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. 21-41
 Header Item An Tóstal 2013
 Header Item Cosaint Fostaíochta
 Header Item National Monuments
 Header Item Ministerial Appointments
 Header Item Deer Hunting
 Header Item Irish Language Issues
 Header Item Budget 2014 Issues
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues
 Header Item An Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge
 Header Item Food Promotion
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Expenditure Reviews
 Header Item Ulster Canal Restoration Project
 Header Item Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach don Ghaeilge

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 813 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 144 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 21-41

Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 15.

An Tóstal 2013

 22. D'fhiafraigh Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an mbeidh níos mó post ar fáil sa Ghaeltacht in 2013 de bharr na dturasoirí a bhaineann le Tóstal Éireann; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [38455/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley D’írím aird an Teachta ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 36355 ar 18 Iúil 2013 inar thug mé le fios gur thuig mé ó Údarás na Gaeltachta go bhfuil tionscal na turasóireachta agus an Tóstal 2013 thar a bheith tábhachtach do gheilleagar na Gaeltachta maidir le fostaíocht agus ioncam a chruthú do phobal na Gaeltachta ar an mórthír agus ar na hoileáin Ghaeltachta.   Go ginearálta, meastar go dtacaíonn gach milliún de chaiteachas turasóireachta le 13 post.

Ón aiseolas atá faighte ag an Údarás go dáta, tuigtear dom go bhfuil an Tóstal 2013 ag tacú le hinbhuanaitheacht na hearnála turasóireachta agus ag cur leis an eispéireas atá ar fáil do thurasóirí sa Ghaeltacht. Tuigfidh an Teachta go mbeidh sé deacair tionchar an Tóstail a thomhais ó thaobh na fostaíochta de go dtí go mbeidh na himeachtaí uile thart agus na staitisticí ábhartha foilsithe.

Cosaint Fostaíochta

 23. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an ndéanfaidh sé soiléiriú ar thodhchaí Arramara Teo; agus cad atá á dhéanamh aige chun slí bheatha na mbainteoirí feamainne a chaomhnú. [38495/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Dírím aird an Teachta ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 36339 ar an 18 Iúil 2013 inar thug mé le fios go raibh próiseas ar bun ag Údarás na Gaeltachta le tamall anuas chun féachaint ar na roghanna inmharthana agus forbartha is fearr chun todhchaí an chomhlachta Arramara Teo. a dhaingniú. Chuige sin, cuireadh próiseas ar bun chun páirtnéir a aimsiú a bheadh in ann an comhlacht a fhorbairt agus tugadh deis don chomhlacht féin cás gnó a dhéanamh fosta.

Ag cruinniú de bhord Údarás na Gaeltachta ar 1 Márta 2013, tógadh cinneadh scaireanna an Údaráis in Arramara Teo. a dhíol leis an gcomhlacht Acadian Seaplants Ltd., faoi réir mo chead agus cead an Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe a bheith faighte agus coinníollacha dlí ina leith a bheith socraithe. Tar éis d’oifigigh mo Roinne an cás a mheas, tugadh an cead sin don Údarás ar 29 Iúil 2013, faoi réir go mbeidh na coinníollacha uile a bhaineann leis an díolachán comhlíonta go sásúil. Tuigim ón Údarás go bhfuil siad ag feidhmiú leis an díolachán a chur i bhfeidhm faoi láthair.

Tuigtear dom fosta go raibh, go bhfuil agus go mbeidh todhchaí agus leas na mbainteoirí feamainne ag croílár an phróisis díolacháin atá idir lámha ag Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Question No. 24 answered with Question No. 9.

National Monuments

 25. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the number of National Monuments which have been reported to his Department as damaged to date in 2013; the actions he has taken to remedy these damages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38481/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Some 89 reports of threats or damage to archaeological monuments have been received by my Department to date in 2013. Of the 2013 reports, damage has been found to have occurred to 24 monuments; an area surrounding a monument that may contain archaeology has been affected in 23 cases; and no damage has been found in 13 cases. Investigations are ongoing in the remaining cases. In some cases, damage may be attributable to natural causes, e.g., flooding.

