Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (86)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

86. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of employees in his Department dedicated to international financial services, including the funds and asset management industries; the number of open vacancies in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Government’s Strategy for the development of Ireland's international financial services sector to 2025, 'Ireland for Finance', was launched at the end of last April.  The vision of the Strategy is for “Ireland to be a top-tier location of choice for specialist international financial services and to enhance and protect our future competitiveness”.

The Ireland for Finance Strategy was accompanied by an Action Plan containing over 50 action measures for implementation in 2019 across sub-sectors such as banking, investment funds, investment management, insurance, fintech, payments, and aviation leasing.

The Ireland for Finance strategy is led by the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D'Arcy TD. The Ireland for Finance strategy is supported by the public sector High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC), which consists of the senior officials of the Departments of the Taoiseach, of Finance, of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, of Education & Skills, of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and the CEOs of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. The strategy is also supported by an Industry Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives of Irish and international IFS companies. The HLIC and the IAC meet quarterly as the Joint Committee.

The Ireland for Finance (IFF) Strategy includes a commitment under Action 15 (Resourcing of the Department of Finance) to ensure the optimal resources are in place to deliver the objectives of the Ireland for Finance strategy and this is monitored on a continuous basis.

A dedicated International Financial Services (IFS) Unit works on the Ireland for Finance strategy and operates as the Secretariat to the various IFF Committees.  It also coordinates work on IFS with other parts of the Department and the Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. In the promotion of the Ireland for Finance strategy abroad, the IFS Unit act as the key liaison point with the Embassies, Consulates, and the international offices of the Enterprise Agencies, (IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland). It also works closely domestically and internationally with individual businesses, their advisors, and industry representative organisations.

Apart from the dedicated IFS Unit, responsibility for IFS issues is spread across different areas of the Department with associated resourcing, namely: Financial Services Division; Banking Division; and International Finance Division.  Financial Services Division covers funds and asset management, along with insurance.  Banking Division covers banking and payments, while International Finance Division covers Sustainable Finance, FinTech and RegTech.  In addition, there is input from Legal Services and the Department’s Financial Advisory Services across the range of international financial services on particular issues.

Finally, the Department of Finance recently advertised a position for a Communications/Media Manager role who will be appointed in the near future.  This role will be involved in the promotion of IFS with the two Enterprise Agencies and our Embassy network.  An external PR company has also been recently appointed to assist with particular aspects of IFS promotional work.

Central Bank of Ireland Staff

Ceisteanna (87)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

87. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of employees in the Central Bank dedicated to international financial services, including the funds and asset management industries; the number of open vacancies in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49674/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I have been advised by the Central Bank that the current number of employees within the Bank aligned to supervising international financial services, including the funds and asset management industries, is 216 as at the end of October with the number of open vacancies being 9 in these areas.

These teams are supported by Policy, Inspections and analytics teams which contribute to the regulation of both international and national financial services.

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (88)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

88. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he is considering publishing an annual financial services Bill each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The introduction of an Annual Financial Services Bill was a suggestion from some of the industry representative bodies during the consultation process for the development of Ireland for Finance (IFF), the Government's Strategy for the development of Ireland's international financial services sector to 2025 which was launched on 26th April last.

However, there already is a significant amount of legislative work undertaken by the different parts of the Banking/Financial Services Divisions in the Department and the Permanent Representation in Brussels every year.

The vast majority of legislation in financial services is based on European Directives or Regulations. In the first instance, these need to be agreed within Council and with Parliament. This process involves analysis and formulation of legislative proposals, compromise texts, negotiations with different Member States, and engagement with the Central Bank as well as with industry as the legislation is developed at European level.  

After the European Directive/Regulation has been agreed, these have to be then transposed into Irish law via Statutory Instrument (SI) under the European Communities Act 1972 or primary legislation. While European Regulations have direct effect, some provisions of Regulations also have to be transposed by legislation.

The process for transposing European legislation involves decisions on discretions, preparations of consultation papers, engagement with the Central Bank, industry and the Attorney General's office (particularly the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel).

