Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme

Ceisteanna (117)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

117. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance if the working group identified in Parliamentary Question No. 132 of 5 March 2019 has identified areas in which there should be increased provision of flood insurance; if flood insurance is being delivered in those areas; if the working group has examined options or made recommendations for flood insurance for areas which are not included in tranche 1 of flood defences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. Consequently, I am not in a position to direct insurance companies to provide flood cover to specific individuals or businesses or in particular areas. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from doing so.

As outlined, in my reply to the Deputy’s most recent question on this issue, Government policy in relation to flooding is focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to dealing with flooding problems.

This commitment is underpinned by a significant capital works investment programme within the region of €250 million spent on flood relief measures over a five year period from 2012 to 2016. The Capital Programme covering the period 2016 to 2021 will see the current annual allocation for flood risk schemes increased from €45 million to €100 million by 2021, representing a total investment of €430 million. These works will be completed on a prioritised basis.

This is a coordinated whole-of-Government approach led by OPW with relevant local authorities and other bodies to maximise the level of resources available to address flood relief works. Due to the cost and scale of these types of flood defence works, it is an approach which will see benefits over the medium to long term.

The above approach is complemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between the OPW and Insurance Ireland, which provides for the exchange of data in relation to completed flood defence schemes which should provide a basis for the increased provision of flood insurance in areas where works have been completed.

Under the MOU, the OPW requirement is that insurers who are party to the agreement take full account of information provided by the OPW on completed flood defence schemes, when assessing exposure to flood risk. The MOU does not guarantee the availability of flood risk cover in the locations for which information has been provided by the OPW. The MOU recognises that the provision of insurance cover, the level of premiums charged and the policy terms applied are a matter for individual insurers based on the risk they are willing to take on a case by case basis.

The role of the Insurance Ireland/OPW working group, which meets quarterly and the Department of Finance attends, is to support the information flow and improve the understanding of issues between both parties. Therefore, the examination of options or making recommendations for flood insurance for areas which are not included in any tranche of flood defence work does not come under the remit of the group.

Any person with an insurance-related query or complaint can contact Insurance Ireland's Insurance Information Service (01 676 1914 or feedback@insuranceireland.eu). In addition, the Financial Services Ombudsman (01 567 7000 or info@fspo.ie) deals independently with unresolved complaints from consumers about their individual dealings with all financial service providers.

Flood Relief Schemes

Ceisteanna (118)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

118. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of plans for a flood relief scheme (details supplied) in County Cork; if the required level of funding is committed; the next steps in the process; the timeline for the completion of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11923/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

A pre-feasibility study into the flooding issues in Ballinhassig has been completed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and has identified a preferred option for the area. Further assessment of the environmental impacts is currently being reviewed to inform the planning process, after which the project will progress to planning and detailed design. While it is not possible to provide a timeframe for the project at this time, provision has been made in OPW’s multi annual financial profiles for the progression of the scheme to implementation.

Flood Relief Schemes

Ceisteanna (119)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

119. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount allocated to the Ennis south flood relief scheme to date; the breakdown of the spending; if the original announcement for the scheme of €8.6 million is still budgeted for; the changes that have been made to the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme is being progressed by Clare County Council with funding from the OPW.

The €8.6m project budget referred to was in respect of a tender competition in 2017. The project was re-tendered in the normal manner arising from pre-contractual issues which have now been resolved. The construction contract was signed between Clare County Council and Ward & Burke Construction Ltd on March 11th 2019 and works are expected to commence in the coming weeks.

The overall project budget, based on the contract with Ward and Burke is €9.7m ex VAT, and is provided for in OPW multi-annual capital budgets. Amendments to the scheme include additional flood defence embankment works and increased culvert capacity.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (120)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

120. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding renovation works at Ballymahon and Longford Garda stations. [11470/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works has agreed with An Garda Síochána upgrade works to Longford Garda Station. These works include the construction of a two story extension incorporating new cells, prisoner processing facilities and office accommodation with alteration works to the existing cell area. This project is to be jointly funded by the Office of Public Works and An Garda Síochána.

