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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 109-128
 Header Item Unemployment Data
 Header Item Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Correspondence
 Header Item EU Bodies
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Legal Cases Data
 Header Item Childcare Services Provision
 Header Item Defence Forces Data
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Food Safety Standards Inspections
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Cyber Security Policy
 Header Item Defence Forces Recruitment

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 977 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 117 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 109-128

Unemployment Data

 109. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of persons in unemployment, by county and city, in tabular form. [1792/19]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available.

  The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the official source of estimates of unemployment (ILO) in the State. This survey replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) from Q3 2017. The most recent LFS figures available are for Q3 2018.

  Due to methodology and sample size it is not possible to produce reliable county or city estimates from the LFS. Estimates of unemployment however, are produced by NUTS2 and NUTS 3 Regions.

  The table shows the number of unemployed (ILO) persons aged 15-74 years classified by NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions and in the State for Q3 2018.

  Unemployed persons (ILO) aged 15-74 years classified by NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions, Q3 2018.

  '000

  Unemployed
Northern and Western 24.0
Border 9.5
West 14.5
   
Southern 51.2
Mid-West 16.5
South-East 17.4
South-West 17.3
   
Eastern and Midland 68.7
Dublin 38.9
Mid-East 20.1
Midland 9.7
   
State 143.8


  Source: Labour Force Survey, Central Statistics Office.';

  Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.';

  Data may be subject to future revision.

  Reference period: q3=Jul -Sep.

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

 110. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on his recent conversation with Chancellor Merkel. [1432/19]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I spoke by phone with Chancellor Merkel on Thursday 3 January.

  The main focus of our discussion was Brexit, and the importance of the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed between the EU and the UK last November being ratified.

  We agreed that we would be ready to offer additional reassurances and clarifications to the UK, but that there could be no renegotiation or contradiction of the Withdrawal Agreement, including on the backstop.

  We reiterated our wish to start negotiations on the future relationship as soon as possible after the UK's withdrawal, and for that relationship to be as close, comprehensive and ambitious as possible.

We also discussed our work on preparedness, including contingency planning for a no-deal scenario, recognising that the closer we get to 29 March without Ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the more urgent this work becomes.

  We also spoke about my planned attendance at the CSU conference in Germany the following day.

Departmental Expenditure

 111. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the cost incurred by his Department in 2018 for the use of taxi services. [54217/18]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Expenditure on taxis from January - December 2018 totalled €26,053.46. Taxis are used for official purposes where there is no other practical or suitable alternative mode of transport available.

My Department has a taxi account for official business purposes with a company selected by the Office of Government Procurement under a Framework Agreement for services in the Greater Dublin Area, following a public tender process. Staff may also from time to time use other taxi providers when it is not possible to use the contracted company or they are in a location outside the contracted area or on official business abroad.

It should be noted that the figure provided for 2018 is based on provisional outturn and may be subject to revision, as part of the finalisation of my Department's 2018 Appropriation Account.

Departmental Correspondence

 112. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the customer complaints received by his Department in each of the years since 2016; if the complaints are grouped into categories; the nature of the complaints; the resolution of same; and the number progressed to the relevant Ombudsman in each of the years since 2016. [54242/18]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Eleven customer complaints were received in my Department since 2016. Two complaints were received in 2016, five complaints were received in 2017 and four complaints were received during 2018. No customer complaints have been received in 2019 to date. These complaints are not categorised, but nine of the complaints related to issues experienced with other Government Departments and the other two complaints related to content on my Department's website. Each complaint was investigated by the Customer Services Officer in my Department and the outcome was explained to the customer in each case. None of the complaints received progressed to the Ombudsman.

EU Bodies

 113. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the nine nominees of the Government to the European Economic and Social Committee; the term of office of each of the nominees; and the number of terms to date each member has served, in tabular form. [54250/18]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body whose function is to represent economic and social interests in the Union’s decision-making process.

  The EESC has 350 members, who are drawn from economic and social interest groups in Europe, nominated by national governments and appointed by the Council of the European Union for a renewable five year term of office. The latest renewal was in October 2015, for the 2015-2020 term of office.

  The members of the Economic and Social Committee are completely independent in the performance of their duties, in the Union's general interest.

  The number of members is in proportion to the country’s population. Ireland has nine places on the EESC, as follows:

Name First Appointed
1. Séamus Boland 10/10/2011
2. John Bryan 25/02/2015
3. John Comer 21/09/2015
4. David Croughan 21/09/2010
5. Cillian Lohan 25/02/2015
6. Thomas McDonogh 21/09/2002
7. Patricia McKeown 21/09/2015
8. Michael McLoughlin 21/09/2015
9. Jack O’Connor 21/09/2015

Departmental Expenditure

 114. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the budget and spend in his Department for marketing, media and social media in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and the projected spend for 2019. [54471/18]

 115. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of staff in his Department employed to work on marketing, media and social media in 2018. [54488/18]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 115 together.

