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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 830-844
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Data
 Header Item Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Expenditure
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Data
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Staff Data
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel
 Header Item Defence Forces Operations
 Header Item Home Repossessions
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Departmental Websites

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 917 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 113 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 830-844

Child and Family Agency Data

 830. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the level of capital funding allocated to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, in each of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to date in comparison to the capital spending outturn by the agency in these years. [21177/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The level of capital funding allocated to Tusla in comparison to the capital spending outturn by the Agency for the years 2014 to 2016 to date is as follows:

-2014

€'000
2015

€'000
2016

€'000
Allocation6,84112,38616,060
Drawdown4,8466,8637,170*


  * year to date

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

 831. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the status of the mother and baby homes commission of investigation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21189/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters was formally established by Government Order on the 17th February 2015.

In accordance with its comprehensive Terms of Reference, the Commission is tasked with thoroughly examining the experience of mothers and children resident in 14 named Mother and Baby Homes and a representative sample of County Homes. The Commission is required to address seven specific questions on the practices and procedures relating to the care, welfare, entry arrangements and exit pathways for the women and children who were residents of these institutions. The primary function of the Commission is to provide a factual account, in a timely manner, of what happened to vulnerable women and children in these institutions during the period 1922 - 1998.

I recently met with the Chair of the Commission to discuss progress on the Confidential Committee and Social History modules, as set out in Article 4 and Article 11 of the Commission's Terms of Reference.

I am awaiting receipt of an interim report from the Commission in this regard and it is my intention to bring this report to Government as soon as possible thereafter.

Commencement of Legislation

 832. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone when she will issue a commencement order for the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015. [21341/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the Deputy is aware, the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 was signed into law in December of last year. The Act, which amends the Child Care Act 1991, has three distinct elements. While the main body of provision relates to aftercare (under sections 2-9), the legislation also includes technical amendments on foot of the commencement of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (under sections 13-15), as well as amendments to sections governing early years services (under sections 10-12).

The early years elements of the Act were commenced by the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 (Commencement) Order 2016, Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No. 203 of 2016. The Commencement Order appointed the 26th of April, 2016 as the day upon which sections 1, 10, 11 and 12 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 came into operation.

Section 1 provides for the definitions required in the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015, defining the principal Act as the Child Care Act 1991 and the Act of 2011 as the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011.

Sections 10, 11 and 12 provide for amendments to the Child Care Act 1991 to enable Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to visit premises where it is proposed that an early years service will be provided. It allows inspectors to assess an early years facility before such a service has been registered with the Agency, to ensure that it is fit for purpose, and it introduces new powers regarding registering providers of early years services, removing providers from the register, and attaching conditions to a registration.

With regard to the technical amendments, covered under sections 13, 14 and 15, a draft Commencement Order is currently being finalised by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The commencement of these sections will need to be sequenced appropriately with the commencement of related sections of the Health Act 2007 and the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011. It is anticipated that the technical amendments will be commenced shortly.

Finally, with regard to aftercare, which is covered under sections 2 to 9 of the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015, commencement of the relevant provisions will depend on the outcome of consultations with Tusla with regard to appropriate timing and the readiness of the Child and Family Agency to implement same.

Commencement of Legislation

 833. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone to provide a list of all Bills which have passed Final Stage in the Houses of the Oireachtas but are yet to be commenced by her Department. [21342/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The following Acts have been commenced in part as follows:

Youth Work Act 2001:

  Sections 2-7 inclusive, sections 17, 18 and 24 have been commenced. The remaining sections are yet to be commenced.

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011:

  Sections 1-2 inclusive, sections 4, 7, 26, 35, 37-47 inclusive and section 49 have been commenced. Sections 6, 20 and 23-25 inclusive have been repealed by the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015 (No. 45 of 2015). The remaining sections are yet to be commenced.

Child Care (Amendment) Act 2015:

  Sections 1, 10, 11 and 12 have been commenced. The remaining sections are yet to be commenced.

Children First Act 2015:

  Sections 1-5 inclusive, section 18, sections 20-26 inclusive and section 28 have been commenced. The remaining sections are yet to be commenced.

Children (Amendment) Act 2015:

  Sections 1-2 inclusive, section 4 (other than para (d)), section 5, section 6 (insofar as it relates to section 88A), section 7, sections 11-15 inclusive, section 17, sections 20-25 inclusive and section 31 have been commenced. The remaining sections are yet to be commenced.

Children in Care

 834. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone to provide a gender breakdown of children in State care and in foster care at present. [21343/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has a statutory duty under the Child Care Act 1991 to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection and, if necessary, to receive a child into the care of the State. I have been informed that the most recent information available from Tusla on the gender breakdown of children in State care is for the end of 2014. The following table shows the total number of children in care broken down by gender and placement type for 2013 and 2014:

Children in Care on 31st December2014 2013 
 MaleFemaleMaleFemale
Foster Care General
2,132
2,002
2,100
2,047
Foster Care Relative
913
956
881
981
All other placements
279
172
281
179
Total No. of Children in Care
3,324
3,130
3,262
3,207

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

 835. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the standard payment that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, pays private residential care companies for each child in their care weekly and annually; if payments are made to these providers on a per-child basis or a per-bed basis; and the average cost to Tusla of providing a care place in State-provided care and in a voluntary provided care setting. [21344/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, has informed me that the average payment to private residential care companies is €5,535 per child per bed per week. The average cost of providing a care place in State provided care in Tusla community based centres is €6,578 per child per bed per week, while the average cost of providing a care place in a voluntary provided care setting is €4,263 per child per bed per week. It should be noted that the cost of each placement will vary according to the identified needs of each young person placed.

