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Gnáthamharc

Tuesday, 1 Jun 2021

Written Answers Nos. 463-487

Protected Disclosures

Question No. 464 answered with Question No. 446.

Ceisteanna (463)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

463. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of protected disclosures made to her Department in each of the past five years and to date in 2021. [29641/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The number of protected disclosure submissions made to DSP, as requested by the Deputy, is set out in the table beneath.

Year

Received

Comments 

2016

1

 

2017

10

 

2018

16

 

2019

9

 

2020

1

 

2021

3

To 28 May

Total

40

 

Submissions made under the protected disclosure procedures generally related to financial or other governance or administrative processes, but also included matters relating to: freedom of information procedures; PRSI classification policy; accounting and budgeting procedures; and staff working procedures.  They also included issues that were assessed as personal matters or matters not relevant to DSP.

25 submissions were made by Department middle manager grade.  All were from one staff member.

6 submissions were received from former or retired staff.  All were from 2 individuals.

5 submissions were from employment services contractor staff.

2 submissions were received from Department clerical/administrative grades.

2 were received anonymously.

Question No. 464 answered with Question No. 446.

Social Welfare Benefits

Question No. 466 answered with Question No. 465.

Ceisteanna (465, 466)

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

465. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of recipients of the short-time work support jobseeker’s benefit in 2021; and the number of recipients by county and month in tabular form. [29720/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

466. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of recipients of the short-time work support jobseeker’s benefit in 2021; and the number of recipients per employment sector or industry by month in tabular form. [29721/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 465 and 466 together.

Over the course of 2021, 6,840 people have been supported by the Short Time Work Support Scheme. The additional information requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables below.

Table 1: Short Time Work Support by Month and by County  

table1

Table 2: Short Time work Support by Month and by Sector of last known employer  

table2

Question No. 466 answered with Question No. 465.

Social Welfare Code

Ceisteanna (467)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

467. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection the process for a person to claim a jobseeker’s payment in which they are laid off for one day at a time over a period of months with very little notice in circumstances in which the person is working shift work on a 3 day 12 hour shift pattern and 1 day off represents a third of their working week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29852/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

Customers are entitled to apply for a Jobseekers' payment while on reduced hours.  Entitlement to a Jobseekers' payment is subject to the normal qualifying conditions as set out in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, including Section 62.  There are 3 categories of claimant who may qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit while partially employed - short-time workers, part-time workers and casual workers.

Short-Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker's Benefit and is an income support payment for people who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer i.e. where for the time being the number of days systematically worked in a working week is less than the number of days normally worked.  Short-Time Work must be systematic and show a clear repetitive pattern of employment.  Employees must also work at least 1 day in each week that would normally have been worked.

A person who works on a part-time basis and is employed for a set number of days each week and knows the days on which they will be employed may receive a jobseeker's payment as a part-time worker. 

People who are classified as casual workers are normally employed for periods of less than a week, they do not know the number of days or the days of the week on which they will be employed as this varies with the level of activity in the employer’s business there is no set roster in place for the period.  In addition, on the termination of each period of employment the person has no assurance of being re-employed with the same employer.

Jobseekers payment are made in respect of days of unemployment and are not based on the number of hours per day or the shift pattern normally worked by the claimant.

When the person concerned is laid off they should contact their local Intreo office and make a claim for a Jobseeker payment.  

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  

Direct Provision System

Question No. 469 answered with Question No. 468.

Ceisteanna (468, 469)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

468. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the poll carried out by a group (details supplied) showing that access to period products is still an issue in some direct provision centres. [29117/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

469. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the way he plans to safeguard against the possibility that some direct provision centres are invoicing his Department for costs but could still be charging residents under the point system. [29118/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 468 and 469 together.

I am aware of the poll and of the newspaper article referred to by the Deputy relating to the availability of period products in our International Protection accommodation centres. 