All reports of damage to recorded monuments are fully investigated by my Department and, in cases of actual damage, appropriate action is taken to secure the best outcome for the particular site. Actions by my Department in such circumstances may include requiring remedial works by the landowner or occupier, advising the owner or occupier about proper management of the site, rescue excavation, submission of a formal complaint to An Garda Síochána with a view to a prosecution under the National Monuments Acts, or a combination of these options.

All known archaeological monuments, of which there are in excess of 130,000, are entitled to protection under the National Monuments Acts. Generally this requires any person intending to carry out works at, or in the vicinity of, a protected monument to either provide my Department with two months advance notice or to secure my formal consent to the works, as appropriate. Failure to comply with these requirements is subject to severe penalties. The National Monuments Acts also allow me, as Minister, to make a preservation order where I consider a national monument to be at risk. Protection may be extended to previously unrecorded monuments by entering them in the Register of Historic Monuments or the Record of Monuments and Places.

Many monuments are located in the more remote parts of the country and the assistance of local communities is crucial in aiding my Department in their protection. The vigilance of local people has proved to be of crucial assistance in identifying unlawful interference with archaeological monuments and objects and in their successful investigation and recovery. As I already referred to, prosecutions in respect of damage to recorded monuments are initiated where warranted. There has been a number of successful convictions in the recent past, while several other investigations by An Garda Síochána are ongoing.

In relation to national monuments in my ownership or guardianship, the National Monuments Service of my Department and the Office of Public Works, which is responsible for care and maintenance of national monuments sites, continues to keep security measures for such sites under ongoing review.

Ministerial Appointments

 26. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan in view of the advertisement on 4 June, seeking Board members for the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Chester Beatty Library, the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, the Arts Council, the Irish Architectural Archive and Archbishop Marsh’s Library, the process by which he intends to appoint persons to these positions; and the measures he will take to ensure that the persons taking up those positions will have the appropriate qualifications and experience. [38503/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan My Department advertised on 4th June 2013 seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced persons for appointment to the following positions in a non-executive capacity:

(a) Board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months;

(b) Board of Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months (legal expertise welcome);

(c) Board of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months (legal expertise welcome);

(d) Arts Council: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months;

(e) Board of the Irish Architectural Archive: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months; and

(f) Board of Governors and Guardians of Archbishop Marsh's Library: to fill vacancies that may arise over the coming 12 months.

The purpose of this process is to widen the pool of suitable candidates to fill the relevant Board vacancies as they arise, though, as Minister, I am not restricted to considering only those who have responded to this invitation. Since coming into office, I have utilised this approach to Board appointments, which is the one adopted by this Government. I should say that the response to the advertisement has been very heartening. My Department is currently assessing the information supplied by the applicants so as to ensure, to the extent possible, an appropriate fit for appointments to the various institutions in due course.

Deer Hunting

 27. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the further measures he has planned to protect the red deer stag; if he intends to change the licensing in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38482/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The current hunting dates for deer species are prescribed by the Wildlife (Wild Mammals) (Open Seasons) Orders 2005 to 2012. These Orders currently allow the hunting of male Sika, Fallow and Red deer between the first day of September and the last day of December each year. The hunting of the red male deer is prohibited in County Kerry and I recently removed the hunting of female Red Deer from County Kerry from these Orders.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is overseeing the development of a Deer Management Policy Vision and has established an Inter-Agency Deer Policy Group to formulate proposals in this area. To complement this work, my Department has initiated a review of the Open Season Order for deer and has received over thirty submissions in this regard from a wide range of stakeholders including hunting, conservation, farming and sporting rights organisations as well as from the general public. My Department will take account of the outcome of this work in considering whether any changes should be made to the Open Seasons Order.

