Air Corps Recruitment

Ceisteanna (64, 65)

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

64. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will report on the scheme to recommission former officers of the Air Corps. [11312/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

65. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the structures in place within the Air Corps with regard to the relative promotional prospects of officers with continued service and recommissioned officers following the recent scheme intended to attract former officers. [11313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.

As one of a range of measures to address the current shortage of pilots in the Air Corps, the General Staff and GOC Air Corps recommended the initiation of a scheme to recommission former Air Corps officers.  There is also scope to recommission officers in other specialist streams across the Defence Forces, if shortages exist.

There have been instances in the past where former officers have returned to the Defence Forces.  In the absence of a standard policy for dealing with such requests, each case was dealt with on an individual basis and governed by the rules, regulations and circumstances that applied at the time. 

The processing of such applications in the past, in the absence of a defined policy framework, has posed a number of difficulties. This included defining procedures, identifying the requirements and needs of the organisation and agreeing terms and conditions with the individual. In order to allow for a transparent scheme to facilitate the re-entry of former Officers of the PDF, a policy framework, setting out terms and conditions was necessary.

The terms and conditions for the recommissioning scheme include the provision that the re-commissioning of former officers of the PDF, including in the Air Corps, shall only be considered in specific circumstances. These are where the Chief of Staff has identified a deficiency in personnel, military capability or expertise in the PDF, that cannot be resolved in a sustainable or timely manner from within existing personnel resources. These terms and conditions apply to all former Officers of the Permanent Defence Force and not just to the Air Corps.

Recommissioned officers will be offered a short service commission for a period of 3 years and in that period they cannot compete for promotion, nor will they block a promotion opportunity for existing Officers. The recommissioned Officers may only be offered a substantive appointment after 3 years on the advice of the Chief of Staff and Secretary General.

This provides a fair and balanced approach to both the former officer and existing members. It is not realistic to suggest that vacancies should be maintained indefinitely for the purpose of ensuring promotions for existing members.

I am pleased to say that two former officers of the Air Corps have applied to re-join the Air Corps. Their applications are currently being progressed by the military authorities.

Defence Forces Strength

Ceisteanna (66, 68)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

66. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the strength of the Permanent Defence Force with regard to all three services and ranks by gender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11381/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

68. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of additional recruits the Permanent Defence Force has taken on to date in 2019 with regard to all three services by gender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11383/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 68 together.

The most recent figures, as of 31 January 2019, give the whole time equivalent strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) as 8,921 personnel. The requested breakdown is provided in the following link.

Table

The military authorities have advised that no recruits have been inducted into the PDF to date but, in accordance with the recruitment plan, recruit inductions will take place later this month.

Defence Forces Reserve Strength

Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 66.

Ceisteanna (67)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

67. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the strength of the Reserve Defence Force with regard to all three services and ranks by gender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The strength of the Reserve Defence Force, as of 31 January 2019, is set out below:

Service 

 Total Effective Personnel

 Female Personnel

 Army Reserve

1659 

 219

 Naval Reserve

132 

 22

 First Line Reserve

288

*A breakdown by gender is currently unavailable. 

*A breakdown by gender is currently unavailable. 

The White Paper on Defence (2015) is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the Reserve Defence Force. The Government remains committed to the ongoing development of the RDF within the framework set out in the White Paper.

Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 66.

Defence Forces Reserve Strength

Ceisteanna (69)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

69. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of additional recruits the Reserve Defence Force had taken on to date in 2019 with regard to all services by gender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11384/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Reserve Defence Force (RDF) is comprised of the First Line Reserve, the Army Reserve (AR) and the Naval Service Reserve (NSR).  The Government appreciates the service of the Reserve Defence Force and recognises the important role that the three elements of the RDF play in contributing to Ireland's defence capability.  The White Paper is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF and it is currently on a development path arising from the recommendations of the White Paper.

A key ongoing challenge for the AR and NSR is to recruit and retain personnel.  I am very much aware that there continues to be a shortfall between the current strength figures and those of the establishment which provides for 4,069 personnel.   Recruitment to the AR and NSR is continuing.   I am advised by the military authorities that as of 5 March 2019, a total of 30 new recruits (2 female) have been inducted into the AR in 2019.   A total of 129 new recruits were inducted to the AR and NSR in 2018.  

The Defence Forces will run two recruitment campaigns for the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve this year.  Supports being provided to maximise recruitment to the Reserve include the use of social media and outreach activities by RDF members.  Permanent Defence Force (PDF) recruit exit interviews now contain information on applying for membership of the RDF.

