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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 725-745
 Header Item Ministerial Advisers Data
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Funding
 Header Item School Services Staff
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Foireann Roinne
 Header Item Defence Forces Remuneration
 Header Item Commemorative Medals
 Header Item Air Corps Equipment
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards Data
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Emergency Planning
 Header Item Defence Forces Remuneration
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel Data
 Header Item Departmental Contracts Data
 Header Item Foireann Roinne

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 962 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 725-745

Ministerial Advisers Data

 725. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the names of the special advisers employed in his Department; the names of special advisers to junior ministers or Ministers of State in his Department; and the annual gross salary of each adviser. [50441/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Two Special Advisers, Mr. Jack O'Donnell and Ms. Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, are employed in my Department. Both are paid by my Department on the Principal Officer (Standard) PPC pay scale (€81,767 - €100,333). There are no Special Advisers employed in respect of the Ministers of State in my Department.

Social and Affordable Housing

 726. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his plans to include a summary at the start of all future social housing construction status reports from quarter 3, Q3, 2017 providing the number of units that have secured planning permission, that have commenced, that have completed and that have been tenanted since the previous quarters reports. [50495/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy In publishing quarterly Social Housing Construction Status Reports, my Department already provides information in relation to the social housing projects and the number of new social homes that have commenced on site and have been completed, as well as information on the projects at the various stages of advancement. The most recent report, in relation to Quarter 2 2017, is available at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/rebuilding-ireland/minister-murphy-publishes-details-further-progress-social-housing-schemes. 

My Department does not have a direct role in either the planning process or the final tenanting of social homes, so I do not propose to collect statistics on these areas. The information on social housing projects at the various stages of advancement that is published includes those that are at 'Stage 2' or 'pre-planning'. Projects beyond that stage will have secured planning approval. In terms of tenanting, this is a matter for individual local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies and I would expect units to be tenanted without delay.

Social and Affordable Housing Funding

 727. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if his Department or local authorities have discretion to offer private developers more than a 10% deposit in advance of the purchase of turnkey developments for social housing; if deposits of above 10% have ever been sanctioned by his Department to facilitate the progress of such turnkey developments; and if he has given consideration to allowing the use of such discretion with respect to a specific development in a location (details supplied) in County Kerry. [50520/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy In respect of a small number of turnkey projects an approach has been progressed whereby land was provided as security against the provision of a deposit above the usual level. The availability of this approach to Kerry County Council will be considered in circumstances where it is feasible and recommended by the local authority.

School Services Staff

 728. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if his attention has been drawn to the delay in appointing a traffic warden for a school (details supplied) despite the position being approved in June 2017. [50525/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, it is the Chief Executive of the Council who is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority.

  My Department received a staff sanction request from Cork County Council for a School Warden, Mitchelstown, on a part-time, permanent basis and following consideration of the request, the post was approved.

Commencement of Legislation

 729. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if all sections of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 have been commenced; if not when remaining sections will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50627/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English All sections of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 have been commenced, apart from section 34 which amends section 96 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, in relation to rental accommodation availability agreements. 

The commencement of section 34 is linked to Chapter 4 of Part 2 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, relating to rental accommodation arrangements, which has not been commenced to date because its commencement requires that section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, as amended, is commenced.

While section 31 of the 2009 Act, which provides for the introduction of a national framework for social housing rents, has not been commenced, considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft framework for a harmonisation of the approach to be taken by local authorities in regard to various aspects of rent schemes. These proposals were examined further in the light of the broader commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to review the disparate systems of differential rents for social housing in place across local authorities. I expect that the review will be completed shortly.

Foireann Roinne

 730. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy cén líon iomlán foirne atá fostaithe ina Roinn faoi láthair; cé mhéid post atá daingnithe nó aitheanta ag an Roinn (i scéim teanga, nó ar aon bhealach eile) mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo; cé mhéid duine atá ann ag a bhfuil líofacht i nGaeilge agus atá ag feidhmiú sna poist sin atá daingnithe no aitheanta mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo; an bhfuil sé beartaithe ag an tráth seo aon phost eile de chuid na Roinne a aithint mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge [50685/17]

 731. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy cé mhéid folúntas a líonadh ina Roinn ó thús na bliana seo; cé mhéid de na folúntais sin a bhain le poist a bhí sainaitheanta mar phoist a raibh Gaeilge riachtanach ina leith; cé mhéid folúntas atá le líonadh faoi láthair agus cé mhéid de na folúntais siúd atá sainaitheanta mar fholúntais a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo. [50702/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 730 and 731 together.

Tá 651 fostaithe i mo Roinn ar bhonn coibhéiseach lánaimseartha, agus níl éinne acu i bpost atá ainmnithe le riachtanas Gaeilge faoi leith.  Tá 57 ball foirne nua earcaithe in iomláine trasna na grádanna éagsúla i mbliana. 

