Teacher Supply

Ceisteanna (96)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

96. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the issues regarding a school (details supplied); if additional funding will be provided in order to allow students learn through Irish; the steps he will take to prevent similar issues from arising elsewhere; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39194/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department is aware of the issue raised by the Deputy. As the Deputy will be aware, the Teacher Supply Steering Group, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, is considering the issues that impact on teacher supply in a number of policy areas. The Group is overseeing the delivery of the Teacher Supply Action Plan, which I published in November 2018. In undertaking its task, the Group is cognisant of the requirement that all persons wishing to teach in recognised schools must meet the professional registration standards and criteria set by the Teaching Council, which is the professional regulatory body for the teaching profession. I hope to be in a position to announce further measures to support the supply of teachers over the coming months.

A number of measures which support the supply of teachers to Irish-medium schools have been introduced as part of the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022. This includes the commencement in 2018 of a new Irish-medium Masters in Education (M.Ed.) for primary and post-primary teachers, including principals, in Mary Immaculate College and the commencement in 2019 of a new 4-year Irish-medium Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) for primary teachers in Marino Institute of Education. The new programmes provide for up to 60 new places for teacher education through Irish annually. Additional staffing has also been provided for the Professional Masters in Education (PME) in NUI, Galway to increase the supply of post-primary teachers who can deliver high quality Irish medium education across a range of subjects.

For Leaving Certificate Examination, candidates shall, except where otherwise directed, have the option of answering either in Irish or in English, except in the case of the subjects Irish and English and questions in other language subjects where the use of the target language is specified.

Candidates will be supplied with Irish or English versions of the examination papers as indicated on their entry forms. Candidates who have indicated in the examination entry process that they intend to answer through Irish are initially suppled with the Irish version of the paper only (by default). The English version may subsequently also be given to them by the superintendent at the request of the candidate.

Allowing provision of the paper in both languages allows them to check they have correctly interpreted any question asked of them by cross-referencing it with the paper in the other language.

A candidate who answers in Irish at the written examination in the various subjects may be given bonus marks in addition to the marks gained in the subject.

Candidates who answer partly in Irish and partly in English will receive no bonus marks.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (97)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

97. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the situation in which some caretakers in secondary schools are in a similar situation to school secretaries (details supplied); if an assessment of their conditions will be carried out to ensure that the perceived disadvantage they are now suffering will be remedied without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39209/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I recognise the very important work done by these staff, and the other support staff in the running of our schools.

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of clerical officers and caretakers in schools. The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008. These schemes have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes. The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991.

The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services under these grant schemes. It is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the grant funding for caretaking or secretarial purposes, any staff taken on to support those functions are employees of individual schools. Specific responsibility for the pay and conditions rests with the school.

On foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period. This arbitration agreement covers the period up to 31 December 2019.

The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a secretary or caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration has from 1 January 2019, been paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual’s hourly pay.

Officials from my Department attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills on 9 April to discuss the status of non-teaching staff.

In May this year officials from my Department had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives as part of a planned meeting. FÓRSA took the opportunity to formally table a pay claim in respect of grant-funded secretaries.

This was tabled as a follow-on claim from the current pay agreement for this cohort of staff which lasts until December 2019. The Department issued surveys in respect of both caretakers and secretaries on the 10th of July to establish the full current cost of the trade union’s claim. This is standard practice.

FÓRSA's claim will be fully considered once the current costings have been determined on completion of the survey analysis.

Schools Administration

Ceisteanna (98)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

98. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to correspondence from a person (details supplied) in respect of the requirement for schools to audit their accounts and his views on the matter. [39222/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A reply to the correspondence referred to by the Deputy issued on 18th September 2019 by email.

The Deputy may request a copy from the individual concerned.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (99)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

99. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an exception exists to the rule which excludes the higher education grant from students who have previously attended a course of a similar level as in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39234/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the terms of the Student Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, progression, previous academic attainment and means.

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course, having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course.

Under the progression/previous academic attainment criteria of the scheme, a grant will not be paid to a student for a repeat period of study on the same course, or for a different course at the same level, irrespective of whether or not a grant was paid previously. The objective of this policy is to help as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study.

If the person to whom the Deputy refers is ineligible for a SUSI grant, there are some other options which could be pursued.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. 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 college attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

Also, tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education, including approved postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners on www.revenue.ie.

