Garda Station Closures

Ceisteanna (76)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

76. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the reopening of a Garda station (details supplied); the timeline for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39263/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of the Government programme, the Office of Public Works has been requested to progress the reopening of six former Garda Stations, including the Garda Station at Bawnboy, Co. Cavan. A brief of requirements was received from An Garda Síochána and a full technical assessment has been completed. The deliberative process between An Garda Síochána and OPW to finalise proposals for the re-opening is well underway. Upon final sign-off by An Garda Síochána, OPW expects to submit the necessary Part 9 planning application over the coming months and, on approval, will then progress the procurement of works required to re-open the Station. It is expected that all works will be undertaken and completed by mid 2020.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (77)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

77. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the works ongoing at the new Garda station for Bailieborough, County Cavan; the timeline for its delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39266/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Planning process for this project was completed in December 2018 and a full Design Team is now in place. Tender documentation is being prepared and it is envisaged that this will take a number of months to complete. It is not possible at this early stage of the project to be definitive about a completion date.

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Ceisteanna (78)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

78. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 197 of 2 October 2018, when the new guidance on the implementation of section 52(6) and (7) of the 2012 Act will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39118/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Section 52 (6) and (7) of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and other Provisions) Act 2012 imposes a limit, or ‘benefit cap’, on the total amount of pension benefits that can accrue where an individual has been a member of more than one public service pension scheme.

As a result of a number of issues that have arisen in relation to the benefit cap and the implementation of guidance on it, my Department carried out a review into the operation of those provisions. As part of the review, further legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General has been sought. Once that advice has been received, new/revised guidance will be developed and issued as appropriate.

I appreciate the patience that has been shown to date by individuals whose pension entitlements are effected by the benefit cap and, indeed, by the Deputy, who has raised the matter previously. Following receipt of advice from the Attorney General, implementation of the review findings will be finalized and new guidance issued as appropriate.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (79)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

79. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding is available in 2019 for local authorities to carry out low-cost flood relief schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Minor Works Scheme was introduced by my Office on an administrative, non-statutory basis in 2009. The purpose of the scheme is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised fluvial flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The scheme generally applies where a solution can be readily identified and achieved in a short time frame. The works to be funded are carried out under Local Authority powers and ongoing maintenance of the completed works is the responsibility of the Council.

Under the scheme, applications are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects. Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio and having regard to the availability of funding for flood risk management.

Full details of this scheme are available on www.opw.ie

Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme

Ceisteanna (80)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

80. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if financial assistance is available for persons who have to relocate their homes due to constant flooding; if so, the details of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39244/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

On 11 April 2017, the Government agreed the administrative arrangements for a once-off Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme for those primary residential properties that flooded between 4 December, 2015 and 13 January, 2016. This is a national scheme of humanitarian assistance, targeting aid at those worst affected properties, for which there are no alternative feasible measures.

The Government decision confirmed that a homeowner had to meet a number of conditions to be eligible for assistance under this scheme, including:

- That floodwater entered and damaged the building during or as a result of flooding during relevant dates such as to render it uninhabitable.

- That the property was the homeowner’s primary residence at the time of the floods.

- That the affected property must have a significant probability of the recurrence of the flood depth, duration or frequency on a scale that could cause further serious and similar damage to the home.

- That the property is not due to or may not benefit from a planned or possible future major, minor or individual flood defence scheme.

- That the property may not be protected adequately from being flooded in the future, at an economically feasible cost, through other flood mitigation works including minor works, individual property protection or other possible measures that can be considered at this time.

- That the homeowner is unable to obtain flood risk insurance.

An important element of the administrative arrangements for this scheme is an option for remedial works where a viable engineering solution is possible or known to protect homes from future flooding. Where this is not feasible, humanitarian assistance is offered to homeowners who meet all of the eligibility criteria for home relocation.