Irish Language Issues

 28. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made with the review of the Official Languages Act; when legislation will be published on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38468/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley As I have previously stated in my reply to Dáil Question No. 376 on 18 July 2013, the Government's Legislation Programme indicates that it is intended to publish the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2013 this year. Preparatory work in this regard is currently underway in my Department with a view to bringing the draft Heads of Bill to Government as soon as possible. The Bill will provide for amendments to the Official Languages Act 2003 arising from the review of that Act, as set out in the Programme for Government, and arising from the decision to amalgamate the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman, as set out in the Government's Public Service Reform Plan .

It is my intention to publish the outcome of the public consultation process that was undertaken as part of the review of the Official Languages Act in due course together with the Heads of the Bill. As has been previously indicated, some 1400 survey responses and 262 submissions were received during the public consultation process.

Budget 2014 Issues

 29. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan his priorities for the coming year; if he is satisfied with the current negotiations for a budget allocation for his Department in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38464/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan A consequence of the significant fiscal deficit facing the country is that the Government has not had the resources available in recent years to fund all the services that it would like to provide and the 2014 allocations will again reflect this position. The Deputy will appreciate, however, that any negotiations of the nature referred to in his Question would form part of the deliberative process for the forthcoming Budget and the preparation of the 2014 Estimates. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any such matter at this time.

Notwithstanding the challenging economic environment, my priority is to continue to seek, to the greatest extent possible, to balance the competing demands of funding reductions and the various upward pressures on expenditure, while at the same time maintaining my Department's core functions and the range of services provided to the public.

Against that background, my Department will, within the resources available, continue to place emphasis on:

-supporting jobs in the film & TV sector and in the Gaeltacht;

-targeting investment in priority areas in the culture and heritage sectors that will support cultural tourism as one of the most important elements of Ireland’s tourism product;

-complying with relevant EU Directives, including investment in solutions for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting in raised bog Special Areas of Conservation; and

-supporting the built heritage and the strategic development of our national parks, as well as the development of our waterways in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements.

Heritage Projects

 30. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the extent of his contact with the Dublin Civic Trust regarding the rejuvenation of Dublin’s Georgian squares; if his Department has any plans in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38480/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan As part of its role in promoting and protecting Ireland's heritage, my Department has an interest in seeing the rejuvenation of Dublin’s Georgian Squares: Parnell and Mountjoy on the northside, and Merrion, Fitzwilliam and St Stephen’s Green on the southside. In this capacity, officials from my Department participated in a recent conference on the Georgian Squares run by the Dublin Civic Trust, which was organised to consider the future of the Squares.

My Department has also been involved in a number of other activities in relation to Dublin's Georgian Squares, including:

-participating in a study on the ‘Future of the South Georgian Core’, which sought to promote innovative ideas to encourage more people and families to start living in the area once again; and

-participating in the ‘Merrion Square Innovation Network’, a creative initiative, enabled by Fáilte Ireland and driven by the community and organisations on or around Merrion Square, which have come together to celebrate and promote the Square as a vibrant cultural tourism destination in the city.

The importance of Dublin’s historic core is also recognised by the inclusion of the Historic City of Dublin on Ireland’s current Tentative List for World Heritage status, which was prepared by my Department. Last week, I hosted a conference for local authorities and community groups to consider the interest in pursuing full nomination of World Heritage Status for these sites, including Dublin. My aim is to encourage consultation within local communities and support local effort for the nomination of world heritage status where that is sought.

Fieldwork for the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage survey of Dublin City, being undertaken by my Department, is also in progress. In recognition of its historical neglect, the first area to be recorded includes Mountjoy and Parnell Squares. I intend that this comprehensive survey of the City will be published in stages over the next few years.