I would like to assure the Deputy that I remain committed to the ongoing development of the RDF within the framework set out in the White Paper for Defence and having regard to resource availability.  It is my intention to ensure that the momentum on its development is maintained throughout 2019 and the coming years.

Defence Forces Strength

Ceisteanna (70)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

70. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated full year cost of increasing the Permanent Defence Force to 10,500 members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Department does not maintain costings for increasing the strength of the PDF to those outlined by the Deputy. This would require detailed consideration of the capability requirements underpinning such an increase and consideration of associated personnel issues, including organisational structures as well as equipment, infrastructure and other additional requirements and associated costs.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (71)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

71. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the expenditure incurred in military service allowances in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11386/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

A Military Service Allowance (MSA) is paid to all ranks of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) up to the level of Colonel. MSA is designed to compensate for the special disadvantages associated with military life. This includes unsocial hours of duty, exposure to danger and the restrictions inherent in military discipline.

In 2018, the total amount paid to all relevant ranks of the PDF was €46.5m (provisional).

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (72)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

72. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the estimated full year cost of restoring all Defence Forces allowances to pre-FEMPI levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There are various factors which would impact on calculating the estimated costing in the manner sought by the Deputy. I am not in a position to provide this estimate as the information is not readily available.

Defence Forces pay is increasing in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, which was considered and accepted by the Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations, provides for increases in pay, ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement, with the focus being on the lower paid. By the end of the agreement the pay scales for all public servants (including members of the Permanent Defence Force) earning up to €70,000, will be restored to pre-FEMPI levels. The restoration of cuts to allowances will also be considered in the context of the Agreement.

Passport Applications Administration

Ceisteanna (73)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

73. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a structure will be created by which constituents of a Deputy can give written authority to the Passport Office for a Deputy or their representative to speak on behalf of the constituent (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11309/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In order to ensure resources are used effectively many of my Department’s functions, including communication channels, are centralised. Accordingly, my office is the dedicated point of contact for public representatives. This ensures consistency, efficiency and fairness in response to the queries of all public representatives. Any passport related queries raised through this channel are dealt with without delay. 

Representations made by public representatives on behalf of passport applicants, and any information or personal data belonging to the applicant contained therein, are treated in a confidential manner. Written permission from the applicant authorising the public representative to make a representation on the applicant’s behalf is not required.

Banking Operations

Ceisteanna (74)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

74. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of securitisation operations made by banks in each of the past five years which involved the use of mortgage debt as an asset; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11294/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Securitisation is a process by which a financial institution, through the creation of a security, assigns the benefits of its financial assets, such as its mortgage loans, to investors in return for a capital payment by investors.  As such it is a process which can be utilised by institutions for their liquidity, funding, capital or other commercial purposes.  Under the EU Capital Markets Union, securitisation is seen as an important channel for diversifying funding sources for the real economy.

While the Central Bank does not publish data on the number of securitisations, it has advised that over the five year period 2014 to 2018, there were a total of seven securitisations completed by the retail banks.  Table A.6 of the Central Bank Money and Banking Statistics in the following link provides data on the outstanding amounts of securitised mortgage loans and the position at the end of December for each of the last five years is as follows:-

2014 - €37.4bn;

2015 - €33.6bn;

2016 - €33.3bn;

2017 - €27.3bn;

2018 - €21.6bn.

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (75)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

75. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 22 of 28 February 2019, if a service charge presented on the bill but voluntary in nature and intended for the staff only would attract VAT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As per Parliamentary Question No. 22 of 28 February 2019, a voluntary payment (such as a staff tip) which is not included in the bill is outside the scope of VAT.  

Where a restaurant, hotel, etc. presents a bill for a meal or any other service, all charges included are liable to VAT. This includes an amount or percentage in respect of a service charge regardless of whether the service charge is intended for the benefit of staff only. In accordance with the VAT Directive, any amount which a supplier is entitled to receive forms part of the taxable amount.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (76)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

76. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he has examined the disparity between the tax wedge between a PAYE worker and a self-employed person following the near completion of equalisation of tax credits by which the tax wedge related to a PAYE worker earning €40,000 is €4,080 less than that of a self-employed person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am aware of the difference between the total taxation that arises in relation to self-employed and PAYE workers and the fact that this difference is due largely to the impact of Employer PRSI. 

