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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1 - 20
 Header Item Illicit Trade in Tobacco
 Header Item Liquor Licence Numbers
 Header Item Budget Submissions
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Tax Yield
 Header Item Banking Sector Remuneration
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Applications
 Header Item Emergency Works Scheme Applications
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item School Curriculum
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Expenditure
 Header Item Public Procurement Tenders
 Header Item Teacher Training Provision
 Header Item Schools Review
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Delays
 Header Item Student Grant Scheme Delays

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 72 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1 - 20

  The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].

Illicit Trade in Tobacco

 1. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he has investigated the use of a smartphone app to be used by gardaí to scan barcodes on cigarettes to determine if tax has been paid and identify illegal cigarettes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54752/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the process of embossing secure tax stamps on cigarette packaging is the method currently used to assist in the detection of illicit cigarettes. Tax stamps are examined using a range of hand held devices that are available to all Revenue enforcement staff. The Revenue Commissioners advise that in 2009 the technical specification for tax stamps was significantly upgraded to make it more difficult for the stamps to be counterfeited. The stamp was further enhanced in 2011. The Revenue Commissioners further advise that this latest version has proven to be extremely robust in that regard.

Furthermore, the Revenue Commissioners are constantly exploring ways to improve their methods of detecting illicit cigarettes. One of the key elements of any security feature on cigarette packaging is that it must be extremely difficult to copy. The Commissioners advise that it is not fully clear to them that bar coding would satisfy that particular requirement. However, as part of Revenue’s ongoing research and analysis into the latest developments in security features that appear on packaging, Revenue will examine any additional potential opportunities that bar coding and the use of phone apps for that purpose may present. It is my understanding that where the Gardai suspect that tax has not been paid on cigarettes that they come across, they contact the appropriate Revenue enforcement staff who examine the product to determine its tax status.

Liquor Licence Numbers

 2. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of intoxicating liquor licences that have lapsed for each year over the past five years; the reasons the licences have lapsed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54628/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the numbers of lapsed licences for each of the past 5 years, is set out below under various categories.   The function of the Revenue Commissioners under the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2010 is to issue licences, when granted or revived by the District and Circuit Courts. Therefore, the figures below relate only to those licences, which have not subsequently been revived in the Courts. Revived licences will no longer appear on Revenue’s records as lapsed. I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, where a licence is not renewed, traders are not obliged to advise Revenue of the reasons for this.   Accordingly, statistics on the reasons for non-renewal are not available.





Licence Type
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
Beer & Wine Retailer's Off Licence          
Cider Retailer's Off Licence
2
       
Publican's Licence (6-Day)
2
       
Publican's Licence (7-Day Ordinary)
212
124
100
81
53
Publican's Licence (Ordinary) Hotel - 1902 Act (Public Bar)
1
   
1
 
Publican's Licence (Ordinary) Hotel - 1902 Act (Resident's Bar)  
1
     
Publican's Licence (Ordinary) Hotel - BF - 1902 Act (Public Bar)
16
13
12
11
6
Publican's Licence (Ordinary) Hotel - BF - 1902 Act (Resident's Bar)
4
2
2
5
2
Publican's Ordinary Railway Refreshment Rooms Licence    
1
   
Special Restaurant Licence
27
21
18
12
3
Spirit & Beer Retailer's Off Licence  
1
   
1
Spirit & Wine Retailer's Off Licence
1
       
Spirit, Beer & Wine Retailer's Off Licence
19
11
9
5
2
Wholesaler Dealer in Beer
7
4
9
3
5
Wholesaler Dealer in Beer & Spirits
1
1
     
Wholesaler Dealer in Beer & Wine  
2
1
   
Wholesaler Dealer in Beer & Wine Retailer's Off Licence      
1
 
Wholesaler Dealer in Beer, Wine & Spirits
10
11
8
5
3
Wholesaler Dealer in Wine & Spirits, & Wine Retailer's off Licence  
1
1
   
Wholesaler Dealer in Wine & Wine Retailer's Off Licence
1
2
4
2
 
Wine Retailer's Off Licence
154
127
162
106
39

Budget Submissions

 3. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will support the SIPTU proposals on the economy towards a new course. [54658/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have received a document from SIPTU entitled "Towards a New Course". As with other pre-Budget submissions it has been circulated to the relevant officials so that its contents can be considered in the context of the forthcoming Budget and Finance Bill.   As the Deputy is aware it would not be appropriate for me to comment in advance on possible Budget decisions.

