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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1141 - 1156
 Header Item Departmental Agencies
 Header Item Natural Heritage Areas Designation
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Severe Weather Events Response
 Header Item Waterways Ireland Expenditure
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments
 Header Item Ferry Services Provision
 Header Item General Register Office
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments
 Header Item Film Industry Promotion
 Header Item Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Freedom of Information Requests
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Departmental Agencies

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 856 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 112 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1141 - 1156

Departmental Agencies

 1141. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of quangos set up since 2011 in his Department; the number of members of same; the cost and expense incurred to date, including details of the briefs that they cover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42520/14]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Since 2011 there have been no new agencies created; however a number have been merged or abolished.   Dundalk Port Company was merged with Dublin Port Company on 12 July 2011 , while Tralee and Fenit Harbour Commissioners transferred to the control of Kerry County Council on 1 October 2011.

  In 2012 Dublin Tourism merged with its parent body Fáilte Ireland on 1 January, while both Baltimore and Skibbereen Harbour Commissioners and Kinsale Harbour Commissioners also transferred to the control of Cork County Council on 1 January 2012, along with Arklow Harbour Commissioners which transferred to the control of Wicklow County Council. Shannon Airport separated from the Dublin Airport Authority on 31st December 2012 to merge with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new integrated Shannon entity in public ownership.

  The final Harbour Commission, Bantry Bay merged with the Port of Cork Company on 1 January 2014.

  Coaching Ireland merged into the Irish Sports Council on 1 January 2013.

  A Bill for the merger of Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority and the Bill for the merger of the Railway Procurement Agency and the National Roads Authority are currently before the Oireachtas.  

Natural Heritage Areas Designation

 1142. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans on removing the designation of an area (details supplied) as part of a national heritage area; if so, when the process will be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40924/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys On foot of commitments in the Programme for Government, a review was undertaken of all raised bog Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). The Review scientifically assessed and evaluated the 75 raised bog NHAs, along with sites that are not currently designated for protection. The Review concluded that Ireland could more effectively achieve conservation of threatened raised bog habitat through focused protection and restoration of a reconfigured NHA network. This will entail the phasing out of turf-cutting on 36 existing NHAs by 1 January 2017. 46 NHAs are to be fully or partly de-designated and 25 currently undesignated raised bogs, which are in public ownership or where there is reduced turf cutting pressure, will be designated as NHAs.

Based on the information provided, the Deputy's Question refers to land within an NHA which is proposed for de-designation. The formal process of de-designation will require the amendment of existing legislation and work on this has commenced within my Department.

Heritage Projects

 1143. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the grant aid that is available for the refurbishment of old farm building in counties Longford and Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41244/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Heritage Council administers a grants scheme to REPS 4 participants, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, on the conservation and repair of traditional farm buildings, called the REPS 4 Traditional Farm Buildings Grants Scheme. Grants are available to carry out approved conservation works to the exterior of farm outbuildings and associated structures, such as historic yard surfaces, walls, gate pillars and gates. While I understand that applications have closed for the 2014 scheme, the Heritage Council may be able to advise about the availability of funding under the scheme in the future. The Heritage Council’s website is www.heritagecouncil.ie. In 2014, my Department was provided with a once-off allocation of €5m Capital Stimulus funding for a new Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme to assist with works to safeguard protected structures, in private and civic ownership, protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000 - 2012 This scheme, which is supporting works to over 500 protected structures nationally, includes works to agriculture-related buildings and is operated and administered in Longford and Westmeath by Longford County Council and Westmeath County Council respectively.

  The scope to provide additional funding for the protection, conservation and development of the State’s heritage is constrained by the current national economic difficulties and the significant reduction in the public finances. However, my Department will continue to provide funding for the protection, conservation and development of our built and natural heritage, in so far as resources allow. My Department is currently considering the funding available for the protection and conservation of the built heritage in 2015 in the context of its overall allocation and I will publish details of funding schemes for 2015 as soon as this is finalised.

Severe Weather Events Response

 1144. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her views on whether it was fair not to establish a compensation scheme for island residents who had their boats destroyed in last January's unprecedented storms and poor weather conditions; her further views that for some island residents these boats are their only mode of transport; if she will instruct officials in his Department to introduce a scheme of compensation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41288/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I wish to refer the Deputy to the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 395 of 21 January 2014 in relation to this matter. At that time, my predecessor indicated that he had been in contact with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government and the Minister of State at the OPW with regard to damage done to island infrastructure as a result of the winter storms. I wish to inform the Deputy that there are currently no plans in my Department to put in place a scheme of compensation for islanders who may have lost boats due to the bad weather.