Given the significant amount of work currently being done in the financial services area on legislation on a continuous basis, coupled with the strong element of EU engagement on this legislation, there is no rationale for an Annual Financial Services Bill.

However, in light of the request for this initiative during the development of IFF, the Ireland for Finance Industry Advisory Committee have been tasked with identifying and making submissions on national legislative proposals that they consider important to further develop the operating environment under Action 14 (National legislative and regulatory proposals) of the Ireland for Finance Action Plan for 2019. An update on this measure will be provided as part of the Q4 Progress Report under Ireland for Finance.

Financial Services Sector

Ceisteanna (89)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

89. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans for the funds, asset management and international financial services industries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49676/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Deputy may be aware that the Government’s Strategy for the development of Ireland's international financial services sector to 2025, 'Ireland for Finance', was launched last April.  The vision of the Strategy is for “Ireland to be a top-tier location of choice for specialist international financial services and to enhance and protect our future competitiveness”. 

The Ireland for Finance strategy was accompanied by an Action Plan containing over 50 action measures for implementation in 2019 grouped across the four pillars of the Strategy: operating environment; technology and innovation; talent; and communications and promotion.  The actions cover sub-sectors such as banking, investment funds, investment management, insurance, fintech, payments, and aviation leasing.

As part of the governance structures of the Ireland for Finance strategy, the public sector High-Level Implementation Committee, which is chaired by Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D'Arcy TD, will report to Government every six months on the progress of the annual Action Plans. The first Progress Report under Ireland for Finance covering progress on Q2 & Q3 2019 will go to Government soon and it will be published on relevant Government websites shortly afterwards. 

One of the key measures for 2019 was the introduction of legislation to update the Investment Limited Partnership vehicle in the asset management sector to support the development of the growth finance and funds industry in Ireland.  This legislation was published in recent months and proceeds through the Oireachtas.  Other headline actions in 2019 included the consideration of a stakeholder engagement bodies; and the establishment of a Fintech Foresight Group (the latter is led by industry representative bodies).

The Department of Finance supports the Minister of State in the delivery of the strategy. The Department and the Minister are currently developing Action Plan 2020 under Ireland for Finance by engaging with relevant government departments, agencies, stakeholders and the industry representative bodies for proposals for inclusion in Action Plan 2020.  This will cover developments across the overall IFS sector, including asset management and funds.  In terms of asset management and funds, it should be noted that Ireland is the 3rd largest global investment funds domicile.  In addition, the country has over €4 trillion in fund assets under administration with the largest European domicile for ETFs and a leading location worldwide for hedge fund administration.

Financial services legislation is constantly being updated and amended, including legislation specific to various sectors within the international financial services industry, as well as the transposition of EU Directives and Regulations.

A draft version of Action Plan 2020 will shortly be presented to Ministers D’Arcy and Donohoe and, once cleared by them, it will be submitted to the quarterly Joint Committee meeting (consisting of the public sector High-Level Implementation Committee and Industry Advisory Committee, made up of senior level representatives of Irish and international IFS companies) next month.

Following agreement at the Joint Committee meeting, and subject to any agreed amendments, the draft Action Plan 2020 will be brought to a Cabinet meeting in January 2020 for agreement by the Government.  If the Government agrees to publish the draft Action Plan 2020, it will be launched at the 5th European Financial Forum (EFF) in Dublin Castle next February.

Financial Services Sector

Ceisteanna (90)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

90. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who work in the funds, asset management and international financial services industries by region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

'Ireland for Finance', the Government’s Strategy for the development of Ireland's international financial services sector to 2025 was launched in April of this year. The development of the regions is one of the priorities of the Strategy.

There were approximately 44,000 people in direct employment in the IFS sector at the end of 2018 with one-third of these jobs located outside Dublin.  The sector has a significant presence in a number of regional locations including Cavan, Clare, Cork, Drogheda, Dundalk, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.

A number of international financial services companies have chosen to build centres of excellence in these regional locations, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the higher staff retention rates associated with operations outside of Dublin.  Close connectivity to educational institutions and the development of like-minded business lines in a particular regional hub are also important factors why companies locate in these areas.

