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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 106-127
 Header Item Fire Service Issues
 Header Item Priory Hall Development
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Scheme Administration
 Header Item Household Charge Collection
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Mortgage to Rent Scheme Funding
 Header Item Northern Ireland Issues
 Header Item Constitutional Convention Establishment
 Header Item Ministerial Adviser Appointments
 Header Item National Minimum Wage
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision
 Header Item World Bank Policy
 Header Item Court Orders
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision
 Header Item Human Rights Issues

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 106-127

Fire Service Issues

 106. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of chief fire officers or acting chief fire officers throughout the State; the salaries that they are paid; the benefit in kind that they receive such as transport, expenses and allowances; if he is planning, as a matter of efficiency, to merge chief fire officers; his views on whether there is a need for a national chief fire officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54286/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Chief Fire Officer is the senior technical position in local authority fire services and is generally a Senior Engineer equivalent grade. At the most recent count, there are 203 Senior Fire Officers, including the 29 Chief Fire Officers. Fire services are provided from 220 fire stations, by 3,233 firefighters using a fleet of some 500 vehicles. Staffing in the fire services, comes within the local government Employment Control Framework. Since the introduction of the public sector recruitment embargo, key front line posts and posts related to public safety such as the fire service, continue to be approved as exceptions to the moratorium. At the end of September 2012, the number of full time firefighters was 1,220 and the number of retained firefighters was 2,047. Senior Officer numbers have decreased from 270 to 203 in the same period. This 25% decrease of officer numbers is in line with overall local authority staffing decreases.

  The annual budget provided by local authorities for running fire services is of the order of €260m and is managed by the Chief Fire Officers. Services managed by the Chief Fire Officers includes a broad range of duties and functions: fire services response; fire prevention work, including community fire safety; requirements under SEVESO/COMAH and Dangerous Substances legislation; the Building Control and dangerous buildings functions; leading major emergency management within the local government system and in the inter-agency regional structures; running mobilisation and communication centres as well as training centres on a regional basis; liaising with and in some cases running the Civil Defence service; and making input to national policy development and delivery.

  The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management was established in 2009 to provide central leadership and direction to fire and emergency management in Ireland and to achieve consistent, effective and value for money fire services delivered by local fire authorities. The National Directorate is headed by a National Director who effectively performs the role of a National Chief Fire Officer.

  The National Directorate has developed a policy document called Keeping Communities Safe (KCS) which is intended to set the future direction of fire services in Ireland. KCS is the outcome of a review of fire services activities, and it will address, inter alia, future roles and appropriate structures to deliver services effectively and efficiently. I expect to publish it shortly as national policy. The National Directorate is headed by a National Director who effectively performs the role of a National Chief Fire Officer. The current applicable salary scales for Chief Fire Officers are contained in the following tables.

Chief Fire Officer (Dublin City Council)

Point
Rate 01/01/2010
1
€78,368
2
€81,185
   
3
€83,995
   
4
€86,809
   
5
€89,623
   
LSI 1
€92,583
   
LSI 2
€95,540
Chief Fire Officer (Other L.A’s)
Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Dublin City)
Point
Rate 01/01/2010
Point
Rate 01/01/2010
1
€73,223
1
€73,223
2
€74,957
2
€74,957
3
€76,685
3
€76,685
4
€78,417
4
€78,417
5
€80,148
5
€80,148
6
€81,886
6
€81,886
LSI 1
€84,500
LSI 1
€84,500
LSI 2
€87,117
LSI 2
€87,117


  Chief Fire Officers may submit claims in respect of travel and subsistence expenses incurred as part of their official duties in accordance with the relevant travel and subsistence circulars. All local authorities are obliged to ensure that only essential travel is undertaken and that the number of employees going on any official journey is kept to an absolute minimum. Local authorities are also obliged to ensure that related expenditure is critically appraised and monitored.

Priory Hall Development

 107. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will report on the Priory Hall, Dublin, resolution process; when he believes the resolution process will be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54206/12]

 113. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide an update on the refurbishment and rebuild plans being considered for Priory Hall, Dublin; the reforms he will introduce to prevent recurrence of such a disaster including the end of self-regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54249/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 113 together.

The resolution process, which I understand is on-going, arose in the context of legal proceedings which were adjourned to afford relevant parties the opportunity to work together, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Finnegan (retired President of the High Court), to identify a way forward in relation to the complex problems at Priory Hall. Given that the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further other than to continue to urge all concerned to afford Mr. Justice Finnegan the opportunity to complete the task which he is undertaking.