Planning Permission has been granted for these works and the tender package is currently being finalised. It is intended to issue invitations to tender to contractors shortly.

In relation to Ballymahon Garda Station, initial meetings have taken place between An Garda Síochána and the Office of Public Works. The Office of Public Works is awaiting a detailed brief of requirements and confirmation of the prioritisation and funding of these works from An Garda Síochána.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (121)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

121. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 88 of 2 May 2018, if a copy of the actuarial tables referred to will be provided. [11539/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The calculations referred to are infrequently required and therefore are done on a case by case basis by my Department.

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (122)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

122. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the work carried out by OPW in the areas of Ballymakeogh, Clonsingle and Shower Bog road further to the serious flooding of 2018; the work planned to be carried out in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for the maintenance of Arterial Drainage Schemes (ADS) and Catchment Drainage Schemes (CDS) designated under the Arterial Drainage Acts of 1945 and 1995.

The OPW's Mulkear River (Ballymakeogh CDS) is in operation in the areas referred to by the Deputy. Since the flooding in 2018 the OPW has carried out maintenance works which includes improved river channel conveyance and embankment strengthening works.

Further planned channel and embankment maintenance works scheduled for 2019 includes an enlargement of a field accommodation bridge to further increase channel conveyance.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (123)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

123. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of plans for the refurbishment of a Garda station (details supplied); the timeline for the completion of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11686/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works continues to review all options to provide the best possible accommodation solution for An Garda Síochána’s operational and policing needs in the area, while maintaining the existing Garda Station premises.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (124)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

124. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason for the refusal of a supplementary pension for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11692/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Pensions for established civil servants who are not members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (SPSPS) were provided for under Section 2 of the Superannuation Act 1859 (as amended by section 2 of the Superannuation Act 1909). The Act provides for payment of an annual pension equivalent to one eightieth of salary for each year of service capped at forty years’ service.

In 1995, the Government decided that full social welfare cover should be extended to all newly appointed civil servants and that they should pay the full Class A social insurance contribution. This change was introduced under the Social Welfare (Modifications of Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No 77/1995) whereby, with effect from 6 April 1995, all newly recruited civil servants are subject to Class A PRSI.

The new rules were notified to civil servants under Circular 6/1995 – Revised Social Insurance Status and Conditions of Service of Certain Civil Servants.

In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Circular, and consistent with the Social Welfare Regulations, the new rules apply to persons appointed to established civil service positions on or after 6 April 1995. The revised superannuation arrangements are set out at paragraph 13, which provides that:

" ... In the case of officers covered by Class A insurance, the following arrangements will apply:

(a) no change will be made in the occupational lump sum; and

(b) the occupational pension will be calculated on the basis of 1/80th of net pensionable remuneration per year service. (Net pensionable remuneration means the amount by which pensionable remuneration exceeds twice the annual rate of social insurance old age contributory pension payable at the maximum rate to a person with no adult dependent or qualified children.) In the case of staff to whom the terms of the Superannuation (Prison Officers) Act, 1919 apply, the pension benefit for each year of service in excess of twenty will be 2/80ths of net pensionable remuneration.

Paragraph 18 of the Circular provides for payment of a supplementary pension as follows:

"18. The revised superannuation arrangements include provisions for the payment of a supplementary pension in certain circumstances to pensioners in respect of periods during which the pensioner is not employed in any capacity which involves a social insurance contribution and, due to causes outside his/her own control, fails to qualify for social insurance benefit[1] or qualifies for such benefit at less than the maximum personal rate. The supplementary pension will be equal to the difference between

(i) the occupational pension which would have been payable if it had been based on pensionable remuneration instead of net pensionable remuneration and

(ii) aggregate of the actual occupational pension payable and the actual rate of social insurance benefit payable (including any payments for dependents)."

It is understood that similar rules apply across the wider public service.