The two Enterprise Agencies (IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland) actively promote the advantage of regional locations to both existing and target clients.  IDA Ireland has an active ‘second site’ strategy where companies in Dublin are encouraged and supported to establish a second office in a regional location.

Groups such as State Street in Kilkenny, Northern Trust in Limerick, MetLife in Galway and First Data in Nenagh have successfully established a regional presence through this channel. 

Other public sector bodies that are identified in Ireland for Finance as supporting the Enterprise Agencies include my Department and the nine Regional Skills Fora. At an upcoming meeting, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland will provide an update on employment figures for Q4 of 2019 to the public sector High Level Implementation Committee, which is chaired by Minister of State Michael D’Arcy TD.

However, significant announcements during the year have included the opening of Fundrock’s regional second site in Limerick, where it intends to employ 45 people; Rimes’ decision to establish its first office in Cork; and Japanese company JRI America Inc.’s announcement to further expand its Technology Centre in Tralee, Co. Kerry, creating 100 new jobs over 5 years.

Carne Global, an Irish founded global provider of fund management company solutions to the asset management industry, announced a significant expansion in its Irish operations earlier this year, creating an additional 250 regional jobs over the next three years in the South East.

Opus Fund Services recently announced its decision to establish a regional second site in Wexford, creating 100 jobs while Liberty Insurance announced a 120-person expansion of its office in Cavan in addition to the announcement by DMS Governance that it is to create 50 further jobs in Cashel.

The employment target in Ireland for Finance is to reach 50,000 people in direct employment in the sector by 2025.

Tax Yield

Ceisteanna (91)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

91. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the tax paid by the funds, asset management and international financial services industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49678/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that its primary method of classifying businesses is the European standard NACE code.

I am further advised that the majority of the businesses referred to by the Deputy are included in the ‘financial and insurance activities’ NACE sector. The tax paid by businesses in this sector is available at the following link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/receipts/receipts-sector.aspx.

This link provides the following information.

Tax Paid by Financial and Insurance Activities (€ million)

Year 

VAT Internal

PAYE Income Tax and   USC

Self Employed Income Tax

Corporation Tax

Capital Gains Tax

Overall 

2016 

420.40

2,091.77

103.52

2,064.18

51.43

4,731

2017 

445.52

2,219.15

97.18

2,302.55

51.87

5,116

2018 

381.23

2,255.48

62.69

2,105.40

73.67

4,878

The Deputy may also wish to note the research paper published on the Revenue website in respect of Corporation Tax receipts in 2018, which is available at link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/ct-analysis-2019.pdf. This paper includes information on payments from Section 110 companies (Table 16) and withholding tax in respect of Irish Real Estate Funds (Table 18).

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (92)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

92. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the progress of the legislation governing limited partnerships; if his Department is taking the lead on same: if not, if the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is taking the lead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49679/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Investment Limited Partnership Act 1994 defines Minister as the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. However the Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2019 proposes to amend the Act so that I, as the Minister for Finance, will be the responsible Minister and it is my officials that have been working on the proposed amendments to the Act. My officials have been engaging with the relevant stakeholders on the Bill during the drafting process, which includes the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation.  

The Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill is a priority piece of legislation for Government and the legislation forms part of the Ireland for Finance Strategy. The second stage debate in Dáil Eireann was completed on 18 September 2019.

As the Minister of State outlined during the Second Stage debate, there will be a number of technical changes to be brought forward at Committee Stage.

Departmental Expenditure

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deput

under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (93)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

93. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount spent by his Department and each agency under the aegis of his Department on the National Ploughing Championships in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by online advertising, offline advertising, promotional material, wages, photography, stand rental and other costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49545/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to costs incurred by my Department and the bodies under its aegis on the National Ploughing Championships since 2016 are set out in the table.