In relation to the proposed Building Control reforms the position is that following an extensive public consultation process undertaken earlier this year the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 are currently being finalised. The new regulations will provide, among other things, for the introduction of mandatory certificates of compliance by builders and designers of buildings confirming that the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations have been met in relation to the building concerned. Drawings and particulars demonstrating compliance must also be submitted to the local building control authority. In addition a building owner will be required to assign a registered professional to inspect the work during construction and also to certify that the completed building is in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations.

I believe that the measures outlined above are key steps necessary to strengthen the building control system and will be capable of delivering a stronger level of compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations and a better quality of homes and buildings.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Administration

 108. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans for the structure within the local authorities which will manage rent supplement; if it will require extra staff and funding for local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54245/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan In March 2012 the Government approved in principle a joint proposal by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government and the Minister for Social Protection to transfer responsibility for recipients of rent supplement with an established long-term housing need from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to local (housing) authorities. The new service would be provided using a new Housing Assistance Payment [HAP]. The new assistance payment [HAP] would be paid on the tenants’ behalf directly to the landlord within a stronger regulatory framework. Under HAP the rental contribution from tenants will be set by reference to the differential rent for the area. It is also intended that some form of automated deduction of rental payments from DSP payments would also be available for HAP and other social housing tenancies. The County and City Managers Association (CCMA) is represented on the Steering Group for this project. In that context the CCMA is providing necessary input, as required, into how local authorities will operate and resource HAP.

Household Charge Collection

 109. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of persons who have been contacted for the non-payment of the household charge to date; the total amount including accrued penalties in household charges that is due nationally and broken down per local authority; the prosecutions that have been carried out in relation to non-payment to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54184/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. The Household Charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property on the liability date to determine if he or she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the Charge.

There was no existing comprehensive database of residential properties and their owners within the State prior to the Household Charge being introduced. The collection of the Household Charge via self-assessment declaration provides for the collation of such information in relation to residential property and will be an essential component for implementing the Local Property Tax. Local authorities are continuing to identify undeclared properties through appropriate data sharing provisions, and significant efforts have been expended in matching self-declared information with other datasets and in refining the resulting data.

I understand that the addresses and names used in the batch of letters which have been issued by Local Authorities in recent weeks reminding people to pay the Household Charge have been based on a data matching exercise with the Property Registration Authority. I also understand that in excess of 500,000 letters have been issued on foot of this exercise. However, individual local authorities are also working to identify and contact liable owners who have yet to pay the Charge. As such, it is not possible to state the exact number of persons who have been contacted by the Agency and local authorities for non-payment of the Household Charge. Nor, in the absence of a comprehensive database of all liable properties and their payment status, is it possible to state the total volume of unpaid liabilities, including late payment fees and interest. The question of prosecutions is a matter for the relevant local authority; however, I understand that several legal actions are underway.

  Question No. 110 answered with Question No. 97.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the extent to which he continues to monitor the need to address the shortage of housing stock available to local authorities arising from failure by his predecessors to make adequate provision in terms of a comprehensive house building programme together with a proper local authority housing loan fund; if it is recognised that the current situation with upwards of a hundred thousand families remaining on housing waiting lists for several years which in turn necessitates subsidisation in the form of rent support from the Department of Social Protection on an annual basis; if he will further examine the prospect of restoring to local authorities the necessary resources and responsibility to make adequate provision through the local loans fund in respect of housing loans and by way of direct enhancement of the housing building programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54204/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The Government’s housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme is framed in a manner which optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this it is essential that we tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing needs.

  The social housing capital budget has been reduced from €1.535 billion in 2008 to just over €333.7m this year, and the financial parameters within which we will be operating for the coming years rule out a return to large capital funded construction programmes. Nevertheless, the Government is committed to responding more quickly and on a larger scale to social housing support needs through a variety of mechanisms, including through increased provision of social housing. In spite of the challenging circumstances within which local authorities are now operating, a tentative projection of 4,000 housing units is anticipated for 2012.

  Delivery of social housing will be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing, but the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms will include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. In this regard, the Housing Finance Agency has received twelve applications for Certified Borrower status and awarded status to four bodies. The Agency has approved five applications for 98 social housing units in total (at a valuation of €13.4 million). It is envisaged that further lending will be generated for the Agency in 2013, under this Scheme, with more approved housing bodies applying for Certified Body status and subsequent loan applications for social housing schemes.

