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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 537-556
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund
 Header Item Leader Programmes Funding
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications
 Header Item Illness Benefit Payments
 Header Item Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility
 Header Item Free Travel Scheme
 Header Item Carer's Benefit Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Eligibility
 Header Item Fuel Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Social Welfare Benefits
 Header Item Social Welfare Appeals
 Header Item Social Welfare Appeals
 Header Item State Bodies

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. 537-556

Dormant Accounts Fund

 537. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the balance in the Dormant Accounts Fund at the end of September 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43623/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Dormant Accounts Act 2001, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003 and the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Acts 2005-2012, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.  The Dormant Accounts Fund is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency.

The legislation governing the Fund provides for a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed, for the purposes of supporting programmes or projects to assist specified disadvantaged groups.  My Department coordinates these disbursement schemes.

Since its establishment in April 2003 to the end of September 2017, inflows to the Dormant Accounts Fund have totalled some €941.5 million, including interest earned of approximately €41 million.

Payments made from the Fund amount to €649.6 million, including €357.87 million reclaimed by account holders.

When account is taken of a reserve for future claims by account holders, and commitments to be disbursed by the NTMA on foot of approvals to projects and programmes, the net value of the Dormant Accounts Fund stood at €124.8 million at the end of September 2017.

Dormant Accounts Fund

 538. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring why his Department spent less than half of the amount provided for in Vote Estimates from the Dormant Accounts Fund in the 2012 to 2016 period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43624/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The programmes and projects funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund are implemented through a number of Government Departments. It is a matter for the Accounting Officers of the relevant Departments to comment on underspends which occurred on programmes or projects which came under their Departments' remit over the period 2012-2016.

Statutory responsibility for the Dormant Accounts Fund, along with certain measures administered by the former Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and the former Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, were transferred to my Department on 27th July 2017.

I will be seeking to ensure that any measures operated by my own Department which are supported by the Dormant Accounts Fund are run as effectively as possible and that the funding provided is fully utilised..

Dormant Accounts Fund

 539. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the status of the 2015 and 2016 action plans relating to the disbursement scheme; the reason for the delay in publication; when they will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43625/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Responsibility for the Dormant Accounts Fund disbursement schemes transferred from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in May 2016.  It subsequently transferred to my Department on 27 July 2017. 

While the Deputy's question relates to periods prior to the transfer of responsibility to my Department, I understand that while there was no Action Plan for 2015, a Dormant Accounts Action Plan for 2016 was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 14 April 2016.

Dormant Accounts Fund

 540. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the number of disbursement reports, similar to the disbursement of moneys from the investment and disbursements accounts annual report 2014, that have been published on an annual basis prior to this report; the reports that have been published since; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43626/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Prior to 2013, disbursements from the Dormant Accounts Fund were managed by the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Board and, subsequently, by the Dormant Accounts Board. 

The Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012 dissolved the Dormant Accounts Board and transferred the statutory functions of the Board to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government with effect from 1st January 2013. 

The Act provides that the Minister shall prepare and furnish an annual report to the Government on the disbursement of monies from the Dormant Accounts Funds to programmes and projects during the preceding year.  The first annual report following the transfer of these functions was in respect of 2014.   

Responsibility for the Dormant Accounts Fund disbursement schemes transferred to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in May 2016 and subsequently to my Department on 27th July 2017.  I will be bringing the Annual Reports on the operation of the Dormant Accounts Fund disbursement schemes for 2015 and 2016 to Government for approval shortly with a view to their publication..

Leader Programmes Funding

 541. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the value of increase in the Leader allocation for 2018 compared to the allocation for 2017 that was announced in budget 2017; and if the 2017 budget allocation was revised at some point, the detail of same.  [43896/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The total amount of funding provided for the LEADER Programme over the period 2014-2020 is €250 million. LEADER is a multi-annual programme and the €250 million will be drawn down over the full lifetime of the programme.

The original allocation for LEADER for 2017 was €40 million, as reflected in the Vote for the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Following the transfer of functions from that Department to the Department of Rural and Community Development in July this year, a review of expenditure was carried out across all transferring programme areas in the context of the preparation of the 2018 Budget and Estimates.

While project approvals under LEADER have increased substantially since June, total expenditure under LEADER this year is likely to be less than anticipated.  My Department therefore sought approval from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to transfer €10 million from the LEADER subhead (reducing allocation to €30 million in 2017) to support measures under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) in 2017. There was clearly sufficient demand to support the LIS scheme this year and the transfer of funding from LEADER does not, in any way, reduce the Government’s commitment to provide €250 million to LEADER over the duration of the programme.

The revisions to the allocations will be reflected in a Further Revised Estimate for my Department which will be presented to the Select Committee on Rural and Community Development shortly. 