The OPW has been working in partnership with the relevant Local Authorities to undertake comprehensive assessments of 169 properties, individual information meetings with homeowners and a site inspection for those who applied for the scheme for which 38 homeowners were invited to make an application.

To date, engineering solutions have been identified to protect some homes from future flooding and work is continuing to explore possible engineering solutions for a further 35 homes. Offers of financial assistance towards relocation have recently been made to a number of homeowners who satisfy all of the eligibility criteria for this scheme.

Schools Building Projects Applications

Ceisteanna (81)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

81. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for a new school building for a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39095/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a request for tenders for the appointment of a programme manager and design team for the project has recently been issued by the NDFA.

While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (82)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

82. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 177 of 10 July 2019, the progress being made on the project to provide a new build, extension and refurbishment of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39103/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan. The project will bring the school accommodation up to 16 mainstream classrooms and a 2-classroom Special Educational Needs Base.

This project is one of the school building projects on my Department’s ADAPT 2 Programme which contains 16 school building projects. A Project Manager is appointed to this Programme.

The process to appoint a Design Team – (Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Civil & Structural Engineer and Mechanical & Electrical Engineer) for the school in question is ongoing. The appointment of the PSDP (Project Supervisor of the Design Process) was completed on 9 September.

The Board of Management attended Department offices on 18 September to assist in the final assessment of the quality criteria for the Design Team. The appointment process will be completed in the coming weeks.

The Design Team can then commence Stage 1 of Architectural Planning which includes the site report and producing sketch scheme options to be submitted to the Department for consideration.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (83)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

83. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 215 of 26 February 2019, if there is an expected completion date for a project at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39106/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building contractor delivering the project referred to by the deputy has experienced a number of delay issues throughout the course of the works. The project had been scheduled for completion in March 2019; however, the contractor has now issued a revised programme targeting completion in the second quarter of 2020.

My Department is in regular contact with the Board of Management of the school and the Design Team for the project and held a meeting on 5th September with both parties to review progress on site.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (84)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

84. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 540 of 23 July 2019, if a preferred contractor has been chosen for the project; if so, when the letter of intent will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39107/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the delivery of the project for Naas Community College has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB).

I can confirm that a preferred contractor has been identified and we understand from KWETB that a letter of intent has now issued.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (85)

James Browne

Ceist:

85. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the threshold for a person who lives with his or her parents or guardians to become an independent applicant for postgraduate SUSI assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39134/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The main financial support available for qualifying postgraduate students is the Student Grant Scheme.

Postgraduate students who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant under the Student Grant Scheme are eligible for a maintenance grant of up to €5,915; the income threshold in 2019/20 for this grant is €24,000. Qualifying postgraduate students may also be eligible to have their tuition fees paid up to a maximum fee limit of €6,270.

Alternatively, a postgraduate student may qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the cost of his/her fees. The income threshold for this payment is €31,500 for the 2019/2020 academic year.

For student grant purposes, students are categorised according to their circumstances either as students dependent on parents or a legal guardian, or as independent mature students. An applicant's class is defined at his/her first point of entry to an approved higher or further education course and this will continue to apply for the duration of his/her studies.

For a dependent student, the reckonable income for grant purposes includes both his/her own income and that of his/her parents/legal guardians.

A student may be assessed as an independent mature student if he or she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st January of the year of first entry to an approved course, or of re-entry following a break in studies of at least three years, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous October. Otherwise he or she would continue to be assessed on the basis of parental income.

The re-entry provision of the scheme allows mature students who have previously attended an approved course and are now entering an approved course following a break in studies of at least three years, to have their status reclassified from dependent to independent student.

In terms of other supports, the main support is the Student Assistance Fund. This fund is available to students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need. This Fund assists students in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended.

Tax relief also is available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners at www.revenue.ie

DEIS Data

Ceisteanna (86)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

86. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of capitation costs for DEIS schools at primary and secondary level, for level 1 and 2 DEIS status in each case in a tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department’s overall annual spend on the DEIS Programme is approximately €125 million. Additional funding is provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the School Meals Programme and by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the School Completion Programme.

