Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (101)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

101. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; and if it has been drawn down in each case. [12517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

In 2016, the Local Diaspora Engagement Fund (LDEF) provided assistance to local and community projects and initiatives throughout Ireland which were focused on developing strong diaspora links within the community. The fund was administered by the Department of the Taoiseach.

Funding provided and drawn down under the LDEF in County Galway in 2016 was as follows:

Year

Organisation

Project

Amount

2016

Áras Éanna Arts Centre

Reproducing Culture & Heritage Exhibitions

€4,000

2016

Galway Civic Trust

The Galway Tribal Diaspora Project

€4,000

2016

Larry Reynolds Irish Music, Heritage & Culture Group

Irish Music, Heritage & Culture weekend

€3,500

2016

Loughrea Medieval Festival

Loughrea Medieval Festival 2016

€1,000

2016

Moycullen Historical Society

Historic Homes & Graves Training

€3,000

2016

Muintearas Teo Galway

Cuairt Scoile Catholic Memorial

€2,000

2016

Omey Parishes

Historic Graves Training

€1,500

2016

Woodlawn Heritage Group

Woodlawn Diaspora Project

€3,000

In addition to these projects, Galway County Council received €10,000 in 2016 under the Local Diaspora Strategy Development Fund (LDSDF) which made up to €10,000 available for each Local Authority to invest in developing strategies for diaspora engagement at local and community level.

Diaspora funding was transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2017, and there has been no other funding schemes in operation in my Department in the years in question.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (102)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

102. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; and if it has been drawn down in each case. [12534/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

In 2016, the Local Diaspora Engagement Fund (LDEF) provided assistance to local and community projects and initiatives throughout Ireland which were focused on developing strong diaspora links within the community. The fund was administered by the Department of the Taoiseach.

Funding provided and drawn down under the LDEF in County Roscommon in 2016 was as follows:

Year

Organisation

Project

Amount

2016

Ballintubber Tidy Towns & Heritage Committee

Archaeology/

Anthropology Project

€2,000

2016

Boyle Arts Festival

Artists of the North West

€1,500

2016

Kilteevan Graveyard Committee

Towards a Parish Genealogy

€3,500

2016

Killynagh More Graveyard Committee

Recording of Graveyard memorials

€500

2016

Roscommon Chamber of Commerce

Ireland West Diaspora Project - Phase II Diaspora Engagement

€10,000

2016

RosFM Radio Ltd.

Undocumented Irish - A Voice Still Heard

€10,000

In addition to these projects, Roscommon County Council received €10,000 in 2016 under the Local Diaspora Strategy Development Fund (LDSDF) which made up to €10,000 available for each Local Authority to invest in developing strategies for diaspora engagement at local and community level.

Diaspora funding was transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2017, and there has been no other funding schemes in operation in my Department in the years in question.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (103)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

103. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12507/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Expenditure by my Department is mainly on pay and allowances and the operational costs and capital investment across the Defence Forces. My Department does not provide funding on a geographic basis, with the limited exception of the funding provided from the Defence Vote in respect of Civil Defence and for the maintenance and upgrade of Departmental buildings and military installations.

Details of amounts spent, for County Galway, from 2016 to date are as follows:

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

Civil Defence - Annual Operational Grant

€86,562

€90,765

€95,430

Nil

Civil Defence - Other Grants (vehicles/equipment)

€6,970

€23,000

Nil

Nil

Maintenance and Upgrade of Departmental Buildings and Military Installations

€274,598

€225,231

€497,305

€8,880

In addition, a further €20,368 is due to be drawn down in 2019 in relation to projects for the maintenance and upgrade of Departmental buildings and military installations in County Galway.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (104)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

104. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12524/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Expenditure by my Department is mainly on pay and allowances and the operational costs and capital investment across the Defence Forces. My Department does not provide funding on a geographic basis, with the limited exception of the funding provided from the Defence Vote in respect of Civil Defence and for the maintenance and upgrade of military installations.

Details of amounts spent, for County Roscommon, from 2016 to date are as follows:

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

Civil Defence -Annual Operational Grant

€75,400

€77,576

€77,454

Nil

Civil Defence - Other Grants (vehicles/equipment)

€39,720

€16,400

€3,990

Nil

Maintenance and Upgrade of Military Installations

€43,313

Nil

€68,944

€2,446

Defence Forces Reorganisation

Ceisteanna (105)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

105. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the re-establishment of the three brigade structure in the Defence Forces will be considered. [12567/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The White Paper on Defence, approved by Government in July 2015, comprehensively deals with all aspects of defence policy and was informed by a wide-ranging consultation process. Retention of the Army's two brigade structure is among the commitments outlined in the White Paper.