Finally, while funding for heritage related projects is currently constrained, I was pleased to be able to allocate some resources to a Structures at Risk Fund in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to enable conservation works to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership, deemed to be at significant risk of deterioration and which are protected under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2012. In 2012 grant aid of €15,000 was allocated for conservation works to 65 and 66 Mountjoy Square under this Fund.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues

 31. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the outcome of efforts to find a relocation option for the turf cutters on Coolrain Bog, County Laois; and the progress to date in this matter. [38500/13]

 51. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made in relation to relocation options for the 32 special areas of conservation bogs that have been identified for potential relocation; if the relocation options for Ballynafagh, Curraghlehanagh, Carrownagappul and Clara bogs are in a ready state.  [38499/13]

 730. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the extent to which he has managed to facilitate traditional turf cutters at the various bogs throughout County Kildare who have been affected by EU inspired SACs or NHAs; if agreement has been reached on all or most; the extent to which he expects to be in a position to resolve remaining or outstanding matters at each location still in contention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36956/13]

 754. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will indicate, arising from the displacement of traditional turf cutters caused by SAC’s or NHA’s, the extent to which full and final settlement has been achieved in respect of all those affected; if in cases where alternative turf cutting areas are found not to be acceptable, if consideration has been given to the creation of alternative SAC’s or NHA’s as a means of resolution; if any discussions have taken place with the EU authorities regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37169/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 31, 51, 730 and 754 together.

Some 2,798 applications for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme have been received and acknowledged by my Department. 791 applicants have expressed an interest in relocation to non-designated bogs. To date, 1,753 payments have been made in respect of Year 1 of 15, 1,468 payments have been made in respect of Year 2 of 15 and 469 payments have been made in respect of Year 3 of 15. 264 deliveries of turf have also been made.

Arrangements for the relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs have been made as regards a group from Clara Bog special area of conservation in County Offaly and a group from Carrownagappul Bog and Curraghlehanagh Bog special areas of conservation in County Galway. The group from Clara Bog commenced turf cutting at the relocation site in Killeranny, County Offaly, in June 2012, where 23 qualifying turf cutters have now been accommodated. Turf cutting for the 2013 season took place on this site in April last. My Department envisages that qualifying turf cutters from the group from Carrownagappul Bog and Curraghlehanagh Bog will be able to commence turf cutting in the relocation sites from the 2014 turf cutting season.

Progress has been made with a view to the relocation of 7 qualifying turf cutters from Ballynafagh Bog special area of conservation in County Kildare to Timahoe North, County Kildare, which is in the ownership of Bord na Móna. My Department envisages that qualifying turf cutters from Ballynafagh Bog will be able to commence cutting in the relocation site during the 2014 turf cutting season, provided that final agreement is reached with them.

Progress has also been made with a view to the relocation of a small group of 3 qualifying turf cutters from Ballynamona Bog and Corkip Lough special area of conservation in County Roscommon to Togher, County Roscommon, which is in the ownership of Bord na Móna. My Department envisages that this group of qualifying turf cutters will be able to commence cutting in the relocation site during the 2014 turf cutting season, provided that final agreement is reached with them.

I am advised that of the remaining 49 raised bog special areas of conservation, potential relocation sites have been identified for a further 32 bogs and work is ongoing on identifying and investigating sites. Relocation is unlikely to be required, or is likely to be small-scale, for another 16 raised bog special areas of conservation due, for example, to the small number that had been cutting turf on these sites during the relevant five year period and would qualify for the relocation option available under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme.

Relocation is a very complex process, in terms of investigating suitable sites for turf quality and quantity, the infrastructure/drainage works required, establishing the number that can be accommodated on the site, the cost and feasibility of land purchase or lease, and possible planning and Environmental Impact Assessment requirements. In that regard, Bord na Móna has assessed in the region of 60 potential relocation sites at the request of my Department. Bord na Móna has also commenced negotiations with landowners in relation to the purchase or long-term lease of sites.

There are 2 raised bog special areas of conservation in County Kildare affected by the cessation of turf cutting - Ballynafagh Bog and Mouds Bog. 57 applications for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme have been received and acknowledged by my Department in respect of Ballynafagh Bog and 106 applications have been received and acknowledged by my Department in respect of Mouds Bog. 28 and 40 of these groups of applicants, respectively, have expressed an interest in relocation to a non-designated bog. 55 payments and 9 deliveries of turf have been made in respect of the applications received from Ballynafagh Bog and 95 payments and 52 deliveries of turf have been made in respect of the applications received from Mouds Bog.