  The following table shows spend on the purchase of space in various media, along with creative work.

  The spend includes a number of major cross-Government public information programmes aimed at improving citizens' lives that the Department funded centrally during 2018. Examples of these include the Healthy Ireland campaign, which encourages people to take small steps to improve their health or the Self-Employed benefits campaign, which highlights the range of resources and supports available to those who are self-employed.

  Project Ireland 2040 and Global Ireland are also included in this spend. Additionally, it includes communications about recruitment and consultations regarding Government policy.

  Over 90% of this expense was incurred prior to July 2018, due to information campaigns being run centrally. Following a budget cut of €2.5m in mid 2018, public information campaigns are now largely funded by the relevant line Department, as opposed to being funded centrally from this Department. As a result, spend for 2019 will be significantly less.

  Please note that Digital space as outlined in the table includes the following:

  1) Ensuring the public is directed via search engines to the sites that deliver the services/information they are looking for; and

  2) Sponsored posts on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, to ensure strong dissemination of Government information.

  GIS is the team with responsibility for communications in my Department. The GIS team has a number of responsibilities including:

  - Delivery of a Government-wide communications reform programme

  - Running the Government Press Office

  - Maintaining Government websites and digital media channels.

  There are 17 posts in GIS.

 
2016
2017
2018
Purchase of space in various media (print cinema, radio etc) along with creative production
10,628.67
71,365.45
1,830,232.65
Of which Digital Space
0
0
437347.5


It should be noted that the figure provided for 2018 is based on provisional outturn and may be subject to revision, as part of the finalisation of my Department's 2018 Appropriation Account.

Departmental Legal Cases Data

 116. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of cases lodged to date against his Department in regard to the exclusion of members of the Defence Forces from the protections of the Working Time Act 1997; and the number of those cases still pending. [54155/18]

 117. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the sum in settlements paid out to date by his Department following successful cases taken by members of the Defence Forces in regard to their exclusion from the protections of the Working Time Act 1997. [54156/18]

 118. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the sum paid by his Department to date defending litigation initiated by members of the Defence Forces in regard to their exclusion from the provisions of the Working Time Act 1997. [54157/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 118, inclusive, together.

There are currently 18 cases pending in relation to the application of the Working Time Directive to members of the Defence Forces. One case has been disposed of and the terms thereof are confidential. An Order, on consent of the parties, was made by the Court in recognition of the plaintiff’s personal circumstances. That Order provided that the Plaintiff be entitled to the costs of the proceedings, to be taxed in default of agreement. This process is ongoing.

The Office of the Chief State Solicitor (CSSO) is responsible for providing legal representation in relation to the litigation referred to by the Deputy. The CSSO is responsible for the costs of the State's legal teams in cases that it manages on behalf of the Department. Such costs are paid directly by that Office as appropriate.

Given that there is litigation still pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Childcare Services Provision

 119. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the details of the crèche planned by the Defence Forces; and the location, capacity and cost per child of same. [54158/18]

 120. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of members of the Defence Forces canvassed for their views in regard to the proposal to create a Defence Forces crèche; and if a formal survey in regard to demand for same was carried out. [54159/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 120 together.

  There are no plans for the introduction of crèche facilities in the Defence Forces.

  The issue of the provision of crèches was explored by the Defence Forces a number of years ago, having regard to a number of factors, including childcare policy and regulations, the findings of the Civil Service Childcare Initiative Focused Policy Assessment, the various models of childcare provision currently in use in other State and Semi-State bodies, the availability and provision of appropriate facilities, cost and the availability of the service in the private sector.

Defence Forces Data

 121. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of complaints lodged by members of the Defence Forces under administrative instruction A7 in each of the years from 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [54160/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe It has not been possible for the military authorities to collate this information within the time available for reply. The information will be passed to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

Departmental Expenditure

 122. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the cost incurred by his Department in 2018 for the use of taxi services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54207/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My Department incurred expenditure of €6,510.69 on taxi services in 2018. Such expenditure arises in relation to official business of the Department.

