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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 231-251
 Header Item Fire Safety
 Header Item Bench Warrants
 Header Item Garda Equipment
 Header Item Garda Station Refurbishment
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
 Header Item Commissioner of Valuation
 Header Item Graffiti Policy
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Creative Ireland Programme
 Header Item Arts Funding
 Header Item EU Programmes
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding
 Header Item Arts Plan
 Header Item Arts Funding
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item National Parks and Wildlife Service

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 231-251

Fire Safety

 231. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the preparations currently taking place to ensure a safe Halloween for communities around Ireland; if he will report on the implementation of the laws regarding the sale and use of fireworks and the retrieval of fireworks, bangers and bonfire materials; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43899/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy may be aware, fireworks, because they are explosives, are regulated under national and EU legislation and can only be imported into the country under licence and stored and sold in accordance with explosives law.  Fireworks are categorised into four categories, depending on their hazard and whether they require specialist knowledge to use them. The least hazardous is Category F1 (party poppers and sparklers) and the most hazardous is Category F4.

  It is Government policy therefore, in the interests of safety and security, to restrict the availability of the more hazardous fireworks (i.e. categories F2, F3 and F4) to the general public. These can only be imported, by way of licence, for use in organised displays  and conducted by  professional/competent operators.

  In this regard, the Criminal Justice Act 2006 introduced new offences and penalties relating to illegal possession, sale and misuse of fireworks:

  - It is  an offence for any person to possess a firework with intent to sell or supply, without a licence,

  - It is an offence to throw an ignited firework at any person or property, and

  - It is an offence to light unlicensed fireworks in a public place.

  Part 6 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 amended the Explosives Act 1875 to give Gardaí the power to make arrests in relation to the possession of unlicensed fireworks.  The penalties for these offences are very severe.  Having unlicensed fireworks in your possession with intent to sell or supply can result in a fine of up to €10,000 and up to five years imprisonment. Igniting the fireworks or throwing an ignited firework at a person or property is also liable to the same severe penalties.

  I believe that these offences and penalties are serving both as a deterrent and as an aid to An Garda Síochána. Leading up to Halloween every year, special efforts are made by An Garda Síochána to combat the illegal importation, sale and use of fireworks. I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report on the measures being taken this year and I will write to the Deputy when it becomes available.  

  My Department also puts in place an annual public information  campaign in the days leading up to Halloween in the national newspapers to remind the public of the dangers of fireworks and the significant  penalties for their illegal use.

  Along with the placement of the notice in the national print media (this year from 22 October to 31 October 2017 inclusive), general information and the notice itself will also be on the homepage of the Department’s website, and the notice is being communicated using the Department’s social media accounts. 

  The Department also liaises with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) who facilitate the Department by uploading a link to the notice to its website.  Scoilnet (a Department of Education and Skill’s portal for Irish education) is facilitating the Department by uploading the notice to its website and placing it in their newsletter. The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) has arranged to circulate a Link from my Departments website to all Local Authorities in the State to help publicise the dangers and illegality of fireworks with the general public. My Department has also asked Dublin City Council and An Garda Síochána to use its social media outlets channels to highlight and promote our Department's message as it has done in previous years.

  The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A:

  I refer to Parliamentary Question Nos. 231 of 17 October 2017 regarding the preparations currently taking place to ensure a safe Halloween for communities around Ireland and seeking a report on, the implementation of laws regarding the sale and use of fireworks and the retrieval of fireworks, bangers and bonfire materials.

  A report from the Garda Commissioner became available on the measures undertaken by An Garda Siochána

  I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that An Garda Síochána put in place measures in every DMslon, particularly in the Dublin Metropolitan Region and the Border Divisions, to prevent and detect the sale and organised importation of fireworks in the lead up to Halloween. Operation ‘Tombola’ was assigned to this policing operation to coordinate the collation of intelligence and searches to prevent and detect the sale of and organised importation of fireworks.

  All operational Gardai are involved in this initiative, with dedicated resources deployed in specific intelligence led operations, as the need anses. Gardai on patrol promoted the awareness of the danger associated with fireworks. Intelligence relating to the importation of fireworks was collated and the appropnate action taken to make the necessary seizures. Local intelligence was also acted on, through searches under warrant where appropriate.