Tax Code

 4. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will abolish the level of VAT levied on student textbooks accessed via tablet computer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54720/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. In Ireland the zero rate applies to printed books, including atlases, children’s picture, drawing and colouring books and books of music. It is possible for Ireland to apply the zero rate to printed books because Ireland applied the zero rate to these books on and before 1 January 1991, and the EU VAT Directive provides a derogation for such exceptional VAT treatment to continue to apply. However, the VAT Directive does not allow goods and services to apply at the zero rate which were not in place at that rate on 1 January 1991. As student textbooks accessed via tablet computers were not applied at the zero rate in 1991 it is not possible to apply the zero rate to them now. Furthermore, under the EU VAT Directive, all digitised publications, regardless of their rate when printed (for example, a book liable at zero rate), are treated as the supply of a service liable at the standard rate of VAT, which in Ireland is 23%. E-books, online newspaper subscriptions and online information services purchased via download over the Internet are also considered the supply of services liable for VAT at the standard rate. There is no option under EU VAT law to exempt from VAT student textbooks accessed via tablet computers, or to apply a reduced rate to them.

Tax Code

 5. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his views on a residential scheme (details supplied). [54746/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The interest restriction of 75% applying to residential lettings was introduced in the April 2009 supplementary budget as part of an urgent revenue-raising package aimed at stabilising the public finances. The context in which the 2009 measure was introduced, i.e. the need to stabilise public expenditure, still exists. Under the terms of the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland, the State is committed to further substantial reductions in public expenditure. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a breakdown between rent received from residential property and other types of property is not sought or provided in tax returns. However based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers for the year 2010, the latest year for which this information is available, and making certain assumptions about the data it is estimated that the estimated cost of restoring the level at which individuals can claim interest repayments against tax for residential rental properties from 75% back to 100% could be in the region of €112m in a full year. The estimated cost is based on assuming that tax relief was allowed at the top income tax rate of 41% and the figure provided could therefore be regarded as the maximum Exchequer cost in respect of those taxpayers. This figure is subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended.

As rental income of companies is returned as net of interest on borrowings, the figures for interest are not separately distinguishable and there is, therefore, no basis on which an estimate of the cost in respect of companies can be given. It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return form 12 is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return form 11. This return is the source of the figure provided in this reply in respect of individuals.

Tax Code

 6. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he has considered reducing the VAT on newspapers to a similar level as seen in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54753/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Any proposed changes in VAT must be considered in the context of the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. The zero rate of VAT applies to the supply of newspapers in the UK, as well as in Belgium and Denmark. The VAT Directive provides that where Member States applied a zero rate of VAT to goods and services on 1 January 1991 they are entitled to retain those zero rating provisions, but cannot introduce any new ones. It is under this provision that the UK applies a zero rate to sales of newspapers as they applied the zero rate to the supply of newspapers on 1 January 1991. In the same way Ireland applies the zero rate to foods and medicines because the zero-rating provision dates back to 1991. However, as Ireland did not apply a zero rate to newspapers on 1 January 1991 we are not in a position to apply a zero rate to such supplies.

I would draw to the Deputy’s attention, however, that the VAT rate on newspapers was reduced from 1 July 2011 in the Finance (No. 2) Act 2011 from the 13.5% reduced rate to the new lower reduced rate of 9%. This VAT reduction was welcomed in general by the print media at the time.

Tax Yield

 7. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount of duty collected annually for rapeseed oil; if a cost benefit analysis has been conducted on this duty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54797/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for collecting duty on motor vehicle fuel, inform me that rapeseed oil, when used as a fuel in diesel motor engines, is categorised as a substitute fuel for auto-diesel and is chargeable to duty at the rate for auto-diesel. However, as it is a biofuel, rapeseed oil is relieved from carbon charges. No differentiation is made between the different types of substitute auto-fuel upon which tax is paid. Accordingly, the duty paid on rapeseed oil cannot be ascertained specifically. In 2011 duty was collected on 73,400 litres of substitute fuel for auto-diesel amounting to €31,247. To date in 2012, duty of €42,188 has been collected on 99,000 litres of such fuel. The duty on substitute fuels, including rapeseed oil, is imposed by Council Directive 2003/96/EC (the Energy Tax Directive) and consequently a cost benefit analysis is not relevant.