Schools Building Contractors

Ceisteanna (100)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

100. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on matters raised in correspondence (details supplied). [39252/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I refer to your correspondence in relation to a payment issue for works completed by your company. A building project is a complex arrangement of contractual relationships between the client, the main contractor, specialist sub-contractors, domestic sub-contractors, suppliers of materials, suppliers of plant etc. In general, all sub-contractors employed on education sector building projects are employed directly by the main contractor or indirectly by the main contractor through other subcontractors.

It is a matter for all sub-contractors to agree terms and conditions and a schedule of payments with the main contractor as their direct employer. The specific issue outlined in the details provided by the Deputy involves a contractual matter between two private companies. As such, my Department has no authority to intervene in this matter

Garda Accommodation

Ceisteanna (101)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

101. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the new Sligo regional Garda headquarters will commence construction as part of the PPP programme with Macroom and Thurles as outlined under the capital investment plan for 2016 to 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39125/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.76 billion for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. These resources are being provided in support of the Government's commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Office of Public Works has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and works in relation to Garda accommodation are progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 programme is based on agreed Garda priorities. It continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW Votes. In addition to that programme, other major ongoing works to the Garda estate include the pilot Garda station reopening project, the development of a new facility at Military Road and the major refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station. The clear goal of this investment is to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff, as well as the public interacting with them.

The Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme is intended to deliver new stations in Sligo, Macroom and Clonmel. The OPW has agreed to provide its expert services in the design of the three stations in question.

PPP projects are progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). My Department, An Garda Síochána, the OPW and the NDFA are working closely in order to progress this project.

The establishment of PPP projects can be complex and it is vital to get the projects right at the planning and design stage. Pending delivery of the new stations, I am informed that Garda management and the OPW have been working to improve conditions and facilities at the existing stations in Sligo, Macroom and Clonmel.

Travel Documents

Ceisteanna (102)

John Brassil

Ceist:

102. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application for a travel document by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39217/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the travel document application for the person referred to by the Deputy has been completed and the document is currently awaiting printing by the Passport Office in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Printing of travel document booklets is done on behalf of the Immigration Service by the Passport Office and therefore the time-frame for this process is not within the control of my Department. However, I am advised that the current period for this type of process is approximately one month.

Queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Citizenship Status

Ceisteanna (103)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

103. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 700 of 6 September 2019, if the person (details supplied) should attend with the child at the INIS to register the citizenship of the child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39223/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person concerned applied for a right of residency, accompanied by a right to work, based on their parentage of an Irish citizen child on 15 October 2018. The Deputy will appreciate that, in the interest of fairness to all applicants, applications are dealt with in chronological order. I understand that the application is under consideration at present and the Immigration Service will be in contact with the person concerned in due course.

Permission to remain in the State for parents of Irish Citizen Children may be granted where the applicant can show that they are playing an active role in the life of the Irish Citizen Child. The child must also be residing continuously in Ireland. If the person concerned is granted permission as the parent of an Irish Citizen Child, the child will need to attend the Immigration Service when their parent is registering their permission to reside in the State.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department, by e-mail, using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders

Ceisteanna (104)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

104. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the deportation order in the case of a person (details supplied) will be revoked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39224/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 17 February 2017. This Order requires the person concerned to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of Deportation Orders is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Representations have been received on behalf of the person concerned requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). This request will be considered as soon as possible. A decision will then be made to either affirm or revoke the existing Deportation Order. This decision will be communicated in writing. In the meantime, the Deportation Order remains valid and in place.

Requests for the revocation of Deportation Orders are non-suspensive and even where the persons concerned submit such a request, they are still required to present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau on the specified date.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders

Ceisteanna (105)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

105. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a proposal to deport will be revoked in the case of a person (details supplied); if the person is now entitled to a spousal dependency status in view of the fact that the person was married before the issue of form 3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39225/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (106)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

106. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if provisions will be made to facilitate the regularisation of residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39226/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I must inform the Deputy that the person referred to cannot be identified with any immigration related application or process from the information provided. I will be happy to follow up further on the matter if the Deputy can provide additional information on the nature of the immigration issue.

However, I must advise the Deputy that matters pertaining to the work permit system and the options available for obtaining a valid work permit is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (107)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

107. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the restoration of stamp 4 will be considered in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39227/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person referred to has no active applications on-going with the Department at present.