The Office of Public Works is currently collating material for this PQ and will respond directly to the Deputy once finalised.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Advertising   (offline)

Promotional   Material

Stand   Rental

Other Costs

Total 

2019

-

€6,214.37

-

€4,650.38

€10,864.75 

2018

-

€1,195.00

-

€713.34

 €1,908.34

2016*

€270.51

-

€1,643.90

€1,742.25

€3,656.66 

Bodies under the aegis: Public Appointments Service

 

 

 

 

 

2017

-

-

€1,400.00

€3,600.00

 €5,000.00

* 2016 costs applicable to the Office of Government Procurement, which is a Division of my Department with its own Vote

In terms of wages, the small number of staff involved in managing a presence at the National Ploughing Championships do so as part of their normal duties.

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

Healthcare Policy

Ceisteanna (94)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

94. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department has evaluated the full costings over the ten-year timeframe provided in the Sláintecare report; his views on whether the costings (details supplied) are accurate for the purposes of implementing the recommendations in the report; the percentage of GDP and GNI modified gross national income public health expenditure would incur if the Sláintecare proposals were implemented in full; if the measures had been in place in 2017 at the time of the publication of the report, the proportion of GDP and GNI modified gross national income that would have been incurred by public health expenditure at that time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49570/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Sláintecare report estimated that the full year cost (by year 10 of a 10-year programme) of implementing all the measures recommended in the report is €2.836 billion. In addition, the all-party Oireachtas Committee recommended that transitional funding of €3 billion over a six-year period would also be required to deliver the Committee’s proposals.  The Committee acknowledged the report that these costings are indicative only.  The Government decided, following the publication of the Report in 2017, that implementation of the Sláintecare proposals, and consequently any evaluation and updating of the indicative cost estimations contained in the original Sláintecare report, are a matter for the Minister for Health in the first instance.

As the Deputy may know, substantial elements of the Sláintecare Report are in progress and are aligned with initiatives currently underway across the Health sector.  In this context, the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy was published in August 2018.  The Implementation Strategy sets out the actions to be taken in the first three years of the Sláintecare implementation process.  It will be further developed into annual action plans, as reform progresses, and the implementation structures are in place with the first Action Plan published.  As these action plans are developed policy proposals will be put forward and, as usual, will be subject to review and examination in my Department with up-to-date cost estimates being developed and evaluated in that context.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (95)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

95. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount to be paid by each religious institution into the residential institutional redress board scheme in tabular form; and the amount paid to date by each religious institution. [49529/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The 18 religious congregations involved in the management of most of the residential institutions in which child abuse took place have made contributions towards the costs incurred by the State in responding to that abuse under two rounds: the legally binging 2002 Indemnity Agreement and the voluntary offers made in 2009 in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the “Ryan Report”).

While the total cost of the State’s response will be in the region of €1.5 billion, the amounts offered by congregations total €480.6 million. To date contributions amounting to some €236 million have been made, in the form of cash, counselling and property transfers.

Some €125 million of the €128 million provided for under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement has been contributed with the transfer of two properties remaining to be fully completed. The cash and counselling contributions received under the Agreement, amounting to some €65 million, were made on a collective basis and accordingly it is not possible to identify the amounts paid by individual congregations.

The offers made in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan Report included cash and properties and were valued by the congregations at €352.6 million. However, when account is taken of offers not accepted and changes in the valuation of properties previously offered and the value of properties offered but not being reckoned as a contribution are taken into account, the total value of the voluntary offers achievable will be lower than the amount of €352.6 million offered. The Religious Sisters of Charity has advised that it was waiving its claim for legal costs from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA) and offsetting this claim against the remaining cash contribution of €3m. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate has advised that it did not seek legal costs from CICA while the Presentation Brothers has refunded its CICA legal costs of €600,000.

Some €111 million of the €352.6 million offered has been received to date, including €108.4 million in cash together with added interest, and properties valued at €2.8 million. Valuations in respect of a number of properties that have fully transferred have yet to be received. The €108.4 million in cash has been contributed by 15 congregations. A final cash payment of €2 million is expected to be received from the Congregation of Christian Brothers in December 2019, while an additional contribution of €1 million is expected to be received from the Presentation Brothers in 2020/2021. The following table summarises the position in regard to cash contributions.

Finally, my Department provides regular updates to Dáil Éireann’s Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) in regard to contribution from religious congregation. The most recent update was provided in October 2019 and may be accessed on my Department’s website and on that of the PAC.

