Irish Water Funding

Ceisteanna (675)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

675. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to provide funding in 2020 to Uisce Éireann for the provision of a sewerage system for Ahascragh, County Galway in view of the fact that it is the only midland wastewater treatment facility discharging raw sewerage into a watercourse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47628/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

 Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local level.  Irish Water as a single national water services authority is taking a strategic, nationwide approach to asset planning and investment, and meeting customer requirements. 

Irish Water is best placed to provide the Deputy with information in relation to the specific issue referred to in the question. The Irish Water team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.  Details of all Irish Water’s plans and projects are also available on its website www.water.ie.

In relation to overall funding, I approved Irish Water's Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 on 7 November 2018, following its consideration by Government.  The Strategic Funding Plan sets out Irish Water’s multi-annual strategic business plan funding requirement of €11bn to 2024, comprised of a €6.1bn investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9bn in operating costs.   The Strategic Funding Plan is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/irish_water_strategic_funding_plan.pdf.

The funding plan in turn was developed in the context of the Water Services Policy Statement 2018-2025, which I published in 2018 following its approval by Government.  The Policy Statement gives clear direction to strategic planning and decision making on water and wastewater services in Ireland.  The Policy Statement sets out a series of high-level policy objectives across the three thematic areas of Quality, Conservation, and Future Proofing, which must be pursued when planning capital investment and framing current spending plans.  The Policy Statement is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/water_services_policy_statement_2018-2025_0.pdf.

In addition to the above, Irish Water is regulated by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) as the independent economic regulator.  The CRU is responsible for setting the total level of revenue which Irish Water can receive, through Government subvention and from customers, to cover its efficiently incurred costs.  This CRU process involves, inter alia, reviewing submissions from Irish Water, including on its capital investment plan for the five year period from 2020 to 2024 to support Irish Water’s strategic objectives, as set out in the Water Services Strategic Plan (WSSP) and its Strategic Funding Plan, and thereafter setting appropriate revenue allowances for operating costs, capital costs and other items for given regulatory periods.  The actual allowed operational expenditure and capital investment is therefore decided by the CRU as part of the economic regulatory process and the annual budgetary and estimates process in respect of domestic water services.

A substantial proportion of investment by the State through Irish Water over the next ten years will be focussed on programmes to improve compliance with relevant public health and environmental standards.  This will involve implementation of the measures contained within the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 and the achievement of the outcomes identified.

Fire Stations

Ceisteanna (676)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

676. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason Castlerea fire station, County Roscommon remains closed for almost three years; if his attention has been drawn to the concerns from an association (details supplied) for the safety of staff at Castlerea Prison as a result of the absence of such a fire service in the town and the refusal of a person to meet with representatives from the association in order to listen to its concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Service Acts, 1981 and 2003. My Department supports fire authorities through general policy setting and preparing legislation, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.

Roscommon County Council provides a fire service based out of fire stations at Roscommon town, Elphin, Boyle, Ballaghdereen and Strokestown. Significant areas of the county are also served from fire stations located in adjacent counties including Athlone, Ballinasloe, Ballyhaunis, Carrick-on-Shannon and Lanesboro.

My Department was informed by Roscommon County Council in February 2017 that due to a particular local circumstance, Castlerea Fire Station was stood down. Since then fire cover has been provided from the adjacent fire stations. My Department is assured that fire cover in the area has been delivered in an efficient and safe manner by adjacent brigades.

While Castlerea fire station is currently stood down, Roscommon Fire Service is in regular contact with the Castlerea Prison authorities and is assisting them with their Fire Safety Management responsibilities for the facility. For example, a comprehensive bespoke exercise was carried out in 2018, in the Prison, which covered:

- Testing and checking Fire Appliance access through front & internal gates,

- Location and water flow of firefighting hydrants,

- Familiarisation with areas of potential risk and

- Use of breathing apparatus for firefighting and the rescue of casualties from cells.

At the exercise, numerous Fire Appliances were brought into the prison along with Fire Service personnel from nearby Fire Brigades in Roscommon Town, Ballaghaderreen, Boyle, Elphin, Strokestown, and Ballyhaunis.

Roscommon Fire Service also carried out a Site Familiarisation Visit of the Prison this month during which they met with the facility's Assistant Governor. Further to this site visit Fire and Prison Service Officers agreed that another joint exercise would take place in early 2020. Roscommon Fire Service liaises on an ongoing basis with the Prison Authorities with regard to fire safety matters in regard to the recent and ongoing construction works in the prison.