Lattins Bog, also known as Mouds North Bog, in County Kildare has been identified as a potential relocation site for turf cutters from Mouds Bog. Bord na Móna has produced a preliminary suitability assessment report and stratigraphy assessment report for the relocation site, which my Department has provided to the Secretary of the Committee of the Kildare Turf Cutters Association. Bord na Móna has undertaken a full assessment for the site and it is expected that the assessment report will be provided to my Department shortly. My Department intends to provide a copy of the report to the Kildare Turf Cutters Association.

There are also 2 natural heritage area raised bogs in County Kildare designated under national law in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Acts - Carbury Bog and Hodgestown Bog. In May 2010, the previous Government decided that turf cutting should come to an end on all raised bog natural heritage areas at the end of 2013. However, as set out in the Programme for Government, the current Government undertook to review the situation with regard to raised bog natural heritage areas.

This review is currently underway and the future of turf cutting on such sites is being considered as part of that review. It is my intention that the review will provide clarity for turf cutters and landowners in advance of the 2014 turf cutting season and my Department will be contacting individual landowners and turf cutters on these sites in due course.

With regard to Coolrain Bog raised bog special area of conservation, Bord na Móna undertook a preliminary suitability assessment and a stratigraphy assessment of a potential relocation site for turf cutters from this bog, on behalf of my Department. On the basis of these assessments, contact has been made with the landowner with a view to purchase or long-term lease of the site for relocation.

A payment of €1,500, index-linked or a supply of 15 tonnes of cut turf, per annum is available under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme to applicants while awaiting relocation to non-designated bogs.

Following the Dáil motion of 7 March 2012, which called on the Government to “engage actively with the European Commission to seek a resolution within the terms of the Habitats Directive, and to prepare and submit a National Raised Bog Restoration Plan to the Commission as a matter of urgency”, I secured the agreement of the European Commissioner for the Environment for the development of a National Raised Bog SAC Management Plan, in keeping with the recommendations of Mr. Justice Quirke. The approach of the national plan may unlock some flexibility, within the terms of the EU Habitats Directive, in regard to the most difficult of sites, where relocation options are limited.

My Department has engaged a team of specialists who are undertaking the necessary scientific work to underpin the national plan and to inform the future restoration and management of each of the special areas of conservation. This work is being overseen by an independent steering group with input from the Peatlands Council.

If it becomes apparent, following detailed analysis, that no relocation possibilities exist for a particular special area of conservation, then a case can be made to the European Commission for a more flexible approach, as provided for in the Habitats Directive. I hope that a draft of the National Raised Bog SAC Management Plan can be published by November. It will be essential that the proposed approaches in the draft plan are discussed and agreed with turf cutting communities in advance of its submission to the European Commission.

The clear majority of domestic turf-cutters on the raised bog special areas of conservation are now engaging with my Department in finding acceptable solutions within the law. The door is still open for others to engage in this process with me, my Department and with other stakeholders to address the needs of turf cutters and other interested parties. Such engagement would, I am sure, help to address the needs of turf cutters more speedily.

EU Directives

 32. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position regarding the application of the EU Habitats and Birds Directive; the difficulties that may have arisen regarding its implementation; the way any resistance to its application is being handled; the moneys that have been paid out to landowners in compensation in 2013; and if he will provide an estimate for the moneys likely to be paid out in compensation in 2014. [38510/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Ireland is making significant progress in ensuring that the Birds and Habitats Directives are correctly implemented. Since coming into office, I have placed a high priority on addressing the implications of a number of findings against Ireland by the European Court of Justice regarding deficiencies in implementation.

Ireland has been found against in four separate cases relating to inadequate transposition or implementation of these Directives. While these cases have largely been resolved, a number of additional pre-court infringement cases are also being addressed by my Department and the European Commission.

The European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, which I signed into law in September 2011, bring legal clarity in regard to obligations under these Directives in respect of a range of consent processes. These updated regulations, along with changes to the Planning and Development Acts, clarify the legal responsibilities of public authorities and of citizens in regard to the protection of endangered species and habitats. They also provide tools for relevant public authorities to pursue those who commit offences.

