Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 227-237
 Header Item Information and Communications Technology Issues
 Header Item Presidential Reports
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Community Childcare Subvention Scheme
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Information and Communications Technology Issues
 Header Item Information and Communications Technology Issues
 Header Item Children Services Committees
 Header Item Presidential Reports

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 797 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 71 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 227-237

Information and Communications Technology Issues

 227. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department has given any consideration to the use of telephony switchboard services that are shared with another Department or another public body in order to reduce costs and increase call handling capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14509/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department provides a range of ICT services to a number of agencies including other Government Departments, non-commercial semi-state bodies, as part of agreed shared service arrangements. Among the telephony-based shared services delivered are the provision of a call centre IT helpdesk for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) and a helpdesk in relation to the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme, hosted on behalf of Animal Health Ireland (AHI).

These shared services provided by my Department have delivered significant cost savings and efficiencies for the organisations concerned.

Presidential Reports

 228. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he received a copy of the Being Young and Irish – Take Charge of Change report from the Office of the President, Áras an Uachtaráin as part of President Higgins series of seminars with young persons here which took place in Dublin, Galway, Monaghan and Cork in 2012; if he has noted the Take Charge of Change declaration made by the participants; the steps he has taken arising out of the report’s findings in order to achieve young person’s vision for Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14523/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department received a copy of this report and it will be given due consideration.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 229. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when an inspection will take place in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14566/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1st September 2011 and has received full payment totalling €1,333.32 in respect of 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. The application was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 7th November 2012. There are issues arising from the inspection process including the re-digitisation of land parcels and the imposition of a 10% penalty for withdrawal from the conservation of genetic resources measure. My Department aims to resolve the outstanding issues with a view to notification of the outcome to the person named, including notification of the right to appeal, and with the intention of issuing the payment due in respect of 2012 as quickly as possible.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

 230. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will report on the recent Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting on the Common Agricultural Policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14585/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The primary focus of the discussions at the Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels on the 18th and 19th March was on the CAP Reform package. The deputy will be aware that, on the basis of compromise texts tabled by the Irish Presidency, the Council successfully adopted a General Approach on CAP Reform by a strong qualified majority. This has been achieved against a background of lengthy intensive negotiations with my Member State colleagues, across a range of complex and sensitive issues.

Concluding the Council approach was not only a successful outcome for the Irish Presidency but also represents a good outcome for Irish farmers. The key outstanding issue from an Irish perspective related to the distribution of Direct Payments within Member States. I am very pleased that the Council endorsed the principle of flexibility that I have been seeking and agreed to the inclusion of the Irish model of partial convergence to a flat rate system in the options available for distribution of Direct Payments. This increases the prospect of significantly lower transfers of payments between farmers than would be the case under the Commission’s flat rate proposal.

I was also pleased with the Council’s agreement to my proposals on the greening of direct payments. These proposals bring the necessary flexibility to the Commission’s original proposals, so that farmers can practise sustainable agriculture without overly bureaucratic impediments. The agreement also addresses Ireland’s requirements for a greening payment to be applied as a percentage of each farmer’s single payment rather than as a flat rate.

Another good outcome is the agreement amongst my Council colleagues to end sugar quotas in 2017. This is a good compromise as it pulls back substantially from the 2020 end date that had been demanded by many Member States. In relation to voluntary coupled support, Ireland will have the option of using up to 7% of our national envelope for such payments. There was also agreement to the implementation of new Areas of Natural Constraint and a change in the proposed reference year for the establishment of payment entitlements.

This General Approach will form the basis for the next step in the negotiation process. We will now move to the final, so-called ‘trilogue’, stage, where the Irish Presidency will represent the Council in discussions with the European Parliament and with the Commission. The successful completion of the Council’s deliberations means that my target of an inter-institutional political agreement by the end of June remains very much on schedule. I am very hopeful that all participants across all three institutions will maintain their focus and redouble their efforts so that, together, we can bring the reform negotiations to a conclusion by the end of June.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 231. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on a submission (details supplied) regarding designation of lands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14607/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Responsibility for the designation of Natura 2000 sites, including Hen Harrier habitats, and all associated issues lies within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. I will bring this submission to his attention.

Community Childcare Subvention Scheme

 232. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the reason the children of participants in JobBridge are not included in band A for the childcare subvention scheme in view of the importance of this innovative scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14365/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community childcare not-for-profit services to enable them to charge reduced childcare rates to parents in receipt of social welfare payments or on low to middle incomes. Community childcare services qualify for grant aid on the basis of the level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service.

Parents qualify for support under the CCS programme on the basis of their social welfare entitlement. The JobBridge scheme, which is implemented by the Department of Social Protection, is a National Internship Scheme which provides work experience placement for unemployed people. As the Deputy is aware participants in the JobBridge programme receive a weekly allowance of €50 in addition to any social welfare entitlement they may have.

