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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 584-606
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Roads Maintenance Funding
 Header Item National Sports Policy Framework
 Header Item Public Service Vehicles
 Header Item Public Service Vehicles
 Header Item Public Service Obligation Data
 Header Item Road Tolls
 Header Item Immigration Controls
 Header Item Public Service Vehicles
 Header Item Park and Ride Facilities
 Header Item Cycling Facilities Funding
 Header Item Domestic Violence Refuges Provision
 Header Item Detention Centres Expenditure
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards Data
 Header Item Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Action Plan for Rural Development Expenditure

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 965 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 88 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 584-606

Electric Vehicles

 584. 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 if he will provide a clear, detailed and specific roadmap to achieve the Government’s plan of having only electric cars on sale here in 12 years' time in 2030; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7352/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The National Policy Framework for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland 2017-2030 was published in May 2017. It sets out the ambition that all new cars and vans sold in Ireland from 2030 will be zero emission (or zero emission-capable). A range of policy measures aimed at supporting the transition to low emission vehicles are set out in the National Policy Framework (http://www.dttas.ie/sites/default/files/publications/public-transport/english/npf-picture/6186npfalternative-fuelsengv5.pdf). Furthermore, the National Mitigation Plan published in July 2017 reiterates the ambition and also includes supporting actions towards this objective (https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/National%20Mitigation%20Plan%202017.pdf).

  While remaining technology neutral in the context of promoting greater uptake of zero emission capable vehicles, the full electrification of the car fleet represents a feasible option in Ireland, where supporting grid infrastructure is developed. Advances in battery technology, increasing competition in the market and falling vehicle costs would suggest that electrification will be the predominant low emission choice for private car, taxis and commercial vans in the short to medium term. In this regard, under a Programme for a Partnership Government commitment – that Ireland will become a leader in the take-up of electric vehicles (EVs) - a dedicated Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce was established to consider the range of measures and options available to Government to accelerate this aim.

  The work of the Taskforce has been divided into three work streams focusing on: Market Growth Stimuli and Visibility; Infrastructure, Energy Regulation and Pricing; and Planning Legislation, Building Regulations and Public Leadership. Preliminary recommendations from the Taskforce were considered in the 2018 budgetary process and a suite of continued and new EV supports were announced as part of Budget 2018. A list of current incentives to promote EVs is presented in the table below –additional information is available at: https://www.seai.ie/grants/electric-vehicle-grants/.

  In 2018 the Taskforce will also broaden its scope to consider measures to promote fuels such as natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and hydrogen. Currently, there is a Government commitment to maintain duty levels of natural gas at the minimum level for a period of eight years and an action in the National Policy Framework to develop the accelerated capital allowance type scheme to include gas refuelling infrastructure and vehicles.

  The 2030 ambition will be achieved through implementing the measures outlined in the above publications, realising the outcomes of the LEV Taskforce deliberations, and developing new and innovative policy interventions in the years ahead in light of technological and market developments.

  Electric Vehicle Incentives

VRT Relief Continuation of VRT relief in Budget 2018 - 

Up to €5,000 for new EVs until end 2021

Up to €2,500 for new PHEVs until end 2018
SEAI Grant Scheme Continuation of SEAI Purchase Grant -

Up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new EV or PHEV
Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) EVs and charging infrastructure are qualifying equipment under the ACA scheme
Charging Supports A new grant to support installation of home charger points  for buyers of new and second-hand EVs from January 1st
SPSV Grant Scheme A new grant and supporting measures to stimulate take-up of EVs in the taxi /hackney/limousine sector
0% Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) A new BIK 0% rate to incentivise EVs without mileage conditions for at least three years
Public Body Procurement National Procurement Service to introduce a new public procurement framework contract for EVs in 2018 to allow public bodies to buy EVs with reduced administrative burden
Public Engagement Programme National awareness campaign

Driver experience roadshow

Public sector and commercial fleet trials

Support for EV use in car sharing trials
Toll Incentive Regime Funding to support a reduction in tolls for EVs

Roads Maintenance Funding

 585. 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 the amount of funding his Department will be awarding to each local authority for the purposes of maintaining regional and local roads in 2018, as per his press release (details supplied), in tabular form. [7369/18]

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 the local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority's 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.

Details of the regional and local road grant allocations to local authorities for 2018 are outlined in the regional and local road grant allocation booklet which is available in the Dáil Library. 