The person concerned was granted permission as a family member of an EU citizen for a period of five years from 2012-2017. There is no application for renewal in this person's name at present. However, if this person continues to reside in the State they should contact the Immigration Service in writing without delay to outline their current circumstances.

Queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Ceisteanna (108)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

108. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) can remain in an accommodation centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39228/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) division of my Department, formerly the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), offers accommodation and related services to anyone claiming international protection who is without sufficient means to support themselves while their claim is being examined.

There is no obligation on anyone to accept the offer of accommodation and not every applicant takes up the offer of accommodation. Many choose not to do so and make other arrangements. Consideration of a person's international protection application is not affected by their accommodation arrangements provided that they keep the Department informed of their current accommodation address.

Accommodation, where required, is provided under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 which came in to effect in June 2018. A person offered accommodation under the Regulations is required to comply with the house rules of the accommodation centre.

Part of the role of both the International Protection Accommodation Service of my Department and individual accommodation centre management is to ensure that those who request and are allocated accommodation within the IPAS portfolio access it on a consistent basis. House rules require residents to keep the centre management informed if they are to be absent overnight. Regular absences would indicate that the person is not living there in the normal course. Clearly if a person is allocated accommodation but ceases using it consistently, it would be wrong not to re-allocate it to an international protection applicant who genuinely requires it.

When it comes to the attention of IPAS that a resident does not appear to be using their accommodation allocation consistently, and the person has not given centre management an explanation as to why this is the case, IPAS staff liaise with centre management to manage the situation. In a case where IPAS is satisfied that accommodation is not being used consistently, the resident will be issued a letter advising them that if they do not use their accommodation space, that space will be re-allocated to another applicant in need. If the resident continues to be absent from their accommodation without explanation, a letter will be sent to them (at that centre), advising them that their accommodation space has been deemed abandoned and will be reallocated to another protection applicant. This letter will be held by management until the person presents in the centre to collect their post.

It is open to residents to respond to the initial letter and provide any evidence that they are indeed availing of the accommodation. If IPAS is satisfied that this is the case then the matter will be closed at that stage and the accommodation will not be reallocated. Once the final letter is issued, advising the resident that the space has been deemed abandoned, the matter will not be re-opened for consideration. However, they resident can, if they choose, apply in writing to RIA asking to be re-accommodated. However, a subsequent offer of accommodation may not be for the same accommodation centre as had previously been provided.

Deportation Orders

Ceisteanna (109)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

109. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a request and accompanying supporting documentation to revoke deportation orders of persons (details supplied) will be accepted; if the temporary proposal to deport will be revoked and residency considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39229/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the persons concerned are the subject of Deportation Orders signed on 27 June 2019. These Orders require the persons concerned to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Orders are a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

It is open to the persons concerned to submit representations requesting that the Deportation Orders be revoked, pursuant to Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). However, I wish to make clear that such applications would require substantial grounds to be successful. A decision on such a request would be to affirm or to revoke the existing Deportation Orders. In the mean-time, the Deportation Orders remain valid and in place.

Requests for the revocation of Deportation Orders are non-suspensive and if the persons concerned submit such a request, they are still required to present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in the meantime. The persons concerned are next due to present on 17 October 2019.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (110)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

110. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if alterative arrangements will be made in the case of a person (details supplied); if an affidavit or other means will be used in lieu thereof; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39230/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is on-going.

A letter issued to the person concerned on 17 September 2019 requesting certain documentation and a reply is awaited. Upon receipt of the requested documentation the case will be further processed.

Everyone who is making an application for a certificate of naturalisation is required to provide satisfactory documentary evidence of their identity and nationality. This is usually in the form of a currently valid passport and may include other original supporting documents, such as a previously held or out of date passport, birth certificate or register of birth and marriage certificate.

In rare circumstances, where an applicant cannot produce their current passport, or a previous passport, birth certificate or other supporting documents, the applicant will be required to provide a full explanation. Such explanation should, where possible, be supported by satisfactory evidence that they have attempted to obtain such documentation and correspondence from the relevant authorities or embassy responsible for the issuing of passports and birth certificates in their country, clearly stating the reasons the documentation cannot be provided. The Immigration Service will consider the explanation given and, if satisfied that it is for reasons genuinely beyond the applicant's control, may suggest alternative means to the person to assist in establishing their identity and nationality.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Citizenship Status

Ceisteanna (111)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the termination of entitlement to citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39231/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 7 May 2019 and that processing of this application is on-going.