  Members of An Garda Siochána also have discretion to deal with such incidents in a number of ways, i.e. by caution! admonition; under legislation concerning anti-social behaviour, including the issuing of Warnings / Orders I Good Behaviour Contracts I Civil Orders; or the person, if deemed appropriate, may also be processed under the Juvenile Diversion Programme; or the initiation of formal proceedings.

  In addition, the Garda Press Office utilised the “You could lose more than just your fingers” advertisement as a media message via the Garda Siochána website, Facebook page and the Twitter page of An Garda Siochána.

  An Garda Siochána liaised closely with local authorities regarding the retrieval of bonfire material.

  I also wish to advise the Deputy that Dublin City Council promoted a safe and enjoyable Halloween for everyone this year, and encouraged members of the public to report the existence of Bonfire material by phone or by logging onto their website

to report same.

Garda seizures of Fireworks I Fireworks Offences

The table displays the number of fireworks incidents recorded and the value of fireworks seized for the years 2012 to date (valid to October 2017). Please note that the figures are operational, provisional and liable to change.

YEAR
VALUE SEIZED
INCIDENTS REPORTED
2017 (as of 18 October 2017)
€2,433
67
2016
€15,841
331
2015
€6,420
91
2014
€21,851
113
2013
€13,326
146
2012
€20,420
267

Bench Warrants

 232. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of bench warrants outstanding in the Garda R and J districts as of 6 October 2017; the number of warrants that have been outstanding for more than nine months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43907/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan My Department has sought a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter in question and I will respond directly to the Deputy when the report is to hand.

  The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A:

I refer to your recent Parliamentary Question (No. 232 of 17 October 2017) where you sought:

"....the number of bench warrants outstanding in the garda R and J districts as of 6 October 2017; the number of warrants that have been outstanding for more than nine months...".

  As you will recall, I undertook to contact you again once an update from An Garda Síochána on this matter was received.

  I am now informed by the Garda authorities that as of 24 October 2017 there were 1,708 Bench Warrants outstanding in the Coolock (R) Garda District, of which 1,377 have been outstanding for a perìod of nine months or more.

  In the Raheny (J) Garda District, there were 499 Bench Warrants outstanding, 415 of which have been outstanding for a period of nine months or more.

  I hope this information is of assistance.

Garda Equipment

 233. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he has provided funding for the installation of a state-of-the-art satellite navigation system in each Garda vehicle; if all Garda vehicles are now linked to this system providing key information for Garda management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43908/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the allocation of Garda resources in the State and, as Minister, I have no role in relation to the matter.

I am, however, informed by the Garda authorities that vehicles attached to the Garda fleet are installed with secure TETRA technology, which is the current state of the art technology for public safety communications across Europe and which enables geographical positioning using satellite technology. The technology ensures that Garda vehicles and personnel are contactable throughout the State and links to the Automatic Vehicle and Personnel Location System (AVPLS) which displays the location of vehicles and personnel in Garda control rooms.

The Deputy will be aware that there has been unprecedented investment in the Garda fleet in recent years with some €46 million being invested over the lifetime of the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021 to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit for purpose fleet. This is in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015.

In the period 2013 to end of 2017, almost €44 million will have been invested in the Garda fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream.

Garda Station Refurbishment

 234. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to refurbish Clontarf Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43909/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.  As Minister, I have no direct role in relation to these matters.

I have, however, been informed by the Garda authorities that a number of refurbishments have been carried out to Clontarf Garda station in recent times. For example, the re-wiring and general refurbishment of the station, including refurbishment of the public office, the provision of modern incident and conference room facilities together with an upgrade of the canteen facilities was completed during 2010. In addition, the cells in the station were upgraded in 2012 under the Cell Refurbishment Programme.

I understand that the OPW has recently completed works to the car park at the station which will increase the number of spaces for Garda vehicles as well as dealing with a number of health and safety issues.

Garda Deployment

 235. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of new Garda recruits who have been allocated to the Garda R district in each of the years 2015 and 2016 and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43910/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan 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. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

  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 to 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 plan is progressing apace. This year, funding was 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 was been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.

