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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 354-366
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item Third Level Admissions Reform
 Header Item Teaching Qualifications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item School Transport Provision
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 354-366

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 354. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37806/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn As I announced last December, the means test for student grants will be amended to take account of the value of certain capital assets as well as income for the 2013/14 academic year. The Deputy will be aware that a dedicated capital asssets test implementation group was established to bring forward detailed implementation proposals on new means testing arrangements for student grants, to include the value of assets, for new applicants from the 2013/14 academic year. The report of the implementation group, which I expect to have shortly, will make recommendations on the treatment of various classes of assets. Any proposals in this regards will require Government agreement and necessitate legislative amendment.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 355. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason home tuition hours have been withdrawn in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38877/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Home Tuition Scheme provides funding to parents to provide for education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme was extended in recent years to facilitate tuition for children awaiting a suitable educational placement including eligible pre-school children with an autistic spectrum disorder. The child to whom the Deputy refers is not eligible for home tuition as he is enrolled in a school. My Department has no record of receiving a Home Tuition application for this child for the 2012/13 school year.

Third Level Admissions Reform

 356. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to change the college entry requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36999/12]

 414. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to implement the recommendation of the Points Commission report in 2000 that colleges be obliged to publish the number of places available on courses those colleges offer through the CAO, in order to lead to more transparency and accountability regarding the way public funding is being used by colleges for third level education and also help inform public policy in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38269/12]

 470. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering adapting the leaving certificate points system to a ranking system based on relative performance as proposed by Irish university presidents in their recent report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39354/12]

 471. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering changing the number of leaving certificate grades from 14 to eight as recommended by Irish university presidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39355/12]

 472. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering adopting a move towards greater common entry for third level courses to take some of the pressure off the points race; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39356/12]

 473. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering incentivising other strategically important leaving certificate subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39357/12]

 474. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering introducing an examination in mathematics and Irish at the end of fifth year as recommended by Irish university presidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39358/12]

 475. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering reviewing the date of publication of leaving certificate results as recommended by Irish university presidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39359/12]

 476. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he is considering introducing a graduate entry-only level for certain professional courses as recommended by the Irish university presidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39360/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 356, 414 and 470 to 476, inclusive, together.

My Department is in discussion with all of the relevant bodies, including the universities, on the full range of issues related to the transition to higher education which are identified in the NCCA-HEA report published following the Transitions conference last September. It will submit a report for me on all proposals for change, including timeframes for implementation early in the New Year. In this regard I have received an interim report from the Irish Universities Association of their consideration of the NCCA-HEA Transitions report. They have also informed me that they are working to develop more specific proposals in relation to changes to the third level entry mechanism. The NCCA and the State Examinations Commission is also undertaking work in relation to proposals in the Transitions report about the Leaving Cert assessment process.

Teaching Qualifications

 357. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will instruct the Teaching Council to recognise degrees in engineering, which are by their very nature dominated by mathematics, for the purposes of registration of mathematics teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37000/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The statutory responsibility for the determination of the education, training and qualifications required for a person to be registered as a teacher rests with the Teaching Council. Therefore I do not have a direct role in the matter. The requirements for registration with the Teaching Council are set out in its 2009 Registration Regulations which are available on its website www.teachingcouncil.ie. Currently, there is a large range of engineering courses which are recognised for the purposes of the teaching of mathematics/applied mathematics. However, the experience of the Council is that many engineering programmes cover mathematical concepts in an engineering context and may not include, in sufficient depth, areas that are important for teaching purposes. A person who wishes to be registered as a teacher on the basis of qualifications in engineering should seek the advice of the Teaching Council.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 358. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a higher education access route grant will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37001/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third-level admissions scheme for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The scheme is operated by a number of higher education institutions and not by my Department. Admissions to the institutions under this programme are regulated by the institutions themselves. Further details are available at www.accesscollege.ie.