Banking Sector Remuneration

 8. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee is still in place; the frequency with which it reports; its latest recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54813/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC) was established, as part of the previous Administration’s response to the banking crisis, to oversee all remuneration plans of senior executives of the covered institutions. It fulfilled its mandate in February 2009 (and is no longer in place) when reporting to the then Government who accepted its recommendations but decided to impose a lower base salary cap of €500,000 than the CIROC recommended maximum figure of €690,000. Present Government policy on remuneration – which goes beyond previous policy - dictates that no employee at any of the four covered institutions may receive annual remuneration (excluding pension contributions) of more than €500,000. The Government’s commitment to honouring this policy is evidenced by the appointment of new Chief Executive Officers at AIB & PTSB respectively being within this threshold. The payment of performance bonuses to employees at the covered institutions is prohibited except in certain circumstances such as on foot of a court order.

My Department is presently engaged in a Review of Remuneration Practices and Frameworks at the covered institutions. I am expecting the consultant’s report to be delivered by year end whereupon consultations with the various stakeholders will commence. As I have said previously, I fully recognise that there is a real public interest in the levels of remuneration at the covered institutions and have committed to placing the details underpinning the review into the public domain.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

 9. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding an application for a grant under the Student Universal Support Ireland in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [54593/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that, in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, a grant has already been awarded and an award letter issued on 22nd November 2012.

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

 10. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the emergency funding a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15 can apply for to have the carpark near the school resurfaced in view of the road traffic incidents that have occurred at this location and the need to undertake urgent works. [54597/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The school in question submitted an application in September 2012 for funding under the Emergency Works Grant to resurface the car park. As the scope of works for this project is outside the terms of the Emergency Works Scheme it cannot be considered for emergency funding. The school authorities were advised of this on 24th September, 2012.

Student Grant Scheme Application Numbers

 11. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the position regarding the number of Student Universal Support Ireland grant applications refused, those allowed and those still in progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54603/12]

 20. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the number of grants Student Universal Support Ireland have processed to date; the number of applications currently being processed each week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54659/12]

 28. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the total number of applications received by Student Universal Support Ireland and the total number of applications paid to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54820/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 20 and 28 together.

I understand from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that, as at the close of business on the 4th December, it has received 66,827 student grant applications for this year. Processing of 31,973 applications are now complete - 19,157 have been awarded, or awarded pending submission of final course details and 12,816 applications have been refused or cancelled. SUSI has 8,049 applications on hand which are currently being processed. Only 295 of these are new applications that have yet to commence processing. SUSI is awaiting submission of documentation by the student on the remaining applications.

As at 30th November 7,132 students awarded a maintenance grant have been paid. Maintenance grant payment runs are continuing on a weekly basis to ensure students get paid as soon as possible after they submit their bank accounts details and their institutions confirm their attendance. In addition, 3,193 have been awarded a "fees only" grant (either the student contribution or fees) – these payments are being made directly to the relevant institution. The number of applications being processed has been increasing incrementally in recent weeks. 5,545 were processed in the week ending Sunday 25th November. 7,666 applications were processed in the week ending Sunday 2nd December. SUSI has indicated that it is on target to progress all applications received to date with the necessary supporting documentation between now and the end of the year.

School Curriculum

 12. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to introduce any secondary school initiatives to deal with obesity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54604/12]

 13. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his plans to introduce any national school initiatives to deal with obesity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54610/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 and 13 together.

Our young people are educated about the dangers of eating food which is unhealthy during their primary and second level education. It is important to realise that school is just one small but influential aspect of their lives. The Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme is a mandatory part of the curriculum in primary schools and in junior cycle. The programme is supported by comprehensive teacher guidelines and curriculum support services which provide training and advice for schools and also a resource directory. At primary level, one of the SPHE strand units 'Taking care of my body' specifically addresses the need for regular exercise and activity as well as the area of nutrition and food and the need for a balanced diet. This unit is built upon from Infants classes onwards. By Fifth and Sixth classes children are encouraged to realise and accept responsibility for making wise food choices and for adopting a healthy, balanced diet, and in that, exploring and examining the food pyramid.

Elements of this strand are supported by the "Food Dudes" programme which encourages children to eat more fruit and vegetables both in school and in the home. The programme is managed by Bord Bia and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and also by the EU through the School Fruit Scheme. Physical Education also forms a mandatory part of the primary curriculum. Aims of the PE curriculum include promoting enjoyment of, and positive attitudes towards, physical activity and its contribution to lifelong health related fitness. Many primary schools operate healthy eating policies with the support of parents.