It should also be noted that voluntary and State providers perform different functions, in that voluntary care providers provide care to greater numbers of children with a lower risk profile whereas State care providers provide care to lesser numbers of children with a higher risk profile. This has an impact on the cost of care due to the intensity of services and staffing resources required.

Child and Family Agency Data

 836. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of private residential care companies contracted by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to operate in the care system; and the number of children in this type of care. [21345/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone  Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has informed me that currently 26 private residential care companies are contracted to provide care services, and that, currently, there are 213 children placed in private residential care. A child may be placed in a private children residential centre where a statutory placement is not available and if it is assessed as meeting the needs of the child. Each private children residential centre is registered, has a service level agreement in place and the placement of a child is being made in accordance with Tusla's Placement Protocols.

EU Funding

 837. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the amount of pre-financing by programme his Department has applied for with regard to the current phase of EU funding programmes; the amount that is likely to be reimbursed to the European Commission; the reasons this money will be reimbursed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20576/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme (2014 – 2020) was adopted on 4 December 2015 by the European Commission. The Operational Programme is the vehicle for channelling financial aid co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU to the seafood sector. This aid is intended to assist Ireland in implementing the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Integrated Maritime Policy, and also the Habitats, Birds and Marine Strategy Framework Directives. It is also intended to support the seafood sector in implementing the EU 2020 Strategy.

The Operational Programme will support Ireland in implementing its obligations under the EU Data Collection Framework which provides the data to inform fisheries management at EU and National level. It will support Ireland in implementing its control and enforcement obligations under the CFP and Control Regulation, which in turn underpin the good management of fisheries in Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Area.

In respect of the Department of Defence, the Operational Programme provides for funding of €18.5 million, of which €12 million is EU funding, for the replacement and upgrade of ships and aircraft, for undertaking Specific Control Inspection Programmes and for other control priorities. In addition the programme provides for shared funding with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority of €5.5 million, of which €4.95 million is EU funded, for the renewal of technologies as well as for training and compliance promotion.

Departmental Agencies Staff Data

 838. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of positions on the boards of bodies and agencies under the aegis of his Department; the number of vacant positions; when each vacancy occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20681/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The only State body currently under the aegis of the Department of Defence is the Army Pensions Board. The Army Pensions Board is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act 1927. The Act specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

There are no vacant positions on the Army Pensions Board.

Defence Forces Personnel

 839. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will change the rule disallowing members of the Defence Forces from serving if they have had laser eye surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20887/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There are a number of physical and medical standards laid down by the Military Authorities, including specified vision requirements, for entry to, and for continuance in service with, the Defence Forces. These requirements are based on the professional advice of the Medical Corps and having regard to the nature of the job, the duties of military service and the training exercises undertaken by members of the Defence Forces.

The question of the suitability for military service of persons who have had laser eye surgery to correct their visual acuity is complex. It depends on a number of factors including the exact type of surgery and the amount of visual correction effected.

The Department, in consultation with the Defence Forces, is undertaking a review of the current policy in relation to laser eye surgery. The review is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Defence Forces Operations

 840. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he is aware of reports that members of the Defence Forces shot cattle dead on a farm in County Monaghan as part of the seizure of a bankrupt farmer's assets. [21156/16]

 841. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny to report on the involvement of members of the Defence Forces at a farm (details supplied) where cattle were reportedly shot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21235/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 840 and 841 together.

  Primary responsibility for the internal security of the State rests with the Department of Justice and Equality and An Garda Síochána. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP) which, in practice, means to provide assistance and support to An Garda Síochána when requested to do so.

  This operation was carried out at the request of An Garda Síochána. It was initiated at the request of the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy who is responsible for the herd of cattle on the farm in question. It proceeded in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine.

Home Repossessions

 842. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of times members of the Defence Forces have been involved in repossessions or bankruptcy seizures in the past year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21236/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I can confirm that the Defence Forces have not been involved in repossessions or bankruptcy seizures in the past year.

Departmental Staff Data

 843. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the cost of agency and-or locum staff hired by his Department for each of the years 2011 to 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21665/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I can confirm that the Department of Defence did not hire any agency and or locum staff for each of the years 2011 to 2015.

Departmental Websites

 844. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if his Department's website is accessible to persons with a disability; if the accessibility of this website is regularly reviewed to take account of new and emerging technologies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21678/16]

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Enda Kenny): Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny My Department has appointed a designated Access Officer. Key responsibilities include regularly monitoring and reporting on the Department of Defence website to ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities. My Department is currently in the process of arranging for the redesign and update of its website. The issue of accessibility will be considered in the context of the redesign. It is expected that new and emerging technologies will be utilised to maximise accessibility to the website for people with disabilities. In this regard the proposed new EU directive on making public sector websites and applications more accessible is noted and welcomed.


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