The provision sought in the 2018 Estimates for the LEADER programme is €35 million. I am satisfied this level of increase is in line with anticipated activity under the LEADER Programme in 2018.  I will be keeping this under review.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 542. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the detail of the €1.8 million increase to the rural and community affairs programme expenditure line in budget 2018; and the amount that will be spent on the Leader programme.  [43897/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department's allocation under the recently published Expenditure Report 2018 has increased by €19.3 million to €212.3 million, compared to 2017.  Additional details and information in relation to the programme allocations will be contained in the Revised Estimates Volume for Public Services 2018, which will be published in due course.

Dormant Accounts Fund

 543. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring when the dormant accounts funding scheme for social enterprises will reopen to applicants for 2018-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43913/17]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Earlier this year, I approved €1.65 million in funding under the 2016 Dormant Accounts Action Plan for 42 social enterprise projects, to enhance their capacity to deliver services and generate traded income.

My Department also this year published the 2017 Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan which contains details of specific programmes and projects across Government which will be funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund. This Action Plan includes a number of measures to support social enterprises, including initiatives within my own Department's remit and from the Irish Prison Services.

My Department will coordinate the preparation of a Dormant Accounts Action Plan for 2018 and will invite Departments to submit proposals for inclusion in the Plan. It will be open to Departments to include in this Plan further initiatives to support social enterprises. From my own Department's perspective, I envisage that the 2018 Plan will once again include a number of measures to support the sector.

My Department is currently developing a comprehensive National Policy on Social Enterprise which will provide a framework for the development of the sector into the future. I hope to be in a position to support the implementation of this policy through a call for proposals under the Social Enterprise measure of the Dormant Accounts Fund early in 2018.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 544. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43425/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Department is currently experiencing delays in the processing of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) claims due to an increase in claim volumes and the need for more detailed decisions to be provided, following a High Court ruling. Corrective actions are in place, including additional deciding officers assigned to the scheme. As a result average processing times have reduced over recent weeks and at present it is taking on average 17 weeks to finalise an application.

Applications are processed in date of receipt order, having regard to the complexity of each individual case. An application for DCA was received in the Department from this lady on the 22 June 2017. While it is not feasible to provide an exact date for when a particular application will be finalised, the applications currently being finalised were received in late May/early June 2017. This application will be considered by a Deciding Officer and the decision notified as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Payments

 545. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason the illness benefit of a person (details supplied) was suspended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43619/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The person concerned suffered an injury at work in November 2016 and claimed Injury Benefit which was awarded and paid.

  It is standard procedure that customers claiming Injury Benefit and Illness Benefit are routinely referred for a medical assessment by a Medical Assessor of this Department following which their cases are reviewed by a Deciding Officer.

  In this case the person concerned has already been assessed by a Medical Assessor twice and on both occasions the Medical Assessor’s opinion was that he is capable of work. However, the Deciding Officer, while reviewing the case, noted that both of his assessments were conducted by the same Medical Assessor and arrangements have been made for him to be examined by a different Medical Assessor.

If, on further review, he continues to be considered capable of work he will have the option to appeal this decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. If he is deemed not capable of work payment of his Illness Benefit will be reinstated and backdated to May 2017 when it was suspended.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

 546. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason a person (details supplied) who was previously employed in County Donegal was not paid jobseeker's benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [43620/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) is based on PRSI contributions paid by the customer.

The main provisions relating to JB are contained in Chapter 12 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, and Chapter 5 of Part 2 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) as amended. Article 65 of the regulations refers to a separate class of workers called `frontier workers'. Article 1 (f) defines a frontier worker as any employed or self-employed person who works in the territory of a Member State and lives in the territory of another Member State to which s/he returns as a rule daily or at least once a week.

Article 65 provides that where such a worker becomes partially unemployed (e.g. part-time workers), the State in which that person is normally employed is responsible for paying unemployment benefits. However, where a frontier worker becomes fully unemployed, the State in which s/he is resident will be responsible for paying the benefit.

As the person concerned is a frontier worker, who is fully unemployed, they should apply for benefit from the Member State where they reside. Any contributions made by the person concerned in this State will be taken into consideration when determining entitlement to unemployment security benefits in that jurisdiction.

Free Travel Scheme

 547. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if a passenger survey on public transport will be commissioned to assess the true costs of the free travel scheme to CIÉ, thereby making payment patterns from her Department more transparent.  [43649/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty My Department makes a block payment to the CIÉ Group and the apportionment of payment between the three constituent companies, Bus Éireann, Bus Átha Cliath and Iarnród Éireann is a matter for the CIE Group to determine. In 2016, €61.4 million was paid to the CIE Group for the free travel scheme.

