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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 286-305
 Header Item Public Transport Initiatives
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Freedom of Information Data
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item Road Safety Authority Reports
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Ministerial Advisers Data
 Header Item Voluntary Sector Funding
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item Departmental Staff Dismissals
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Freedom of Information Data
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Town and Village Renewal Scheme
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 989 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 286-305

Public Transport Initiatives

 286. 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 Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the targeted improvements to accessibility of public transport nationwide that will be completed by the end of each quarter in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47911/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for promoting the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network. The NTA also manages the Accessibility Retrofit Programme which funds accessibility upgrades to existing older public transport infrastructure and facilities.

In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have forwarded your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. 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

Departmental Expenditure

 287. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the amount spent on bottled water and disposable coffee cups by his Department to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48198/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross My Department has spent €1,310.47 to date this year in respect of bottled water.

  There has been no expenditure on disposable coffee cups in 2019 by my Department.

Freedom of Information Data

 288. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the date of each review and revision of the material published under the publication scheme of his Department as outlined in section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48215/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross In accordance with Section 8 (1) of the FOI Act 2014 the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport published its first publication scheme on 14th April 2016. The scheme was drawn up in line with the model scheme produced by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in late 2015.

  The Department’s publication scheme has was reviewed in late 2018/early 2019 and a revised publication scheme was published on 24 July 2019.

Bus Services

 289. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the reason for the repeated delays in finalising and commencing a small pilot urban bus project for Kilkenny city; the reason the NTA has not finalised fares and timetables after three years of planning; when the service will commence; and the lessons his Department and the NTA will learn from these delays to ensure that future projects are not held up in the same manner. [48236/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.

  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

Departmental Expenditure

 290. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multi-media, in his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48254/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Financial information in respect of my Department is published on the Gov.ie website at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/7fee14-financial-information/.

  The information requested by the Deputy for the years 2016 to 2018 is available at this link: www.gov.ie/en/collection/30ae9c-expenditure-on-external-services/.

  The information for 2019 is being compiled at present and will be available in the coming weeks.

Coast Guard Services

 291. 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 Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the amount of funding provided to the Irish Coast Guard in each of the years 2016 to 2019, in tabular form; the budget allocation for same in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48265/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The following funding figures are inclusive of both capital and current allocations.

  The majority of Current spend is on the IRCG Helicopter contract.

  The bulk of capital expenditure relates to programme spend by the Irish Coast Guard, including provision for a building programme, IT upgrades, vehicle and boat fleet renewal, pollution equipment and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure.

Year Irish Coast Guard Funding (€'000)
2020 76,475
2019 77,235
2018 74,004
2017 71,485
2016 70,085

Road Safety Authority Reports

 292. 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 Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the findings of the research of the Road Safety Authority on speeding, the free speed study survey report 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48266/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The report to which the Deputy refers is available on the Road Safety Authority's website. It can be found at https://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Road%20Safety/Speed/RRD_Res_20190204_FreeSpeedSurvey2018FINAL.pdf.

  I would particularly draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that there has been a slight decline in speeding on urban roads and a similar increase on rural roads. There have also been increases in the proportion of drivers speeding on roads with an 80km/h and 100km/h limit.

  Speeding represents the single most dangerous factor on our roads. It makes collisions more likely, and it makes death or serious injury more likely when collisions happen. To take just one figure, the fact that 50% of people are speeding on 80km/h roads is utterly unacceptable. They are putting themselves, their passengers, and other road users at risk.

  Dealing with speeding is a matter of education, appropriate penalties, and proper enforcement. In this context I am proposing to introduce a graduated speeding system as part of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. This will be aimed at targeting the most dangerous speeding offences, providing a deterrent against speeding, and emphasising the message that speeding cannot be tolerated on our roads.

Departmental Expenditure

 293. 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 amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff in her Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if her Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to her Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47915/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular form as follows.

