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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 501-518
 Header Item Freedom of Information
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Traffic Calming Measures
 Header Item Civil Aviation Regulation
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Fáilte Ireland Expenditure
 Header Item Rail Services Data
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Rail Services
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Greenways Provision
 Header Item Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Public Consultation Process
 Header Item Home Schooling
 Header Item Child Care Services Provision

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 970 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 501-518

Freedom of Information

 501. 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 his plans to make all semi-State bodies under his remit subject to freedom of information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26602/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross It is a statutory function of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to make Orders in respect of prescribed bodies for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and I have not been consulted by him in relation to the making of any such Order.

Exempted Bodies under my Department's aegis are typically those commercial companies which operate within a commercial environment.

In addition there are two bodies which are partially included - Iarnród Éireann which is included except in relation to its commercial activities in Rosslare Europort and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety which is excluded in relation to criminal investigation functions.

Taxi Regulations

 502. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans with regard to the regulation of rickshaws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26654/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As the Deputy may be aware, my Department has been considering a range of options for regulating rickshaws from the perspectives of proportionality, public safety and enforcement as well as regarding the question of costs and benefits. Options considered included the introduction of regulation and the introduction of a full prohibition.

As I indicated recently when I attended a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport at which the matter of rickshaws was considered, the preferred approach at present is prohibition. However I am aware that there may be some obstacles and legal advice has been sought from the Office of Attorney General. Once consultations with that Office are complete, I expect to be in a position to finalise and announce my decision before the end of this Dáil term, with any corresponding legislative provisions to be developed thereafter.

Bus Services

 503. 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 his views on reports that the National Transport Authority plans to construct 16 new radial bus routes; the impact this will have on residents that live near these proposed new routes in view of the news that 1,300 homeowners may lose their gardens; when homeowners will be notified if they are to be subject to a compulsory purchase order; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [26661/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The BusConnects Programme aims to transform the bus system in Dublin. It will include a full redesign of the bus network in order to provide a better and more efficient network for passengers; an expanded and modern fleet of vehicles; new road infrastructure to facilitate bus priority and faster journeys for public transport users, and also upgraded facilities for cyclists and pedestrians; improved passenger information and ticketing technology; and transition to a lower emission bus fleet.

Currently, on the busiest bus routes, bus lanes are only in place for less than one third of the corridor. This means that for most of the journey, buses are competing for space with general traffic and so are also affected by the increasing levels of congestion.

Approximately 70% of people travelling into Dublin city each morning do so by sustainable transport. The bus system is important because each day the majority (57% of all public transport trips) use the bus for this journey.

Bus is therefore the main component of the solution to address our current congestion problem and to meet our future transport needs. As those numbers grow, and as congestion worsens, it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate a reliable bus system with sufficient capacity to cater for the needs of the region.

Last week, the NTA published a discussion document outlining the Core Bus Corridor Project that is part of a wider BusConnects programme for Ireland’s cities, starting in Dublin and rolling out to Galway, Cork and Ireland’s remaining cities.

The NTA’s document focusses on the 230 km of continuous bus priority across 16 core bus routes expected achieve up to 40%-50% savings on current journey times and the 200 km plus of cycle tracks/lanes and pedestrian facilities that are emerging as the likely core bus corridors in and out of Dublin city under this new investment Programme. These proposals are going to revolutionise traffic in the centre and outskirts of Dublin. It takes into consideration the current congestion situation and the challenges and opportunities that Dublin will face over the coming decades while setting out some of the key impacts, issues and challenges that relate to the 16 corridors.

In order to achieve this, in some areas on these corridors, roads will need to be widened, traffic lanes will have to be converted to bus lanes, on-street parking will have to be restricted and trees and parts of front gardens will have to be removed. These are the difficult decisions that have to be made if we are to provide a fit-for-purpose bus system for Dublin city. Dublin will become increasingly congested and a less attractive place to live and work if we decide not to make these changes now.

The document also sets out mitigations to these challenges including compensation as appropriate.

Following, last week’s launch by the NTA of a discussion document focussed on 16 core bus routes, the NTA will conduct a public consultation on the redesign of Dublin's bus network, including proposals on a major redesign of routes, schedules and fare structures. This is expected in July.

Later this year, the NTA then plans to hold a public consultation on the emerging proposals for the 16 core bus corridors, expected in September/October.

This is to ensure that the public are fully informed by NTA about the BusConnects programme as it progresses and have ample opportunity to input at various stages to its development. It should be stressed that all of the routes and options are indicative only at this stage. Individual properties will not be identified until detailed designs have been completed and that will feed into the consultation process expected in September/October.

