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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 530-549
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Road Traffic Accidents Data
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Rail Services Provision
 Header Item Road Safety Authority
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Personal Injury Claims
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Aftercare Services Provision
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child Care Costs
 Header Item After-School Support Services
 Header Item Community Services Programme
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Investigations

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 964 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 530-549

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 530. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if there is an appeals process for persons who recently were unsuccessful in the latest round of sports capital grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [3167/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on the 24th February last. By the closing date, a record number of 2,320 applications seeking €155 million in grants were received.   

  All applicants have been informed of the outcome of the assessment of their application, including details of why applications were deemed invalid. Applications were deemed invalid primarily for one or more of the following reasons:-

  - Title/Access requirements of the SCP not satisfied

  - Insufficient quotations/estimates submitted

  - Evidence of own funding not provided in prescribed format

  All applicants who submitted invalid or partially invalid applications were offered the opportunity to appeal the Department's decision if they believed that an error was made.  The deadline for the submission of appeals from applicants for local projects was 20 December 2017 and for regional projects, the deadline was 19 January.  All such appeals are now being processed. 

  Separately, my Department is undertaking a general review of all invalid applications including those where incorrect or incomplete documentation was submitted. Decisions in relation to how to address any successful appeals and improvements to further reduce the level of invalid applications under future rounds of the SCP will be taken once these reviews are complete.

Road Traffic Accidents Data

 531. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if his Department receives copies of reports of the Garda forensic traffic investigations team following fatal traffic collisions involving vehicles and-or pedestrians and-or cyclists; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [3241/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross My Department does not receive copies of reports of the Garda forensic traffic investigations team following fatal traffic collisions.

Road Improvement Schemes

 532. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if funding will be made available in 2018 for the restoration of Coughlanstown Road, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3260/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants. 

As the selection and prioritisation of works  is the responsibility of the local authority, it is a matter for the Council to assess the options open to it in relation to this road, taking the position regarding utility services into account.

Rail Services Provision

 533. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the status and timeframe of proposals to electrify the Kildare train line from Hazelhatch to provide increased frequency of trains and capacity to meet the needs of future passengers resulting from new residential developments including the Clonburris and Adamstown strategic development zones, SDZs, and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3286/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As the Deputy is aware. the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

The NTA's Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035 proposes implementation of the DART Expansion Programme.  The overall DART Expansion Programme has a key role to play in delivering an efficient transport system.  When fully implemented the enhancements to the heavy rail system provided for in the NTA's Transport Strategy will create a full metropolitan area DART network for Dublin with all of the lines linked and connected.  This integrated rail network will provide the core high capacity transit system for the region and will deliver a very substantial increase in peak-hour capacity on all lines from Drogheda, Maynooth, Greystones and Hazelhatch on the Kildare line.  As previously advised to the Deputy, the NTA has worked closely with South Dublin County Council on the transport elements included in the draft planning scheme for Clonburris SDZ. 

The Government’s budgetary framework for capital investment, as set out in Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021, was reviewed last year in the context of the Mid-Term Review of capital priorities, delivery and funding.  Following this work, Budget 2018 increased the multi-annual capital investment funding envelopes for the coming four-year period, including providing an enhanced capital envelope of €2.7 billion for public transport investment between 2018 and 2021.  This includes funding in the order of €230 million for mainline rail and DART capacity enhancement that will allow acceleration of the initial stages of the overall DART Expansion Programme, focussing particularly at this stage on providing additional fleet to enhance capacity, and extending the electrified DART system. Specifically, it will allow substantial progress on electrification of the Northern rail line as far as Balbriggan - now expected to be delivered in 2022 - and commencing work on the Maynooth line.  The remaining elements of the DART Expansion programme are being considered in the context of the 10 year investment plan that is expected to be published in the coming weeks.

In light of the NTA’s responsibility in this area and their previous response to the Deputy of 19th October 2017, I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Authority for an update on the issue raised.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Road Safety Authority

 534. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if the case of a person (details supplied) will be addressed. [3374/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority.  I have referred the question to the authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Road Projects

 535. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he considered an application for funding for the Northern Cross route in Drogheda from Louth County Council.  [3380/18]

 536. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the consideration he gave to projects in County Louth in his allocation for capital road projects which was recently announced by him. [3381/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 535 and 536 together.

As regards national road projects in County Louth, in an announcement on 12th December 2017 I welcomed confirmation from Transport Infrastructure Ireland that construction of the long awaited Ardee Bypass will be going ahead. This is the reason the project was not mentioned in my 16th January press release.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads in Co. Louth is the statutory responsibility of Louth County Council, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities' own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. My Department has no grant application on hand in relation to the proposed Northern Cross route in Drogheda.

