Rural Development Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (2013)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

2013. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will address a matter regarding a proposal by an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35530/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department has met frequently with the organisation referred to, along with other such organisations, and I am fully aware of their proposals. The matter is receiving close attention and will be discussed in the normal Estimates process and considered in the context of existing commitments, the overall resources available to the Government and the demands on those resources.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Ceisteanna (2014)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2014. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht further to Parliamentary Question No. 426 of 10 July 2019, the companies in which Údarás na Gaeltachta holds shares or membership; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34716/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information sought by the Deputy is published by Údarás na Gaeltachta in its Annual Report and Accounts which are laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas each year. The body’s 2017 Annual Report and Accounts have already been laid before the Houses and the Report and Accounts those in respect of 2018 will be laid in due course.

A copy of Schedule 1 from the 2017 Annual Report and Accounts is attached for the Deputy's convenience. A full copy of the Report and Accounts can be found on the Údarás na Gaeltachta website: udaras.ie.

Schedule

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (2015)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

2015. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to her and the Minister of State in her Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Since my appointment as Minister on the 30 November 2017, and as provided for by the Public Service Management Act 1997, I have appointed two special advisers. The details requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.

Special Adviser

Salary

John Keogh

€98,082 - 4th point - Principal Officer Standard scale

Cian Connaughton

€94,487- 3rd point - Principal Officer Standard scale

All special advisers are paid at the relevant Principal Officer (Standard scale) rate in accordance with the standard arrangements put in place by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

In addition, all of the above appointments are made in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Instructions to Personnel Officers – Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil, which is available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's website.

Calafoirt agus Céanna

Ceisteanna (2016)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2016. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil cinneadh déanta nach rachfar ar aghaidh le céim a dó agus a trí de thógáil ché an Chalaidh Mhóir in Inis Meáin go dtí go mbeidh cé Inis Oírr tógtha; an bhfuil aon bhunús leis an gcinneadh sin ó tharla go bhfuil práinn ann chun brú ar aghaidh leis an dá ché chomh sciobtha agus is féidir; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [34900/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Ba mhaith liom a dhearbhú don Teachta, arís, nach bhfuil an dá fhorbairt luaite, ag braith ar a chéile agus go mbeidh mo Roinn ag brú ar aghaidh leis an dá thionscadal. Mar is eol don Teachta tá forbairt ar na céanna Caladh Mór, Inis Meáin agus Inis Oírr luaite i Tionscadail Éireann 2040. Tá roghanna éagsúla maidir le forbairt Ché an Chaladh Mhóir á mheas; faoi théarmaí an Chóid Caiteachais Poiblí, beidh Cás Gnó ina thaobh á chur faoi bhráid na Roinne ag Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe.

Cuirfidh sé seo i bhfos don Roinn na chéad céimeanna eile a bheidh le tógáil i dtaobh an tionscadal. Maidir le Cé Inis Oírr, tá dul chun cinn suntasach déanta agus táthar ag súil go dtosóidh an obair thógála air in 2020.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (2017)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2017. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the capital expenditure of her Department at the end of August 2019 by subhead as compared with the Estimate for the full year; the reason for the slow spend to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34901/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The 2019 capital allocation for my Department is €73.8 million. In addition, a sum of €0.7 million is available by means of capital carryover from 2018.

Details of provisional capital expenditure as of 31 August 2019 are detailed by subhead in the following table and show that total capital expenditure for my Department up to that date amounts to €35.9 million, representing 85% of profile and 49% of the overall 2019 allocation. In addition, the full sum of €0.7 million has been spent in respect of capital carryover. These figures are provisional as all expenditure within my Department's Vote is subject to an ongoing internal verification and monitoring process to ensure the best use of available financial resources. Adjustments may fall to be made between subheads as part of this process and all figures are subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The nature of the work of the Department means that a greater percentage of capital expenditure occurs in the second half of the year. The under-spend relates largely to timing issues which it is anticipated will resolve before year end.

