Budget 2019

Ceisteanna (223, 231)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

223. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Christmas bonus has been incorporated in the forecast of the general Government balance for 2019; his views on the IFAC observation that it is not; the amount the Christmas bonus is projected to be for 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27954/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

231. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the cost of the Christmas bonus for 2019 is in the base and therefore provided for in his budgetary arithmetic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 223 and 231 together.

The Stability Programme Update, published in April of this year, set out budgetary projections for the period to 2023 from a starting baseline of the 2018 fiscal outturn. These projections also formed the basis for the Summer Economic Statement. The 2018 outturn figures reflect the expenditure incurred in respect of the Social Protection Christmas Bonus for 2018.

Payment in respect of a Christmas Bonus commenced again in 2014, initially at a rate of 25%. The percentage rate has increased each year since 2014 and reached 100% in 2018. In line with the practice that such payments are funded based on the fiscal position for the year, in each of the years 2014 to 2019, the Revised Estimates Volume did not include a specific allocation in respect of a Social Welfare Christmas Bonus. This reflects the fact that the decision on paying a bonus, including the rate of that bonus, takes into account the overall fiscal position each year. Given that the decision to pay a Christmas Bonus this year relates to 2019 expenditure, it would not impact on the unallocated resources of €700 million available for 2020 outlined in the Summer Economic Statement.

The Christmas Bonus is paid both from funds voted by the Dáil and from the Social Insurance Fund. At the end of May, the surplus on the Social Insurance Fund was €120 million ahead of profile, driven by strong growth in PRSI receipts, and net voted expenditure of the Social Protection Vote was €19 million below profile. A continuation of these trends in receipts and expenditure would see such upside being available as an offset against the impact on the General Government Balance of any budgetary decision in respect of a Christmas Bonus payment for 2019.

On the broader question of making our multi-year current expenditure projections more robust, both in the light of the analysis offered by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, and of my experience of managing current expenditure, I have decided in the Summer Economic Statement, published last week, to increase the rate of current expenditure growth post 2020 to 3 ¼ per cent. Taking into account projected capital expenditure growth, this allows for an annual increase in gross total expenditure of c. 3 ½ per cent over the period 2021 to 2024. This is an appropriate level of growth, given the uncertainties arising in the external environment and the current position in the economic cycle. It is in this context that the scope for annual resource allocations, including the question of an annual Christmas bonus, will fall to be determined.

Summer Economic Statement

Ceisteanna (224)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

224. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his understanding of the format and function of an expenditure reserve, that is, if this is simply unallocated spending included in the base; if not, if it is placed in a separate fund and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28144/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As outlined in the Summer Economic Statement (SES), the Budget 2020 framework involves a budgetary package of €2.8 billion for next year. Current expenditure pre-commitments relating to demographics, the Public Service Stability Agreement, and the carryover of Budget 2019 measures amount to €1.2 billion with €0.7 billion for additional investment on capital programmes as set out in the NDP. As set out in the SES, as part of the Budget 2020 estimates process, consideration will be given to the funding of additional costs in relation to the National Children’s Hospital and the National Broadband Plan reflecting the most up-to-date position relating to capital spending at the time. Given these potential additional costs, the SES includes an expenditure reserve of up to €0.2 billion for 2020 to accommodate funding requirements for the National Broadband Plan and the National Children’s Hospital. This expenditure reserve represents the potential additional funding that may need to be met for these projects next year from within the overall budgetary package of €2.8 billion. Consequently, after taking account of the expenditure pre-commitments of €1.9 billion and the expenditure reserve of up to €0.2 billion this leaves €0.7 billion to be specifically allocated as part of Budget 2020. To the extent that the full reserve of €0.2 billion is not required, the amount not utilised from this reserve would increase, from €0.7 billion, the amount available to be specifically allocated as part of the Budget 2020 process.