  I am pleased to say that Budget 2018 will support the continuation of this high level of investment in the three strands of the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track.

  The area referred to by the Deputy is covered by the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Division. I am informed by the Commissioner that the Garda strength of the DMR North Division, on 31 August 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 666. There are also 46 Garda Reserves and 38 civilians attached to the Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

  I am further informed by the Commissioner, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, that almost 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 105 of whom have been assigned to the DMR North Division, as outlined in the table.  I am also informed that another 200 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 since 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 needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the DMR North Division in the coming years.

  In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.  I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of resources. However, it is important to keep in mind that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and classroom based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing.  To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.

  The number of newly attested Gardaí allocated to the DMR North Division since the Garda College reopened in 2014 is as set out in the following table.

Division 2015 2016 2017
DMR North 19 34 52

Commencement of Legislation

 236. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan when it is expected that section 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 will be commenced; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43937/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The commencement of the provisions in section 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 awaits the finalisation of regulations required to facilitate their implementation.  These regulations are currently being progressed in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General's Office.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

 237. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the reason the State has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; when the convention will be ratified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43946/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Ireland signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and since then, successive Governments have emphasised Ireland’s strong commitment to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. This Government remains committed to ratification of the Convention.

It is essential that the State is in a position to meet the obligations that it assumes under the terms of an international agreement from the moment of its entry into force for Ireland. Before the State can ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, enactment of new legislation and amendment of existing legislation is required to ensure obligations will be met upon entry into force for Ireland.  Ratification of a Convention before we have amended domestic legislation that contradicts it makes no sense and does nothing to ensure compliance or to protect the people for whose benefit the Convention exists.  The previous Government published a Roadmap in October 2015, which sets out the legislative measures needed to meet those requirements, along with declarations and reservations to be entered by Ireland on ratification.

Considerable progress has already been made to overcome the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland's ratification of the Convention. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on 30 December 2015 and is a comprehensive reform of the law on decision-making capacity. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 has reformed Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 to facilitate the full participation in family life of persons with intellectual disabilities and the full expression of their human rights.

The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 was published immediately prior to Christmas and completed Second Stage in February 2017.  The primary purpose of the Bill is to address the remaining legislative barriers to Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  Work is ongoing on all the other issues set out in the previous Government’s Roadmap for Ratification published in October 2015 and these will be progressed as Committee Stage amendments.  The Bill will be progressed to enactment at an early date to facilitate ratification of the UN Convention as soon as possible.

The precise timing of ratification now depends on how long it will take for this Bill to progress through the enactment process and on issues in relation to commencement both of deprivation of liberty provisions, which will be included in the Bill at Committee Stage, and of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015. 

I would like to take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that ratification of the UNCRPD remains a very high priority for me as Minister.

Commissioner of Valuation

 238. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan further to the most recent global valuations carried out under the Valuation Acts, the national valuation in respect of each of the utilities covered by this process; the position regarding the process on the way in which rates are set for these national utilities in which it is collected; the way in which it is divided among each local authority; the formula that is used; if it is based on population, the most recent census or other methods; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43960/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his statutory functions under the Valuation Acts, 2001 to 2015. The carrying out of a valuation of a public utility undertaking (i.e. a global valuation') is the Commissioner's sole prerogative and I as Minister for Justice and Equality do not have any function in this regard.

Global valuations of public utilities are carried out on a five-yearly cycle as provided for in the Valuation Acts, 2001 to 2015. The initial round of global valuations was carried out in the period 2004 to 2006 following the passage of the Valuation Act 2001. The next round of global valuations was carried out in the period 2009 to 2011 and the latest round commenced in 2014 and was completed in 2016. I am advised that the global valuation process is also deployed in other common law jurisdictions and is an efficient mechanism for valuing public utilities with a national or regional network on a five year cycle.