The grant of a supplementary pension under paragraph 18 of the Circular is not automatic and is conditional upon a number conditions as follows:

1. the individual must not be engaged in paid employment;

2. he or she does not qualify for social insurance benefit or fail to qualify for such benefit at the maximum rate; and

3. his or her failure to qualify must be due to causes outside his or her control.

Any queries in respect of the individual mentioned should be directed to the relevant pension paying authority.

[1] Social Welfare Benefit is defined in the Rules as State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition); Illness Benefit, Invalidity Pension or Jobseekers Benefit payable under the Social Welfare Acts or any equivalent contributory benefit, by whatever name called, substituted for any of those benefits in any future enactment amending the Social Welfare Acts.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (125, 127)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

125. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the level of consultation the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has with him about extra funding for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; if a formal request for extra funding has been made; the extra amount being sought; the areas that funds will come from if it is granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

127. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has given indications, guidance or directive regarding the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in recent weeks; if funding has been made available to ensure that those who qualify for the loan will not have undue delays in approval due to funding issues; if changes in the scheme including the interest rate are being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12332/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 127 together.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan launched on 1 February 2018. Prior to its launch, an initial tranche of €200 million of long-term fixed-rate finance was borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency to provide funds for the scheme to local authorities.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. From the data collated on the scheme to date, it is clear that there has been a greater demand for the RIHL than initially anticipated, as a result of which, the scheme would require a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the HFA if it is to continue. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has requested sanction for additional funding of €200m annually for 2019 to 2021.

I understand the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government are presently carrying out an internal review of the scheme. Further details on the review can be obtained from my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

In conjunction with this review, the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform are in discussions with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with regard to the scheme. Upon conclusion of the review and subsequent discussions the Minister for Housing will be in a position to make a statement on the scheme.

Office of the Ombudsman Staff

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 125.

Ceisteanna (126)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

126. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the necessary funding for the recruitment of two additional assistant legal advisers at assistant principal, AP, level for the Office of the Ombudsman will be provided. [11816/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of the annual estimates process each Vote outlines to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform its pay and non-pay requirements for the forthcoming year. This forms the basis for negotiations between both parties, and an agreed allocation for the forthcoming year.

Over the course of the 2018 and 2019 estimates processes, the Office of the Ombudsman's overall gross allocation rose by €1,314,000, which represents an increase of 12.1%. I am informed by the Office that over this period, an additional two assistant legal advisers at Assistant Principal Officer level were recruited, to complement the existing Principal Officer level legal adviser to the organisation.

The legal services unit of the Office of the Ombudsman provides legal services to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner for Environmental Services, the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Commission for Public Service Appointments and the Referendum Commission as required.

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 125.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (128)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

128. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of flood defence projects delayed due to planning issues. [12347/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

There are two flood relief projects currently awaiting planning consent:

Springfield, County Clare - a Part 8 planning application was withdrawn by Clare County Council in order to more fully assess certain environmental matters. A further application will be made shortly.

Lower Morell project in County Kildare is the subject of a Judicial Review following approval by An Bord Pleanála.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (129)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

129. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports available to a person (details supplied); the way in which neurological conditions are specifically catered for in the school environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11475/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department provides for a range of supports for schools which have enrolled pupils with special educational needs, in order to ensure that wherever a child is enrolled, s/he will have access to an appropriate education.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), which is a separate statutory agency, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for the provision of special educational needs supports to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

All primary and post primary schools have been allocated additional teaching resources to cater for children with special educational needs. In September 2017 the Department introduced a new model to support pupils with special educational needs in our schools. All schools have now received revised allocations for September 2019. DES Circulars 0007/2019 for primary schools and 0008/2019 for post primary schools provide details of how the allocations are being updated for schools from September 2019, based on updated profile data.