Summer Economic Statement

Ceisteanna (225, 226)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

225. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason annex 1 on page 38 of the summer economic statement lists €1.1 billion in pre-committed capital spending and is listed elsewhere as €0.7 billion. [28145/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

226. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the portion of the €1.1 billion that is smoothed; and the impact or size of this spending before it was smoothed as per annex 1 on page 38 of the summer economic statement in pre-committed capital spending. [28146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 and 226 together.

Table 6 of the Summer Economic Statement sets out a budgetary package of €2.8 billion and outlines pre-committed expenditure of €1.9 billion. Inclusive in this pre-committed expenditure is an increase in capital expenditure of €0.7 billion as set out in the National Development Plan. Further to this, there is an expenditure reserve of up to €0.2 billion to be established in 2020 to accommodate funding requirements for the National Broadband Plan and National Children’s Hospital. This expenditure reserve relates to capital expenditure and consequently, this would result in an overall nominal increase in capital expenditure of up to €0.9 billion. After taking account of the expenditure pre-commitments and the expenditure reserve, this leaves €0.7 billion of unallocated funding available in 2020.

Table 7 and Annex 1 of the Summer Economic Statement set out indicative estimates of ‘fiscal space’ out to 2024. The amount of €1.1 billion shown in respect of capital/NDP expenditure in Annex 1 takes into account the smoothing over a four-year period in accordance with the Expenditure Benchmark methodology. Consequently, as this calculation reflects the significant increases in Gross Fixed Capital Formation since 2016, the capital expenditure impact on the fiscal space calculation exceeds the nominal increase in capital expenditure outlined above.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (227)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

227. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he received costed proposals from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in relation to the Climate Action Plan 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27522/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Government's Climate Action Plan puts Ireland on a pathway to the achievement of the country's 2030 climate and energy targets that is consistent with a net zero emissions target by 2050.

The plan sets out ambitious emissions savings targets for sectors of the economy. The Departments responsible for the achievement of these targets will, over the coming months, be developing the policies and measures required to reach these targets. These policies and measures will incorporate a blend of expenditure, taxation, regulation and behavioural change initiatives that will encourage the investment decisions required across the public and private sectors, as well as by individual citizens, to achieve these targets.

Much of the Exchequer investment required to support these policies and measures was already anticipated and provided for through the commitments included in the National Development Plan (NDP), which includes over €30bn in investment to fund the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society and initiatives in sustainable mobility.

The Government has agreed that the cumulative Exchequer costs of the commitments included in the Climate Action Plan will be delivered within existing multi-annual ceilings and the funding commitments made in the NDP.

Protected Disclosures

Ceisteanna (228)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

228. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the protected disclosure policy of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27544/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is strongly committed to ensuring that the culture and working environment of the Department encourage, facilitate and support any employee of the Department to “speak up” on any issue that could impinge on the Department’s ability to carry out its roles and responsibilities to the high standard expected.

The Department has formal procedures in place for the making of protected disclosures in the Department. These procedures were developed in line with the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and agreed upon by the Department's Management Board. The procedures are made available to all staff and detail how staff members can make a protected disclosure; what happens when a protected disclosures is made; and what the Department will to protect disclosers.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (229)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

229. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of protected disclosures made to date under the whistle-blower legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27608/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides robust statutory protections for workers in the public and private sectors against retaliation for speaking up about wrongdoing in the workplace. The Act provides a “stepped disclosure regime” that allows workers to report wrongdoing internally to their employer or externally to a competent authority or, subject to certain conditions, to make a public disclosure. Workers in public bodies also have the option of making a disclosure to the relevant Government Minister. Protections against retaliation take the form of civil remedies available through the Workplace Relations Commission or the courts.

Most protected disclosures are made by workers to their employers and, in the majority of cases, are dealt with internally by the employer. In addition, it is not necessary for a worker to explicitly state they are making a protected disclosure in the course of reporting a wrongdoing. Accordingly, it is not possible to accurately determine how many reports of wrongdoing that would be covered by the Protected Disclosures Act have been made in total since the Act came into force.