Food Safety Standards Inspections

 123. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the recent closure order issued to the officers' mess in the Air Corps came about as the result of a routine HSE inspection; if not, if it was due to the actions of a whistleblower; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54221/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I am advised that following a random inspection of the Officer's Mess Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, the HSE Environmental Health Inspector issued a Closure Order on Tuesday 11 December 2018 which necessitated remedial works. These works were expeditiously executed and a Re-Opening Order was issued on Friday 14 December, 2018. Military management have advised that it is their understanding that the inspection was a random one. That being said, the basis on which premises are selected for inspection is a matter for the HSE.

Departmental Properties

 124. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason the sale of the married quarters in Cathal Brugha Barracks has been stalled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54230/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The matter of the proposed sale of the former married quarters at Cathal Brugha Barracks has been on going for some time now. During this period, it emerged that there were legal difficulties in selling the properties as originally intended. In December 2016, the Chief State Solicitors Office met with the residents' legal advisers to outline the issues arising and, in order to resolve the matter, invited proposals as to how the sales could be facilitated. I am advised that this approach did not yield any viable proposals.

Having taken into consideration the advice of the Chief State Solicitor's Office, my officials have been left with no alternative but to formally withdraw from proceeding with the proposed sales. On the 1st November 2018 the Chief State Solicitor's Office wrote to the legal representatives of the occupiers advising them accordingly. As part of this communication my Department have indicated that it is intended to regularise the current occupancies of those people who were the subject of the original sales offer.

Departmental Expenditure

 125. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the budget and spend in his Department for marketing, media and social media in each of the years from 2016 to 2018; the projected spend for 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54461/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My Department does not have a specific budget for marketing, media and social media items, nor did it incur any costs in relation to marketing. The table below outlines expenditure on advertising for the period in question. The projected spend for 2019 is approximately €101,000. Additional ad hoc costs for one off events may occur, in which case the expense is covered by the Branch administering the event from within their own budget.

Expenditure Amount
Advertising Costs 2016 €92,387.91
Advertising Costs 2017 €97,562.81
Advertising Costs 2018 €110,625.04


  The expenditure outlined in the table above for advertising, includes costs associated with a Be Winter Ready information campaign which my Department runs each year which involves advertising on Twitter. The associated costs for this element for the years requested are outlined as follows.
Expenditure Campaign Costs
Be Winter Ready 2018-2019 Twitter campaign €5,535.00
Be Winter Ready 2018-2019 Management of Twitter Campaign €2,583.00
Be Winter Ready 2017-2018 Twitter campaign €5,535.00
Be Winter Ready 2017-2018 Management of Twitter campaign €2,583.00
Be Winter Ready 2016-2017 Twitter campaign €5,043.00
Be Winter Ready 2016-2017 Management of Twitter campaign €1,476.00


  It is anticipated that expenditure for the 2019-2020 Be Winter Ready Campaign will be in line with recent years.

Departmental Staff Data

 126. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of staff in his Department employed to work on marketing, media and social media in 2018. [54478/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe One of my two special advisers is employed as a Press Adviser and is the only person employed in my Department who works full time in the area of media and social media. Two other members of my Department's staff work in its Press Office, while also having a number of other duties and responsibilities. My Department does not employ any of its staff to work in a marketing capacity.

Cyber Security Policy

 127. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the role his Department plays in national cybersecurity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1028/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe As outlined in the Government's White Paper on Defence 2015, the issue of Cyber Security has very significant implications for governmental administration, for industry, for economic wellbeing and for the security and safety of citizens. Indeed Cyber Security is a standing item on the agenda of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning which I chair.

The response to cyber threats remains a whole-of-Government challenge, with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment taking the lead role and with inputs in the security domain from An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. The Department of Defence and the Defence Forces are committed to participating, under the leadership of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in the delivery of measures to improve the cyber security of the State.

Ireland’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is located in the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment provides a range of cyber security services to owners of Government IT infrastructure and Critical National Infrastructure. The NCSC is also home to the national Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE) which acts as a national point of contact involving entities within Ireland, and as the point of contact for international discussions on issues of cyber security. The scope of CSIRT-IE's activities covers prevention, detection, response and mitigation services to Government Departments and State agencies and critical national infrastructure providers. The Defence Forces provide seconded specialists to assist with the work of this team when resources allow. Also, as in any emergency/crisis situation, once Defence systems are supported, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces will provide support to the CSIRT-IE team in so far as resources allow.

Defence Forces Recruitment

 128. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the status of recruitment plans for the Defence Forces for 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1029/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I recently met with senior civil and military officials to review recruitment plans for 2019. Subject to further consideration, it is envisaged that similar recruitment competitions to those held in 2018 will take place in 2019.

  The Government remains committed to on-going recruitment to the Defence Forces to reach the establishment level of 9,500 personnel as set out in the White Paper on Defence 2015.


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