Grade 2016 2017 2018 2019
Minister 1 0 0 0
Secretary General 0 0 1 0
Assistant Secretary 1 0 1 3
Principal Officer 12 14 4 3
Assistant Principal Officer 13 24 7 0
Higher Executive Officer 2 10 1 1
Administrative Officer 0 1 0 0
Executive Officer 0 1 1 0
Clerical Officer 1 1 1 0
Service Officer 0 1 0 0
Other 3 6 0 0
Total Cost €4,050.00 €9,155.00 €4,445.00 €1,438.00


  My Department is currently in contract with Eir under the Office of Government Procurement framework agreement for Provision of Mobile Voice and Data Communications and Associated Products and Services. This contract is due to expire on 16 May 2020. This framework contract provides for the provision of a standard Smart Data Business Bundle which includes unlimited national calls and texts and 5 GB of data.

  My Department offers a standard smartphone to officials as part of the framework agreement. In exceptional circumstances, a higher specification phone and data may be appropriate and will be considered on a case by case basis.

Departmental Staff Data

 294. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of staff in her Department by gender and pay grade in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47941/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The following table shows the number of staff employed in my Department by gender and pay grade at the end of October 2019.

Pay Grade Female Male Grand Total
Secretary General 0 1 1
Assistant Secretary 3 1 4
Principal Officer 16 12 28
Assistant Principal 42 24 66
Higher Executive Officer 27 18 45
Administrative Officer 13 15 28
Executive Officer 41 26 67
Clerical Officer 22 18 40
Service Officer 0 3 3
Grand Total 164 118 282
Notes: 

Numbers shown are headcount. The Principal Officer figures above include two Special Advisors (2 Female/0 Male). The Clerical Officer figures include two Civilian Drivers (0 Female/2 Male).

Ministerial Advisers Data

 295. 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 political advisers used by Ministers and Ministers of State in her Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement and cessation dates in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47958/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Following the formation of the 32nd Government, I was appointed as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the 6th May. There are no Ministers of State in my Department.

In accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform instructions on the staffing of Ministerial Offices, I appointed two Special Advisers who took up appointment on the 16th May 2016 and the 10th June 2016 respectively. Both of these Special Advisers were re-appointed to their positions as my Special Advisers on the 14th June 2017 when Mr Leo Varadker T.D assumed the office of Taoiseach.

The Special Adviser who originally took up appointment on the 16th May 2016 is still in post while the Special Adviser who originally took up appointment on the 10th June 2016 resigned from the post with effect from the 10th June 2019. I appointed the replacement Special Adviser on the 10th July 2019 and they continue in the post to date.

Voluntary Sector Funding

 296. 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 consider the funding allocation to a project (details supplied) in view of the growing demand for the services and the vital nature of the services provided in the local community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47996/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency funds a range of services in the community and voluntary sector to provide services to children and families including the project referred to by the Deputy.

   I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the allocation of funding to the project referred to by the Deputy.

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

Departmental Data

 297. 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 complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, respectively, received by her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [48031/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone In 2019 there has been one allegation of bullying reported to the HR Unit in my Department.

  The HR Unit in my Department received no reports of bullying in each of the years 2016 to 2018.

  There have been no allegations of sexual harassment in my Department from 2016 to date.

Departmental Staff Dismissals

 298. 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 employees of her Department who were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; the reason for the dismissal of each employee; the number of employees suspended in the same period; and the reason for the suspension of each in tabular form. [48066/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone There have been no dismissals or suspensions of staff in my Department from 2016 to date in 2019.

Departmental Staff Data

 299. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of dedicated child support workers appointed on a local authority by local authority basis to assist homeless families; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48091/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department and Tusla are working to provide supports for families in emergency accommodation in order to mitigate the challenges faced by parents and children in this situation.

As the State agency established to promote the welfare of children, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is committed to supporting children, parents and communities in dealing with the impact of homelessness on their lives. The short and long term effects of homelessness on children are well documented. While Tusla does not have a direct role in the provision of housing or accommodation for homeless families a range of services, from prevention and early intervention through to child welfare and protection, are provided.

