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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 85-101
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Commissions of Investigation
 Header Item Cabinet Committee Meetings
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Workplace Relations Commission
 Header Item Commercial Rates
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item National Car Test Data
 Header Item Parental Leave

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 85-101

  Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 77.

  Question No. 86 answered with Question No. 52.

  Question No. 87 answered with Question No. 58.

Departmental Reports

 88. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the name, costs, date of commission, date or expected date of publication and name of the external consultant of all external reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011 per annum, in tabular form. [17448/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The following table details the external consultant reports commissioned by my Department since March 2011:

NameCostsDate of CommissionDate of PublicationConsultant
Health and Safety Statement 2011€1,27020112011QTS Limited
Health and Safety Statement 2012€1,27020122012QTS Limited
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan Assessment and Disabled Access Review€30720132013QTS Limited
Health and Safety Statement 2013 and Risk Assessment€1,78320132015QTS Limited
Local Diaspora Toolkit€14,30020152015Clinton Institute, UCD
Dublin's North East Inner City€11,500 (not drawn down)20162017Kieran Mulvey

Commissions of Investigation

 89. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny when the Fennelly commission report will be published. [17738/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Fennelly Commission's final report was published on my Department's website on 6 April 2017.

Cabinet Committee Meetings

 90. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of meetings of the Cabinet committee on arts, Irish and the Gaeltacht that have taken place since the formation of the Government; and the dates these meetings were held. [18260/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Cabinet Committee on Arts, Irish the Gaeltacht and the Islands has met on two occasions since the formation of the Government, on the 13th of October 2016 and on the 27th of February 2017.

Departmental Properties

 91. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the amount spent across his Department over the past five years on maintaining vacant or unused State-owned properties, including security arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18731/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny My Department does not own any properties. Properties occupied by my Department and the National Economic and Social Development Office are provided and managed by the Office of Public Works.

Workplace Relations Commission

 92. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the adjudications and the findings of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of public bodies in each of the years 2015 to 2016 and to date in 2017 that have not been accepted by his Department having consulted the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the numbers involved and the reasons for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18741/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The relevant agency insofar as my Department is concerned is the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). There have been no adjudications or findings of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of the NESC in the years 2015, 2016 and to date in 2017.

Commercial Rates

 93. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, in County Kildare are being forced to pay for the reduction in rates given to large companies and semi-State bodies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17565/17]

 94. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the companies in County Kildare that have received a rates reduction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17566/17]

 95. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the detail of the 60% down and 40% up adjustment to commercial rates in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17567/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 to 95, inclusive, together.

Revaluation is a statutory process and the same basis of valuation, as set out in Part 11 of the Valuation Acts, 2001 to 2015, is used to assess all ratepayers in a local authority area. Accordingly, there can be no question of differential treatment for particular categories of ratepayers. The outcome for each ratepayer, whether an SME or a large company, depends on the particular circumstances of their property.

I am advised by the Commissioner of Valuation, who has statutory responsibility for the revaluation programme and is independent in the operation of his statutory functions, that the revaluation in County Kildare has now reached the stage where Proposed Valuation Certificates have issued to each ratepayer. Each ratepayer has a statutory right to make representations to the Commissioner within 40 days of issue of the certificates. At this stage, the revaluation process is a work in progress and is confidential between each occupier of rateable property and the Valuation Office. Anticipated reductions or increases in rates are not finalised at this stage. When all representations have been considered by the Valuation Office and various adjustments made to individual valuations, as may be merited by the evidence available to the Valuation Office, each ratepayer will receive a Final Valuation Certificate in September 2017, in relation to which they will have a right of appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal, within 28 days. On 15 September 2017, the Commissioner will publish the new valuation list for the Kildare County Council rating authority area containing the finalised valuations upon which rates for 2018 will be levied. The actual amount levied in 2018 on each ratepayer will be the Net Annual Value (finalised by the Valuation Office for that particular property) multiplied by the actual Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) set by the elected members of Kildare County Council at its budgetary meeting in late 2017.

Revaluation is a nationwide programme and the results from the local authorities completed to date (Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County, Fingal County, Limerick City and County, South Dublin County and Waterford City and County) have shown a general trend whereby approximately 60% of ratepayers received a reduction in rates and approximately 40% of ratepayers have received an increase. The actual outcome can only be assessed at the end of the revaluation process when representations have been considered, any merited adjustments made and the new valuation list is published. The actual ARV set by each Council will also have an important bearing on the outcome for ratepayers in that rating authority area. In relation to the local authority areas currently being revalued, including Kildare County Council, this will, as indicated above, occur in late 2017.

Garda Stations

 96. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if the OPW will take steps to increase the operational capacity at Tubbercurry Garda station, County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17582/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that the allocation of Gardaí is continually monitored and reviewed taking into account all relevant factors including crime trends, demographics, and security assessments relating to the area in question so as to ensure optimal use is made of Garda human resources.

I am informed by the Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

I am further informed by the Garda Commissioner that Tubbercurry Garda Station forms part of the Sligo/Leitrim Division and that the Garda strength of the Sligo/Leitrim Division on the 28 February 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 301 members of whom 9 were assigned to Tubbercurry Garda Station. There are also 21 Garda Reserves and 25 civilians attached to the Sligo/Leitrim Division. In addition, support is provided by the Divisional Traffic Corp, Regional Support Unit, Divisional Drugs Unit and Detective Units which are regularly detailed for duty in the area concerned.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. This year, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, 839 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 13 of whom have been assigned to the Sligo/Leitrim Division. I am also informed by the Commissioner that another 750 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest this year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end, an increase of 500 from the end of 2016.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí including Community Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the Sligo/Leitrim Division, in the coming years.

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I have no doubt that these new resources now coming on stream will see an increase in Garda visibility in our communities.

National Car Test

 97. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if vehicles that currently have an appeal of an NCT decision lodged are flagged under the Garda automatic number plate recognition system; if so, the reason, in view of the fact the matter has not been subject to a final decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18150/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to in the Deputy's question and I will contact the Deputy directly upon receipt of a Garda report.

National Car Test Data

 98. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of cars which have been seized due to driving without a valid NCT certificate since 2006. [18155/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to in the Deputy's question and I will contact the Deputy directly upon receipt of a Garda report.

Parental Leave

 99. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the statutory allowance period available for maternity benefit for mothers of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18180/17]

 100. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the length of current paternity leave; if it differs in circumstances of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18181/17]

 101. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if regulations are in place requiring an employer policy to support parents of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18183/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.

As indicated in the Government's response to the recent PMB Motion on this issue, it is my intention to bring legislative proposals to Government, which will provide for statutory leave during the period between a premature birth and the expected date of birth of a child. This leave will be in addition to the current statutory entitlement of 26 weeks’ maternity leave and 2 weeks’ paternity leave.

The Deputy will be aware of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to significantly increase leave afforded to parents during the first year of a child’s life over the next five years. I intend to publish my proposals in that regard this year for inclusion in the Family Leave Bill. The Bill will also review all existing family leave legislation such as parental leave, carer's leave, maternity leave, and adoptive leave and consolidate this legislation into one Act. It will also provide the vehicle to take these two commitments forward.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 14:00:21 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page