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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 81 - 99
 Header Item Equine Passports
 Header Item Horse Racing Ireland
 Header Item National Broadband Plan Implementation
 Header Item Mobile Telephony Services
 Header Item Motor Tax
 Header Item Disability Services Funding
 Header Item Sports Facilities Provision
 Header Item Public Transport Subsidies
 Header Item Public Transport Subsidies
 Header Item Public Transport Subsidies
 Header Item Greenways Development
 Header Item Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
 Header Item Workplace Relations Commission
 Header Item Low Pay Commission Establishment
 Header Item Enterprise Data
 Header Item Enterprise Data
 Header Item Family Resource Centres
 Header Item Voluntary Sector Funding
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 924 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 63 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 81 - 99

Equine Passports

 81. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if his attention has been drawn to the fact that it is taking the Connemara Pony Breeders Society up to ten weeks to issue passports for Connemara ponies and that this is holding up the sale of ponies for farmers with a scarcity of grass and fodder; the steps he will take to remedy this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29994/16]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed As part of its breeding programme, the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society commissions DNA testing on all horses it registers. This process is conducted by a specialist laboratory independent of the Society and the speed at which the Society issues passports to owners is contingent on the completion of the parallel test process. Commission Regulation 2015/262 concerning equine identification prevents a passport being issued by the issuing body until this information is received.

My Department has contacted the Connemara Pony Breeders Society regarding its passport issuing process and have been informed that a large volume of applications were received during the past three months. Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society advise breeders to register equines immediately after birth, therefore minimising passport turnaround time.

Horse Racing Ireland

 82. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if, on 27 September 2016, and prior to the release of a press statement by Horse Racing Ireland on that date, he is aware and if he will assure Dáil Éireann that neither the HRI chairman, the board nor any member of staff employed within HRI had any communication with his Department or with any official in his Department or within the Minister's office in regard to the press release; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30001/16]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The issuing of press releases is an operational matter for HRI.  The press release which HRI issued on the 27th September 2016 was not discussed with me or with my officials. However, a copy of the press release was sent to my department after its approval by the Board.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

 83. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten when the tender process for the national broadband plan will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29949/16]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The Department is now in a formal procurement process to select a company or companies who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network to the over 750,000 premises in Ireland, covering 100,000km of road network and 96% of the land area of Ireland. Since bidders were invited to participate in dialogue with the Department, there have been approximately 150 hours of meetings, with considerable more interaction to follow over the coming months.

The three bidders in the procurement process have formally indicated that they are proposing a predominantly fibre-to-the home solution for rural Ireland. This means that householders and businesses can expect speeds of not just 30 Mbps but up to 1 Gbps with businesses availing of symmetrical upload and download speeds, in a solution that will endure for 25 years and beyond. It will also effectively reverse the urban rural divide by giving rural businesses and homes access to a technology which is not widely available in our towns and cities at present.

Earlier this year, before I came into office, the Department announced that it would be June 2017 before contract(s) were awarded under the NBP. The bidders in the process have recently indicated that they may need more time to conclude the procurement process.

The timing of each stage of the procurement continues to be dependent on a range of factors including the complexities that may be encountered by the procurement team, and bidders, during the procurement process. Bidders need adequate time to prepare detailed proposals and their final formal bids and get the relevant shareholder and funding approvals at key stages of the process. It is also important to ensure that risks in this multi-million euro procurement are carefully managed. I do not propose to comment any further at this juncture, given the sensitivity of discussions in the procurement process. I can assure the Deputy however, that the procurement process is being intensively managed, to ensure an outcome that delivers a future-proofed network that serves homes and businesses across Ireland, for at least 25 years.

As part of the Department's extensive stakeholder consultations in 2015, telecommunications service providers indicated that it could take 3-5 years to rollout a network of the scale envisaged under the NBP. It is however open to bidder(s) to suggest more aggressive timescales as part of their bids. As part of the competitive process, the Department will engage with winning bidder(s) on the best rollout strategy, in order to target areas of particularly poor service, business needs and/or high demand. This will need to be balanced with the most efficient network rollout plan. A prioritisation programme will be put in place in this regard, in consultation with the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. A detailed rollout plan for the network will be published once contract(s) are in place.