Subhead

Capital allocation 2019

Capital expenditure to 31/08/19

Comparison with Allocation

(v)

OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND EXTERNAL IT SERVICES

645

341

53%

A.4

NATIONAL ARCHIVES - GENERAL EXPENSES

351

0

0%

A.5

GENERAL EXPENSES OF IMMA, CHESTER BEATTY LIBRARY, NCH & CRAWFORD

917

644

70%

A.7

CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT

12,150

3,715

31%

A.9

AN CHOMHAIRLE EALAÍON

1,045

495

47%

A.10

GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND

1,108

528

48%

A.11

GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF IRELAND

478

359

75%

A.12

FÍS EIREANN

16,200

11,000

68%

A.13

NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND

858

644

75%

A.14

EUROPEAN CITY OF CULTURE

6,000

2,396

40%

A.16

CORK EVENT CENTRE

1,000

0

0%

B.3

HERITAGE COUNCIL

2,688

774

29%

B.4

BUILT HERITAGE

2,349

41

2%

B.5

NATURAL HERITAGE (NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE)

4,333

1,912

44%

B.6

IRISH HERITAGE TRUST

200

0

0%

B.7

BUILT HERITAGE INVESTMENT SCHEME

2,500

0

0%

B.8

PEATLANDS RESTORATION, CONSERVATION & MANAGEMENT

3,000

2,626

88%

C.3

GAELTACHT SUPPORT SCHEMES

2,322

477

21%

C.4

IRISH LANGUAGE SUPPORT SCHEMES

632

58

9%

C.8

ÚDARÁS NA GAELTACHTA - GRANTS FOR PROJECTS AND CAPITAL EXPENDITURE ON PREMISES

9,000

5,800

64%

C.9

ISLANDS

1,644

56

3%

D.4

WATERWAYS IRELAND

4,380

4,068

93%

Calafoirt agus Céanna

Ceisteanna (2018, 2027)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2018. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén uair a dhéanfar cinneadh ar an bplean gnó atá réitithe ag Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe i leith ché Inis Oírr; cén uair a fuarthas an plean gnó sin ón gcomhairle contae; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [34902/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2027. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén uair a dhéanfar cinneadh ar an gcás gnó atá curtha faoi bhráid na Roinne ag Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe maidir le síneadh a chur le cé Inis Oírr agus tonnchosc a thógáil ann; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [35385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 2018 agus 2027 le chéile.

Mar is eol don Teachta tá forbairt Ché Inis Oírr san áireamh sa liosta tograí atá clúdaithe ag Tionscadail Éireann 2040.

Tá mo Roinn agus Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe ag obair i dteo leagan críochniúil den chás gnó a fhorbairt faoi réir théarmaí an gCód Caiteachais Poiblí faoi láthair. Beidh gach chéim d'fhorbairt na céibhe le meas i gcomhthéacs an tsoláthair airgid a bheidh ar fáil do mo Roinn ag an am sin agus faoi réir na bhforálacha atá san áireamh i gCód Caiteachais Phoiblí an Rialtais.

Forbairt na nOileán

Ceisteanna (2019)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2019. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sé i gceist aici airgead a cheadú i mbliana d’oibreacha beaga ar na hoileáin, go mór mór d’oibreacha bóthair; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [34913/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tá an cheist maidir le Clár Mionoibreacha 2019 do na hOileáin á scrúdú ag oifigigh mo Roinne faoi láthair i gcomhthéacs an tsoláthair airgid atá ar fáil le caitheamh ar thograí oileánda i mbliana agus na n-éileamh éagsúla ar an soláthar sin.

Seirbhísí Aeir Fóirdheonaithe

Ceisteanna (2020, 2025, 2026)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2020. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta le ceannach Aerfort Chonamara; cén uair atá i gceist conradh nua a fhógairt don tseirbhís aeir chuig na hOileáin Árann; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [34937/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2025. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir le hAerfort Chonamara a cheannach; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [35383/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2026. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén uair a fhógrófar próiseas tairisceana nua le haersheirbhís a chur ar fáil go dtí Oileáin Árann; cé na socruithe a bheidh i bhfeidhm lena chinntiú go leanfaidh aersheirbhís ar aghaidh go dtí go gcuirfear conradh nua buan ar bun; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [35384/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 2020, 2025 agus 2026 le chéile.

