Childcare Services Staff

Ceisteanna (565)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

565. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the efforts she is making towards improving pay and condition for childcare staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39479/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The most recent data, released last week, indicates that the average hourly pay in early learning and care and school-age childcare is now €12.55, a 3% increase on last year. Low pay and poor working conditions in the sector remain a serious concern and impact on the quality of provision to children through their effect on the recruitment and retention of qualified staff. The lack of consistency of care due to high staff turnover levels impacts directly on quality, and low wages are a constraint on plans to upskill the workforce. My support for improved pay and conditions for early learning and care practitioners has been explicit, as their role is critical to supporting children’s development and delivering better child outcomes.

Over the past 4 budgets the level of public investment in early learning and care and school-age childcare services has increased by 117%. The level of investment needs to continue to rise if we are to offer services that are of high quality, affordable and accessible. However, increased investment by itself will not ensure staff wages and conditions will improve.

As the State is not the employer, my Department does not pay the wages of staff working in early learning and care settings, and I cannot set wage levels or determine working conditions for these staff.

I am, however, doing all that is in my power to improve wages and working conditions in the sector.

I have repeatedly called for the sector to pursue a Sectoral Employment Order, which offers a viable mechanism to establish appropriate wage levels. Under the terms of industrial relations legislation, for the process of establishing a Sectoral Employment Order to begin, the bodies starting the process must satisfy the Labour Court that they are "substantially representative" of either the workers or the employers in the sector. I can assure the Deputy that my Department will readily co-operate with a Sectoral Employment Order process when it is under way.

In the interim, I have introduced a range of measures to support employers to improve pay and conditions. These include a 7% increase in ECCE capitation in 2018; higher capitation payments for graduates and Inclusion Coordinators; annual Programme Support Payments to recognise administrative demands; support for school-age childcare which will make it easier to offer full-time employment contracts; and a pilot measure to fund participation in CPD.

I have set out my vision for the sector, and a roadmap to achieve it, in First 5, which contains a commitment to develop a Workforce Development Plan. This Plan, work on which began recently, will identify measures to ensure appropriate numbers of early learning and care and school-age childcare staff at all levels in the sector, to achieve a graduate-led workforce by 2028, and to raise the profile of careers in the sector. As part of this work, a series of public consultations will be carried out involving those working in the sector and other stakeholders. Plans for the consultation process will be finalised in the coming weeks. First 5 also commits to develop a new funding model for the sector, which may open up new mechanisms to influence pay and conditions in the sector.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (566)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

566. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of staff employed by her Department that earn less than the living wage of €12.30 per hour. [39598/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy may be aware, any adjustments to the salaries of public and civil servants are set out in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020.   

A suggested living wage of €12.30 per hour would equate to an annual salary of €27,758.  

Based on a standard civil service working week of 43.25 hours, there are currently 24 staff employed in my Department in this category.

Details of the application of adjustments to civil service pay in accordance with the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 are available on www.circulars.gov.ie.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (567)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

567. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of social workers employed by Tusla in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of agency staff hired as social workers; the amount spent on staff and agency staff, respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39723/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I wish to advise that my Officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Childcare Services Data

Ceisteanna (568)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

568. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the length of time each of the 37 créches deemed as critical by Tusla have been classed as such; the length of time each of these créches has been working its way through the regulation process, from inspection stage through to national registration panel and onto enforcement stage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39724/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

There are approximately 4,500 Tusla registered early learning and care and school-age childcare services operating in Ireland. Tusla has assured me that there is a high level of compliance with regulations across the country.

Services that are under review by Tusla’s National Registration and Enforcement Panel are subject to a high and intensive level of scrutiny by Tusla. This does not imply that children attending these services are at risk or should be removed from the services.

It is essential to note that where there is evidence of a serious risk to children, Tusla bring this to the attention of the social work services, in which instance parents are informed.

It is usual practice that the majority of services under review by the National Registration and Enforcement Panel make the necessary improvements to the standards of care and are then de-escalated from this level of concern.

Services may be escalated to the National Registration and Enforcement Panel for the following reasons:

- for proposed removal due to the level of persistent breaches of the regulations or conditions attached;

- where an unauthorised service refuses to close;

- for refusal of new registration, as the application has not met the minimum criteria of the registration process or it is identified that the premises are unsuitable;

- where unsolicited information has been risk rated as critical;

- where a serious incident has been notified to Tusla;

- where further deliberation is requested from the senior case manager.

