National Transport Authority Expenditure

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (221)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

221. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding spent by the National Transport Authority on refurbishment of Busáras Station, Dublin 1, in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the nature of works carried out with the funding allocation in each of the years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24503/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply.  Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (222)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

222. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he has met with the taxi advisory committee; the attendees of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24544/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I can inform the Deputy that I met with the Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC) on 6th March 2017. The TAC attendees were as follows:

- Mr. Pat Byrne, Chairman

- Mr Gerard Macken representing small public service vehicles and driver interests

- Mr. Bobby Lynch representing small public service vehicles and driver interests

- Mr. David McGuinness representing small public service vehicles and driver interests

- Mr. Joe Herron representing small public service vehicles and driver interests

- Mr. Martin Plummer representing small public service vehicles and driver interests

- Mr. Michael Kilcoyne representing interests of consumers

- Ms Mairead Hayes representing interests of older persons  

- Superintendent Cornelius O’Donohue representing An Garda Síochána

- Ms Mary Henchy representing local authorities

- Ms Niamh Fawl representing interests of persons with disabilities; and

- Mr. Stephen Cluskey representing interests of persons with disabilities.

Mr. Hugh Creegan, Ms Wendy Thompson and Ms Jackie Mullen of the National Transport Authority were also in attendance.

Airlines Regulations

Ceisteanna (223)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

223. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason his Department has issued a permit for a company (details supplied) to operate under the fifth freedom between Dublin and Madrid; and the analysis undertaken of the serious competitive distortions of allowing fifth freedom rights on intra EU services to countries operating outside the EU. [24546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Ireland - Eithopia Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed in 2014 allows for the granting of fifth freedom air traffic rights, subject to approval by the relevant aeronautical authorities. 

Ethiopian Airlines applied to both the Spanish and Irish authorities in 2018 for approval of their Addis Ababa - Madrid - Dublin route. Following confirmation of approval by the Spanish Authorities and having consulted with key aviation stakeholders, including all Irish airlines, the Department authorised the route, as provided for under the BASA.

Ireland traditionally has a liberal aviation policy, and it remains positively disposed towards approval of fifth freedom rights in bilateral air service agreements, on a case-by-case basis.

Childcare Services Staff

Ceisteanna (224)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

224. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if efforts have been made to encourage the payment of the living wage across the childcare sector; the number of workers employed in the childcare sector who earn below the living wage which currently stands at €11.90 per hour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24457/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I have repeatedly called for the Early Learning and Care sector to pursue a Sectoral Employment Order, which offers a viable mechanism to establish appropriate wage levels. As my Department is not the employer of ELC staff, we are therefore unable to set wage levels.  As the Deputy will be aware, neither I nor my officials can initiate a Sectoral Employment Order, but my Department will readily co-operate with such a process, if and when it is underway.

My Department has also supported a range of measures to improve pay and conditions using the tools available. These include the 117% increase in investment over the last 4 budgets that has supported services to operate at optimal capacity and has provided additional capitation for early learning and care programmes, including a 7% rise in September 2018 in the ECCE capitation rate. Measures also include the introduction for the first time of an annual Programme Support Payment to recognise the administrative roles that services play; this totals €21.4m in 2019. I have also continued to provide a higher rate of capitation payment for graduate-led pre-school rooms, to encourage the attraction and retention of Early Learning and Care graduates, and in 2017 I introduced a higher capitation payment for services that employ a qualified Inclusion Coordinator as part of the AIM programme. In addition, last year I introduced a pilot measure for funding services whose staff take part in continuing professional development, and I extended the pilot this year to include the new 'Aistear and Play' CPD programme implemented by Better Start. I hope to build on this pilot further over the years to come, following an evaluation.

I have encouraged providers to use such additional funding to support, wherever possible, improved pay and conditions of the hard-working frontline staff that make such a lasting difference to children's lives.

Within First 5, there is a commitment to develop a Workforce Development Plan which will ensure appropriate levels of ELC and SAC staff at all levels in the sector. The Workforce Development Plan, which will involve close collaboration between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills, will be developed in two stages. Stage 1 (for completion by Q2 of 2020) will involve preparation of a core report that sets out: a high-level vision for the ELC and SAC workforce for the period 2020-2028, and a pathway for achieving the commitments set out in First 5 in relation to development of the ELC and SAC workforce. Stage 2, which should be completed by Q2 of 2021, will involve completion of implementation plans by working groups to be specified in Stage 1.