The example in the ESRI report referred to by the Deputy shows the amount of income tax, USC and PRSI associated with a self-employed person and a PAYE employee, both with annual income of €40,000. 

PAYE employees earning €40,000 pay Class A PRSI which consists of 4% Employee PRSI on all earnings and in addition their employer pays 10.95% Employer PRSI on all of the employee’s earnings. 

In comparison, a self-employed person earning €40,000 pays 4% Class S PRSI on all earnings only; there is no equivalent to the Employer PRSI contribution in Class S PRSI. That is where much of the disparity comes from in the example in the ESRI Report referred to by the Deputy.

Mortgage Book Sales

Ceisteanna (77)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

77. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance if mortgage holders of a bank (details supplied) whose mortgages were sold to a company will be offered the option of the mortgage to rent scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

At the time of announcing Project Glenbeigh, PTSB confirmed that within six months the loans would transfer to Pepper Ireland who will then hold legal title to the loans. In addition, Pepper will act as servicer and administrator handling all of the day-to-day management of these loans.

Representatives of Pepper, including the CEO, appeared at the debate of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on 6 December last to discuss Project Glenbeigh. During this debate mortgage-to-rent was discussed.

During the debate, the Pepper CEO confirmed that Pepper works hard on mortgage to rent highlighting that the company has completed more mortgage to rent solutions than any other provider in Ireland. The CEO further commented that Pepper is very much engaged with all the housing bodies and with the two mortgage to rent bodies that exist in Ireland adding that if Pepper can make a mortgage to rent case work, it will make it work.

The following link contains the latest statistics published by the Housing Agency which show that Pepper has completed 30% of all completed mortgage-to-rent cases, the highest of all providers.

Amusement Machine Licences

Ceisteanna (78)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

78. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the number of amusement machine and amusement premises licences issued by the Revenue Commissioners in 2016, 2017 and 2018; the amount of fees collected from the issue of such licences in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to ‘Amusement Machine Permits’ rather than ‘Amusement Premises Licenses’.

I am advised by Revenue that amusement machine operators must hold an ‘Amusement Machine Permit’ as well as an ‘Amusement Machine License’ in respect of each amusement machine. The ‘Amusement Machine License’ must be clearly displayed on the applicable machine.

As part of the annual ‘Amusement Machine Permit’ application process, operators are required to submit a list to Revenue of all premises where amusement machines are located and confirm the number of machines operating at each site.

Regarding licensing, the operator has the option to apply for annual amusement machine licenses, which cost €125 for each machine or high season amusement machine licenses, which cost €38 for each machine. A high season license is only valid for a maximum three-month period expiring on 31 August.

The following table sets out the numbers of permits and licenses issued by Revenue in respect of amusement machines for the years requested by the Deputy. The table also includes the associated fees collected by Revenue for the same period.

 

Annual Amusement Machine Permits

(@ €100)

Amusement Machine Annual Licences

(@ €125)

Amusement Machine High Season   Licences

(@ €38)

Totals 

Year

2016

181

€18,100

8,330

€1,041,250

171

€6,498

8,682

 €1,065,848

2017

169

€16,900

8,728

€1,091,000

176

€6,688

9,073

 €1,114,588

2018

171

€17,100

8,822

€1,102,750

200

€7,600

9,193

 €1,127,450  

Company Liquidations

Ceisteanna (79)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

79. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on the attempted recovery of assets in eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine formerly belonging to a group (details supplied); the value of the assets recovered to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11400/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by the Special Liquidators that the information requested is commercially sensitive and that disclosure could have a detrimental impact on the Bank's ability to maximise loan recoveries.

However,  I am further advised that the value of assets now under the control of the Special Liquidators in these jurisdictions greatly exceed the costs incurred in recovering them.

As these matters relate to on-going litigation, it would be inappropriate for the Special Liquidators to comment any further.

Commencement of Legislation

Ceisteanna (80)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

80. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if all parts of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 have been commenced; if not, the sections that have not been commenced; when they will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11410/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 was commenced in full on 28 January 2018 under the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 (Commencement) Order 2019 (S.I. No. 2 of 2019).  The Deputy will be aware that the Act also provided for amendments to sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and this section has also been commenced.

As the Act has been commenced, the Central Bank of Ireland is in the process of making appropriate regulations in respect of the National Claims Information Database, as provided for in the Act.  The Act requires the Bank to consult with me as Minister in respect of those regulations and I am expecting the Governor to write to me shortly in that regard.  Once this consultation has taken place, the Bank will publish the regulations. 

