Special Educational Needs Data

Ceisteanna (74)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

74. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children with autism in Cork city and county on waiting lists for secondary school places; and the number of secondary school places allocated for children with autism in Cork city and county. [4718/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter, in the first instance, for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment in schools or keeping waiting lists.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs including Autism, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of special classes from 548 in 2011 to 1,459 across the country now, of which 1,196 are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special classes.

Special classes for students with ASD provide 6 placements and are staffed with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have a minimum of two SNAs for every class of 6 children.

There are currently 246 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Cork City and County. Of these, 28 are ASD early intervention classes, 119 are primary ASD classes and 54 are post primary ASD classes.

The number of post-primary ASD special class placements available in Cork has increased from 60 in 2011/2012 to 318 in 2018/2019.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available by county on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie.

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, SENOs work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved.

The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 will assist in addressing this issue where the NCSE is of the opinion that there is insufficient education provision for children with special educational needs in an area.

Section 8 of the Act, which commenced on the 3rd of December 2018, provides the Minister with a power, after a process of consultation with the NCSE, the board of management and the patron of the school, to compel a school to make additional provision for the education of children with special educational needs.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (75)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

75. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if upgrades will be carried out on a computer in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4719/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology/specialised equipment is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.

In order to qualify for equipment under the assistive technology scheme, a student must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the student to access the curriculum. It must also be clear that the existing I.T. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs.

The school where the child referred to by the Deputy attends, has previously been sanctioned an Assistive Technology grant under the terms of Circular 10/2013 for the child in question towards the purchase of a Laptop and a Laptop bag.

No further application for Assistive Technology has been received for the child in question.

Should the parent be dissatisfied with the manner in which the Assistive Technology which have been approved to support the child's education is being applied in school, they should raise this matter directly with their school Principal or the Board of Management of the school.

The local SENO is also available to discuss any concerns that parents have about the educational needs of their child. All schools have the contact details of their local SENO. Contact details are also available on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (76)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

76. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if full SNA hours will be put in place for a person (details supplied). [4720/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (77)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

77. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a matter regarding emergency taxation on the salary of a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4721/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

PAYE Modernisation was introduced from the 1st January, 2019. This was the biggest change to the PAYE system since the 1960s. All employers are now required to report employees pay and deductions to Revenue as they are being paid. All employees paid by this Department are paid on a fortnightly basis and a return is submitted to Revenue prior to the payments for each fortnightly being issued.

The first payroll of 2019 paid by the Department was on the 3rd January 2019 for post primary teachers and substitute teachers and on 10 January for primary, non-teaching staff and retirees.

Schools input records of employment through the On Line Claims System for substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) and the details of each period of employment transfers to the Department where the appropriate rates of pay are applied, statutory deductions are calculated and the payment issues in the regular payroll run for the sector.

In the first payrolls of the New Year and the second payroll for post primary issued on the 17th January, the payroll files that transferred to Revenue inadvertently included an end date for substitute (casual /non casual) staff which informed Revenue that these staff would not be paid under this employer number in the future. This notification incorrectly ceased the affected staff and notified Revenue of same. When Revenue is notified by an employer that an employment has ceased, the credits at that employment are available for reallocation to an existing employment or to a new employment.

The payroll software has been amended to prevent an end date transferring to Revenue for future payments which means substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) coming on future payrolls will not have problems with tax credits. However this did not correct the issues that arose for the staff who were paid already.

The priority within the Department is to address the problems that have already arisen for staff to ensure that the correct tax credits apply and that refunds of tax that have been deducted in error will issue to the staff concerned. The Department is devoting all available technical resources to resolve the problem as a matter of urgency for those who were impacted and is liaising with Revenue on an ongoing basis.

DEIS Applications

Ceisteanna (78)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

78. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4760/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, the issue of this particular schools inclusion in the DEIS programme has been raised in the House before. As previously set out, there is no application process for DEIS as all schools at both Primary and Post Primary are assessed using the new identification model.