Tá an próiseas maidir le ceannach an aerfoirt ag leanúint ar aghaidh. Tá luach aontaithe idir na páirtithe. Fostaíodh comhlacht le saineolas san earnáil eitlíochta chun an cás gnó a ullmhú i ndáil le riachtanais an Chóid Chaiteachais Poiblí . Tá dréacht den chás gnó á mheas faoi láthair.

Maidir leis an t-seirbhís aeir tá conradh eatramhach le GASL a sheasfaidh go dtí 30 Meán Fómhair 2019. Tá an Roinn ag gníomhú chun a chinntiú nach mbeadh briseadh sa tseirbhís agus go mbeidh conradh eile socraithe go luath.

Built Heritage Investment Scheme

Ceisteanna (2021)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

2021. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a building (details supplied) can be retained in public ownership due to its historical significance; if she will discuss this matter with the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35049/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In the interests of the preservation, conservation, management and presentation of the built and archaeological heritage, my Department occasionally seeks to acquire certain heritage properties and monuments as resources and opportunities permit. From time to time such properties may come onto the open market, may be bequeathed to the State or may be offered to it free of cost. In addition, lands surrounding or in proximity to heritage properties or national monuments in State care (i.e. incorporating the setting of the structure) often reside in private ownership. In certain cases, improved protection of the property or monument, or access to same, would be possible if the State was to acquire such additional lands. In all cases my Department would need to examine the potential acquisition carefully, taking into account the conservation needs of the property and Value for Money principles.

My Department, in cooperation with the Office of Public Works, is, however, only in a position to acquire, maintain, conserve and present to the public a very limited number of properties and monuments such as that mentioned by the Deputy. While I am supportive of efforts to identify suitable future uses to safeguard historic buildings, crucial to their future is the identification of a viable use or uses with sufficient income to ensure their survival.

The national monuments in State care already number some one thousand sites at over 760 locations right across the country and these command considerable resource commitments in terms of both funding and personnel allocation. In addition, there are more than 45,000 protected structures spread across all 31 local authority areas in the country and in excess of 120,000 monuments listed in the Record of Monuments and Places that are not maintained by the State.

My Department does not comment on ongoing property sales processes, as it would be inappropriate to intervene publicly in individual cases.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2022)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2022. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by her Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by her Department over the next five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department has provided the requested figures in the following table. The Deputy should note that pending the outcome of an upcoming ICT/business needs analysis exercise which will result in a new ICT strategy, the estimates going forward may change.

Expenditure

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total licensing renewal €

439.967

632,532

370,529

577,151

379,426

489,730

519,246

Estimated Expenditure

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

460,000

460,000

460,000

460,000

460,000

460,000

State Properties

Ceisteanna (2023)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

2023. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a request was received by her Department from the OPW or the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard for the transfer of a site at the airstrip in Cluain Leacht an Abba, An Cloigeann, Contae na Gallimhe to it for the purposes of providing a base there for the west Connemara coastguard; if so, the date on which it was received; the reason for the delay in making this decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35349/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department received correspondence in relation to the potential transfer of a site at the airstrip in Clifden, County Galway in May of this year from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

I have asked my officials to meet with representatives from that Department with a view to progressing matters in this case.

Animal Welfare

Questions Nos. 2025 and 2026 answered with Question No. 2020.

Question No. 2027 answered with Question No. 2018.

Ceisteanna (2024)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

2024. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on an operator of a zoo (details supplied) not supplying the National Parks and Wildlife Service with animal census information; if she will revise legislation to make this a requirement for zoo operators; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35374/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department is responsible for the implementation of the European Communities (Licensing and Inspection of Zoos) Regulations 2003 which transpose Directive 1999/22/EC of 29 March 2019 of the Council of the European Union relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos. These Regulations provide for a zoo inspection regime on foot of which licences may be issued to particular zoos and are supplemented by the Irish Standards of Modern Zoo Practice, produced by my Department in 2015. All zoos are inspected annually by my Department's zoo inspectorate.