It is not possible to comment on individual services that are subject to regulatory or prosecutorial enforcement actions as this may limit or prejudice the process, which would not be in the best interest of children and families. 

The number of services at “critical” status is continually changing as some services come off the list and others come on to it. Of the 37 services highlighted at the Joint Oireachtas Committee, a significant number have already made the necessary improvements to the standards of care required and have been - or are to be - de-escalated.

Child and Family Agency Remit

Ceisteanna (569)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

569. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is considering the introduction of immediate powers of closure as a tool for Tusla for its inspection of early years services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39725/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla was given significant additional powers in 2016, including the power to maintain a register of early years services; the power to deregister a service without going through the Courts; and the power to attach conditions to the registration of a service.  

Following the RTÉ broadcast (Behind Closed Doors) at the end of July, I wrote to the Chairperson of Tusla to ask what additional powers Tusla might need in order to address concerns raised within the programme. The Chairperson of Tusla wrote back to me in August, setting out a range of additional powers that might be provided to Tusla.

Officials in my Department are now examining these and other options, some of which may require primary legislation and/or amendment of Regulations. I have asked my officials to move as quickly as possible, but I recognise that there are complex legal issues involved which may take time to address.

Powers to close a service immediately are being considered among a range of powers including mechanisms to inform parents of inspection findings at an earlier stage, to require services to display prominently their inspection status, and to alert parents in relation to the operation of unregistered services.

In addition, officials in my Department are engaged in on-going discussions with Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate about the potential for enhancement of its operating procedures with a view to minimising time-delays as far as is possible, while respecting fair procedures and natural justice.

Childcare Services Funding

Ceisteanna (570)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

570. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to her statements in Dáil Éireann on 28 May 2019 (details supplied), the area in which the additional €50 million planned to increase capacity in the childcare system is accounted for within budget 2019 as stated by her in view of the fact that the expenditure allocations outlined for 2019 and 2020 for her Department do not indicate such a funding increase is provided for within the scope of budget 2019; and if she plans to seek the additional funding through the remit of Budget 2020. [39744/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme is a new, national scheme of financial support to help parents with the cost of quality childcare. The development of the Scheme is a significant move forward in delivering quality, accessible, affordable childcare to families throughout Ireland.

Budget 2019 announced changes to the income thresholds that will operate as part of the National Childcare Scheme when it is introduced later this year.

Under the scheme’s original policy proposals, income-based subsidies would have been available to all families with a net annual income of up to €47,500.  This threshold was increased by 26% to cover all families with a net annual income of up to €60,000.  The scheme’s lower income threshold was also adjusted upwards, meaning that maximum subsidy rates will now be paid to all families with a net annual income of up to €26,000 (the previous proposed threshold stood at €22,700).  These increased thresholds will mean that many more families will benefit from the new National Childcare Scheme once launched, and will see their childcare costs tangibly reduce.

The €50 million referenced by the Deputy refers to the increase in full-year costs of the Scheme in 2020 generated by the Budget 2019 changes. The Government was aware of and had factored in the 2020 full-year cost when it approved the enhancements to the National Childcare Scheme in Budget 2019. The Estimates process for 2020 is the appropriate mechanism to address 2020 costs.

The National Childcare Scheme has been designed to be flexible, with income thresholds, maximum hours and subsidy rates which can be adjusted in line with Government decisions and as investment becomes available.  As such, it establishes a sustainable platform for investment in early learning and care and school age childcare for years to come. 

The investment referred to in the question addresses affordability for parents. Capacity in the system has doubled in recent years with twice as many early learning and care and school age childcare places available in centred based services. This has been supported by the 117% increase in investment over the last 4 budgets, including annual capital schemes to incentivise the creation of new places. The draft Childminding Action Plan currently being consulted on nationally also aims to increase capacity in the home based sector.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (571)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

571. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the final agreed tender price, the date of the tender for the contract and the final overall amount paid and the date of the final payment in respect of each capital expenditure project completed since 1 January 2014 by her Department or an agency under the remit of her Department and which ended up costing €10 million or more in tabular form; the reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price; the details available in respect of projects in which construction is not complete to date or in which the final settlement account has not been agreed to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39918/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The information requested is currently being collated within my Department and I will respond directly to the Deputy as soon as this is completed.