  I am conscious that the move from capital funded programmes of construction and acquisition by approved housing bodies to more revenue funded options presents challenges for them. I intend to develop an enabling regulatory framework for the sector that will provide support and assurance both to the sector itself and to its external partners as it takes on the expanded role envisaged for it by Government and to underline its status as a viable and attractive investment opportunity for financial institutions. My Department is actively working with the sector on the development of a voluntary code which I expect most bodies will endorse. This code, which should be finalised and agreed in the coming months, will serve as a learning opportunity for the sector and for my Department as we develop a longer-term statutory framework that will best support the enhanced role of AHBs.

  There is also obvious potential, across a range of housing programmes, for the Government’s objective of sourcing and providing suitable residential units for use as social housing to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). My Department and the Housing Agency are working closely with NAMA with the aim of ensuring that a significant number of housing units are made available in this way by NAMA.

  No funding restrictions have been placed on local authorities for the purposes of providing loan finance for house purchase or home improvement. Allocations totalling over €55m issued to local authorities for House Purchase and House Improvement lending in April 2012, an increase of 8% on the 2011 allocation of €51m. These allocations represent borrowings ceilings rather than financial provisions.

Mortgage to Rent Scheme Funding

 112. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of families currently engaged in the process with their mortgage lenders which will allow them to take up the mortgage to rent scheme; the number of families that are currently in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54242/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan On foot of the recommendations of the Keane Report on mortgage arrears the Government launched a mortgage to rent scheme on a pilot basis in February 2012. This scheme was extended nationally in June 2012, targeting those low income families whose mortgage situation is unsustainable and where there is little or no prospect of a significant change in circumstances in the foreseeable future. The scheme ensures that the family remains in their home, while ownership is transferred to an approved housing body who in turn rent it to the original owners. One case has been finalised with several more due to close by year end; however lenders have put forward in excess of 500 cases and currently are actively engaged with over 100 customers on Mortgage to Rent with a further 100 cases at an early stage in the process.

The numbers of completed transactions is low but significant progress has been made. All of the main lenders and so called sub-prime lenders are fully engaged and have instituted the necessary internal processes. The transition from being a homeowner to a social housing tenant is a major one for families. Mortgage to rent or other such interventions cannot be rushed for any party. For example, the process provides a 60 day decision period and a 28 day cooling off period within the timeframe of the scheme. My Department estimates that the overall timeframe per case from start to completed transaction will be up to eight months. This compares favourably to the timeframes in other jurisdictions operating similar schemes.

The level of ambition for next year under mortgage to rent and the prospective associated mortgage to lease arrangements will be determined largely in the context of the Estimates process for 2013. It will be essential to deal with any potential displacement effect for other categories of social housing need arising as a result of the wider roll-out of mortgage to rent.

  Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 107.

Northern Ireland Issues

 114. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the groups or organisations he has met in the past 12 months who were victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland, including the name of the group or organisation and the date on which the meeting took place.  [53759/12]

 119. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the areas of work which the Northern Ireland section of his Department has supported him in relation to matters relevant to Northern Ireland.  [54369/12]

 120. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the process through which the Northern Ireland section co-ordinates North-South co-operation through each individual Government Department, including the nature and outcomes of co-ordination of North-South co-operation undertaken by each Department.  [54370/12]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 119 and 120 together.

I refer to my response to question numbers 1 to 19 in the House on Tuesday, 20 November, 2012 in which I gave a comprehensive account of the meetings I have had with the families of victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. The position remains unchanged. The priority objective of securing peace and stability on the island of Ireland is the continued successful implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s Agreements. The Northern Ireland Section of my Department supports me in this role which includes the advancement of North/South and East/West related matters in the formulation of national policies.

Consistent with the overall role of my Department, the Section provides a "whole-of-government" viewpoint in its work. My officials also work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in its work on advancing North/South cooperation, including engagement with Government Departments through the structures of the North South Ministerial Council which provides for North-South cooperation across a range of policy areas.

Constitutional Convention Establishment

 115. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the progress made in establishing the Constitutional Convention; if he plans to make public the names of the 66 non-elected citizens represented on the Convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53760/12]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Constitutional Convention held its inaugural meeting in Dublin Castle on Saturday, 1 December 2012. The Tánaiste and I attended the meeting to wish the members well in their work, as indeed did representatives of the Opposition Parties. The Convention operates independently of the Government and will report direct to the Houses of the Oireachtas. It decides its rules and procedures, including the matter raised in the Deputy's question.

Ministerial Adviser Appointments

 116. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the total number of Government special advisers employed in his Department; the total cost of employing these advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53761/12]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Five Special Advisers are employed by my Department, four of whom are Special Advisers to me while one is a Special Adviser to the Government Chief Whip. The total cost of the salaries paid to the Special Advisers employed by my Department is €586,011.

