Sports Capital Programme Administration

Ceisteanna (255)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

255. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details of the appeals system available for unsuccessful applicants under the 2018 sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49399/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October 2018. By the closing date, 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. This was the highest number of applications ever received.  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. All unsuccessful "equipment only" applicants were given the opportunity to appeal the decision.  The final allocations for capital works were announced earlier this month with a total of €39.5m allocated to 1,009 projects. 

In relation to these latest allocations, my Department will shortly be in contact with all of these applicants with full details of the outcome of the assessment process.  All unsuccessful applicants will be invited to appeal the Department's decison if they believe that their application was not correctly assessed according to the published assessment manual.

Sports Capital Programme Data

Ceisteanna (256)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

256. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of successful and unsuccessful applicants, respectively by sports in the context of the latest sports capital grants; the number of grant appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49441/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra
The information sought by the Deputy in relation to the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme is set out in the following table.

Sports

Number of applications

Number of grants

American Football

5

3

Angling/Fishing

6

4

Archery

8

7

Athletics

65

51

Badminton

4

2

Basketball

18

15

Billiards & Snooker

4

3

Bowls

10

9

Boxing

62

50

Camogie

20

16

Canoeing/Kayaking

30

25

Clay Pigeon Shooting

3

2

Community Games

15

14

Cricket

23

16

Cycling

19

15

Diving/Snorkelling

22

12

Equestrian Sports

25

19

Fencing

2

1

Gaelic Games

673

490

Golf

146

95

Gymnastics

21

14

Handball

17

12

Hillwalking

14

13

Hockey

36

23

Ice Hockey

2

2

Judo

3

2

Ladies Gaelic Football

7

5

Martial Arts

11

7

Motor Sport

1

1

Motorcycling

3

2

Mountaineering

4

2

Multi-sport

378

269

Olympic Handball

1

 

Orienteering

1

1

Pitch and Putt

20

13

Raquetball

1

1

Rock Climbing

1

1

Rowing

72

47

Rugby

88

56

Sailing

33

16

Shooting Sports

1

1

Skateboarding

2

2

Soccer

302

198

Squash

5

3

Surfing

2

1

Swimming

40

29

Table Tennis

2

2

Taekwondo

2

 0

Tennis

70

48

Tenpin bowling

1

1

Triathlon

17

16

Tug of War

1

1

Volleyball

12

8

Waterskiing & Wakeboarding

1

 0

Weightlifting

4

2

Wheelchair Sport

1

 0

Grand Total

2337

1648

Furthermore, details of all applications submitted under the latest round (2018) of the Sports Capital Programme are listed on a county basis on my Department's website at https://assets.gov.ie/20000/ececa538f64a48e3ab4540515da4cf95.pdf. 
Similarly, details of all allocations under the programme are also published on the Department's website at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/
In relation to the latest allocations under the Programme as announced earlier this month, my Department will shortly be in contact with all applicants with full details of the outcome of the assessment process.  537 unsuccessful applicants will be invited to appeal the Department's decision if they believe that their application was not correctly assessed according to the published assessment manual.

Road Projects

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (257)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

257. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the concerns and questions of residents during public consultation on the new N2 route in Monaghan (details supplied) will be addressed; if he will answer questions concerning same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49455/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 

Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Education Data

Ceisteanna (258)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

258. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of home school community liaison and school completion staff working with homeless families in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49361/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Tusla Educational Support Service has advised that Tess have advised the HSCL Scheme and SCP projects provide supports for homeless children and families as the need arises in their cluster schools.

There are 420 Home School Community Liaison Coordinators (HSCL) serving over 500 schools and 122 School Completion Programmes (SCP) serving over 700 schools. All HSCL and SCP staff are available to assist families experiencing homelessness. All HSCL and SCP staff are aware of the need to provide supports to families experiencing homelessness and we know that a significant number are currently providing such support.

Along with colleagues in Tusla and across government I recognise that Homelessness is a hugely significant issue facing vulnerable families across the country and it can have an adverse impact on children and their educational attendance, participation and completion. My Department recognises that homelessness is a very fluid issue, emerging quickly and requiring a range of supports from the school, HSCL, SCP and other related services and in this regard I have secured and additional €500,000 in Budget 2019 and a further €400,000 in Budget 2020 to ensure that the needs of vulnerable children in relation to educational attainment are met.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (259)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

259. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by her Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department has not hired or engaged agency staff in the past five years to date.

