Bituminous Fuel Ban

Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 232.

Ceisteanna (234, 237)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

234. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to a legal threat of a failure to introduce a ban on smoky coal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

237. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he received the correspondence which indicated future legal action in the event of the extension of a ban on smoky coal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25812/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 234 and 237 together.

The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or ‘the smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, was first introduced in Dublin in 1990, and subsequently extended to our major cities. Following a public consultation process, it was further extended in 2012, and now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide. The ban has proved very effective in reducing particulate matter and sulphur dioxide levels and has had the effect of significantly improving public health. Research indicates, for example, that the ban has resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths in Dublin alone.

Through legal correspondence, received in May 2018, a number of coal firms indicated that they would challenge the decision to extend the ban nationwide.

I am working with the Attorney General to finalise a legally robust plan which will improve air quality by reducing particulate matter in the air. I am also committed to bringing forward Ireland's first ever National Clean Air Strategy. The Strategy, which I intend to publish later this year, will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote integrated measures across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives.

Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 232.

Exploration Licences

Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 234.

Ceisteanna (236)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

236. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 180 of 13 June 2019, the status of the licences; when they were applied for; the category of each; if the cost of the repayment of acreage rental fees identified in the same correspondence estimated at €1.5 million relates to all existing licences or specific licences; the category of the licences; if the figure of €1.5 million is for repayment in 2019; and if not, if it is for a defined period. [25793/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The following table sets out the applications for petroleum authorisations involving the award of acreage currently under consideration by my Department. No decision has been taken in respect of these applications.

Authorisation

Application

2012 to 2017

2018

2019

Licensing Option

2

Exploration Licence

5

3

Lease Undertaking

1

1

My letter to the Ceann Comhairle of 8 May 2019 referred to return of acreage fees for existing licences (petroleum authorisations) and estimated this to be in the region of €1 million to €2 million. This referred to existing petroleum authorisations involving the holding of acreage in particular Licensing Options, Exploration Licences (Standard and Frontier) and Lease Undertakings. Acreage rental fees are payable on the anniversary of award of a petroleum authorisation. Hence, the exact value of a return of fees, were it to take place, would vary depending on the timing of the repayment event.

Section 57 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 requires the Minister to lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas every six months a report detailing all exploration activities including petroleum exploration authorisations granted during the period of the report. The last such report laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas was in respect of the six-month period ending 31 December 2018. In addition, a report on the status of all petroleum authorisations is published on a quarterly basis on my Department's website. The most recent such report was published on 31 March 2019.

Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 234.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (238)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

238. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the cost of renting, leasing and hiring office space for his Department including public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25914/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department leased two properties since 2015, details of which are contained in the following table.

Address

Rent per annum

Duration of lease

Athlone Rd. Roscommon

€25,000 ex VAT

3 years from March 2017

UCD , Belfield Dublin 4

€50,400 ex VAT

3 years from April 2017

The property in Roscommon is used by Geological Survey Ireland, while the space leased from UCD is used by the National Cyber Security Centre. All other properties occupied by the Department are managed by the OPW.

The information sought by the Deputy regarding the public bodies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each body. I will request the relevant bodies to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisation.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (239)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

239. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of whistleblower complaints in his Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25667/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Protected Disclosures Act 2014

The information for 2015 and 2016 is available on the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Website at the following link.

http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/protected-disclosures

Details for 2017 are set out in the 2017 Annual Report in the link below.

http://www.dttas.ie/sites/default/files/publications/corporate/english/annual-report-2017-english/annual-reportbrandedcoverfinalen.pdf

In respect of 2018, a total of 8 allegations/disclosures invoking the Protected Disclosures Act were received.

- 2 of the allegations/disclosures received were not relevant to the Department.

- 1 case has been fully processed and is now closed.

- 1 case was not deemed to be a protected disclosure. This decision was appealed and the case is currently under internal review.

- The remaining 4 cases are in progress.

These Disclosures will be included in our Annual Report 2018, to be published shortly.

Statement:-

Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 requires a public body to prepare a report setting out the number of protected disclosures made to it in the preceding year. The Department’s Head of Internal Audit is notified of allegations/disclosures received which invoke the Act and monitors them to ensure they are processed on a timely basis.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (240)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

240. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of financial support provided to an organisation (details supplied) in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Funding for tourism from my Department, other than Greenways, is channelled through the tourism agencies, Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. Both agencies have informed my Department that they have not provided any financial support to the organisation in question.

Mountain Rescue Service

Ceisteanna (241)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

241. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of financial support provided to the Galway mountain rescue team in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department, through the Irish Coast Guard, administers an annual grant scheme to Mountain Rescue Ireland, the umbrella organisation for Mountain Rescue Teams on the island of Ireland. In 2018, an internal review of the administration of the mountain rescue grants was carried out. In recognition of the fact that patterns of activity have increased since the grant was originally apportioned, I have recently approved an increased allocation for 2019 within the Irish Coast Guard's overall allocation.