In accordance with Regulation 4(2)(g), zoos are required to keep up to date records of their collections and under 14(1)(f) of the Regulations, zoo inspectors may require a person to produce any records that are required to be kept under the Regulations.

In practical terms, zoos keep these animal census records in the form of a Zoo Inventory Management (ZIM) system which is examined by the zoo inspectors during the inspection. Any issues relating to the inventory or mortality patterns must be noted by the inspector in their report.

If there are issues that require further examination, the inspector may request that a copy of the ZIM report be provided and retained by the inspectorate. However, in the event that the ZIM report does not highlight any cause for concern, the inspector may choose not to retain a copy. A copy may be requested by the zoo inspectorate at any time if required.

In recent years, some zoos have chosen to make the inventory available directly to the public via their annual reports or websites and members of the public can seek to obtain details from the zoos directly. In cases where members of the public have concerns around the operation of a particular zoo, they may contact the Zoo Licensing Unit of the NPWS at zoos@chg.gov.ie to discuss the matter in more detail.

The zoo inspection process is regularly reviewed by officials in my Department and the issue of retaining copies of the animal inventory as a matter of course will be given consideration by the zoo inspectorate in the lead up to the next round of inspections in 2020.

Finally, my Department takes the concerns of the public in relation to animal welfare issues, as well as public safety issues, at zoos very seriously and examines carefully any complaints that are received. The establishment to which the Deputy refers was inspected recently and animal census information was provided to the inspectorate on the day of the inspection. The zoo inspectors noted that the inventory and mortality patterns were well within the normal range for the species in the zoo population.

Questions Nos. 2025 and 2026 answered with Question No. 2020.
Question No. 2027 answered with Question No. 2018.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (2028)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2028. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training on all aspects of GDPR in the context of preparedness and ongoing upskilling of staff regarding the regulation; the cost expended on the external advice and training of same to date in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35572/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department was already subject to existing Data Protection regulatory provisions prior to the coming into effect of the GDPR in May 2018. A Data Protection Officer (DPO) was appointed in 2018, in line with the requirements of Article 37 of the GDPR. Included in this role was responsibility for the oversight of arrangements for transition to the new regulatory regime, including the promotion of awareness of the requirements of the GDPR among staff and the identification of training needs across the Department. No external consultants were contracted to deliver advice and training.

Details of training provision to staff, including the roll-out of an online e-training for all staff, are set out in the following table while staff in key areas within the Department have also been facilitated in attending external GDPR training and seminars. Further training requirements will be continue to be identified and addressed as part of the Department's ongoing Learning and Development programme.

Year

Training Provider

Type of Training

Cost

2016

CMG Events

Attendance at Conference Implementing new EU Data Protection Regulations

€424

Public Affairs Ireland

Data Protection Officer training

€895

2017

Happening Conferences

Data Summit Conference

€231

Public Affairs Ireland

Certificate Level 1 GDPR Essentials training course

€ 4,375

Law Society of Ireland / Kings’ Inns

Certificate in Data Protection Practice

€ 1,650

Public Affairs Ireland

Certificate in Data Protection Level 1

€ 1,650

2018

Law Society of Ireland / Kings’ Inns

Advanced Diploma in Data Protection Practice

€2,350

Crowley Solicitors

GDPR training for HR staff

€3,968

PDP Training

Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection

€2,895

2019

Irish Academy of Computer Training (IACT)

Online data protection course for all staff

€13,000

IACT

Data Protection Officer training

€1,666

Total

€ 33,104

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (2029)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2029. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of complaints her Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if her attention has been drawn to issues and or problems in having complaints registered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35640/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As I advised the House in response to Parliamentary Question number 1435 of 26th March last , my Department received two complaints in relation to the Department's operations during 2017 while a further three such complaints were received during 2018. I am advised that in each case, the matters raised were addressed and brought to a conclusion. 