The Programme for Government also commits to measures to assist in the rollout of the network once a contract is awarded. In this regard, Minister Humphreys is leading on the establishment of two regional action groups, working with Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Offices and other relevant agencies to help accelerate the broadband network build in rural Ireland, once a contract(s) has been awarded.

In the meantime, my Department continues to liaise closely with industry and relevant other Departments and agencies to assist in the commercial deployment of telecommunications networks. The commercial telecommunications sector has invested over €2bn in upgrading and modernising networks which support the provision of high speed broadband and mobile telecoms services. These investments will further improve the coverage and quality of broadband and mobile voice and data services throughout the country.

In line with commitments in the Programme for Government I established a Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce with my colleague Minister Humphreys in July 2016. The Taskforce will recommend practical actions that can be taken in the short-term to improve mobile phone and broadband access in Ireland, working with Government Departments, Local Authorities, ComReg, State Agencies, the telecoms industry and other key stakeholders. The work of the taskforce will also assist Local Authorities in preparing for the rollout of the new NBP network once contract(s) are in place. I expect that Minister Humphreys and I will bring proposals to Government by the end of 2016, on foot of the Taskforce's report.

Mobile Telephony Services

 84. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if he will engage with the mobile telephone service providers about the poor and sometimes non-existent coverage in rural Tipperary and insist that they cease cherry-picking the high-population urban centres while neglecting the rural population, in view of the fact that many small businesses in rural Tipperary are depending on mobile Internet coverage to operate their business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29965/16]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten Telecommunications service providers operate in a fully liberalised market under licences provided by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of ComReg.

Notwithstanding the independence of ComReg, I am critically aware of the frustration currently being experienced across Ireland, where mobile networks are not always delivering the services people expect.  The Programme for Government therefore committed to a Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. In July, I established the Taskforce, with my colleague, Heather Humphreys. The Taskforce has already met 11 times and is considering immediate measures to address telecommunications deficits in rural Ireland.

The Taskforce involves a number of Government Departments and agencies, as well as engagement with ComReg and telecommunications operators. Measures arising from the Taskforce will be implemented by Government as a matter of priority. I expect that we will bring proposals to Government by the end of 2016, on foot of the Taskforce's report.

Under the Programme for Government Minister Humphreys is also establishing two regional action groups. Working with Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Offices, LEADER Groups and other relevant agencies these groups will help accelerate the rollout of broadband and mobile telecoms services at local level.

These new structures at a national and local level are designed to address as far as possible immediate issues in relation to the quality of mobile phone and broadband coverage.

In addition, I intend to sign Regulations over the coming days, which will allow ComReg to proceed with an auction of the 3.6GHz spectrum band in early 2017.  This auction will provide an 86% increase in total harmonised spectrum available for mobile, nomadic and fixed wireless broadband services. 

I have also secured €8m in the Budget for RTÉ which will allow it to free up the 700MHz spectrum band. ComReg in turn will make plans to auction this spectrum, which will provide for significantly enhanced mobile coverage – 4G and 5G.  My Department has already established a working group with ComReg and RTÉ, to deliver this important project.

These initiatives should assist in significantly enhancing the quality of mobile phone and data services across Ireland, and particularly in rural Ireland.

In the meantime any customer, including those in County Tipperary and its environs, who experiences service difficulties should raise the matter with the service provider in the first instance. If this fails to resolve matters, customers can refer a complaint to ComReg, who will investigate the service provider’s compliance with its contractual obligations.