In the most recent round of global valuations, the Commissioner carried out a valuation of two public utilities in 2014 and seven public utilities in 2015. The utilities, with their respective valuations, were: the Electricity Supply Board - valuation €389,000,000; and Eirgrid - valuation €774,000; in 2014. In 2015 the seven utilities were: Gas Networks Ireland - valuation €110,570,000; Iarnród Éireann - valuation €8,930,000; Eircom - valuation €84,700,000; Three Ireland - valuation €27,750,000; Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd - valuation €20,720,000; Vodafone Ireland - valuation €41,000,000; and BT Communications (Ireland) Ltd - valuation €7,240,000. Two further communications utilities were valued in 2016 - RTE Transmission Network Ltd - valuation €4,200,000 and Virgin Media Ltd - valuation €28,000,000. The changes reflected in these 2014, 2015 and 2016 valuations arise from changes in the rateable value of each of the respective undertakings since last valued in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The global valuation process relates solely to the network occupied by the particular public utility and used by it for its principal object or purpose, such as the supply of electricity or gas or the provision of telecommunications or public transport. These global valuations cover all of the pipeline networks and systems of lines, cables, masts, posts, pylons, wires and other ancillary constructions which pertain to the use or development of the utility and which are necessary to get its products to the consumer. It should be noted that the global valuation does not include the valuation of other properties such as retail units or offices or industrial space occupied by the public utility but not used by it for its principal object or purpose. These other properties occupied by the utility are valued outside of the global valuation framework and in the same manner as properties occupied by other businesses.

The basis of valuation of all rateable property throughout the State is 'Net Annual Value' (NAV), as defined in Section 48 of the Valuation Act. This applies to both public utility undertakings valued on a global basis and conventional rateable properties such as shops, offices and industrial facilities operated by other businesses.

The most recent global valuations issued by the Commissioner were in respect of the communications utilities RTE Transmission Network Ltd and Virgin Media Ltd on 5 September 2016. Sections 53 and 56 of the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015 require the NAV determined by a global valuation to be apportioned amongst rating authorities and the apportioned valuation to be reduced to rateable valuation ('RV') in the rating areas yet to be revalued. This is a standard practice once a global valuation has been finalised.

The Valuation Act 2001 provides for the application of a Discount Factor, which is a technical mechanism to be considered when the global valuation is being apportioned between the various rating authority areas in which the network's property is located. Its application, if and where appropriate, is to take account of global valuations made and placed on an existing valuation list of a particular rating authority area before a revaluation has been carried out in that area (under Section 19 of the 2001 Act). This is a transitional provision provided for in the legislation to ensure equity and uniformity across all valuation lists. It is not arbitrary and is intended to reflect the relativity of the values on an existing valuation list to the NAV of the utility.

Statutory Instruments were prescribed to apportion the valuations and to reduce them to make relative as required by Section 53 of the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015. As part of the process, and as required by Section 53(8), consultation was carried out with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. Following detailed consideration of an appropriate reducing factor, a factor of 0.002343 was adopted for the global valuations published in both 2015 and 2016. The reducing factor only applied in non-revalued areas and thus excludes the City and County Council areas of Dublin, Limerick and Waterford which have been the subject of revaluation. I am advised that it was considered that, outside of the Dublin area, there had been no movement in the commercial rental market between the global valuation dates of 2014 and 2015. Therefore the reducing factor of 0.002343 was retained for the global valuations of RTE Transmission Network Ltd and Virgin Media Ltd, both of which had a valuation date of 2015 and which were published on 5 September 2016.

The global valuation is apportioned pursuant to Section 53(6)(a) of the 2001 Act, between each of the rating authorities in whose areas property comprised in the global valuation is situate. The apportionment is in the proportion, expressed as a percentage of the total population taken under the last published census of population.

As regards the collection of the rates, under Irish law there is a distinct separation of function between the valuation of rateable property and the setting and collection of commercial rates. The amount of rates payable by a particular ratepayer in any calendar year is a product of the valuation set by the Commissioner of Valuation, multiplied by the Annual Rate on Valuation ('ARV') decided annually by the elected members of each local authority. Whereas the setting of valuations is the responsibility of the Commissioner, the annual setting of the ARV is a reserved function of the elected members of each local authority and the Commissioner has no function in that regard.

Graffiti Policy

 239. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to restart the community graffiti reduction programme previously funded by his Department in order that householders can get assistance in removing graffiti. [43962/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Community Graffiti Reduction Programme was introduced in February 2008 and was sponsored by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Pobal managed the programme on behalf of these Departments. The programme ceased operation in 2009, and there are currently no plans to reintroduce the scheme.

