inclusion in their Record of Protected Structures. However, the making of an addition to, or a deletion from, a Record of Protected Structures is a reserved function of the relevant planning authorities. Details of County Kildare buildings that are listed on the Record of Protected Structures are available on the Kildare County Council website.

Responsibility for management and maintenance of historical buildings and sites in State ownership, and management of the visitor facilities at those sites and buildings, rests with the Office of Public Works.

Question No. 268 answered with Question No. 265.

Heritage Promotion

Questions Nos. 270 and 271 answered with Question No. 267.

Ceisteanna (269)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

269. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she can engage in the promotion of historical heritage sites with a view to maximisation of interest from tourists and young persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I refer the Deputy to my reply today to PQ 1757 on 16 January 2019.

Questions Nos. 270 and 271 answered with Question No. 267.

Waterways Ireland

Questions Nos. 273 and 274 answered with Question No. 267.

Ceisteanna (272)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

272. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to liaise with Waterways Ireland in order to address outstanding issues arising in respect of canal property and local interests; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1979/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Representatives from my Department meet with Waterways Ireland on a regular basis through formal Monitoring Committee meetings which address set agenda items as well as any other business including issues relating to the canal network. My Department also liaises with Waterways Ireland on an on-going basis outside of these meetings on other matters that arise.

Waterways Ireland continues to work closely with boat owners using the canals, adjacent land owners and local committees. Meetings are also held with the key stakeholder interest groups, the Royal Canal Amenity Group, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Heritage Boat Association (HBA).

Waterways Ireland Operational staff, lockkeepers and waterway patrollers meet canal users on a daily basis and provide a wide range of services to all our recreational users.

In addition, Waterways Ireland works alongside the Friends of the Grand Canal and Royal Canal Clean-Up Group in Dublin and the newly established Grand Canal Dock Group, who like many of the communities throughout the waterways support the maintenance of our waterways.

Questions Nos. 273 and 274 answered with Question No. 267.