While the Capital Plan, as enhanced with the extra Capital Plan Review allocations, does allow for the build up in Exchequer funding for maintenance of the network and for some limited investment in road improvements, it will be some years yet before funding reaches the level needed to maintain the network in a "steady state" condition. The primary focus of expenditure will continue, therefore, to be on the maintenance and renewal of the network.

Departmental Bodies Data

 537. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of agencies, boards or other bodies under the aegis of his Department that have been disbanded or amalgamated or whose functions were subsumed back into his Department since 2011; the number of such bodies set up by his Department since that date; the names of the bodies in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3412/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Since 2011 there have been no new agencies created; however a number have been merged.   

  Dundalk Port Company was merged with Dublin Port Company on 12 July 2011, while Tralee and Fenit Harbour Commissioners transferred to the control of Kerry County Council on 1 October 2011.  On 1st January 2012 both Baltimore and Skibbereen Harbour Commissioners and Kinsale Harbour Commissioners transferred to the control of Cork County Council. On the same date Arklow Harbour Commissioners transferred to the control of Wicklow County Council.  The final Harbour Commissioners, Bantry Bay, merged with the Port of Cork Company on 1 January 2014. Wicklow Port Company transferred to the responsibility of Wicklow County Council on 30th August 2016 while Drogheda Port Company transferred to the responsibility of Louth County Council on 2nd October 2017.

  In 2012 Dublin Tourism merged with its parent body Fáilte Ireland on 1 January.   Shannon Airport separated from the Dublin Airport Authority on 31st December 2012 to merge with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new integrated Shannon entity in public ownership with Shannon Group being established on the 5th September 2014.   

  Coaching Ireland merged into the Irish Sports Council on 1 January 2013.    

  The National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency merged to a single entity called Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on the 1st August 2015.   

  The Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority merged on 1st October 2015 to a single entity called Sport Ireland.

Personal Injury Claims

 538. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount paid out and the number of claims the payouts related to by each agency under the aegis of his Department in respect of personal injury claims in each of the years 2010 to 2017; the number of claims that were settled outside of court in each of these years; the number of payments that were as a result of a court judgment in each of these years; the nature of the claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3429/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The information requested by the Deputy is a matter for the agencies themselves. I have forwarded your question to the agencies under my remit for direct response to you. If you do not receive a reply within 10 working days please contact my private office.

The referred replies were forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Road Projects

 539. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross further to his comments on 17 January 2018 regarding the N11, if the impact on housing and specifically the development at old Fassaroe will be included in the upcoming prioritisation of capital investments in roads. [3432/18]

 540. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross further to his comments on 17 January 2018 regarding the N11, the provisional date for the completion of the prioritisation exercise of infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3433/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 539 and 540 together.

As I indicated to the Deputy during the Topical Issue debate, there are a range of competing demands which have to be evaluated within the overall capital envelope available to my Department and I cannot put a definite time line on the outcome of that evaluation process at this point.  What I can say is that within the Greater Dublin Area, the emphasis needs to be on the integration of transport and planning decisions with a view to developing sustainable transport solutions.  While capacity enhancements are being considered by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for the M11/N11 Corridor, my understanding is that these are intended to cater primarily for the strategic function of the route while the National Transport Authority (NTA) has initiated work on a full transport plan for the area.  This will ensure that a broader view is taken of what travel options are needed rather than focus on car dependent travel options which would not be sustainable in the longer term.

In this context the NTA in collaboration with TII, Wicklow County Council (WCC) and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) are in the process of completing the “Bray and Environs Transport Study”.  The purpose of this study, initiated by the NTA, is to supplement the analysis carried out by TII in relation to the roads network in order to provide a full transport plan which would facilitate the land use objectives of Wicklow County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and provide a long-term strategic planning framework for the development of transport infrastructure and services in the study area.

The study will propose an integrated package of transport measures, aligned with the overall Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2016-2035, that will facilitate significant additional landuse development in the Bray / North Wicklow area.  It includes revisions to the bus system which will be introduced through BusConnects, additional bus infrastructure, park and ride provision, increased DART services to/from Bray, an additional DART station (at Woodbrook), a number of local road changes together with various other interventions.  Longer term measures such as the future extension of Luas to Bray are also included in the proposals of the study.  

Wicklow County Council is currently in the process of preparing and adopting a new local area plan for Bray Municipal District.  It is understood that the Council will, to the extent that can be facilitated by the statutory local area plan timelines, consider the incorporation of the key outcomes of the transport study into the finally adopted local area plan.  It will be a matter for the elected members of the Council to determine what elements will ultimately be incorporated.

