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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 132-141
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Civil Service Staff Data

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 8

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Written Answers Nos. 132-141

Schools Building Projects Status

 132. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh when the tender process will commence in respect of a school building project (details supplied). [12464/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The major building project for this school is at an advanced stage of architectural planning - Stage 2(b) which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured and the Design Team is currently completing work on the preparation of tender documents.

Upon receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) submission the Department will revert to the school with regard to the further progression of the project.

School Curriculum

 133. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh further to Parliamentary Question No. 57 of 6 March 2019, the position of the right of parents to opt their children out of the junior certificate National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, NCCA, religious education syllabus. [12466/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Junior Cycle Religious Education is an optional examinable subject at Junior Cycle level and the question of opting out on grounds of conscience should not therefore arise. This is separate from a programme of religious instruction approved by the school patron which may also be offered and students may opt out of that programme.

School Curriculum

 134. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the number of schools teaching computer science in the school year 2018-19; and the number that will teach the subject in the school year 2019/2020. [12473/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Leaving Certificate Computer Science was introduced in 40 schools in September 2018, with students to sit the first examinations in June 2020. These 40 schools will continue to offer the subject to fifth years beginning September 2019, with examinations in June 2021.

From the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year, the new subject will be made available to all interested schools, should they wish to offer it as an option for their Leaving Certificate programme for incoming 5th years. A further communication will be issued to all second-level schools early in the 2019/2020 school year in relation to the national roll out asking them to express their interest in delivering the subject.

Departmental Funding

 135. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12508/19]

 136. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12525/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 136 together.

  The relevant information is being collated by my Department and I will respond directly to the Deputy when it is ready.

Schools Building Projects

 137. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if he has had contact with a school (details supplied) regarding plans for the improvement of the building; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12544/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has no record of receiving correspondence, from the school in question, for capital works.

Civil Service Staff Data

 138. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the reason early retirement on ill health grounds is being refused for a person (details supplied); the medical grounds on which retirement is being refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12548/19]

 139. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the process used for persons to be deemed suitably qualified to assess the ill health of a person while the person is out of work (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12549/19]

 140. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the qualification and speciality of the person (details supplied) who performed a medical assessment on a person; if the person is qualified and specialised in all of the health conditions of the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12550/19]

 141. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the reason for the deduction of spouses' and children's contributions from the pay or ill health retirement estimate of a person (details supplied) when the person does not have a spouse and the person's child is now 22 years of age; if this is a common procedure in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12551/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 to 141, inclusive, together.

A civil servant is referred to the Office of the Chief Medical Officer if they wish to apply for ill-health retirement. All applications are assessed by an Occupational Health Physician who is on the Medical Council’s Specialist Register in Occupational Medicine. The medical opinion on permanent medical disability lies with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and not with the civil servant's GP/ hospital doctor.

The person referred to by the Deputy applied for ill-health retirement and in line with procedures was referred to the CMO’s Office. The report from the CMO was that it was not the opinion of the Ill Health Retirement Forum, who assess applications, that this applicant was likely to be permanently medically incapable of regular and effective service in her current occupation.

The applicant appealed this decision and the case was referred to an independent Occupational Physician. The independent Occupational Physician upheld the decision of the CMO and advised that the person was fit to continue working part-time and that Ill Health Retirement was not appropriate.

This remains the position.

In relation to the Spouses' and Children’s Superannuation Scheme, this is a contributory scheme for civil servants which provides pensions for qualifying spouses and/or dependent children of a member who dies in service, or who dies after qualifying for a pension or preserved pension. Special rules apply to the payment of contributions in cases where ill-health retirement applications are approved. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and PeoplePoint are responsible for the management of the Scheme.


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