There is a clear need to expand attractive public transport alternatives to car transport to reduce congestion and emissions and enable the transport sector to cater for the demands associated with longer-term population and employment growth in a sustainable manner.

This is why the major flagship investments to be delivered within Project Ireland 2040 and the 10-year National Development Plan horizon such as Bus Connects for Ireland’s cities and projects like the Metro Link, DART Expansion, expanded Luas services and cycling and walking infrastructure are needed to ease congestion, lower carbon output and add greatly to the quality and standard of our transport system.

Noting its responsibility with regards to this matter, I have referred your queries to the NTA for consideration and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Traffic Calming Measures

 504. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will request TII to put in place a raised plateau at the junction on the N73 in Kildorrery village, County Cork in order to facilitate traffic calming measures. [26667/18]

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 and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Civil Aviation Regulation

 505. 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 reason for the delay in setting up a body to assist whistleblowers in the civil aviation industry as required under EU regulation 376/2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26695/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As the Deputy points out, EU Regulation 376/2014 requires each Member State to make provisions for a new confidential reporting system for civil aviation. I can advise the Deputy that my Department is engaged with the Irish Aviation Authority - which has statutory responsibility for civil aviation safety oversight in Ireland - on how best to implement the Regulation to ensure that we put in place as soon as possible a robust, trusted and confidential system that will work across the industry.

Tourism Promotion

 506. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of persons employed to deliver the Hidden Heartlands tourism initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26742/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy. While the Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland for its organisational operations and investment in tourism, it is not directly involved in the management of individual tourism projects or the numbers of staff allocated to same. This is an operational matter for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland.

Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

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

Road Projects Status

 507. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the status of the N5 road development from Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26743/18]

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 and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Fáilte Ireland Expenditure

 508. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the level of funding expended by Fáilte Ireland tourism projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2010 to 2017; the allocation for 2018; the level of funding expected to be allocated to tourism projects in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26744/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy. While the Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland for investment in tourism, it is not directly involved in the management or development of individual tourism projects and has no role in the administration of the agency's grant programmes. These are operational matters for the board and management of Fáilte Ireland.

Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

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

Rail Services Data

 509. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if there has been an increase in service on the commuter train lines leading into Dublin since 2015; the service levels for each of the commuter lines in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26769/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann and I have 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.

Bus Services

 510. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the stage the development of the new town bus service for Mullingar is at as promised in Project Ireland 2040; when the service will commence; the regularity with which the route will be served; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26780/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have 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.

Rail Services

 511. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if consideration has been given to the closure of level crossings along the Maynooth line (details supplied); if the National Transport Authority has undertaken traffic modelling of the use of level crossings in Dublin 15 either on its own or in conjunction with other State bodies such as Irish Rail or Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council; if there will be engagement with the public in the event of proposals to close or reduce the opening of these level crossings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26785/18]

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 and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA), working with the other relevant State bodies, is responsible for ensuring the planning and delivery of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area.

In light of the NTA’s role, I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the NTA for further response on the matter raised.

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

Ministerial Meetings

 512. 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 his European counterparts he has met in the past 12 months to discuss the way in which they work together to mitigate against the negative impacts of Brexit. [26860/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Brexit remains the number one strategic risk that my Department is facing and to this end my officials and I continue to engage with our European colleagues and counterparts.

  Most recently my office had arranged bilaterals with the French, German, Dutch, Finnish and UK Ministers for Transport to take place at the margins of June's Transport Council meeting. Unfortunately I was unable to travel to Luxembourg to attend Council on this occasion; however, I am hoping to reschedule these meetings in the near future.

  In May, I met both Professor Péter Balázs, the EU Coordinator for the North-Sea Mediterranean TEN-T Corridor, and Brian Simpson, the EU Coordinator for the Motorways of the Sea programme. Brexit was a key point on the agenda and both Coordinators are cognisant of the unique challenges facing Ireland as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

  In October 2017 I met the EU Transport Commissioner, Ms Violeta Bulc, during her visit to Ireland and raised with her Ireland's concerns in relation to the implications of Brexit on transport and connectivity. I previously met Commissioner Bulc at the Transport Council in Luxembourg in June 2017.

  In September 2017, I held a conference call with Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, on Brexit related matters.

  In June 2017, I met the Austrian Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Jörg Leichtfried, in relation to Brexit and Road Safety. I also met with members of the External Affairs Committee of the National Assembly for Wales on matters primarily relating to Brexit.

  In May 2017, I met the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson, on road safety and Brexit matters.

