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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 359 - 372
 Header Item Work Permits Applications
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Funding
 Header Item Juvenile Offenders
 Header Item Youth Homelessness Strategy
 Header Item Commissions of Investigation
 Header Item DEIS Data
 Header Item Home School Community Liaison Scheme
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Early Years Strategy Implementation
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Preschool Services
 Header Item Air Corps Operations
 Header Item Defence Forces

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 947 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 359 - 372

Work Permits Applications

 359. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the status of a work permit application for a person (details supplied). [18676/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The General Employment Permit application in respect of the named individual was received in the Employment Permits Section and was placed in the processing queue on the 22/03/2017.

  Applications are processed strictly in date order by Employer Type, that is, Trusted Partner or Standard Employer and applicants can keep track of our current processing dates at 

  https://www.djei.ie/en/What-We-Do/Jobs-Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Current-Application-Processing-Dates/.  

  They can also check the progress of their specific application online at https://www.djei.ie/en/What-We-Do/Jobs-Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Employment-Permit-Status-Form/.

Child and Family Agency Funding

 360. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the funding allocated to domestic violence service-providing organisations during each of the years 2005 to 2016 and to date in 2017. [18408/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence whether in the context of the family or otherwise. At all times, Tusla’s key priority is to ensure that the needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence are being met in the best way possible.

  A network of 60 organisations provide services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence in Ireland, including 20 services providing emergency refuge accommodation to women and children and 24 community-based domestic violence services.

  Tusla has advised that it is currently engaging with service provider organisations with regard to funding and service arrangements for 2017. To date this year, Tusla has allocated funding of approximately €5.44m to domestic violence services.

  Details of total Tusla funding for domestic violence services in the years 2014 to 2016 is set out in tabular format as follows. Tusla does not hold funding details for domestic violence services prior to 2014 as these services were previously delivered through the Health Service Executive.

Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services 2014Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services 2015Tusla funding for Domestic Violence Services 2016
€13.4m€15.6m*€16.6m


  *Includes funding transferred from the Department of Environment Community and Local Government.

  I was pleased to secure additional funding of €1.5 million for Tusla as part of Budget 2017 to support the further development of domestic, sexual and gender based violence services overall this year.

Juvenile Offenders

 361. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the bail supports in place for persons under 18 years of age who are released on bail. [18416/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone A key commitment to develop a Bail Supervision Scheme was part of the Youth Justice Action Plan 2014-2018, and in accordance with this commitment, a Bail Supervision Scheme (BSS) is currently operating on a two-year pilot basis covering the Dublin Children Court. The Scheme provides therapeutic supports in the community for children who are subject to bail conditions. Extern have been contracted to operate the scheme by providing a ‘wraparound’ service to the young person and their family with a prescribed reporting system back to the courts through the appropriate statutory bodies; Probation Service, An Garda Síochána and Oberstown. The scheme offers greater options to the courts in the knowledge that close monitoring will take place through interaction with the young people, their families and communities. It works with young people aged 12-17 years old who have initially been denied bail and remanded in detention. A Multisystemic Therapy [MST] treatment model is used to support the young person and their parent/caregivers to increase compliance with bail conditions if the young person is released from detention back into the community. MST is a family and community based treatment programme that addresses the multiple determinants of serious antisocial behaviour in young offenders. It empowers parents and caregivers to support their child to make positive changes across the individual, home, community, peer and school systems. Each family is assigned an MST therapist who will work intensively with them, including multiple contacts with family and other participants every week and ‘On Call’ support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Treatment lasts between three and five months with the overarching goals of the Bail Supervision Scheme to support the young person to be at home, in education/training/employment and constructively engaged.

  The Scheme aims to reduce the number of young people on remand in detention. On conclusion of the pilot phase of the Scheme, a formal review will be undertaken with the intention thereafter of putting in place a managed roll out of the Scheme nationwide.

  To date the scheme has worked with 11 young people and their families. The level of support offered is very high with sessions taking place both in the family home and in the community. The number of missed or cancelled therapy sessions has been minimal and the re-engagement in education/training programmes in particular has been high, especially given that the young people concerned had been out of education for a long period of time.

The normal rules around breaches of conditions of bail are observed. Based on international evidence, this scheme should impact remand trends by offering the court the option of ‘bail with supervision’ (as an alternative to a remand to detention).

Youth Homelessness Strategy

 362. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the progress made to date on Action 1.7 in Rebuilding Ireland with regard to meeting the needs of young persons leaving State care and at risk of homelessness; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18491/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Every year approximately 450 young people leave the care of the State. A significant number of these remain living with their foster carers. Those who do not have family support from a foster carer or family base are assisted in finding accommodation in supported lodgings, sheltered housing or independent accommodation and encouraged and supported financially in furthering their training and education.