Waterways Ireland Expenditure

 1145. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will outline the amount of funding allocated each year from her Department to Irish Waterways since 2009 to date in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41322/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys As my Department was established on 1 June 2011, the information requested by the Deputy is provided in respect of the years 2011 to 2014, inclusive. Waterways Ireland is co-funded by my Department and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) in Northern Ireland. The current expenditure of the body is funded 85% by my Department and 15% by DCAL, which reflects the distribution of the navigable waterways in each jurisdiction. Capital expenditure is funded 100% in the jurisdiction in which the capital works are carried out.

  The amount of funding allocated to Waterways Ireland from my Department's Vote for each of the years from 2011 to 2014 is set out in table.

  Table: Funding allocated to Waterways Ireland 2011-2014

Year€m
2011€30.300m
2012€27.099m
2013€25.463m
2014€24.183m

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

 1146. Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41356/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question applied to sell his interest in land within a site designated as a special area of conservation under the voluntary bog purchase scheme administered by my Department. The vendor’s solicitor has raised a query in relation to one of the conditions attached to the contract for sale and this is currently being investigated by officials of my Department. My Department will be in contact with the solicitor via the Chief State Solicitor’s Office shortly with a view to finalising this matter.

Ferry Services Provision

 1147. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans for the Aran Islands ferry service; if the service is due to cease at the end of the month; and if so, the measures that will be put in place to assist islanders; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41378/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Although my Department was unsuccessful in its attempt to agree a contract as a result of a recent tender competition for the passenger ferry service between Árainn (Inis Mór) and Ros an Mhíl on the Galway mainland, the current operator has given an assurance that it will continue to provide the service at the same level as at present and that there will be no interruption to service provision.     

General Register Office

 1148. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when records withdrawn from a website (detials supplied) will be restored; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41912/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The provision of access to the records referred to by the Deputy was a joint project between the Department of Social Protection, the General Register Office and my Department. Access by my Department to the records was facilitated by the General Register Office in accordance with the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed between both parties. In July last, my Department was contacted by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, expressing concerns about the availability of personal data in relation to living persons on the website. My Department responded promptly by disabling access to the data on a "without prejudice" basis, so that the nature of the concerns could be examined further. My Department is now in the process of finalising a number of issues regarding the placing of the records on-line and hopes to complete this process in the near future.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

 1149. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys further to Parliamentary Question No. 931 of 18 September 2012, the reason payment only issued for two years (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41914/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. I am advised that a payment of €1,500 in respect of Year 1 of 15 (2012) and a payment of €1,518 in respect of Year 2 of 15 (2013) have been made to this applicant. Payments of €1,521 in respect of Year 3 of 15 (2014) are currently being processed for the applicant and a number of other applicants in similar circumstances. Following a request made to my Department, a scientific review of the site, in which the applicant has an interest, was undertaken to explore the possibility that turf extraction could continue in certain areas while also allowing for the conservation of the raised bog habitat within the site. The results of this review have determined that turf cutting can be consented to in certain areas of the site but cannot be permitted in other parts. The site is quite unusual as a raised bog special area of conservation and the particular hydrological context allows for limited turf extraction while not compromising the conservation of the threatened habitat on the site. This is exceptional and is not the case with most other special areas of conservation.

My Department is considering the implications of this review for applicants such as the one referred to in the Deputy’s Question and will be in contact with such applicants in due course.

Film Industry Promotion

 1150. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of Irish language feature films the Irish Film Board funded over the past 20 years; the level of funding to each individual project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42035/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Providing historical information over a 20-year period requires significant time and staff resources to check and collate. In the time available, I have been provided with the information for the period 2007 to 2013 by the Irish Film Board (see the table below) broken down between production funding, development funding and distribution funding. A further reply with the balance of the requested information will issue directly to the Deputy in due course.    

  The Irish Film Board has provided funding for ten Irish language feature length projects between 2007 and 2013 – five fiction features films and five feature film documentaries. Kings and An Brontannas were both put forward as the Irish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards in the year that they were produced.

  The Irish Film board has also provided support for a number of TV series with the aim to develop creative talent in the area of Irish language narrative fiction. Television drama plays a vital role in the continuing development of Irish language writers, directors and producers for film.

  In terms of developing less established Irish language filmmakers, the Irish Film board also provides funding for Gearrscannáin - a specific Irish language short film fund, which funds up to two short films every year and often highlights the wide range of established and popular Irish actors who are fluent in the Irish language. The IFB works in partnership with the Irish Film Institute to ensure that the Gearrscannáin Irish language short films are used widely in schools as a teaching aid for the Irish language, a study guide is produced and distributed to schools for the Irish language shorts every year.