Regeneration Projects Status

Ceisteanna (677)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

677. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of regeneration plans at Blackhall, Mullingar, County Westmeath. [47775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As part of this first tranche of approvals under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), Westmeath County Council was approved for URDF support in respect of preliminary costs, including technical assistance, for the development of a masterplan for the comprehensive regeneration and redevelopment of the southwest quadrant of Mullingar’s urban core.

The advancement and completion of this URDF supported project is, in the first instance, a matter for Westmeath County Council.  It will also be a matter for the Council to consider the advancement of subsequent elements of the wider project, and whether additional funding support should be sought for them under a future URDF call for proposals.

My Department is in regular contact with the Council regarding the URDF supported project, and understands that the project is progressing well. 

Any queries in relation to the advancement of the project, should in the first instance be directed to Westmeath County Council.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (678)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

678. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding allocation to an organisation (details supplied) in each of the years 2016 to 2019; the projected funding for 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47310/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The following table shows the funding allocated to the organisation referred to by the Deputy in each of the four years 2016 to 2020.

Annual Funding 2016 to 2019 

Year 

 Current

 Capital

 Total Allocation

 2016

 3,269,000

 12,302,000

 15,571,000

 2017

 3,786,000

 12,702,000

 16,488,000

 2018

 3,820,000

 14,202,000

 18,022,000

 2019

 3,840,000

 16,200,000

 20,040,000

 2020

 3,866,000

 17,200,000

 21,066,000

In June 2018, my Department published the Audiovisual Action Plan, an industry-wide 10 year plan which will see an investment of €200m of investment in media production and the audiovisual industry over the 10 years of the plan. This will support the Government’s ambition to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of Film, TV drama and animation.

Ministerial Functions

Ceisteanna (679)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

679. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the dates in 2018 and to date in 2019 she has visited each of the national culture institutions in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47311/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following table.

Date

Cultural Institution

19/01/2018

Chester Beatty Library

05/12/2018

Chester Beatty Library

12/02/2018

Irish Museum of Modern Art

14/02/2018

Irish Museum of Modern Art

25/10/2018

Irish Museum of Modern Art

20/06/2019

National Archives

15/01/2018

National Concert Hall

07/03/2019

National Concert Hall

31/03/2019

National Concert Hall

01/04/2019

National Concert Hall

01/09/2019

National Concert Hall

10/04/2018

National Gallery of Ireland

21/11/2018

National Gallery of Ireland

14/02/2019

National Gallery of Ireland

14/02/2019

National Library of Ireland

27/06/2019

National Library of Ireland 

09/08/2019

National Library of Ireland

27/06/2019

National Museum of Ireland Collins' Barracks

14/07/2019

National Museum of Ireland Collins' Barracks

20/09/2019

National Museum of Ireland Collins' Barracks

29/01/2018

National Museum of Ireland Kildare St

19/07/2018

National Museum of Ireland Kildare St

04/04/2019

National Museum of Ireland Kildare St

25/06/2019

National Museum of Ireland Kildare St

17/07/2019

National Museum of Ireland Kildare St

10/07/2019

National Museum of Ireland Merrion Square

Broadcasting Service Provision

Ceisteanna (680)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

680. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the number of hours of original Irish content that has been produced by Irish independent production companies over the past 11 years for RTÉ has halved; the impact this has had on the sustainability and growth of the independent production sector here; the actions she has taken to address the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47410/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Legislation sets out RTÉ’s statutory obligations in respect to the commissioning of television and radio programmes from the independent production sector is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment and queries in this regard are more appropriately addressed to him.

For my part, as set out in the Audiovisual Action Plan, my Department is focused on implementing initiatives that will sustain and grow the audiovisual industry – including the independent production sector, boosting employment and delivering on the ambition of making Ireland a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation.

Government policy also supports the sector through Screen Ireland which has a statutory remit to assist and encourage the making of film in the State and the development of a film industry in Ireland. In that role, Screen Ireland also supports the development and production of original Irish drama, comedy, documentary and children’s animation for the independent production sector in Ireland. In its 2020 funding allocation, I have secured an additional €1 million for Screen Ireland, demonstrating this Government’s continuing support for the Irish creative screen industries.