The most recent sector profile published by Pobal indicates that in mid-2018 the average hourly wage of staff working directly with children in the early years sector was €12.17. The average wage increased by 24 cent or 2% on the previous year. Data from Pobal indicates that approx. 55% of staff earned less than €11.90 per hour in mid-2018.

In general, staff in management and leadership roles earn the highest hourly wage with centre managers earning €14.99 and deputy managers €13.49 per hour. These are followed by room leaders (both ECCE and non-ECCE) at an average hourly wage of €12.44. The average hourly rate for early years assistants (both ECCE and non-ECCE), who constitute 48% of all staff working directly with children, is €11.20 per hour. Relief staff are paid the lowest hourly wage, at €10.77. Wages increased across all staff positions, with rates of increase in the year to 2018 ranging from 1.5% for deputy managers to 3.6% for early years assistants (non-ECCE).

Youth Services Funding

Ceisteanna (225)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

225. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual grant made to each of the organisations in receipt of funding from the youth service grant scheme in each of the years 2004, 2011 and 2018 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24496/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The current allocated funding for the youth sector in 2019 is €60.4m; this represents a 2.5% increase on the 2018 allocation. This additional funding will be used to support programmes in areas where there are disadvantaged young people and where there is a pressing need for targeted services to meet the needs of young people. 

The Youth Service Grant Scheme (YSGS) provides funding, on an annual basis, to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations. The continued funding of voluntary youth organisations through the Scheme is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.

My Department was established in 2011 and I am happy to supply the Deputy with information relating to the funding provided to youth organisations under the Youth Service Grant Scheme for the period 2011 to 2018 which is outlined in the following table.

Organisation/Project/YSGS

2011

2012

2013

2014

An Oige

€212,363

€198,559

€178,703

€172,002

Belong To - LGBT

€105,281

€98,437

€150,000

€144,375

Catholic Guides of Ireland

€304,694

€284,888

€256,400

€246,785

Crosscare

€1,081,001

€1,010,735

€909,662

€875,550

Church of Ireland Youth Department

€211,623

€197,868

€178,081

€171,403

Confederation of Peace Corps/Localise Youth and Community Service ltd

€151,542

€141,692

€127,523

€122,741

ECO - UNESCO Clubs

€144,003

€134,643

€121,179

€116,635

Experiment In International Living

€33,914

€31,710

€28,539

€27,469

Feachtas

€104,887

€98,069

€88,262

€84,952

Foróige

€2,141,493

€2,353,117

€2,117,805

€2,551,737

Girls Brigade

€53,522

€50,043

€45,039

€43,350

Girls Friendly Society

€37,287

€34,864

€31,378

€30,201

Involve

 

 

€226,754

€218,251

Irish Girl Guides

€449,838

€420,598

€378,538

€364,343

Irish Methodist Youth & Children Dept

€34,964

€32,744

€29,470

€28,364

Junior Chamber Ireland

€19,934

€18,638

€16,774

€16,145

Macra na Feirme

€521,043

€487,175

€438,457

€422,015

National Federation of Arch Clubs

€61,498

€57,501

€51,751

€49,810

National Youth Council of Ireland

€681,468

€637,172

€573,455

€551,951

No Name Club Ltd

€229,608

€214,683

€193,215

€185,970

Ogra Chorcai

€633,808

€592,611

€533,349

€513,349

Ogras

€219,251

€205,000

€184,500

€177,581

Order of Malta Cadets

€56,963

€53,261

€47,935

€46,137

Presbyterian Youth

€58,597

€54,788

€49,309

€54,788

Scouting Ireland Ltd

€1,005,317

€939,971

€845,974

€814,250

Spunout

 

 

 

 

The Boys Brigade

€67,606

€63,212

€56,891

€54,757

Voluntary Services International

€94,924

€88,754

€79,878

€76,883

Young Christian Workers

€112,348

€105,046

€94,541

€90,996

Young Irish Film Makers

€68,783

€64,312

€57,881

€55,711

Young Mens Christian Association

€178,039

€166,466

€149,820

€144,201

Youth Theatre Ireland

€119,827

€112,038

€100,834

€97,053

Youth Work Ireland

€2,248,885

€2,102,707

€1,994,626

€1,919,828

Grand Total

€11,444,311

€11,051,302

€10,336,523

€10,469,583

Table cntd...