  I should add that, in recent years, the information sought by the Deputy is published in the Annual Report of the Irish Film Board and is available on its website at
www.irishfilmboard.ie.

YearTitleCategoryProductionDevelopmentDistributionTotal
2007KingsFeature Film760,00020,00038,917818,917
2010Corp & AnamTV Series             300,000                  46,578                      - 346,578
2009Na CloigneFeature Films             500,000                             -                      - 500,000
2012An BrontannasFeature Film & TV             360,000                  40,000                      - 400,000
2012OlagonFeature Film                       -                  19,000                      - 19,000
2013KlondikeTV Series                       -                  10,000                      - 10,000
2013MaamtrasnaFeature Film                       -                  15,500                      - 15,500
2013A Song of GraniteFeature Film                       -                  44,000                      - 44,000
 Total Feature Film                1,920,000               195,078           38,917 2,153,995
       
 Documentaries     
2008A Boatload of Wild IrishmenFeature Documentary                    50,000                             -                      - 50,000
2008An Paiste Beo BochtFeature Documentary                    51,202                             -                      - 51,202
2008AosdanaFeature Documentary                    70,000                             -                      - 70,000
2012Lón sa Spéir (Men at Lunch)Feature Documentary                    50,000                  15,000           14,150 79,150
2012Neal McGregorFeature Documentary                    40,000                  15,000                      - 55,000
 Total Feature Docs                   261,202                  30,000           14,150 305,352
       
 Overall Total               2,181,202               225,078           53,067 2,459,347

Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme Expenditure

 1151. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the level of drawdown of funds under the built heritage scheme by county; and if it is intended to hold a new round of the scheme. [42088/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys In 2014, my Department was provided with a once-off allocation of €5m Capital Stimulus funding for a new Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme to assist with works to safeguard protected structures, in private and civic ownership, protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000 - 2012. The scheme is being administered by local government and final requests to my Department for drawdown of funding under the scheme are expected over the coming weeks.   The information the Deputy seeks is, therefore, not yet available. However, my Department does expect full draw down on the €5million allocation.   Once expenditure from the scheme is closed off for 2014 I intend to publish details on my Department’s website www.ahg.gov.ie. My Department is currently considering the funding available for the protection and conservation of the built heritage in 2015 in the context of its overall allocation and I will publish details of funding schemes for 2015 as soon as this is finalised.

Appointments to State Boards

 1152. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will provide in tabular form the names and number of appointments she has made to boards under her Department's aegis since her appointment; the process used to select those appointments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42220/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The information sought by the Deputy regarding appointments to State boards since my appointment as Minister on 11th July 2014 is outlined in the table. The table also indicates the selection process involved in each case.   The Government has recently agreed on a Revised Model for Ministerial Appointments to State Boards which complements the current system with a more structured approach to ensure that vacancies on State Boards are populated in a transparent way by the high-calibre personnel required to successfully perform their mandates. I am now working to implement this revised model.

BoardName of member appointedNumber of appointmentsSelection process
Irish Museum of ModernSheila O'Regan John Mc Nulty 2Both appointments were made directly by the Minister.
Crawford Art GalleryAnne Doherty 1This is an ex-officio appointment, arising from the appointment of a new Cork City Manager. 

Freedom of Information Requests

 1153. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will provide in tabular form the number of freedom of information requests received by her Department since her appointment; the title of those FOI requests; the person or organisation who submitted the FOI request; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42221/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I can confirm that 35 Freedom of Information requests have been received in my Department since my appointment as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on 11 July 2014. Full details of all Freedom of Information requests dealt with by my Department are published quarterly on the Department's website following the completion of the adjudication in each individual case. These are available at www.ahg.gov.ie.

Heritage Projects

 1154. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when the culture and heritage listing being prepared will be finalised; the eligibility criteria for inclusion on the list; if there is a specific process to be followed for an interested area to submit an application for consideration; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42237/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have asked officials in my Department to contact the Deputy directly in relation to this question.

Heritage Projects

 1155. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the amount of the €500,000 spent on the rhododendron ponticom since 2009 which has been used for contractors; the amount spent on voluntary work camps; and the amount spent on clearance between 2004 and 2009. [42266/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Agencies

 1156. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of quangos set up since 2011 in her Department; the number of members of same; the cost and expense incurred to date, including details of the briefs they cover; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42509/14]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I can advise the Deputy that no new bodies of the nature referred to have been established by my Department since 2011.


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