With regard to the Deputy's reference to termination of citizenship, I take this to refer to the recent judgment of the High Court relating to continuous residency under Section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (as amended), which I am aware has given cause for concern to many applicants. The matter remains before the courts with the lodgement of an appeal before the Court of Appeal and is therefore sub-judice.

I can, however, assure the Deputy that my Department is doing everything possible to put in place a solution on an urgent basis. I have taken expert legal advice and I intend to introduce legislation to address the issue. At the end of July, I obtained Cabinet approval for a proposed Bill and intensive work is taking place in my Department where officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General's Office to finalise the draft Bill.

I am advised that the appeal is likely to be heard early next month. The outcome of the appeal will, of course, have a bearing on whether or not legislation is required. Should it be necessary, I intend to introduce the Bill in the Oireachtas as soon as possible this term. I know that colleagues of all parties are concerned with the difficulty that has arisen and I am hopeful that the Oireachtas will give the Bill early and positive consideration.

As soon as the legal issues are resolved, my officials will make all necessary arrangements for the next Citizenship Ceremony. Invitations will issue four weeks in advance of the ceremony to ensure everyone has adequate notice.

In the interim, the Immigration Service of my Department is advising those who are planning to apply for citizenship to continue to collect all of the necessary proofs that support their application and to submit a comprehensive application form. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, applicants will be contacted as part of the processing of their application.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Asylum Applications

Ceisteanna (112)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

112. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the case of persons (details supplied), who have been in direct provision in County Wicklow and are being processed as failed asylum seekers, will be reviewed on humanitarian grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39248/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the applicants referred to by the Deputy are subject to valid Deportation Orders. They are required to present to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on 2 October 2019. The enforcement of Deportation Orders is a matter for GNIB.

It is open to the persons' concerned to submit written representations under Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), to have the Deportation Orders revoked. Requests seeking to revoke a Deportation Order must set out any new facts or circumstances, which have arisen since the original decision was made. Any request submitted would be considered on its own merits, having due regard to all relevant issues, including with respect to any refoulement considerations.

A decision would be made to affirm or to revoke the existing Deportation Order. In the meantime, the Deportation Orders remains valid and in place. Requests for the revocation of a Deportation Order are non-suspensive. If the persons' concerned decide to submit a request, they are still required to present to the GNIB in the interim.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility, which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Employment Rights

Ceisteanna (113)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

113. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps available to parents if they are unhappy or disagree with a decision of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of a case relating to their child in view of the fact the WRC is outside the remit of the Ombudsman for Children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39112/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department. The WRC is mandated to secure compliance with Ireland’s employment, equality and industrial relations legislation. As part of its statutory functions, the WRC adjudicates on cases under employment rights, industrial relations and equal status legislation. If a party is dissatisfied with a decision of an adjudication officer of the WRC, then that decision may be appealed to either the Labour Court or the Circuit Court depending on the enactment.

The Labour Court hears appeals of WRC adjudication officers' decisions in all disputes arising under industrial relations and employment rights enactments. Such appeals must be notified to the Labour Court no later than 42 days from the date of the decision concerned.

The Circuit Court hears appeals of all decisions by adjudication officers of the WRC under the Equal Status Acts. Such appeals must be made to the Circuit Court within 6 weeks (42 days) of the decision concerned.

The High Court hears appeals only on a point of law of determinations made by the Labour Court under the various employment rights enactments. It is also open to parties to have the WRC and Labour Court’s proceedings judicially reviewed.

Research Funding Data

Ceisteanna (114)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

114. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of payments issued to date for successful applications made under the disruptive technologies innovation fund by county; the number of applications at grant agreement stage; the number of applications earmarked for pre-payment; the number of pre-financing payments that have issued to date to approved applications in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39253/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and forms a key part in the delivery of the Pillar 1 goal of Future Jobs Ireland to embrace innovation and technological change. The DTIF has been established under the responsibility of my Department with Enterprise Ireland providing administrative support.