My Department has received four complaints to date in 2019, one of which was subsequently referred to the Office of the Ombudsman with another referred to the Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. In all four cases, the matters raised have now been addressed and brought to a conclusion. 

My Department remains committed to advancing the principles of Quality Customer Service and achieving ongoing improvement in the delivery of its services.

Insurance Industry

Ceisteanna (2030)

James Browne

Ceist:

2030. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the difficulties facing owners of thatched houses in County Wexford in securing home insurance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am aware that insurance of thatched buildings has been an issue for some time and appreciate the heritage value of such properties.

My Department has no role, however, in relation to such insurance. The provision of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is ultimately a commercial matter for insurance companies based on their assessment of the risks the underwriter wishes to accept and adequate provisioning to meet these risks. However, it may be useful for owners of thatched properties to approach brokers who specialise in historic buildings, as they are more likely to be aware of the particular requirements of what the sector considers non-standard buildings.  

Owners may also wish to engage a building conservation professional to liaise with the broker’s thatch insurance representative to see what (if any) remedial works would be acceptable to the broker’s underwriter to reduce the risk to a level that would result in an acceptable quotation. They may also wish to consult the owners of other thatched premises to ascertain their approach.  The publication Thatch, a Guide to the Repair of Thatched Roofs (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 2015), which contains guidance on fire prevention measures, may be useful in this regard. This publication is also available on my Department’s website at www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/Thatch-A-Guide-to-the-Repair-of-Thatched-Roofs-2015.pdf .

Where individuals are experiencing difficulty in obtaining insurance, they can contact Insurance Ireland which operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to insurance. If they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the provider’s complaints process, they have the right to take the matter up with the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.

As you may be aware, my Department oversees a number of schemes to assist in the conservation of protected structures such as thatched cottages. These schemes are the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund. They are administered through the local authorities and details are available on my Department’s website at www.chg.gov.ie/heritage/built-heritage/financial-assistance-for-architectural-heritage/ and on Wexford County Council's website at www.wexfordcoco.ie/planning/built-heritage/grants-for-protected-structures.

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (2031)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2031. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Colmcille in December 2020; and if her officials will co-operate with Donegal County Council to ensure that the local celebrations in County Donegal and the north west be built on to ensure that the legacy of St. Colmcille and contribution to Christendom here and internationally are appropriately reflected. [35946/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am aware of the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Colmcille in December 2020. My officials have had some initial discussions with Foras na Gaeilge regarding how the anniversary might be marked.

As yet, I have not received an approach from Donegal County Council on the matter, but I would of course be open to a discussion between my Department and the Council to help ensure that this anniversary will be marked appropriately.

Earlier this year, the heritage of Colmcille was celebrated at a special event in the Music Room in Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday 8 June, the eve of the Feast of Colmcille. The event was part of partnership programme between Foras na Gaeilge and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which promotes the use of Irish and Scottish Gaelic in Ireland and in Scotland and between the two countries.

Wildlife Conservation

Ceisteanna (2032)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

2032. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service that found agricultural practices are impacting negatively on 70% of internationally important habitats here; if her Department has identified the most harmful agricultural practices that affect such habitats; her plans to assist farmers reduce the negative effect of agricultural practices on the habitats; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36035/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department submitted Ireland’s 3rd assessment on the status of EU-protected habitats and species to the European Commission in April 2019. A summary report has just been published which provides an overview of the assessment methodologies and the main findings of the assessments (see www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/NPWS_2019_Vol1_Summary_Article17.pdf. These very thorough assessments were undertaken by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of this Department, Inland Fisheries Ireland and external experts.

The main aim of the EU Habitats Directive is to achieve the conservation of biodiversity by requiring Member States to take measures to maintain or restore natural habitats and species listed on the Directive at a favourable conservation status. The habitats and species have been listed because they are considered vulnerable at a European level. Ireland has 59 habitats and 68 species listed on the Directive.