Organisation/Project/YSGS

2015

2016

2017

2018

An Oige

€172,002

€176,302

€185,117

€185,117

Belong To - LGBT

€144,375

€147,984

€155,384

€155,384

Catholic Guides of Ireland

€246,785

€252,954

€265,602

€265,602

Crosscare

€875,550

€897,438

€942,310

€942,310

Church of Ireland Youth Department

€171,403

€175,688

€184,472

€184,472

Confederation of Peace Corps/Localise Youth and Community Service ltd

€122,741

€125,809

€132,100

€132,100

ECO - UNESCO Clubs

€116,635

€119,551

€125,528

€125,528

Experiment In International Living

€27,469

€28,155

€29,563

€29,563

Feachtas

€84,952

€87,076

€91,430

€91,430

Foróige

€2,038,388

€2,615,530

€2,746,307

€2,746,307

Girls Brigade

€43,350

€44,434

€46,655

€46,655

Girls Friendly Society

€30,201

€30,956

€32,504

€32,504

Involve

€218,251

€223,707

€234,892

€234,892

Irish Girl Guides

€364,343

€373,452

€392,124

€392,124

Irish Methodist Youth & Children Dept

€28,364

€29,074

€30,527

€30,527

Junior Chamber Ireland

€16,145

€16,549

€17,376

€17,376

Macra na Feirme

€422,015

€432,566

€454,194

€454,194

National Federation of Arch Clubs

€49,810

€51,055

€53,608

€53,608

National Youth Council of Ireland

€551,951

€565,749

€594,037

€594,037

No Name Club Ltd

€185,970

€190,619

€200,150

€200,150

Ogra Chorcai

 

 

 

 

Ogras

€177,581

€182,021

€191,122

€191,122

Order of Malta Cadets

€46,137

€47,290

€49,655

€49,655

Presbyterian Youth

 

 

 

 

Scouting Ireland Ltd

€814,250

€834,607

€876,337

€876,337

Spunout

 

 

 

€99,675

The Boys Brigade

€54,757

€56,126

€58,933

€58,933

Voluntary Services International

€76,883

€78,805

€82,745

€82,745

Young Christian Workers

€90,996

€93,271

€93,270

 

Young Irish Film Makers

€55,711

€57,103

€59,959

€59,959

Young Mens Christian Association

€144,201

€147,806

€155,197

€155,197

Youth Theatre Ireland

€97,053

€99,479

€104,453

€104,453

Youth Work Ireland

€1,919,828

€1,967,823

€2,066,214

€2,066,214

Grand Total

€9,388,097

€10,148,980

€10,651,765

€10,658,170

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

Ceisteanna (226)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

226. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason Tusla is funding representation on behalf of individual managers. [24533/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has various legal engagements across its operations, most often in the Courts on care and other matters, for example judicial reviews, or as witnesses. If there is a need for representation that is related in some way to a person's current or past employment, it is not unprecedented for employers to provide support in this regard.  It can be expected that such support is assessed on a case by case basis by those involved, and a person may, depending on the circumstances and if they wish, engage their own representation.

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

Ceisteanna (227)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

227. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the substantial and costly legal representation being provided by Tusla to a family member of one of its employees. [24534/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Following clarification from the Deputy's office, I understand the question relates to fees paid to a family member of a Tusla, Child and Family Agency employee for the provision of legal services.

I understand that legal representation is procured by Tusla through an established framework,which seeks to obtain the best value for money at all times.

A solicitor, or firm of solicitors, which has been procured by Tusla in a particular case, will choose to select its own counsel (or barrister) to represent it in court. This decision-making process is part of the role of the procured legal firm.