International Summits

Ceisteanna (260)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

260. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the outcome of her engagements at the Nairobi summit; the commitments she provided at the summit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49359/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Improving maternal and reproductive health is an important focus of Ireland's international development policy with health system strengthening at the heart of Ireland’s approach.  Ireland works through the UNFPA, the World Health Organisation, with organisations such the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and with civil society partners to ensure access to essential drugs, health services, and best practice, including building more effective health workforces, with an emphasis on better health outcomes for women and children.  Ireland recognises that quality health systems must include access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services if women's health outcomes are to be transformed, including reducing maternal and child mortality.  This is consistent with the global ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs also reaffirm the Programme for Action agreed 25 years ago by 179 countries, including Ireland, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). A High Level Summit - “Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise”, 12 to 14 November 2019 – was convened by the Governments of Kenya and Denmark, together with UNFPA, to mark the 25 years since Cairo. The Nairobi Summit has helped to galvanise political and financial commitments needed to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action.

I, on behalf of Ireland, reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to the Cairo Programme of Action and the SDGs. In Nairobi I reiterated Ireland’s support, including elements relating to women’s health and on ending gender based violence  A full list of the commitments made by participants in the Nairobi summit, including Ireland, is available on the ICPD25 website: https://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitments.

Adoption Legislation

Ceisteanna (261)

Michael Collins

Ceist:

261. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to progress the adoption (information and tracing) Bill 2016 by introducing legislation to allow thousands of adoptees to access their own information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49427/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the Deputy knows, there are strong views on the privacy provisions in the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill, 2016 and to the revised scheme set out in my proposed amendments for Committee Stage.  

My legal advice is that there must be some protection of birth parents' constitutional right to privacy reflected in the legislation. There are two rights at play, the right to identity and the right to privacy, and legislation must seek to harmonise these rights. However, I fully recognise this advice is contrary to the desire of advocates for unrestricted access to identity information and to birth certificates.  

During the summer, I held a number of consultations with Members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups, to seek to reach a consensus which will allow the legislation to progress. More recently, I have consulted further in relation to a number of specific options for progressing the Bill.  I am now considering the responses I have received, and I hope to be in a position to revert to Oireachtas members and stakeholders shortly.

LEADER Programmes Funding

Ceisteanna (262)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

262. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the clubs, groups and organisations that have received funding under the LEADER RDP programme in County Wicklow in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the level of funding provided to each group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49250/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The LEADER programme is administered in County Wicklow by the Wicklow Local Action Group (LAG).

The Funding Agreement for the LEADER 2014-2020 programme was signed with the Wicklow LAG in July 2016. The programme effectively became operational in County Wicklow from this date. The total amount of funding allocated to County Wicklow for the duration of the LEADER programme to 2020 is in excess of €6.3 million. 

No projects were approved for funding is this LAG area in 2016 or 2017 as the initial focus of the LAG was to work with potential project promoters to develop ideas and bring forward proposals for funding.  However, there has been a significant increase in project approvals nationally since the start of 2018, and this is also evident in County Wicklow. 

The Wicklow LAG has now approved 61 projects applications to a value of over €2.2 million.  A further 11 applications, requesting funding in excess of €1.5 million, are at earlier stages in the approvals process.  

Payments under the programme will increase significantly as these projects are completed and payment claims are submitted.

Details of all projects funded by the LEADER Local Action Group in County Wicklow are available on-line at: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b849be-local-action-groups-approved-projects-2014-2020/. 

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (263)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

263. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by his Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established in July 2017. Since its establishment, there have been no agency staff hired and or engaged by the Department.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (264)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

264. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if funding is available for a community group (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49335/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

My Department provides a range of supports to communities nationwide, helping people to participate in the development of their communities and providing funding to improve community facilities. 

For example, my Department funds the Community Enhancement Programme which provided capital grants to the total value of €4.5m in 2019. These grants can contribute towards the renovation of community infrastructure such as that outlined.   

While the 2019 programme is closed, it will be open again in 2020.  It will then be advertised in each Local Authority area by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who administer the grant on behalf of this Department.

Separately, projects of this nature may also be eligible for LEADER funding.

All potential applicants for LEADER funding must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) prior to any project application for financial support. In order to determine eligibility to application stage, an appraisal is carried out on the EOI to ascertain if the proposed project is eligible for LEADER funding.

The proposed project must be compatible with the actions outlined in the approved Local Development Strategy for the relevant LEADER sub regional area, and it must comply with the Operating Rules and EU Regulations in place for the programme.

The decision to approve a project, or otherwise, is a matter for the Local Action Group (LAG) which administers the programme in each LEADER area. The community group should, in the first instance, contact the relevant LAG to discuss the eligibility of the proposed project.

The Local Action Group for the area of Kerry referred to is South Kerry Development Partnership CLG.

