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Varadkar, Leo

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions (Continued)

A Government meeting concluded a short time ago. For the information of the House, the Government received a very detailed briefing from the Tánaiste this morning on the recent revelations regardi...More Button

It is absolutely essential, in my view, that a process of reform is rigorously implemented in An Garda Síochána and be seen to be implemented, including through the close oversight of the indepen...More Button

This is clearly a proposal that will require further detailed consideration by Government. I also believe that such a proposition should have widespread support from the Oireachtas. I therefore p...More Button

I should add that the Government continues to have confidence in the Garda Commissioner.More Button

The Government also believes that there must be an external investigation into these two specific matters, not one internally conducted by An Garda Síochána. The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice ...More Button

I have already indicated the view of Government in respect of Commissioner O'Sullivan, who did an outstanding series of interviews. For the first time, interviews were independently conducted and ...More Button

This is not about an individual. It is about the structure, about all of the men and women who serve in An Garda Síochána and, more importantly, about those whom they serve, the people of our coun...More Button

These are matters that are under very serious consideration. From the Government's perspective, it is to take a broader view of the nature and structure of the Garda force for the years ahead in o...More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

On that point also-----More Button

The Whip's office did not receive a request from Sinn Féin for time. Sinn Féin may have gone to the Business Committee, but it did not come to the-----More Button

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality has been invited to attend and she is attending.More Button

Government-Church Dialogue (Continued)

I am not sure I can answer all of these questions in the time available to me. I have asked for a report in respect of the particular case mentioned by Deputy Martin. I am also in the process of ...More Button

Deputy Burton raised the issue of the Pope's visit here and whether he will visit one of the mother and baby homes. I do not have any control over the schedule of the Pope when he comes here. I...More Button

-----for the world convention of families. I do not have an input into his schedule, no more than-----More Button

He is invited here by the bishops and the church. Obviously, the State will make its facilities available for the Head of State of the Vatican. To be honest, I do not know of correspondence being...More Button

Deputy Coppinger raised several questions about the religious institutions and their failure to measure up. I take a very strong view about this. It is Government policy that the church congreg...More Button

In 2009 the Christian Brothers offered to transfer its 49 school playing fields, valued at €127 million, to a new joint trust between the State and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. As the initial ...More Button

Following the publication of the Ryan report, five congregations offered to transfer properties to the State and the voluntary and community sector in addition to making cash contributions.More Button

The total value of those offers was €237 million. The Christian Brothers offered their 49 school playing fields at a value of €127 million to be transferred to a new joint trust between the State ...More Button

In July 2013, the Government agreed to a revised proposal by the then Minister, Deputy Quinn, under which the congregation would be asked to transfer the playing fields to the trust for the conti...More Button

In the context of a High Court award, the congregation then undertook a comprehensive review of its capacity to meet all of its obligations, including its outstanding redress contributions. A fi...More Button

All of the outstanding committed contributions are being pursued. In particular, officials in the Department of Education, the Chief State Solicitor's office and the HSE are following through on t...More Button

Would the State consider taking educational property off the religious? It would be appreciated that the strong constitutional protection afforded to private property in the Constitution makes i...More Button

Pope Francis is a very different kind of Pope, as Deputy Burton is aware.More Button

He has been dealing with the poor and deprived in Buenos Aires in Argentina for many years. He is showing evidence of that in Rome. I am quite sure that Pope Francis is very well aware of the iss...More Button

Constitutional Convention Recommendations

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 7, inclusive, together.