National Minimum Wage

 117. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of employees on the minimum wage; the number of employees on the minimum wage who are male and the number who are female; the number of employees on the minimum wage who are under 25 years and the number over 25 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53942/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe There were an estimated 57,700 employees, representing 3.9 per cent of the total, on the national minimum wage, according to the results of the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS) for the second quarter of 2012. A breakdown by age and sex is only available from the National Employment Survey which in respect of 2009 indicated that 38.4 per cent of the total were aged under 25 years and 42.4 per cent of the total were males.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 118. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will outline projects which the Department co-operates with the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in the North.  [54164/12]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny My Department cooperates closely with the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on a wide range of political and economic issues. It also liaises with that Office in the context of the North South Ministerial Councils, as well as working closely together on the British Irish Council Coordinators steering group.

  Questions No. 119 and 120 answered with Question No. 114.

Capital Programme Expenditure

 121. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason the capital spending for his Department was €2m below profile for this period; his plans to ensure that the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53831/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore My Department has a very modest capital budget for 2012 of €4.4m, which is used for administrative capital purposes, such as accommodation and ICT infrastructures. Expenditure at the end of October was behind profile due to the decision to defer a number of projects, mainly in the area of architectural services. It is likely that these savings will continue to year-end.

The focus for capital investment in 2013 and beyond will be on protecting previous investments in infrastructure such as embassy property, vehicles, ICT networks and the Passport Service. There is a need for significant investment in the Passport Service, including the need to renew some of large-scale passport production equipment which is approaching “end-of-life”. This investment forms part of a wider programme to enhance the Passport Service, and my Department is finalising a comprehensive proposal on the matter. As well as renewing the production equipment, the development of services such as Adult on-line renewal will require capital investment in at least 2013 and 2014. As the likely cost is greater than the allocation foreseen for those years, my Department will work with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with a view to finding a cost-effective method of providing the investment.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 122. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he as a member of the World Bank, will raise key concerns to ensure procurement procedures will benefit developing countries with significant positive outcomes for local businesses. [53856/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello I welcome the decision by the World Bank earlier this year to review its procurement policy and practices. This first comprehensive root and branch review of its operations since 1964 forms part of the wider World Bank agenda for modernization to better respond to today’s complex set of development objectives. Ireland strongly supports the core principles of a modern procurement policy at the Bank: the need for economy and efficiency, the interest in ensuring that all eligible bidders have equal opportunity to compete, the desire to encourage the development of domestic industries and the importance of having a transparent procurement process.

World Bank procurement has changed significantly over recent decades from stand alone large infrastructure programmes to sector wide approaches and community based activities. The result is that supplying countries for Bank-financed operations are increasingly developing countries. A larger share of contracts awarded by international competitive bidding are now also won by companies in developing countries. This is good for local business in developing economies and is an indication of strengthening capacities in the private sector.

Ireland will actively engage with the World Bank in this ongoing review to ensure its procurement policies and practises are complimentary to the World Bank’s larger goal of improving development effectiveness by encouraging the use of country systems and harmonization, building competitive local industries, strengthening public sector management, improving governance and anticorruption, promoting sustainability, accelerating investment in infrastructure, and deepening international trade. We will work with the Bank to ensure the new guidelines pay greater attention to borrowing countries’ implementation capacity, and, where appropriate, include capacity building programmes to develop local procurement capacities, especially in fragile and conflict affected states.

World Bank Policy

 123. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if Ireland will support a strong revised safeguards policy at the World Bank that will meet international standards and practices in human rights, particularly for high risk projects with displacement consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53857/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello I welcome the launch, last month, of the World Bank’s review of its environmental and social safeguard policies. The launch of the “Approach Paper for the Review and Update of the Safeguards Policy” signalled the start of a two-year process to review and update this key element of the Bank’s operational policies.

I am particularly pleased to see the Bank’s strong commitment to an open and transparent process involving all stakeholders, including civil society organisations. I also welcome the Bank’s commitment to consider in this review process a number of areas that are not addressed under the current set of safeguard policies. These new areas include human rights, labour and occupational health and safety, gender, disability, the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples, land tenure and natural resources, and climate change.

Ireland along with other like-minded shareholders will actively engage with the Bank in this review process to ensure that the Bank’s next generation of environmental and social safeguards will serve to protect people, including the most vulnerable, the environment to ensure sustainable development outcomes based on the development needs of countries and their communities and, in particular, human rights to the highest possible standards.