Motor Tax

 85. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if his attention has been drawn to the fact that tax discs are not making it to their destination after they are dispatched from Shannon (details supplied). [29895/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​My Department's office in Shannon issue motor tax discs processed on its website, www.motortax.ie. All transactions are recorded on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF), including the date of issue of the tax disc.  Where the original disc has been lost (such as in the post) destroyed or otherwise damaged, the law requires the vehicle owner to make an application to their local motor tax office for issue of the replacement. This process involves getting the relevant form (Form RF134) witnessed by a member of An Garda Siochána. No tax discs are re-issued from my Department's offices.

My Department issues over three million online discs per annum and the number that are reported as non-delivered is a very small percentage.

Disability Services Funding

 86. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if there is funding available for a wheelchair bus service in south Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29955/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​My Department provides funding to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for a rolling programme of bus replacement and refurbishment of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann PSO fleets both in the Greater Dublin Area and nationally. This has enabled 100% of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann city fleets to be wheelchair accessible, as well as approximately 80% of Bus Éireann coaches (which are wheelchair accessible by lift) and this will increase as the coach fleet is replaced. Funding is also provided to the NTA to manage an on-going programme of accessibility improvement grants to upgrade existing public transport infrastructure and facilities.

  Work to expand accessibility of existing coach services is on-going. During 2016 the NTA has begun the installation of wheelchair accessible bus stops across the Bus Éireann route network. The long-term objective is to install a wheelchair accessible bus stop in every town in the State. The NTA is rolling this out on a route-by-route basis starting this year with Bus Éireann routes 30 (Dublin-Donegal) and 32 (Dublin-Letterkenny).

  Noting their responsibility in the matter I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a reply to the specific query raised.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Sports Facilities Provision

 87. Deputy Maria Bailey Information on Maria Bailey Zoom on Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when the planned all-Ireland national indoor cycling velodrome will commence construction at the National Sports Campus, Abbotstown; the anticipated completion date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29906/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan I am advised that the next step for a proposed velodrome would be for Sport Ireland to undertake an approporate financial appraisal, i.e. a Cost Benefit Analysis, in accordance with the Public Spending Code.  Thereafter, any proposal to proceed would also be subject to the availability of capital funding.

Public Transport Subsidies

 88. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the subsidy provided for every one euro in revenue collected by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus for the past five years; the projected subsidy to be provided for every one euro in revenue for 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29924/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

As I have stated recently there are numerous difficulties faced when attempting to accurately compare susbidy levels across different countries or cities. One of these difficulties is the basis for any calculation of subsidy level as some studies compare subsidy level as a percentage of operating costs, while others use revenue as the basis. Another difficulty is the different methods of organisation and governance in transport across the EU which can result in subsidy levels being reported for all modes of transport in a given city or region rather than just urban bus or regional bus services as represented in the Deputy's question.

Public Transport Subsidies

 89. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount provided to Irish Rail under the infrastructure manager multi-annual contract in 2016; the projected amount in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29925/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross My Department provides funds to Irish Rail for the maintenance and renewal of the heavy rail network nationwide under the the Multi Annual Infrastructure Manager Contract (IMMAC) as required under EU Directive 2012/34/EU.

  Irish Rail received an allocation of €126 million under the IMMAC in 2016.  I intend to increase this amount to nearly €160 million in 2017 to enable further necessary works to be undertaken.

Public Transport Subsidies

 90. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to commission a report to give a realistic picture of the way the State compares with our European neighbours in view of the European Commission highlighting the numerous difficulties faced when attempting to accurately benchmark public service obligation subsidy levels across different countries (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29926/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The Deputy is aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits toward the instigation of a full review of public transport policy.

As I informed members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee last week, I intend to consider with my Department later in the year on how best to progress that commitment.

It is my belief that any such review is the best framework within which to consider fully the levels and type of funding made available to support the provision of public transport. Therefore while I have no plans at present to commission a report as suggested by the Deputy, I do believe the substantive issue of how we fund public transport services will form part of the proposed review of public transport policy.