Contact details for South Kerry Development Partnership CLG are as follows: - Telephone: (066) 9472724; - E-mail: info@skdp.net.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (265)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

265. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the operational details of broadband connection points that will be provided within the first 12 months of the national broadband plan roll-out; the role of his Department in this task; the breakdown of points by county and location in tabular form; the allocated current and capital budget for such points; the number of staff that will be employed to achieve this objective in 2020; the number of premises that fall within the area points will service that are forecasted to be covered under the plan by homes, businesses, farms and schools; and the percentage of overall premises to be connected under the plan the 300 points will service, by homes, businesses, farms and schools. [49396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Broadband Connection Point (BCP) initiative will see high-speed broadband services bought to approximately 300 sites in remote and rural areas across the country, ahead of the arrival of the National Broadband network.

BCPs are typically community centres, schools and sports clubs that will act as access hubs for local people, providing on-site access to the internet.

The Department of Rural and Community Development has worked with Local Authority Broadband Officers to identify the selected sites and is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to establish the BCP network.

The Department's role is to liaise with Local Authorities and to support them as required in this project. The Department will also procure a provider, or providers, for the installation of access infrastructure at the connection points and will provide a subvention to Local Authorities towards the costs of retail services for non-commercial sites and sites with no significant revenue raising activities.

Further details on the BCPs, including the locations of each connection point, are available at https://nbi.ie/broadband-connection-points/.

As the procurement process for infrastructure and retail services has not yet been completed, no capital or current expenditure has been allocated to the project by the Department to date, other than through the annual subvention of €42,000 towards the salaries of the Broadband Officers in each Local Authority. However, the Broadband Officers have a wider remit than the BCP project.

The number of people who will employed in delivering the BCPs arising from the procurement process will be a matter for the successful tenderer(s).

With regard to the coverage of premises within the area of the BCPs, as stated above the BCPs will make internet access available on-site. It is not the objective of the project that they will share or otherwise transmit connectivity to other premises. In any event, the BCP sites have been deliberately selected in remote and sparsely populated areas. Many of these sites are on islands or in areas with widely dispersed and remote homes and businesses.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (266)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

266. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the specific role of his Department in the national broadband plan; and the action points and associated timetable for each in tabular form. [49397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development has two roles directly relevant to the National Broadband Plan.

The first is to act as co-secretariat to the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, which I chair. The Taskforce was established in 2016, arising from a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, to identify immediate solutions to broadband/mobile phone coverage deficits and to investigate how better services could be provided to consumers prior to full build and roll-out of the network planned under the National Broadband Plan State intervention (NBP).

The Department has played a leading role in the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, both in terms of secretariat and coordinating functions and in terms of delivering specific actions in the Taskforce's work programme. Progress reports on the Taskforce's programme are available at:

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/215136-mobile-phone-and-broadband-taskforce/.

The second role my Department plays in relation to the National Broadband Plan relates to the establishment of the nationwide network of Broadband Connection Points (BCPs). The BCP initiative will see high-speed broadband services bought to approximately 300 sites, typically schools, community centres and sports clubs, in remote and rural areas across the country, ahead of the arrival of the National Broadband Plan network.

These sites will provide access to high-speed broadband on-site to local people, facilitating access to online services, with many supporting remote working and study.

The Department has worked with Local Authority Broadband Officers to identify the selected sites and is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to establish the BCP network.

The Department will procure a provider, or providers, for the installation of access infrastructure at the connection points and will provide a subvention to Local Authorities towards the costs of retail services for non-commercial sites and sites with no significant revenue raising activities.

The first BCPs are expected to be connected by the end of Q2 2020, with a view to the full number of points being connected within the first year of the NBP roll-out in the State Intervention area.

CLÁR Programme

Ceisteanna (267)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

267. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the funding provided in 2019 for each measure under the CLÁR programme; the draw down to date; the projected expenditure by year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49419/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on 28 February last, with applications invited under three separate measures: 

Measure 1: Support for "School and Community Safety Measures",

Measure 2: Support for "Play Areas and Multi-Use Games Areas", and 

Measure 3: Funding for "Community Wellbeing Support".   

Community Wellbeing Support covers the provision of equipment and vehicles for voluntary first-response organisations, as well as the provision of specialist vehicles to bring people to cancer-care centres and other community-care services.  The measure also provides funding for sensory gardens. 

The following table shows the amount approved under each of the Measures, the expenditure paid to date for each Measure, and the expected expenditure by year-end under each Measure for 2019.

It should be noted that the delivery of CLÁR projects can straddle different calendar years and Local Authorities have until May 2020 to draw down funding under Measures 1, 2 and 3c; therefore it is not expected that there would be any draw-down of funding under these Measures in 2019.