School Staffing

 359. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a school (details supplied) in County Donegal may appoint a mainstream teacher to the position that is on appeal an outcome of which will be determined at the October appeals board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37002/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school referred to by the Deputy lost a mainstream classroom post due to a reduction in its pupil enrolments as at 30 September 2011. The school appealed this decision to the Staffing Appeals Board on the basis that it was projecting an increase in enrolment figures for September 2012. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board deferred making a decision on this appeal pending confirmation of the 30 September 2012 enrolment figures. The next meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board takes place on Thursday, 25 October. The Boards of Management of the applicant schools, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will be notified as soon as possible after this meeting of the outcome of their appeal. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 360. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will review the following case regarding a reduced allocation of a special needs assistant in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 6. [37006/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of such supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. All schools, including the school referred to by the Deputy were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012.

  All schools have now been advised by the NCSE of their SNA staffing allocation for the coming school year. Details of the allocations which have been made to each school are available at www.ncse.ie. Where schools subsequently enrolled new pupils with special educational needs who were not considered at the time that these allocations were made, or where new medical conditions have arisen in the interim, schools may apply to the NCSE for additional SNA support.

I understand that the school referred to by the Deputy recently made a new application to the NCSE for additional SNA support. This application is currently being considered by the NCSE and the school will shortly be advised of the decision in relation to this application. It should be noted, however, that SNAs are not allocated to individual pupils. The NCSE allocates a level of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the care needs of all of the qualifying children enrolled in the school. SNAs should then be deployed by schools in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 361. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the assistance available in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37010/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Labour Market Activation Scheme (LMA), which was introduced in 2009, provided for 1,500 free undergraduate and 1,000 free postgraduate places for unemployed people on part time courses in universities and institutes of technology across the country. Only those part time courses approved and selected by an independent evaluation panel were eligible for funding under the LMA initiative. Students who commenced an approved LMA course were funded until completion of that course, subject to continuing to meet requirements of the programme. The course referred to by the Deputy is a full time programme and was not an approved LMA course. Students on this course would therefore not have been eligible for funding through the LMA initiative. As the student in question is pursuing a full time course he may be eligible for support under the Student Grant Scheme, full details regarding student grants are available on the studentfinance.ie website.

School Transport Provision

 362. Deputy John Perry Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties encountered by a family (details supplied) in County Sligo in relation to their school transport.  [37014/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciarán Cannon Zoom on Ciarán Cannon Under the terms of the Primary School Transport scheme pupils are eligible for school transport if they reside 3.2 kilometres or more from and are attending their nearest national school having regard to ethos and language. Bus Éireann has advised that the pupils referred to by the Deputy in the details supplied are not attending their nearest school and are therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the scheme. Pupils who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only in accordance with the terms of the scheme. In this regard, Bus Éireann has advised that the family in question were issued with concessionary tickets in August.

School Enrolments

 363. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he has received the projected enrolment figures for 2012/13 for a school (details supplied) in County Kerry and based on these figures, the number of teachers that the school will be allocated. [37015/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school referred to by the Deputy is a 2 teacher school and it will remain so for the 2012/13 school year. Its pupil enrolment on 30 September 2012 will be the basis for determining its staffing allocation for the 2013/14 school year. These enrolment returns are due to be submitted to the Department in October.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

 364. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the options for funding or grants in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [37016/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The decision on eligibility for new student grant applications is a matter for the central grant awarding authority SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application in relation to means, residency, nationality and previous academic attainment, it would not be possible to say whether or not a student would qualify for a grant. The student is advised to submit a fully completed online grant application to SUSI via studentfinance.ie to have her eligibility for grant assistance assessed. Further information on the student grant is available on the studentfinance.ie website.

  Tax relief is also available on tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners. Students entering postgraduates courses who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant will be eligible to have their post-graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit of €6,270 under the Student Grant Scheme. A further limited number of students will qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their fees. The income threshold for this payment is €31,500 for the 2012/13 academic year, increasing relative to the number of family dependents.

  Following the changes introduced in Budget 2012 new students entering postgraduate courses, from the 2012/13 academic year onwards, will not be entitled to maintenance payments under the Student Grant Scheme. Postgraduate students continuing on their existing courses will not be affected. The Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 365. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of agencies, authorities, boards, committees, working groups, tribunals, council services, task forces, agencies or other quangos set up by his Department since February 2011; the number abolished since then; the extra cost of quangos which were established; the savings from the abolition of quangos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37243/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn No new agencies have been established under the aegis of my Department since February, 2011.