All our accommodation providers have been contacted recently and they all confirmed that period products are provided to residents free of charge. The International Protection Procurement Service (IPSS) of my Department has not received any further invoices for period products since my last reply to the Deputy on 18 May 2021 on this matter (Question 581 refers).

The IPSS will continue to monitor the invoices in respect of period products on a regular basis to check the position in those centres who have yet to invoice the Department.

This is a matter that my Department does not take lightly. If the Deputy is aware of any accommodation centre charging residents for period products, I would appreciate if he could inform my officials in the IPSS. Equally, if any resident is being charged for period products, they should notify IPAS either through contacting them directly at ipasinbox@equality.gov.ie or alternatively through the confidential helpline being provided though the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Question No. 469 answered with Question No. 468.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (470)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

470. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of data breaches in Tusla in each of the past five years and to date in 2021. [29130/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018 requires parties to “document any personal data breaches, comprising the facts relating to the personal data breach”. GDPR came into force across the European Union on 25 May 2018 and Tusla has been collecting the required data. Tusla has advised that information on breaches was not routinely collected in the years prior to the introduction of GDPR. Accordingly, the information requested by the Deputy is not available for the years 2016 and 2017.

Tusla has advised of the following number of data breaches in the years 2018 to date (up to 22 April 2021):

Year

Count

2018 (01/01 – 24/05)

data not available

2018 (25/05 – 31/12)

71

2019

130

2020

362

2021 (01/01 – 22/04)

109

 

Tusla's work involves the receipt, processing and storage of a large volume of highly sensitive and confidential personal data. The handling and protection of personal data in a safe and responsible way is the responsibility of each staff member in the organisation. Tusla regrets that data breaches can occur and the significant impact they may have on service users who are affected. Tusla has established a dedicated GDPR programme for the Agency, in order to enhance its compliance with GDPR, and to drive improvements across the organisation in this area.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (471)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

471. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the steps he will take to ensure the preservation of confidential files maintained by Tusla in view of the recent cyber-attack perpetrated on the HSE and Tusla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29131/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As an independent agency, Tusla has responsibility for its own ICT function and has engaged with the HSE, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Gardaí in relation to this incident. My officials and I have been in daily contact with Tusla and our partners in government since being alerted to the attack on the 14th May, to ensure the risks can be mitigated as much as possible and frontline services can be maintained. I will continue to receive updates on this matter as this work progresses.

The Deputy will be aware of Tusla's Data Management Strategy 2019 – 2022. The Strategy includes a a focus on Data Security Management with a view to minimising the risk of inappropriate access to Tusla data. The timescale and processes contained within the strategy will be reviewed in light of the impact on Tusla of the cyber attack on the HSE. 

I'd also like to confirm that the High Court injunction obtained by the HSE requiring anyone in possession of stolen data not to disclose or trade in it also applies to data relating to Tusla, the Child and Family.

Childcare Services

Ceisteanna (472)

Claire Kerrane

Ceist:

472. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the status of the review into structures of county childcare committees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29132/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

In 'First Five, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families', which was launched in November 2018, my Department committed to completing a comprehensive review of the operating model for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) in this country. This includes, amongst other organisations, the 30 City/County Childcare Committees funded by my Department to act as its local agent in the delivery of the national early education and childcare programmes and the implementation of Government policy.

The ELC and SAC sector in Ireland has grown substantially in the past decade. The review's objective is to ensure that the operating model is fit for purpose to implement Departmental childcare policy relating to quality, affordability and access, to the scale and standards required in an evolving and expanding sector, with the citizens of Ireland at its heart as core beneficiaries.

The final operating system will support high quality, accessible and affordable ELC and SAC services to children and families through the efficient and effective administration of a number of programmes, schemes, quality initiatives, and other functions such a compliance and communications. This operating model will support service providers, operate transparently and accountably, provide value for money to the Exchequer and demonstrate good governance. The model will also enable appropriate linkages and effective working relationships with all other agencies and Departments charged with delivering better outcomes for children and families.