However, total expenditure from the CLÁR budget in my Department's Vote this year will amount to approximately €7 million when payments in respect of projects approved in the 2018 funding round are taken into account.

CLÁR 2019 Funding Approved, Expenditure to Date and Expected Expenditure by Year End per Measure.

 

Funding Approved

Paid to date 26/11/19

Expected Expenditure by Year End

Measure 1

€2,522,993

€0.00

€0.00

Measure 2

€1,294,460

€0.00

€0.00

Measure 3a

€567,516

€155,229

€400,000

Measure 3b

€890,632

€531,773

€800,000

Measure 3c

€714,456

€0.00

€0.00

TOTAL

€5,990,057

€687,002

€1,200,000

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (268)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

268. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will issue on a carer’s allowance claim by a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [49235/19]

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 carer's allowance (CA) was received from the person concerned on 20 May 2019 in respect of two care recipients. 

It is a condition for receipt of CA that the person concerned must be providing full-time care and attention.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and it was decided that while a certain level of care was being provided, the time involved was not considered to be full time in the case of either care recipient. The person concerned was notified on 25 September 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. 

The person concerned requested a review and submitted additional evidence in support.  

On review, the application was awarded to the person concerned on 18 November 2019, with effect from 23 May 2019 for both care recipients. The first payment issued to her nominated bank account on 21 November 2019.  

Arrears of allowance due from 23 May 2019 to 20 November 2019 will issue shortly.

The person concerned was notified on 18 November 2019 of this revised decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (269)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

269. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress made to date by the interdepartmental group on the pension issue of community employment supervisors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49251/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Government decided in January 2019 to set up an Inter-departmental Group (IDG) to explore the most appropriate organisation arrangements for social inclusion work schemes currently operated by my Department.  The Group was not set up to consider the pensions of CE supervisors.  The final report of the IDG is expected to be available shortly.

In relation to the Deputy's specific question on the 'pension issue of Community Employment Supervisors', my Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues that arise following a 2008 Labour Court Recommendation in relation to pensions.  All parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed.  I expect the related discussions to conclude shortly.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (270)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

270. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a pension application by a person (details supplied). [49253/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned initially applied for State pension (contributory) on 28 October 2009 in advance of reaching pension age in December 2009.  They were assessed as having 22 paid full-rate social insurance contributions.  As their contributions fell short of the required 260 paid full-rate contributions to qualify for State pension (contributory), the claim was disallowed.  They were notified in writing of this decision.

The person re-applied for State pension (contributory) on 24 October 2019.  Their entitlement to both the standard State pension (contributory) and the mixed insurance pro rata State pension (contributory) was examined.  The person was again assessed with 22 full-rate contributions, which is less than the statutory minimum requirement of 260 full-rate paid contributions.  Their application was disallowed and they were notified accordingly in writing on 11 November 2019.

A copy of their social insurance record was included with the person's pension decision. If they have other periods of insurable employment or self-employment which they consider should be recorded, it is open to them to forward details to my Department and the matter will be examined.

The interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation, announced in January 2018, includes provision for homecaring periods, but does not apply to people who reached pension age prior to 1 September 2012. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Ceisteanna (271)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

271. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae 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. [49281/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised that my Department has not received an application for Injury Benefit from the person concerned.

If the Person Concerned wishes to claim Injury Benefit he should visit his doctor to receive a form IB1 (application form for Illness Benefit and Injury Benefit) and accompanying ‘Certificate of Incapacity for Work’ and submit these to the Department for processing. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (272)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

272. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by her Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department does not employ agency staff.

Public Services Card

Ceisteanna (273)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

273. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which private sector companies that provide CVRT tests for commercial vehicles are compliant with schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 in respect of the public services card (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Commercial vehicle testing is carried out by commercial vehicle roadworthy test operators authorised and supervised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). 

Since 2013, the RSA is responsible for the authorisation and supervision of the commercial vehicle testing system under the provisions of the Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act, 2012. 

Regulations under that Act, specifying the requirements and arrangements to apply for the compulsory testing of commercial vehicles, require that a person who presents a vehicle for testing presents a driving licence or passport or such photographic identification as the RSA may specify in guidelines.

The RSA is a specified body listed in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). 

From 20th May 2018, the RSA guidelines state that a driving licence, passport or Public Services Card may be accepted as a form of photographic identification by persons presenting a vehicle for testing.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (274)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

274. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding pensions for community employment supervisors (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The matter of CE Supervisor Pensions Claim following 2008 Labour Court Recommendation 19293 was the subject of extensive discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which was reconvened to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector and in particular to ensure that the matter of pensions was fully examined, having regard to both costs and precedent in the context of the wider Community and Voluntary sector.

