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 Header Item Written answers Nos. 114-127
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Support Schemes Issues
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Application Numbers
 Header Item Supplementary Welfare Allowance Application Numbers
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Departmental Funding

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 79 Next Page Last Page

Written answers Nos. 114-127

Departmental Funding

 114. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57289/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Details of total capital funding expended on primary, post primary and higher education capital projects in Waterford between 2011 and 2012 are shown in the table.

COUNTY WATERFORD CAPITAL SPEND BY SECTOR
2012
2011
PRIMARY
€1,893,273.99
€6,949,971.82
POST PRIMARY
€2,126,213.00
€6,551,599.00
THIRD LEVEL
€632,264.57
€1,795,969.16
TOTAL PRIMARY, POST PRIMARY & THIRD LEVEL
€4,651,751.56
€15,297,539.98

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 115. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for a student grant. [57297/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy his application is currently being assessed and a letter will issue shortly directly to the student confirming the position.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 116. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for a student grant. [57298/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that the application of the student referred to by the Deputy has already been awarded a grant and an award letter issued on 12th December 2012.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 117. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding a student grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57304/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that on the 5th December, 2012 a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 118. 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 when a decision will be made on a Student Universal Support Ireland grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57312/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI, the new centralised grant awarding authority, that the application of the student referred to by the Deputy has already been awarded a grant and an award letter issued on 17th December 2012.

Student Support Schemes Issues

 119. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the supports that will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who has submitted an application under the disability access route to education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57353/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I understand that the Deputy is referring to an application under the Fund for Students with Disabilities rather than the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). I wish to advise that Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) Disability Office have confirmed that the following arrangements are in place for the student referred to by the Deputy:

- Comfort Audio Digi-System (portable loop system)

- In-class note-taker

- Learning support (via Learning Support Unit for up to 4 hours per week)

- Full lecture notes in advance

- Extra time in exams (10 mins per hour)

- Spelling & grammar waiver in exams

- Own room for exams

- Instructions required for exams

I also understand that LIT are currently in the process of arranging Speed Text (Electronic Communication Service) for the student, following a recommendation made by the Deaf Hear group on 28th November 2012. The above supports are funded through a combination of the Fund for Students with Disabilities and the core grant of the institute.

Departmental Funding

 120. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57294/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The total amount of capital expenditure on the Office of Public Works Vote in County Waterford in 2011 and to date in 2012 is set out in the table below.

2011
Jan - 18th Dec 2012
632,075.91
2,084,630.19

Departmental Funding

 121. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57292/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The principal channels of capital funding from my Department to Waterford are through the operations of Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, IDA Ireland and the two local County Enterprise Boards.

In the case of Enterprise Ireland, funding is provided for a range of enterprise development activities, including R&D and Innovation funding such as research collaboration and commercialisation, High Potential Start-Up Support, Company Capability Development, Lean and Expansion projects, and Internationalisation. The total amount approved by Enterprise Ireland for these various activities in Co Waterford was €6,636,147 in 2011 and 5,601,742 in 2012 to date.

For Science Foundation Ireland, capital payments by that agency to Waterford Institute of Technology were €2.173m in 2011 and €5.449m in 2012 to date. .

Regarding the County Enterprise Boards, the capital allocation to Waterford City CEB in 2011 was €339,771 and to Waterford County CEB in that year was €356,806. For 2012 to date, the allocations have been €469,461 in the case of the City CEB and €408, 944 in respect of the County CEB.

With regard to Waterford funding by IDA Ireland, in 2011 that agency paid grants of €115,819 in 2011 and expended €22,193 on other capital works. For 2012 to date, they paid grants totalling €1,443,474 and expended €6,757 on other capital works.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 122. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding a domiciliary care appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57146/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 7th   November 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

  Question No.123 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Application Numbers

 124. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she intends to tackle the backlog of carer's allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57179/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking appropriate action to resolve the situation.

A programme of backlog elimination is underway in carer’s allowance section where a number of measures have been implemented to improve processing times. Following the completion of a major modernisation project, an in-depth business process improvement (BPI) project was completed for the carer’s allowance scheme. This project focused on optimising output and customer service and the reduction of backlogs. The outcome of this is a significant increase in the number of new claims processed in recent months where claims processed have substantially exceeded claim intake. To achieve this improvement, significant additional temporary resources have been allocated to the backlog elimination effort and the situation continues to be managed and monitored to ensure that the backlog is eliminated in the shortest possible timeframe.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Application Numbers

 125. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of people awarded supplementary welfare allowance in the last period for which figures are available on the basis of a delay in the processing of a social welfare claim; the value of such payments; her estimate of the saving on supplementary welfare allowance if all social welfare schemes and the appeals office had an average processing time of three weeks or less; and the way she intends to achieve this saving. [57182/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA) is designed to provide immediate and flexible assistance for anyone in the State who satisfies a habitual residency condition and a means test, has registered for employment, unless they have a physical or mental disability, and can prove unemployment, or anyone who is awaiting the outcome of a claim or an appeal for a primary social welfare or Health Service Executive payment.

There are approximately 22,500 recipients currently in receipt of SWA who are pending a decision or outcome of an appeal on a primary social welfare payment. The total weekly SWA expenditure in respect of these payments is approximately €4.3 million. The weekly SWA expenditure in respect of claims made within a three week period accounts for approximately €0.5 million.

Payments issued under the SWA scheme are recouped from the primary social welfare scheme on award. Therefore, the issue of savings does not arise in these circumstances. Given the very nature of the SWA scheme, which is the safety net within the social welfare system, it is unlikely that these customers would not have an entitlement to another social welfare scheme if refused under their original application or on appeal. For example a customer who may not satisfy the conditions for an unemployment support may have an entitlement to an illness type payment.

I can assure the Deputy that every effort is made to ensure that social welfare claims are processed in the shortest possible timeframes. A key objective of the transfer of the Community Welfare Service from the Health Service Executive to the Department on 1st October 2011 is to provide a streamlined, consistent and enhanced service to the customer. The process of integration is on-going and progress has already been made with a unified service, Intreo, now in the process of being delivered in four offices. Significant efforts are also being made in the processing of illness related schemes with additional temporary staff having being assigned to the area, the recent completion of a major service delivery modernisation project and an in-depth business process improvement project having recently commenced with the aim of eliminating backlogs and improving customer service. Significant resources and efforts have also been put into reducing volumes and improving processing times for appellants to the Social Welfare Appeals Office, including the assignment of 15 additional Appeals Officers, improving business processes and implementing a new operating model. All of these measures combined will reduce the requirement for recourse to SWA.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 126. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an invalidly pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [57276/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 6th December 2012, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

Departmental Funding

 127. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding her Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57295/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Capital Expenditure in the Department of Social Protection is incurred in two areas in particular;-

1.- The purchase of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment which is required for the delivery of social welfare services. This includes the purchase of computer hardware and software, data storage, desktop equipment and a range of network infrastructure equipment. It also includes the purchase of photocopiers, other non-IT office machinery and related supplies and the replacement of out of date equipment.

2.- The costs of new buildings and the refurbishment of other buildings necessary to meet the accommodation needs of the Department. Purchases in respect of ICT equipment is carried out on a national basis, as the need arises, and expenditure is not specific to any county. There was no capital funding expenditure in relation to buildings located in Waterford in 2011. Expenditure of €54,137 was incurred in 2012 in respect of the upgrade of the Waterford HQ building at Cork Road, Waterford.


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