The Deputy may, however, wish to note that research by Transparency International Ireland, published in the Speak Up Report 2017, found that one in ten workers will make a report of wrongdoing during the course of their careers. Furthermore, Section 22 of the Act requires public bodies to report each year on the number of protected disclosures made to them. While this information is not normally collated centrally, my Department compiled the data published by public bodies as part of the Statutory Review of the Act, published last year, and found that 370 protected disclosures were made to public bodies between 2014 and 2016. There is no equivalent obligation on the private sector to report on the numbers of disclosures made so a complete picture of the overall numbers of disclosures is not available.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Question No. 231 answered with Question No. 223.

Ceisteanna (230)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

230. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the works which have been completed on the Clare river flood relief scheme encompassing Claregalway, Carnmore, Lisheenavalla and Caherlea; the flood alleviation works outstanding in the area; when the works will be completed in its entirety; the amount spent on the project to the end of May 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27619/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The implementation of the Clare River (Claregalway) Flood Relief Scheme has been ongoing over the last three years with the works being progressed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) direct labour force.

However, in recognition of the significant flooding problems in the area it was agreed to proceed with advance interim measures to reduce flood risk and by 2012 the following remedial works were successfully completed in advance of the main scheme works:

- Construction of flood eye at Claregalway Bridge

- Construction of new bridge at Crusheeney.

Construction of the main scheme then commenced in June 2016 and works completed to date are as follows:

Clare River - Selective Channel Maintenance

- Selective channel maintenance along the Clare River from Lough Corrib towards Cregmore Bridge, has been substantially completed.

Claregalway Village:

- The second stage channel upstream of Claregalway Bridge was regraded, extended and widened as part of in-stream deepening works in 2016. Bank protection in the form of rock armour was installed along the widened second stage channel bank and along the castle bank also in 2016. 

- Some outstanding rock removal from the channel bed downstream was completed in 2018.

Lakeview:

- Works on constructing a 1.65km surface water outfall pipeline between Claregalway Corporate Park and the Clare River, upstream of the Claregalway Bridge, were completed in 2016.

- Final reinstatement of agricultural land along the route of the pipeline has now been completed. 

Kiniska:

- Works on the Kiniska (Cin Uisce) tributary comprising channel maintenance, bank protection and bridge upgrade works have now been completed.

- Final reinstatement of agricultural land along the route of the drainage channel is substantially complete.

Montiagh South:

- Final road raising and tarring of the new road footprint in Montiagh South is now complete and the road has been formally handed back to Galway County Council.

- Works on the formation of a new drainage network and the construction of new accommodation/access bridges, along the field entrances adjacent to the roadway are now complete.

Caherlea / Lisheenavalla:

- Channel widening from 1.3km upstream of Crusheeny Bridge to immediately downstream of Crusheeny Bridge to form a two-stage channel have been completed.

- Formation of the second stage channel on both sides of the Clare River, in Crusheeney and Cregmore is now fully complete.

- Construction of an embankment along the southern bank of the Clare River from 1.3 km upstream of Crusheeny Bridge to the Islandmore Drain.

- In-stream Environmental River Enhancement Works upstream/downstream of Crusheeney Bridge are now fully complete.

- Works on the formation of a new drainage network and the construction of new accommodation/access bridges, along the field entrances adjacent to the roadway in Cregmore are now complete.

Montiagh North:

- Road C - Work on raising and tarring of a local road is now complete.

Carnmore/Cashla:

- Works on the construction of a 1.9km flood alleviation pipeline in Carnmore/Cashla are almost completed.

- Work on the installation of 2 no. pipe culverts across the R339 road network is now complete. 2 no. intake manholes, located either side of the R339 road network are constructed and in position.

- Works on the upgrading of a road culvert along the Lydican Road in Lisheenavalla, together with Bridge upgrade and bank protection works are now completed. 

The major civil works for the flood relief measures are now completed. The cost of the scheme up to the end of May 2019 is estimated to be €9.37 million. Substantial completion of the Scheme is expected by end 2019. Some minor civil works remain to be completed and these along with Environmental Reinstatement Enhancement Programme works and other reinstatement and accommodation works are due to be all fully completed by mid-2020.