In the early years of the free travel scheme surveys of passenger numbers were carried out by CIE with their rate of payment being adjusted to take account of the survey results, fare increases and increases in numbers qualified. Given the large numbers of passengers involved it would not be feasible to return to surveys of passengers now. The block payment to the CIE group is a service charge that has been negotiated over the years based on a range of factors including passenger numbers, fare levels, availability and frequency of services, peak time access, service improvements and enhancements. While there are no plans to return to the survey process of public transport companies my Department, the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority have been reviewing the payment mechanisms and funding levels for the scheme. The use of the free travel variant of the Public Services Card will also provide journey data in this regard.

It is important to note also that in Budget 2018, I announced an additional investment of €10 million for the free travel scheme.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

 548. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43381/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I confirm that my Department received an application for carer’s benefit from the person concerned on 3 August 2017. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 549. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of an appeal for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43383/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision on 7 September 2017.   

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 550. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of an application for carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43384/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 24 August 2017. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 13 September 2017 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Eligibility

 551. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the eligibility for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43387/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay-related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

The PRSI contribution conditions are that the person must have at least 260 (5 years) paid contributions since entering social insurance and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last complete contribution year before the date of their claim. Only PRSI classes A, E or H contributions are reckonable for IP purposes.

New regulations will come into effect from 1 December 2017 whereby class S (self-employment) contributions will be reckonable for IP purposes.

To date there is no record in my department of receipt of a claim for IP from the gentleman in question. According to the department’s records, it appears that this gentleman does not satisfy the PRSI contribution criteria for IP at present. However, entitlement to IP can only be definitively determined on receipt of a completed claim form.

Persons who have an insufficient employment/PRSI record to qualify for a social insurance benefit/pension may apply for the appropriate means-tested social assistance scheme. For example, persons between the ages of 16 and 66 who are suffering from an illness or disability which is expected to last at least 1 year, may qualify for disability allowance (DA). DA is subject to a medical assessment, a means test and a habitual residency test.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance Eligibility

 552. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the eligibility for fuel allowance in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43388/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The person concerned submitted an application for Illness Benefit commencing 6 March 2017, but did not satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

  Although this claim was awarded, no payment was due. The person concerned is currently in receipt of a Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment.

  Generally speaking, subject to some other conditions, the fuel allowance is payable to persons who are receiving certain long term social welfare payments. Illness benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance are not regarded as long term payments and, accordingly, the fuel allowance is not payable with them.

  Disability Allowance is a means tested payment where a person has a disability which is expected to last for at least twelve months. Fuel allowance is payable with this benefit. The person concerned might like to consider making an application for Disability Allowance – application forms are available in the local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

 553. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if she will review the position of those social welfare recipients who attend a training course with the National Learning Network or similar bodies and on returning to a jobseeker's allowance payment are not entitled to receive the Christmas bonus.  [43391/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I was pleased to announce on Budget Day that an 85% Christmas Bonus will be paid this year to over 1.2 million long-term social welfare recipients, such as pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, lone parents and long-term jobseekers at a cost of €219 million.

Recipients of Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) must be in receipt of the payment for a minimum of 15 months (391 days) in order to be eligible for the bonus. Long-term jobseekers are eligible for the bonus in recognition of their being wholly or mostly financially dependent on their welfare payment for income.

A person who participated in a National Learning Network (NLN) or other Solas/ETB training course and is in receipt of JA for a minimum of 391 days in the relevant week of the Bonus payment will automatically qualify for and receive the Bonus.

People with less than 391 days duration on JA may be entitled to the bonus if they have spent 15 months in total on eligible payments or schemes, including NLN courses. The time spent on the training course will be taken into account when determining eligibility for the Bonus.

As it is not possible to identify these cases automatically through the Department’s IT systems, it is necessary to deal with each case on an individual basis. In this regard, affected JA recipients should go to their Intreo office in order to establish their entitlement to a bonus payment. It should be noted that it is not possible for the Department to establish entitlement for the bonus in these cases until the first week of December.

Payment of the bonus to existing NLN or Solas/ETB participants is a matter for the Department of Education and Skills..

Social Welfare Appeals

 554. Deputy Mary Butler Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if an appeal by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43399/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 5 October 2017, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  If the means of the person concerned are insufficient to meet his needs, it is open to him to contact his local Intreo Centre to explore his possible entitlement to a means tested payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme pending the outcome of his Jobseeker’s Benefit appeal.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

 555. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43400/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 3 August 2017. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Bodies

 556. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty 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 for which the board or body has oversight.  [43414/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The statutory bodies operating under the aegis of my Department are the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Authority, the Pensions Council, the Pensions Ombudsman, the Social Welfare Tribunal and the Low Pay Commission.

  None of the above is a professional body or board within the meaning of the Deputy’s question.


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