National Sports Policy Framework

 586. 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 the date by which the national sports policy will be completed. [7370/18]

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, I launched a public consultation process for the new National Sports Policy in late 2016, which resulted in the receipt of 54 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including Government Departments, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Sports Partnerships and private individuals.

My Department and I have since examined the content of these submissions in detail. In addition, my officials have held a number of bilateral meetings with relevant Government departments and other key stakeholders during the drafting process in order to inform our decision making on the key challenges that confront the sector and the many complex issues that arise in relation to addressing those challenges.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that this detailed evaluation work is nearing completion. I hope to be in a position to submit the draft Policy for the approval of my Government colleagues in the coming weeks. If approved, it will be published very shortly thereafter.

Public Service Vehicles

 587. 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 the number of applications received for the purchase of wheelchair accessible vehicles; the number of grants paid for same in each year since 2014, by county, in tabular form. [7371/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. Accordingly, it is the NTA who administer the wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) grant for the SPSV industry on an annual basis.

I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

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

Public Service Vehicles

 588. 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 he will clarify his response to Parliamentary Question No. 438 of 29 November 2017, in which he stated that his Department would be opening the electric small public service vehicle, SPSV, grant scheme in early 2019, despite this measure being announced as part of budget 2018.  [7372/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As I indicated to the Deputy in my response to the question referred to of November last, I was delighted to secure funding as part of Budget 2018 to help encourage the transition of our SPSV (Taxi/Hackney/Limousine) sector to electric vehicles. This sector can play a vital role in championing the use of electric vehicles to members of the public and in reducing harmful tailpipe emissions, particularly across our urban areas.

  The electric SPSV grant scheme was launched on February 1st and is administered on behalf of my Department by the National Transport Authority (NTA), as was signalled in my response to the Deputy's previous question.

  This scheme is available nationwide to all eligible SPSV drivers, and supports both new and second hand electric vehicles. Applications for the grant should be made directly to the National Transport Authority (NTA).

  Further details of the electric SPSV grant scheme, including the application form and supporting grant scheme guidance documents are available to download from the NTA website (www.nationaltransport.ie).

Public Service Obligation Data

 589. 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 the amount of public service obligation, PSO, subvention paid to Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann in 2017, in tabular form. [7373/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Since 2010, Public Service Obligation (PSO) subvention is no longer paid by my Department to transport operators. The award and subvention of PSO contracts now falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA), which has direct responsibility for this area along with the routes covered. I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. 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 Tolls

 590. 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 the reason the toll on the M4 is out of sync with all other tolls in the country; the actions he has taken to try to bring this toll in line with other toll roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7384/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to roads. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects on national roads are a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority. For regional and local roads it is a matter for each respective local authority.

More specifically, the statutory powers to levy tolls on national roads as well as regional and local roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors are vested in TII (for national roads) and each local authority (for regional and local roads) under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

Noting the above, I am referring the question to TII for direct reply within 10 working days. Please inform my private office if you do not receive the information.

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

Immigration Controls

 591. 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 the average time for persons passing through passport control at Dublin airport; and the way this compares with the past five years.  [7386/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Passport control at Dublin Airport is carried out by personnel of Department Justice and Equality in conjunction with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has no function in the matter.

Public Service Vehicles

 592. 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 his attention has been drawn to the fact that some taxi operators who availed of the grant for the provision of a wheelchair taxi refuse to take wheelchair passengers and opt to take six regular passengers instead as that is more profitable; if the attention of the regulator has been drawn to this practice; and if there have been prosecutions in this regard. [7387/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. Obligations on taxi drivers in relation to accessibility are set out in the associated Taxi Regulation (Small Public Service Vehicle) Regulations.

I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

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

Park and Ride Facilities

 593. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount spent by his Department to support park and ride facilities, by current and capital expenditure in each of the years 2008 to 2017. [7438/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The information sought by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded to her shortly in line with Standing Orders.

Cycling Facilities Funding

 594. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount spent by his Department to support public cycling infrastructure in each of the years 2008 to 2017. [7439/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Over recent years, Exchequer investment in cycling infrastructure has been made under a number of different programmes and schemes.