Community Development Initiatives

Ceisteanna (228)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

228. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on whether a similar style report (details supplied) should be implemented in a region of Dublin city profoundly impacted by alleged drug fuelled crime and violence since early 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24530/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

In 2019 my Department is providing €6.5m for the Dublin North East Inner City area.  This supports the social and economic regeneration of an area at the heart of our capital city.  It will benefit not only the local community but the city as a whole. The funding underlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the recommendations of the Mulvey Report are implemented.

Other disadvantaged communities in the wider Dublin area also receive funding from my Department. The SICAP programme will provide €9.7m to the Dublin area in 2019 giving vital support to those community groups and individuals most in need.  In addition, under the Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) my Department allocated €675k to the Dublin area in 2019 so that community groups could avail of small capital grants. The Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) in each area administers the CEP at a local level to ensure the funding is targeted to address disadvantage.

LCDCs play a key role in tackling issues in disadvantaged areas, bringing a more coordinated, whole-of-Government approach to local and community development. They are best placed to ensure that state funding is channeled to those areas and communities most in need.  My Department will continue to work with Local Authorities through the LCDCs to ensure that appropriate local plans are developed and available resources are targeted effectively to support the development of vibrant and sustainable communities.

Rent Supplement Scheme

Ceisteanna (229)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

229. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the options available in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24379/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Person Concerned may make a new application for Rent Supplement for consideration if they feel their circumstances have changed since the refusal by the Designated Person on 13 February 2017.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (230)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

230. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24412/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from this lady on the 17th April 2019.  Applications received the first week of April 2019 are currently being finalised.  The application will be considered by a deciding officer in due course and the decision notified to her as soon as possible.

 I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (231)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

231. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance was received from the person concerned on the 31st January 2019.  The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance.  A letter issued on the 27th March 2019 setting out the decision of the deciding officer to refuse the allowance.

A review of the decision including additional information was requested on the 15th May 2019.  The claim will be re-examined by a deciding officer and a revised decision will be made if warranted.  The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of the review as soon as possible.

Reviews are currently taking approximately 10-12 weeks to process.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Ceisteanna (232)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

232. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the application for qualified adult allowance payment by a person (details supplied) was not further backdated. [24453/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision on 31st May 2019.  The person concerned was notified of this decision.

The person concerned in their appeal sought payment of the increase for a qualified adult (IQA) on his State Pension Contributory claim to be backdated for more than the six months provided for in the Department's decision.      

Social welfare legislation provides for backdating of claims for up to six months where it is accepted that there was good cause for the delay and where entitlement throughout the period in question is established.  The circumstances in which a claim may be backdated further are more onerous to establish and are specified in legislation as follows; incapacity to make a claim or incorrect information given by the Department. 

Having considered all the circumstances the Appeals Officer did not consider that the person concerned had established cause, as provided for in the legislation, for further backdating of his claim in respect of the increase for a qualified adult 

The decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed under Section 317 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 by the Appeals Officer in the light of new evidence or new facts or where there has been a change of circumstances which has come to notice since the date of the Appeals Officer's original decision. 

The Chief Appeals Officer has power under Section 318 of the Act  to revise any decision where it appears to her that the Appeals Officer’s decision was erroneous by reason of some mistake having been made in relation to the law or the facts. 

The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (Section 327) also provides that any person who is dissatisfied with either the decision of the Appeals Officer or a revised decision made by the Chief Appeals Officer may appeal that decision or revised decision, as the case may be, to the High Court on any question of law.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Ceisteanna (233)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

233. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the old age contributory pension file of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed. [24486/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands.  These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA)  pension calculation which includes provision for HomeCaring periods.

The person concerned has 1,071 reckonable paid contributions which when combined with 27 HomeCaring periods and 146 reckonable credits results in a payment rate of 59.81% of the maximum rate pension.  As the person is already in receipt of 85% the maximum rate of pension,  it is more financially beneficial for them to remain on their existing payment. 

A review outcome letter has issued informing the person concerned that their existing rate of payment will continue unchanged.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (234)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

234. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age in receipt of the disability allowance who have been in receipt of the payment for 12 months or more; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24497/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Disability allowance (DA) is a weekly allowance for people aged between 16 and 66 with a disability which is expected to last for at least one year, and who satisfy the medical condition, means test and are habitually resident in Ireland. 