Under the Litter Pollution Act, 1997, the primary responsibility for management and enforcement responses to litter pollution, including the defacement of structures by writing or other marks, lies with local authorities. The Act provides significant powers to local authorities to deal with these issues, including on-the-spot fines. It is a matter for each local authority to decide on the most appropriate public awareness, enforcement and clean-up actions to deal with graffiti, taking account of local circumstances and competing priorities.

I am advised by An Garda Síochána they also task local Community Policing Units with compiling information which might identify individuals associated with various graffiti incidents. In some instances graffiti is criminal damage and is dealt with by An Garda Síochána under the provisions of the Criminal Damage Act 1991. A person found guilty under the Act may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.

The Probation Service, which falls under the remit of my Department, operates two graffiti removal projects as part of its Community Service Scheme. One project is based in Dublin and one in Cork. The Probation Service does not have a dedicated graffiti project budget. Such projects are included within the overall community service budget.

Commemorative Events

 240. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans in the lead up to the 95th anniversary of the execution of Liam Mellows by the Free State in Mountjoy Gaol to issue a State apology to the families of the at least 77 persons executed in this period (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43452/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Government will continue to mark the significant historical events that took place on the road to the foundation of the State and will be advised and supported in its plans by the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations and in consultation with the Oireachtas All-Party Consultation Commemorative Committee, which I am in the process of reconvening. 

I am committed to ensuring that the State’s approach to remembering this period, and all of those who lost their lives during it, will be based on the respectful, sensitive, inclusive and authentic approach that has become the hallmark of the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme.

Creative Ireland Programme

 241. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the expenditure of the Creative Ireland programme to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43369/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys An enabling budget of €5m was allocated to implement the Creative Ireland Programme in 2017. This includes an ambitious plan to deliver ten high level initiatives by the end of 2017. Further details on the content of the Programme are available on http://creative.ireland.ie.

  To date, a sum of €3.4m has been spent implementing the Creative Ireland Programme. This includes €1m allocated to the local authorities to support their Culture and Creativity Plans for 2017, and €1.1m towards planning and rolling out Cruinniú na Cásca on Easter Monday. An additional sum of €0.3m has been spent on developing two websites to inform the public at home and abroad: http://creative.ireland.ie and www.Ireland.ie and associated digital content and social media platforms to support these websites. These have been promoted by an extensive public campaign to engage citizens in the Programme which to date has cost €0.25m.

  The Creative Ireland Programme is not a funding body and as such does not administer any grant or funding schemes. However, the Programme is taking the opportunity in this, its initial year, to engage and collaborate with several key cultural partners at various important national events and festivals in order to promote the objectives and underlying values of this major new Programme, and encourage deeper understanding and appreciation of the role of the creative arts.  To date a sum of €0.25m has been spent on this element of the Programme.

  The remaining sum of €0.5m has been expended on administrative and operational costs associated with the Creative Ireland Programme Project Office.

Arts Funding

 242. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the State’s contribution to cultural services per capita in comparison to the rest of the EU 28; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43371/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Funding allocations made available to my Department are published each year in the Revised Estimates Volume with the outturn published in the Annual Appropriation Account.

  The 2017 allocation to Arts, Culture and Film Division of my Department is €158.261m. The 2018 allocation to the Arts, Culture and Film Division is €167.301, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year.

  Most of this is allocated to the agencies under the aegis of the Department, including the Arts Council and Film Board, however, this does not represent all expenditure on the Arts in Ireland.

  Expenditure on the arts in Ireland comes from multiple sources, both public and private, including from other Government Departments.

  I understand that the CSO does not produce national statistics that capture the totality of this expenditure on a per capita basis.  Recently however, EUROSTAT published figures for expenditure on cultural services across the EU in 2015 (as a subset of a broader category of expenditure on Recreation, Culture and Religion).  This indicated that expenditure on Cultural Services in all 28 member states was EU €66,133 million in 2015 while the equivalent figure for Ireland was €580 million.  This in turn would suggest a per capital spend in Ireland on this sub-category of €125 per head of population as compared to an EU 28 average of €130 per head of population.