The DEIS identification process uses data from a number of sources to improve accuracy regarding the socio-demographic profile of schools resulting from the new identification model. This will have an impact not only on the assessment of schools for inclusion in the programme but also on the scaling of resources to allow for more graduated levels of support. This in turn allows for the ultimate objective of allocating resources to best meet the identified need of individual schools.

The current identification model needs to be as accurate as possible and further analysis is also required to examine other variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage in the context of resource allocation. Therefore, it is not intended to extend the DEIS Programme to this school or to any other schools until this work is completed.

Schools Administration

Ceisteanna (79)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

79. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a set time is made available for children to eat their lunch; and if not, the way in which schools manage the situation in order to enable children to eat healthily and properly. [4761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is responsible for the day to day running of a school.

Circular 11/95 “Time in School” paragraph 3 states that a typical school day for Junior classes is 4 hours and 40 minutes and Senior classes 5 hours and 40 minutes with appropriate recreation i.e. 30 minutes. Under the Rules for National Schools, forenoon and afternoon breaks of five minutes each are allowed.

Where a recreation interval or break of a longer duration than the foregoing are taken (for example when children are allowed to have lunch in the classroom prior to the official commencement of the recreation interval) the length of the school day must be extended correspondingly.

The arrangement within the recreation interval for pupils to eat their lunch is a matter for each Board of Management to determine. My Department has not issued guidelines to schools in this regard.

Bullying in Schools

Ceisteanna (80)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

80. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is or has been a requirement that a teacher must on every occasion witness an act of bullying before the school can determine bullying to have occurred within the public school system here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4764/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department published new Anti-Bullying Procedures for all primary and post primary schools at the beginning of the 2013/14 school year.

The procedures are designed to give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils.

All Boards of Management are required to adopt and implement an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of these procedures. A template anti-bullying policy which must be used by all schools for this purpose is included in the procedures.

The procedures for schools outline key principles of best practice for both preventing and tackling bullying and require all schools to commit to these principles in their anti-bullying policy. In particular, they emphasise that a cornerstone in the prevention of bullying is a positive school culture and climate. In that regard, the procedures set out the need for schools to encourage and strengthen open dialogue between all school staff and pupils and to ensure that they provide appropriate opportunities for pupils to raise their concerns in an environment that is comfortable for the pupil. Under the procedures, the Board of Management must also ensure that the school’s anti-bullying policy is regularly highlighted and promoted on a school wide basis with particular attention given to incoming pupils and their parents.

The Board of Management must ensure that the school has clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour and these must be documented in the schools’ anti-bullying policy. A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school. Individual teachers must take appropriate measures regarding reports of bullying behaviour in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy.

It is not a requirement that a teacher must witness an act of bullying before the school can determine bullying to have occurred. In the procedures the member of teaching staff who has responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying is referred to as the “relevant teacher”. If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his or her efforts to resolve the issues. All reports including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers and cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

The procedures include important new oversight arrangements that involve the school principal reporting regularly to the Board of Management and a requirement for the Board to undertake an annual review of the school's anti - bullying policy and its implementation. Confirmation that the annual review has been completed must be provided to the Parents' Association and published on the school website. In addition, my Department’s Inspectorate, as part of its inspection work, is placing a stronger focus on the actions schools take to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying.

School Management

Ceisteanna (81)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

81. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is within the power of a board of management of a public school to change or reverse a decision made by a previous board of management; the conditions under which such a change can be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4765/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998 the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school and the Board is accountable to the school Patron. The functions of the Board are set out in Section 15 of the Education Act, 1998.

The Board must consult with and keep the Patron informed of decisions and proposals of the Board. Any concerns regarding the decisions of a Board should be addressed with the Board of Management concerned.

Schools Administration

Ceisteanna (82)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

82. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the time allocated for lunch breaks and eating in primary schools nationally; if there are different break times in different schools; if he has received reports of issues with break times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4774/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is responsible for the day to day running of a school.

Circular 11/95 “Time in School” paragraph 3 states that a typical school day for Junior classes is 4 hours and 40 minutes and Senior classes 5 hours and 40 minutes with appropriate recreation i.e. 30 minutes. Under the Rules for National Schools, forenoon and afternoon breaks of five minutes each are allowed.