Given the unique nature of the Fund, which in Call 1 alone is supporting 27 consortia comprised of 104 organisations, including SMEs, Research Performing Organisations and multinationals, intensive contract negotiations have been ongoing since the successful projects were announced in December 2018. This is to ensure the contracts are in line with the provisions of the EU General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) and also the national legislation under which agencies of my Department can provide research funding to industry and other research performing entities. To facilitate payments to the constituent organisations, Enterprise Ireland have developed new consortia agreements and a new pre-finance framework was put in place. Letters of offer and consortia agreements have now issued to all of the successful project partners. Payments to those organisations, including those that are eligible for pre-financing, are being processed once the formal legal documentation is signed off and returned to Enterprise Ireland. It is not proposed to publish details of the pre-finance for small companies requested and approved as there are relatively small numbers involved and this could reveal information that is commercially sensitive to the companies concerned.

To date, payments have issued to organisations involved in 12 of the 27 successful projects. For the most part, enterprise partners in DTIF collaborations will receive grant payments retrospectively following submission of validated claims for vouched expenditure. From the start, my Department has indicated that €20m would be made available in 2019 to commence the first tranche of projects. That funding is currently being drawn down and it is expected that it will be allocated in full against profile by the end of the year.

Due to the collaborative nature of the projects, where the work is being carried out by the project partners across various locations, the funding allocations are not recorded on a county basis. However, the attached document provides details of the enterprise locations in each consortium.

Funding Announcement - Awards

Research Funding

Ceisteanna (115)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

115. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the disruptive technologies innovation fund with respect to commercial activity not being funded under the fund issues in relation to pre-financing for SMEs under the fund and the absence of communication from the State agency under her remit regarding the funding process for the approved projects; and the reason there is such a lag in issuing funds to approved 2018 grant recipients. [39254/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The purpose of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is to see investment in the development and deployment of disruptive innovative technologies, on a commercial basis, targeted at tackling national and global challenges. It is a significant investment by this Government in research, development and innovation in Ireland with an allocation of €500 million in the period to 2027. Call 1 of the DTIF opened on 29 June 2018 and 27 successful projects were announced on 10 December 2018. In total, over €75 million of Government funding was committed to 104 separate organisations within these 27 collaborative projects over a three-year period. From the start, my Department has indicated that €20 million would be made available in 2019 to commence the first tranche of projects. That funding is currently being drawn down and it is expected that it will be allocated in full against profile by the end of the year. For the most part, enterprise partners in DTIF collaborations will draw down funding retrospectively following the submission of validated claims for vouched expenditure.

As regards certain commercial activity not being funded, my Department officials engaged in extensive dialogue with our agencies in advance of defining the eligibility criteria for Call 1 of the DTIF to ensure compliance with the provisions of the General Block Exemption Regulation scheme for R&D funding and to the national legislation under which funding is provided. When DTIF Call 1 opened in June 2018, those rules were included in the call documentation published on my Department's website. For Call 1, project bids that focused on "industrial research" were sought in order to provide clarity to applicants and to provide the optimal rate of State support across the board to all eligible companies (i.e. 50% matched funding). All successful projects were awarded funding subject to contract negotiations and complying with these State Aid rules. Whilst some commercialisation costs were allowed, not all were allowable due to these rules.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) is administering DTIF Call 1 on my behalf and, given the unique nature of the Fund, it needed to develop new consortia agreements to facilitate payments to constituent organisations. EI has engaged in intensive contract negotiations with participants in each project, checking that costs submitted were eligible under these State Aid rules and also justifiable for the work packages involved.

As regards the pre-financing of certain project costs, the DTIF Call 1 guidance document had indicated that pre-finance of up to one-third, subject to certain criteria, could be made available to small companies only, in line with the legislation governing the enterprise agencies of my Department. EI established a new process for assessing pre-finance applications for the DTIF. This process is now in place and payments to the SMEs approved for pre-finance are being processed once the formal legal documentation is signed off and returned to EI.

Collaborations of the scale and nature funded through the DTIF are a first for Ireland. Due to the unique nature of the Fund and the complexities involved, it has taken longer than anticipated to put the necessary arrangements in place and to conclude contract negotiations with all 104 organisations.

I acknowledge that this is causing difficulties for a number of organisations involved but I am very pleased to see the overwhelming support for this new Fund from small and large companies and from across the research system. We have taken the opportunity in Call 2 to refine our rules and procedures based on learnings from Call 1 and I am confident that the DTIF will continue to be welcomed as a key instrument for Ireland in helping to embrace and prepare for the new wave of technologies that will underpin our economic development into the future.