Community Services Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (572)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

572. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to the threat to the viability of a centre (details supplied) which provides vital community services such as créche facilities and youth projects; if assistance will be provided to the community centre to cover the cost of essential fire safety and structural remedial works and to continue to operate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39539/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I am aware of the current situation in Huntstown Community Centre and I know how important the centre is to the community there.  

Community facilities are funded from a range of different sources across different Government Departments and agencies.  The supports provided by my Department help people to participate in the development of their communities and also provide funding to improve community facilities.  

For example, my Department has provided funding of €184,264 to Huntstown Community Centre  in 2019 under the Community Services Programme (CSP).  The CSP currently supports more than 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model.  Funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions. In total, the CSP has allocated €552,792 to this centre from 2018 to the end of 2020.

Separately, my Department funds the Community Enhancement Programme which helps community groups to improve facilities in their area.  In 2018 the Huntstown Community Centre received €3,500 towards building upgrades. 

I understand that Fingal County Council, is aware of the fire safety issues with Huntstown Community Centre, which is owned by the local community.  The Council is arranging to meet with the Centre Manager and local Councillors to explore what supports can be offered.

LEADER Programmes Funding

Ceisteanna (573)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

573. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if consideration will be given to the LEADER groups in south west and northern areas of County Cork when distributing the additional funding of €5 million to LEADER areas (details supplied). [39644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

On 8th July last I announced plans to distribute €5 million in additional LEADER funding. The additional funding will be distributed amongst the top 10 performing Local Action Groups (LAGs) that are most advanced in their delivery of the LEADER Programme.

The funding will be allocated to the LAGs with the highest level of project approvals and project payments relative to the budget approved in their Local Development Strategies.  The successful LAGs will be selected on the basis of their combined level of project approvals and payments as at 20th September 2019.  All LAGs have been notified of these criteria.

Each successful LAG will receive the same top-up amount, subject to a maximum of €500,000.

My officials are finalising their analysis of the position in each LAG area as at 20th September, and I will be announcing the successful recipients shortly.

The current LEADER programme effectively became operational in the second half of 2016, following the signing of Funding Agreements with the majority of the LAGs who deliver the programme. In determining the Local Action Group allocations at the start of the programme, a number objective criteria were used, including a minimum base-line allocation, population density and a Resource Allocation Model.

The original funding allocation to the three LAGs in County Cork was in excess of €13.9 million.

Men's Sheds

Ceisteanna (574)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

574. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will consider providing funding of €1,000,000 over a three year period to an association (details supplied); if he will consider a multi-departmental approach to the awarding of such funding; if his attention has been drawn to the benefits that would accrue from this small investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39663/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Men’s Sheds have become central to some 400 communities throughout Ireland. They provide an invaluable service, strengthening communities by bringing people together and helping to tackle social isolation.  My Department provides a broad range of supports to the Irish Men’s Sheds Association and its members. 

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association is funded under the current iteration of the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO). The SSNO is a key element of my Department's support for the role of the Community and Voluntary sector in contributing to the development of a strong and vibrant civil society.  The Irish Men’s Sheds Association has been allocated €269,998 over the 36 month period of the scheme.   

My Department also provides support directly to the member sheds of Irish Men’s Sheds Association.  Under the 2018 Community Enhancement Programme, I ring fenced €500,000 for grant funding for these groups.  Each shed that applied was grant aided.  The same amount was ring fenced for Men’s and Women’s Sheds in 2019.   

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) provided support to 125 Men’s Sheds and 13 grants totaling €12,520 to Men’s Sheds groups to date in 2019.   

The LEADER 2014-2020 Programme continues to support the development of Men’s Sheds, with 4 projects totaling €54,622 being approved in 2019. 

It is clear that my Department already provides a wide range of financial supports for Men's Sheds.  There are no plans to increase this funding to the level referenced by the Deputy.

Action Plan for Rural Development Implementation

Ceisteanna (575)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

575. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress on the pilot scheme to encourage residential occupancy in rural towns and villages as committed to under the Action Plan for Rural Development; the funding allocated to each local authority participating to engage with communities and local businesses to identify practical solutions to increase the number of persons living in rural towns; and the amount drawn down to date by each local authority. [39709/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Action Plan for Rural Development included a commitment to develop a pilot scheme to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages.  I launched this initiative last October and announced that six towns had been invited to participate in the initial pilot.  The 6 towns which were included in the pilot are:

1. Boyle, Co Roscommon

2. Callan, Co Kilkenny

3. Ballinrobe, Co Mayo

4. Banagher, Co Offaly

5. Castleblayney, Co Monaghan

6. Cappoquin, Co Waterford

Funding of up to €100,000 each is being made available to these towns to develop proposals to encourage town centre living.  To date, €75,000 has been drawn down by each Local Authority involved. This funding is being used by the Local Authorities to engage with communities and local businesses to identify practical solutions to increase the number of people living in their town centres. 

