Public Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (408)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

408. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of residents of Blessington, County Wicklow, that BusConnects by itself will not provide adequate public transport capacity for the area; his plans to improve public transport in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40936/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including Co. Wicklow.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities on this matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (409)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

409. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of an application by a club (details supplied) for a sports capital grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41003/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.

186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May.

Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works, including an application from the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that.

Haulage Industry

Ceisteanna (410)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

410. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the challenging operating environment the haulage sector faces, in particular the unprecedented challenges posed by Brexit; the steps he has taken to protect the industry from daily fuel increases (details supplied); the steps he will take to ensure fuel costs for HGVs do not increase significantly as a result of measures implemented through budget 2020; his plans to recalibrate the diesel rebate scheme in order to track the variations in fuel more accurately in line with rebate levels operated in similar schemes elsewhere in Europe; if an additional carbon tax or increase in diesel excise is introduced in budget 2020, if an additional amount will be rebated to the licensed haulage sector through the diesel rebate scheme in addition to the proposed recalibration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The haulage sector plays a hugely important role in our economy and I recognise that it faces particular difficulties in the context of Brexit. My Department has maintained close contact with road haulage stakeholders including the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI), IBEC, the Irish Exporters Association and the British-Irish Chambers of Commerce regarding Brexit and continues to work with the industry representative bodies in order to keep hauliers and business informed of developments, in keeping with our long-established practice.

My Department, along with other Government Departments, has emphasised the importance of stakeholders taking all necessary steps within their control to prepare for Brexit, including undertaking contingency planning to minimise the impact of Brexit on their operations.

Issues in relation to matters such as fuel costs, the diesel rebate scheme, carbon tax and diesel excise are matters for my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

Military Aircraft Landings

Ceisteanna (411)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

411. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an aircraft (details supplied) was authorised to carry weapons or munitions or other military goods through Shannon Airport on 30 September 2019; if searches were carried out on this aircraft while at Shannon Airport to ensure that it was in compliance with international laws on neutrality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41034/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

An exemption for the carriage of munitions of war, pursuant to Article 5 of the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitons of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Orders, 1973 and 1989, was not sought by the airline in question for the date specified.

An application was made for a technical stop in Shannon Airport where they indicated that there were no Dangerous Goods, Hazardous Materials or Military Cargo onboard.

No searches were carried out on this particular aircraft while at Shannon Airport.

Education Welfare Service

Ceisteanna (412)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

412. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position with regard to increasing the mandatory school going age to 17 years. [41136/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department has developed and is currently consulting on the draft Blueprint for the Development of Education and Welfare Services which, for the first time will provide a policy platform to secure and further sustain this valuable work.

As part of this Blueprint a number of key action areas where development is required were identified. In this regard a substantive area of action in this policy relates to the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 which lays out the both the minimum and maximum school going age. My Department has responsibility for the implementation of this Act and will examine the legislation along with input from all relevant stakeholders in order to consider how it can be updated to to reflect the current context and best practice in supporting educational outcomes for children and young people. Consideration of the appropriateness and applicability of the current mandatory school going age will form part of this review.

School Completion Programme

Ceisteanna (413)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

413. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the provision of a new school completion strategy. [41137/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In recognition of the need for a strong policy platform for educational welfare services, including the School Completion Programme, my Department established a Task Group in late 2018 to support the further development and integration of these services. The work of this group has produced a draft Blueprint for the Development of Education and Welfare Services, which is now in the final phase of consultation. This policy document provides a clear blueprint for the development of the School Completion Programme, along with the other strands of the EWS, so that its reach, resources and impact are maximised in supporting young people at risk of early school leaving. The development of the SCP will ensure that the programme governance and practice will be strengthened into the future.

The implementation of this Blueprint will represent a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the strategic development of all our efforts and initiatives which support school engagement, retention and completion.

In parallel to this key development, it should be noted that the Department of Education and Skills is currently carrying out a review of Out of School and Second Chance Education Provision which are funded directly by that Department. My officials are represented on the steering group for this review and are working closely to strengthen in-school, out-of-school and alternative education supports in and across our respective policy areas.

I expect to introduce and implement the Blueprint for the Development of Educational Welfare Services in the coming months as I am eager to ensure greater policy direction is provided to this critical area for our children and young people who may be at risk of early school leaving.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (414)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

414. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding available for a family resource centre (details supplied) for a homework club; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40540/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla the Child and Family Agency administers the Family Resource Centre Programme, which provides financial support to 121 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) including the FRC referred to by the Deputy. This financial support contributes to the employment of staff and some overheads.

I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to his question on funding for specific services.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (415)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

415. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of mandated reports filed with Tusla in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number that were investigated; the number that were finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40589/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Deputy is asking about an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the question to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Voluntary Sector Funding

Ceisteanna (416)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

416. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding provided to a charity (details supplied) in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the reporting arrangements in place with the charity; the waiting times for a child to be seen in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40599/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provides annual financial support to a large number of community and voluntary organisations, which provide supports to vulnerable children and families, including the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy regarding funding provided to the organisation in question in the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, and waiting times for a child to be seen in the respective years.

Domestic Violence Services Funding

Ceisteanna (417)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

417. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when a decision on the allocation of five additional workers to the domestic violence sector in Galway city and county will be made; the reason the decision has been delayed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence whether in the context of family or otherwise.

In budget 2019, I secured additional funding of €1.5m for domestic, sexual and gender based violence services this year.