An independent external contractor has been engaged by my Department to undertake an analysis of the current landscape and consideration of options for a future operating model. In this regard the review will aim to explore a variety of options in relation to how best the ELC and SAC operating model can be overseen by my Department in the coming years.

I am pleased to report that this review is well underway, and is due to conclude in the coming months.

Assisted Human Reproduction

Ceisteanna (473)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

473. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he considered a report (details supplied); if he has taken action in response to the report to ensure that children born through assisted human reproduction have their rights ensured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29141/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Special Rapporteur on Child Protection reviews and reports to Government on specific national and international legal developments, existing or proposed legislative provisions and litigation in the area of child protection on the request of the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

A review of children’s rights and best interests in the context of parentage in cases of donor-assisted human reproduction, including surrogacy, was assigned to the Special Rapporteur as a priority project in June 2020 by the then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The project was assigned following a request from the Department of Health and consultation with relevant Departments. A review of how children’s rights and best interests can be protected in the context of the recognition of parentage in cases of assisted human reproduction and surrogacy is a commitment in the Programme for Government.

The Special Rapporteur submitted his report, A Review of Children’s Rights and Best Interests in the Context of Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction (DAHR) and Surrogacy in Irish Law to me in December 2020 and Cabinet approved the publication and presentation to each House of the Oireachtas of the report in March 2021. The report analyses the law governing parentage and the right to identity in DAHR and surrogacy from the best interests of the child principle. The recommendations in the report are primarily for the Department of Health to lead on with input from the Department of Justice.

The Department of Health has responsibility for drafting legislation in the area of assisted human reproduction. However, the issues involved cross a number of Departments, including the Department of Justice and my own Department. I continue to engage with my Cabinet colleagues on this issue, and seek to ensure that any legislation in the area vindicates the rights and best interests of the child.

Traveller Community

Ceisteanna (474)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

474. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the No End in Sight report from the Ombudsman for Children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29254/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The  “No End in Site” report from the Ombudsman for Children which centred on the living conditions of children on a local authority halting site makes for very difficult reading and highlights the need for continued work in supporting the Traveller Community in Ireland.

You will appreciate that responsibility for Housing rests with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and with the relevant Local Authority. I am assured by my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage that his Department is in ongoing communication with the relevant local authority to provide the necessary supports so as to ensure that the recommendations made in the report are implemented in a timely manner.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of the Traveller and Roma Communities in Ireland. The Government strategy to further this goal is the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) 2017 – 2021. The Strategy brings government departments and agencies together along with representatives of both Traveller and Roma communities.

The NTRIS contains 149 actions, grouped under ten themes including Cultural Identity, Education Employment, Health and Accommodation. It is the responsibility of the respective Government Departments and Agencies to deliver on the Actions contained in the Strategy and to provide updates on progress through the Steering Committee which I chair.

The Programme for Government commits to a Review of the Strategy which is coming to an end this year. This will be an independent review of NTRIS which will be undertaken later this year. I am committed to consulting with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the next iteration of NTRIS will have a stronger outcomes focused approach.

Child Protection

Ceisteanna (475)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

475. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 12 May 2021, the outstanding issues that need to be resolved before the State can proceed to ratify the Second Optional Protocol on the UNCRC which includes the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29281/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department made a comprehensive submission to the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 seeking confirmation as to whether Ireland was in a position to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The advice received from the AGO stated that while Ireland is largely compliant with the terms of the Protocol, there are some outstanding issues that need to be resolved before the State can proceed to ratification.

My Department has been liaising closely with the Department of Justice as the outstanding issues identified by the AGO fall within their remit.

 The Department of Justice is examining what legislative amendments may be required to ensure that the full range of offences covered by the Protocol can be prosecuted on an organised and transnational basis. 