The information requested by the Deputy for this school year is set out in the following table. The classification of schools into DEIS Band 1, DEIS Band 2 and rural occurs only in the primary sector.

School Year

Total Primary €

Total Post Primary €

2019/2020

Urban B1 €7,098,994

Urban B2 €2,772,903

Rural €2,394,208

€12,266,105

€4,095,280

State Examinations Reviews

Ceisteanna (87)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

87. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a student (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39155/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Please see attached response to the same PQ issued directly by the State Examinations Commission on 9th September.

Exam Results

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (88)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

88. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the breakdown of the net capital expenditure on primary and post-primary infrastructure to include expenditure on primary and secondary school replacement and new builds for each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39170/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Development Plan 2018 to 2027 includes provision for an €8.4 billion investment programme in our school buildings infrastructure.

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

Year

Primary(€m)

Post-Primary(€m)

Total(€m)

2019 (to date )

245.468

177.816

423.284

2018

297.223

249.89

547.113

2017

327.628

204.477

532.105

2016

286.335

243.455

529.79

2015

266.755

239.706

506.461

2014

276.942

161.485

438.427

2013

234.19

127.184

361.374

2012

204.428

142.45

346.878

2011

289.426

165.621

455.047

2010

312.264

213.468

525.732

Schools Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (89)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

89. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total spend per year on lands purchased for schools in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39171/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As requested by the Deputy, the expenditure (including deposits and fees) on school site acquisitions for the years 2010 to 2018 is attached. I am not in a position to release the expenditure for 2019 due to commercial sensitivities.

EXPENDITURE (includes deposits and fees) ON SCHOOL SITE ACQUISITIONS 2010 - 2018

YEAR

EXPENDITURE (€m)

2018

53.737

2017

10.409

2016

31.634

2015

12.956

2014

21.000

2013

11.460

2012

21.525

2011

18.367

2010

56.748

Home Tuition Scheme

Ceisteanna (90)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

90. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of home tuition grants which were not processed within two weeks of receipt; the number of applications received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39172/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Departments Special Education Home Tuition Grant scheme provides funding towards a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement for whom such a placement is not available. The scheme also provides for early intervention for children with Autism.

The application forms and related Circular for this year’s scheme were published on the 8th August 2019. Last year, the forms and circular were published on the 26th July 2018.

Applications forms must be signed by the NCSE local SENO to confirm that no placement is currently available for a child. SENOs are processing home tuition applications as a matter of urgency.

My Department also provides a Home Tuition Scheme for students, enrolled in schools, with significant medical conditions which has caused, and is likely to continue to cause, major disruption to their attendance at school. These applications can be complex and need to be considered on their individual merits.

The Home Tuition Schemes outline that it may take my Department up to 15 working days to process complete home tuition applications. All complete applications have been processed within this timeframe.

My Department has prioritised the processing of home tuition applications and the vast majority of complete applications were processed within a shorter timeframe.

Details of the number of complete applications received and processed are outlined in the following table.

Number of completed received

Approved

Being Processed

Medical

145

66

Early Intervention

275

24

SEN school aged no placement

124

14

Total

544

83

The operation of the Home Tuition Grant Scheme is reviewed annually. Officials in my Department will review the operation of the 2019/20 Home Tuition Grant Scheme which will take into consideration any issues arising during the school year.

School Transport Appeals

Ceisteanna (91)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

91. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Education and Skills when persons (details supplied) in County Leitrim will have a decision on their appeal lodged to the school transport appeals board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39177/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

The School Transport Appeals Board, which is independent of my Department, determines appeals against decisions made by, or on behalf of, the Department of Education and Skills regarding the provision of school transport services and/or grant-aid under the terms of the School Transport Schemes.