In addition, this year has seen significant strides made on implementation of key aspects of the Audiovisual Action Plan which should benefit all involved in the Irish audiovisual sector. Such measures include: extending the availability of the section 481 tax credit to 2024; revision of the section 481 Regulations, signing of the revised Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production, introduction of the Regional Film Development Uplift and the development of new skills development courses and enhanced training and skills development opportunities as part of section 481 revisions.

Broadcasting Sector

Ceisteanna (681)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

681. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her role in relation to supporting independent producers of content which is aired on RTÉ; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47411/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Legislation setting out RTÉ’s statutory obligations in respect to the commissioning of television and radio programmes from the independent production sector is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. 

My Department supports the audiovisual industry through a number of initiatives including through the Audiovisual Action Plan.  It also has a role in issuing certification for the Section 481 film tax credit.  The relief is available in respect of qualifying films, to film producer companies on particular expenditure provided certain conditions, as laid out in statute and regulations, and as specified in the film certificate, are met. The relief is given at 32% of the lowest of eligible expenditure or 80% of the total cost of production of the film or €70,000,000.  In addition, as part of the growth strategy for the sector, a new provision, the Regional Film Development Uplift was provided for in Finance Act 2018 and now offers an additional tax credit (in addition to the standard 32% tax credit) to be made available to productions being substantially undertaken in “assisted regions”. This will contribute to the strategic aims of building an industry in less economically advantaged areas.  Independent producers of content can apply for Section 481 tax relief.

My Department also provides funding to Screen Ireland the development agency for the Irish film, television and animation industry, supports the development and production of original Irish drama, comedy, documentary and children’s animation for the independent production sector in Ireland. Recent years have seen increased Government support for the Irish audiovisual industry with the launch last year of the Audiovisual Action Plan that incorporates an amount of €200m for investment in audiovisual industry through Screen Ireland. In this year’s budget, I was pleased to secure an additional €1 million in funding for Screen Ireland for 2020, bringing its total allocation for the next year to €20.040m.

Screen Ireland supports writers, directors and production companies across the sector by providing investment loans for the development, production and distribution of film, television and animation projects.

Television drama production is an area of particular focus for Screen Ireland and in 2019, it launched the TV Drama Production funding scheme which is aimed at driving the expansion of the indigenous TV drama production sector and provide opportunities for Irish talent to develop both creatively and professionally. New projects emerging from this fund include Normal People, The South Westerlies In addition, under this scheme, in conjunction with RTÉ, Screen Ireland funded the production of 4 television sitcom pilots, a scheme to support new Irish comedy. All four pilot episodes aired on RTÉ this Autumn and one will be selected to go to full series. Through Screen Skills Ireland, the agency supports and develops the skillset for the independent production sector through training initiatives to enhance the creative, technical and business skills for television creatives and crew. This includes a structured Multi-Camera Drama Directors Training scheme, in partnership with RTÉ, which took place in early 2019 as well as regular training courses for all areas of television production including: television production research, writing and structuring television drama and developing ideas for factual and entertainment programming.

Departmental Bodies Data

Ceisteanna (682)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

682. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the institutions which are under her remit; the procedures in place to appoint persons to the board of each of the institutions; the appointments made to boards under the remit of her Department since January 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47412/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that all appointments to State Boards under the aegis of my Department since 01 January 2019 are as set out in the table below.

The Public Appointments Service (PAS) operates a dedicated website, www.stateboards.ie, through which it advertises such vacancies. Since its launch in 2014, this website has been consistently used by my Department to identify suitably qualified members of the public who are interested in serving on Boards under my remit.

Candidates must meet specific and detailed criteria that I have determined, in consultation with the relevant Chair, as necessary for the effective performance of the Board. These criteria are then agreed with PAS and details of vacancies, the essential and desirable requirements for the role(s), and the application process are published. Applications are assessed by an expert panel established by PAS and a list of suitably qualified candidates is proposed, from which the Minister selects Board appointees.

There are a number of specific exceptions from these arrangements, including the appointment of members to a Board on an ex officio basis and nominations by a third party organisation, such as a Local Authority – these exceptions are also listed in the following table. Appointments to Boards of North/South bodies are also exempt from this process and are made by the North South Ministerial Council, on the basis of 50:50 nominations from each jurisdiction.