The care leavers most vulnerable to homelessness are those leaving residential or short-term foster care placements. Children who come into care late, in their mid to late teens, may not have developed the relationships with staff or aftercare workers that help them achieve good outcomes. It is essential that these young people have an opportunity to develop a relationship with a dedicated aftercare worker who will work with them to identify their needs and ensure that services are in place to help provide them with the stability and support they need.

In addition to the aftercare planning and supports provided by Tusla, Rebuilding Ireland – the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness commits to ensuring that young people leaving State care who are at risk of homelessness are identified and catered for through appropriate housing and other supports.

Funding is now, for the first time, available under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) enabling Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to acquire residential units to accommodate young people exiting State care. My Department is currently working closely with Tusla on the development of principles and criteria relating to any such funding proposals.

Tusla has also redistributed the protocol on young people leaving State care, agreed with the City and County Managers Association, to Housing Authorities and within Tusla itself. The aim of this protocol is to ensure that the necessary measures are in place to prevent homelessness for young people leaving State care and will be applied within aftercare steering groups, on which representatives of the Local Authorities sit in conjunction with other stakeholders, for the delivery of aftercare support.

Commissions of Investigation

 363. 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 the interim report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18509/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Second Interim Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes (and certain related Matters) was published on Tuesday 11 April. The Report is available to read at my Departments website www.DCYA.ie.

DEIS Data

 364. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the annual budgetary allocation of her Department to the various elements of the DEIS programme each year since 2006 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18517/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Responsibility for the National Educational Welfare Board which included the School Completion Programme was transferred to my Department on its establishment in 2011. Upon the establishment of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency on January 1 2014, operational responsibility for the School Completion Programme was transferred to the Agency.

  With regard to the DEIS programme the only budgetary element that falls under my Department is the School Completion Programme.

School YearSCP Funding
2011-2012€28.256m
2012-2013€26.456m
2013-2014€24.756m
2014-2015€24.756m
2015-2016€24.756m
2016-2017€24.756m
  Funding information in relation to the School Completion Programme prior to the establishment of my Department is not readily available.

Home School Community Liaison Scheme

 365. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of home school community liaison staff over each of the past ten years; the budgetary allocation to the scheme over each of the past ten years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18532/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) is an integral part of the Department of Education and Skills DEIS strategy to combat educational disadvantage. The scheme provides targeted supports for the development of collaboration and partnership between parents and teachers of children who are at risk of educational disadvantage as indicated by poor school attendance, participation and early school leaving.

The Department of Education and Skills is responsible for staffing and budgetary allocations under the HSCL scheme.

Preschool Services

 366. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the cost of the inclusion of seven days of non-contact time for all early years services in budget 2017. [18670/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Funding of €14.5 million has been made available in 2017, for the first time, for ‘non-contact time’ to recognise the increasing volume of work done outside of direct contact hours with children. This funding will provide an additional payment of seven days' funding to all ECCE Services - and an equivalent level of payment to CCS and TEC services.

Early Years Strategy Implementation

 367. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of early years services, both community and private, that have completed the full Aistear curriculum to date; and the number that have yet to complete the curriculum. [18671/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Aistear is the national curriculum framework for early childhood education.  It was published in 2009 and resources have been made available through the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) to assist practitioners in early years settings in its implementation primarily through online access to the Aistear-Síolta Practice Guide.  The curriculum framework is being implemented in many settings throughout the sector.  However, a need for centralised support was identified in the IDG for Future Investment in Childcare in 2015.   

  As a result, the National Síolta-Aistear initiative (NSAI) was established in 2016. Its purpose is to build on implementation of the framework to date which has been supported by the national voluntary childcare organisations and the city and county childcare committees.  The initiative is designed to provide central support and coordination of Síolta (The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education) and Aistear (The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework) implementation across the Early Years sector. This initiative involves the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) & NCCA and is funded by the DCYA.  Two national coordinators have been appointed to oversee the initiative and 60 mentors have been trained to support early years settings to implement both Aistear and Síolta on a national basis.   

  The Aistear strand of the initiative aims to help practitioners gain the knowledge and skills required to develop their own emergent and inquiry-based curriculum informed by Aistear. In this way, the initiative will enhance the quality of pedagogy across early childhood settings and in doing so, better support children’s learning and development.  A CPD programme in Aistear is being piloted by the NCCA in the first half of 2017 in 162 settings, with 401 practitioners participating in the pilot.     

