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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 101-113
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Administration
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Service Provision
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item School Staffing Appeals Mechanism
 Header Item Apprenticeship Programmes
 Header Item Irish Language
 Header Item Flood Prevention Measures
 Header Item Flood Damage Costs
 Header Item Foreshore Issues
 Header Item Foreshore Issues
 Header Item Departmental Surveys
 Header Item Redundancy Payments

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 826 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 101-113

Schools Building Projects Status

 101. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the progress made to date with the provision of a new school building for a school (details supplied); when construction of this replacement school will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2060/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The project to which the Deputy refers was authorised to proceed to tender in late 2013. It is anticipated that the tender process will be completed and a contractor appointed in the second quarter of 2014.

Schools Building Projects Administration

 102. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a school (details supplied) in County Donegal has not been included in the five year building programme in view of the fact that a site has been obtained since November 2012 in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2086/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn A new school is proposed to meet the long term accommodation needs of the school in question. A site has been acquired for this purpose and a tendering process for the appointment of a project design team has commenced.

The 5 Year Plan, announced in March 2012, prioritises new school building projects as well as major extensions in areas where a demographic need has been established. School building projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, which have not been included in the five year construction programme, will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in the future.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

 103. Deputy Dara Murphy Information on Dara Murphy Zoom on Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a person (details supplied) was disallowed the July provision for students with severe learning needs, when every other student in the class received it, especially given the complex needs of the child; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2092/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The July Education Programme is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides for a July Programme for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided.

Staff working in schools are not obliged to work for the extended school year and schools may choose to limit their participation in the programme where necessary.

In July 2013, at the request of the school my Department approved 40 hours Home Based July Provision for the child in question.

The Deputy refers to the complex needs of this child and my officials, NEPS and the National Council for Special Education are actively engaged with the authorities of the school that she attends to assess and provide the level of support required to cater for her needs.

Departmental Expenditure

 104. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will provide details of each allocation from his Department’s expenditure budget to registered charities in each of the past three years.  [2099/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Details regarding payments from my Department for the past three years, to bodies that have been granted charitable tax exemption under Section 207 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, are set out in the table. Excluded from this list are payments made to schools, teacher education bodies or bodies representing groups of educational institutions. Cases where the amount of payment made in each year is less than €5,000 are also excluded.

  In a number of cases bodies receiving funding from this Department would also be in receipt of funding from other Government Departments and bodies.

  My Department does not collate centrally details of payments to charities made by bodies who themselves are in receipt of funding from the Department. Such information is not currently available.