  The following table sets out the combined investment that occurred under the National Cycle Network programme and the Active Travel Towns programme (both of which commenced in 2012), and the Smarter Travel Areas programme (which commenced in 2009). Projects funded under the Active Travel Towns programme and Smarter Travel Areas programme involved integrated initiatives across a number of aspects of active/smarter travel and incorporated measures such as investment in cycle lanes, bike parking, footpaths, traffic calming measures, shared streets and other interventions that encourage and support modal shift to walking and cycling. In this context it is not possible to isolate specific expenditure on cycling infrastructure alone.

  In addition to the funding set out in the table, since 2010 my Department has also provided funding to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for allocation under the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) Programme and the Regional Cities Programme to implement sustainable transport projects, including providing cycling infrastructure, in the Greater Dublin Area and the regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

  Looking to the future and following the recent mid-term review of the Capital Plan, investment of over €110m will develop cycling and walking infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and Regional Cities over the next four years (2018-2021). This programme will provide safe alternative active travel routes to help alleviate congestion by providing viable alternatives and connectivity with existing public transport infrastructure.

  In addition to these cycling-specific investments, BusConnects, that will involve re-configuring the bus network and infrastructure, will also entail construction of significant new cycling facilities alongside bus routes on the key radial routes into the city centre and provide safe cycling arrangements, largely segregated from other traffic along those corridors. These substantial investments will allow us to further increase the numbers cycling, thereby easing congestion, improving public health and enhancing the liveability of our cities.

  Noting the NTA's responsibility in this regard, I have referred your question to the NTA for a more detailed reply in relation to past funding for cycling infrastructure provided under the investment programmes and schemes referenced earlier. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Year Funding (€)
2009 7,001,000
2010 8,383,000
2011 16,366,000
2012 10,943,000
2013 11,580,000
2014 12,483,000
2015 18,891,000
2016 10,488,000
2017 6,985,000

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

Domestic Violence Refuges Provision

 595. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of women's refuge centres; the number of women these centres can cater for; the number of women in these centres at present; the centre which supports women in counties Cavan and Monaghan; her plans to introduce more; the supports in place for women in counties Cavan and Monaghan who have no centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7391/18]

 596. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to introduce a women's refuge to counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7392/18]

 597. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the services available to women from counties Cavan and Monaghan seeking refuge from abusive relationships; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7393/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 595 to 597, inclusive, together.

  Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV).

  Since becoming Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I have attached a high priority to the development of DSGBV services. In 2017, additional funding of €1.5m was allocated to Tusla to support the development of services. I was pleased to secure a further increase of €1.7m for 2018, bringing the total level of funding for DSGBV services to €23.8m. This includes funding for some 60 services throughout the country, including emergency refuge and support services.

  The development of services for victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence nationally is guided by the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), as well as the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (2016-2021). Additional funding in 2018 will support the development of enhanced DSGBV services.

  Tusla does not have access to live data on refuge use. Information provided by funded domestic violence services indicates that refuges consistently operate at full or near full-capacity. Any vacancies are generally attributed to the turnover between the discharge and admission of clients.

  Services for victims of domestic abuse in the North East region, namely counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, and Monaghan, received approximately €1.4m in funding from Tusla in 2017. Services to victims of domestic violence in counties Cavan and Monaghan are provided by Tearmann Domestic Violence Services, which received funding of approximately €192,000 from Tusla in 2017 for the provision of support and advocacy services to victims. Individuals based in West Cavan can also avail of the services of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service for Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan, which also provides support and advocacy services. This service received approximately €317,000 in funding in 2017.

  Tusla has no immediate plans to provide a refuge in the Cavan/Monaghan area. There are three refuges situated in Drogheda, Co. Louth; Dundalk, Co. Louth; and Navan, Co. Meath, which provide emergency domestic violence accommodation to women based in the North East region. This includes 21 family units of emergency refuge accommodation.

  As part of its commissioning approach to developing services, Tusla carried out a number of needs analyses projects in 2017 to identify gaps in service provision and to prioritise service developments. All future service developments, whether based in the North East region or elsewhere, will be informed by Tusla’s commissioning approach. In 2017, Tearmann Domestic Violence Services completed a Strategic Plan as a means of improving and developing services in counties Cavan and Monaghan. Tusla will meet Tearmann Domestic Violence Services and other partners shortly with a view to supporting these developments.

  The following table provides information from Tusla on the geographical spread of 147 emergency refuge family units.