I am fully satisfied that the current structures optimise the capacity of the Defence Forces to continue to fulfil all of the roles assigned by Government. The two-brigade Army structure has seen the consolidation of understrength units into smaller numbers of full strength units, a reduction in the number of headquarters and the associated redeployment of personnel from administrative and support functions to operational units. This has resulted in an improvement in the deployability and sustainability of the Defence Forces, both at home and overseas. It is clear that a three-brigade structure would cause a range of inefficiencies, including a return to understrength units and the re-introduction of an unnecessary layer of management functions associated with an additional brigade headquarters.

Defence Forces

Ceisteanna (106)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

106. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces being given an equal say in defence policy matters with the Secretary General of his Department is being considered. [12568/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The White Paper on Defence, approved by Government in July 2015, comprehensively deals with all aspects of defence policy and was informed by a wide-ranging consultation process. Chapter 10 deals comprehensively with all aspects of the management of defence specifying any changes required, including relating to the roles of the Secretary General and the Chief of Staff, and the further development of civil-military management.

The White Paper confirms the position that, in accordance with the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, the Secretary General of my Department is the principal policy adviser to the Minister for Defence while, in accordance with the Defence Acts 1954 to 2011, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces is the principal military adviser to the Minister for Defence. Furthermore, as provided for in the Defence Acts, the Chief of Staff is directly accountable to me for the performance of assigned duties, which include responsibility for the military effectiveness, efficiency, organisation and economy of the Defence Forces.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Ceisteanna (107)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

107. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if retention issues in the Defence Forces will be addressed by examining pay allowances in detail (details supplied). [12569/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Similar to other sectors in the public service, the pay of Permanent Defence Force personnel was reduced as one of the measures to assist in stabilising national finances during the financial crisis.

Improvements within the economy have provided an opportunity to begin the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation which imposed pay cuts across the Public Service during the financial crisis.

Pay is being restored to members of the Defence Forces and other public servants in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay.

The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, which was accepted by members of the Permanent Defence Force through their representative associations, provides for increases in pay ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement. The increases due under the agreement from 1 January 2018, 1 October 2018 and 1 January 2019 have been paid to Permanent Defence Force personnel. Further increases in pay are scheduled in 2019 and 2020.

By the end of the current Public Service Pay agreement the payscales of all public servants (including members of the Defence Forces), earning under €70,000 per annum, will be restored to pre FEMPI levels. The restoration of the 5% reduction to allowances cut under FEMPI is also scheduled as part of that agreement.

New entrants who joined the Defence Forces since 2011, may also benefit from the measures which were recently announced in relation to interventions at points 4 and 8 of the pay scales for relevant new entrants to the public service.

Given the unique and demanding nature of military life, there is understandably a relatively high level of turnover among Defence Forces personnel. This is not new and the Defence Forces have always had a level of turnover that exceeds other areas of the public service.

In order to balance personnel turnover there is ongoing recruitment at both enlisted and officer level. This includes general service recruits, apprentices, cadets and direct entry officers.

With regard to other retention measures, there are a range of actions outlined in the White Paper on Defence (2015) which are aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the Defence Forces. These include HR initiatives which impact on retention such as providing career development opportunities and accreditation. The criteria for extending service beyond twelve years have been revised and this has ensured that personnel who would have had to depart could remain. An examination of age profiles for enlisted personnel has been prioritised and this is being progressed. A gap analysis of skill sets in the Permanent Defence Force is also being prioritised. In addition, the military authorities have introduced further initiatives to enhance work-life balance and this is also to be welcomed.

In accordance with the provisions of Public Services Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the Government has tasked the Public Service Pay Commission with conducting a comprehensive examination of specific recruitment and retention challenges in the Defence Sector. The Commission's work is on-going. The Government will give due consideration to the findings and any recommendations that arise from the work of the Commission.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (108, 109)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

108. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12511/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

109. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12528/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Child Abuse Reports

Ceisteanna (110)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

110. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has received a copy of the United Nations special rapporteur report on the sale and sexual exploitation of children here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12538/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Ireland has issued a standing invitation to the holders of all United Nations special procedure mandates, to undertake visits to Ireland. In this regard, my Department organised an extensive programme for the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquiccio, from 14-18 May 2018, in cooperation with relevant Government Departments and agencies. This included meetings with my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.

The Special Rapporteur’s Report on her country visit to Ireland was formally presented to the Human Rights Council on 5 March 2019. In response, Ireland delivered a statement highlighting activities being undertaken by the State in relation to the issues raised in the report.

While my Department coordinated the visit and the response, the Report's recommendations related mainly to issues under the aegis of other Government Departments and agencies. It will be for them therefore to take the appropriate action on any recommendations relevant to their areas of functional responsibility.