I understand that it is the view of the NTA that the inclusion of the transport study proposals in the forthcoming Bray Municipal District Local Area Plan, will provide an integrated approach facilitating substantial additional development in the overall Bray area.

Ministerial Meetings

 541. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the meetings he has held with representatives of specific counties since taking office; the projects discussed, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3434/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Since taking office, I have met the following groups and local authorities.

  In addition, I have travelled around the country with Deputies and Senators, from several parties, including the Deputy's, meeting councillors and officials from numerous Local Authorities to discuss a variety of issues.

  Please see list below.

Public Representatives, Local Authorities & Other Groups Project
2018  
Meath County Council, and,

Minister of State Helen McEntee,

Minister Regina Doherty
Meath Roads
2017  
Deputy Michael  Collins & West Cork County  Councillors N71, R586 & Bandon Bypass
Councillor Marie Casserly and Sligo County Council Sligo Class 3 Roads
Deputy Mattie McGrath and Councillors Tipperary County Council Ardfinnan Bridge
Councillor Liona O’Toole Clonburris SDZ
Councillor Niamh Kennedy & Donegal County Council Fintra Bridge
Cork County Council  National Roads Projects and funding for Regional and Local Roads
Deputy Martin Kenny and Ballinamore Municipal District, Leitrim LIS and community grant scheme
Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile, Deputy Imelda Munster and Newry Customer Focus Group Cross Border Rail Services
Deputy Mattie Mc Grath and Tipperary County Council N24
Senator Padraig Ó Céidigh and the N59 Action Group N59
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Pat the Cope Gallagher & Donegal County Council  Donegal Roads
West Ulster Rail Alliance Road and Rail Infrastructure in the North West
2016  
Councillor Liona O’Toole Clonburris SDZ
Minister Heather Humphreys & Monaghan County Council Monaghan roads
Deputy Kevin Moran & Westmeath County Council Westmeath roads
Deputy Robert Troy DTTAS issues
Senator Jerry Buttimer and M28 Residents Steering Group N28 Ringaskiddy
Wicklow County Council  NTA – Transport Strategy
  

Aftercare Services Provision

 542. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of children awaiting an aftercare social worker as of 1 January 2018. [2776/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Aftercare metrics are collated by Tusla on a quarterly basis. The latest available data relates to Quarter 3 2017.

  Quarter 4 Data is due for return at the end of January.

  At the end of Quarter 3 2017 (30th September 2017) there were 1,914 young adults (aged 18-22 inclusive) in receipt of an aftercare service. Of these young adults 1,638 (86%) had an allocated aftercare worker and 276 (14%) were awaiting allocation.

  At the end of Quarter 3 2017 (30th September 2017) there were 1,025 children in care aged 16 and 17 years. Of these 1,025 children 463 (45%) had an allocated aftercare worker and 562 (55%) were unallocated.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 543. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of social workers here; the average career length of same; and the rate of turnover since 2000. [2778/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The information required by the Deputy is not readily available. My officials have requested the information from Tusla and I will forward the reply to the Deputy once I have been furnished with it.

  The referred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Child and Family Agency Staff

 544. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if social workers are delivering developmental and educational courses as an extracurricular activity on a for-profit basis to agencies within her remit.  [2779/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy is aware, there are four agencies within my remit and I wish to advise as follows:

- The Office of the Ombudsman for Children is independent in its function and reports to the Oireachtas on matters within its remit, as required by the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002. I have forwarded the question to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and asked that they might correspond with you directly in this matter. 

- Tusla has advised that in line with the One Person One Salary principle, Tusla does not permit social workers to engage in any private extra-curricular activity in relation to public sector funded agencies. This directive has been communicated and implemented across Tusla.

- With regard to the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the Oberstown Children Detention Campus, I have been advised that there is no social worker delivering developmental and educational courses as an extracurricular activity on a for profit basis in either agency.

Child Care Costs

 545. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some creches have increased their fees after the roll-out of a new subsidy which was intended to lower the cost of childcare for parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2803/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Making childcare more accessible and affordable for families in Ireland is a key priority of my Department. I understand and empathise with parents on the issue of childcare costs. I wish to assure Deputy Broughan that steps are being taken to help alleviate these pressures.

 I understand that the Deputy refers to the ‘September Measures’ which relate to the introduction of a universal payment (a maximum of €1,040 per year) and the substantial increase of up to 50% in the targeted subventions available to families that need it most to support their return to work or training.

 Since September these additional supports have been available in 89% of services nationally and to date the families of nearly 66,000 are benefitting from these supports, including more than 31,000 children registered for the new universal subsidy.