 We hope to resolve these issues as soon as possible and I will subsequently seek Government approval for ratification at the earliest opportunity.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (476)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

476. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the nature of the data breaches experienced by his Department since 2018. [29303/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can inform the Deputy that of the 46 data breaches that have occurred since 2018 in my Department, 29 of these breaches were deemed to be ‘No Risk’ breaches. The remaining 17 breaches were notified to the Data Protection Commission, in line with its policy that breaches deemed to be ‘Low Risk’ or higher must be notified to it by data controllers. Of those 17 notified breaches, 13 were categorised as ‘Low Risk’, 3 were categorised as ‘Medium Risk’, and 1 was categorised as ‘High Risk’.

The majority of the breaches that have occurred in my Department in the period referred to, were as a result of administrative error. These were generally where an email (or attachment) was sent to an incorrect recipient, where an intended recipient incorrectly received data as part of an email attachment, or where an intended recipient inadvertently had sight of the full email recipient list.

Childcare Services

Ceisteanna (477)

Chris Andrews

Ceist:

477. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the crèche facilities that are available for a child (details supplied) who is on the autism spectrum level 1 given their parents have been unable to source a placement to meet the needs of the child. [29356/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

My Department does not have a role in finding places for children in early learning and care or school-age childcare facilities - this is a matter between the parents and a provider. If the parents are experiencing a difficulty in finding a place in an early learning and care or school-age childcare setting they can contact their local City /County Childcare Committee (contact details at myccc.ie/) who will try to assist them in finding a suitable place.

If the parents are seeking a place for their child in primary school or in early intervention class in a school setting, supports are available through the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), affiliated to the Department of Education. If so, I would recommend the parents to contact their local Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) for further assistance. The local SENO contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.

Many children with disabilities, including autism, take part in mainstream early learning and care services. Participation of children with disabilities in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) universal pre-school programme in mainstream preschool settings is supported by the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). The key objective of AIM is to support early learning and care providers to deliver an inclusive preschool experience, ensuring that children with a disability can fully participate in the ECCE Programme, thereby reaping the benefits of quality preschool provision. More information about the supports under AIM are available at aim.gov.ie.

Eligibility for AIM supports is linked to participation in the universal ECCE pre-school programme. ECCE is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range. A child must have reached 2 years and 8 months of age on or prior to 31 August of the relevant programme year to be eligible for the September start date, and a child cannot turn 5 years and 6 months of age during the course of the ECCE programme year.

Youth Services

Ceisteanna (478)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

478. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he has been appraised of the challenges facing communities with underage antisocial behaviour in locations (details supplied); if funding will be made available under UBU your place-your space to work with marginalised, disadvantaged or vulnerable young persons in these communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29470/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Deputy may wish to also refer to my colleague the Minister for Justice, who has responsibility for overarching national strategies to tackle antisocial behaviour and crime, including among young people. I will set out for the Deputy what is being done in this respect by youth services.

My Department currently allocates targeted youth funding of €41.8 million via the UBU Your Place Your Space scheme, which became operational on 1 July 2020. The mission of the scheme is to provide out-of-school supports to marginalised, disadvantaged or vulnerable young people in their communities to enable them to overcome adverse circumstances and achieve their full potential. There is clear evidence that participation in youth work develops a young person's social and personal competencies and fosters their resilience, all of which are preventative measures against antisocial behaviour to which the Deputy refers.

Funding for the provision of targeted youth services is administered on behalf of my Department by the 16 Education and Training Boards nationwide, which allocate funding via applications to the UBU Your Place Your Space scheme.

Key to achieving the aims of the scheme is the development of the Area Profile and Needs Assessment Tool. The purpose of this tool is to allow each ETB to avail of quantitative and qualitative information to objectively identify the needs of young people within their functional area. This analysis leads to the development of a Service Requirement which is then used as the basis for discussion between ETBs and service providers in terms of service delivery to meet the needs of young people in the area. The approach ensures that we can target funding and supports to the young people most in need of intervention and that funding is allocated on the basis of evidence-informed need.