Representatives from each of the participating towns meet collectively on a regular basis to discuss the issues that are emerging from their work on the pilot initiative.  It is envisaged that the lessons learned through this pilot can help to inform the approach to supporting and investing in rural towns and villages in the future and lead to the development of more substantive proposals for funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. 

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (576)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

576. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the final agreed tender price, the date of the tender for the contract and the final overall amount paid and the date of the final payment in respect of each capital expenditure project completed since 1 January 2014 by his Department or an agency under the remit of his Department and which ended up costing €10 million or more in tabular form; the reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price; the details available in respect of projects in which construction is not complete to date or in which the final settlement account has not been agreed to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39930/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department, which was established in 2017, utilises capital funding to promote rural and community development and support sustainable communities.

The majority of capital funding is routed through Local Authorities who directly deliver projects utilising this funding.

I can confirm that my Department, and the agencies under my remit, have not directly procured or delivered any capital project which ended up costing €10 million or more in the period in question.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (577)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

577. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer's allowance appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39327/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an application for carer's allowance by the person concerned was disallowed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on 19 March 2019.  An appeal by the person concerned was registered in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 8 May 2019.  It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought.  These papers were returned to the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 4 September 2019.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has also advised me that this appeal has been referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.  The Appeals Officer has been advised of the Deputy's query herein. 

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Employment Support Services

Ceisteanna (578)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

578. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to introduce an employment support scheme for the most adversely affected sectors following Brexit; and if so, when she will announce the criteria for same. [39566/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department's jobseekers scheme can provide for the provision of income support for jobseekers whose number of working days are reduced by employers arising from difficult trading conditions or the need, for example, to scale back production for various reasons.   This can help employers maintain flexibility during periods of temporary economic downturn, without resorting to permanent lay-offs, and such arrangements have been used extensively in Ireland in the past.  During the period 2008-2010, approximately 40,000 individuals availed of the Systematic Short-Time scheme, which is thought to have been a major factor in ensuring that unemployment did not increase as rapidly as initially predicted.

This presents an opportunity for employers to retain skilled labour, in a reduced capacity, thus avoiding the need to recruit once the economic situation improves.

Short-time work arrangements in Ireland operate under the Systematic Short-Time (SST) programme, as part of the Jobseeker’s Benefit /Jobseekers Allowance scheme.  The scheme is designed for use in situations where an employee’s working hours are reduced by their employer on a temporary basis.

Any proposed changes or expansions to the existing scheme(s) would need to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (579)

James Browne

Ceist:

579. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding the 2008 Labour Court recommendation regarding pensions for community employment scheme supervisors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors and assistant supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.  All parties to the engagement process have agreed that the detail of the discussions should remain confidential while the engagement is ongoing and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation which might prove unhelpful.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (580)

John Brassil

Ceist:

580. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision will be expedited on a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39277/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 17 April 2019. Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer.

A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that although a certain level of care was being provided the level involved did not amount to full-time care. 

The person concerned was notified on 25 September 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (581)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

581. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the inability of those on Tús, RSS or gateway schemes to have their fuel allowance payment paid in two lump sum payments rather than receiving the payment weekly during the fuel season; and if she plans to make changes to the system to allow two lump sum payments be made to the recipients that are on Tús, RSS or gateway schemes. [39279/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 28 weeks (a total of €630 each year) from October to April at an estimated cost of €240 million in 2019.  The purpose of this payment is to assist these qualifying households with their energy costs.  The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household.  It is not intended to meet those costs in full.  Only one allowance is paid per household.

From the 2017/2018 Fuel Season the lump sum payment option was introduced for the majority of recipients of the fuel allowance payments. This option was introduced to allow recipients to avail of discounts that may be available when people buy their fuel in bulk.

As the original introduction of lump sum payments was on a trial basis, it was not made available to participants of employment support schemes getting payments under the rural social scheme, Tús, gateway and community employment, as these payments are not made directly by the Department and because it would have imposed administrative burden and additional up-front costs on the sponsors of these employment support schemes.  My officials are currently working to establish the mechanism through which the lump sump option can be extended to Tús and RSS participants.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Living Alone Allowance

Ceisteanna (582)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

582. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) is no longer receiving a living alone allowance; if it will be reinstated in order that they can apply for the household benefits package; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39300/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

This gentleman was in receipt of living alone allowance (LAA) up to 12 June 2009 when he was deemed to be no longer eligible and his LAA payment was stopped.