The Deputy may wish to note the establishment of the following entities:

(1) Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector (established March 2011)

The Group was tasked with providing the Minister with policy advice regarding divesting of some primary schools and catering for greater diversity in schools. The report of the Group was published in April 2012. (costs of €37,500 were incurred related to the Forum's work)

(2) Working Group on Combating Bullying in Schools (established in May 2012).

The Group is tasked with developing a plan that identifies the priorities to be addressed to combat bullying in schools and how these priorities can be addressed and progress monitored. (All members are on the Working Group as part of their normal work. No fees, travel or subsistence expenses or any other expenses are paid to members of the Group - although a cost of approx. €400 has been incurred related to the consultation programme of the Group)

(3) Student Grants Appeals Board

This Appeals Board was established under Student Support Act 2011 (Student Grants Appeals Board) (Establishment Day) Order 2011, S.I. 451 of 2011, with the 8th September 2011 appointed as the establishment day for the purposes of subsection (2) of section 25 of the Student Support Act 2011. The Board is independent in the performance of its functions. Its establishment allows students who have applied for a grant under the 2011/12 student grant scheme and subsequent schemes to have any appeals determined by the Board.

Since October 2011 and up to the last meeting on 26 July €5,281.02 in travel and sub and a total of €12,750 in fees has been incurred.

(4) Implementation Advisory Group on the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

This Group met for the first time in December 2011. The membership consists of representatives of Government Departments and agencies with implementation responsibilities as well as national and international experts in the field of literacy and numeracy. The Group will review progress and advise on the implementation of the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020. The cost of the establishment of the Group is €10,000 per annum.

(5) Advisory Group on Suitability of Qualifications for Higher Capitation Rates

This group was established in October to advise the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the equivalence of qualifications in other disciplines to a Level 7 Qualification in early Childhood Care and Education. The composition of the group included representatives from the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, the Irish Universities Association, Ireland's Institutes of Technology and from both my Department and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The group has completed its work.

(6) National Advisory Working Group on School Self-Evaluation was established in July 2012. There are no costs involved.

(7) The EGF Construction Clearing Group formed in August 2011 and met on a number of occasions in the first two quarters of 2011. As the EGF construction programmes are now finished, there is no need for further meetings. There were no costs involved.

(8) The Talk Talk Waterford Consultative Forum was established in August 2012 to report on programme activity and promote the take-up of various interventions in the proposed EGF Talk Talk programme. It is composed key stakeholders involved in this programme and will meet 4 times a year. The cost is estimated at €300 per meeting to cover room meeting room rental and light refreshments.

(9) An Implementation Group was established for the purpose of bringing forward detailed implementation proposals on new means testing arrangements for students grants to include the value of assets for new applicants for the 2013/14 academic year. There are no costs involved.

(10) SOLAS Implementation Group

This Implementation Group is chaired by the Minister of State with responsibility for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D. Membership of the Implementation Group includes representatives from the Department of Education and Skills, FÁS, the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA), the Department of Social Protection, the Department of the Taoiseach and a representative from the private training sector. The Implementation Group will develop an Action Plan to implement the changes necessary to put SOLAS, the new Further Education and Training Authority, in place following the passing of the relevant legislation in 2013.

(11) New Schools Establishment Group

In June 2011 I announced that twenty new primary schools and twenty new post-primary schools are to be established in the next six years. I also announced the establishment of new arrangements for the recognition of new primary and post-primary schools. These new arrangements included the establishment of a New Schools Establishment Group which will advise me on patronage of the new primary and second level schools . The Group has recently reported to me on patronage of new primary schools to be established in 2012 and 2013 and new second level schools to be established in 2013 and 2014, following its consideration of the report on the applications received which was prepared by the Department. The terms of reference of the New Schools Establishment Group have recently been expanded to support the divesting process, as outlined in my recent announcement on my Action Plan in response to the report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector.

(12) Junior cycle Implementation Advisory Group

The general remit of the Group is to advise on and progress the implementation of the proposals on Junior cycle reform. The composition of the group includes representatives from my Department, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the State Examinations Commission, School Management, Principals and Teacher unions and Parents.

The following entities were merged:

(1) The Merger of Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences into one entity - the Irish Research Council (IRC). The IRC has been established as a sub-board of the HEA. The savings from this merger amount to €100,000.