 Recent data showed a rise in the cost of childcare last year for the first time in five years. The average cost of childcare in Ireland rose by €7 per week, which is well below the €20 per week on offer through the universal subsidy and significantly lower than the targeted subventions available, which amount to up to €145 per child, per week, up to age 15. 

 I understand that any rise in childcare fees is a very significant matter for any family. I hope that the additional subsidies noted above go some way to lessening the impact of these changes on families but fully accept that the Government must do more to improve affordability further and I am committed to achieving this. 

The past three budgets have seen an increase in investment in early years of over 80%. I will continue to seek more investment to assist parents by offering subsidies such as those above and I am working very hard on this. We are also closely monitoring fees and this will inform whether we need to take a different approach in future years. I have commissioned an Independent Review of the Cost of Delivery of Quality Childcare; which is underway and will examine what the real cost of delivering childcare is so that Government can be better informed of what appropriate fees are and the level of funding that is required to subsidise fees for parents. 

In the meantime I will continue to work to deliver quality, accessible, affordable childcare for all families in Ireland.

After-School Support Services

 546. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to provide supports for children who have a disability to attend after-school clubs and avail of the community childcare subvention programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2829/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I believe it is important to break-down barriers and create equal opportunities for children with disabilities to take part in the mainstream education right from the start.  This has to begin in early childhood. 

An example of such a policy programme that has the capacity to enhance the lives of children with disabilities is the AIM programme which was developed by my Department.

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with a disability can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. Its goal is to support early years providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience. AIM is a child-centred and evidence-based model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs and strengths of the child and the early years setting. Supports provided under AIM include: the development of an inclusive culture; enhanced continuing professional development for early years practitioners; the provision of equipment, appliances and grants for minor alterations; access to therapeutic intervention and increased capitation for early years providers in the case of children with very complex needs. AIM was launched in June 2016 and is administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department. 

AIM is designed to support children to access the ECCE programme. The child must qualify on age grounds for the ECCE programme and the early years provider must be registered with Tusla and hold an active DCYA contract to deliver the ECCE programme. The only exception to this is where the child qualifies for the ECCE programme but is availing of early childhood care and education services funded under another DCYA childcare programme such as the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) or Training and Education Childcare (TEC) programmes. 

In its first year, AIM provided 2,486 children with 4,760 targeted supports to ensure that they could fully participate in the ECCE programme. In the current programme year, AIM has provided 3,071 children with 4,474 targeted supports to date.

At the moment, there are no plans to extend AIM supports beyond the ECCE programme to cater for children in after-school care or the CCS Programme. However, I wish to note that the benefits of AIM are extending beyond pre-school children to these and other cohorts. AIM universal supports are benefitting all children in early years settings through for example, improvements in inclusive practice within these settings and improvements in knowledge and competence among the staff in relation to disability.  

An End of Year One Review of AIM is underway and will be completed in mid-2018. This will be followed by a full and more in-depth end of year three evaluation of AIM in 2019. These reviews will examine what has worked well and identify where improvements could be made to the Model. They will also help to inform consideration of possible future AIM expansion.

Community Services Programme

 547. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of community services resource centre programme applications received; when it is expected a decision will be made; the decision making process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2914/18]

 548. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of applications received from Galway city and county in relation to the community services resource centre programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2915/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 547 and 548 together.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre Programme. In 2018, my Department has provided an additional €3.0m to Tusla to support the Family Resource Centre Programme. The additional funding provided will support existing Family Resource Centres, and will also allow for the expansion of the programme. Eleven new centres will be added to the Family Resource Centre Programme in 2018. My Department also provided exceptional, once-off funding of over €2.0m for Family Resource Centres in the form of assistance with small works in 2017.

Tusla has advised that the criteria for new entrants seeking to join the programme includes the size and make-up of the relevant geographical area, the social and economic conditions of the specified area, and the overall population breakdown of the area that would be serviced by the proposed Family Resource Centre. The criteria will also take into consideration the structure of the group applying to the programme, their objectives, targets, and current relationships with other organisations, and the inclusion of available research, community projects, and needs assessments will also be considered.

The closing date for new entrants to the Family Resource Centre Programme was the 20th December, 2017. Tusla has advised that it has  received a total of 43 applications, two of which were from organisations based in Galway city and county. Following the assessment of all applications, a decision will be made on successful entrants to the programme, which is due to be announced shortly.

I am pleased to be in a position to support the work of Family Resource Centres through the targeting of additional resources to services that will impact positively on vulnerable children and families.

Child and Family Agency Investigations

 549. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she has satisfied herself with the welfare of a person (details supplied).  [2978/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has informed me that a full assessment was carried out in relation to the child concerned, and they have informed me that there are no child protection concerns. The case is closed to the Social Work Department.


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