  The previous Government responded in the Dáil to all nine reports of the Convention on the Constitution. I will s...More Button

Constitutional Convention Recommendations (Continued)

The seventh progress report made recommendations relating to Dáil reform, some of which would have involved a referendum. The House will be aware that Standing Orders were amended in January las...More Button

The programme of Dáil reform in the current Dáil builds on these reforms introduced by the previous Government. It reflects many of the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention. Moreove...More Button

As regards the convention's eighth report, the programme for a partnership Government states that this report, which deals with economic, social and cultural rights, will be referred to the Oirea...More Button

Deputies will be aware that a Private Members' Bill to amend Article 45 of the Constitution and insert a provision on the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cu...More Button

The convention's ninth report did not make recommendations for constitutional change.More Button

There are no plans otherwise to implement Constitutional Convention recommendations for referendums that were not accepted by the last Government other than as set out in the programme for a part...More Button

I will set out the costs of the various referenda since 2001. Referenda have been held on prohibition of the death penalty, the International Criminal Court, the Nice treaty, the protection of hum...More Button

Obviously, the cost implications are one thing. I agree that there should be a process to set out the structure, strategy and timing for a referendum.More Button

The convention made many recommendations to the Government. The Government did not accept all of them. However, we are waiting for the report of the Citizens' Assembly on the eighth amendment. ...More Button

A comment was made on voting by emigrants living abroad. This issue has been around for a long time. Philadelphia was a place many Irish emigrated to directly after the famine and in the years ...More Button

It may not be of great importance in other countries but, in terms of Irish emigrants and the Irish diaspora, when the issues are dealt with here, I believe there will be a good response. We must ...More Button

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements (Continued)

In respect of Deputy Micheál Martin's comments at the beginning, we are well prepared for this. The UK Prime Minister will move Article 50 tomorrow. That means sending a letter to the President o...More Button

In respect of Deputy Ó Snodaigh's question, it is imperative that the British Government lives up to its responsibility in implementing in full the Good Friday Agreement. I point out to the Depu...More Button

The issue of the Irish language is important for Irish nationalists. It is something that everybody would not find intrusive. I have hopes regarding the options being considered by the Secretary ...More Button

On Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett's point, nobody condones the events that have led to the loss of innocent lives, whether in South Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Mosul or so many other locations.More Button

The terrorists behind the attacks in Nice, the Bataclan theatre, Brussels and Germany were all internal to the countries in question. This was also the case in the United States. The individual i...More Button

Gabh mo leithscéal. I apologise to the Deputy.More Button

Deputy Coppinger is an accurate person.More Button

Business of Dáil

I thank Deputy Ruth Coppinger for pointing out to me an inaccuracy.More Button

I understand that. I am glad to have people who-----More Button

Money Advice and Budgeting Service and Citizen Information Centres: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

I move amendment No. 2:More Button

In the motion there is a call on me, as Minister for Social Protection, to invoke the power under section 9 of the Citizens Information Act 2007 to direct the board to halt its implementation of ...More Button

The CIB, as a statutory body, has the authority to make decisions on its day-to-day operational activities as it sees fit, and it would not be lawful or appropriate for me, as Minister, to interv...More Button

Departmental Contracts Data

My Department has hired no such firms.More Button

Brexit Issues

Consultation is a core feature of the Government’s preparation for the Brexit negotiations. Following the first plenary session of the All-Island Civic Dialogue in November, the Government launch...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

There were no payments made by my Department, its agencies or any bodies under the aegis of my Department to broadcasters in the years to which the Deputy refers.More Button

Was asked: the cost of insurance under different insurance headings such as public liability, buildings cover, employer liability and so on for his Department and each body under its aegis; the name of the in...More Button

My Department does not take out insurance policies but pays out compensation where necessary. Accordingly, there are no insurance claims against my Department. In cases where a person takes a per...More Button

Protected Disclosures Data

My Department has a Policy on Protected Disclosures which sets out the process by which an employee (or former employee) of the Department of the Taoiseach can make a protected disclosure; what wil...More Button

Under my Department's Policy on Protected Disclosures, any employee or former employee of the Department of the Taoiseach who has a reasonable belief in relation to one or more of the wrongdoings...More Button

To date, no disclosures have been received from employees or former employees of my Department under its Policy on Protected Disclosures.More Button

Was asked: the process within his Department for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act; if the examinations of such disclosures are carried out by an independent authority or persons other tha...More Button

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides a statutory framework within which workers can raise concerns regarding potential wrongdoing that has come to their attention in the workplace. The Depa...More Button

The Act requires public bodies to establish and maintain procedures for dealing with protected disclosures and to provide written information relating to these procedures to workers. The Departm...More Button