It is advised that any proposed service in the locations referred to by the Deputy wishing to apply for youth funding should liaise with the relevant ETB in the first instance.

Child and Family Agency

Ceisteanna (479)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

479. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of legal cases that have been brought against Tusla by county in each of the past ten years and to date in 2021. [29624/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As the matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, I have referred the question to Tusla for direct response to the Deputy.

The Deputy will understand that any reply on this matter will be delayed, in the context of the impact on Tusla of the recent cyber attack on HSE systems. Tusla will be able to advise the Deputy of this matter, when operationally possible.

Child and Family Agency

Ceisteanna (480)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

480. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of persons who have reported Tusla or Tusla's alleged conduct to the Ombudsman for Children by county in each of the past ten years and to date in 2021. [29625/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

As this is a matter for the Ombudsman for Children's Office, I have referred the question to that Office for a direct response to the Deputy.

Protected Disclosures

Ceisteanna (481)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

481. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of protected disclosures made to his Department in each of the past five years and to date in 2021. [29629/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

There have been three Protected Disclosures received by the Department, one in each of the years 2016, 2017 and 2019. No Protected Disclosures have been received in 2021 to date. 

The protected disclosures received in the period 2016 – 2021 related to the work of Tusla, the Child & Family Agency, which falls under the aegis of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).

Child and Family Agency

Ceisteanna (482)

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

482. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the date when Tusla began to transfer its files to digital format; the number of files on children and families that are held digitally; the date of advertising for the role of a national digital security director or equivalent and the subsequent filling of same; the date of advertising for a national data security director or equivalent and the subsequent filling of same; the number of other digital security and data managers that have been deemed necessary in the management of this sensitive information; when these posts were advertised and filled; the number who have been appointed to date; the number who are currently in situ in relation the digital files of Tusla given the extreme sensitivity of the information Tusla holds on children and families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29823/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Tusla Data Management Strategy 2019 – 2022, published on its website, sets out a comprehensive vision for data management and an ambitious road map for the development, promotion and adoption of excellence in Data Management across the Agency. On establishment, Tusla inherited services that operated in environments with limited data maturity and has worked since establishment to improve data security. It is not possible at this point to identify the number of digital files held by Tusla on children and their families.

Tusla has advised that Tusla Recruit has successfully hired the following employees through bespoke campaigns for the ICT Department:

- A Director of ICT was appointed in 2017;

- 4 Senior Manager roles (General Manager grade) have since been appointed:

- Applications and Software Development Manager;

- Data and Business Intelligence Manager;

- ICT Infrastructure Manager;

- Service Delivery Manager.

- A General Manager ICT, with responsibility for security Policy & Compliance was appointed in 2021.

- All of the positions have security as part of their specific role.

Tusla has also advised that following the establishment of Tusla ICT, the Agency has engaged an external ICT Security Partner.  This is also supplemented with contract security specialists.

Child and Family Agency

Question No. 484 answered with Question No. 483.

Question No. 485 answered with Question No. 483.

Ceisteanna (483, 484, 485)

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

483. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the number of Tusla employees who are still using HSE email addresses; the reason the roles are carried out by these staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29824/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

484. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the reason seven years after its establishment, Tusla is still not fully decoupled from the HSE; if achieving this decoupling is a priority for his Department; his views on whether the process has been too slow; the date for decoupling to be achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29825/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

485. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on whether the ongoing connection of the Tusla and the HSE systems has put the acutely sensitive data on children and families at unnecessary risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29826/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 483, 484 and 485 together.

Tusla was established in 2014 with a challenging remit to bring 19 unique and separate services under one Agency. All Tusla staff have an @tusla email address, the majority of which are hosted on the HSE network under a memorandum of understanding between Tusla and the HSE.