A comprehensive designation programme being undertaken by my Department of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), known collectively as the Natura 2000 network, is now almost complete. Measures are being taken to ensure that particular pressures on protected birds, species and habitats are addressed in terms of regulation and practice. These include a wide range of activities, including, but not limited to, aquaculture and fishery licensing, planning and development, forestry consents, agricultural practices, recreational activities in certain areas, turf-cutting on certain sites and arterial drainage.

Compensation or financial incentives may be payable in respect of land within Natura 2000 sites in a number of ways. Significant amounts of EU and Exchequer funding are provided through the rural development programme, operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which provides for a range of supports for farmers, including specific payments in respect of areas selected for designation under the Birds and Habitats Directives.

My Department also administers a small-scale farm plan scheme, which supports farmers in adopting appropriate management practices in the Natura 2000 network. These include supports for sheep destocking on western hills, for managing land for corncrakes and hen harriers, and, separately, as part-contribution to schemes such as the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme. It should be noted that the main farm plan scheme operated by my Department is currently closed to new applicants.

In addition, my Department has also put in place a comprehensive compensation scheme for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bogs selected as SACs under the Habitats Directive.

Expenditure so far this year by my Department on these schemes amounts to some €4.86 million. I am not in a position, at this stage, to give an estimate for expenditure on these schemes in 2014.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Issues

 33. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will review the content and conditions of contracts issued to turf cutters under the cessation scheme; the number of contracts issued and the numbers returned to date; the number under each compensation/relocation category; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38389/13]

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme, three types of legal agreements have been and are being issued by my Department:

-The first is a legal agreement for qualifying turf cutters who are signing up to the annual payment of €1,500, index-linked, for 15 years.

-The second is a relocation interim legal agreement for qualifying turf cutters who have expressed an interest in relocation but no relocation site is currently available for them to relocate to. This relocation interim legal agreement provides for the payment of €1,500, index-linked, or a supply of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum, while these applicants are awaiting relocation to non-designated bogs.

-The third is a relocation final legal agreement. This agreement has been issued to qualifying turf cutters where a site has been assessed as suitable for relocation and is ready, or can be made ready, for use for domestic turf cutting.

Turf cutters who sign and return the applicable legal agreement to my Department will also receive a once-off incentive payment of €500.

The interim legal agreement is required in the case of relocation sites because, for the majority of raised bog special areas of conservation, the relocation site and the terms and conditions applicable to those sites will take time to finalise. Turf cutters are being asked to sign the interim agreement on the understanding that when a relocation site is sourced, assessed and agreed, they will be asked to sign a final legal agreement at that time. If it is not possible to find a suitable relocation site, for example, for reasons of quality or quantity of turf, planning requirements, or issues in relation to the purchase or lease of a site, then my Department will consult with turf cutters as to the best option to take at that time.

I am satisfied that the legal agreements as set out above are appropriate to the circumstances in these cases.

It is the aim of my Department to secure a relocation site for every person who has applied for one and progress is being made in that task. However, relocation is a complex process that does take some time to deliver. The agreements being issued reflect this reality. The interim agreement is designed to give all stakeholders the time to deliver relocation options that work for turf cutters. The clear directions that I have given my officials is to examine all relocation options with a view to securing alternative cutting locations for as many turf cutters as possible within the shortest timeframe.

1,518 legal agreements have been issued and my Department is continuing to issue agreements to qualifying applicants. Applicants have been requested to return the completed legal agreements within four months of the date of issue. 920 legal agreements have been returned to my Department thus far. However, the numbers of legal agreements by type issued by and returned to my Department are not available at this time.

An Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

 34. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an ndéanfaidh sé cinnte de go mbeidh an t-éileamh a rinne na 66 eagraíocht Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, cultúrtha agus oideachais chun tosaigh ar chlár an tseimineáir atá beartaithe ag an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta a eagrú, is é sin go gcuirfí struchtúr ardleibhéil ar bun idir na húdaráis agus eagraíochtaí pobail na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta, trína bhféadfar moltaí a dhéanamh ar chur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-30 sula gcuirfear ar aghaidh chuig na hAirí cuí iad; an féidir leis an Aire a chur in iúl cén dáta atá socraithe don seimineár ós rud é gur fhógair sé é an 30 Bealtaine 2013; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [38487/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Tá áthas orm a fhógairt go mbeidh an seimineár leis na heagraíochtaí ábhartha Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta á reáchtáil ag mo Roinnse, i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta agus le Foras na Gaeilge, ar 3 Deireadh Fómhair 2013. Tá súil agam go gcuideoidh an seimineár leis an malartú eolais faoin Straitéis a éascú idir mo Roinn, an tÚdarás agus an Foras, mar aon leis na heagraíochtaí ábhartha Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta. Tabharfaidh an seimineár deis an próiseas pleanála teanga a phlé leis na heagraíochtaí seo fosta. Beidh mé ag tnúth leis na tuairimí uile a thiocfaidh ón seimineár a mheas i dtráth cuí.

Food Promotion

 35. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the policy his Department has in relation to visitor attractions under the aegis of his Department promoting Irish produce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38473/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has no statutory function in relation to the promotion of Irish produce. I can say, however, that a number of cafés and food outlets operate in the National Parks and across bodies funded from my Department's Vote Group. While many of these are franchised out to outside companies, they are encouraged to support Irish food producers and to promote Irish produce where possible.

Heritage Projects

 36. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will support the development of a museum and heritage centre in the Dublin docks, following on from the work being undertaken by the Dublin Dockworkers' Preservation Society. [37171/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I am not aware of any proposals to develop a museum and heritage centre in the Dublin docks.

Expenditure Reviews

 37. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made to date on a website portal and joint commercial and marketing strategy as outlined in the comprehensive review of expenditure 2012-2014; the projected income that such an initiative might accrue to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38506/13]

 45. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made on the proposal contained in the comprehensive review of expenditure 2012 -2014 on shared finance services, and HR services across national cultural institutions; and the savings that would be made by the implementation of this proposal.  [38508/13]

 56. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the progress made on the proposal contained in the comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012 -2014 on having a single event manager post which could promote the facilities in the National Cultural Institutions under one brand; the progress and the savings that would be made by the implementation of this proposal [38507/13]

 59. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the cost of conservation, cleaning and maintenance costs across the State's cultural institutions; if further consideration has been given to the proposals in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure to put in place a structure along the lines of the Art Lab proposals in Australia; and the income that could be generated in that way. [38509/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions Nos 37, 45, 56 and 59 together.

As part of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012-2014, my Department considered a range of possible options for savings in respect of the Arts and Culture programme area. On the basis of that review and in line with many other areas of Government expenditure, considerable savings have been made in thus programme area in recent years. Under the Croke Park and Haddington Road reform programmes, we now gone beyond what was contemplated by the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. Indeed, savings of the order of 20-25% in the Exchequer allocations to the Cultural Institutions have been made since 2010.

As the Deputy will also be aware, the Government agreed a range of reforms under the Public Service Reform Plan 2011 for a number of the national cultural institutions under the aegis of my Department. I have previously advised the House of the shared services models that will be deployed across the National Museum, the National Library and the National Archives through my Department in relation to corporate support services and by formal inter-institutional agreement in relation to operational services. Regular meetings have been taking place between my Department and senior management in the National Library, the National Museum and the National Archives to implement a human resource shared support service function, which will be provided by the Human Resource Unit of my Department and will cover all HR matters arising in the bodies. The intention is that the Shared HR Support Services will be implemented on an administrative basis, pending enactment of enabling legislation. In respect of the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Art Gallery Cork, the three Galleries are in the process of agreeing and implementing a range of corporate support and operational shared services.