Cash amounts offered by religious congregations on a voluntary basis in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan Report including additional contributions offered (adjusted to reflect certain offers not accepted, legal costs not claimed, etc.). Position at 27 November 2019.

Congregation

Cash Received to date

Cash

Outstanding

Note

Brothers of Charity

€1.5m

Christian Brothers

€28m

€2m

Balance due December 2019

Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul

€9.95m

Daughters of the Heart of Mary

€1.5m

De La Salle Brothers

€1m

Dominican Order

€6.5m

Oblates of Mary Immaculate

€20m

Hospitaller Order of St John of God

€1m

Presentation Brothers

€3.6m

€1m

Balance due 2020 & 2021

Presentation Sisters

€4m

Sisters of Charity

€2m

Sisters of Our Lady of Charity

€1.5m

Sisters of St Clare

€1m

Sisters of St. Louis

€1m

Sisters of Mercy

€25.88m

Additional cash contributions may be received following property disposals

Total

€108.43m

€3.0m

Teacher Training Provision

Ceisteanna (96)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

96. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the terms and conditions announced in budget 2020 for teachers to improve their standard of spoken and written Irish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49459/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I understand that the Deputy is referring in particular to the restoration of the Gaeltacht placement grant for students on State-funded Initial Teacher Education Programmes.

The Gaeltacht placement is crucially important as an immersive Irish language experience for student teachers, to improve their communicative competence in Gaeilge, in the context of their future role as teachers of Irish and other subjects through Irish. It also enhances their understanding of life and culture in the Gaeltacht and the reality of life in bilingual communities.

I was very pleased therefore that Budget 2020 includes a commitment to restore the Gaeltacht grant for students in State-funded primary initial teacher education programmes. The measure will take effect from the academic year 2020/2021.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (97)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

97. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the immediate measures he is taking to resolve the shortage of secondary school places in Skerries, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49507/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development.

Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018 the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Skerries school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

My Department is aware of the enrolment issues in the Skerries area for 2020. In this context, my Department has been in direct contact with the Patron of Skerries Community College in respect of the capacity in the school. Skerries Community College has expressed a willingness to increase its long-term projected enrolment to 1,000 pupils. As a result a permanent extension consisting of 3 general classrooms, 3 SET/Offices, Science Laboratory and prep area, Art room and toilets has been approved by my Department.

Pending the delivery of the permanent extension my Department has also approved interim temporary accommodation consisting of 3 mainstream classrooms with toilets along with the converting an existing space to create a Science laboratory. The Patron of Skerries Community College is currently tendering for the interim accommodation approved. It is expected to have all interim accommodation in place for September 2020.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (98)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

98. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the north Louth Carlingford-Cooley bus route (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49523/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time have been accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Earlier this year, I sanctioned an additional €1m on the school transport budget to allow for temporary alleviation measures to address a shortage of school transport capacity on the post primary scheme in 2019. The cost of these measures has been given to those areas where there was a significant concentration of post-primary children who have paid on time for the 2019/2020 school year and who are attending their second closest school. The area in question did not fall within this criteria.

Summer Works Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (99)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

99. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills the primary and secondary schools in County Donegal that made an application for the 2020 summer works scheme; the works requested by the respective schools which applied for funding; the reason schools failed in their application for works under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49525/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am pleased to advise the Deputy the 24 Schools in County Donegal were approved for funding in Summer 2020 under the summer works Scheme.

Commensurate with the level of funding set aside for the Scheme, applications are being assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the Circular accompanying the Scheme. In that regard, applications submitted for other works will be considered under future rounds of the Summer Works Scheme.

I can confirm that my Department has received 65 applications from schools in Donegal under Summer Works Scheme 2020 onwards, 53 of which are Primary schools and 12 are Post-Primary schools. The remaining applications submitted, for other works, will be considered under future rounds of the Summer Works Scheme.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (100)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

100. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount spent by his Department and each agency under the aegis of his Department on the National Ploughing Championships in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by online advertising, offline advertising, promotional material, wages, photography, stand rental and other costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49538/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available at the moment due to the number of agenices involved. A response will issue directly to the Deputy once the information has been collated.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (101)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

101. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of funding for school buildings (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49567/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the National Development Plan, increased funding has been provided for the school sector capital investment programme. This funding allows for a continued focus on the provision of new permanent school places to keep pace with demographic demand and also provides for an additional focus on the refurbishment of existing school buildings, to include the building and modernisation of PE facilities.