The SET model differs significantly from the old Resource Allocation Model, in that Special Education Teacher allocation is now frontloaded into schools to support children with special educational needs. Rather than having to make individual application to the NCSE for additional supports schools can now respond to individual needs in a flexible way and pupils do not have to have a psychological assessment, or a diagnosis of a disability, in order to access Special Education Teaching. This means that those with highest level of need can access the highest level of support within the school in a timely manner.

It is a matter for schools to monitor and utilise their allocation of additional teaching support to best support the needs of identified pupils, in accordance with the Department's guidance. The teaching time afforded to each individual pupil is decided and managed by schools, taking into account each child's individual learning needs.

Guidelines for schools on the organisation, deployment and use of their special education teachers have been published on the Department’s website, at www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/Special-Education/Guidelines-for-Primary-Schools-Supporting-Pupils-with-Special-Educational-Needs-in-Mainstream-Schools.pdf.

Schools are supported by the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) which delivers a consultative, tiered service delivery model to schools, in line with international best practice for the effective and efficient delivery of educational psychological services that best meet the needs of all pupils/students in schools. This service delivery model allows NEPS psychologists to support schools to provide an effective continuum of support to meet the needs of pupils/ students.

Should any students have assessed care needs, the school may apply for access to Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for those students.

The 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.

Resources provided to schools also include additional training for teachers through the Special Education Support Service (SESS).

The Support Service provides advice and support to schools on the education and inclusion of students with special educational needs, providing in-school support for teachers and continuing professional development for teachers with additional training needs. The Support Service continues to update current CPD courses and design new CPD courses in response to the needs of teachers.

Schools can apply for CPD courses directly to the NCSE on their on-line application process at www.sess.ie/ncsesupport.

The Department encourages parents and school authorities to engage locally regarding pupils' education. Should a parent be dissatisfied with the manner in which supports have been provided to support their child's education they should raise this matter directly with their school Principal or the Board of Management of the school. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's present or future special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Departmental Circulars

Ceisteanna (130)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

130. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools here that implemented circular 0038/2018. [11525/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Decisions on the use of smart phones and other such devices in schools are taken at local level by the Board of Management of a school, who under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998 have responsibility for the direct governance of a school.

My Department recognises the requirement to safeguard children from the negative impact of using digital devices but consider that it is also very important to recognise the value of digital technology to enhance teaching and learning for all students. In that context, schools are best placed to identify and put in place appropriate policies in the context of their own particular situation, through consultation with their local school community.

Circular 0038/2018, which issued to all schools, early last year requires all schools to consult with teachers, student and parents in the development of policy around the use of smart phones and personal devices in school. This consultation requirement will be underpinned in law once the Parents and Students Charter is enacted. There is no automatic requirement for schools to report on the implementation of circulars to the Department.

This bottom-up approach will ensure all parents, teachers and school communities are satisfied with the smart phone policy in place in their school. It will also mean that parents will be able to adopt a complementary approach at home to that which is in place in their child's school, if they wish to do so.

The intention is to promote a shared approach regarding the appropriate and beneficial use of digital technologies. The Department recognises that parents are the primary educators of their children, and will prioritise their child’s best interests and well-being. In that context, the input of parents to developing school policies as articulated in the draft Education (Parent & Student Charter) Bill 2018, which notes and mandates that role, is a priority of this Department.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (131)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

131. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for a new building for a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11526/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

I can inform the Deputy that the NDFA has started preparations for the appointment of a design team for the project. This appointment will be a key first step in the design and construction stages. While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Facilities

Ceisteanna (132, 133)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

132. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the costs associated with conducting a national audit of secondary schools in respect of the equipment, infrastructure and facilities available to cook, prepare and serve meals to students in addition to the facilities in which they can eat; if this can be undertaken as part of a healthy schools policy; his plans for such an audit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11565/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

133. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding available to schools that wish to develop and purchase equipment, infrastructure and facilities available to cook, prepare and serve meals to students in addition to the facilities in which they can eat; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11566/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 133 together.