  County Number of Emergency Refuge Family Units
1 Clare 6
2 Cork 6
3 Donegal 4
4 Dublin 37
5 Galway 6
6 Kerry 6
7 Kilkenny 7
8 Kildare 4
9 Limerick 14
10 Louth 13
11 Mayo 5
12 Meath 5
13 Tipperary 4
14 Waterford 16
15 Westmeath 4
16 Wexford 4
17 Wicklow 6
  Total 147


  At all times, Tusla’s key priority is to ensure that the needs of victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services.

Detention Centres Expenditure

 598. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the full year running cost of Oberstown detention centre. [7048/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department provided funding totalling €23.139 million to support the operation of Oberstown Children Detention Campus in 2017.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 599. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if correspondence from persons (details supplied) in County Cork regarding an early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme place for their child will be examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [6711/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can confirm that the correspondence referred to by the Deputy was originally received in my Department on the 11th of January this year and a reply has issued.

The age limits for the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE) were set in consultation with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills to limit the age range of children beginning primary school and to ensure that children transition into primary school with their peers. Limiting the diversity in age ranges in primary school is considered to be generally in the best interest of children, in relation to peer interaction in junior infants, as well as other educational considerations.

Parents may request an exemption from ECCE eligibility criteria under limited circumstances from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA); specifically where a child is assessed as having a special/additional need. In this regard, it is a requirement of the DCYA that a letter must be provided by a medical specialist (not a GP/Public Health Nurse) specifying the child's special/additional need, and diagnosis, and that they (the medical specialist) specifically recommend an extra year of pre-school for the child. This requirement is not intended to undermine the view of a parent or teacher in relation to a child's needs but, rather, to maintain a clear and standard basis for applying for exemptions.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs does its best to ensure, in so far as is possible, the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for childcare funding under the ECCE Programme. In order to ensure objectivity and fairness it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied in a fair manner. The rules for all the Department’s childcare schemes are clearly published to ensure transparency and consistent application.

Departmental Expenditure

 600. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount spent by her Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of her Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by her Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6742/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Details of the costs incurred on photography, public relations and communications advice by my Department since January 2016 are set out in the following tables. The overall objective is to keep costs of this nature to a minimum and these services are only used when deemed necessary in the course of Departmental activity.

  Photography

Month / Year Company Cost
November 2016 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €528.90
April 2017 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €430.50
August 2017 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €361.62
November 2017 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €578.10
December 2017 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €528.90
  Public Relations
Month / Year Company Cost
September 2017 Persuasion Republic €102,256
  Communications Advice
Month/Year   Company Cost
April 2017 Ms Mandy Johnston €4,750


  Similar details relating to the State Agencies under the under the aegis of my Department are an operational matter and I have asked Tusla, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and the Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus, to supply the information directly to the Deputy.

  The Adoption Authority of Ireland has confirmed to me that they spent €300 on photography costs in November/December 2017 with Richie Stokes Photography. No costs were incurred in respect of public relations and communication advice.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

 601. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to the vox pop style document circulated by Galway County Council as part of its consultation process on the burial site at Bon Secours, Tuam; and her views on whether this is an appropriate method of consultation in view of the sensitive nature of the matter.  [6815/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have visited the site of the former Tuam home on a number of occasions and I am acutely conscious of the sensitive nature of the decisions which must be progressed. Assisting those most centrally involved to understand the options now open to us was one of the reasons for commissioning the technical report which I published last December.

Galway County Council recently announced details of a structured consultation process with a strong focus around Tuam. I know the Council wants to support all interested parties to have their say as part of this process. To this end the Council sought professional support in the design and approach to the consultation process.

I have been contacted by a number of people in relation to this consultation process and my officials have relayed the feedback received directly to the Council.

I am advised that the process has been developed to facilitate various parties to submit their views on the five courses of action identified by the Expert Technical Group. The process is designed to facilitate maximum participation by all parties while ensuring that there is certainty in relation to the preferred course of action of each respondent.

The guidance for submissions while requesting each respondent to clearly indicate their preferred course of action, importantly also provides an opportunity for the respondent to provide their own comments. The process also allows respondents to indicate their connection to the former Mother & Baby Home, Tuam. In addition to the collation of written submissions, consultation events will be held in Tuam and Dublin. These events, which will be led by Restorative Dialogue Facilitators, will be designed to afford participants the opportunity to provide further input to the consultation process.