State Board

Appointee

Position

Date of Appointment

Appointment Type

1

National Gallery of Ireland

Una Sealy

Board Member

01/01/2019

Royal Hibernian Academy nominee - National Gallery of Ireland Act 1854, Section XII

2

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Cathal Seoige

Board Member

01/03/2019

Meath County Council Nominee - Gaeltacht Act 2012, Section 16.a.vi

3

Arts Council

Kevin Rafter (Prof.)

Chairperson

12/06/2019

PAS Process

4

Crawford Art Gallery

Louise Crowley

Board Member

18/06/2019

PAS Process

5

Crawford Art Gallery

Sean Clarke

Board Member

18/06/2019

PAS Process

6

National Concert Hall

Eleanor McEvoy

Board Member

24/06/2019

Reappointed by Minister under section 9.1.5 of the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards.

7

National Concert Hall

John Reynolds

Board Member

24/06/2019

Reappointed by Minister under section 9.1.5 of the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards.

8

National Gallery of Ireland

Dan Flinter

Board Member

19/09/2019

PAS Process

9

National Gallery of Ireland

John O'Doherty

Board Member

19/09/2019

PAS Process

10

Arts Council

Jillian van Turnhout

Board Member

03/10/2019

PAS Process

11

Arts Council

Melatu Uche Okorie

Board Member

03/10/2019

PAS Process

12

Arts Council

Claudine McMahon*

Board Member

03/10/2019

PAS Process

*Ms McMahon has subsequently resigned her position on the Board of the Arts Council.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (683)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

683. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if an application (details supplied) for funding was received for road repairs on Arranmore Island; when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department received an application for repairs to the road referred to by the Deputy as part of a programme of works submitted by the Local Authority to the Department for the period up to 2021.

 A decision in relation to this application  will be made in due course, having regard to the various other demands on the funding available to my Department for island infrastructure.  

Tionscadail Oidhreachta

Ceisteanna (684)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

684. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtig léi an stádas reatha maidir le Togra Turasóireachta Shliabh Liag a chur in iúl; an bhfuil an togra críochnaithe go hiomlán nó an bhfuil oibreacha agus gnéithe éagsúla de fós le déanamh; cé mhéad airgead a caitheadh go dtí seo; cé mhéad airgead atá fós le caitheamh; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [47649/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tá curtha in iúl ag Údarás na Gaeltachta nach bhfuil aon bhaint díreach acu leis na hoibreacha atá idir lámha maidir le togra turasóireachta Shliabh Liag. Tuigtear nach raibh an tÚdarás mar chomhpháirtí maoinithe sa ghné chaipitil den togra.

É sin ráite, áfach, tuigim gur cheadaigh an tÚdarás pacáiste tacaíochta arbh fhiú €100,000 in 2018 do Chomhlacht Pobail Shliabh Liag i dtreo costais fhostaíochta agus oiliúna a bhain le córas bainistíochta comhtháite turasóireachta a chur i bhfeidhm in Ionad na gCuairteoirí atá mar chuid den fhorbairt ar an láthair.

Níl aon chuid den deontas sin íoctha go fóill. 

National Heritage Plan

Ceisteanna (685, 686)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

685. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason for the decision to hold two of the three public meetings on the national consultation on Heritage 2030 in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

686. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason for the decision not to hold public meetings north of County Galway on the national consultation on Heritage 2030; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47691/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 685 and 686 together.

Heritage Ireland 2030 is this Government’s commitment to a revitalised and refreshed National Heritage Plan. The development of that Plan is led by my Department.

Our heritage belongs to us all and it is important this shared ownership is reflected in Heritage Ireland 2030 – not only in its content but also in its composition. My Department issued a Public Consultation Document in November 2018 in which members of the public and stakeholder organisations were invited to respond to questions relating to the  proposed themes of the plan. To inform the process, my Department, alongside partner organisations and Local Authorities organised approximately 70 public workshops to encourage individuals and communities to make submissions.  Workshops were organised by the local authority Heritage Officers at various locations throughout the Country, including 20 events north of Galway across counties Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, Sligo and Monaghan.  

The Heritage Council held three consultations, two in Kilkenny, where they are based, and one in Claregalway. These included two regional events, one covering the South East and the other the West and Mid West and a national sectoral event. A Report on Heritage Ireland 2030 Public and Sectoral Meetings, which gives details of these events and the findings is available on my Department’s website.