Question No. 231 answered with Question No. 223.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (232)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

232. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed. [27887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Deputy may wish to note that, as part of the Spending Review 2019, it is expected that up to 35 analytical papers will be published covering a range of areas. Much of this analysis will be published alongside the Mid-Year Expenditure Report in July, with a further set of publications due to be released with the Budget in October.

All other current information requested by the Deputy, and as clarified by the Deputy’s office, is set out in the following table.

Title

End Date

Additional Research on the findings of the Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey Report

Quarter 3 2019

Irish Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey 2019

Quarter 3 2019

Focused Policy Assessment on Prevention and Early Interventions supporting Health and Well-Being of Older People

Quarter 4 2019

Focused Policy Assessment on Programmatic Interventions for Children, Young People and their Parents

Quarter 4 2019

Focused Policy Assessment on Cancer Screening Services

Quarter 4 2019

Focused Policy Assessment on Family Services Supporting Children and their Families

Quarter 4 2019

Working Paper on Understanding Prevention and Early Interventions

Quarter 4 2019

OECD Review of the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service

Quarter 3 2019

Medium Term Strategy Review of Procurement Policy for Public Works Projects (MTS)

Quarter 4 2020*

* It is proposed to publish a range of position papers throughout 2019 and 2020 on a broad range of issues that are impacting on the successful and timely delivery of projects and invite submissions from interested parties. Upon conclusion of the consultation process recommendations will be prepared by the GCCC on the measures necessary to address any shortcomings identified.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (233)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

233. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27918/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table:

Document Title

Year Published

Corporate Governance Framework

2016

Statement of Strategy 2016 -2019

2016

Business Plan 2016

2016

Public Service ICT Strategy Action Plan

2016

Report of the Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives

2016

Further Revised Estimates

2016

Supplementary Estimates for Public Services 2016

2016

Revised Estimates for Public Services

2016

Expenditure Report – Budget 2017

2016

Mid-Year Expenditure Report 2016

2016

Risk Management Guidance for Government Departments and Offices

2016

Guidance Manual for the Preparation of Appropriation Accounts 2015

2016

Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies

2016

Business Plan 2017

2017

Our Public Service 2020: Development and Innovation Framework

2017

eGovernment Strategy 2017-2020

2017

First Review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015

2017

Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) Medium Term Strategy 2016-2019

2017

Guidance Manual for the Preparation of Appropriation Accounts 2016

2017

Supplementary Estimates for Public Services 2017

2017

Revised Estimates for Public Services 2017

2017

Expenditure Report – Budget 2018

2017

Mid-Year Expenditure Report 2017

2017

Summer Economic Statement 2017

2017

Further Revised Estimates for Public Services 2017

2017

Revised Estimates for Public Services 2018

2017

Mid-Term review of the Capital Plan: Building on Recovery 2016- 2021

2017

Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies

2017

Expenditure Report

2017

National Public Procurement Policy Framework

2017

GCCC Position Paper: A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy

2017

Business Plan 2018

2018

Obligations under the Children First Act 2015

2018

General Scheme of the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill

2018

Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill

2018

Civil Service ICT HR Professionalism Strategy

2018

Data Strategy 2019-2023

2018

Supplementary Estimates for Public Services 2018

2018

Further Revised Estimates for Public Services 2019

2018

Revised Estimates for Public Services 2019

2018

Expenditure Report – Budget 2019

2018

Mid-Year Expenditure Report 2018

2018

Summer Economic Statement 2018

2018

Further revised Estimates for Public Services 2018

2018

National Development Plan

2018

Report of the Expert Group on Public Private Partnerships

2018

Internal Audit Standards for Government Departments and Offices 2018

2018

Guidance Manual for the Preparation of Appropriation Accounts 2017

2018

Advice Note: Considering Information Security Management

2018

Business Plan 2019

2019

Summer Economic Statement

2019

Guidance Manual for the Preparation of the Appropriation Accounts 2018

2019

Public Procurement Regulations

Ceisteanna (234)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

234. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which he has reformed the procurement process since weaknesses were exposed on same in the building of the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27969/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of the ongoing reform of Ireland’s capital management systems, the Office of Government Procurement is conducting a review of construction procurement and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is reviewing the Public Spending Code. The purpose of these reviews is to strengthen the existing guidance to better align with the realities of project delivery and with a particular focus on improved financial appraisal, cost estimation and management.