The following entities were abolished:

(1) The Educational Disadvantage Committee was abolished (provided for in the Education (Amendment) Act 2012 - S.7). The savings from this amount to €100,000 per annum.

The Deputy may also wish to note the following:

- In June 2011, the functions of the National Educational Welfare Board transferred to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

- Since September 2011, the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) is within the remit of Dublin West Education Centre alongside the Department's largest support service, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

The Deputy will also be aware that there are a number of major structural reform projects and other initiatives being progressed in the Education sector (of which some are included in the Public Sector Reform Plan published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last November). These include: The amalgamation of the 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs)/establishment of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs). The ETBs will take over the work of VECs and will have an expanded role in the delivery of further education and training across the country. A single awarding authority for student grants. City of Dublin VEC will operate as the new single student grant awarding authority to replace the existing 66 grant awarding bodies. Implementation of the new arrangements are being phased in from 2012/13 academic year. The consolidation of Higher Education provision under the Strategy for Higher Education to 2030.

The establishment of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland which involves merger of the National Qualifications Authority, FETAC and HETAC.

Following the enactment of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012, the necessary steps are being taken to establish the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board. This body will be funded from the contributions of the religious congregations offered in response to the request for additional contributions, following the publication of the Ryan Report. The legislation also provides for the dissolution of the Education Finance Board, which has almost exhausted the €12.7 million available to it, and the transfer of any remaining functions of the Education Finance Board to the new Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 366. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the estimated cost of each quango in his Department; the amount expected to be saved from the mergers of quangos in his Department; the basis for this figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37259/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department's officials clarified that the Deputy is referring to the bodies under the aegis of my Department. The following table sets out the Agencies under the remit of my Department. The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the cost of each agency is available in the published annual estimates for the Department. http://per.gov.ie/estpubexp2012/; in addition annual reports and accounts of these bodies are available on their websites.

  The Deputy will be aware that there are a number of major structural reform projects that are being progressed in the Education sector. These are 1) Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), the Higher Education Training Awards Council (HETAC) and the Further Education Training Awards Council (FETAC) are currently being amalgamated into a new agency, the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI). It is intended to establish the new Authority and dissolve the NQAI, HETAC and FETAC during the Autumn. Major savings have already been achieved through the administrative preparations for amalgamation through non-replacement of staff retiring or leaving, the consolidation of the CEO role and streamlining of operations across the existing bodies. The 2012 current allocation for the bodies was €7.7 million, compared to an outturn of over €13 million in 2008. Staffing in NQAI, HETAC and FETAC has reduced from 110 to 80 over the same period. Further savings will be achieved in coming years.

  2) The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences were merged in March 2012 to form the Irish Research Council (IRC). The IRC has been established as a sub-board of the HEA. The administrative costs of the Councils amounted to some €1.2m in 2011. As a result of the merger it is expected that a there will be a saving of some €100,000 in 2012.

  3) My Department is currently engaged in implementing a government decision to reduce the overall number of VECs from 33 to 16 through the merger of particular counties. The full implementation of the decision is expected to result in annual savings to the Exchequer of the order of €2.1m. These will arise from reductions in staff numbers and potential economies of scale through development of shared services. While there may be scope, over time, to dispose of surplus property it is difficult, given the state of the property market, to estimate what could be raised for the Exchequer from property sales or surrender of leases.

List of Agencies
Agency name Website address
An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta www.cogg.ie
Commission into Child Abuse www.childabusecommission.ie
Education Finance Board www.educationfinanceboard.com
Foras Áiseanna Saothair www.fas.ie
Further Education & Training Awards Council www.fetac.ie
Grangegorman Development Agency www.ggda.ie
Higher Education and Training Awards Council www.hetac.ie
Higher Education Authority www.hea.ie
Irish Research Council www.ircset.ie
Léargas - The Exchange Bureau www.leargas.ie
National Centre for Guidance in Education www.ncge.ie
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment www.ncca.ie
National Council for Special Education www.ncse.ie
National Qualifications Authority of Ireland www.nqai.ie
Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB) www.rirb.ie
Residential Institutions Review Committee (RIRC) See RIRB website
Skillnets Ltd www.skillnets.ie
State Examinations Commission www.examinations.ie
The Teaching Council www.teachingcouncil.ie


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