Where a recreation interval or break of a longer duration than the foregoing are taken (for example when children are allowed to have lunch in the classroom prior to the official commencement of the recreation interval) the length of the school day must be extended correspondingly.

The arrangement within the recreation interval for pupils to eat their lunch is a matter for each Board of Management to determine. My Department has not issued guidelines to schools in this regard.

School Meals Programme

Ceisteanna (83)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

83. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department is liaising with the Department of Health to examine projects relating to good eating habits for children in schools; his plans to introduce such programmes; his plans to extend breakfast clubs to all schools; his plans to introduce a hot lunch for all children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department works closely with the Department of Health and the HSE on the Healthy Ireland agenda. The Department is represented on a number of groups including the National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Group and on the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group.

Healthy Lifestyles guidance issued to post primary schools in 2015 and primary schools in 2016. This guidance was drafted in consultation with the Department of Health and my Department would like to acknowledge the commitment of schools in promoting healthy lifestyle choices for students in a number of ways, through the curriculum, through schools policy including healthy lunch policies and by the use of resources and programmes chosen by the school. My Department provides funding to the Incredible Edibles programme which is a fantastic programme run by Agri Aware for primary level students.

The School Meals Programme is operated by the Department of Social Protection provides funding towards provision of food services for disadvantaged school child through two schemes:

- The statutory Urban School Meals Scheme for primary schools is operated by Local Authorities and part-financed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

- The non-statutory School Meals Local Projects Scheme provides funding directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to primary schools, secondary schools and local groups and voluntary organisations which operate their own school meals projects.

My Department will continue to work in partnership with other Departments and agencies to promote healthy lifestyles for students.

Schools Amalgamation

Ceisteanna (84)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

84. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the rationale for the building of a school in Ballyconnell, County Cavan, and the closure of two schools (details supplied); the reason there was no prior consultation with the respective communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision making authority for any amalgamation belongs to the Patron/Trustees of the school, and this is subject to the approval of the Department.

Any proposed change involves extensive negotiations at local level and must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system.

My Department has sought further information from the Patron of the schools mentioned by the Deputy relating to the proposed amalgamation and this is awaited. The matter can be considered further following receipt of this information.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (85)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

85. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to resolve the PAYE crisis that teachers are facing as a result of an information technology problem in the payroll section of his Department; the length of time they will have to wait for it to be resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

PAYE Modernisation was introduced from the 1st January, 2019. This was the biggest change to the PAYE system since the 1960s. All employers are now required to report employees pay and deductions to Revenue as they are being paid. All employees paid by this Department are paid on a fortnightly basis and a return is submitted to Revenue prior to the payments for each fortnightly being issued.

The first payroll of 2019 paid by the Department was on the 3rd January 2019 for post primary teachers and substitute teachers and on 10 January for primary, non-teaching staff and retirees.

Schools input records of employment through the On Line Claims System for substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) and the details of each period of employment transfers to the Department where the appropriate rates of pay are applied, statutory deductions are calculated and the payment issues in the regular payroll run for the sector.

In the first payrolls of the New Year and the second payroll for post primary issued on the 17th January, the payroll files that transferred to Revenue inadvertently included an end date for substitute (casual /non casual) staff which informed Revenue that these staff would not be paid under this employer number in the future. This notification incorrectly ceased the affected staff and notified Revenue of same. When Revenue is notified by an employer that an employment has ceased, the credits at that employment are available for reallocation to an existing employment or to a new employment.

The payroll software has been amended to prevent an end date transferring to Revenue for future payments which means substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) coming on future payrolls will not have problems with tax credits. However this did not correct the issues that arose for the staff who were paid already.

The priority within the Department is to address the problems that have already arisen for staff to ensure that the correct tax credits apply and that refunds of tax that have been deducted in error will issue to the staff concerned. The Department is devoting all available technical resources to resolve the problem as a matter of urgency for those who were impacted and is liaising with Revenue on an ongoing basis.

Physical Education Facilities

Ceisteanna (86)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

86. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware my Department is committed to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, starting in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period, that will ensure that students in all post-primary schools have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly in the context of the roll-out of P.E. as a leaving certificate subject.

