Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (306)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

306. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of staff in his Department by gender and pay grade in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47953/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

As of Friday, the 15th November, the staff breakdown in the Department of Rural and Community Development by gender and pay grade is as follows:

Grade

Male

Female

Secretary General

1

0

Assistant Secretary General

1

2

Principal Officer

8

3

Assistant Principal

16

13

Higher Executive Officer

13

25

Administrative Officer

3

4

Executive Officer

15

26

Clerical Officer

15

31

Temporary Clerical Officer

0

1

Head Service Officer

1

0

Technical Grade

5

3

Ministerial Advisor

2

0

Ministerial Driver

4

0

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (307)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

307. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the political advisers used by Ministers and Ministers of State in his Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement and cessation dates in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I have appointed three advisers to date. Minister of State Seán Canney has appointed one adviser. Details are summarised in Table A.

Table A:

Name

Title

Minister

Department

Commencement Date

Cessation Date

Mr Padraig Hughes

Special Adviser

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural & Community Development

11/06/2018

Still in employment

Mr Daniel Rowan

Press Adviser

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural & Community Development

14/08/2017

Still in employment

Mr Seamus Ó Ceallacháin

Special Adviser

Minister Michael Ring

Department of Rural and Community Development

11/09/2017

31/5/2018

Mr Robert Hughes

Special Adviser

Minister of State Seán Canney

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and the Department of Rural & Community Development

2/01/2019

Still in employment

In addition to the above I also avail of further advisory support from Mr Paul Mc Grath, who provides me with support and advice in an unpaid capacity from 2017 to date.

Departmental Data

Ceisteanna (308)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

308. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, respectively, received by his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [48043/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017 to provide a renewed and consolidated focus on rural and community development in Ireland.

The Department is committed to promoting a culture of dignity and mutual respect throughout the organisation. The key policy in place in this regard is the Dignity at Work Policy. This policy outlines the procedures in place and the steps which individuals may take if they believe that they have been bullied, harassed, or sexually harassed.

All staff are made aware of the contents of this policy and the procedures to be followed, as part of the induction process for new employees. This ensures that all members of staff are aware that all forms of bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment are unacceptable and that every staff member has a duty to behave in an acceptable and respectful manner.

There were no complaints under this policy in 2017 and 2018.

There was one complaint of physical harassment in 2019 within an agency of the Department which is currently being investigated under the parameters of the Dignity at Work Policy.

Departmental Staff Dismissals

Ceisteanna (309)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

309. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of employees of his Department who were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; the reason for the dismissal of each employee; the number of employees suspended in the same period; and the reason for the suspension of each in tabular form. [48078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established in July 2017.

Since the Department's establishment, there have been no employees dismissed or suspended.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (310)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

310. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48130/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The details of the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category, as requested by the Deputy, are set out in the table.

Total

TV advertising

Nil

Online advertising

€10,377

Radio advertising

Nil

Billboard Advertising

Nil

Print Advertising

€6,407

Public transport advertising

Nil

Bus stop advertising

Nil

Creative design and production fees

€393

Video Production and design

€42,589

PR Consultancy fees

Nil

Publisher Fees

Nil

Press Launches

€21,457

Overall total

€81,223

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (311)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

311. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount spent on bottled water and disposable coffee cups by his Department to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48196/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department has spent €2,052.03 on bottled water to date in 2019. The water is made available to staff through standalone water cooler units and bottles for the units are re-used by our supplier.

My Department is implementing the Government Decision on 3 January 2019 to eliminate the purchase of Single Use Plastics and no disposable plastic cups or other plastic utensils have been purchased in 2019.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (312)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

312. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the date of each review and revision of the material published under the publication scheme of his Department as outlined in section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48213/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act requires Departments to review and update its Publication Scheme within three years of publication. My Department's first Publication Scheme was published in September 2018, in accordance with the guidance published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and will be updated as required under the legislation.

The Act also makes provision for material published under the Scheme to be reviewed and revised on at least an annual basis. Currently my Department publishes:

- details of ministerial expenses

- the diaries of ministers and the secretary general of the Department

- logs of Freedom of Information requests received

- Prompt payments reports and details of payments made in excess of €20,000

In each case, the above are updated quarterly in arrears and published on my Department's website on Gov.ie.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (313)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

313. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multi-media, in his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48252/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The details requested by the Deputy are set out in the table. As my Department was established on 19th July 2017, the information provided commences on that date and includes the remainder of 2017, 2018 and spending to date in 2019.

