Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (329)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

329. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in her Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The information requested is being collated by officials in my Department and I will revert to the Deputy in due course.

Child and Family Agency Data

Ceisteanna (330, 331)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

330. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of non-historical abuse reported to Tusla under the mandatory reporting requirements of an organisation (details supplied) in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52428/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

331. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of active investigations that have arisen from referrals to Tusla from an organisation (details supplied) relating to cases of non-historical abuse that have been reported in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52427/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 330 and 331 together.

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

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (332)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

332. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the capital allocation of his Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52217/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Expenditure Report 2020, which was published as part of Budget 2020, sets out proposed capital allocations in respect of my Department to 2022. These proposed allocations are presented in the following table and mirror those detailed in the National Development Plan.

The capital allocation of €150 million for 2020 represents a €12 million increase on the 2019 capital allocation. Further detail on the allocation of capital funding for 2020 across programmes and schemes will be set out in the Revised Estimates to published shortly by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

All future capital allocations for 2021 and beyond in respect of my Department will fall to be considered as part of the annual estimates processes.

2020

2021

2022

DRCD

€150m

€152m

€185

Community Services Programme Expenditure

Ceisteanna (333)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

333. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the current and capital expenditure allocated to the community services programme in each of the years 2016 to 2019; the amount expended in each year in tabular form; and the number of participants and approved projects by county each year. [52384/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Community Services Programme (CSP) transferred to my Department on 1 January 2018. It supports community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. Funding is provided towards the costs of employing a manager and a specified number of full-time employees(FTEs). Almost €47 million will be available to support community organisations under the programme in 2020.

CSP funding is current with no capital expenditure. The 2016-2019 allocations and outturns are set out in Table 1 below. This allocation also includes the fee paid to Pobal to administer the CSP on behalf of my Department.

Table 2 below sets out the number of organisations, managers and full-time equivalents (FTEs) per County for 2016 - 2018 and with an estimate for 2019.

Table 1 - 2016-2019 Allocations and Outturn

Year

Allocation

Outturn

2016

€45.19m

€43.644m

2017

€46.19m

€42.455m

2018

€46.19m

€43.525m

2019

€46.19m

-

Table 2 - Expenditure per county with the number of organisations, managers and FTEs.