Greenways Development

 91. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if it is the policy of his Department in developing greenways for cycling and walking to fund the purchase of the land in question in order to secure permanent access to the greenways once built; if permissive access is the preferred approach; if advice has been received from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office as to the acceptability of committing large sums of investment into such projects without long-term security for the use of the greenways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29989/16]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​My Department's policy is to ensure that cycling infrastructure projects funded using taxpayers' money are available to be used at all times by all that wish to use them. This can be achieved through the use of State owned lands for such facilities but, in some instances, the purchase of land using compulsory purchase as a mechanism to do so, may also be pursued by the local authority leading the project. Given the cost of these projects, permissive access is not usually an appropriate model as it does not protect the state's investment.  Most Greenways constructed to date and for which my Department has provided funding were built on state owned land.

However, I am aware that land ownership issues have arisen in a number of greenways that are currently at planning and/or design stage so it is becoming clear that a consistent approach will be required to deal with this in future.  My Department is currently working on developing a Greenways Strategy that will address this issue and many others, including consultation with landowners and possible compensation for land purchase and will be consulting all relevant stakeholders as this is progressed in the coming months.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

 92. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if she will set aside time in Dáil Éireann to discuss CETA before the signing of the provisional application at the next Council of Ministers meeting on 16 October 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29900/16]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a comprehensive free trade agreement that will remove tariffs between the EU and Canada and will create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment.

CETA represents a modern high standard agreement which has the ability to set a new global standard for Trade Agreements. It will end limitations in access to public contracts, open up markets for services and offer predictable conditions for investors. I fully support and welcome CETA. Ireland stands to gain substantially from this agreement and I am looking forward to Irish firms enjoying the benefits and new opportunities as soon as possible.

CETA will save on duty costs as 99.6% of all industrial tariffs will be eliminated on entry into force. Irish firms will also benefit from the recognition of product standards and certification, thus saving on ‘double testing’ on both sides of the Atlantic. These are some of the benefits of the trade deal with Canada as well as providing new market opportunities in many sectors for Irish firms.

Given the position taken by Ireland and other Member States, the Commission has submitted CETA to the Council for decision as a mixed agreement. That is one requiring both EU and individual Member States ratification. As this process may take a number of years to complete the agreement provides for provisional application.

Provisional application is a standard process in Free Trade Agreements. This provides for the coming into effect of those areas over which the EU has competence. It will be a matter for the Council and the European Parliament to decide on the signature and provisional application of CETA.

Following concerns raised in a number of Member State parliaments and this House, the EU now proposes to exclude investment protection and investment dispute settlement from the provisional application of the Agreement. The EU and Canada are also finalising a legally binding Joint Declaration to provide further assurances in relation to the provision of public services, labour rights, environmental protection and investment.

The EU and Canada are working towards the signature of CETA at the EU-Canada Summit scheduled to take place on 27 October 2016. Prior to this, the Council of EU Trade Ministers will meet in Luxembourg on 18 October 2016 to decide on the signature and provisional application of CETA.

In accordance with Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the full entering into force of CETA will be subject, in the first instance, to a decision by the EU, through a Council decision with the consent of the Parliament, and secondly by the approval of all Member States through the relevant national ratification procedures. In this regard, Dáil Eireann will be a part of the final decision to ratify CETA in accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution.

In view of these recent developments including the exclusion of the Investment Protection provision from the provisional application of the Agreement and the proposed additional legal guarantee on public services, labour rights and environmental protection, I take the view that all the concerns raised by Deputies in this House have now been addressed. However, I am available to discuss any remaining concerns with Deputies if required.

Workplace Relations Commission

 93. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if her attention has been drawn to information technology issues associated with the WRC's online complaints system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29997/16]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established on 1 October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015 and has responsibility for information provision, workplace advice, mediation, conciliation, adjudication, inspection and enforcement in relation to employment rights, equality and equal status matters and industrial relations.

The WRC assumed the roles and functions previously carried out by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), Rights Commissioner Service (RCS), Equality Tribunal (ET), the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) and the first instance (Complaints and Referrals) functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). A single contact portal utilising an online complaint form was introduced as part of the reform project. This reduced the large number of manual complaint forms that had been in existence for each of the previous bodies. I am informed by the WRC that 83% of complaint applications were made between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016 using the online e-Complaint facility.