Persons submitting a protected disclosure may raise their concern via their line management or to the Head of Internal Audit in the Department or to the external bodies outlined in the Act.More Button

Protected disclosures are initially assessed by the Protected Disclosures Group in the Department, comprising four Departmental managers - the Head of Internal Audit and Principal Officers with r...More Button

Three protected disclosures have been received to date under the Act. More Button

The Department, as is required under the Act, publishes an annual report in relation to the matters outlined in Section 22 of the Act.More Button

Insurance Costs

My Department and the National Economic and Social Development Office [NESDO] operate under State indemnity, a self-insurance model whereby the State bears the financial risk associated with the co...More Button

Social Insurance

Was asked: the estimated revenue that would be raised by introducing a new employers’ rate of pay-related social insurance of 15.75% on the portion of salary paid in excess of €100,000 per annum.More Button

Currently class A employers pay PRSI at the rate of 8.5% where weekly earnings are between €38 and €376. Once weekly earnings exceed €376, the rate of employer PRSI is 10.75%.

  ...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision on their domiciliary allowance appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Social Welfare Offices

Was asked: the number and location of welfare clinics that have been closed and moved to other locations in the past two years, such as the proposed closure of welfare services in Duleek and Laytown, County M...More Button

Following the transfer of the Community Welfare Service (CWS) from the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the Department in 2011, the Department has re-engineered its business model to support the p...More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: if he will reinstate a disability allowance for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Treatment Benefit Scheme

Was asked: the grant assistance that is available to a person (details supplied) in receipt of a State pension non-contributory who requires two hearing aids.More Button

The treatment benefit scheme, which includes provision for a grant towards hearing aids, is based on PRSI contributions. There are two main qualification criteria for someone the age of the person...More Button

Departmental Staff Relocation

Was asked: the reason staff working in social welfare services in County Longford are not being facilitated in transferring to the office in Carrick-on-Shannon even though these transfers were sanctioned some...More Button

The Department facilitates staff transfers in accordance with the appropriate protocols. In this regard, where a permanent post falls to be filled by transfer the relevant transfer list is consult...More Button

An increase in the work undertaken in the Department’s Longford office required the ongoing assignment of a significant number of new staff last year. The Department's priority is to ensure that...More Button

  Question No. 223 withdrawn.More Button

Disability Allowance Payments

Was asked: when arrears will issue to a person (details supplied) who was waiting more than 12 months on a decision regarding a disability allowance application; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Was asked: if he will expedite a domiciliary care allowance and a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Youth Unemployment Measures

Was asked: the extent to which the various youth unemployment alleviation measures have resulted in successful full-time job placements throughout the country and especially in counties Sligo and Leitrim; and...More Button

Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. First, through policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs; and second...More Button

Reflecting the impact of government policy, and the overall improvement in the labour market, youth unemployment continues to fall with a rate of 14.5% (30,500 persons) in February 2017 estimated...More Button

However, the number of young people signing on the Live Register in offices in Sligo and Leitrim (which may serve as an indicator of trends in unemployment) has fallen from 1,430 in February 2012...More Button

While systemised data is not readily available on employment outcomes for specific programmes nationally or at county level, some indicative figures are available for people aged under 25 at a na...More Button

- The evaluation of JobBridge by Indecon (report published October 2016), shows on the basis of self-reported survey results that 61% of interns aged 20 to 24 years (and 53.8% of those aged 15-19)...More Button

- JobsPlus provides subsidies to employers for the full-time employment of those formerly long-term unemployed on the Live Register. In October 2016 there were 4,323 participants benefiting fro...More Button

- In 2015 the level of satisfaction among under 25 year old Intreo clients with getting on to course, training or getting a job was very high at 4.27, of a possible maximum of 5.More Button

- 2016 results from the Customer Satisfaction Survey will be published shortly and show a similar high level of satisfaction among under 25 year olds Intreo clients with getting on to course, tr...More Button

Under the Government’s policies to support the young unemployed, the first intervention is to provide case officer support to help newly unemployed young people find and secure sustainable jobs. ...More Button