The focus within my Department and the National Cultural Institutions has been concentrated on the implementation of the Government's Reform Agenda. There has been an intensive engagement by all in that process. That engagement will continue, including a focus on what can be achieved across a range of shared services such as communications, procurement, security, retail services and marketing.

It is expected that operational and support savings in the region of approximately €1 million will be initially realised from the reform programme across the institutions involved which are funded from my Department's Vote Group, with further savings to be identified as the various cost efficiencies are implemented. Savings are also arising from the decision of Government to reduce the numbers serving on boards, advisory councils or similar structures at the cultural institutions and to bring an end to the payment of fees for these positions. A further benefit from the rationalisation of support and operational services will be a less crowded administrative landscape, resulting in greater democratic accountability, less duplication of effort and clearer lines of responsibility for the citizen. It will also allow the institutions to focus on their core objectives of service to the public.

Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 9.

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 9.

Ulster Canal Restoration Project

 40. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position regarding the Ulster Canal restoration project; the remaining steps that must be taken to complete the project; if he will provide an indicative timeline for the completion of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38498/13]

 757. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position regarding the proposed restoration of the Ulster Canal; when this project is likely to proceed to the next stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38800/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions 40 and 757 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, in July 2007, the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) agreed to proceed with the restoration of the section of the Ulster Canal between Clones and Upper Lough Erne. The then Government agreed to cover the full capital costs of the project, which were estimated at that time to be of the order of €35m.

It was always the intention that the Ulster Canal project would be funded from the Waterways Ireland annual allocations, as agreed through the annual estimates processes in this jurisdiction, as well as the deliberations of NSMC in relation to annual budgets. It was a key consideration throughout the process that the Ulster Canal project would be supported by a significant level of projected income from the commercialisation of certain Waterways Ireland assets. However, as the Deputies will be aware, the economic downturn has had a negative impact on those plans.

In the meantime, the Ulster Canal project is progressing on an incremental basis. Planning approvals have now been secured for the project in both jurisdictions. I welcome these developments, which, I am sure both Deputies will agree, are a significant milestone for the project.

I am continuing to explore all possible options to advance this project within the current fiscal constraints. In this regard, an Inter-Agency Group on the Ulster Canal has been established to explore and examine ways to advance the project and to examine possible funding options for it, including existing funding streams and the leveraging of funding from other sources, including EU funding options.

Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach don Ghaeilge

 41. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir leis an ngá atá ann Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach a bhunú; an bhfuil aon phlean aige a leithéid d’Fhóram a chur ar bun; agus mura bhfuil, an dtabharfaidh sé míniú ina thaobh. [38489/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Is mian liom aird an Teachta a dhíriú ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 372 ar 18 Iúil 2013 ar an ábhar seo. Ag a cruinniú in Ard Mhacha ar an 10 Iúil 2013, rinne an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas socruithe nua maoinithe a fhaomhadh, in ionad múnla reatha bunmhaoinithe Fhoras na Gaeilge.

Faoi na socruithe nua, beidh tosaíochtaí straitéiseacha á seachadadh ag 6 eagras ceannais a bheidh ag feidhmiú ar bhonn uile-oileáin agus cuirfear na fóraim chuí ar bun le tacú leis an gcur chuige úr seo.

Sa chomhthéacs sin, beidh dhá fhóram le bunú ag Foras na Gaeilge mar seo a leanas:

-fóram comhpháirtíochta uile-oileáin chun cur chuige comhoibríoch ag an 6 eagras ceannais a chinntiú; agus

-fóram forbartha teanga uile-oileáin atá ionadaíoch de shainleasa teanga áitiúla atá maoinithe ag Foras na Gaeilge ag leibhéal an phobail.

Ceaptar go gcuideoidh an dá fhóram seo le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge ar fud an oileáin trí chomhoibriú a chothú i measc na bpáirtithe éagsúla. Tá bearta sa treis ag Foras na Gaeilge i láthair na huaire chun cinntí na Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas i leith na socruithe seo a chur i bhfeidhm go cuí.


Last Updated: 30/04/2020 12:42:56 First Page Previous Page Page of 144 Next Page Last Page