The membership of this Forum includes public service management and union representatives.  The implications arising from this claim extend well beyond the CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors cadre and impact across the entire Community and Voluntary sector.

The reconvening of the High Level Forum is a matter for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and all parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed.  I have asked Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (275)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

275. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49315/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) was received from this lady on the 30th September 2019.  Applications received in mid September 2019 are currently being finalised. The application will be considered by a deciding officer in due course and the decision notified to her as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Tús Programme

Ceisteanna (276)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

276. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an extension will be granted to a person (details supplied) on a Tús scheme. [49352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Tús commenced operation in 2011 as a response to the high level of unemployment and the large numbers on the Live Register.  It is a community work placement initiative which aims to provide short-term work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. 

The duration of the Tús contract is a maximum of 12 months and this ensures that as many people as possible, who are unemployed for over 12 months, are able to benefit from the initiative. There are no circumstances whereby a participant can be allowed to remain on the scheme after they have completed their 12 month contract.

If a person is interested in pursuing a work placement with training and development opportunities, it is open to them to apply for a placement on a Community Employment (CE) scheme. CE participants between 21 and 55 years are entitled to one year on the programme.  This can be extended by up to 2 more years if they are engaged in a recognised training or education award that is helping them progress towards employment.  All CE participants age 55 and over can avail of 3 consecutive years on a CE scheme.  The overall limit of participation on CE is 6 years from 1st January 2007 (7 years if on a disability payment).

Participants aged 62 and over are allowed to participate on a continuous basis up to the State Pension age on the CE Service Support Stream (SSS).  A limited number of SSS places are available and these are subject to certain criteria. 

The Department keeps all aspects of its activation programmes under review to ensure the best outcomes for participants and communities whilst also having regard to the, thankfully, much reduced number of people claiming jobseeker payments and the increasing number of job opportunities.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (277)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

277. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will issue on an invalidity pension claim by a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [49357/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 25 July 2019.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 05 December 2019.  Any arrears due from 25 July 2019 to 04 December 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 25 November 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (278)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

278. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied) which is now under appeal; and if the matter will be expedited in view of the circumstances. [49370/19]

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 person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

Once claims are in payment, the Department periodically reviews them to ensure that there is continued entitlement.  Depending on the circumstances in each case and to make best use of resources, a review may only concentrate on a specific condition of entitlement. 

I am advised that following a review of means, it was determined that the person in respect of whom CA was being paid, was entitled to a lower rate of payment from 8 January 2015 to 12 June 2019, as means from a pension income for his spouse had not been disclosed to my department. As a result it was determined that he had been overpaid €11,578.60 during this period. 

The person concerned was notified on 21 November 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal. A breakdown of the calculation of the debt was enclosed.

To date, no request for an appeal, or further review of the decision has been received by my Department. If the person wishes to pursue an appeal, they should contact the Social Welfare Appeals Office setting out the grounds of their appeal. Alternatively, they can seek a review of the decision if additional relevant information is available. All circumstances outlined to my Department at that time will be considered.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (279)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

279. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a jobseeker's allowance application by a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49374/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned made an application for a Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment on 5 September, 2019.

Insufficient information was provided by the person concerned and this, together with a change in address and telephone number, has led to a delay in processing their claim.  The claim is currently assigned to a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation.  Additional information has been requested by the Inspector and, when it is received, the Inspector will be in a position to finalise their report and submit it to a Deciding Officer for decision. 

While awaiting a decision on their claim, the person concerned has received financial assistance from my Department in the form of Exceptional Needs Payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Defective Building Materials

Ceisteanna (280)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

280. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of the proposed pyrite and mica scheme; the status of the scheme; when affected residents in County Mayo can expect the scheme to be administered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49233/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Last year, the Government agreed in principle to introduce a scheme to support affected homeowners in the counties of Donegal and Mayo to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been significantly damaged due to defective concrete blocks.

Budget 2020 provides funding of €40 million to fund  the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme and this new scheme to address the issues identified in Donegal and Mayo. Funding for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process and additional funding can be provided should it be required.

The full terms and conditions of the scheme are currently being finalised in consultation with the Attorney General's Office and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, including the development of the necessary regulations.

This process takes account of the engagement that my Department is currently having with both Donegal and Mayo County Councils, who will operate and administer the scheme.

In this regard, my Department continues to meet with both local authority teams to conclude implementation arrangements for the scheme.  Further engagement will take place over the coming weeks.

The aim will be to complete the outstanding work without delay in order to ensure that the scheme can get underway as early as possible.