LEADER Programmes Funding

Ceisteanna (381)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

381. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the funding allocated for the 2014 to 2020 LEADER programme; the expenditure to date; if he is satisfied that the total funding will be drawn down by the end date for the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30420/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The 2014-2020 LEADER programme has a total budget of €250 million over the lifetime of the programme. €220 million of this has been allocated as core funding to the Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver the programme throughout the country. The allocation is used by the LAGs to administer the programme and to fund individual LEADER projects in their areas.

The remaining €30 million in funding is available for thematic schemes which will be delivered at a national level.

Total expenditure to date under the LEADER programme is in excess of €54.2 million. This figure includes the LAGs' core project costs and administration/animation costs, as well as expenditure on thematic projects.

Overall, since the programme commenced operation in 2016, 2,230 LEADER projects have been approved to a value of €78.3 million, while a further 406 applications requesting over €28.5 million are going through the approvals process.

The LAGs have indicated to my Department that, on average, over 80% of their available project budget will be allocated by the end of 2019. This will place LEADER in a strong position as it enters the final year in which projects can be approved under the current programme. In line with EU Regulations, all project funding must be allocated by the LAGs by the end of 2020 with payments continuing, as required, in subsequent years.

I am satisfied that the LEADER programme has gained strong momentum, both in terms of approvals and payments, since my Department introduced a range of administrative improvements from the second half of 2017. I am confident that the funding available under LEADER will be fully utilised over the remainder of the programming period.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Ceisteanna (382)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

382. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of applications made under the rural regeneration and development fund to date per category; the number of applications granted funding per category; the funding approved for the scheme in 2019; the value of payments made to date for approved projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30431/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund seeks to support ambitious and strategic projects which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. The Government has committed €1 billion over 10 years to the Fund and €315 million is allocated to the Fund for the period 2019-2022. My Department has allocated €52m in funding in 2019 for projects supported by the Fund

The first call under the Fund closed in September 2018. 280 applications were received – 126 Category 1 applications (projects which had the relevant planning and consents in place and could commence capital works in 2019) and 154 Category 2 applications (projects which had potential but needed further development to enable them to be potentially submitted as Category 1 proposals in the future).

In November 2018 and February 2019 I announced details of a total of 38 Category 1 projects and 46 Category 2 projects which were successful under the first call from the Fund, providing €86m in support for projects worth a total of €117m.

Following the announcement of the 84 successful projects, my Department engaged with each lead party to complete due diligence requirements. Contractual arrangements were also drawn up with the release of funding based on the achievement of key milestones in the projects.

In this regard, significant progress is already being made on the implementation of successful projects. A number of the projects have already reached their first milestone and had funding released. To date, €1,722,043 has been drawn down from the Fund by seven separate projects, made up of €1,654,161 drawn down for five Category 1 projects to date and €67,882 for two Category 2 projects. I expect that payments from the Fund will significantly accelerate over the coming weeks and months as further milestones are achieved across all the 84 projects.

It should be noted that the second call for applications to the Rural Regeneration and Development is now open. Details of the second call are set out in the information booklet and application form relating to the Fund, which are available on the www.gov.ie website. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Tuesday, 6 August 2019.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (383)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

383. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30104/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based 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.  

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 27 March 2019. 

The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 22 August 2019 when her carer’s leave commences. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 22 August 2019.    

The person concerned was notified on 6 July 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (384)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

384. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30110/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based 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. 

An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 21 March 2019 in respect of two care recipients.

The person concerned on 28 June 2019, requested that the application in respect of her father be withdrawn.

The application in respect of her daughter was awarded with effect from 6 June 2019 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 11 July 2019. 

Arrears of benefit due from 6 June 2019 to 10 July 2019 will also issue to her bank on 11 July 2019.  

The person concerned was notified on 6 July 2019 of these decisions, the reason for them and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (385)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

385. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30111/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based 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.  