At the end of May 2019 the number of persons in receipt of DA who are under 26 years of age and who have been in receipt of the payment for 12 months or more was 17,007. 

 I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Data

Ceisteanna (235)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

235. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the weekly rate of payment for those in receipt of the non-contributory State pension in each of the years 2000 to 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24498/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

State pension non-contributory is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 and over, who do not qualify for a State pension contributory, or who only qualify for a reduced rate contributory pension based on their social insurance record.

An applicant for State pension non-contributory must habitually reside in the State, and satisfy a means test.  Items which count as means include cash income (including private and/or foreign pensions), the value of any property (excluding the applicant's own home) and the value of any savings and investments which they or their spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have. 

The first €30.00 of assessed weekly means is disregarded in determining the pension rate entitlement. After that, the applicable weekly pension rate is reduced by €2.50 for every €2.50 of means.

The following table shows the maximum personal rate of State pension non-contributory payable in each of the years 2000 – 2018.

Years

Rate

1 January 2000

£78.50

5 May 2000

£85.50

6 April 2001

£95.50

4 January 2002

€134.00

3 January 2003

€144.00

2 January 2004

€154.00

7 January 2005

€166.00

6 January 2006

€182.00

5 January 2007

€200.00

4 January 2008

€212.00

2 January 2009

€219.00

8 January 2010

€219.00

7 January 2011

€219.00

6 January 2012

€219.00

1 January 2013

€219.00

1 January 2014

€219.00

1 January 2015

€219.00

1 January 2016

€222.00

10 March 2017

€227.00

30 March 2018

€232.00

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (236)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

236. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the weekly rate of payment for those in receipt of the half-rate carer's allowance in each of the years 2007 to 2014, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24499/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

If a person is in receipt of another social welfare payment in their own right (other than unemployment payments or supplementary welfare allowance) or being claimed as a qualified adult on their spouse/partner's payment, a half-rate carer's allowance can be paid too as long as all the normal conditions for receipt of CA are satisfied.

These conditions require that the applicant is habitually resident in the State, must be providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention and their means must be below the statutory limit.

Depending on the applicants means half rate CA is paid on a sliding scale as is full rate CA.

Year

Half Rate

2007

€100

2008

€107

2009

€110.25

2010

€106

2011

€102

2012

€102

2013

€102

2014

€102

The current rate in payment is €107.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Code

Ceisteanna (237)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

237. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the financial assistance available to fund assessments for children who have been identified as potentially requiring additional learning supports in view of the substantial cost of same for parents and the negative impact of delays in diagnosis and supports on the development of the child. [24545/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The department does not provide direct financial assistance towards funding assessments of children who may require additional learning support. This would be a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills.

However children with a disability requiring addition supports can qualify for receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), which can be paid to a parent/guardian in recognition of the additional care required by children with additional needs resulting from a disability. The payment can be used in whatever way the parent/guardian deems most appropriate.

Currently over 44,000 children under 16 years avail of this monthly payment of 309.50 euro. In addition recipients also receive the annual carers support grant of 1700 euro in June each year, with over 50% of DCA recipients also qualifying for carers allowance.

Community Employment Schemes Administration

Ceisteanna (238)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

238. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the anomaly that exists for local communities that manage community employment schemes in their area will be addressed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24547/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The aim of Community Employment (CE) is to enhance the employability and mobility of disadvantaged and unemployed persons by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities.  It also helps long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine. 

CE schemes are typically sponsored by groups (known as sponsors) wishing to benefit the local community.  My Department agrees participant numbers annually with each CE sponsor organisation.

The sponsor has responsibility for the recruitment of participants and supervisors and for identifying suitable work placements.

Sponsors receive annual contracts from my Department which fund the employment of both CE participants and supervisors, and funding towards training and material costs.  Grant aid is provided by the Department to cover these costs on a per capita basis.