I am aware, that in a recent survey, just under 50% approximately of employment law practitioners, who responded to the survey, indicated that the level of detail provided by complainants through the WRC Online Complaint Form is not sufficiently comprehensive.

The WRC is continuing to encourage complainants and stakeholder groups to provide more detail when making the complaint, in order to provide the Adjudicator with the relevant information in advance of the hearing and to facilitate a shorter hearing.

Low Pay Commission Establishment

 94. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if the Low Pay Commission is sufficiently resourced and funded to carry out independent evidence-based research; the way in which it is resourced in comparison to the UK's LPC; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29998/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen The budget for the Low Pay Commission is €474,000 for 2016. This is broken down into pay and non-pay elements. The pay budget is €244,000 and covers salaries for the secretariat and members’ fees. The non-pay budget of €230,000 covers research and administration costs.

  The secretariat has a designated staffing complement of three full time staff. The Commission has also entered into a 3 year research partnership with the ESRI.

  I believe that the resources allocated are sufficient to deliver the Commission’s work programme for 2016.

  I understand that the UK Low Pay Commission has a budget of Stg£827,000, and eight full time staff members. While the remit of both bodies is broadly similar in nature, the work of the UK Commission covers a wider geographical area and a significantly greater number of stakeholders to engage with.

Enterprise Data

 95. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor further to Parliamentary Question No. 1905 of 16 September 2016, if she will provide details of the data used in the employment multipliers derived from the supply and use and input-output tables by her Department in making forecasts in Enterprise 2025; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29999/16]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Ireland’s enterprise strategy, Enterprise 2025 is premised on delivering employment that is sustainable over the longer term. Enterprise 2025 is premised on export-led growth, underpinned by innovation and productivity. An export-led strategy creates a ripple effect in terms of job creation throughout the entire economy as well as an increase in skills and management development, technology adoption, innovation, standards and best practice overall.

  The ambition set out in Enterprise 2025 includes the potential for job creation supported by the work of the enterprise development agencies. The enterprise development agencies are responsible for the attraction of foreign direct investment and for the support of start-ups and scaling enterprises that export, or have the potential to do so. The exporting sector impacts on the wider economy through re-invested profits and expenditure of wages, materials and services. It also generates significant downstream effects in areas such as sub-supply and secondary employment. This impact can be calculated in terms of a multiplier. The value of the multiplier depends upon the percentage of extra money that is spent within the domestic economy.

  Analysis undertaken to inform the future potential set out in Enterprise 2025 included a review of the multiplier effect of export-led growth. The multipliers are derived from the Supply and Use in the CSO Input Output Tables. The employment multipliers used include direct, indirect and induced impacts of agency client firm activity (known as Type II Multipliers). These take account of demand on the suppliers and so on down the supply chain as well as induced impacts arising through the additional consumption that takes place as a result of the additional employment incomes created through the indirect impacts.

  Based on a robust methodology, sectoral employment multipliers were calculated and applied to the sectoral employment data of agency client firms. The derived sectoral multipliers for employment were then applied to agency client firm employment data. Type II Indicators should be interpreted with caution, as they assume that all additional income generated through indirect employment is spent. It is important to note that employment multipliers are best estimates and may be subject to small changes over time based on structural adjustments in the economy and the composition of the agency client firm base.

  The enterprise development agencies place a strong emphasis on promoting linkages with the domestic economy when they are negotiating with investors and in their assessments of proposals seeking state support. The agencies have well developed methodologies for assessing the direct and indirect impacts of investments made.   