Court Orders

 124. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the measures and systems in place to restrict children travelling from Ireland, who are restricted from doing so by family court orders without the permission of the second parent or guardian, in particular to the UK where a passport is not a requirement for entry. [53870/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Under the Passport Act 2008 the Minister for Foreign Affairs must be satisfied before issuing a passport to a child that each person who is a guardian of the child consents to the issue of a passport to the child. The enforcement of court orders preventing travel from the state in circumstances where a passport is not required is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 125. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the amount of funding allocated by Irish Aid to Irish non-governmental organisations working in Uganda; the proportion of this funding which goes to NGOs and civil society organisations that work on improving democratic accountability and good governance; and the way this proportion compares to other like minded donors to Uganda. [54136/12]

 126. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide statistics on the historical trend of Irish Aid to Uganda, namely, the total amount of aid that has been given to Uganda by Irish Aid every year since it became a partner country; the percentage of the Irish Aid budget that the funding to the Ugandan programme represents for each of these years; and the share of funding that went to governance and anti-corruption based projects in each of these years. [54137/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.

  I have set out in a following table details of Irish aid spent in Uganda over the past 5 years which includes expenditure on the bilateral country programme and the additional funding provided to Non-governmental or Civil Society Organisations for their programmes in Uganda. The table also includes a breakdown of the funding disbursed through the country programme on governance and anti-corruption projects. In the time available, it has only been possible to provide this level of detail for the past five years.

  In regard to the funding of Irish NGOs for work in Uganda, almost all of the €5.8 million of the overall budget allocated through HQ to civil society in 2012 has been provided to Irish NGOs. There is one project in 2012, which received support from an Irish NGO specifically to improve democratic accountability and good governance in Uganda. Trócaire provided approximately €606,000 to fund a key element of its programme in Uganda targeted towards improving basic services and promoting vibrant civil society and more accountable local government in Northern Uganda.

   IRISH AID FUNDING OF UGANDA 2008-12

-
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012 *BUDGET
Total Global Irish Aid Budget
€768.737m
€571.835m
€521.55m
€520.18m
€517.033m
Country Programme Uganda
€41.7m
€35.4m
€33m
€32.75m
€32m
(Element of Programme spent on Governance )
€9m
€8,23m
€11m
€10.5m
€3.3m
Civil Society Funding : the bulk of this funding goes to Irish NGOs for work in Uganda
€8.081
€7.178m
€7.9m
€8 m
€5.8 m
Other Irish Aid funding and Programme Management
€7.183m
€3.5m
€2.85m
€1.56m
€1.3
Total Irish Aid Spend on Uganda
€55m
€46 m
€44m
€42.5m
 
Percentage of total Irish Aid budget spent on programmes in Uganda
7.1%
8%
8.40%
8.20%
7.5%
  *The annual figures are for the amount spent/outturn except for 2012 which is the budget figure (however, €16 million of the country programme budget of €32m is under suspension currently because of financial misappropriation within the Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda).

Human Rights Issues

 127. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if, in the context of on-going concerns about the human rights of Ugandan citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transexual, his views on the need for an EU-wide approach to prevent any human rights abuses in this area. [54460/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Ireland, and our partners in the European Union, share the widespread concerns about the difficult situation faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community in Uganda and certain other countries in the region. We are particularly concerned about developments in relation to the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was presented as a private member’s Bill, and is currently under consideration at committee level in the Ugandan Parliament. The EU, along with other international partners, has engaged actively on this issue, in a coordinated manner, since it first arose in 2009. The EU continues to advocate strongly against the adoption of the proposed law and EU Ambassadors in Kampala, including the Ambassador of Ireland, outlined their serious concerns in a recent meeting with the Prime Minister of Uganda. The regular structured EU political dialogue with the Government of Uganda also provides an important opportunity to highlight our concerns in relation to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill directly.

In addition to the coordinated EU response to the proposed law, Ireland has highlighted the matter bilaterally with Ugandan authorities. I raised the issue directly with the President when I visited the country in July and I asked our Ambassador in Kampala to continue to follow developments closely. Our Embassy in Kampala has consistently made the case to the Government of Uganda, at all levels, that the passing of any such legislation would be in conflict with Uganda’s international human rights obligations and would have a detrimental effect on the country’s relations with its international development partners, including Ireland. The position of the Government of Uganda on the Bill is that it is not part of the Government’s legislative programme and President Museveni has made a commitment to engage members of Parliament on the implications of this Bill for Uganda’s international relations and reputation.

We, along with our partners in the EU, remain committed to ensuring that the citizens of Uganda do not suffer violence or discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Our Embassy in Uganda will continue monitor developments closely in the coming weeks.


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