Participants in the JobBridge scheme do not on the basis of participation in the scheme, automatically qualify for subvention under the CCS programme but qualify on the basis of their underlying social welfare entitlement. For example a parent who was in receipt of Job Seekers benefit and who holds a medical card qualifies for a subvention payment of €50 per week towards the cost of full-time childcare for the duration of their participation in the JobBridge scheme.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 233. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will investigate the case of an inter-country adoption raised in correspondence (details supplied); if she will advise on the way the adoption process can be finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14471/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As this is a service matter relating to an individual case I have asked the Adoption Authority of Ireland to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Information and Communications Technology Issues

 234. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the progress made within her Department on phasing out the use of locall 1890 numbers that can be extremely expensive when dialled from mobile phones and introducing 076 numbers, which are generally included in tariff bundles provided by most mobile network operators and are charged at the same rate as national calls, in view of the fact that the number of mobile phones exceed the number of landlines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14479/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department does not have any LoCall numbers in operation at present but has previously used such numbers for specific projects and consultations.

  If any future projects or consultations are being undertaken, the option of using 076 numbers will be considered.

Information and Communications Technology Issues

 235. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she has considered the use of, or implemented, integrated voice response systems in her Department's phone systems or in the phone systems of agencies within her remit; if the staff and salary cost savings which might arise have been assessed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14495/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department operates a manned reception area, which incorporates switch operator duties for incoming calls. As such, an integrated voice response system for the Department would not have any significant salary cost savings.

  The use of such systems in agencies under the remit of my Department is a matter for each to consider and I have asked them to contact you directly in this regard.

Children Services Committees

 236. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will report on the children's services committees which have already been established; the catchment population and child population which each serves; and if she will provide this information for all proposed Children Services Committees. [14521/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department is leading an initiative to develop and implement a planning model for local interagency working to improve outcomes for children. The purpose of this initiative is to work towards better developmental outcomes for children through more effective integration of policies and services, in particular through the Children’s Services Committees at local level.

Children’s Services Committees bring together a diverse group of agencies in local county areas to engage in joint planning of services for children. These include representatives from the HSE, local authorities, An Garda Síochána, VECs, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, Irish Primary Principals Network, NEWB, and other organisations who provide services to children and young people. There are 16 CSCs at various stages of development and these are as follows: Dublin City, South Dublin, Limerick City, Donegal,   Kerry, Fingal, Kildare, Longford/Westmeath, Carlow, Louth, Wicklow, Waterford, South Tipperary, Meath, Sligo/Leitrim, Cavan/Monaghan.

  Following the publication of the Children & Young People’s Policy Framework later this year it is planned to extend the initiative further with the aim of developing a CSC in every part of the State.

  I have set out a table detailing a) the total population and b) the population of people up to age 19 in each CSC area and the corresponding figures for each city/county borough that does not currently have such a committee.

Counties with CSC Population :  0-19 years Total Population
Carlow
15539
54612
Cavan/Monaghan
39270
133666
Donegal
47487
161137
Dublin City
109243
527612
Fingal
82055
273991
Kerry
38083
145502
Kildare
64786
210312
Limerick City
14239
57106
Longford/Westmeath
36588
125164
Louth
36243
122897
Meath
57530
184135
Sligo/Leitrim
26145
97191
South Dublin
77965
265205
South Tipperary
24497
88432
Waterford
31656
113795
Wicklow
39754
136640
Total
741080
2697397
Counties without CSC Population: 0-19 years Total population
Clare
33389
117196
Cork City
25151
119230
Cork County
116329
399802
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
51211
206261
Galway City
17446
75529
Galway County
50663
175124
Kilkenny
27280
95419
Laois
24579
80559
Limerick County
37758
134703
Mayo
35483
130638
North Tipperary
19880
70322
Offaly
22909
76687
Roscommon
17361
64065
Wexford
42090
145320
Total
521529
1890855

Presidential Reports

 237. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she received a copy of the Being Young and Irish – Take Charge of Change report from the Office of the President, Áras an Uachtaráin as part of President Higgins series of seminars with young persons here which took place in Dublin, Galway, Monaghan and Cork in 2012; if he has noted the Take Charge of Change declaration made by the participants; the steps she has taken arising out of the report’s findings in order to achieve young person’s vision for Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14525/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Department of Children and Youth Affairs actively encourages the voice of the child and participation in decision making by children and young people. As part of this approach, my Department oversees the work of Comhairle na nÓg (local youth councils) and Dáil na nÓg (the national youth parliament). My Department also has significant expertise in undertaking consultations with children and young people, including those who are seldom heard.

As a result of this approach and expertise, my Department was asked to nominate a representative to the Implementation Group for the Presidential Seminars for young people. The Head of the Communications and Citizen Participation Unit of the Department subsequently participated in the Implementation Group and provided advice on the most effective methods for seeking the views of young people and ensuring the inclusion of seldom heard young people in the consultations.

My Department provides opportunities for children and young people to contribute their views on issues of national and personal importance, and has conducted national consultations/dialogues with children and young people on a range of issues, including: the Taskforce on Active Citizenship (2006); the age of consent for sexual activity (2006); the Irish Youth Justice Strategy (2007); the misuse of alcohol among young people (2007); and Teenage Mental Health: What Helps and What Hurts (2008).

A thematic Group on the development of a national policy on children and young people’s participation in decision-making was established in 2011, comprising representatives of Government departments, State agencies, the research community and other key stakeholders. Its work will feed into the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People which is due to be published later this year. Recommendations in the President's Report which are relevant to policy and services for children and young people will also be taken into account in the Policy Framework.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 08:06:09 First Page Previous Page Page of 71 Next Page Last Page