The following table sets out the grants over the past five years to Galway mountain team.

Year

Amount €

2019 - allocated

€18,130.00

2018

€7,407.00

2017

€7,407.00

2016

€7,407.00

2015

€7,407.00

Total

€47,758.00

Coast Guard Services

Ceisteanna (242)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

242. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of financial support provided to the Galway search and rescue unit in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

There are two Coast Guard volunteer units in Galway - Costello Bay and Cleggan. My Department provides funding through the Coast Guard volunteer support programme for training, exercising and equipment for all Coast Guard Units on an on-going basis as needed. This funding is not disaggregated by unit. My Department also provides funding for the refurbishment and maintenance of the Coast Guard facilities. This programme is managed through the OPW. Costello Bay unit was a new build in 2011 at a cost of €700k approx. Cleggan Unit is being considered in context of a new build over the coming 3 years, subject to feasibility, planning and other requirements.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Ceisteanna (243)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

243. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of applicants from County Galway to the sports capital programme in each of the past three years; the success ratio of applicants from the county versus the national average; the amount of funding sought from applicants from the county; the amount of funding awarded during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Details of all applications and allocations under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) are published on the Department's website at

http://www.dttas.ie/sport/english/sports-capital-programme

In the period referred to by the Deputy there were rounds of the SCP in 2017 and in 2018. In relation to the 2018 SCP, the application period closed on 19 October 2018. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January. Thereafter, 619 "equipment only" applications were assessed and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced in May. Details of all of these allocations are also available on the Department's website. Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works but until this work is complete it is not possible to provide the success ratio of applicants from County Galway versus the national average. I expect that it will be September before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

For the 2017 round of the SCP, all valid local applications were awarded a grant including every valid local application from Galway. Full details of all applications and allocations for Galway are available on the Department's website. The precise methodology used to calculate these grants is set out in the review of the 2017 SCP which is available at:

http://www.dttas.ie/sites/default/files/publications/sport/english/sports-capital-programme-2017-review/review-2017-sports-capital-programme.pdf

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (244)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

244. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when successful applicants who applied for the latest tranche of sports capital funding will be notified regarding their applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

619 "equipment only" applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works.

For the first time applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it may be the third quarter of this year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (245)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

245. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the cost of renting, leasing and hiring office space for his Department including public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25922/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Office of Public Works (OPW), which comes under the remit of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, is responsible for the renting, leasing and hiring of office space for Government Departments, including the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Accordingly details of the cost of any such rent, lease and hire is a matter for the OPW.

The renting, leasing and hiring of office space for public bodies under the aegis of my Department is a matter for those bodies and accordingly I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (246)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

246. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of referrals made to An Garda Síochána by Tusla in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, to cases of retrospective abuse by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I have asked Tusla to reply directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (247)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

247. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of whistleblower complaints in her Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25653/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Since 2015 three protected disclosures have been received by my Department.

My Department is committed to fostering an appropriate environment for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act. In this regard, my Department has adopted the guidelines provided by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in processing any protected disclosure received.

Children in Care

Ceisteanna (248)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

248. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to concerns raised by the inspectors from the Care Quality Commission in the United Kingdom regarding a secure mental health facility (details supplied) which cares for six Irish children; the cost of the facility for Irish children over the past ten years; her views on whether this service should and could be provided here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25681/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Special care, or secure care, provides a stabilising, therapeutic environment when a child's experiences and behaviours cannot be addressed in mainstream foster or residential care, and where the child poses a risk to their own safety. For a very small proportion of children, highly specialised care, such as that provided by the centre to which the Deputy refers, is required.

St Andrew’s Healthcare is a secure mental health facility and placements are made in the best interests of the child. In making an order for the placement of a young person in a facility such as St Andrew's , the High Court requires a clinical recommendation by a HSE / Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service psychiatrist and will stipulate that arrangements are in place to ensure on-going clinical oversight by a psychiatrist from the relevant mental health service in Ireland.

I can advise the Deputy that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has sought assurances in relation to the Irish children currently placed in this facility. To ensure their safety and well-being Tusla receive regular, detailed reports on the child. The children have regular visits from their allocated social worker, an up-to-date written care plan, access to their families and/or carers where this is in their best interests and aftercare planning with an allocated aftercare worker. They also have a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem to represent their wishes and interests in court proceedings. Tusla’s ultimate goal is to see all children in such placements recover sufficiently to be safely discharged and return home to Ireland.

I understand that the Deputy would like to know whether it is possible to provide the same type of care in Ireland. When considering a specialised placement, Tusla must consider facilities where the expertise and services required are already in place, and where the complex skills necessary to practice effectively can be maintained through the treatment of sufficient numbers of patients. As noted by the Deputy, a total of six children from Ireland were in the facility at the time of the inspection, which represents approximately 0.01% of the total number of children in care in Ireland.

The Deputy also asks about costs. I have written to Tusla and asked them to reply directly to the Deputy on this aspect of the question.

