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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 167-175
 Header Item National Internship Scheme Administration
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Architectural Heritage
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Arts Promotion

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 167-175

National Internship Scheme Administration

 167. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding the continuation of the JobBridge scheme for the remainder of 2013 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19478/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Since it commenced on 1 July, 2011, Jobbridge has made exceptional progress. At 18 April, 2013, 16,545 had commenced internships, 5,947 individuals were on internships and 2,452 internship opportunities were advertised. In the context of Budget 2013, the Government increased the number of JobBridge places from 6,000 to 8,500. Accordingly, the previous deadline for applications for internships of 30 June, 2013, is no longer valid. This information has been conveyed on the JobBridge website www.jobbridge.ie.

Disability Allowance Appeals

 168. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will expedite the medical referee decision on disability benefit for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19483/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 26th November 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 13th April 2013 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.   

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Disability Allowance Appeals

 169. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a disability allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [19486/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence, including that adduced at oral hearing, allowed the appeal of the person concerned who has been notified of the decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 170. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the statutory footing for the management plan of lands owned by an organisation (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19181/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The lands referred to in the question are situated within the Murrough Wetlands candidate Special Area of Conservation and the Murrough Wetlands Special Protection Area.

The lands in question are in the ownership of the organisation referred to by the Deputy and I understand that they are managed principally for their ecological value. I am not aware of any statutory management plan in place for the lands in question, but my officials have engaged with the owner where consents under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 have been required for the purposes of its operations.

Departmental Expenditure

 171. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if any of his Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19210/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan As the Deputy will be aware, my Department's provision for capital expenditure in 2012 was €43m. Capital expenditure to year-end totalled circa €41.6m and an amount of €1.2m in capital funding was carried over into 2013 in accordance with the procedures governing unspent capital. The remainder of my Department's unspent capital allocation, just over €200,000 or less than half of one per cent of the capital allocation, was surrendered to the exchequer at year-end. No funding was transferred from capital to current during the year.

Departmental Expenditure

 172. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will provide the month by month profile for his Department's 2013 capital expendiuture;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19226/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The month-by-month profile for my Department's capital expenditure is provided in the table below:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Full Year
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
€,000
1,366
4,481
820
3,139
1,567
3,425
1,563
3,855
1,410
5,181
4,472
8,116
39,395


  Capital expenditure in 2012 totalled just under €41.6m.

Architectural Heritage

 173. Deputy Áine Collins Information on Áine Collins Zoom on Áine Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many thatched houses are falling into ruin in view of the fact that owners cannot afford the 60 or 70 thousand euros needed to redo the thatch; if he will consider revisiting the issue identifying the thatched houses that are realistically capable of being maintained allowing him to then make adequate grant aid available to these smaller amount of houses in order to prevent the vast majority of thatched houses disappearing into dereliction in the next few years. [19320/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2011 provides for the protection of architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect architectural heritage, including thatched buildings, by including them on the Record of Protected Structures. Inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future. While the overall number of thatch roofs declined in the second half of the 20th century, legislative protection and heightened awareness of this part of our national heritage has assisted with the stabilisation of this decline.

  As the Deputy can appreciate, the scope for funding for the conservation of the built heritage is constrained by the significant reduction in the public finances. There is currently a number of State financial supports providing for the conservation and restoration of heritage structures in general, or specifically aimed at thatched structures. In 2012, my Department provided €500,000 in grant-aid assistance through a Structures at Risk Fund  administered by local authorities to assist with works to safeguard structures protected under the Planning and Development Acts which are at significant risk of deterioration. This funding assisted in the conservation of two thatched structures. This fund will operate again in 2013 with today (24 April, 2013) being the closing date for receipt of applications by my Department from local authorities under the scheme.

  The Heritage Council, which is funded by my Department, grant-aided the restoration of twenty-three thatched structures under their Heritage Management Scheme in 2012. In addition, the Heritage Council, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, also administers a grants scheme to REPS 4 participants on the conservation and repair of traditional farm buildings, known as the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme. Grants are available under this scheme to carry out approved conservation works to the exterior of farm outbuildings, including roofs. It will be a matter for the Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports in 2013 and future years having regard to competing priorities for limited resources.

  I am advised that the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government also administers a grant scheme for the renewal or repair of thatched roofs of owner occupied houses.

I understand, from applications for grant aid submitted to my Department, that the cost of re-thatching can vary considerably depending on a number of property specific factors. As part of the Advice Series for owners of historic buildings, my Department plans to publish guidance on the maintenance and repair of thatch in 2013, which will include further practical advice for owners and practitioners. This will be available on my Department’s website at www.ahg.gov.ie.

Forestry Grants

 174. Deputy Frank Feighan Information on Frank Feighan Zoom on Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will provide an update on a forestry application (details supplied) [19405/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan While decisions on forestry applications are a matter for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, my Department is a statutory consultee under the regulatory framework governing forestry operations and management with the objective of ensuring that new and ongoing forest activities do not adversely impact on archaeological sites.

I understand that the decision to refuse the application in question has been appealed to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and that, as part of the appeal process, further observations have been sought from my Department. The matter will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Arts Promotion

 175. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will consider a proposal to allow the Arts Council to register and recognise craft workers along the lines of people working in the Arts Council; if she will outline the role of the county arts officers in promoting craft workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19416/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The Arts Council is a statutory body under the Arts Act 2003. Its functions are laid down by section 9(1) of that Act and are specific to the arts.

  The Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI) is the organisation with responsibility for the craft industry in Ireland and its activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Further details in relation to the Crafts Council are available on its website- www.ccoi.ie.

  While recognising the separate, though complementary, roles of the two organisations, I can assure the Deputy that there is a significant level of co-operation between them. This was particularly evident to me in their recent work together on Ireland's Cultural Programme for our Presidency of the EU.


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