The conclusion of the report that most Irish habitats listed on the Habitats Directive are in Unfavourable status and almost half are demonstrating ongoing declines. The majority of species listed on the Habitats Directive are, however, in Favourable status in Ireland, and stable, although a small number are considered to be in Bad status and continue to require concerted efforts to protect and restore them.

The habitats were listed on the Directive because they are threatened; but the ongoing declines are of particular concern, particularly in our peatland, grassland, woodland and marine habitats, and concerted action is required.

The most frequent pressures recorded in habitats relate to the agriculture category. Over 70% of habitats were impacted by pressures relating to agricultural practices, and the pressure was ranked as High importance in more than 50% of habitats. The most prevalent sub-category of agricultural pressures was “Intensive grazing or overgrazing by livestock”, which was recorded in 55% of habitats in which agricultural impacts were noted (39% of habitats overall), the next most frequent agricultural pressure being “Extensive grazing or undergrazing”, which was noted at 21% of habitats impacted by agriculture (15% of habitats overall). Inappropriate grazing (either too much or too little) was recorded in 62% of all habitats where agricultural impacts were reported, and in 44% of habitats overall. “Abandonment of grassland management (e.g. cessation of grazing or mowing)” and “Agricultural activities generating diffuse pollution to surface or ground waters” were the next most frequent agricultural impacts, each affecting 19% of habitats where agricultural impacts were noted, or 14% of habitats overall. All eight of the habitats affected by diffuse pollution were either lake or groundwater-dependent habitats. Analysis of the proportion of habitat exceeding Nitrogen deposition thresholds arising from “Agricultural activities generating air pollution” has highlighted Blanket bog, Alpine heath and Wet heath, Juniper and Limestone pavement as particularly vulnerable to this type of pollution. The impacts of “Agricultural activities generating marine pollution” are reported at High importance in three of the marine habitats.

My Department is engaging proactively with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to assess the potential for interventions under the CAP post 2020 and to inform their SWOT analysis and needs assessment. My Department is working on a Prioritised Action Framework for the Special Areas of Conservation and we are working to improve our capacity to put measures in place to achieve improvements in the status of habitats.

It should be noted that there are many positive actions are ongoing across Ireland, for example:

- There are 23 European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) on-going, many of which are focussed on ‘restoring, preserving and enhancing biodiversity’; these have the potential to positively impact on habitats and species listed on the Habitats Directive.

- A catchment approach has been adopted under the EU Water Framework Directive to ensure consideration of both water and flooding issues within land use planning and a total of 726 waterbodies have been identified within 190 Priority Areas for Action. This will ensure improved targeting of measures for freshwater and transitional waters including lagoons, for example through advice to farmers and through financial support for urban wastewater treatment and for improved domestic treatment systems.

- There are EU LIFE and other projects (e.g. the Burren Programme) that focus specifically and proactively on the interface between farming and biodiversity.

- There is an increasing awareness through initiatives such as Farming for Nature that agriculture and biodiversity can be better integrated.

Departmental Internships

Ceisteanna (2033)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2033. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of unpaid internships issued and-or granted to persons to work in her Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons that took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if her Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36144/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am informed that my Department does not currently facilitate unpaid internships. I am further informed that, following consultation with the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this year, my Department can no longer facilitate short term unpaid work experience placements of third level students. My Department facilitates a small number of second level transition year students every year on unpaid work experience for periods of one to two weeks.

For completeness; I am informed that in the past my Department has, on occasion, facilitated requests from colleges or individual students to provide unpaid work experience in an area related to the student's course of study. Department records show that seven students were placed in 2015, six in 2016 and in 2017, one in 2018 and three in 2019. I am informed that the three students placed in 2019 were to honour a prior commitment made in good faith to the students' college. These placements varied in length from four days to three months.

In recognition that there is a value to be gained from good quality internships related to an individual's chosen career path or area of study, my Department continues to keep this issue under review.