  Analysis of Employment Multiplier Impacts of enterprise agency-assisted firms’ export sales-employment

Food, drink and tobacco
2.55
Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals
1.65
Medical device Mfg
1.88
Computer, Electronic…
1.40
Other Mfg
1.54
Computer Programming
1.99
Computer Consultancy
1.99
Business Services
1.64
Financial Services
2.42
Other Svcs
1.95
Total
1.88


  Based on Forfás ABSEI and AES data (2013) [export sales employment] and CSO Input-Output and Supply and Use Tables (2011) (Indecon analysis)

  The employment multipliers are Type II and include both indirect and induced impacts.

  The overall multiplier is derived through the ratio of the addition of the individual sectoral economy-wide impacts to the total enterprise agency direct export sales-employment.

Enterprise Data

 96. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor further to Parliamentary Question No. 1905 of 16 September 2016, if she will provide details of the data used in the employment multipliers derived from sectoral multipliers applied to IDA client firm employment data, including type II multipliers, used by her Department in making forecasts in Enterprise 2025; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30000/16]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Foreign direct investment helps to develop capabilities and critical mass in sectors and to enhance Ireland’s innovative capabilities. It also contributes to greater productivity and value added as well as to regional economic development. IDA Ireland client firms created almost 19,000 direct gross new jobs in 2015, resulting in a net of 11,833 jobs (when job losses are taken into account). This has been an excellent performance coming on the back of a deep economic downturn and continued international uncertainty.

  The exporting sector, including foreign owned multinationals operating from Ireland to serve international markets, impacts on the wider economy through re-invested profits and expenditure of wages, materials and services. It also generates significant downstream effects in areas such as sub-supply and secondary employment. This impact can be calculated in terms of a multiplier. The value of the multiplier depends upon the percentage of extra money that is spent within the domestic economy.

  The employment multipliers are derived from the Supply and Use and Input-Output tables for the Irish economy published by the CSO and cover all sectors of the Irish economy. Sectoral multipliers for employment are derived from these tables and then applied to IDA client firm employment data. The employment multipliers used include direct, indirect and induced impacts of IDA client firm activity (known as Type II Multipliers), taking account of demand on the suppliers as well as induced impacts arising through the additional consumption that takes place as a result of the additional employment incomes created through the indirect impacts. Type II Indicators should be interpreted with caution, as they assume that all additional income generated through indirect employment is spent.

  Employment multipliers are best estimates and may be subject to small changes over time based on structural adjustments in the economy and the composition of the IDA client firm base. Recent research as input to Enterprise 2025 indicates the multiplier for IDA client firms is eight indirect jobs for every ten direct jobs.    

  Analysis of Employment Multiplier Impacts of IDA Ireland assisted firms’ employment

Food, drink and tobacco
2.55
Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals
1.65
Medical device Mfg
1.88
Computer, Electronic…
1.39
Other Mfg
1.47
Computer Programming
1.99
Computer Consultancy
1.99
Business Services
1.64
Financial Services
2.42
Other Svcs
1.98
Total
1.84


  Based on Forfás ABSEI and AES data (2013) [export sales employment] and CSO Input-Output and Supply and Use Tables (2011) (Indecon analysis)

  The employment multipliers are Type II and include both indirect and induced impacts.

  The multiplier is derived through the ratio of the addition of the individual sectoral economy-wide impacts to the total IDA direct employment.

Family Resource Centres

 97. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to the value of family resource centres to communities; if additional ring-fenced funding will be allocated to assist in promoting their work and enabling the centres to implement their action plans; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29937/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone There are currently 109 communities supported through the Family Resource Centre Programme which is funded by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. The Family Resource Centre Programme is a national programme with its own dedicated budget. Tusla provides core funding to Family Resource Centres to cover the employment of two to three members of staff and some overhead costs. In 2016, Tusla provided €13.5m in funding for the Family Resource Centre Programme.

I recognise and value the very positive impact of the work of the Family Resource Centres in supporting families and local communities. The Centres provide a holistic service of child, family and community support and advocacy to all children and families in their community. This universal accessibility allows for early identification of need, provision of appropriate interventions, and timely referrals to appropriate services for more intensive and targeted work as required.