Childcare Services Funding

Ceisteanna (249)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

249. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of an application (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25765/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Assisting childcare providers in extending their existing childcare services, or establishing new childcare services, have always been key areas of focus for my Department's capital programmes.

Each year the Department reviews the capital programmes as a whole and determines the priorities for Early Learning and Care and School Age Capital grants.

The capital strands have been made available to achieve the strategic priorities for 2019 as determined by the Department, having regard to the funding available, developed using analysis of the current state of the childcare sector, learnings from previous capital programmes and feedback and input from stakeholders, including childcare providers and Pobal.

I remain committed to assisting all childcare providers, both community and private, in providing world-class childcare and meeting demand for childcare places, and I anticipate that this year's Capital programme will build on last year's good work in the sector, as well as that of previous years.

This year saw a substantial oversubscription in applications for capital funding under Strand C, funding of school aged care providers. Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, it was not possible to fund every application despite their quality and the thought that went into many of them. As a result, many services, including the specific service mentioned by the Deputy, did not receive an offer of funding this year. All unsuccessful applicants have the opportunity to have their application reviewed by Pobal.

I would like to assure you that all applications for funding were appraised in a fair, thorough and impartial manner. In accordance with principles of fairness and equality, no favour was shown to any individual service or services, and all appraisal was undertaken on the basis of the content of their applications for funding alone.

Foster Care Data

Ceisteanna (250)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

250. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons acting as foster carers; the number of foster carers that have not been Garda vetted; the number still waiting for Garda vetting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Ceisteanna (251)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

251. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average waiting time for the allocation of social workers to deal with cases of retrospective abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25767/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Child Abuse

Ceisteanna (252)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

252. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number and names of publicly funded organisations or institutions that Tusla is investigating following the receipt of disclosures of abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25768/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla's remit is to assess and investigate reported incidents of child abuse. Where criminal matters are identified these are reported to the Gardaí for appropriate action.

The safety and welfare of children is everyone's responsibility and under the provisions of the Children First Act 2015, all suspected incidents of abuse must be reported. In all circumstances, where a concern regarding a volunteer or member of staff of an organisation is reported, the Tusla social work team should consider whether organisational or institutional abuse is a factor in the case.

I have asked Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly concerning publically funded organisations or institutions identified through referrals that have led to consideration or investigation of organisational abuse. I would note that, to ensure the confidentiality of any children involved, it may not be appropriate to provide the names of any such organisations.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (253)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

253. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of referrals made by Tusla to An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, regarding cases of retrospective abuse by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

CLÁR Programme

Ceisteanna (254)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

254. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of an application by a school (details supplied); when a decision will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25632/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I can confirm that an application has been received under the scheme in question in respect of the school referred to by the Deputy.

My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and I hope to be in a position to announce the successful projects shortly.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (255)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

255. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of whistleblower complaints in his Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017 to provide a renewed and consolidated focus on rural and community development in Ireland.

The Department aims to promote and implement the policy intentions of the Protected Disclosures Act by committing to protect workers who report concerns about risk and wrongdoing and to assure them that their concerns will be acted upon. Our bi-annual Staff Conferences and Staff Engagement Forums aim to share best practice in promoting an ethical and transparent workplace that encourages employees to raise genuine and reasonably held concerns about matters of public interest where knowledge of same comes to them though their employment.

I can confirm that there have been no whistleblower complaints made since the formation of the Department, to date.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (256)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

256. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the cost of renting, leasing and hiring office space for his Department including public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [25920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department was established in July 2017 and currently occupies office space at two locations - Trinity Point, Dublin 2, and Government Buildings, Ballina, Co. Mayo. The offices occupied in Ballina are in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), while the lease arrangements in relation to Trinity Point are managed on our behalf by the OPW. In both cases, no costs are directly incurred by my Department.

The following table sets out full details of accommodation costs paid in relation to my Department and the agencies under its remit.

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

Department of Rural and Community Development

N/A

N/A

€0

€0

€0

Irish Water Safety

€13,000

€13,000

€13,000

€13,000

€13,000

Western Development Commission

€0

€0

€0

€0

€2,150

Charities Regulator

€88,563

€116,476

€296,484

€395,141

€195,160

Pobal

€1,287,955

€1,613,847

€1,799,529

€2,075,048

€653,605

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (257)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

257. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of whistleblower complaints in her Department since the legislation was introduced in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25658/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following from the enactment of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, the Department has put a policy and procedures in place to provide information to and assist workers who wish to make protected disclosures. The Policy and procedures are made available on www.welfare.ie.

All submissions made are assessed by a designated group of senior managers and investigations are then carried out where deemed necessary.

The Department has received thirty five submissions, a large proportion of which were from one individual, since the legislation was introduced in 2014. Twenty-nine cases have been fully dealt with by Jun 2019, of which no action was necessary in 25 cases.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is committed to fostering an appropriate environment for addressing concerns relating to potential wrongdoing in the workplace and to providing the necessary support for staff that raise genuine concerns.