Cyber Security Protocols

Ceisteanna (2034)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2034. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there are dedicated, professionally trained and certified cybersecurity staff to deal with cybersecurity protocols under the remit of her Department; if such specialists are being recruited; if her Department maintains a risk register of security breaches; if so, if there are staff that analyse, log and maintain such a register; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36224/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department’s ICT unit has dedicated, professionally trained ICT security staff who are responsible for the management and oversight of ICT security systems which mitigate the risks of cybersecurity breaches. The Department maintains a security breach register where any breaches are analysed by the ICT security team and also escalated to supporting ICT security vendors where required.

Departmental Operations

Ceisteanna (2035)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2035. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her Department has a disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan and or disaster recovery sites; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36240/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department takes data security and disaster recovery extremely seriously. As well as deploying leading enterprise solutions, my Department has disaster recovery and business continuity plans and disaster recovery sites in operation. These plans are regularly updated in line with changes to infrastructure, file storage locations, etc.

Hare Coursing

Ceisteanna (2036)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

2036. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason the licences issued to a club (details supplied) were rescinded; when the licences will be reissued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Deputy may be aware that a disease fatal to rabbits and hares, but of no risk to humans, has been confirmed in the wild in Ireland for the first time. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) was first reported in domestic (farmed) rabbits in China in 1984 killing millions of animals within one year of its discovery. By 1986 this viral disease had been found in continental Europe and has since spread globally leading to significant mortality in wild populations of rabbits

The disease which was first reported in Ireland in domestic rabbits in 2018 has now been confirmed in 6 rabbits from counties Clare, Cork, Leitrim and Wicklow and in two hares in Co Wexford with further animals still awaiting testing. While all locations continue to support apparently healthy wild populations, officials from the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department continue to monitor the situation.

The disease is highly contagious and can be spread directly between animals and in the faeces and urine of infected animals, as well as by insects and on human clothing. Under these circumstances the catching of hares in nets, their transportation in boxes and the collection and holding of hares in confined areas can all be considered to increase the risk of disease spread.

Accordingly, I made the decision last month to suspend the licences due to come into effect on 10 August issued to the coursing body in question on behalf of its affiliated clubs to capture and tag hares for the 2019/20 hare coursing season until a clearer understanding of the extent, spread and implications of the RHD2 virus emerges.

I am keeping matters under ongoing review.

Seirbhísí Oileán

Ceisteanna (2037, 2038)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

2037. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén leibhéal maoinithe atá ceadaithe do bhóithre ar oileáin Dhún na nGall don bhliain reatha; an bhfuil aon oileán eile á mheas do mhaoiniú laistigh den iarratas ó Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall chuig a Roinn; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [36457/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

2038. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sí cuntas ar an méid maoinithe a ceadaíodh d’oileáin Dhún na nGall sa bhliain 2019; an dtabharfaidh sí cuntas maidir le pleananna maoinithe don todhchaí d’oileáin amach ó chósta Dhún na nGall don bhliain 2019; an ndéanfaidh sí comparáid idir maoniú don bhliain 2019 agus blianta eile ó 2007 go 2018; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [36458/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 2037 agus 2038 le chéile.

Is féidir liom a dheimhniú don Teachta go bhfuil iarratas faoin Chlár Mionoibreacha do 2019 faighte ag mo Roinn ó Chomhairle Chontae Dhún na nGall. Clúdaíonn an t-iarratas oibreacha ar oileán Árainn Mhór, Uaigh, Toraigh agus Gabhla. Tá an t-iarratas dhá scrúdú sa Roinn faoi láthair na huaire i gcomhthéacs an tsoláthair airgid atá ar fáil i mbliana agus na h-éilimh éagsúla ar an soláthar sin.

Léiríonn an tábla thíos an leibhéil maoinithe atá ceadaithe ag mo Roinn as soláthar caipiteal na n-oileán ar oileáin Dhún na nGall ó 2007 go dtí 2018:

Bliain

Maoiniú Ceadaithe

2007

€352,495

2008

€1,081,455

2009

€20,000

2010

€75,098

2011

€102,715

2012

€383,875

2013

€110,158

2014

€0

2015

€327,774

2016

€135,050

2017

€540,611

2018

€372,125