My Department has in place detailed design guidelines for primary and post-primary schools. These guidelines, which are available on my Department's website, currently provide for a standard range of servery and eating facilities in the design of new Post Primary schools. At Post Primary level a kitchenette, 25m² in area, is provided off the General Purpose/Dining Area. These facilities are not intended to be full commercial type canteens where food is prepared or cooked.

My Department has no plans to undertake a national survey along the lines referred to by the Deputy.

Schools Facilities

Ceisteanna (134, 135)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

134. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if schools have contacted his Department in respect of the availability of drinking water in schools; if applications have been made for financial support to address issues in which a school does not have a tap drinking water supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11568/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

135. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an audit of all learning centres will be undertaken on the availability of potable drinking water; the estimated cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11569/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 and 135 together.

In existing buildings, if a school has concerns about the quality of its drinking water the competent authorities to address this are the relevant local authority and Irish Water. It is matter for schools to take their concerns up with those authorities. Following this contact, if any quality issues are identified as a result of a test, my Department will provide funding to address them. If a school does not have a tap drinking water supply, the Department will provide funding to address this also.

There is no impediment to a school applying to my Department for funding to remedy either of the situations outlined. Schools and their management bodies will be aware that this is the case from their customary interactions with my Department with regard to all aspects of their buildings.

The availability of tap drinking water supplies is covered by my Department's Emergency Works Grant Scheme under the "mechanical" category. Mechanical components of a building incorporate, among other things, all water systems, including tap drinking water supply. It is also open to schools to apply for remediation works under my Department's Summer Works Scheme which, likewise, has a "mechanical" category. Primary schools receive a minor works grant too which they can use for this purpose if they so wish. In addition, tap drinking water systems are automatically included in new school buildings and extension projects. My Department has dedicated guidelines for Design Teams setting out the standards to be implemented for these construction projects and for all remediation projects.

Given the range of components under the mechanical category in my Department’s Grant Schemes, records of the detail of the individual grants approved are not held. As it is open to schools to apply for funding to address drinking water issues in their schools, I have no plans for an audit to be carried out.

Schools Amalgamation

Ceisteanna (136)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

136. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a matter relating to a school amalgamation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11589/19]

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 in relation to the proposed amalgamation and this is awaited. The matter will be considered further following receipt of this information.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (137)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

137. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the building programme of a school (details supplied). [11642/19]

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) which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents.

The Design Team is currently working on the Stage 2(b) report which will be submitted through the Board of Management to my Department.

Upon receipt and review of this report my Department will revert to the Board of Management with regard to the further progression of the project at that time.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (138)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

138. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a new set of regulations and standards is being drawn up for temporary prefabs being purchased or leased for school purposes; if the new standards or regulations will apply to the prefabricated buildings already produced and in the system; the way in which the regulations and standards are to be applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11663/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department has prepared a new Technical Guidance Document for Temporary and Prefabricated Accommodation. It will apply to future projects and not retrospectively and the implementation of this new guidance is currently under consideration.

It should be noted that notwithstanding any technical guidance from my Department, all temporary prefabricated accommodation being purchased or leased must comply with the building regulations in force at the time of installation on site. My Department’s Technical Guidance Document will be emphasising this already legally applicable requirement.

School Staff

Ceisteanna (139)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

139. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a concessionary post of administrative principal will be approved for schools (details supplied); the progress to date in respect of each school; the timeframe for a final decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11664/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The criteria for the appointment of an administrative principal to a school, which are enrolment related, are set out in Appendix B of Circular 0019/2019. There is no scope to deviate from these arrangements.

The enrolment required for the appointment of an administrative principal in ordinary schools such as the schools referred to by the Deputy is 176 pupils on 30th September 2018. As the enrolment of the schools referred to by the Deputy was less than this on that date, neither school meets the requirements for an administrative principal for the 2019/20 school year.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

In Budget 2019, school leadership is again supported with an additional release day for teaching principals in primary schools and a further four additional release days for teaching principals in schools with special classes. These additional release days will be effective from 1st September 2019.