  However, it should be noted that my Department is engaging with the CSO in relation to the returns which Ireland makes regarding cultural expenditure to EUROSTAT to ensure that they are robust and comparable with data from other Member States covered by EUROSTAT. In this regard, the Department will be carrying further research in the coming period on expenditure on culture in Ireland.

  Details of the EUROSTAT tables are at this link: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/images/8/85/Total_general_government_expenditure_on_recreation%2C_culture_and_religion%2C_2015_%28%25_of_GDP_%25_of_total_expenditure%29.png.

EU Programmes

 243. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans to fund application assistance for Creative Europe applications for large scale projects in view of the underperformance of Irish applications in funding rounds to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43372/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I wish to advise the Deputy that in 2017 there was in fact a positive outcome for Irish applicants from the Co-operation Projects Strand of the Creative Europe Culture Sub-Programme.

In 2017 a total of 36 applications were made involving Irish organisations (2 as coordinators and 34 as partners) with a success rate in 2017 of 24%, well above the EU average of 16% and the UK average of 20%.

The overall direct grant allocation to Irish projects for the 2017 round of funding was just under €624k, which brings the total amount allocated to Ireland since the start of the Creative Europe Culture Sub-Programme to just under €2.1 million.

The Culture and Media Creative Desks, supported by the Arts Council, Irish Film Board, as well as through liaison with my Department, provide expertise and assistance for all applications being submitted to the Creative Europe Programme to optimise their potential for success.

In order to support  and assist Irish arts organisations who intend to apply under the Creative Europe Culture Sub-Programme, the Arts Council offers the Creative Europe (Culture Sub-Programme) Travel Award. This award is open to arts organisations developing proposals under the Creative Europe Culture Sub-Programme, and is intended to cover some of the costs associated with face-to-face meetings and to build connections with partner organisations in Europe.

In 2016, the Arts Council introduced a Co-funding Award which is open to Irish arts organisations which have been successful under the co-operation projects strand (both large and small scale) of the Creative Europe Culture Sub-Programme. This award assists Irish arts organisations in raising the required match funding for the Irish artistic costs associated with their project.

Full support is offered through these means to incentivise and facilitate as wide a participation as possible in the Creative Europe Programme 2014-2020 by Irish arts organisations and to build capacity within the sector in the longer term to develop suitable projects for European funding..

Disability Services Provision

 244. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the steps she is taking to increase the access for disabled persons to the arts; the amount of funding she has allocated to these programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43393/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Under the Arts Act 2003, primary responsibility for the promotion and support of the arts, including arts participation, throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council.

  The strategic context for the Arts Council’s support of arts participation and all other art forms and areas of arts practice is set out in Making Great Art Work: Arts Council Strategy (2016 –2025).  This strategy describes how the Council will lead the development of the arts in Ireland over the next decade.  This strategy has five priority areas: the artist; public engagement; investment strategy; spatial and demographic planning; and developing capacity.

  The Arts Council funds a number of key organisations and agencies that have a central role in supporting these strands of work, including Create; Arts & Disability Ireland; Age & Opportunity and Waterford Healing Arts Trust.

  I understand the Arts Council’s arts and disability policy is due to be reviewed and updated in the context of the council's new ten year strategy.

  National Cultural Institutions also respond through their programmes to develop wider access including for people with disabilities. In this context it should be noted that my Department has also been engaged with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland to consider the needs of the visually impaired. My Department will continue to work with the Council of National Cultural Institutions to encourage the development of access to all audiences.

  My Department is also represented on the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, and under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017 – 2020, is committed to ensuring that accessibility for all is supported through;

  - the application of universal design principles in the development of buildings and facilities, and

  - integrating disability inclusion into the design and operation of funding programmes and schemes.

  My Department provides significant capital support for cultural facilities nationwide. So far this year I have announced details of €10.078 million in capital funding to a total of 122 arts organisations under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018.  This scheme is the most significant investment in arts and cultural centres in a decade and will target investment at a range of different facilities, including works undertaken to improve disability access to venues.

  Details of the projects supported are available on my Department's website at www.chg.gov.ie.

Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding

 245. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if her attention has been drawn to the lack of spaces for younger and non-professional artists to participate in musical, artistic or other creative activities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43394/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I am aware of the issue regarding the provision of affordable studio space, particularly as a result of the changing property market.  My Department has had discussions with the Arts Council, the Office of Public Works and some local authorities to consider possible short-term and longer-term approaches to the issue, both in relation to specific issues in Dublin and to wider national approaches. 

  This year I announced details of over €10 million in capital funding to a total of 122 arts organisations around the country under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018. This allocation included over €900,000 in funding for projects involving artist's studios and creative spaces.   

  In addition, as part of the Government’s initiative on the North East Inner City, I awarded a grant of €35,000 last year to Fire Station Artists' Studios, Buckingham Street, to assist in providing additional studio space in conjunction with Dublin City Council.

  The list of successful projects under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.chg.gov.ie/arts/creative-arts/grants-and-funding/.

Arts Plan

 246. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if there are regular meetings of regional arts offices with each other. [43395/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I assume the Deputy is referring to Local Authority Arts Offices which are primarily an operational matter for the local authorities. However, I understand that there are opportunities for Arts Officers to engage with each other, for example, under the auspices of the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers.

The Arts Council, which is funded by my Department, provides support to local authorities directly for arts programming. The Arts Council also engages with local Arts Officers and local authorities in this role. In this regard, in March 2015 the Arts Council and the County and City Management Association announced a new ten year agreement A Framework for Collaboration  which gives a formal structure to the relationship between the Arts Council and local authorities for the first time.

Finally, Arts Officers are part of the local authority Culture Teams in local authorities across the country, and my Department, through the Creative Ireland Programme office, engages collectively with the co-ordinators of local authority Culture teams on a regular basis.

Arts Funding

 247. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if there is designated funding made available to Youthreach services for the provision of arts subjects. [43396/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Youthreach programme is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills and any funding under the Programme would be provided under the Department of Education and Skills.

Departmental Bodies Data

 248. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of her Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43412/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The following State bodies or boards fall under my remit: the Arts Council; the Chester Beatty Library; the Crawford Art Gallery; the Heritage Council; the Irish Film Board; the Irish Museum of Modern Art; the National Archives Advisory Council; the National Concert Hall; the National Gallery of Ireland; the National Library of Ireland; the National Museum of Ireland; the Irish Manuscripts Commission; Foras na Gaeilge; Údarás na Gaeltachta; and the Ulster Scots Agency.

  In line with Government policy, all Ministerial appointments to State boards under my remit are made following an open application process via the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

  The dedicated website, www.stateboards.ie, is the channel through which the PAS advertises vacancies on State Boards.  It is also the means through which accomplished, experienced and qualified people, including people who might not previously have been identified as available for appointment, can then apply to be considered for particular vacancies.

  This process aims to achieve a balance of different skills and qualifications needed for each board, whether these be in the Cultural, Heritage or Gaeltacht areas, or in more general areas of expertise such as corporate governance, finance, risk management, philanthropy, etc.  All of the Ministerial appointments to boards under my remit have met the qualification criteria set by PAS.  In addition, many appointments to the boards under my remit are made in ways other than via direct appointment by me as Minister: ex officio appointments; appointments arising from the recommendations of local authorities or other bodies; appointments by existing trustees in the case of the Chester Beatty Library; and appointments by the North/South Ministerial Council in the case of North/South bodies.

National Parks and Wildlife Service

 249. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if the National Parks and Wildlife Service has previously taken action to scare gulls off treated water reservoirs for Dublin city; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43532/17]

 250. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if the NPWS has previously taken action to scare and-or remove gulls off rooftops at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43533/17]

 251. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if the NPWS has previously taken action to scare and-or remove gulls off a location (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43534/17]

 265. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if the NPWS has previously acted to scare gulls away from treated water reservoirs in Dublin city, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda and at a location (details supplied). [43560/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 249 to 251, inclusive, and 265 together.

My Department has previously issued licenses under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts to scare (birds) or remove eggs or nests of various gull species in respect of the locations referred to by the Deputies.  The NPWS does not undertake such work as that is a matter for the relevant applicant or competent authority. The responsibility of my Department is in relation to the granting of licenses for such actions.


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