A public information session was held in Dublin Castle last May to present the findings of the public consultation to 280 attendees. Consultations on drafting the report are continuing and I hope to be in a position to publish Heritage Ireland 2030 next Spring. A detailed analysis of the submissions received through the public consultation is available on my Department's website at https://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2019/11/hi2030-analysis-of-submissions-received-through-public-consultation.pdf .

National Raised Bog Management Plan

Ceisteanna (687)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

687. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of moanveanlagh bog (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As set out in the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, Moanveanlagh Bog special area of conservation is one of the bogs identified for assessment as regards the potential for domestic turf cutting on the site in accordance with the provisions of article 6.3 of the EU Habitats Directive.

Scientific investigations concluded that, in a small area within the site, turf cutting there would not have an adverse impact on the (ecological) integrity of the special area of conservation.  Domestic turf cutting could take place there subject to consent being received from the relevant public authority and consultation with the landowner and turbary right holders, if any.

For a larger plot of land within the site, the findings of concentrated geophysical and hydrological investigations indicate that any turf cutting there would require monitoring of the turf cutting for an estimated period of a year to assess the level of risk of peat failure (bog burst). In advance of any turf cutting taking place in this area, consent would also be required from the relevant public authority and consultation would have to take place with the landowner and turbary right holders, if any.

I am advised that my Department is continuing to try to resolve outstanding access matters. If the Deputy feels that he would be able to assist, officials from my Department are available to discuss further.

State Bodies Data

Ceisteanna (688)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

688. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the State boards under her remit that do not require an application for appointment through the Public Appointments System; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47744/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Public Appointments Service operates a dedicated website, www.stateboards.ie. This website has been consistently used by my Department to identify suitably qualified members of the public who are interested in serving on boards under my remit. State Boards which come under the remit of this Department are listed below:

- Arts Council

- Crawford Art Gallery

- Foras na Gaeilge

- Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland

- Heritage Council

- Irish Manuscripts Commission

- Irish Museum of Modern Art

- National Archives Advisory Council

- National Concert Hall

- National Gallery of Ireland

- National Library of Ireland

- National Museum of Irelan

- Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch

- Údarás na Gaeltachta

I am advised that there are specific exceptions to appointments through the Public Appointments System. These include the appointment of members to a Board on an ex officio basis and nominations by a third party organisation, such as a Local Authority.

Appointments to Boards of North/South bodies are also exempt from this process and are made by the North South Ministerial Council, on the basis of 50:50 nominations from each jurisdiction. However, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive and specifically a First and Deputy First Minister, the North South Ministerial Council cannot meet.

There are also bodies such as the Chester Beatty Library (a public charitable trust), who are not considered as a State Board for the purposes of the recruitment of board members, and in such instances the PAS service is used to facilitate the filling of board vacancies.

Traveller Culture

Ceisteanna (689, 690)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

689. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps she has taken to promote Traveller culture awareness; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

690. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of times staff from her Department have attended meetings of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering Group in 2018 and to date in 2019; the dates of those meetings; the name and position of those in attendance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 689 and 690 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, 2017 – 2021 is led and coordinated by the Department of Justice and Equality which is responsible under the Strategy for a range of measures intended to ensure that Traveller culture, identity and heritage is supported and valued within Irish society.

The Travelling Community has a rich culture, with unique traditions and crafts which are an integral part of the heritage of this community. As I have previously advised the House in my response to Dáil Question No. 22 of 6 November last, my Department and several of the bodies under its remit, have undertaken a number of initiatives in support of the objectives of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy, 2017 – 2021.

On 18 July last, I launched the permanent National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, celebrating living cultural heritage practices in Ireland. This initiative represents official State recognition of cultural practices all around Ireland, two of which are Traveller Tinsmithing and Cant/Gammon, the traditional language spoken by Irish Travellers.

The development of the National Inventory of Ireland’s Intangible Cultural Heritage is an integral part of my Department’s work under the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which requires signatory States to recognise, protect and promote the living cultural heritage of their countries.

Funding provided to Local Authorities under the Creative Ireland Programme in 2018 also supported the undertaking by the Waterford Traveller Community Development Project of Neegas Whidden: ‘Telling our own Stories’. This project focused on capturing the stories of the elder members of the Travelling community by recording older members of the community and presenting their reminiscences as podcasts online and as audio supports at events. Older Travellers are mostly invisible in Irish society. This initiative made sure that the life experiences of older Travellers were recorded and valued for future generations of Travellers and the general population to enjoy.