At post-primary level, SPHE for Junior Cycle builds on the primary SPHE Curriculum. Nutrition and physical activity are specifically addressed in the SPHE module on 'Physical Health'. In addition cross-curricular links with other subjects such as Home Economics, PE and Junior Science that deal with SPHE-related topics are encouraged. In 2009, the Department carried out a Lifeskills Survey to establish policy and practice in relation to nutrition, exercise, health, growing up, bullying and other aspects of the SPHE programme. The results of the survey showed that 98% of the primary schools which responded promote healthy lunches, and have policy on a balanced diet, regular exercise and the food pyramid, 95% encourage physical activity in school breaks and 89% have sport outside of school hours, while 85% have a healthy food policy. At post primary level 97% of the schools which responded have a policy on a balanced diet and regular exercise, 88% have sport outside of school hours and 90% encourage physical activity in school breaks. The survey was re-issued to schools in May of this year and results will be expected early in the new year.

The new Framework for Junior Cycle which I launched in October, promotes " Staying Well" as one of its key skills. In addition a number of the statements of learning promote wellbeing, confident and competent participation in physical activity along with the students understanding the importance of food and diet and in their making healthy lifestyle choices. Short courses will be available in SPHE and in PE for schools from 2014. Good lifestyle habits can be promoted in schools but it is also the responsiblity of the family and the wider community to play their part so as to minimise the unacceptable levels of obesity that are now becoming more the norm among our young people.

Schools Building Projects Expenditure

 14. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn in view of recent developments at a school (details supplied) in County Limerick, if he will consider proposals that were made by this Deputy during the course of a topical issue debate on 27 November 2012 including a greater level of due diligence in advance of awarding school building contracts, a more enhanced role for local quantity surveyors who would be part of assessing the submitted tenders and their likelihood to be successfully delivered at what could be regarded as excessively low tenders, a system of certified retention where sub-contractors would have to certify that they have been paid up to date before the final amount of retention is paid by his Department, school or publicly funded body to the main contractor, the introduction of project specific bank accounts where only invoices related to the project can be paid from; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54618/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn School building projects are tendered in line with public procurement procedures. There are two methods of tendering (the Restricted procedure and the Open procedure). In both procedures there are minimum standards for participation (including previous experience, turnover, insurances, capacity to obtain a bond etc). The minimum standards for participation are stated in the Contract notice/ eTenders advertisement.

For less complex projects of a small to medium scale, the open procedure is generally used and all contractors meeting the minimum standards are entitled to submit a tender (thus facilitating the inclusion of small to medium enterprises and those with no experience in educational projects). For larger or more complex projects, where it is considered that pre-qualification of contractors is warranted, the Restricted procedure is normally used. In the Restricted procedure, there is an intermediary qualification stage during which the numbers of applicants is reduced (or restricted) to a specified amount (normally 10). The criteria for suitability assessment, which are taken from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Capital Management Works Framework, include company turnover, insurances, capacity to obtain a bond, personnel for the project, previous experience, and Health and Safety competence. Guidance on this process and standard questionnaires used are available on my Department's website.

In any procurement process my Department adheres to the rules and guidelines set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the EU Commission in relation to public procurement. This includes the Department of Finance Circular 10/10, which aims to remove obstacles to SMEs in tendering for public sector contracts.

On the issue of the administration of construction contracts, the Deputy will be aware that the Construction Contracts Bill 2010 as currently drafted will address some of the issues he has raised. The main aim of this Bill is to address the issue of non-payment to construction sector contractors, subcontractors and subcontractors of subcontractors who have completed work to the required standard on construction projects. The Bill as currently drafted makes provision to address these issues by providing statutory arrangements for payments under construction contracts, including providing for interim payments, thus reducing a payee's exposure to non-payment, and by introducing a new mechanism for the swift resolution of payment disputes through a process of adjudication. The sponsoring Department of this Bill is the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform which is best placed to expand on the provisions of this Bill.