  I also met the UK Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, on two occasions in 2017.

  As can be seen from the above, I have engaged with relevant European colleagues on this importance issue throughout the last 12 months and will continue to do so in the coming months ahead.

Greenways Provision

 513. 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 when he will publish the greenway strategy; and when the greenway will be completed directly from Dublin to Galway. [26861/18]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross The Greenways Strategy will provide a framework for the development of Ireland's greenways and will determine the type of project to be funded by my Department over the coming decade. This is a long term Strategy with the aim of increasing the number, length and regional spread of greenways across the country. It will set out guidance to project promoters on matters including strategic nature, length, design standards, accommodation works and early consultation with communities and land owners along proposed routes.

It is important that the National Strategy for the future development of Greenways would be subject to indepth consultation with relevant stakeholders. That consultation has now been completed and my officials are currently finalising the Strategy. I expect to publish the Strategy in the coming month. This will be followed by call for applications later in 2018 with a view to awarding funding to a number of projects for drawdown between 2019 to 2021. In this regard, I was pleased to secure additional funding for greenways last year bringing the total available for the period 2018 to 2021 to €55.9m.

With regard to the Galway to Dublin Greenway it is not possible at this stage to estimate how long it will take for it to be constructed. The development of the Greenway west of the Shannon was paused in 2015 to allow all stakeholders to reflect on the issues raised locally and to consider how best to progress this project, especially in terms of route selection and landowner consultations.

With this in mind I recently requested TII and the Steering Group managing this project to look again at the route options report to see if a route can be identified that works locally and has the support of key landowners. While the work of TII and the Steering Group is ongoing I am not in a position to comment on either the timeframe or budget required to construct the greenway between Athlone and Galway.

Since 2015 progress has been made on other greenway projects, namely the sections of the Galway to Dublin Greenway in Kildare and Meath, and the opening of the Waterford Greenway. The high standard of accommodation works provided to adjacent landowners on the Waterford Greenway have demonstrated how measures can be put in place to significantly mitigate potential impacts on operational farm holders. The Waterford Greenway has also had a very significant economic impact on towns such as Kilmacthomas. I believe the same impact can be replicated in Roscommon and Galway and development of the Dublin-Greenway remains an objective for the Government.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

 514. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her plans to conduct a geophysical survey at a location (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26262/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy will be aware, Sean Ross Abbey Mother and Baby Home is one of the institutions currently being investigated by the statutory Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters. As part of its terms of reference the Commission is directed to investigate and to make a report on burial arrangements in respect of persons who died while resident in these institutions.

  The Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 provides the Commission with significant powers in the conduct of its investigations. It is a matter for the independent Commission to determine the methodology and approach it employs in the course of its investigation.

  Therefore, I have no plan to conduct a geophysical survey at the site of the former mother and baby home at Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, County Tipperary.

  I await the outcome of the Commission's investigations.

Departmental Expenditure

 515. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount paid per project to a company (details supplied) since 1 January 2016 to date by year, amount and project name; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26384/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The information in respect of payments made to the company (details supplied) by my Department is set out in the following table.

Year Amount € Project Name
2016 €37,724.22 Print Media advertising campaign re Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters
2016 €24,043.75 Advertisement on the National Public Consultation on the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme
2017 €91,170.70 Media advertising campaign re Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters
2018 €83,113.34 Media advertising campaign re Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters

Public Consultation Process

 516. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of public consultations held by her Department or by a State agency under the remit of her Department; the number of replies received per consultation; and the cost of each consultation in each of the years 2011 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form. [26455/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Details of the number of public consultations, replies received and costs incurred from 2011 to date in 2018 by my Department are set out in the following table. The overall objective is to keep costs of this nature to a minimum.

  As regards the State agencies under the remit of my Department, I have requested Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Oberstown Children Detention Campus to forward the requested information directly to the Deputy.