2017 (July-Dec)

2018

2019 (spending to date)

Total

TV advertising

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Online advertising

Nil

€6,298

€5,922

€12,220

Radio advertising

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Billboard Advertising

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Print Advertising

€12,712

€7,492

€12,087

€32,291

Public transport advertising

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Bus stop advertising

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Creative design and production fees

Nil

Nil

€4,053

€4,053

Video Production and design

Nil

€23,032

€19,557

€42,589

PR Consultancy fees and publisher fees

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Press Launches

€3,249

€22,537

€9,959

€35,745

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Ceisteanna (314)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

314. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the community employment scheme will be extended for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47888/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department provides financial support in the form of allowances and funding to assist with the Community Employment programme, for example participant wages, supervisor grants, materials grants and specific skills training grants.

Funding is not provided for CE participants who have reached the qualifying age for a State pension, that is:

66 for participants born before 1 January 1955

67 for participants born on or after 1 January 1955

68 for participants born on or after 1 January 1961

As the individual was born prior to 1 January 1955 and reached the age of 66 on 6 November 2019 my Department is no longer in a position to fund his position after that date.

He may qualify for the State Pension (Contributory) if he has accrued sufficient PRSI contributions. The State Pension (Contributory) is not means tested. This pension has a maximum personal rate payable of €12,956 per annum.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (315)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

315. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff in her Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if her Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to her Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

In order for the staff of my Department to fulfil their role it is necessary that they are provided with the appropriate equipment and services to support our customer’s needs. In doing so, at all times, my Department is aware of the need to achieve value for money in the delivery of such services.

My Department does not purchase mobile phones but purchases a fixed monthly price for a bundle of products and services which includes mobile phones. These costs are commercially sensitive. A breakdown of mobile devices per grade is presented as follows.

Grade

Number

Management Team

13

Principal Officer

82

Assistant Principal

287

Higher Executive Officer

1355

Executive Officer

235

Clerical Officer

45

Grand Total

2017

During 2018 my Department ran a competitive tendering process under the Office of Government Procurement’s (OGP) Framework Agreement for the provision of Mobile Voice and Data Communications and Associated Products and Services. A contract was awarded to Vodafone Ireland on 1 November 2018 for a period of two years and will expire on 31 October 2020.

My Department carefully monitors costs and usage incurred by its mobile phone users and has robust procedures in place to ensure that usage is maintained within the terms of the contract.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Ceisteanna (316)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

316. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on an invalidity pension appeal by a person (details supplied) in County. Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47930/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred on 22 October 2019 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 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.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (317)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

317. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of staff in her Department by gender and pay grade in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47946/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Government are implementing transformational reforms under the Civil Service Renewal agenda. A key commitment in the Civil Service Renewal Plan is to maximise the contribution of all staff, by nurturing and rewarding talent and by encouraging civil servants to develop their potential in a workplace committed to equality and diversity. Gender balance policy measures have been endorsed by the Government and are framed around practical HR and organisational considerations. Measures such as a target of 50/50 gender balance in appointments at senior levels are now in place.

Details of the number of staff in my Department by gender and pay grade as at the end of October are detailed in the table. The figure for full time equivalents takes account ofstaff that avail of work-share options.

Grade

Male (FTE)

Female (FTE)

Secretary General

1.00

-

Deputy Secretary

-

1.00

Director

-

1.00

Assistant Secretary

6.00

3.00

Principal Officer

39.60

21.60

Medical Assessor

9.00

22.10

Assistant Principal

160.55

122.96

Higher Executive Officer

507.59

957.48

Administrative Officer

12.00

10.55

Executive Officer

463.80

936.80

Clerical Officer

563.20

1855.04

Services Officer

130.20

17.65

Total

1892.94

3949.19

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (318)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

318. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the political advisers used by Ministers and Ministers of State in her Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement and cessation dates in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47963/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Under Government guidelines I am permitted to appoint a maximum of two Special Advisors.

Since I took up my appointment as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, three special advisers have been employed by my Department. All my advisers have worked across a wide range of areas within the remit of the Department including Employment Law, Employment Supports and Activation, Pensions Policy and Social Protection.

The details of their employment and cessation dates are set out in the table.

Name

Start - End Date

Denise Duffy

Jun 17 to Date

Alex Connolly

Oct 18 to Date

Gerry Mullins

Oct 17 to Jul 18

Departmental Staff

Ceisteanna (319)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

319. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the work practice changes for clerical officers who were introduced in her Department in 2017; if clearly defined responsibilities and expected workloads were made available to the various staff grades; if workloads and responsibilities were assigned proportionally to the various grades; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Clerical Officers in my Department may be required to undertake any duties appropriate to their grade. Subject to this, and given the ongoing changes in the delivery of services by the Department, staff members at all grades may be required to undertake different work, either in their original business unit or in another business unit on reassignment.