List of bodies paid by Department of Education & Skills who have been granted charitable tax exemption under Section 207, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997.Amount Paid in 2011 €Amount Paid in 2012 €Amount paid in 2013 €
ABILITY WEST125,730177,015163,903
AGE ACTION IRELAND71,00070,00070,000
AONTAS896,000915,000981,750
ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN033,0330
BARNARDOS796,932421,282305,632
BELONG TO00108,385
BITE - BALLYMUN INITIATIVE60,00050,00050,000
BLANCHARDSTOWN AREA PARTNERSHIP60,21260,00060,000
BROTHERS OF CHARITY SERVICES CLARE34,22541,97362,176
BROTHERS OF CHARITY SERVICES GALWAY183,66881,09557,409
BROTHERS OF CHARITY SOUTHERN SERVICES46,642082,753
BUSINESS IN THE COMMUNITY IRELAND79,82629,82629,826
CARLINE CENTRE OF LEARNING133,261131,367158,477
CARLOW COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE CENTRE LTD1,9038,9715,711
CHILDRENS LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LTD051,5090
CO WEXFORD COMM WORKSHOP27,50163,27858,166
COMHARCHUMANN FORBARTHA CHORCA DHUIBHNE TEO350,137324,081637
CO-OPERATION IRELAND170,78673,7680
COPE FOUNDATION414,967413,833383,229
CROSS BORDER ORCHESTRA OF IRELAND0120,00060,000
DRUMLIN HOUSE VTC*87,674179,28392,783
DYSLEXIA ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND180,602200,500200,500
EDUCATION RESEARCH CENTRE542,810575,912608,496
ENABLE IRELAND25,11621,6900
FINGLAS M.A.B.S. LTD79,80129,1003,381
GLOR NA NGAEL16,5007,25016,500
HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST OF IRELAND81,00092,47892,778
IRISH COUNCIL FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS10,80020,4362,671
IRISH COUNTRYWOMENS ASSOCIATION23,000022,000
IRISH DEAF SOCIETY189,000187,000187,850
IRISH GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND68,88668,88668,886
IRISH PROGRESSIVE ASS FOR AUTISM CO LTD0079,336
IRISH SCIENCE OLYMPIAD26,0008,00011,578
LEARGAS1,381,8771,391,0941,226,547
LIMERICK COMMUNITY BASED EDUCATION INITIATIVE49,00049,00049,000
MIDWAY LTD68,64483,94584,181
NALA NATIONAL ADULT LITERACY AGENCY1,790,0001,773,2501,710,000
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND110,04281,99459,362
NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF IRELAND103,000100,00098,000
NEWBRIDGE VTC-KARE124,104217,84493,070
NORTHSIDE PARTNERSHIP20,00020,00020,000
PEOPLES COLLEGE98,00097,00097,000
RASP LTD138,847138,840138,840
SAOL PROJECT LTD16,69713,42318,647
ST HILDAS VTC033,26917,679
ST MICHAELS HOUSE173,685393,178189,958
ST RAPHAELS VTC74,221064,393
ST. GABRIELS CENTRE143,878173,123184,296
ST.CHRISTOPHERS SERVICES LTD63,87945,20536,742
STEWARTS CARE LIMITED251,459246,362155,117
SUNBEAM HOUSE VTC74,922100,18761,387
THE CATHOLIC INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF PEOPLE27,42111,2500
THE PUSHKIN TRUST30,000027,000
YOUNG SOCIAL INNOVATORS35,00035,00035,000
>9,558,6529,460,5298,391,030
  * VTC - Vocational Training Centre

School Staffing Appeals Mechanism

 105. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn when a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2125/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2013/2014 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0013/2013) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the staffing schedule, Circular 0013/2013.

The school referred to in your correspondence submitted an application for consideration by the Appeals Board. The appeal submitted was refused on the basis that the grounds of appeal did not meet with any of the appeal criteria outlined in Circular 0013/2013. The school was notified of this decision on 3 April 2013. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Apprenticeship Programmes

 106. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the options available to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who is anxious to obtain an apprenticeship; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2126/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn This is a day to day operational matter for SOLAS.

  Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which persons are trained to become craftspeople in Ireland. The main craft trades have been designated by SOLAS and come within the scope of the Statutory Apprenticeship system.

  To register as an apprentice the entry requirements are as follows:1. The prospective apprentice must obtain employment as an apprentice in their chosen occupation; 2. The employer must be approved by SOLAS and must register the prospective apprentice as an apprentice with SOLAS; 3. The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age; 4. The minimum educational requirements are Grade D in Five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent, or the Successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course, or Be over 18 years of age, have at least 3 years work experience approved by SOLAS; 5. In certain crafts, apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

  Some apprenticeship job vacancies are advertised on the Department of Social Protection website under the section titled "Jobseekers" which can be accessed at www.welfare.ie.

The person in question may also contact their local SOLAS Training Adviser to discuss the Standards Based Apprenticeship Scheme.

Irish Language

 107. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the estimated number and percentage of civil servants who are competent to carry out their duties through the medium of Irish and English in his Department; his views on whether this number is adequate; his plans to increase this number and percentage; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2627/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn My Department's Irish Language Scheme 2013-2016 contains a range of commitments with regard to the provision of an acceptable level of service through Irish.