2016

County

Number of Service providers

Managers

FTE's

Carlow

4

3

18

Cavan

3

1

29

Clare

10

8

51

Cork

25

15

95

Donegal

38

31

117.5

Dublin

68

54

365

Galway

20

17

70

Kerry

16

13

83

Kildare

5

3

18

Kilkenny

6

4

15

Laois

5

3

13

Leitrim

16

11

47

Limerick

16

9

48

Longford

6

3

20

Louth

11

6

63

Mayo

33

28

128

Meath

9

7

37

Monaghan

10

8

44

Offaly

13

10

42

Roscommon

19

15

77

Sligo

8

6

24.5

Tipperary

10

6

26

Waterford

12

7

33

Westmeath

12

11

47

Wexford

17

13

99.5

Wicklow

12

11

76

Total

404

303

1687

2017

County

Number of Service providers

Managers

FTE's

Carlow

5

3

13

Cavan

3

1

23

Clare

10

7

49

Cork

27

15

101

Donegal

36

30

114

Dublin

64

52

357

Galway

19

17

72

Kerry

19

12

80

Kildare

5

3

18

Kilkenny

7

4

15

Laois

5

3

13

Leitrim

15

11

47

Limerick

15

9

49

Longford

6

3

20

Louth

11

6

62

Mayo

31

27

124

Meath

9

8

37

Monaghan

10

8

44

Offaly

13

10

41

Roscommon

18

15

77

Sligo

8

6

25

Tipperary

10

6

25

Waterford

12

7

31

Westmeath

12

10.5

43

Wexford

17

13

99

Wicklow

13

11

77

Total

400

298

1656

2018

County

Number of Service providers

Managers

FTE's

Carlow

4

2

11.5

Cavan

4

2

7

Clare

10

7

46

Cork

28

16

99

Donegal

36

31

115

Dublin

71

55

366

Galway

18

17

71

Kerry

18

11

75

Kildare

5

3

17.5

Kilkenny

6

4

17.5

Laois

5

4

13

Leitrim

16

11

45

Limerick

18

10

51

Longford

6

3

20

Louth

10

5

61

Mayo

34

27

124

Meath

9

7

37

Monaghan

10

8

44

Offaly

12

9

40.5

Roscommon

17

15

77.5

Sligo

8

6

26.5

Tipperary

10

6

24.5

Waterford

15

8.5

39

Westmeath

12

10.5

40.5

Wexford

18

13

98

Wicklow

13

11.5

78.5

Total

413

302.5

1645.5

2019 Estimates

County

Number of Service providers

Managers

FTE's

Carlow

4

2

13

Cavan

4

2

8

Clare

11

7

46

Cork

30

17

102

Donegal

36

31

115

Dublin

71

54

376

Galway

19

16.5

75

Kerry

18

9.25

71

Kildare

5

3

18

Kilkenny

7

4.25

19

Laois

5

4

13

Leitrim

17

13

47.5

Limerick

20

12.5

59

Longford

6

3

18

Louth

12

5.5

62

Mayo

35

27

126

Meath

9

7

40

Monaghan

11

8

44

Offaly

13

11

42.5

Roscommon

18

15

80

Sligo

9

6

29

Tipperary

10

6

24

Waterford

14

9

36

Westmeath

11

10

37.5

Wexford

18

13

97

Wicklow

13

10

65.5

Total

426

306

1664

Community Services Programme

Ceisteanna (334)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

334. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the review of the community services programme; and when it will be completed. [52385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Community Services Programme, or CSP, supports around 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model, with funding provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions. Almost €47 million will be available to support community organisations under the programme in 2020.

Indecon Consultants, who are carrying out an independent review of the CSP, are currently finalising their report which I expect to receive in the coming weeks. This will help inform my decisions on the future shape and structure of the programme. I will be examining the recommendations in the report, early in the new year, with a view to beginning the process of making any necessary changes during 2020.

Pending the revision of the Programme, I announced recently that I will be providing €1m under the CSP Support Fund in 2020 to those organisations struggling financially.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (335)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

335. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52408/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017. The Department issued two corporate credit cards in June 2018; one to the Minister's Office and the second for use by the Department's Finance Unit. Total expenditure on the cards amounted to €7,777.12 in 2018 and €19,621.92 to date in 2019. No interest expense has accrued to date as the account has been cleared on a monthly basis.

Robust internal financial control procedures are in place in the Department to ensure that expenditure on departmental credit cards is strictly limited to official expenditure in accordance with a departmental credit card policy. Approval is required from the relevant budget holder prior to incurring expenditure. Credit card statements are closely monitored to ensure that cards are used for official purposes only and that any expense is necessarily incurred in the performance of official duties. Receipts are retained and matched against individual credit card transactions following receipt of the monthly statement. Finally, credit card expenditure is subject to both internal audit, and external audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

With regard to agencies of the Department, the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies requires that effective systems of internal financial controls are established as part of governance arrangements within each body. This requirement has been brought to the attention of agencies under the aegis of the Department. In line with the Code of Practice, the development of and compliance with effective internal control procedures, including policy on credit card expenditure, is a matter for each agency.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (336)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

336. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52180/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that an application from this gentleman for disability allowance (DA) was received by the Department on 26 September 2019.

The processing time for individual DA claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim.

The application has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances. Once the SWI has submitted his/her report to DA section, a decision will be made on the application and this gentleman will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (337)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

337. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the capital allocation of her Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52210/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department’s capital allocation for the years 2020 to 2022 is outlined in the following table. To date, there is no allocation for 2023-2025. However, this is subject to ongoing review in the context of the annual Estimates process.

It is intended that the allocation will primarily assist the Department in delivering additional IT modernisation and allow for the refurbishment of Departmental buildings in the coming years.

2020

2021

2022

€15m

€16m

€17m

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (338)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

338. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an appeal of the decision made in the case of a person (details supplied) will be commenced regarding the payment of a carer's allowance for their spouse; and if an oral hearing will be arranged. [52279/19]

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. My department received a request for review and on 4 December 2019 the person concerned was notified that the decision remained unchanged.

To date, no request for an appeal 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.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (339)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

339. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a pro-rata UK and Irish contributory pension. [52284/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned applied for state pension (contributory) on 15 October 2019. According to the records of my Department, they have a total of 360 full-rate paid Irish contributions. Based on their Irish contribution history only, they do not qualify for an Irish state pension (contributory). A minimum of 520 full-rate paid contributions is required. Written notification of this decision issued to the person concerned on 29 October 2019.

Under European Union Regulations, a person’s social insurance record in one or more EU countries can be combined with their Irish social insurance record, to determine entitlement to a proportional or pro rata pension. As the person concerned has a UK social insurance record, details of their UK contribution history have been requested from the UK pension authority.

My Department has been in ongoing contact with the UK Department of Work and Pensions to obtain the relevant UK contribution record. The person’s entitlement to an EU pro rata pension state pension (contributory) will be determined when this record is made available. The person will then be notified in writing of the outcome without delay.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (340)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

340. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a partial capacity benefit claim by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Partial Capacity Benefit from the person concerned was received on the 3rd December 2019.