For those who do not find employment, through the process just described, additional offers are provided for. Most such offers (over 70%) are in existing further education or training programmes...More Button

Pathways to Work 2016 to 2020 sets additional targets in relation to addressing youth unemployment: 1) increase the relative share of workplace-based interventions (Gateway, TÚS, Positive to Work...More Button

I am satisfied that these policy measures, together with an improving labour market, will continue to address youth unemployment and support further improvements in the labour market situation fo...More Button

Unemployment Benefits Data

Was asked: the number of persons currently in receipt of unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit in counties Sligo and Leitrim; the extent to which such numbers have fluctuated in the course of the pa...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following table.

  It should be noted that the county level statistics indicate the number of people signing-on for pay...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times

Was asked: the extent to which he can continue to improve the time taken to process appeals in respect of various social protection payments throughout the country and particularly in counties Sligo and Leitr...More Button

The average appeal processing times for all appeals determined from 2014 to 2016 broken down by all social welfare scheme types is outlined in the following tables. I am advised by the Chief Appea...More Button

Employment Support Services

Was asked: the extent to which he has examined issues preventing or discouraging unemployed persons from obtaining employment and particularly in counties Sligo and Leitrim; if he has examined various schemes...More Button

The main social welfare schemes offered by my Department for unemployed people in the State are jobseeker’s allowance and benefit. Both schemes provide significant support to unemployed people suc...More Button

The goal of the Government’s Pathways to Work Strategy is to ensure that as many jobs as possible go to people on the Live Register. Ensuring that work always pays and preventing long-term depen...More Button

FIS targets families with children on low incomes where the parent works at least 19 hours per week. The payment effectively preserves the incentive to take up or remain in employment in circums...More Button

The BTWFD allows those who had been in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment, including jobseeker’s transition payment) and recipients of the one-parent family payment, to retain their full increase f...More Button

Where a long term unemployed jobseeker is offered employment of more than 3 days but less than 24 hours a week, they may be eligible for the part-time job incentive scheme. Under this scheme the...More Button

ESRI research, based on an analysis of current incomes, benefits and taxes, has found that people are better off in work than on welfare. It demonstrates that more than 8 out of 10 unemployed jo...More Button

Reflecting the impact of government policy, and the overall improvement in the labour market, long term unemployment continues to fall. The most recent data show that unemployment has fallen fro...More Button

I am satisfied that the combination of jobseeker’s payments, FIS, BTWFD and the part-time job incentive scheme provides considerable support for people to take up employment by allowing them reta...More Button

Unemployment Levels

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to monitor the age profile of those on the live register long term with a view to initiating measures to address the issue throughout the country and particularly i...More Button

The official measure of unemployment is sourced from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). Measures of unemployment from the QNHS are based on International Labour Office (ILO) definitio...More Button

Work Placement Programmes

Was asked: the supports through Tús and community employment schemes he can give to villages and towns to enhance the work of volunteers that take on the upkeep and positive promotion of their towns and villa...More Button

My Department provides a range of activation supports and programmes catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market. This includes programmes such as Tú...More Button

I am conscious of the valuable contribution the schemes are making in the provision of services to individuals and communities across Ireland. Many participants on Tús and CE are working in plac...More Button

The current eligibility rules and maximum durations allowed for participants are quite varied in terms of the underlying age, duration and other terms and conditions that apply across the employm...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) can receive an extension to their placement on a CE scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department sets down eligibility criteria for participation on employment schemes so as to ensure that opportunities to avail of activation measures are managed effectively. The maximum durati...More Button

The person concerned will finish his placement on 30/06/2017, at which point he will have completed in excess of 3 years. It will not be possible to extend the placement beyond that date, as he ...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Free Travel Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: if he will review a decision to refuse a companion travel pass in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of invalidity pension and qualifies for free travel in his own right. However, to qualify for a free travel companion pass, he must be medically assessed as unfi...More Button

The person concerned applied for the companion pass in February 2017. The application was submitted to a medical assessor for consideration. The medical evidence provided was dated 2013 and it ...More Button