Tusla works in partnership with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and is a key partner on several interagency groups. Bilateral meetings between the DRHE and Tusla take place monthly. Tusla supports ‘one-stop-shop’ assessment centres being led by the DRHE. Tusla staff participate as required on issues involving child protection and welfare, educational welfare and Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (DSGBV) services. The Tusla Homelessness Liaison Officer plays a key role in coordinating this multi-agency response.

While homelessness is not a reason for a referral to child protection services, there may be child protection or welfare concerns for some children. Tusla undertakes visits to Family Hubs and emergency accommodation providers to ensure that they are aware of their requirements under Children First and to clarify referral queries. Tusla has progressed plans for the linkage of Child and Family Support Networks (CFSNs) with family hubs and other homeless accommodation.

Tusla also works in partnership with a number of Family Resource Centres (FRCs) to provide dedicated services for families experiencing homelessness. Tusla has also supported the evening service at the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop, a service which includes a range of supports to homeless families, high quality food, and rooms for children to do homework supported by an educational tutor. Tusla also funds the work of two child support workers in Focus Ireland.

However, it is important to note that the needs of homeless families require a response from across Government and beyond. I have asked that Tusla provide further detail in regard to family support workers directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

 300. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied) in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48118/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The information sought by the Deputy is currently being collated and the response will issue as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure

 301. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount spent on bottled water and disposable coffee cups by her Department to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48184/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department has spent approximately €8,600 on bottled water and water coolers so far in 2019. This includes both individual bottled water and water coolers. Just over €1,000 was spent on individual bottles, i.e. 330 ml or 500 ml, and €7,600 on water coolers, i.e. 19 litre drums.

  My Department has spent €71 on the purchase of disposable coffee cups so far in 2019 which are all fully compostable.

Freedom of Information Data

 302. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the date of each review and revision of the material published under the publication scheme of her Department as outlined in section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48201/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Publication Scheme for my Department was reviewed in January 2019 and no revision was required. It is reviewed on an annual basis.

Departmental Expenditure

 303. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multi-media, in her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48240/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The information sought by the Deputy is currently being collated and the response will issue as soon as possible.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

 304. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the status of the processing of applications from County Kildare under the 2019 town and village renewal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47896/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme was launched in April of this year. There was a strong level of interest in the scheme and I recently announced details of 156 projects that have been approved for funding of approximately €15 million this year.   

  These include 4 projects for Co. Kildare to the value of €312,164.

  My officials will be in contact with Kildare County Council shortly regarding the funding agreement for the approved projects.

  Details of all projects which were approved for funding under the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme are available on the Gov.ie website at:

  https://assets.gov.ie/38269/44d780f59a3b4856bbc3abad6d918b3f.pdf.

Departmental Expenditure

 305. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff in his Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if his Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to his Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47927/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department was established in July 2017.

  In 2018, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, a division of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, assumed responsibility for the provision of my Department's ICT managed services.

  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform currently has a contract in place with Three Ireland for the supply of Mobile Phone Services & Handsets, which was awarded on foot of a public procurement competition. This contract, which also covers such services to my Department, is due to expire in April 2020. In general, mobile phones are currently procured using the Three Ireland contract, with certain handsets provided free of charge as part of the contract.

  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently undertaking a market exercise in relation to a successor contract, run under the Office of Government Procurement’s Mobile Phone Framework. The public procurement process undertaken in this regard will ensure that best possible value for money is achieved.

  The following Table details the total expenditure incurred by my Department in relation to mobile phones handsets over the period specified by the Deputy.

2018 2019 Total Number Purchased By Grade Number supplied Free of Charge
€5,505.48 €1,223.85 €6,729.33 12 1 x Minister

1 x Special Advisor

1 x Private Secretary

1 x Assistant Secretary General

4 x Principal Officers

2 x Assistant Principal Officers

1 x Inspector

1 x Press Office
50


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