This application is currently being processed. I am advised that this is being dealt with as a matter of urgency and that the person concerned will be notified as soon as a decision has been made.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (341)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

341. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied). [52304/19]

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 CA from the person concerned on 12 July 2019, in respect of two care recipients.

In the case of the first care recipient, the application was awarded to the person concerned on 11 December 2019 with effect from 4 April 2019. The first payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 2 January 2020.

In the case of the second care recipient, the application was awarded to the person concerned on 11 December 2019 with effect from 4 October 2018. The first payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 2 January 2020.

Arrears of allowance due from 4 October 2018 to 1 January 2020 will issue shortly.

The person concerned was notified on 11 December 2019 of these decisions, the reasons for them and of his right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (342)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

342. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for a carer’s allowance by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52305/19]

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.

The person concerned has been in receipt of payment for one care recipient since 2 May 2014. I confirm that my department received an application for CA for a second care recipient from the person concerned on 15 July 2019.

The application was awarded to the person concerned on 11 December 2019 and the first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 19 December 2019.

Arrears of allowance due from 18 July 2019 to 18 December 2019 will also issue to her nominated bank account on 19 December 2019.

The person concerned was notified on 11 December 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (343)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

343. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a proposal to deal with an overpayment of a pension in the case of a person (details supplied); and if the offer to settle will be accepted. [52310/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides that the personal representative of a deceased person, who at any time received a social assistance scheme payment, such as state pension (non-contributory), is obliged to give notice to my Department of their intention to distribute the deceased's estate and to provide a schedule of the assets of the estate. On examination of the schedule of assets, if it is found that not all of the deceased’s means had been disclosed, or if the values of previously assessed means had changed, my Department will seek to recover any monies overpaid from the estate.

The deceased person concerned was a recipient of state pension (non-contributory). On examination of the schedule of assets of their estate, a review of their state pension entitlement was undertaken and an overpayment assessed. An agreed repayment amount has been accepted by the Recovery Officer on 28 November 2019. A letter of clearance issued on that date to the deceased's personal representative, and a copy issued to the solicitor representing the estate.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (344)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

344. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision will be issued relative to an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if the matter will be expedited. [52311/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that two appeals were registered in the name of the person concerned as they had applied for carer's allowance in respect of two carees. I am also advised that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, including that adduced at the oral hearing, decided to allow the appeals of the person concerned. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decisions.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Ceisteanna (345)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

345. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for a payment under appeal in the name of a person (details supplied) will be expedited. [52312/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 26 November 2019. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

I have also been advised that if this person's family is experiencing financial hardship it is open to them to visit their local Community Welfare Officer and discuss their circumstances with them in respect of the availability of supplementary welfare allowance.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ceisteanna (346)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

346. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the maximum State pension and free schemes are being paid to a person (details supplied); and if they are in receipt of all benefits. [52313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned is in receipt of the maximum rate of State pension (contributory), together with fuel allowance, increase for living alone and telephone support allowance.

They are also in receipt of the Household Benefits Package and Free Travel.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Ceisteanna (347)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

347. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if payment of a State pension will resume in the case of a person (details supplied). [52314/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 3 December 2019 and that the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in the light of all of the evidence submitted, including that adduced at the oral hearing. The person concerned will be notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision when the appeal has been determined.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (348)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

348. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in her Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52401/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department currently has five credit cards issued to officials in the Department.

The amount spent on credit cards in each year from 2016 to 2018 and to date in November 2019 is set out below in tabular format:

Year

Amount €

2016

€135,620

2017

€120,216

2018

€159,729

2019 YTD November

€165,192

The bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016 is set out below:

Year

Amount €

2016

€9.68

2017

€1.24

2018

€113.60

2019 YTD November

Nil

The following controls are in place to ensure the issuing of credit cards are necessary and duly approved:

(i) A business case requesting the credit card is put forward in writing for approval;

(ii) The Principal Officer in the Department's Accounts Branch approves all new credit card applications before they are issued;

(iii) Copies of signatories from the staff member receiving the credit card and their approver is obtained and kept on file in Accounts Branch;

(iv) Finally, a credit card usage compliance form is signed by the staff member stating that the credit card is for business use only.

The following controls are in place to ensure expenditure is controlled and monitored:

(i) All transactions appearing on credit card bills must be signed off and payment sanctioned by the relevant staff member's Principal or Assistant Principal (whoever is appropriate) before Accounts Branch will issue a payment on the card.

Credit card issue and corresponding expenditure are wholly and exclusively for Departmental business.