If his situation has changed, the gentleman concerned must complete an application form for LAA and submit to the department in order to have his eligibility checked and a formal decision made on entitlement.  An application form issued to this gentleman on 24 September 2019.

The customer concerned  is in receipt of the Household Benefits Package  and as a result receives the Natural Gas Allowance since 2007 and Free TV Licence since 2009.  It is not necessary for a customer to be in receipt of the Living Alone Allowance to get the Household Benefits Package.

The package is generally available to people living in the State, aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of a social welfare type payment or who satisfy a means test. Anyone aged under 66 years of age must be in receipt of a qualifying payment from the Department.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Public Services Card Data

Ceisteanna (583)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

583. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the monthly number of public services cards issued since the programme was launched; the body which administered and-or initiated the process on behalf of the person being registered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Where a person has authenticated their identity to a substantial level of assurance, they are issued a Public Services Card (PSC).   My Department does not hold a record of the specific reasons relating to the issuing of a PSC as this information is not requested at the time a person presents for SAFE registration.  

The number of PSCs issued on a monthly basis since October 2011 is set out in the following table.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

TABLE - Number of PSCs issued per month  

Year

Month

Number of PSCs issued per month

Total annual

2011

October

340

 

 

November

1,720

 

 

December

1,946

4,006

2012

January

1,248

 

 

February

772

 

 

March

577

 

 

April

421

 

 

May

701

 

 

June

1,608

 

 

July

4,823

 

 

August

6,664

 

 

September

9,998

 

 

October

14,053

 

 

November

19,761

 

 

December

21,586

82,212

2013

January

25,661

 

 

February

33,065

 

 

March

27,263

 

 

April

28,433

 

 

May

31,380

 

 

June

27,158

 

 

July

30,587

 

 

August

26,366

 

 

September

26,161

 

 

October

28,364

 

 

November

24,553

 

 

December

78,471

387,462

2014

January

58,907

 

 

February

51,915

 

 

March

41,699

 

 

April

44,844

 

 

May

49,757

 

 

June

46,167

 

 

July

58177

 

 

August

50,186

 

 

September

68,666

 

 

October

66,678

 

 

November

67,775

 

 

December

51,314

656,085

2015

January

56,621

 

 

February

50,915

 

 

March

56,520

 

 

April

51,562

 

 

May

47,374

 

 

June

50,927

 

 

July

54,276

 

 

August

53,737

 

 

September

53,834

 

 

October

52,042

 

 

November

53,274

 

 

December

49,019

630,101

2016

January

50,288

 

 

February

48,456

 

 

March

44,800

 

 

April

50,653

 

 

May

51,577

 

 

June

55,361

 

 

July

53,284

 

 

August

53,363

 

 

September

54,343

 

 

October

49,681

 

 

November

55,112

 

 

December

35,977

602,895

2017

January

50,082

 

 

February

46,634

 

 

March

51,511

 

 

April

41,767

 

 

May

56,410

 

 

June

63,792

 

 

July

62,894

 

 

August

64,958

 

 

September

62,557

 

 

October

57,545

 

 

November

76,429

 

 

December

41,855

676,434

2018

January

56,434

 

 

February

64,041

 

 

March

49,997

 

 

April

56,237

 

 

May

53,466

 

 

June

49,232

 

 

July

55,383

 

 

August

52,920

 

 

September

44,043

 

 

October

47,191

 

 

November

43,579

 

 

December

31,315

603,838

2019

January

46,545

 

 

February

41,880

 

 

March

41,770

 

 

April

40,488

 

 

May

45,057

 

 

June

39,772

 

 

July

48,387

 

 

August

41,717

 

 

September

38,573 (to date)

384,189

 

 

4,027,222

 

Disability Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (584)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

584. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a disability allowance rate review will be completed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39316/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following a review of the entitlement of this gentleman, it was found that he had a decrease in his means from his previous assessment. Based on the information provided to my department, a maximum rate of disability allowance (DA) was awarded with effect from 12 June 2019.

A letter issued to this gentleman informing him of this on 24 September 2019. Arrears of payment due have issued to the person concerned.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.