The following reforms will be considered and implemented as part of the Public Spending Code review:

- Strengthen and harmonise capital appraisal guidance;

- Greater clarity on governance and roles and responsibilities, particular in terms of who is the Sanctioning Authority and who is the Sponsoring Agency for major projects;

- Introduce new mechanisms to improve the accuracy of cost estimates;

- Improve project life cycle to better reflect the realities of project delivery; and

- Complement the Project Ireland 2040 Capital Tracker in monitoring projects and costs.

The revised central elements of the Public Spending Code relating to the appraisal and management of public capital projects will be published this summer. Further technical guidance building upon these central elements will follow in the second half of 2019 and in 2020.

Procurement legislation is established on an EU wide basis through the suite of procurement directives. The most recent directives were issued in 2014 and have all been transposed into Irish law by means of Statutory Instrument.

The Capital Works Management Framework ("CWMF") is the structure that has been developed to deliver the Government’s objectives in relation to public sector construction procurement reform. It consists of a suite of best practice guidance, standard contracts and generic template documents that must be used on all projects that are to be delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the National Development Plan ("NDP"). It is managed by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC).

The performance of a key component of the CWMF; the public works contract, was reviewed in 2014 and a series of recommendations that apply to the conditions of contract have been implemented since 2016.

That review prompted the OGP to undertake a broader review of the procurement of public works projects in order to develop the next generation of the CWMF.

A set of objectives have been developed to manage the review process which will permit a progressive refinement of the CWMF rather than awaiting the completion of the entire work programme prior to implementation. Enhanced risk management throughout a project’s life cycle and quality of information will inform all aspects of the work programme.

Consultation has already commenced with industry and the public bodies charged with the delivery of public works projects on a broad range of issues that are impacting on the successful and timely delivery of projects. These are wide ranging and warrant careful consideration and cover areas such as:

- price variation;

- risk management;

- creating a better quality : price balance in the award of contracts;

- adoption of BIM on public works projects;

- liability, indemnity and insurance requirements;

- performance evaluation;

- encouraging collaborative working.

It is proposed to publish a range of position papers throughout 2019 and 2020 on these and other issues and invite submissions from interested parties. Upon conclusion of the consultation process recommendations will be prepared by the GCCC on the measures necessary to address any shortcomings identified.

The programme commenced with a focus on the early stages of a project’s development with the publication of a position paper on the engagement of the consultant technical professionals upon which submissions have been received. The paper focusses on improving the manner in which consultants are engaged to provide expert advice to contracting authorities on matters such as design, cost estimating, project management, procurement and contract administration.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (235, 236)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

235. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when his attention was first drawn to correspondence between Eir and the Minister for Communications, Climate Acton and Environment dated 30 January 2018 claiming that the policy objectives for the national broadband plan could be delivered at a fraction of the prospective subsidy; his views on the correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27987/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

236. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is assessing the submission from Eir on the national broadband plan; if he or his officials have met with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in relation to the submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28017/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 236 together.

Responsibility for the National Broadband Plan rests with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. His Department is the Sponsoring Agency for the project, while Government is the Sanctioning Authority.

The Public Spending Code is the set of rules and procedures that are in place to support public bodies in achieving value for money as they implement all projects, including major projects, through the course of the project’s lifecycle. Each project works through a lifecycle from project identification, appraisal/business case, planning & design, procurement and implementation, to review. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has responsibility for the Public Spending Code, including the current review of the Code. However, responsibility for complying with all of the requirements of the Public Spending Code is a matter for each Sponsoring Agency and Sanctioning Authority.

I was informed about Eir withdrawing from the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan, and the correspondence from Eir's Chief Executive Officer to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, when this happened in 2018.