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 21 June 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (386)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

386. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will remove the habitual residency clause for social protection for Northern Ireland in view of the commitment to no hard border on the island of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Habitual residence is a condition that one must satisfy to be eligible for most means tested social welfare payments in Ireland.  It applies to all applicants for relevant payments, whether or not they are Irish citizens.   

The term ‘habitually resident’ means that a person has to have their ‘centre of interest’ in Ireland.  The term also conveys permanence - a person has been here for some time and intends to stay here for the foreseeable future.

A key element of the habitual residence provisions is the right to reside requirement which must be satisfied.  Irish citizens have a right to reside in Ireland.  EU citizens have a right to reside in Ireland (or other EU Member States) subject to the conditions set out in EU law.  In addition, UK nationals coming from the Common Travel Area have a right to reside in Ireland as provided for in the Aliens (Exemption) Order 1999 and this right will continue after the UK leaves the EU.

As part of the Common Travel Area commitments, the Government entered into a Convention on Social Security with the Government of the United Kingdom which was signed on 1 February 2019.  This Convention ensures that the current reciprocal arrangements that apply to the coordination of social security payments between the two jurisdictions will be maintained post-Brexit. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Redundancy Payments

Ceisteanna (387)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

387. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is accepted that a person (details supplied) is not in the financial position to repay a sum under the redundancy and insolvency payment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Redundancy Payments Act 1967, as amended, provides for the making of payments by employers to employees in respect of redundancy.  It is the employer's responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to all eligible employees.  In the event that an employer is unable to pay due to financial difficulties, an application for payment from the Social Insurance Fund may be submitted to the Department. When such a redundancy payment is made from the Social Insurance Fund, a debt is immediately raised against the employer.

The Department is obliged to make every effort to recover the debts owed to the Social Insurance Fund, in accordance with Section 32 of the Act.

If a person is not in a position to make a repayment it is important that they engage with the Department's Debt Management Unit so that the relevant records can be updated to reflect the position.  Recent financial information has not been received in this case therefore my officials are unable to confirm inability to repay the debt.

Again I would also like to remind the Deputy that any person who is experiencing difficulties with their mortgage repayments can avail of the Government's Abhaile service which is run by MABS (www.mabs.ie/abhaile.ie).  Borrowers who qualify for this scheme will incur no charge for using this service. 

I trust that this helps clarifies the matter.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (388)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

388. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for invalidity pension by a person (details supplied) will be expedited. [30147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 23 May 2019.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 11 July 2019.  Any arrears due from 23 May 2019 to 10 July 2019 will issue as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 4 July 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (389)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

389. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made in relation to a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance from this gentleman on 7 May 2019. On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspects of the claim a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

The processing time for individual DA claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Administration

Ceisteanna (390)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

390. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) submitted a request to sponsor or sub sponsor a community employment scheme; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact that in a response dated 16 May 2019, stated that the school was ineligible for the scheme; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact that the Constitution acknowledges the role of a parent and guardian as the primary educator of the child; if the application from the school will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Community Employment (CE) projects are typically sponsored by groups wishing to benefit the local community, namely voluntary and community organisations and, to a lesser extent, public bodies involved in not-for-profit activities.

The private school outlined by the Deputy provides an alternative to the mainstream model of education. Charges are applied in respect of those attending the school.

Schools are not permitted to sponsor CE schemes and CE participants cannot be employed by or work in schools. This includes the provision of security, caretaking and other services to schools.   As the Deputy may be aware, FAS who had responsibility for CE up until 2012, withdrew the CE services from schools from September 2001.  As a result, the budget for schools-based CE schemes was transferred to the Department of Education and Skills.  

My colleague, Minister Joe Mc Hugh T.D. has overall responsibility for the services and initiatives provided for the whole education sector including the control of policy, funding and direction.  

It is a matter for all private schools to determine how the provision of their services are resourced.

Departmental Shareholdings

Ceisteanna (391)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

391. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will provide details of all entities in which she or her Department hold shares; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30183/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by my Department that it does not hold shares in any entity.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.