Following on from the similar work completed in the process of producing the Motor Insurance Key Information Reports under Recommendation 12 of the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance, the Central Bank will continue to collaborate with insurance undertakings to ensure efficient data collection.  As outlined previously, the Central Bank expects to publish its first report under the Act during the second half of 2019.

Financial Services Regulation

Ceisteanna (81, 82)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

81. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of debt management firms regulated; the number of complaints made against debt management firms to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman; the number of those complaints that were decided against debt management firms; the number of enforcement investigations undertaken by the Central Bank on debt management firms in each of the past five years; the number of those investigations that resulted in fines being imposed; the value of those fines opposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11455/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

82. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of debt management firms that have been found by the Central Bank to be operating without a licence to do so; the implications for those companies operating without a licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11456/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 82 together.

I am advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that it has authorised 47 debt management firms.

A “debt management firm” is defined in Part V of the Central Bank Act 1997 (as amended), and means “a person who for remuneration provides debt management services to one or more consumers, other than an excepted person”.  “Debt management services”, as defined in the Central Bank Act 1997, means “(a) giving advice about the discharge of debts (in whole or in part), including advice about budgeting in connection with the discharge of debts,  (b) negotiating with a person's creditors for the discharge of the person's debts (in whole or in part), or (c) any similar activity associated with the discharge of debts”.  The regime for the authorisation and supervision of debt management firms came into effect in Irish law on 1 August 2013.

Of the complaints received in 2018 by the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO), I can confirm that one complaint was received against a debt management firm.   

Additionally, upon establishment in 01 January 2018 the FSPO inherited the caseload of its predecessor organisations, the Financial Services Ombudsman and the Pensions Ombudsman, which included one complaint against a debt management firm.

In this instance, the complaint concluded in 2018 following a full investigation and adjudication, which led to the issuing of a legally binding decision which upheld the original complaint.  Where a complaint is upheld, substantially upheld or partially upheld, the Ombudsman may direct rectification or compensation, or both, in respect of all or some of the matters complained of.

The Central Bank has not had any investigations into, or sanctions against, a debt management firm in respect of their debt management services in recent years.

Regarding the number of debt management firms that have been found by the Central Bank to be operating here without a licence to do so, and the implications for those companies operating without a licence, the Unauthorised Providers Unit (‘UPU’) of the Central Bank of Ireland investigates instances of alleged unauthorised activity carried out by firms or individuals who hold no authorisation from the Central Bank. 

It should be noted that details of specific investigations undertaken by the UPU in relation to individual firms/persons cannot be disclosed to any third party due to confidentiality provisions as set out in Section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942 (as amended). I am informed that all instances of alleged unauthorised debt management activity are investigated by the Central Bank.

If an investigation conducted by the Central Bank concludes that a firm is engaging in unauthorised debt management activity, the Central Bank, by using its enforcement powers under the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013, can issue a warning notice against the firm and/or apply to the High Court for an Enforcement Order.

To date, the Central Bank has issued 4 warning notices (via press releases on its website) in relation to unauthorised debt management firms.  In addition, the Central Bank obtained one High Court Enforcement Order in relation to an unauthorised debt management firm. 

In addition, it is a criminal offence to operate as a debt management firm in the absence of the appropriate authorisation.

Public Procurement Contracts

Ceisteanna (83)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

83. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of public works contracts since 2014 in which the final cost has been the subject of a confidentiality clause; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11401/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

There are no public works contracts, managed by the Office of Public Works since 2014, whose final cost has been subject to a confidentiality clause. The standard public works contracts include a general Confidentiality clause which requires the Employer to keep confidential the Contractor’s rates and prices and any other documents provided under the contract which has been notified by the contractor as being confidential.  However this confidentiality provision does not apply to situations where disclosure is required “for governmental, parliamentary, statutory, administrative, fiscal or judicial purposes, or the publication of an award notice.”

In many public works contracts the final cost is often determined following a conciliation process where the final account is in dispute. The contract provides that the conciliation process and its outcome shall be confidential except where the above mentioned exceptions apply.  Therefore, there is no explicit clause within the standard public works contracts about confidentiality on final cost. Even if such cost was determined following a conciliation process, confidential does not apply where disclosure is required for the above mentioned purposes.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (84)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

84. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the level of state aid that will be made available in the event of a no-deal hard Brexit; the provision provided for same in the Revised Estimates; if he has sought permission from the European Commission for aid to specific sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation and its agencies have been working closely with the European Commission including DG Competition since November 2017 through the Irish/EU Technical Working Group on State Aid.  Through the mechanism of the Technical Working Group Ireland has fully utilised the provisions of the State aid framework to enable the investment by Enterprise Ireland of €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

On 24th January 2019, Minister Humphreys met with the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.  The focus of the meeting centred on the severe challenges that Irish businesses will face when the UK leaves the EU and the need for appropriate and timely State supports.  The Commissioner emphasised that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms.