The person concerned was advised of the outcome of their application on 8th March 2017. They can appeal this decision by submitting further more up-to-date medical evidence in support of their c...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Appeals

Was asked: if an appeal can be conducted regarding the estate of a deceased person's (details supplied) State pension issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that there is no record of an appeal on behalf of the estate of the deceased person concerned. In general, an appeal should be submitted within 21...More Button

In light of ongoing correspondence between the executor of the estate of the deceased person concerned and the State Pension (Non Contributory) Section of my Department, the Chief Appeals Officer...More Button

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 in relation to s...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. If you require further assistance with this query please do not hesitate to contact my office.More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: when a decision on an application for domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied) will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Labour Activation Programmes Data

Was asked: the number of persons on activation programmes under the remit of his Department, by scheme, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Data on the number of participants in job activation programmes is reported monthly by programme by the Central Statistics Office. Table 1 gives the number of persons on activation programmes unde...More Button

Child Benefit Data

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of child benefit in 2017; the estimated cost of providing a once-off double payment for all children born in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to thei...More Button

Child Benefit is currently paid to around 627,000 families in respect of some 1.2 million children, with an estimated expenditure in the order of over €2 billion in 2017. More Button

As we are only in the first quarter of 2017 it is not possible to accurately predict how many children will be born in 2017. However, utilising current Child Benefit data as a proxy the estimate...More Button

Providing a once off double payment for all children born in 2017 would not be a targeted approach given the universality of Child Benefit and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary ...More Button

Departmental Schemes

Was asked: the programmes or schemes under his Department's remit which assist or support persons to retrain or reskill at third level institutions or equivalent; the cost of each of these schemes, in tabular...More Button

The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant payable by the Department of Education and Skills represents the primary support for persons pursuing Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLCs) and ...More Button

My Department administers the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme which is an educational opportunities scheme for persons in receipt of certain social welfare payments wishing to pursue se...More Button

The BTEA scheme is aligned with the student support schemes under the Department of Education and Skills. In the case of jobseekers, this allows recipients to participate in a course of educatio...More Button

In general, an applicant must be at least 21 years of age before the start date of an approved course of study. The BTEA can be approved for a jobseeker aged at least 18 but under 21 years old p...More Button

Expenditure on the BTEA scheme in 2016 was just over €114m and, at the end of December 2016, there were over 14,300 participants on the scheme.More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Unemployment Data

Was asked: the supports or incentives in place to encourage employers to hire persons who are long-term unemployed, that is, for more than one year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

JobsPlus provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit people who are longterm on the live register and those transitioning into employment. It provides employers with two...More Button

The incentive is open to all eligible employers in the private, community and voluntary sectors, including those who are self-employed. It is available to all employers filling new positions or ...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. More Button

Was asked: the action he is taking to specifically assist the 79,700 long-term unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2016, representing over 54% of the total unemployed; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. First, through policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs; and second...More Button

To date, these policies have been effective in reducing unemployment and long-term unemployment in particular. The rate of long-term unemployment has fallen from a peak of 9.5% to 3.6% in Q4 201...More Button

The Pathways to Work 2016-2020 strategy continues to prioritise actions for the long-term unemployed. This includes the roll-out of the payment-by-results services of JobPath to engage more syst...More Button

The JobPath service procured by my department provides additional resources to enable it to provide a high quality, case-managed employment support service for people who are long-term unemployed...More Button

I am confident these measures, and continuing economic recovery, will support further reductions in long-term unemployment and add to the substantial improvements that have already been seen over...More Button

Citizens Information Services

Was asked: the reason it is intended to change the local structure of the citizens information services to a regional structure; the cost of this change; if it is intended to abolish the county and community ...More Button

The Citizens Information Board (CIB), which has statutory responsibility for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the Citizens Information Services (CIS), decided, on 15 February 2017,...More Button

The decision comes after a lengthy and extensive analysis of options and a detailed consultation period with all stakeholders on the need for a more streamlined governance model. The restructure...More Button