  In addition to the NSAI, DCYA also provides funding to the National Voluntary Childcare organisations and childcare committees to undertake a range of quality improvement supports, guided by Síolta and Aistear.

Preschool Services

 368. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of inspectors employed by Tusla to inspect all services in the early years sector. [18672/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Officials in my Department contacted Tusla to ascertain the number of inspectors currently employed to inspect Early Years services and confirmed that, at year end 2016, a total of 45.4 Whole Time Equivalent inspectors were employed. A number of administrative staff are also employed to support the registration and inspection process.

Preschool Services

 369. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the cost for inspectors employed by Tusla to inspect all services in the early years sector in one budgetary year. [18673/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Officials in my Department contacted Tusla who confirmed that the cost for inspectors employed to inspect early years services was €3,348,931 in the budgetary year 2016. This figure includes pay and non-pay costs.

  Officials in my Department have asked Tusla to respond further to the question re the cost of inspecting all services in one budgetary year and this information will be provided to the Deputy within ten working days.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

  Officials in my Department contacted Tusla who confirmed that the cost for inspectors employed to inspect early years services was €3,348,931 in the budgetary year 2016. This figure includes pay and non-pay costs.

  Tusla has further confirmed that the estimated cost of inspecting all Early Years services in one budgetary year would be approximately €7,524,030. This estimation is based on an assumption that an unlimited number of inspection staff would be available to enable all services to be inspected within one budget year, which would not be feasible.

Preschool Services

 370. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if an allocation of additional funding has been made towards community-based crèches which face imminent closure; and if so, the amount and the number of those community services being targeted with the additional funding. [18674/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Childcare regulations introduced for newly-registering pre-school services on 30 June 2016, and for existing services on 31 December 2016, require all staff working directly with children in to have at least a major award at level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework in early childhood care and education, or a qualification deemed by the Minister to be equivalent.

This regulation has been extensively welcomed as being in the best interests of children.

I recognise, however, the impact increased regulation is having on community settings – from my own experience, from a number of meetings I have had with providers and representative groups, and from the Early Years Forum I established to ensure that providers’ voices are heard. In 2017, I provided for €1m of additional funding to be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training of Community Employment participants, to ensure that regulatory changes do not impact on service delivery or the availability of childcare places. Officials have been working with Pobal and Childcare Committees Ireland to get funding out to services impacted by the change in relation to CE scheme participants; and I understand that contracts to enable payment have now issued to services. Funds will be disbursed without delay once these contracts are signed. Funding will be provided in two phases, the first phase to cover advertising and recruitment costs, and the second phase, which will follow more detailed financial analysis of services, in the coming weeks.

In addition, funding of €14.5 million will be made available for the first time in 2017 for ‘non-contact time’ to recognise the increasing volume of work done outside of direct contact hours with children.

The sector has taken the initiative of commissioning and completing research highlighting the challenges that they face and I am acutely aware that we need to get the funding model right for these services. This is a complex issue; and I hope that providers will appreciate that we have had to move to tackle the most urgent issues first, designing a new model of eligibility for families - the Affordable Childcare Scheme, tackling the CE scheme issue, and providing funding for ‘non-contact time’ for the first time. I remain committed to addressing other sustainability and quality issues, particularly in disadvantaged areas. The last two budgets delivered a 35% increase each year in funding for childcare. However, it is recognised that there is a need to continue to invest and a strong case will be put forward for more resources in 2018 and beyond.

Air Corps Operations

 371. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the specific dates that the Air Corps Cessna aircraft have landed, officially or unofficially, at Gormanston aerodrome since the aerodrome was officially closed. [18384/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Air Corps currently operates five Cessna FR172H aircraft. These aircraft carry out a wide variety of roles for the Air Corps.

The military authorities have advised me that none of their Cessna aircraft have landed at Gormanston since the aerodrome was officially closed. 

Defence Forces

 372. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will give consideration to providing retired Defence Forces personnel with the 1916 centenary commemorative medal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18463/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe As part of the Programme for Government, it was proposed that a commemorative medal be awarded to all Defence Forces personnel, Permanent (PDF) and Reserve (RDF) , who were recorded as being in service during the course of 2016. The 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal is being awarded as a commemorative medal, personal to an individual’s service in the Defence Forces in the course of 2016. It is the case that even if a member of the Defence Forces has since retired from the Defence Forces, once they were recorded as being in service during 2016 they are eligible for the award of the medal.

I am advised by the military authorities that if the person referred to by the Deputy served in either the PDF or the RDF during 2016, he should make contact with Administration, Defence Forces Human Resources Branch who will process his request.


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