YEAR CONSULTATION NO. of REPLIES COST
2011 National Children’s Strategy 2012-2017 66705 €9,056.87
  DCYA Statement of Strategy 31 No cost
  Public Consultation for Scheme under the Official Languages Act 5 €1207.58
2012 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) 13611 €1,873.22
  Body Image Survey 2156 €17,548.42
  Being Young & Irish 2012 800 No cost to DCYA
2013 Consultations with Young People Living in the Care of the State 211 €13,383.83
  TACTIC 211 €7,626.49
  Young People and the Gardaí 361 €2,401.15
  A Study of the Experiences of Pupils with Special Educational Needs at Post Primary School 270 No cost to DCYA
2014 Terms of reference of proposed Commission of Investigation into Mother & Baby Homes 160 No cost
  Structured Dialogue – Trio Presidency: Ireland-Lithuania-Greece 712 €12,889.78
  Consultation with Children – Empowering the Voice of the Child Exact figure not available €510.00
  National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making 2015-2020 66700 €3,075.00
2015 Public Consultation on GAL Reform 26 No cost
  AIM: Access & Inclusion Consultation 62 No cost
  National Youth Strategy Consultation 200 €27,414.03
  Universal Periodic Review 3930 No cost to DCYA
  DCYA Statement of Strategy 20 No cost
2016 Public Consultation on the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme 4106 €28013.60
  DCYA Statement of Strategy 7 No cost
2017 Mother & Baby Homes facilitated meeting (Dublin) 100 €24,977.41
  Mother & Baby Homes facilitated meeting (Cork) 28 €8,110.90
  Written Consultation on the review of CCA 1991 39 No cost
  Open Policy Debate on the review of the Child Care Act 1991 82 €10,402.00
  Public Consultation on Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures DCYA website survey 32 No cost
  LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy 3998 €135,000.00
  Design of targeted youth funding scheme 731 €19,334.15
  So, how was school today? 3242 €40,678.41
2018 Mother & Baby Homes expressions of interest in collaborative forum 89 €543.90
  Stakeholder engagement on outline of a new youth funding scheme in line with recommendations of the Value for Money Policy Review 125 €592.50
  Public Consultation on measuring outcomes for young people engaged with youth services In Progress In Progress

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

Home Schooling

 517. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of children awaiting a Tusla inspection for home schooling by county; the number of children awaiting an appointment for more than six, 12, 18 and 24 months, respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26496/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Educational Welfare Service of Tusla has informed my Department that as of 31st May 2018 there are 261 children awaiting an appointment for preliminary assessment for admission to the register of children receiving an education in a place other than a recognised school. 217 of these children are waiting less than 6 months while 42 are waiting more than 6 months. 2 children have been waiting more than 12 months while no child has been waiting more than 18 months for an assessment.

  The following spreadsheet contains the information requested by the Deputy.

  Tusla Alternative Education Assessment and Registration Service

  Home Education - Children awaiting an appointment for preliminary assessment

By County 31/05/2018 Less than 6 Months More than 6 months More than 12 months More than 18 months More than 24 Months
Carlow 3 2 1      
Cavan 2 1 1      
Clare 8 4 4      
Cork 37 30 7      
Donegal 14 11 2 1    
Dublin 45 34 10 1    
Galway 13 13        
Kerry 12 9 3      
Kildare 7 7        
Kilkenny 1 1        
Laois 3 2 1      
Leitrim 2 1 1      
Limerick 13 12 1      
Longford 2 1 1      
Louth 9 7 2      
Mayo 18 17 1      
Meath 7 7        
Monaghan 4 4        
Offaly 2 2        
Roscommon 2 2        
Sligo 5 4 1      
Tipperary 6 6        
Waterford 9 8 1      
Westmeath 5 5        
Wexford 15 14 1      
Wicklow 17 13 4      
Totals 261 217 42 2 0 0


  Home Education - Children awaiting an appointment for comprehensive assessment
By County 31/05/2018 Less than 6 Months More than 6 months More than 12 months More than 18 months More than 24 Months
Cork 1 1        
Kerry 1   1      
Laois 1   1      
Limerick 1 1        
Westmeath 4 4        
Wexford 2     2    
Totals 10 6 2 2 0 0


  Registered Children Awaiting Review

  Awaiting Priority review - 89

  Awaiting review - 466

Child Care Services Provision

 518. 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 she will address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the ECCE year. [26613/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In the first instance I would like to inform the Deputy that officials from my Department have written to the parent on this matter.

  The ECCE programme began in 2010 as a one-year (38 week) free pre-school programme for all children aged 3 years and 2 months on or before 31st August of the programme year as long as they would not turn 5 years and 6 months during that programme year.

  In 2016, the programme was expanded by reducing the age of eligibility to 3 years, thus increasing the number of weeks of pre-school to an average of 61 weeks for eligible children.

  I announced further changes to ECCE eligibility in Budget 2018 where the lower age will be further reduced to 2 years and 8 months. The upper age limit has remained the same through all these changes and has been set at 5 years and 6 months in conjunction with the Early Years Policy Unit in the Department of Education and Skills to limit the age range of children commencing primary school education.

  It must be noted that exceptions to the upper age limit are made only in cases where a child has special needs and an application for such an exemption must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the child’s specialist.


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