Under Project Ireland 2040, we will invest €8.4 billion in primary and post primary school buildings. The government is committed to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, escalating in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period.

The provision of general purpose rooms and PE Halls form part of the accommodation brief for all newly established schools. These facilities may also form part of the overall accommodation brief for major capital extensions to existing schools.

These measures will ensure that students in all post-primary schools can have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of PE as a Leaving Certificate subject.

Details of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

School Transport Eligibility

Ceisteanna (102)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

102. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of school transport for a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49602/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. Under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application process on time have been accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Bus Éireann have advised that the pupil referred to by the Deputy lives 8.4kms from his nearest school and 12kms from the school he is attending. The pupil was unsuccessful in obtaining a concessionary seat for the 2019/20 school year and a refund has been issued by Bus Eireann.

Earlier this year, I sanctioned an additional €1m on the school transport budget to allow for temporary alleviation measures to address a shortage of school transport capacity on the post primary scheme in 2019. The cost of these measures has been given to those areas where there was a significant concentration of post-primary children who have paid on time for the 2019/2020 school year and who are attending their second closest school. The area in question did not fall within this criteria.

School Transport Eligibility

Ceisteanna (103)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

103. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49608/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. Under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann have advised that this pupil is attending his nearest post primary school and that following a restructure of services by Bus Éireann, the pupil that the Deputy refers to, can now be accommodated on a service. Bus Éireann will be in contact with the family in regard to transport arrangements.

Third Level Participation

Ceisteanna (104)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

104. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact that recent HEA research indicates that students from better-off backgrounds dominate university courses with high points entry requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49618/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The vision of the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2019 (National Access Plan) is to ensure that the student body participating in, and completing, higher education at all levels reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population. Goal 3 of the Plan is to “gather accurate data and evidence on access and participation and to base policy on what that data tells us”. The HEA’s recently published Spatial and Socio-Economic Profile of Higher Education Institutions in Ireland arises from the implementation of this goal and the publication of a data access plan in 2018. The report enhances understanding of how socio-economic background and levels of disadvantage have impacted on rates of participation in higher education.

The findings in the report show the extent of diversity of the student population in our higher education institutions as well as the diversity of the institutions. This is the first year this type of data is available so it is only possible to establish trends when more years of data become available.

This report is not the only source of data in relation to the socio-economic background of our higher education student population. The socio-economic data where we have an established trend shows that there are improvements being made in access to higher education from target socio-economic groups. Specifically, the Progress Review of the National Access Plan published in December 2018 showed an increase in participation by people disadvantaged by socio-economic backgrounds in the following groups:

Non-manual worker group: 23% in 2012/13, 27% in 2016/17

Semi/unskilled manual worker group: 26% in 2012/13, 36% in 2016/17

It is also important to recognise and acknowledge that higher education is not the only option for school leavers. Further education, apprenticeships and progression to the labour market are all equally important, valid and worthwhile alternative options.

A number of initiatives are in place to support increased participation in higher education by under-represented groups including those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and communities e.g. Student Assistance Fund, HEAR, and the more recent PATH Fund.

The report provides a key evidence base that will help policymakers in the HEA and Department of Education and Skills as well access services in higher education institutions to develop a better understanding of the levels of socio-economic disadvantage in our communities and regions. In particular, the data in the report will support institutions to develop more targeted approaches to widening access in their regions.

School Transport Eligibility

Ceisteanna (105)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

105. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49621/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of the Department's School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children with special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability.

In general, children with special educational needs are eligible for school transport if they are attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet their special educational needs. Eligibility is determined following consultation with the National Council for Special Education through its network of Special Education Needs Organisers (SENO).