Schools Amalgamation

Ceisteanna (87)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

87. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4809/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision making authority for any amalgamation belongs to the Patron/Trustees of the school, and this is subject to the approval of the Department.

Any proposed change involves extensive negotiations at local level and must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system.

My Department has sought further information from the Patron of the schools mentioned by the Deputy relating to the proposed amalgamation and this is awaited. The matter can be considered further following receipt of this information.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (88)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

88. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to a problem with the payroll system and the new PAYE system which has resulted in some substitute teachers not receiving their tax credits and reduced wages. [4815/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

PAYE Modernisation was introduced from the 1st January, 2019. This was the biggest change to the PAYE system since the 1960s. All employers are now required to report employees pay and deductions to Revenue as they are being paid. All employees paid by this Department are paid on a fortnightly basis and a return is submitted to Revenue prior to the payments for each fortnightly being issued.

The first payroll of 2019 paid by the Department was on the 3rd January 2019 for post primary teachers and substitute teachers and on 10 January for primary, non-teaching staff and retirees.

Schools input records of employment through the On Line Claims System for substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) and the details of each period of employment transfers to the Department where the appropriate rates of pay are applied, statutory deductions are calculated and the payment issues in the regular payroll run for the sector.

In the first payrolls of the New Year and the second payroll for post primary issued on the 17th January, the payroll files that transferred to Revenue inadvertently included an end date for substitute (casual /non casual) staff which informed Revenue that these staff would not be paid under this employer number in the future. This notification incorrectly ceased the affected staff and notified Revenue of same. When Revenue is notified by an employer that an employment has ceased, the credits at that employment are available for reallocation to an existing employment or to a new employment.

The payroll software has been amended to prevent an end date transferring to Revenue for future payments which means substitute teachers (casual /non casual staff) coming on future payrolls will not have problems with tax credits. However this did not correct the issues that arose for the staff who were paid already.

The priority within the Department is to address the problems that have already arisen for staff to ensure that the correct tax credits apply and that refunds of tax that have been deducted in error will issue to the staff concerned. The Department is devoting all available technical resources to resolve the problem as a matter of urgency for those who were impacted and is liaising with Revenue on an ongoing basis.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (89)

John Curran

Ceist:

89. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made on a school building project (details supplied); the timeframe for the appointment of contractors in order to deliver the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4829/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2 (b) - Detailed Design Stage, which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

Dublin Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board currently have a tender process underway to appoint a replacement Quantity Surveyor for this project as the previous Design Team Quantity Surveyor has resigned. It is anticipated that the replacement QS will be appointed in early March 2019.

As soon as the appointment of the replacement consultant is fully ratified the Design Team will need to meet to brief the new Quantity Surveyor on the project and the Design Team will proceed to complete work on the Stage 2(b) submission.

Upon receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) submission my Department will revert to Dublin Dun Laoghaire Educational and Training Board with a timeline in relation to the further progression of this project.

Third Level Education

Ceisteanna (90)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

90. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has issued directives or been in contact with universities or institutes of technology with regard to technology projects by a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Universities and Institutes of Technology are autonomous institutions within the meaning of the relevant legislation, the Universities Act 1997 and the Institutes of Technology Act 1992 to 2006. The management of their day to day functions, including partnership agreements they may have entered into, are matters for individual institutions in the first instance.

HEI partnerships with companies would be overseen by appropriate institutional governance arrangements, national IP Protocols and associated policies. My Department has not issued any directives to the institutions in relation to this company.

Schools Administration

Ceisteanna (91)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

91. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to a petition regarding healthier eating and the time allocation for same in primary and second level schools (details supplied); the status of initiatives underway and-or planned for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4889/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to outline that the petitions regarding healthier eating and the time allocated for same in primary and second-level schools has been brought to my attention.

At primary level, circular 11/95 “Time in School” paragraph 3 states that a typical school day for Junior classes is 4 hours and 40 minutes and Senior classes 5 hours and 40 minutes with appropriate recreation i.e. 30 minutes. Under the Rules for National Schools, forenoon and afternoon breaks of five minutes each are allowed.