My Department is not the employer of CE supervisors and it is not for the State to provide funding for pension scheme provision for these employees. CE supervisors are employees of private companies notwithstanding the fact that the companies concerned are, or were, in receipt of State funding.  CE supervisors pay a PRSI Class 'A' contribution towards the state contributory pension.  This pension has a maximum personal rate payable of €12,912.  Employers, including CE sponsoring organisations, are legally obliged to offer access to at least one Standard Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) under the Pension (Amendment) Act 2002.

As regards redundancy, my Department continues to honour the agreement between FÁS and the relevant trade unions which allows for the payment of enhanced redundancy where a CE supervisor’s redundancy situation arises due to a decision to reduce overall CE scheme numbers.  This does not apply where the employer is the instigator of the redundancy or, for example, where the sponsor no longer wants to run the CE scheme or in the case of closure due to Company Registration Office strike-off, or where the sponsor organisation does not comply with the terms of their contract (e.g. maintain participant numbers) and it is necessary for the Department to discontinue funding for the scheme supervisor position.

If schemes are unable to fill their participant places, my Department can give consideration to merging the scheme with another scheme in order to ensure viability. In these circumstances, the supervisor or assistant supervisor can transfer directly to the new scheme if there is a position of the same rank available and their rights are then protected by legislation.  A business taken over by another employer as a result of a legal merger or the transfer of the rights of the employees are protected by the following legislation, the European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003.

Generally a redundancy situation for a supervisor/assistant supervisor would only arise if the scheme closed with no agreement for an amalgamation with another scheme or if there was no position at the same rank on amalgamation. 

Notwithstanding the above, I am currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation (LCR 19293).  I expect that it will take a number of weeks to reach a conclusion.  All parties to the engagement process have agreed that the detail of the discussions should remain confidential while the engagement is ongoing and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation which might prove unhelpful.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ceisteanna (239)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

239. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24563/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred on 10 April 2019 to an Appeals Officer  who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. 

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (240)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

240. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the obligation to maintain the website following the sale of the site is not provided for in law with respect to strategic housing developments that have been granted planning permission in which there is an obligation to provide a website with maps and other documents; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that this deficit leaves a gap in information to both the public and the planning authority; if this deficit will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 provides for streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHD) to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála (the Board) for determination. Under the Strategic Housing Development procedures, the applicant must make the application available for public viewing on a website set up for this purpose.

The primary purpose of such a website is to provide information to interested parties in relation to the application for planning permission, in order to support transparency and public participation. It is therefore required to be in place from the date of making the application to the Board until 8 weeks after the applicant is notified of the Board's decision.

In relation to the ownership and registration of sale of sites, the appropriate authority to contact is the Property Registration Authority. Arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. In the case of the PRA, the relevant email address is reps@prai.ie

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (241)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

241. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons on the housing waiting list in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24434/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).  Since 2016, the summary process has been carried out on an annual basis.

The most recent summary, which was carried out in 2018, details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists, including Co. Mayo, as at 11 June 2018 and can be found on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/summary_of_social_housing_assessments_2018_-_key_findings.pdf.

My Department is currently working with the Housing Agency on the 2019 summary. I expect the results of that summary to be available early in the final quarter of this year.

Irish Water

Ceisteanna (242, 243)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

242. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of his engagements with the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the context of audits, inspections and-or financial examinations; if he has given further consideration to include Irish Water as a body that will be subject to scrutiny by the Comptroller and Auditor General; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24441/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

243. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 209 of 6 February 2019, the progress made to date following his engagements with the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and NewERA on the various issues; if a report on the engagements was produced; the actions that will be instigated as a result of the engagements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24442/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 242 and 243 together.

Having regard to the provisions of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993, Irish Water’s governing legislation, including the Water Services Acts and its Constitution, and Irish Water’s current position as a subsidiary within the Ervia Group, there is currently no scope for the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) to have a role with respect to Irish Water.  Providing such a role for the C&AG would necessitate amendment to Irish Water's governing legislation and to the C&AG legislation.

The issue of audit is also relevant in the context of the separation of Irish Water from the Ervia Group, so as to become a standalone, publicly owned, commercial, regulated utility. At this stage, no final decisions have been taken in the matter; however, I am continuing to have the matter progressed and I will update the Oireachtas on the position in due course.