The pupil in question was deemed ineligible for school transport under the terms of the above scheme as, per the infomation provided in the application, he is not attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet his special educational needs.

The decision was referred to the School Transport Appeal Board and the appeal was disallowed by the Board.

The terms of the school transport scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (106)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

106. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to re-open a scheme to regularise non-EEA nationals; if the scope of the previous scheme (details supplied) will be widened; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49463/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Special Scheme for Students was launched on 15 October 2018 and closed on 20 January 2019. Approximately 3,100 applications were received under this Scheme comprising of former students and their family members.

I am informed that, to date, my Department has made a decision on 2,969 cases of which 2,153 have been granted.  The remaining applications are currently being processed.

I have no plans at this time to widen the scope or criteria of that scheme or to provide for further applications under the scheme outside of the closing date.

Garda National Immigration Bureau

Ceisteanna (107)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

107. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons are queueing for hours each week in order to secure an appointment with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, Cork; his plans to improve the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49473/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department register persons residing in the Dublin area only. The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) are solely responsible for registering persons who reside in the Cork area. 

However, the issues in Cork have been brought to my attention.  I have had enquiries made and I am assured that the GNIB are aware of the issue and are seeking to address the situation.  

Queries in relation to GNIB appointments outside Dublin should be made to the individual Garda Station dealing with such appointments. Further information is available on the Registration pages of the Immigration Service website. 

An enquiry can also be made to GNIB at the following email address: gnib_dv@garda .ie.  

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider  using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is , in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda National Immigration Bureau

Ceisteanna (108)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

108. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff working in the Garda National Immigration Bureau offices in Cork and Dublin over the past year in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49474/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is important to be clear that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. With the benefit of this investment, An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. We currently have approximately 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff. A further almost 200 probationer Gardaí are scheduled to attest as members tomorrow, 29 November. As part of the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, there is also ongoing recruitment of Garda staff.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the number of Gardaí assigned to the Garda National Immigration Bureau on a national level as at 31 October 2018 and 31 October 2019.

G.N.I.B.

Garda

Sergeant

Inspector

Superintendent

Chief Superintendent

Total

31/10/2018

96

14

3

2

1

116

31/10/2019

94

13

4

2

1

114

I am further advised that there were 18 Garda staff members assigned to the Garda National Immigration Bureau at 31 October 2018 and this number remains unchanged at 31 October 2019.

Garda Vetting Applications

Ceisteanna (109)

James Lawless

Ceist:

109. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a Garda vetting application by a person (details supplied). [49479/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

First I would confirm that the processing of vetting applications by the National Vetting Bureau is an operational matter for the Garda authorities and is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and other relevant law, including the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016.

My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.

Second, it is important to note that vetting and security clearance form part of Garda recruitment processes. I would not be appropriate to comment on any individual case.

Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. The Public Appointments Service (PAS), on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, manages the initial recruitment stages for selection of Garda Trainees with the final stages of the recruitment process in which candidates are vetted, complete a physical competency test and a medical examination, managed by the Commissioner. As Minister, I have no direct involvement in the matter.

Subject to final approval by An Garda Síochána, successful applicants from these campaigns are considered first for intakes into the Garda College, in accordance with the candidate's place on the Order of Merit. There is no set time frame for offers to applicants as this is dependent on their files being fully completed and the intake dates into the Garda College. All applicants remain on the panel until such time as they are offered a place in the Garda College, with the exception of those who are deemed unsuitable, fail the Medical or Physical Competence Test (PCT) or withdraw from the competition.

I would advise any candidate for a position as a Garda trainee to contact the PAS or the Garda Appointments Office, depending on the relevant stage of the application process, if they have any queries in relation to their application.

Prisoner Transfers

Ceisteanna (110)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

110. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application by a person (details supplied) to transfer to an Irish prison under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act 1995; the reason the application has been in the Office of the Chief State Solicitor for at least 12 months; when it will conclude its consideration of the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49495/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that they are aware of the application referred to.

I am informed by the Prison Service that the Chief State Solicitor's Office has confirmed that its consideration of the legal issues involved is being expedited.

The Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to address the individual case or give a date for completion of consideration of the matter at this time.