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (320)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

320. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47992/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The application for Illness Benefit from the person concerned has been processed and he has been awarded Illness Benefit at the maximum rate of €203 per week. All arrears due to the Person Concerned have been issued to his nominated Post Office.

He is currently medically certified as unfit for work until the 4th November 2019.

If the person concerned remains ill and unfit for work, a further medical certificate should be submitted to the Department as soon as possible in order for further payments to issue.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (321)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

321. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will take steps to ensure that a carer’s allowance is restored to a person (details supplied); if same will now be addressed without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48006/19]

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.

A person is deemed to require full-time care and attention (FTCA) where they require from another person continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continual supervision in order to avoid being a danger to themselves. They must also be likely to require this level of care for at least 12 consecutive months.

Once claims are in payment, my Department undertakes periodic reviews to ensure that there is continued entitlement to payment. This includes reviews to ensure that the person being cared for continues to satisfy the care requirement.

As part of a review of this person's entitlement to Carer's Allowance (CA), a medical report form (MR33) was requested on 15 November 2018. The person concerned was in receipt of carer’s allowance (CA) in respect of his son until 26 June 2019 when his claim was terminated as he had failed to supply the documentation requested. The person concerned was notified on 29 May 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal.

The person concerned then forwarded the documentation requested on 19 July 2019, which is currently being reviewed by a Medical Assessor of my Department.

Following receipt of the information requested and pending completion of the review, the person concerned has been re-awarded full rate CA in respect of his second care recipient, his son, with effect from 27 June 2019.

Arrears of allowance from 27 June 2019 to 28 November 2019 will issue shortly.

The person concerned was notified on 19 November 2019 of this outcome. The review of this person's entitlement is ongoing and the person concerned will be notified once the review is complete.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (322)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

322. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which a decision was arrived at not to grant illness benefit in respect of a claim submitted by a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [48023/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Illness Benefit was received from the person concerned on the 6th September 2019.

One of the qualifying conditions for Illness Benefit is that a person must have 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year, of which 13 must be paid contributions at class A, E or H. Alternatively, a person may have 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year, and 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year with all such contributions at class A, E or H.

The person concerned has only 12 reckonable contributions in 2017, which means he does not qualify for an Illness Benefit payment. A letter has issued to the person concerned giving him the full details of this decision.

The person concerned may continue to submit medical certificates for the period in which he is unfit for work in order to receive PRSI credited contributions.

Should the person concerned be in need of financial assistance, it is open for him to contact the Community Welfare Service at his local Intreo Centre.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Data

Ceisteanna (323)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

323. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, respectively, received by her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [48036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The number of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment received by my Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 are outlined as follows.

Year

Complaints of bullying

Complaints of sexual harassment

2016

7

2

2017

9

2

2018

8

0

2019 to date

9

2

Departmental Staff Dismissals

Ceisteanna (324)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

324. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of employees of her Department who were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; the reason for the dismissal of each employee; the number of employees suspended in the same period; and the reason for the suspension of each in tabular form. [48071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The following table provides details of the numbers and reason staff of my Department were dismissed in the period from January 2016 to date. Details of officers suspended are also included.

Year

Number Dismissed

Reason for Dismissal

Number Suspended

Reason for Suspension

2016

3

1 for unsatisfactory attendance,

1 for data breaches,

1 for unsatisfactory attendance and performance

2

Pending completion of investigation of possible date breaches

2017

6

2 for data breaches,

2 for unsatisfactory attendance,

2 for inappropriate behaviour

1

Pending completion of investigation of inappropriate behaviour

2018

5

1 for data breach,

2 for unsatisfactory attendance,

1 for inappropriate behaviour,

1 for unsatisfactory attendance and performance

1

Pending completion of investigation of inappropriate behaviour

2019

2

1 for fraud,

1 for performance issues

2

Pending completion of investigation of inappropriate behaviour and possible data breaches

Data Retention

Ceisteanna (325)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

325. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time her Department retains data on the route, time and date of journeys taken by individual public service travel pass users in view of the fact that the Secretary General of her Department acknowledged to the Committee of Public Accounts that data is retained. [48108/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Free Travel Pass usage data, received by my Department from the National Transport Authority, verifies that a Free Travel Pass was used at a particular time and date on an Integrated Ticketing System enabled vehicle. This usage data is non-identifying and does not provide journey duration or fare collected. This ITS usage data is retained by my Department for 13 months.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.