In terms of engaging with Eir on their recent statements on the National Broadband Plan, these are matters, in the first instance, for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, as the Minister responsible for the procurement process on the National Broadband Plan. However, officials from my Department will, of course, be liaising with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the issue, and will seek to be kept informed in relation to that Department's engagement with Eir and any developments that may emerge from that process.

Civil Service Staff Data

Ceisteanna (237)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

237. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of temporary summer Civil Service positions filled from applicants on the summer and the all year panel, respectively, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28273/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Service is an independent, statutory body which provides professional recruitment and selection services to the Civil and Public Service. Vacancies are filled as and when required by employing Departments. Please see breakdown below.

All Year

Summer

Donegal

73

14

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (238)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

238. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if interviews for applicants on the summer panel took place in Dublin for temporary vacant Civil Service positions in County Donegal; if so, the reason they did not take place in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28274/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Service is an independent, statutory body which provides professional recruitment and selection services to the Civil and Public Service. Interviews for the Donegal summer panel took place in Dublin in May 2019 due to logistical reasons and board member availability.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (239)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

239. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if interviews for applicants on the all year panel took place in County Donegal for temporary Civil Service vacant positions in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Welfare in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28275/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Service is an independent, statutory body which provides professional recruitment and selection services to the Civil and Public Service. Interviews for the Donegal all year panel took place in Donegal in March 2019 and vacancies were filled as and when required by employing Departments.

State Properties

Ceisteanna (240)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

240. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has carried out an audit in relation to the number of public buildings that may require retrofitting; if so, the expected cost to the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28292/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Commissioners of Public Works carry out refurbishment works on State property on a regular basis to meet new requirements as they arise.  Also, as building services and fit outs reach end of life, properties are targeted for refurbishment.  This form of retrofitting would also upgrade the property to meet modern standards in terms of the Building Regulations and energy efficiency.  The number and costs of such projects undertaken in any given year varies depending on availability of funding.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (241)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

241. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the arrangements which will be made for a child (details supplied) that is due to start primary school and has no place in an ASD unit locally. [27477/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

The NCSE ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make an application to the NCSE to establish a special class. In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the SENO may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to reconfigure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

The number of ASD special classes has more than doubled in the last 5 years from 511 in 2014 to 1,196 across the country now. Provision in special schools has increased from 6,848 placements in 2011 to 7,872 this year. The NCSE has informed my Department that they intend to establish approximately 156 new ASD special classes nationally for 2019/20 school year to meet currently identified need.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available by county on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie.

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved.

As the matter raised by the Deputy refers to an individual child, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the National Council for Special Education for direct reply.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (242)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

242. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) will be provided with a SNA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (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.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday, 27 September 2019.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (243)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

243. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to ensure that overcrowding of primary and secondary schools in Kilkenny city and county is ended; his plans for the provision of new schools in the county and updated facilities where needed in existing schools; if another secondary school will be provided for eastern areas (details supplied); if audits have been conducted to establish future enrolment numbers for both levels and to inform capital funding needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27453/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 16 classroom primary school to be established in 2021 to serve the Kilkenny school planning area/Western Environs. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for Kilkenny City, the requirement for new schools in Kilkenny is being kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard to the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

Officials from my Department recently met with personnel from Kilkenny County Council where the Council’s plans for housing in the Kilkenny area in the coming years were outlined, and further engagement is planned in this regard.

Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (244)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

244. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 212 of 11 June 2019, the length of time the design team has been completing the pre-qualification process; and the timeline for completion of this stage. [27475/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

This project was authorised to complete pre-qualification in April 2019. The final pre-qualification report was submitted to my Department on 23 May. Final confirmations have been sought while the final pre-qualification report is reviewed.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (245)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

245. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 213 of 11 June 2019, the length of time the design team has been completing the pre-qualification process; and the timeline for completion of this stage. [27476/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

This project was authorised to complete pre-qualification in April 2019. The final pre-qualification report was submitted to my Department on 23 May. Final confirmations have been sought while the final pre-qualification report is reviewed.