A more streamlined governance structure will result in a more targeted use of valuable staff resources, re-directed to increased front line service delivery, made possible by reduction in the cur...More Button

In 2017, CIB is set to receive State funding of €54 million, of which €15 million is allocated to CIS services (including €13.1 million to the 42 local Citizens Information Services, €1.2 million...More Button

Following on from the decision of the Board, a Restructuring Implementation Group is being set up by CIB to examine all aspects of implementing the new sixteen (16) board model. This work will i...More Button

The aim of the project is to improve existing governance arrangements and optimise the benefits from operating a more modern, streamlined and customer focused service delivery model. More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Carer's Support Grant

Was asked: the status of an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The appeal of the person concerned against the decision to refuse her claim for Carer’s Support Grant was successful. An amount of €1,700, in respect of the 2016 Carer’s Support Grant, was lodged ...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the reason for the delay in issuing a date for a carer's allowance oral hearing appeal for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeals from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to hold an oral hearing in this case on 11 April 2017....More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in issuing a date for a carer's allowance oral hearing appeal to a person (details supplied); if consideration will be given to the fact that the person is under financial ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 12 January 2017. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

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 in relation to s...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Family Income Supplement Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will be made regarding an appeal for family income supplement submitted in October 2016 by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In order to qualify for Family Income Supplement (FIS) a person must be engaged in full-time remunerative employment as an employee for at least 38 hours per fortnight (19 hours per week).

More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the reason arrears have yet to be issued to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for carer's allowance (CA) was received from the person concerned on 24 January 2017.

  The application was awarded to the person concerned on 23 March 2017 and th...More Button

Fuel Allowance Data

Was asked: his plans to review the means test for fuel allowance to take into account the gross income of persons in receipt of private pensions rather than the net income (details supplied); and if he will m...More Button

The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, to 378,000 low income households to assist them with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribut...More Button

My Department also pays an electricity or gas allowance as part of the household benefits package to approximately 425,000 customers, at an estimated cost of €232 million in 2017. Applicants for...More Button

The criteria for Fuel Allowance are framed in order to direct the limited resources available to my Department in as targeted a manner as possible. People who are in receipt of a qualifying cont...More Button

A fuel applicant and members of his/her household may have a combined assessable income of up to €100.00 a week above the appropriate rate of State Pension Contributory and qualify for a payment....More Button

The Guidelines for the Fuel Allowance Scheme are kept under review. However, any decision to change the means test for fuel allowance to make it more generous to people in receipt of a private p...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of extending the fuel allowance to those persons in receipt of illness benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, to 378,000 low income households to assist them with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribut...More Button

The fuel allowance is a means tested payment, targeted at those who are more vulnerable to energy poverty, including those reliant on social protection payments for longer periods and who are unl...More Button

A person who has been in receipt of illness benefit for at least 12 months and who most likely will be incapable of work for at least another 12 months, or who may be permanently incapable of wor...More Button

The information sought by the Deputy on the estimated cost of extending the fuel allowance scheme to illness benefit recipients is not readily available to my Department as there are a number of ...More Button

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme a recipient of a social welfare or health service executive payment who has exceptional essential heating costs due to ill health or infirmity and...More Button

The best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term is to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling. My Department works closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and En...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Public Services Card Provision

Was asked: the provision there is for a stateless person lawfully resident here to apply for a public services card in view of the fact they are unable to produce any passport or information as to nationality...More Button

The legislation governing the issuance of a Public Services Card is contained in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended.

  Section 263(1) states –

 &...More Button

Farm Assist Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: if he will consider allowing mortgage payments as an income disregard when assessing means for eligibility for farm assist; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department operates a range of means tested social assistance payments, including farm assist. Social welfare legislation provides that the means test takes account of the income and assets of...More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: the status of the review of part-time and seasonal workers entitlements to jobseeker's benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I gave a commitment at Dáil report stage of the Social Welfare Bill 2016 that I would ask my officials to examine the issue of jobseeker’s benefit and the treatment of part-time and seasonal worker...More Button

That report is currently being undertaken with the intention of presenting it to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection for its consideration shortly. The timeframe is ambitious but...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals

Was asked: the status of an application for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary ev...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Payments

Was asked: if a one-parent family payment or alternative payment will be restored in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned withdrew her one parent family claim on 1/3/17 and was advised by an officer of the Department that her partner could apply to have her and her dependent child added as dependa...More Button

Exceptional Needs Payments

Was asked: when an exceptional needs payment will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

According to the records of this department, no recent application for an exceptional needs payment has been made by the person concerned. It is open to the person concerned to make an application...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: when a decision will be issued on a social protection appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that following an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned, the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in the light of all of the ...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the relevance of details in respect of their medical condition and costs associated therewith as requested in the case of a person (details supplied) regarding the determination of their entitlemen...More Button

The person concerned was requested to provide proof that she attended a medical consultation in her homeland as well as a letter from her GP confirming fitness to work. This is a requirement for r...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the basis on which assessment of means and entitlement to jobseeker's allowance is affected by any property such as a ten or 15 acre plot; the entitlement to FIS or to jobseeker's or neither in suc...More Button

In assessing means for social assistance payments such as jobseeker’s allowance, account is taken of the income and the value of property, including capital, of the claimant and their spouse/partne...More Button

Carer's Allowance Payments

Was asked: if a carer’s allowance rate of payment will be increased from half rate to full rate for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.More Button

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a social assistance payment made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a relevant person/persons and whose income falls below certain limits.
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Job Initiatives

Was asked: the criteria regarding the length of time that eligible participants can remain in the community employment, Tús and rural social schemes.More Button

Programmes such as Community Employment, (CE), Tús and Rural Social Scheme (RSS) are designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people with an opportunity to engage i...More Button

The pattern of participation on the CE programme is dependent on the individual circumstance of each person and the length of time s/he has been in receipt of a CE-qualifying social welfare payme...More Button

In addition, lifetime participation on CE by an individual is currently limited to 3 years for persons under 55 years of age and 6 years for persons of 55 years of age up to State Pension age (in...More Button

Eligible persons who were in receipt of a CE-qualifying disability-linked social welfare payment will be eligible for one additional year on CE over the standard maximum participation caps, i.e. ...More Button

Eligible CE participants aged 62 or over are permitted to exceed the standard limits of participation detailed above.More Button

A six year maximum participation limit on the scheme has been introduced for new participants in the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) commencing on or after 1st February, 2017. The six years can be con...More Button

All Tús placements are limited to 12 months duration. More Button

The current eligibility rules and maximum durations allowed for participants are quite varied in terms of the underlying age, duration and other terms and conditions that apply across the employm...More Button

My Department will be also consulting with the various stakeholders about the changes in the coming weeks.More Button

I trust that clarifies the matters for the Deputy.More Button

Social Welfare Code

Was asked: the definition of a farm under the social welfare code, with particular reference to eligibility for a means tested social welfare payment for those owning a non-viable portion of land.More Button

The primary support my Department offers farmers is the farm assist scheme which is a means tested scheme for farmers on low incomes. To qualify for the scheme a person must satisfy the means test...More Button

Social welfare legislation defines a farmer as a person engaged in farming, farming farm land including commonage, which is owned, and used for the purposes of husbandry, is leased, and used for ...More Button

It is not sufficient for a person simply to own a farm of land to qualify for farm assist. The legislation prescribes that the claimant himself/herself must be engaged in farming. Therefore, a ...More Button

In assessing means for social assistance payments such as jobseeker’s allowance, account is taken of the income and the value of property, including capital, of the claimant and their spouse or p...More Button

However, it is important to note that capital assessment does not include property which is being personally used or enjoyed by the claimant such as the family home where they reside or a premise...More Button

Where a person is farming their land, the assessment of means, including for farm assist, is designed to reflect the actual net income from farming and looks at gross income, less allowable expen...More Button

In Budget 2017 I introduced new measures in relation to the assessment of means for farm assist. Since 8 March 2017, farm income is now be assessed at 70%, down from 100%, with an additional ann...More Button

  Question No. 264 withdrawn.More Button