The Deputy will be aware of the Agency’s Data Management Strategy 2019 – 2022 under which, Tusla has been working to migrate all Tusla data sources to environments under the control of Tusla ICT by Q4 2022, thereby addressing the legacy arrangement by which much of Tusla’s electronic data sources were managed and supported by the HSE. 

I am satisfied with Tusla's progress in the development of its ICT and the approach outlined in its Data Management Strategy. The timescale and processes contained within the strategy will be reviewed in light of the impact on Tusla of the cyber attack on the HSE. The Agency is supportive of government strategy for use of shared services and will continue to avail of corporate support services provided by the HSE where appropriate.

The criminal activity associated with the ransomware attack on HSE servers is a risk for all businesses, government departments and state bodies, and is not unique to the HSE. Tusla is committed to ensuring best practice is followed as it relates to all aspects of Cybersecurity in order to protect the security of all data it holds.

Question No. 484 answered with Question No. 483.
Question No. 485 answered with Question No. 483.

Child and Family Agency

Ceisteanna (486)

Réada Cronin

Ceist:

486. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if the HSE or Tusla is responsible for the holding and security of the data held given the interconnectedness of Tusla and the HSE, seven years after the establishment of Tusla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29827/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Many of Tusla systems are hosted on the HSE Network under an Memorandum Of Understanding established in 2014 to provide corporate capacity and capability across a range of shared services. The HSE provide ICT services including responsibility for the security of the hosted environment. Tusla is a data controller and processor under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The HSE is a data processor on behalf of Tusla and a data processing agreement is in place.

Research and Development

Ceisteanna (487)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Ceist:

487. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the number of research personnel in enterprise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29183/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

The Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD) survey is published biennially by the CSO. The most recent edition was published in March 2021 and covers the period 2019-2020 (www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/berd/businessexpenditureonresearchdevelopment2019-2020/).

As part of the survey, enterprises were asked to indicate the numbers of staff who devoted any of their time to R&D activities. R&D personnel includes researchers (PhD qualified and others), technicians and other support staff.

In total, there were 27,755 persons engaged in R&D in Irish enterprises in 2019. Of this total, 59.8% or 16,609 persons were employed as researchers, of which 1,966 were PhD qualified researchers. In addition, there were 6,832 (24.6%) technicians and 4,313 (15.5%) support staff.

Additionally, 31.5% of enterprises have indicated they are quite likely or very likely to recruit at PhD level in the next 5 years. Furthermore, 62% of all enterprises have indicated they are quite likely or very likely to recruit at Research Masters level, this is the same for all Irish and foreign owned enterprises.

The availability and quality of graduates is essential if we are to maintain our attractiveness as a location for investment and grow our reputation. There are a number of key strategies in place at all levels to ensure we meet existing and future skills demands. These include policies designed to ensure a pipeline of suitably qualified science and technical graduates, and initiatives to equip young people and the working population more generally with the skills and capacity to meet these demands. These strategies and initiatives include: the National Skills Strategy 2025; Technology Skills 2022; Springboard+; the Human Capital Initiative and the July Stimulus package.

Postgraduate education delivered by higher education institutions is critical to Ireland’s research system. In addition to contributing to knowledge, postgraduate researcher education drives participants to develop their own research and innovation skills that can be applied in a range of environments, in academia or industry, at home or abroad. The Irish Research Council funds postgraduates across all disciplines and is an important component in the wider national strategic pursuit of a strong talent pipeline of research graduates. Science Foundation Ireland has commenced a programme to support advanced PhD skills and training, in collaboration with industry, for the new economy. There are currently six of these SFI Centres for Research Training supporting over 700 PhD students in ICT and data analytics. Through the CRTs, students will be equipped with transversal skills including entrepreneurship and innovation to enable them to adapt and react to rapidly evolving workplaces and making them a very attractive skills pipeline for industry. In addition, I recently launched a new funding programme for early career researchers, the SFI-IRC Pathway Programme. The Programme will support talented postdoctoral researchers from all research disciplines to develop their track record and transition to become independent research leaders.

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