Project Ireland 2040 Administration

Ceisteanna (85)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

85. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when there will be public online access to the database, the Project Ireland 2040 investment projects and programmes tracker, maintained by his Department (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11325/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department publishes a major capital projects tracker on the website of the Department, which sets out details of the key projects and programmes being implemented under the NDP. The tracker currently focuses on projects and programmes with a value of greater than €20 million.  Therefore, while it does not provide an exhaustive list of all capital expenditure, the list of projects serves to highlight the diverse range of infrastructural demands competing for the resources of the State.

The tracker which was last published in September 2018 can be found at the following URL:

 https://www.per.gov.ie/en/investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

It is currently possible to search the project tracker by a number of variables including location by county, by completion date and by Department responsible for project delivery. An updated version of the capital tracker will be published shortly. In addition, my Department is currently developing a mapping function for projects on the capital tracker in consultation with Ordnance Survey Ireland. This function will also be available shortly and will make it easier to locate projects being delivered in a particular location, which will be an important step in increasing public awareness of the projects being delivered under Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027.  It will also give a greater overview to the construction and infrastructure sectors of the Government's investment commitments and future opportunities for these sectors.

Minor Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (86)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

86. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if an application (details supplied) from Mayo County Council under the OPW minor works scheme has been received. [11353/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has received no application from Mayo County Council for funding for works to construct a flood wall or to carry out remedial works on Sea Road, Belmullet.

I am advised that localised flooding is a matter for the Local Authority in the first instance.

However, it is open to the Local Authority to apply for OPW funding for viable flood mitigation measures which meet the criteria of the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (87)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

87. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider introducing a set number of days per year for paid domestic violence leave for public sector workers. [11365/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have responsibility for non-pay terms and conditions in the Civil Service. Other Ministers have responsibility for such conditions in the various sectors of the wider public service.

While I currently have no plans for the introduction of paid domestic violence leave in the Civil Service, there are a number of supports already in place to help staff who are experiencing difficulties in their personal lives.

The Civil Service Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS) provides support to civil servants experiencing workplace and personal difficulties.  The service provides one-to-one support and guidance in the areas of relationships, marital and family issues, including domestic violence. https://www.cseas.per.gov.ie/

 The Civil Service also has a policy covering unpaid leave for domestic reasons of up to two months (Circular 05/2010: Force Majeure and Other Urgent Family Reasons Leave)

http://circulars.gov.ie/pdf/circular/finance/2010/05.pdf

Educational Supports

Ceisteanna (88)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

88. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports in place for a child (details supplied) struggling with a subject; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The primary supports in place for a child struggling with a subject are the teaching staff in the school and the matter should in the first instance be discussed with them.

In the event that the child has a specific learning difficulty this should be brought to the attention of the school’s assigned psychologist.

Should a Special Education Need be diagnosed the National Council for Special Education offers support for parents through its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENO)

The Primary Language Curriculum (PLC) is for children of all abilities in all school contexts; including English-medium schools, Gaeltacht schools, Irish-medium schools and special schools. It is an integrated curriculum — it has the same curriculum structure and components for English and Gaeilge to support integration and the transfer of skills across the two languages; it is aligned with the principles and methodologies of Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework which emphasises the use of play-based approaches to learning; and it has a learning outcomes focus as opposed to the learning objectives focus of the 1999 Primary School Curriculum. The PLC recognises the linguistic diversity present in modern day Irish classrooms and builds on the language knowledge and experiences that children bring to school. Furthermore, it supports children to develop positive dispositions toward language and literacy.   The PLC includes a differentiated teaching approach which allows teachers to guide children’s progress in learning at a pace that is developmentally appropriate for each child along a Progression Continua.

Exemptions from the study of Irish are currently granted in accordance with the provisions of Departmental Circular 12/96 for primary schools and Circular M10/94 for post-primary schools.  The Department is reviewing these circulars and a public consultation has recently been completed on proposed changes with a view to bringing the existing circulars up to date with current policy and in line with new language curricula.