A proportion of this funding is to be used to employ 12 new outreach workers to improve access to support services to women and children affected by domestic violence in the Galway, Carlow, Dublin, Wicklow and Cork areas.

I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the timing of the allocation of outreach workers in Galway.

Early Childhood Care and Education Funding

Ceisteanna (418)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

418. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the purchase of land; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40901/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department provides capital funding annually to early learning and care and school age childcare services. The capital programme is designed each year to ensure that capital grants have a positive, lasting impact on the childcare sector including increasing capacity, however, the purchase of land has not been part of the scheme in recent years. A service wishing to increase capacity can apply towards the costs of constructing a new premises or extending an existing one for the purposes of the creation of the additional places.

In 2019 the three strands of capital funding available were divided as follows:

- Strand A offered grants of up to €50,000 to early learning and care providers for the creation of new 0-3 places where demand for these was clearly evidenced.

- Strand B offered individual grants of up to €15,000 to aid community/not-for-profit early learning and care services in addressing fire safety issues that had been highlighted in inspection reports by Tusla, the HSE or Local Authorities.

- Strand C offered individual grants of up to €20,000 to school age childcare providers for the creation of new school age places where demand for these was clearly evidenced.

The application window for the 2019 Capital programme closed on 27 March 2019 with decisions issued to applicants in June 2019.

Please note that the strands and priorities for the 2020 capital programme have not yet been decided. An announcement will be published shortly.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (419)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

419. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated cost in 2020 if the budget for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services increased by 10%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40918/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provides funding and coordination supports to some 59 organisations that deliver a range of services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSGBV) throughout the country.

In 2019, €25.3 million is being allocated to Tusla for DSGBV services, an increase of €1.5 million over 2018.

The estimated cost to increase Tusla's funding for DSGBV services by 10% in 2020 would be €2.53m.

Childcare Services Inspections

Ceisteanna (420, 424, 425, 426, 428, 430, 431)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

420. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the 113 crèche facilities operating with conditions attached to their registration in north Dublin and all 120 facilities in north-eastern areas of Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

424. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of creches classed as critical, high, medium and low on risk on the Tusla rating system; the region of the inspectorate in which they are located in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41064/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

425. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way in which the 595 early years services with conditions are classified as critical, high, medium or low risk on the Tusla rating system in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41065/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

426. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the timeframe for inspection reports to be published on the inspection reports section of the Tusla website (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

428. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the frequency with which the Tusla early years inspectorate enforcement document is updated; when it was last updated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

430. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the frequency of visits by Tusla inspectors to a given crèche, that is, every 12, 18 and 24 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

431. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of Tusla registered crèches by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 420, 424 to 426, inclusive, 428, 430 and 431 together.

As the matters to which the Deputies refer are operational, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputies directly within 10 working days.

Child Abuse

Ceisteanna (421)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

421. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the child abuse substantiation procedures of Tusla referenced by the departmental EAG third interim report will be made public; the way in which the process and procedures of making a retrospective disclosure will work; the way in which they are managed by Tusla; the way in which services that support adults coming forward will be assisted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41061/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can advise the Deputy that I have referred the question to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy.

Child Abuse

Ceisteanna (422)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

422. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the point at which in the social work assessment of a retrospective disclosure details of the allegation are shared with the person suspected of the alleged abuse; if the process is consistent with the general data protection regulation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41062/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct response issue to the Deputy in due course.

Child Protection

Questions Nos. 424 to 426, inclusive, answered with Question No. 420.

Ceisteanna (423)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

423. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 847 of 11 June 2019, her views on whether the organisation (details supplied) is now compliant with Tusla regulations and obligations in respect of child safeguarding and reporting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My department is expecting a written progress report from Scouting Ireland at the end of this month (October 2019) and I look forward to receiving a comprehensive update on key governance issues including child safeguarding and reporting.

The most recent previous progress report is available at: www.scouts.ie//News/2019/Scouting-Ireland-Report-to-DCYA-March-2019.pdf.

Questions Nos. 424 to 426, inclusive, answered with Question No. 420.

Childcare Services Regulation

Question No. 428 answered with Question No. 420.

Ceisteanna (427)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

427. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that an early years provider (details supplied) who has been prosecuted for operation without registration is allowed continue to operate other crèches; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department has been made aware that a prosecution was brought in relation to the unregistered operation of an early learning and care setting by the provider in question. In relation to this case, Tusla has assured me that appropriate investigations were carried out in line with procedures and within the shortest possible timeframes.

An applicant can be refused registration or de-registered by Tusla, the Statutory regulator, if the applicant has been convicted of an offence under Part VIIA of the Child Care Act 1991. In this case the courts applied the Probation Act and so the early years provider was not convicted. The provider was therefore able to continue to operate other early learning and care settings.

As the independent Statutory regulator, Tusla exercises its regulatory powers to respond to breaches of Regulations within its remit while respecting fair procedures and natural justice. My Department is examining the possibility of giving additional powers to the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate, including the power to close a service immediately where it has failed to register.

Question No. 428 answered with Question No. 420.

Childcare Services Regulation

Questions Nos. 430 and 431 answered with Question No. 420.

Ceisteanna (429)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

429. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of crèches her Department or Tusla are aware of that are operating without registration; the location of such crèches; the length of time they have been in operation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Officials in my Department have requested the required information from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.

Questions Nos. 430 and 431 answered with Question No. 420.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Ceisteanna (432)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

432. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of psychotherapists directly employed by Tusla by LHO. [41094/19]

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.