A survey of my Department's administrative staff conducted in 2013 indicated that approximately 10% of staff have proficiency in Irish. 1.5% of administrative staff indicated a high level of proficiency in Irish while 8.7% of staff indicated a medium level of proficiency. In addition to the administrative staff, many field staff such as inspectors and educational psychologists have a high level of proficiency in Irish. At primary level, the Inspectorate provides a bilingual inspection service to all recognised schools including schools in the Gaeltacht and all-Irish schools. At post-primary level, the Inspectorate provides a service in the inspection of the Irish language and provides a service through Irish in all schools in the Gaeltacht or all-Irish schools.

The Department's Staff Training and Development Unit (STDU) is committed to providing appropriate training and development opportunities, including Irish Language training, for all staff to meet priority business needs.

Flood Prevention Measures

 108. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the amount budgeted for flood and coastal defences for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2042/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The total amount currently provided in the Vote of the Office of Public Works for 2014 in respect of the management of riverine and coastal flood risk is €45 million.

This provision will enable progress to be made this year under the OPW's main flood risk management areas as follows: under the Major Flood Relief Schemes Programme, four schemes will be completed, six projects will commence construction and a further twenty schemes will continue to be progressed towards implementation; the OPW will continue to provide funding to Local Authorities to carry out small scale measures under the Minor Works and Coastal Protection Scheme; major studies being undertaken under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CFRAM) will continue in order to identify areas of significant risk and produce plans of measures to address these risks.

Further sums totalling €15.8m are provided in the OPW 2014 Vote for maintenance of completed arterial drainage and flood relief schemes and collection of river flow data.

It would also be open to Local Authorities to carry out flood mitigation works using their own resources.

Flood Damage Costs

 109. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the estimated cost of flood damage caused by superstorm Christine over the Christmas period; the help available from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2043/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The damage that occurred as a result of the severe weather over the Christmas/New Year period was mostly concentrated on public infrastructure in coastal counties. The damage resulted primarily from a combination of very high winds and tides driving powerful wave action along the shoreline. While some damage from flooding per se did occur in coastal and inland areas, it would not have been as significant as that caused as a direct result of the wind and wave action along the coast.

The Interim Report on Severe Weather presented to Government by the Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government on 14th January, 2014 gives a preliminary estimate of the overall financial impact of damage to public infrastructure from the storms as being of the order of €65m. This is very much a preliminary estimate based on information collated from the Local Authorities. The report does not include damage caused to private property within the overall cost estimates, as Insurance Ireland indicates it will take some weeks before the full picture emerges from the insurance industry.

The Office of Public Works wrote on 10th January to City and County Managers in coastal areas indicating that it will accept applications under its Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme for funding to assist with repairs to built flood defences and coastal protection structures which have been damaged by the recent storms. This is a once-off measure to reinstate built coastal defences to their pre storm condition. The specific application form for this entitled Coastal Storm Damage Flooding Questionnaire 2014 is available on OPW's website www.opw.ie under Flood Risk Management.

Foreshore Issues

 110. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the protective and rehabilitative works he intends to carry out on beaches that were damaged during recent storms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2055/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The investigation and addressing of coastal protection and erosion problems are matters for the local authority concerned in the first instance.

The Office of Public Works wrote on 10 January, 2014 to City and County Managers in coastal counties indicating it will accept applications under its Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme for repairs to built flood defences and coastal protection structures which have been damaged by the storms. This is a once-off measure to reinstate built coastal defences to their pre storm condition. The specific application form for this is entitled Coastal Storm Flooding Damage Questionnaire 2014 and is available on OPW's website www.opw.ie under Flood Risk Management. The work for which funding is sought will be carried out by the Local Authorities.

OPW funding is not available for repairs of other damaged infrastructure or facilities such as roads, promenades, boardwalks, piers, car parks, etc. Local authorities should apply separately to other relevant Government Departments and State Bodies in this regard.