The precise level of funding to be allocated in 2017 to the Family Resource Centre Programme will be considered by Tusla in preparing its Business Plan for next year, which will be submitted to me for consideration. I can assure the Deputy that I will continue to support the work of the Family Support Centres and to the targeting of available resources at those services which make the greatest impact on vulnerable children and families.

Voluntary Sector Funding

 98. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will remedy Government funding cuts experienced by Scouting Ireland by increasing funds to match its increasing size in budget 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29956/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services by the voluntary youth sector, to young people throughout the country. The funding schemes support national and local youth work provision to some 380,000 young people. The voluntary youth sector involves approximately 1,400 paid staff, including youth workers and 40,000 volunteers working in youth work services and communities throughout the country. In 2016, funding of €51m has been provided to my Department for these schemes.

Scouting Ireland receives funding under the Youth Service Grant Scheme administered by my Department. In 2016 current funding of €834,606 has been allocated to the organisation.

In 2016 some €2.6m has been allocated to my Department for a capital funding scheme for youth projects and services. Organisations in receipt of funding under the Youth Services Grants Scheme were eligible to apply for funding. Scouting Ireland successfully applied for funding under this scheme and was awarded €49,630 under Type Two to fund the improvement of disability access and security at Scouting Ireland, National Water Activity Centre in Killaloe, Co Clare.

In addition, Scouting Ireland has been allocated €200,000 under the Dormant Accounts scheme to support its Lelievlet youth employability initiative for young people who are disadvantaged.

Following the Budget 2017 announcement, my Department will immediately commence a process with national organisations and local services to identify service development needs for 2017 and to agree the 2017 allocations. Every effort will be made to complete this process as soon as possible.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

 99. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will consider the benefits that would come from improving the quality of the current child care system by extending the early childhood care education scheme and establishing formal after-school care programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29941/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone My Department is committed to the provision of high quality and affordable childcare, with a number of initiatives being progressed.

From September 2016, the extension of ECCE made free pre-school available, for 15 hours per week, for 38 weeks per annum, to all children from the time they turn three, until they go to school. Children can enter at three points in the year: September, January and April. On average, children will benefit from 61 weeks, up from the previous provision of 38 weeks. Access to the average 61 weeks of ECCE can reduce the cost of childcare by €4000 per child. The previous ECCE programme accommodated 67,000 children and this figure will increase to 127,000 next year.

As part of Budget 2017, my Department announced the introduction of the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme, a new national scheme of financial supports for parents towards the cost of their childcare. The scheme will replace the existing targeted childcare subsidisation schemes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme. The scheme will provide a system from which universal and targeted subsidies can be provided towards the cost of childcare.

It is intended that the new Single Affordable Childcare Scheme will 'wraparound' the ECCE programme so that the two schemes align seamlessly to support access to early childhood care and education. The two schemes will not be mutually exclusive, in that it will be possible for a child to be simultaneously supported via the ECCE programme and the proposed Single Affordable Scheme, once they meet the qualifying criteria for each.

The 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government contained two specific commitments in relation to School Age children. The first was a commitment to introduce a new system to support and expand quality after school care, and the second was in relation to utilising primary school buildings for after school care provision. In view of these commitments the Ministers for Children and Youth Affairs and for Education and Skills requested senior officials from their Departments to establish a group to consider how best the commitments could be delivered. The Inter-Departmental Group on School Age Childcare was established in June 2016 and is due to report shortly.

As part of its work, the Group has considered and assessed the many issues surrounding this commitment, and the funding implications of implementing an after-school scheme for school-aged children.

Matters to be considered by the Inter-Departmental group included the demand for services and the capacity to provide these and the development of an appropriate quality and standards framework. In addition, the group will gather data, including existing use of school buildings, and consider collaborative models with existing community or private service providers.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has also undertaken consultations with children to identify what children like and dislike about afterschool care and to identify the places where children most like to be cared for after school. The Inter-Departmental group will consider the voice of the child as part of its deliberations.


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