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is responsible for the day to day running of a school. The arrangement within the recreation interval for pupils to eat their lunch is a matter for each Board of Management to determine. My Department has not issued guidelines to schools in this regard.

My Department works closely with the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive on the Healthy Ireland agenda. My Department is represented on a number of groups including the National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Group and on the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group.

Healthy Lifestyles guidance issued to post primary schools in 2015 and primary schools in 2016. This guidance was drafted in consultation with the Department of Health.

My Department acknowledges the commitment of schools in promoting healthy lifestyle choices for students in a number of ways - the curriculum – for example Physical Education and Social Personal Health Education (SPHE); through schools policy including healthy lunch policies and by the use of resources and programmes chosen by the school. The Active School Flag (ASF) is one such programme. Work by my Department in this area aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to make the right choices for healthy lifestyles throughout their lives.

Debt Relief

Ceisteanna (92)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

92. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the rules and regulations in place for a person or company with banking software, knowledge and expertise to analyse mortgages in conjunction with MABS which has clients in debt and-or mortgage distress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4935/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is an independent statutory body established under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. The objective of the ISI is to restore insolvent persons to solvency. The ISI’s functions include authorising, supervising and regulating both Approved Intermediaries and Personal Insolvency Practitioners.

An Approved Intermediary is a person or class of persons that supports a debtor to make an application for a Debt Relief Notice. The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Authorisation of Approved Intermediaries) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 216 of 2013) set out the qualification criteria and authorisation requirements which must be met for a person or a class of person to be authorised by the ISI to carry on the practice of an approved intermediary. The majority of Approved Intermediaries are Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) companies.

A Personal Insolvency Practitioner is a qualified professional with the relevant expertise to help a person reach a permanent debt solution with their creditor(s) including putting in place a Debt Settlement Arrangement or Personal Insolvency Arrangement. The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (Authorisation and Supervision of Personal Insolvency Practitioners) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 209 of 2013) set out the qualification criteria, authorisation requirements and regulatory standards which must be met for an individual to be authorised by the ISI to carry on practice as a Personal Insolvency Practitioner.

Abhaile is a Government-funded service to help homeowners to find a resolution to home mortgage arrears. It provides vouchers, which are available through MABS, for free financial and legal advice and help from experts, including expert financial analysis, advice and assistance from a Personal Insolvency Practitioner to get a solution into place for the borrower. The ISI works closely with MABS in helping people to resolve their mortgage arrears and remain in their homes, under the Abhaile Scheme, and also in its overall objective of returning insolvent persons to solvency.

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Ceisteanna (93, 94, 95)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

93. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons from Yemen applying for asylum here; and the number who have been granted refugee status. [4745/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

94. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason refugees from Yemen are not included under the refugee protection programme humanitarian admission programme; and when the decision to exclude Yemen will be reviewed. [4746/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

95. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration has been given to include refugees from Yemen under the refugee protection programme humanitarian admission programme in view of the recent passage of the all-party motion in Seanad Éireann recognising the displacement of 3.1 million persons in Yemen due to conflict. [4747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 to 95, inclusive, together.

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP), which I announced in May 2018, provides a new humanitarian pathway for eligible family members coming from the world’s top ten major source countries of refugees based on the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.

Persons from the following countries are eligible under the scheme: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Burundi.

The IHAP is part of the Government's plan to realise the full commitment of 4,000 persons agreed under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme in September 2015. The IHAP provides for up to 530 vulnerable family members to be admitted under the programme before the end of 2019. The first IHAP window for proposals closed on 30 June 2018 and I recently announced the second window for proposals from 20 December 2018 until 08 February 2019.

Government policy relating to immigration and protection matters in the State is kept under constant review and the relevant authorities in Ireland are closely following and observing trends and developments in other EU Member States as well as internationally. The Minister is cognisant of the grave humanitarian crisis in Yemen, however, eligibility for the IHAP is for nationals from countries that are listed in the top ten major source countries of refugees in the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.