Foreshore Issues

 111. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he intends to provide funding for the reinstatement of blue flag beaches following recent storms; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2064/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes My Department is lead Government Department for the emergency response to severe weather events and I presented a preliminary report to Government on 14 January setting out the meteorological background to the series of storms, the preparedness measures adopted by local authorities and relevant Government Departments and Agencies to the weather alerts from Met Éireann, their actual response, and an indication of the costs of the damage.  I am requesting all affected local authorities to provide more detailed reports, including related costings, by 14 February 2014 to enable Government, through the relevant Departments and Agencies, to support the authorities on recovery measures which fall within their areas of responsibility.  The Government will explore all possible sources of funding, including at European Union level, in order to assist recovery efforts. When all the above information has been collated, Government will then be in a position to make a decision on Government assistance for the recovery programme and the specific works to be comprehended.

Departmental Surveys

 112. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the degree to which he and his Department continue to monitor the performance of all Departments and State or semi-State agencies with a view to maximisation of their contribution toward economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2118/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In setting Budgetary allocations, the Government balances the requirements of bringing sustainability to the public finances, promoting and supporting economic recovery and protecting the most vulnerable in society.  Each Minister and Department is responsible for ensuring that their Vote-level allocations are adhered to while at the same time ensuring that they continue to provide essential public services, deliver on the Programme for Government, and their organisation's Statement of Strategy.  Across Government there is regular reporting of progress and achievements under various policy programmes - for example, the Action Plan for Jobs, and the Public Service Reform Plan - and each Department also has a statutory requirement to provide annual progress reports on the implementation of its strategy statement.

  My Department is responsible for policy on allocating public funds across each area of Government spending and it monitors and reports regularly throughout the year on the drawdown of funding by Government Departments and Offices.  In recent years, the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) published annually by my Department has been expanded so that now each Department and Office also reports in the REV about key performance information relevant to their area of operation.  The purpose of this is to show what services are being purchased with public money and the impacts of these services for Irish citizens and for Irish society in general. This performance information is intended to support the Dáil Select Committees in their examination of the Estimates. The data is also published on the Ireland Stat website (http://www.irelandstat.gov.ie/  ) and   as part of the Public Service Reform Plan 2014-16 that I launched this week   this source of useful information to the citizen is now being extended to include performance information from all Government Departments and Offices. 

Redundancy Payments

 113. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide details of the National Procurement Service provision for ensuring all contractors awarded public projects under its remit have discharged all obligations to employees and former employees when a decision of an industrial relations forum, that is, the EAT, LRC, Labour Court, awards compensation under statutory employment law, or when a failure to do so is brought to its attention; and the procedures for ensuring these awards are discharged in full and where, in respect of payments made by the Social Insurance Fund in regard to redundancy entitlement where the contractor has failed to discharge that obligation, the procedures to ensure that contractors are not awarded public contracts until that fund is reimbursed by the contractor.  [1839/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin It is not part of the National Procurement Services (NPS) remit to monitor employment law obligations or enforcement of awards. Employment law and its enforcement apply equally to public and private sector contracts. My colleague Mr Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has overall policy responsibility for employment rights including redundancy entitlements.  The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is responsible for enforcing minimum statutory employment rights and entitlements in the State and, in undertaking that role, carries out a range of functions including the provision of employment rights information and the inspection of employment related records. NERA operates a system of risk based inspections in sectors where there are identifiable risks. Inspections are also carried out in response to complaints received and routine inspections are undertaken as a control measure.

It is a condition of any contract entered into by a public authority with a private sector entity (other than for operations that may reasonably be considered as small scale) that the entity is required to provide access to certain information.  This information may assist the authority to assess compliance with employment legislation consistent with the requirements of EU and national law.  

In addition, the NPS has made provision within its template suite of tender and contract documentation to address situations where breach of employment (or other relevant) legislation comes to its attention in the context of contract administration.  Discharge of fees is subject to compliance with terms and conditions of contract which includes legislative compliance.  Similarly material breach of such terms may trigger a right of termination.  Provision is also made for a requirement for contractors to comply with directions of the contracting authority (NPS) in the administration of a contract.

Finally, I should point out that the functions of the NPS transferred to the Office of Government Procurement at the start of this year.


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