Examples of other initiatives promoting Traveller Culture awareness by bodies under the aegis of my Department include:

The development and realisation of the Travellers' Journey Exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in County Mayo in 2018. The exhibition, which ran for a year, was opened in July 2018 by President Michael D. Higgins and included a series of events and talks on aspects of Traveller Culture and Identity. Projects arising from the Travellers’ Journey Exhibition include:

- CAMP. An art project led by artist Aideen Barry in which she and her students from Limerick School of Art and Design worked with members of the Traveller community in the west of Ireland to produce a series of visual art pieces. The resultant art pieces will be installed as part of this exhibition. This project ran from November 2018 – February 2019 in the Museum of Country Life.

- A talk entitled ‘I am Traveller: Our Histories and Heritage’ chaired by Senator Collette Kelleher held in February 2019 for which Traveller groups from Cork, Donegal, Meath, Mayo and Dublin formed the panel and shared their insights on traditional and contemporary Traveller culture and interesting community initiatives.

- The launch in April 2019 of the Travellers Journey Children’s Book. This was a partnership project between the National Museum, Kids’ Own Publishing, Involve, and Scoil Iosa, Ballina and funded by the National Museum, Department of Justice and Equality and Mayo North East under SICAP and PEIL.

The hosting by the Crawford Art Gallery in partnership with Cork Traveller Women’s Network & Cork Visibility Group of a number of events in the Gallery as part of Cork Traveller Pride 2019 Festival;

- Talking with Travellers: Workshop for people interested in knowing more about the journey, history, culture and real lived experience of Irish Travellers.

- Looped Film Screenings: Traveller Oral history film “Would you like to Suni at the Vardo” by Cork Traveller Women’s Network and UCC Folklore Dept. Film “Beady Pocket” is based on a poem by Traveller writer Rosaleen McDonagh, film by Mahon Traveller women with Frameworks Films.

- Craft Workshops :Workshops on the traditional Traveller craft of paper flower making.

In common with a number of other Departments and Agencies my Department is represented on the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering (NTRIS) Group which is chaired by Minister of State David Stanton T.D. and hosted by the Department of Justice and Equality. I am advised that officials from my Department, at Assistant Principal and Higher Executive Officer level have attended seven meetings of this group in 2018 and to date in 2019. Further details of the work of this group would be available to the Deputy from the Department of Justice and Equality that provides the secretariat to the group.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Ceisteanna (691)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

691. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of full-time and part-time jobs supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in Gleann Cholm Cille, Cill Charthaigh, and An Charraig, County Donegal; the job creation targets and employment plans which have been devised for the region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47805/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I have been advised by Údarás na Gaeltachta that at the end of 2018, there were 760 full time positions and 16 part time positions in Údarás client companies in the south west Donegal Gaeltacht, which includes Gleann Cholm Cille, Cill Charthaigh, An Charraig and Ard an Rátha.

Most of the employment in this region stems from the fish processing industry, seaweed processing, the textiles sector and food production.

The Deputy is no doubt aware also that Cill Charthaigh has a strong weaving and textiles industry. Tourism is also strong in the region, particularly cultural tourism.

Substantial investment has been provided in recent years in support of the Sliabh Liag Strategic Development Project by Donegal County Council, Fáilte Éireann and the Interreg Programme, with support from Údarás na Gaeltachta.

In addition, I approved a language plan for the region in April of this year in accordance with the provisions of the Gaeltacht Act 2012. This region is recognised as Limistéar Pleanála Teanga (LPT) Dhún na nGall Theas and the plan's implementation is being managed by Lár Chomhairle Paróiste Ghleann Cholm Cille Teo with ongoing financial support provided by my Department via Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Finally, Údarás na Gaeltachta have informed me that they envisage further opportunities for development and job creation in the tourism sector in the area. A digital hub forming part of the Údarás na Gaeltachta gteic network is based in Cill Charthaigh, in partnership with WestBic, and is one of the strategic projects in the Údarás na Gaeltachta Strategy for 2018 -2020.

The provision of this network of digital hubs throughout Gaeltacht regions, together with the attendant high-speed broadband capability, is recognised by An tÚdarás as being of strategic importance in enabling such regions to be to the fore in further attracting, maintaining and supporting enterprise and business development opportunities into the future.