Houses of the Oireachtas

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

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 252-258
 Header Item Departmental Contracts Data
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Youth Services Funding
 Header Item Capital Expenditure Programme
 Header Item Library Services Funding

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 968 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 252-258

Departmental Contracts Data

 252. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the contracts awarded by her Department or an agency under her remit to a company (details supplied) since March 2011, by year in tabular form; the cost per contract; the basis for each contract; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20311/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department has utilised internal audit services provided by this company during a period when this Department was unable to recruit a Head of Internal Audit and then supported the service subsequently. A contract was signed for their services on 20 October 2014 for a 12 month period with the option of an extension of a further 12 months, which was availed of. Payments were made into 2017 as audits by the company were completed. There are no outstanding commitments.

  From August 2012 until October 2014 the services of the company were used under a shared contract between the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Children and Youth Affairs for the Provision of Internal Audit Services.

  From January 2017, following on from a tender process, my Department awarded the contract for internal audit services to another company.

  Payments for the services were:

Year
2013 23,802.75
2014 10,086.75
2015 112,687.61
2016 43,727.25
2017 12,177.75
Total 202,482.11
  

  In relation to the bodies under the aegis of my Department, the Adoption Authority has confirmed they have had no contracts with this company during this period.

  Tusla, the Oberstown Children's Detention Centre and the Ombudsman for Children have been requested to respond directly to the Deputy on this issue.

Child Care Services

 253. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if the possibility of increasing wages paid to childcare practitioners to reflect the qualifications they must possess to work within the industry will be investigated; the position regarding the reduction of childcare fees for working parents; her views on whether the significant expenses associated with childcare are effectively a deterrent to first-time parents who genuinely want to work; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [20340/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I wish to acknowledge the critical role played by staff working in the childcare sector in delivering high quality childcare services. They deserve to be recognised, valued and respected for this.  My Department does, however, acknowledge that pay and conditions are major issues facing the sector. My Department is engaging with the early years sector to explore how this can be addressed.

In relation to pay and conditions for the Early Years sector, it must be noted that my Department is not the employer of childcare workers. However, in terms of improving pay and conditions I have engaged directly with the sector, and have suggested  that one approach the sector could consider is applying for a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) through the Labour Court, seeking a recommendation in relation to pay for the whole early years' sector.

Under a SEO process, organisations substantially representative of employers and employees come together to agree a way forward and submissions are sought from key stakeholders. My Department would not be a party to the SEO process, however, as a significant funder, and with policy responsibility for quality, my Department would be well placed to make a submission to the Court once it publishes its notice in relation to the matter of the application for a SEO for the sector. I have indicated on many occasions that I will be very supportive of any reasonable measures aimed at improving pay and conditions of the Early Years sector. While my Department does not have direct control over the matter, it will continue to support any appropriate initiatives in this area.

In the last budget I also secured a 7% increase in capitation for the ECCE scheme, the first such rise in many years. It is my hope that this increase in funding will be reflected in pay within the sector.

The Programme for Government has committed to carrying out an independent review of the cost of providing quality childcare. This review is examining the costs faced by childcare providers in delivering quality childcare, including a survey of childcare providers. Following completion, the review is intended to be used to strengthen the evidence base underpinning future policy development and investment in early years. As such, it will feed into future policy development, including in relation to levels of payments to services..

Youth Services Funding

 254. 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 her plans to allocate additional resources to Cork city and county, specifically LGBT youth supports. [20419/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am pleased to confirm that an extra €1.5m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services in 2018. This will bring the total current youth funding available to my Department to €58.9m.  The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people.  Funding to staff-led youth services has generally been targeted at areas of disadvantage and not in proportion to the youth population of a county.

As the Deputy may be aware my Department is managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken.  This will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.

Last year each of the sixteen Education and Training Boards, including Cork ETB, was invited to nominate locations within their catchment areas for the establishment of new services and to nominate a project or service to be considered for augmentation. In total twenty-eight applications for new services were received.  Subsequently I approved the establishment of nine new targeted youth services across the country and the expansion of a further seven to respond to new demand and needs of young people which included new services in Mitchelstown and Carrigaline and an augmented service in Middleton.

Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed last year which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping will assist the Department and the relevant ETB in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels.  My Department is committed to working with Cork ETB to identify need and explore ways to address this need where it emerges.

The Programme for Government (2016) gives a commitment to develop a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Youth Strategy. This is a key commitment for my Department in the Programme for Government and also makes a contribution towards the Government’s broader commitment to continue to strive for full inclusion of LGBT people in Ireland. The development of this Strategy will be led by my Department.  The final Strategy is scheduled for publication in the end of Quarter 2 2018.

Capital Expenditure Programme

 255. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the capital allocation across her Department in each of the years 2018 to 2022. [20444/18]

 256. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her Department's capital allocation for projects underway and projects already tendered or committed to spending contractually. [20461/18]

 257. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her Department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022 disaggregated according to capital allocated to projects underway, projects contractually committed to and projects yet to be initiated. [20478/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 255 to 257, inclusive, together.

  The National Development Plan sets out the Government`s capital investment priorities that will underpin the new National Planning Framework. My Department has been allocated €156 million in capital expenditure over the period 2018-2022 under the Plan as set out in the following table:

  2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Capital Allocations (€ million) 28 32 31 32 33
  

  The €28 million allocation for 2018 is being deployed to support the following:

  - €6.860 million towards the Early Years and School Age Capital Grants Scheme to facilitate expanding and improving early years and school age facilities by childcare providers.

  - €3 million towards the Youth Capital Funding Scheme to support targeted staff-led youth projects across the country and a Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation to support new and existing play and recreation amenities for children and young people.

  - €13.940 million for Tusla to meet existing contractual commitments such as the completion of the roll-out of the National Child  Care Information System and to commence new projects including the roll-out of the first phase of the agency`s ICT strategy, commence refurbishment of front-line services facilities and staff accommodation and a programme of minor capital works.

  - €4.2 million for a range of remedial and improvements works at the Oberstown Children Detention Campus.

  It is not possible at this time to identify specific projects that will be funded under the Plan from 2019 to 2022 but I can confirm the resources will support continued investment in the following areas:

  - Childcare, to ensure quality and supply of sufficient childcare places.

  - Youth services that support and target disadvantaged young people and improve their employability.

  - Tusla, through the continued development of ICT and standards of accommodation, and

  - Oberstown Children Detention Campus through the provision of safe and secure places.

  In addition to this, the Plan also contains a commitment to provide an additional €250 million to support the implementation of a 10 year, cross-Government Early Years Strategy to be published in 2018. One of the core objectives of this strategy will be to increase the proportion of children who have access to high quality, early years care and education. Officials in my Department are currently examining possibilities for a multi-annual capital programme for childcare as well as research on existing capital holdings and future capital needs for the sector, at national and local level. Once gathered, this data will be used to inform large-scale, targeted capital investments in childcare.

Library Services Funding

 258. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the funding available for a project (details supplied); the funding provided to the end of 2017; the funding available in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20348/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The provision of premises and facilities in the public library service is generally a matter for each local authority in its capacity as a library authority under the Local Government Act 2001. Accordingly, the development of the new library in Portlaoise is primarily a matter for Laois County Council.

  That said, my Department funds a Libraries Capital Investment Programme that will invest some €22m in 16 or so projects over the period 2016 to 2021. Some €1.65m has been allocated to Portlaoise Library under the capital programme.

  Funding is provided for library projects on the basis of works completed and claims submitted by the relevant local authority. Work on Portlaoise Library is at an early stage. The project is currently progressing through the Department's Four-Stage Capital Works Approval Process and no funding has been drawn down by Laois County Council to date.

  An indicative allocation of €200,000 is available to meet the cost of initial works on the project in 2018. I expect the remainder to be drawn down by Laois County Council in 2019 and 2020 as the project progresses.


Last Updated: 27/02/2020 09:52:36 First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page