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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 135-49
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Postal Services
 Header Item Hydraulic Fracturing Policy
 Header Item Cyber Security Policy
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Foreshore Licences Applications
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Regeneration Funding
 Header Item Local Authority Charges Application
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Collection
 Header Item Local and Community Development Programme Project Funding
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 135-49

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 135. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have been a feature of the staffing arrangements for this EU Presidency, if he will confirm that his Department has been given sanction to make such arrangements detailing the number by grade involved, the date sanction was sought and the date it was given.  [56293/12]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I can confirm to the Deputy that temporary promotions or acting-up allowances are not a feature of the staffing arrangements within my Department for the forthcoming EU Presidency.

Departmental Contracts

 136. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide details of each service in his Department that is currently outsourced; the company that provides such services and the total cost for these services; the other services which may be outsourced in the future that are currently being run in his Department; the names of the companies, fees paid and nature of service for all contracts awarded from his Department excluding legal, accounting, PR or building refurbishment related services since March 2011 [55827/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It has not been possible to compile the information sought by the Deputy in the time available. I will write to him with the information he has sought as a matter of urgency.

Postal Services

 137. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if An Post’s decision to tender for a national post code system presents potential conflict of interest issues in view of its stated opposition to the system as a result of the benefits which could be accrued to private commercial marketing companies to the detriment of An Post; if he is concerned that the necessary incentives for a speedy rollout of the national post code system which has been promised for seven years may not be present if An Post were to get the contract, in view of the competitive damage that will inevitably be caused to An Post from a roll out of this system; if he will confirm whether as part of the tendering process for the roll out of the new national post code system it includes assessments of whether any potential conflict of interests could arise similar to National Assets Management Agency tenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55844/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The procurement process for a national postcode system is currently under way. This process is being managed by my Department on a ring fenced basis. The pre-qualification questionnaire issued on the e-tenders website www.etenders.gov.ie  on 17 January 2011 for the appointment of a postcode management licence holder. This offered the opportunity for all potential suppliers at that time to apply for the contract and asked for a declaration of any relevant conflicts which might impinge on the process.

I have no indication that the issues referred to by the Deputy are relevant in any way to the conduct of the current procurement process.

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

 138. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will consider a public consultation in conjunction with the more detailed research study to be commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency on the environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing later this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55881/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that the terms of reference for the second and more detailed EPA research on the environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing as a means of extracting natural gas from underground reservoirs are currently being drawn up by a steering group, which includes representatives from amongst others, the EPA and my Department. In line with the EPA's policy on openness and transparency and in order to receive comments from stakeholders, the EPA has confirmed that it will launch a public consultation on this draft document and interested parties will be invited to submit written comments in this regard.

It is anticipated that following the engagement of the relevant experts, the study will take in excess of twelve months to complete, leading to a potential publication date in 2014.

Cyber Security Policy

 139. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the measures he is taking to review the use of social networking sites here, particularly for young persons most at risk from cyberbullying; the action that can be taken to restrict and reduce their impact, especially on young persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55939/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Office of Internet Safety has been established by the Government to take lead responsibility for Internet safety in Ireland particularly as it relates to children. This Office operates under the aegis of the Minister for Justice and Equality. The Office also aims at building linkages and cohesion between all Departments and Agencies to ensure that the State provides the best possible protection for the community and promotes Internet safety.

  I also understand the Department of Education and Skills have recently set up an anti-bullying working group to address this issue and to make recommendations on how to tackle the challenges associated with cyber bullying.

My Department has developed a website called www.makeITsecure.ie to promote best practice in relation to many issues arising from the use of the Internet. This campaign, which was developed with industry, does provide some information in relation to use of ICT by children.

  While my Department does not lead on the specific issue of cyber bullying, it is available to assist in any initiative taken forward by the other Departments and continues to engage across all Departments in issues relating to the use of the Internet and ICT generally.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 140. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if temporary promotions or acting-up allowances have been a feature of the staffing arrangements for this EU Presidency, if he will confirm that his Department has been given sanction to make such arrangements detailing the number by grade involved, and the date sanction was sought and the date it was given.  [56295/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte My Department has two Clerical Officers and two Executive Officers on temporary higher duties allowances, covering vacancies that exist at Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer level respectively, for the duration of the EU Presidency. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued a sanction letter on 4 May 2012 following a request from my Department on 12 April 2012.

Foreshore Licences Applications

 141. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan further to Parliamentary Question No. 444 of 17 July 2012, the position regarding a foreshore licence application by Waterford County Council to enable repairs to be carried out to a pier (details supplied) in County Waterford; if he will ensure that there are no further delays; and when he expects this licence will issue.  [55716/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan A draft Foreshore lease in respect of this application has recently issued from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office to the applicant’s legal advisor. A response is awaited.

Road Improvement Schemes

 142. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the position regarding a special road improvement grant (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55725/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Taghmon Sewerage Scheme is included in my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 as a scheme to start construction during the life of the programme. The Scheme is being carried out under the Serviced Land Initiative (SLI) Programme with 40% of the cost of the scheme being funded by my Department. Road reinstatement for the Taghmon Scheme will be funded as part of the SLI Scheme. Road resurfacing from Taghmon to Larkins Cross is not related to the Taghmon SLI Scheme. The provision of funding under the Road Restoration Grants Programme is a matter for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Regeneration Funding

 143. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to make cuts to the funding for the Ballymun regeneration project, Dublin and any other cuts he plans for other regeneration projects.  [55779/12]

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 Earlier this year I announced capital funding of € 51 million over the 3-year period 2012-2014 for the substantial completion of Ballymun regeneration project. I have no proposals to reduce the allocation for Ballymun.   