With regard to the number of nationals from Yemen applying for asylum in the State I can inform the Deputy that 32 nationals from Yemen applied for asylum/international protection between 2008 and 2018. I can also inform the Deputy that 13 nationals from Yemen were granted international protection by the State between 2008 and 2018. Of this figure 7 were granted refugee status and 6 were granted subsidiary protection status.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (96)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

96. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of civil servants on the panel for a transfer from his Department and agencies under his remit; the length of time applicants have been on the list for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Transfers are initiated by individual staff contacting other Departments to be placed on their incoming transfer list. This process is managed by the receiving organisation. My Department does not hold information on staff members who are transfer lists for other Departments.

 A new Civil Service wide mobility scheme launched last year. This scheme is co-ordinated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and facilitates transfers at a central level. This enables civil servants to apply for transfer to a specific region, rather than requiring them to apply to each organisation individually. The scheme is currently available to Clerical Officers (CO) and Executive Officers (EO). It is anticipated that it will roll out to other grades in future.

Road Traffic Offences Data

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (97)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

97. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions for driving offences involving HGV and PSV drivers in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of dangerous driving offences in each of the years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4772/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that I, as Minister for Justice and Equality, have no role in relation to the collation of data on driving offences, which is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána.

I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that Garda road traffic statistics are not recorded in a way that allows for the disaggregation of the data in the manner you have requested.

However, to be of assistance, I have requested that An Garda Síochána provide relevant statistics of potential interest and I will forward this report directly to the Deputy on receipt of same.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to parliamentary question No. 97 of 31 January 2019 in which the Deputy asked for the number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions for driving offences involving a HGV and PSV drivers in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of dangerous driving offences in each of the years.
The Deputy may recall I had sought information from An Garda Síochána, which is now at hand. As advised in answers to previous parliamentary questions, relating to HGVs and PSVs, the PULSE system does not allow for the automated disaggregation of statistics into vehicle/driver type. Therefore, to produce these figures a manual trawl of PULSE records would be required, which has been deemed a disproportionate use of Garda time. The disaggregation issue also arises in conviction statistics, which are held by the Courts Service, and therefore these statistics have not been provided.
However, An Garda Síochána have provided the tables overleaf, which include detailed statistics on incidents and summons/charges for 'Dangerous Driving', 'Dangerous Driving Causing Death', 'Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Bodily Harm', 'Careless Driving’ and 'Careless Driving Causing Death'. Also included is a table showing the number of Fixed Charge Notices issued for 'Driving without Reasonable Consideration' [contrary to section 51(a) Road Traffic Act 1961].
I hope this data is of assistance to the Deputy and also addresses issues raised in parliamentary questions 346 of 20 September 2017, 570 of 7 November 2017, 120 of 13 December 2017 and 759 of 24 July 2018, which have been outstanding until now.

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (98)

James Browne

Ceist:

98. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding centenary commemorations for the founding of the Civic Guard and An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4812/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government's approach to commemorations over the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries will continue to be supported by the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht published the most recent guidance from the Advisory Group earlier this month.  Plans to mark the centenaries of particular significant events and related themes will be informed by the Group's advice and will be developed in consultation and collaboration with the relevant Government Departments and organisations including An Garda Síochána.

On 8 January, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., outlined how the Government plans to approach the development of an appropriate programme to remember the significant historical events and themes over the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries (2019 – 2023).  The programme will be based on a four strand approach comprising:

- A State Ceremonial Strand involving a limited number of symbolic acts of national commemoration, focusing on themes of remembrance and reconciliation and on the commemoration of all of those who lost their lives during this period.

- A Historical Strand which will comprise a diverse range of activities designed to encourage authentic historical enquiry about this period and promote the use of primary archival sources. Initiatives will be developed in collaboration with State partners, National Cultural Institutions, institutions of learning and other stakeholders.

- A Community Strand, which will involve a collaborative approach – similar to that adopted for the 1916 centenary commemorations – between the State, local authority network and community organisations, including in Northern Ireland where appropriate.

- A Creative Imagination Strand which will continue to encourage artistic and creative expression in remembrance of these significant historical events and all of those who lost their lives.