An appeal was lodged with the School Transport Appeals Board on the 21st August 2019. The Board has requested the School Transport Section of the Department of Education and Skills to provide a report in accordance with the terms of the Board’s Operating Procedures.

When received, the Board will liaise directly with the family regarding the appeal date and their subsequent deliberations.

Teaching Council of Ireland

Ceisteanna (92)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

92. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a teaching number will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39181/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015 the Teaching Council is the body with statutory authority and responsibility for the registration of teachers in this State.

Under section 30 of the Teaching Council Acts, a teacher in a recognised school is required to be registered with the Teaching Council in order to be paid from Oireachtas-voted funds.

Where a registered teacher is not available SI 32/2014 enables a school managerial authority to employ a person who is not registered as a teacher for up to five consecutive days.

Teachers whose applications meet all the necessary requirements are registered by the Teaching Council under Section 31 of the Teaching Council Act and the Teaching Council (Registration) Regulations 2016.

The Teaching Council advise that for teachers who qualified within Ireland, the registration process may take up to 6-8 weeks from receipt of complete application and depending on the time of year (taking into account peak summer processing periods). If all the requirements are met, including fit and proper person requirements, including garda vetting and overseas police clearances, the registration process may be completed in less than the 6-8 week timeframe outlined. Full information on the application process and timeframes involved is available on the Teaching Council website.

The person referred to by the Deputy should continue to liaise with the Teaching Council regarding their application for registration as a teacher.

School Catchment Areas

Ceisteanna (93)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

93. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider extending the planning area of Blanchardstown west and Blanchardstown village, Dublin15, the subject of a second level school patronage competition being run to include locations (details supplied), in view of the fact that many residents will be excluded from the catchment area of the new school under its current boundaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39185/19]

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.

The school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required in that school planning area. There are no current plans to revise school planning areas.

As the Deputy will be aware, 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 post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Blanchardstown_West_Dublin15 and BlanchardstownVge_Dublin15 school planning areas as a regional solution.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. The application process for patrons to run this school has been completed.

Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

New schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required, in the first instance, to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area where they have sufficient places.

For school planning purposes, Waterville is located in the adjacent Mulhuddart_Tyrrelstown_D15 school planning area. As the Deputy may be aware, a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school was established in 2014 to serve the Mulhuddart_Tyrrelstown_D15 school planning area and had just over 600 pupils enrolled in the 2018/19 school year.

While the recent announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Mulhuddart_Tyrrelstown_D15 school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040. My Department will also continue to monitor areas where the accommodation of existing schools may need to be expanded in order to meet the needs of the local population.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (94, 95)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

94. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the announced delay of the proposed opening of the permanent building for a school (details supplied) to September 2021 in view of the fact the trustees had been informed it would open by September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39187/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

95. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the necessary additional infrastructure will be put in place to enable a school (details supplied) to remain in its current temporary building from 2020 until 2021, in view of the recently announced delay in the opening date for the permanent building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39188/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 95 together.

The building project referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under my Department's Design & Build programme. This delivery programme uses a professional external Project Management team to progress the project through the stages of architectural planning, tendering and construction.

The next step in the process will be the application for planning permission which is expected to be lodged shortly. Thereafter, as with all school building projects, the exact timeframe for delivery of the school will be dependent on the grant of planning permission. My Department will be working to have the first phase of the school's permanent accommodation handed over by September of 2021 with phase 2 to follow in a matter of months.

A meeting was held between Department officials and representatives of the Board of Management of the school on September 3rd. In the course of the meeting the projected timelines for the progression of the project were outlined and the factors underpinning those timelines were explained in considerable detail. Following the meeting an email issued to the Board confirming the timelines for the project.

My Department will arrange for the necessary additional accommodation for the school referred to by the Deputy to be put in place in their current temporary building for September 2020 to meet their additional needs for the 2020/2021 academic year.

My Department officials will keep the Board of Management fully informed of developments as they occur.