In the case of the other projects being advanced under the National Regeneration Programme, capital allocations for 2013 will be determined on the basis of the funding proposals and regeneration work programmes to be submitted to my Department in early 2013.

Local Authority Charges Application

 144. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to the fact that councils across the country are charging legacy rate arrears to new tenants who are trying to establish businesses (details supplied); his views on whether this practice is anti-business and anti-startup; if he has spoken to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation regarding this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55802/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.

Under the legislation the person liable for payment of rates is the person in occupation of a rateable property on the date of the making of the rate by the relevant local authority. The owner, rather than the occupier, may be liable for commercial rates if the property in question is unoccupied on the date of the making of the rate. Should a person’s occupancy commence after the date of the making of the rate, then that person is not primarily liable for rates for that year. However, as a subsequent occupier, that person can be held liable for up to two years arrears of rates if they cannot be recovered from the person with whom the primary liability lies.

Commercial rates income makes a significant contribution to the current funding requirements of local authorities. Rates provide the means by which local authorities can support the services essential to communities, and therefore business, across the full range of local activities including roads, water and waste services, fire and emergency, libraries and a range of community, amenity and social activities.

I recognise that these are difficult economic times for many businesses and I am continuing to keep all matters relating to commercial rates under regular review.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 145. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide details of each service in his Department that is currently outsourced; the company that provides such services and the total cost for these services; the other services which may be outsourced in the future that are currently being run in his Department; the names of the companies, fees paid and nature of service for all contracts awarded from his Department excluding legal, accounting, PR or building refurbishment related services since March 2011 [55829/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The information requested is set out in the following table:

Public service outsourced Current service provider Cost
Implementation of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy & The Walks Scheme Various Local Development Companies €632,600 p.a.
ICT Helpdesk facilities OKI Resources €498,417

(Mar. 2011 – Dec. 2012)
Telephone switch operation

Eircom €96,629

(Jan. - Nov. 2012)
National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Tobin Consulting Engineers €60,621

(June 2011 – Apr. 2012 incl.)
National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Tobin Consulting Engineers €58,271

(May 2012 – Apr. 2013 incl.)
     
Marine Strategy Framework Directive – assessment of marine waters Marine Institute, Galway €996,162

(Feb. – Dec. 2012)
     
Examination of final accounts on Water Capital Projects MJ O'Connell & Co., Consulting Engineers €39,055

(Mar. 2011 to date)
     
Examination of final accounts on Water Capital Projects Mr John Murphy €30,820

(Mar. 2011 to date)
     
Process Auditor for a Water Services Capital Project Mr Owen Boyle €15,149

(Mar. 2011 to date)
     
Foreshore Property Valuation Lisney €30,647

(1 Jan. to 11 Dec. 2012)
     
     
Met Éireann:

Use of ICHEC supercomputer to run NWP suite


NUIG


€219,600

     
Oracle E-Business Suite & Associated Technologies Support Services Fujitsu Ireland €154,323
My Department is committed to implementation of the action in the Public Service Reform Plan, agreed by Government in November 2011, to evaluate the opportunity for the external delivery of some non-core public services into the future. Examples of public service areas for potential outsourcing are:   

(i) Development of Valentia Island Air monitoring facility; and (ii) Aviation observations modernisation and automation development.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 146. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who lost their council house to fire on the 30 November 2012, the council has failed to offer accommodation which is suitable to the person's age and health and is refusing to find them alternative accommodation, making the the person homeless.  [55843/12]

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 Local Authorities are directly responsible for addressing housing need within their administrative areas and do so using a range of supply options including permanent social housing, long-term leased units, units leased under the Rental Accommodation Scheme and voluntary and co-operative housing units. It is a matter for each authority, in this case Dublin City Council, to take decisions on individual cases in accordance with their scheme of letting priorities. As Minister, I am precluded from becoming directly involved in individual cases.

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Collection

 147. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the position regarding non-principal private residence charges (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55861/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge. The Charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties. It is a matter for an owner to determine if he or she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the Charge.

Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge and late payment fees due to it, and all Charges and late payment fees imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. Guidelines have also been issued to local authorities in relation to the provisions of the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, which address matters including the collection, care and management of the Charge. These make provision in established hardship cases for an agreed payment plan to be put in place.

I urge all liable persons who have not paid the Charge to contact their local authority as a matter of urgency.

Local and Community Development Programme Project Funding

 148. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide in tabular form the amount of grant assisted from Pobail to community groups in Killala, County Mayo, in 2011; the number of persons that were or are employed as result of the payment of those grants; the duration of their employment in the respective groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55902/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department is responsible for a range of programmes and initiatives to support communities. These include the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP), the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP), the Seniors Alert Scheme, RAPID (Revitalising Areas through Planning, Investment and Development) Programme, the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector and the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising.  However, the LCDP is the only scheme administered through Pobal on behalf of my Department. Pobal has confirmed that Mayo North East Leader Partnership Company, which has responsibility for the delivery of the Programme in the Killala Area, did not allocate funding/grant aid from the Programme to any Community Groups, in that particular area, during 2011.  The allocation of funding, through Pobal, by other Departments, for example the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Social Protection, and Transport, Tourism and Sport, is a matter for the Departments concerned.

Appointments to State Boards

 149. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan in the view of his appointing board members to Irish Water Safety, if he will consider appointing a representative to the board of Swim Ireland. [55921/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Irish Water Safety is a body under the aegis of my Department and established under statutory instrument (The Irish Water Safety (Establishment) Order 2006). I have responsibility for the appointment of members to the Council of Irish Water Safety.   

In contrast, Swim Ireland is a non-governmental organisation and I do not have a role in the appointment of its Board.


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