Public Procurement Tenders

 15. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if there was an instruction given by him for schools to buy all their stationary from a central location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54625/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Government's Public Service Reform Plan recognises the key strategic importance of public procurement and provides for the development of a new policy framework for procurement. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has recently notified Departments and public bodies of the mandatory requirement to use central contracts, put in place by the National Procurement Service (NPS), when procuring a range of commonly acquired goods and services. These national contracts are targeted at securing best value for money and facilitating Departments and agencies to deliver services within their budgetary constraints. Within the Education Sector, the mandatory arrangement relating to stationery currently applies to the Higher Education and VEC Sectors.

The NPS is supporting Small and Medium Business Enterprises (SMEs) through its education and guidance strategies and many Irish SMEs have been successful in winning NPS frameworks in areas such as stationery, managed print services and ICT consumables. These SMEs may, in turn, source many of their services and products from local manufacturers and agents. While I appreciate the Deputy's concerns, given the budgetary pressures under which we all now operate, savings on the procurement of goods and services across the public sector can go someway to ensure that the level of service provided to the community is greater than what it might otherwise be.

Teacher Training Provision

 16. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will outline in tabular form the number of students per country who are currently attending teacher training colleges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54630/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The number of students currently enrolled in each of the five state funded primary colleges of education are set out in the following table. The statistics are not available centrally by county. Hibernia College is a private provider of initial teacher education and provides a part-time online post graduate course. The College has two intakes per year in October and March. The average number of graduates is 650 per annum.

State Funded Primary Initial Teacher Education Providers Bachelor of Education Years 1-3 Current Enrollment Postgraduate Students commenced February 2012 Total
       
Mary Immaculate College of Education
1204
71
1275
Church of Ireland College of Education
90
0
90
St.Patricks College of Education
1169
74
1243
Froebel College of Education
191
34
225
Marino Institute of Education
324
58
382
 
2978
237
3215
 

Schools Review

 17. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the funding provided on a yearly basis under the minor works grants scheme in counties Cavan and Monaghan in each year since 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54635/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The information that the Deputy has requested regarding the Minor Works Scheme Payments for Cavan and Monaghan 2007-2011 is contained in the following table. Please note that the PE Equipment Grant is included in the figures provided for 2010. Each school received €1000 plus €10 per capita in respect of the PE Grant.   

Minor Works Grant

County 2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
Cavan
592,096.00
600,828.00
609,097.50
775,076.50
608,611.00
Monaghan
472,226.00
468,372.50
464,741.00
595,941.50
468,977.50

Student Grant Scheme Delays

 18. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn his views on difficulties facing students who are unable to provide social welfare offices with proof of being enrolled in full-time education when applying for social welfare payments as they are unable to pay registration fees while waiting for Student Universal Support Ireland to approve their grant applications and are designated as temporarily registered in college, a status which is not accepted as full time enrolment by the Department of Social Protection; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54647/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn It is understood that the Deputy is referring to students who are on the back to education allowance (BTEA). Officials in my Department have confirmed with officials in the Department of Social Protection dealing with BTEA claims that students who have not yet received a decision from Student Universal Support Ireland on their student grant are not being disadvantaged in relation to their approval of their back to education allowance.

Student Grant Scheme Delays

 19. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the contingency plans in place when awarding the Student Universal Support Ireland grant application processing contract to Dublin Vocational Education Committee should a delay in the processing of grants arise; if a contingency plan for dealing with delays was submitted by each entity that tendered for the contract; if a condition of the contract stipulated that each company should have employees with appropriate project managment experience; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54648/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn In January 2011, VECs, local authorities or other public bodies interested in taking on administrative responsibility for the centralised student grants awarding and payments function were invited to submit proposals to the Department detailing how they might best deliver the overall service. The criteria used to evaluate the proposals were set out in the Expressions of Interest invitation and were as follows:

 - Organisational capacity to perform the function

 - Experience in dealing with comparable schemes/services

 - Existing core management, expertise and resources available to be deployed to the function

 - Capacity to deliver strong cost and efficiency benefits

 - Overall quality of the proposal for delivery of a central student grants function.

  While a contingency plan for dealing with delays was not specifically part of the proposals submitted by each of the bodies, the ability of the bodies to perform the function and respond to challenges was however considered by the independent selection panel when evaluating the proposals against the evaluation criteria. The project management capacity and proposed organisation structure were also considered in the context of the evaluation criteria. The resource structures proposed and subsequently put in place by SUSI provided it with the flexibility to ramp up and resources to respond to unforeseen challenges in the processing of grants.

  Question No. 20 answered with Question No. 11.


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