The report on the consultation process to be submitted to the Inter-Departmental Group will be prepared by the Restorative Dialogue Facilitators based on the submissions received and the outcomes of the consultation events. This report will be a factual account of the consultation process and will not contain any recommendations. It will be a matter for the Inter-Departmental Group to consider the report and make appropriate recommendations for consideration by Government.

I strongly encourage all interested parties to contribute their views to the process. It is essential that all voices can be heard.

Appointments to State Boards Data

 602. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the State boards under the remit of her Department; the number of persons on each of those boards; the number of those persons who are male and female, respectively. [6947/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am responsible for appointments to the following State Boards under the aegis of my Department: the Child and Family Agency, the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Oberstown Children Detention Campus and Gaisce.

  The following table sets out the information requested by the Deputy.

State Board Number of positions on each Board Positions Currently Filled Number of Men on Board Number of Women on Board
Adoption Authority of Ireland 7 7 3 4
Gaisce 15 15 7 8
Oberstown Children Detention Campus 13 13 8 5
Child and Family Agency (Tusla) 9 6 3 3

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme Eligibility

 603. 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 when redress under the existing scheme will be extended to former residents of a home (details supplied) in view of the finding of a report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7234/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Commission's Second Interim Report made a recommendation that the decision to exclude certain institutions from the Residential Institutions Redress Act should be re-examined by Government. The Deputy may wish to note that policy responsibility for this scheme is within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills and his Department.

The Government did examine these matters very carefully last year on foot of the Commission’s report and further decided not to re-open the scheme, or extend it to any other institutions. I confirmed this decision when I published the report last April. As the Deputy will be aware this redress scheme has not been extended to any additional institutions since 2005 and it has been closed to late applications since September 2011.

In examining this matter the Government decided it would not be appropriate to pre-empt the findings and conclusions of the Commission on relevant matters.

When the Commission submits its final reports, its conclusions on all matters regarding the treatment of former residents taken into careful consideration when determining the State's response.

Child Care Services

 604. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone when the necessary funding will be provided for the reopening of a facility (details supplied) as previously promised by Government representatives. [7381/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy is aware, my Department does not directly provide childcare - rather we fund the provision of childcare through individuals, companies and community/not-for-profit groups. Therefore, following the closure of the existing childcare provider in this location, I requested that Pobal and Longford CCC work with local bodies and potential partners in relation to the re-establishment of a service for the local community.

Unfortunately, my Department did not receive a viable proposal for the creation of a childcare service at that time. However, my Department is currently in discussions with Longford CCC with the aim of progressing a procurement process to secure a suitable operator for a childcare service in this area. Funding for a childcare setting remains available pending the outcome of this procurement process.

Family Resource Centres

 605. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone when she will announce the successful applicants for new family resource centres. [7382/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, administers the Family Resource Centre Programme. As part of Budget 2018, I was pleased to announce that additional funding of approximately €5.0m is being allocated to existing centres and to support the expansion of the programme, with the inclusion of an additional 11 centres in 2018. The closing date for receipt of applications, by Tusla, was 20th December 2017.

Over €2.0m of the additional funding announced in Budget 2018 was allocated to existing centres for investment in small works in December 2017. The remainder of this funding will be allocated to Family Resource Centres this year.

Tusla has advised that it has received a total of 43 applications for inclusion in the Family Resource Centre Programme from community organisations. Tusla is currently assessing all applications. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the assessment at the beginning of March 2018.

I highly value the work of Family Resource Centres across the country. Tusla is committed to using all available resources for children and families in the most efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way.

Action Plan for Rural Development Expenditure

 606. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring his plans for the expenditure of the town enhancement and development fund for Dunmore, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6691/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Action Plan for Rural Development contains a number of measures which have the objective of rejuvenating Ireland’s rural towns and villages to make them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential.

The 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme was launched in April last year, with a focus on projects which could stimulate and encourage economic activity in our rural towns and villages. Following a competitive process, in October 2017 I announced the allocation of €21.6 million to 281 projects in towns and villages across rural Ireland.

A total of 15 projects were submitted to my Department by Galway Co. Council for consideration, and I awarded funding of over €1 million to 13 of those projects. No application in respect of Dunmore appears to have been submitted to my Department under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal scheme.

However, I plan to launch another round of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2018, with a continued focus on projects that will have a strong impact on supporting rural economies and improving the quality of life for people who live in rural towns and villages. Full details of the scheme will be made available to all Local Authorities when the scheme is launched.


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