Mar chuid dá Phleanáil d’Fhórsa Saothair, rinne mo Roinn imscrúdú ar líon na bpost ina bhfuil inniúlacht faoi leith sa Ghaeilge ag teastáil.  Fuarthas nach bhfuil poist den chineál sin sa Roinn, ag an am seo, agus dá bhrí sin níl aon phoist faoi leith ainmnithe le riachtanas dátheangach.  Tá é seo tugtha le fios don Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe.  Mar chuid de phleanáil leanúnach d’fhórsa saothair, déantar monatóireacht agus athbhreithniú ar an gcás ar bhonn rialta.

Tá roinnt d’fhoireann na Roinne faoi láthair áfach atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge agus is féidir na baill seo a dhíriú chuig réimsí oibre faoi leith ina bhfuil gá le Gaeilge agus / nó Béarla nuair is gá. Leanfaidh mo Roinn ag soláthar deiseanna do bhaill foirne a gcuid scileanna Gaeilge a fheabhsú trí oiliúint teanga ag leibhéil éagsúla a chur ar fail.

Defence Forces Remuneration

 732. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department is reviewing the pay structure of members of the Permanent Defence Force (details supplied); if he will address the matter in order to ensure Defence Forces members are appropriately remunerated for their roles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50280/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Rates of remuneration and conditions of employment in the Irish public sector have traditionally been set by reference to relative levels of pay across the various sectors of the Irish public sector. Like other areas within the Public Service, the pay of the Permanent Defence Force was reduced during the financial crisis. The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts of 2009-2015 (FEMPI) and the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2018 (Lansdowne Road Agreement) define current pay policy. PDFORRA signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement in March 2017. The finalisation of negotiations under the agreement allowed for the commencement of the process for the implementation of pay increases and arrears, which have now been applied to the Permanent Defence Force. An increase of 2.5% from 1 January 2016, for annualised salaries up to €24,000 and 1% for annualised salaries between €24,001 and €31,000 was included in the weekly payroll of 5 July 2017. An increase of €1,000 from 1 April 2017 on annualised salaries up to €65,000 per annum was paid on 19 July 2017.    

The pay of general service recruits and privates who joined the Permanent Defence Force post 1 January 2013 has been increased further following an agreement, facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), between the Department of Defence, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and PDFORRA. These improved payscales, have been backdated to 1 July 2016. The payments were made to relevant personnel on 30 August 2017.    

  Going forward, there is the potential for further increases arising from the recent negotiations on the extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 contains proposals for:

 - a 7.25% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning less than €30,000 per annum 

 - a 6.75% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning between €30,001 and €32,000 per annum, and

 - a 5.75% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning over €32,000 per annum. 

  The Government recognises the contribution made by all public servants, including members of the Permanent Defence Force, during the economic crisis, to restoring our public finances and getting the country back on track. In making these improvements, the Government is ensuring that the increases are weighted in favour of those on lower pay.   

  Under the provisions of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017, which is currently before the Oireachtas, it is anticipated that, between 2018 and 2020, the pay of all public servants (including members of the Defence Forces) earning under €70,000 will be restored to pre FEMPI levels.   

  The proposals have been presented to the Permanent Defence Force Representative Associations who participated in the negotiation process. They are subject to ballot by members of the Associations.    

  Future remuneration of Defence Forces personnel will continue to be dealt with within this collective process.   

  The Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017 which provides for restoration of pay also provides for the restoration of the 5% reduction in allowances under FEMPI. The restoration of Defence Force Allowances which were reduced under the Haddington Road Agreement are currently the subject of separate negotiations under the Conciliation & Arbitration Scheme.   

  In relation to contracts for enlisted personnel, I have directed civil and military management to initiate a broad view and to bring forward recommendations for my consideration.   

Commemorative Medals

 733. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the first and second infantry group that completed overseas service in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be awarded medals for their service; and if Defence Forces members that served in Cyprus will be acknowledged. [49887/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe In general terms, medals are currently awarded to members of the Defence Forces on the basis of various criteria such as their length of service, for service overseas and for acts of bravery associated with such service both at home and overseas. Members who serve overseas on UN missions or UN mandated missions, subject to certain criteria, are currently eligible for the award of An Bonn Chosantóirí Síochána na Náisiún Aontaithe (United Nations Peacekeepers Medal). This medal is only awarded once to any individual, irrespective of the number of overseas missions that they complete during their career.

In addition to this medal, a member who serves overseas may also be eligible for the award of a mission-specific medal by the mission organisers.

The military authorities inform me that all Defence Forces personnel who were deployed on the overseas missions referred to by the Deputy received the appropriate mission-specific awards provided that they met the criteria laid down by the United Nations for each of the missions referred to and reflected in Defence Forces Regulations. The qualifying service period was 90 days in the mission area.

I am advised by the military authorities that any personnel who met the eligibility criteria and were not awarded the mission medal should contact the Defence Forces Ceremonial Branch.

It should be noted that last June I and the former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, decided to award a medal to the men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and, in the case of those members who are deceased, to their next of kin, to give full and due recognition in honour of the courageous actions of the men during the siege at Jadotville in September 1961. This was an exceptional measure that recognises their bravery and courage during the unique circumstances of that siege. This was an initiative I had been working on for some time and I was privileged to be able to take the decision to award a medal to the men of “A” Company.

Air Corps Equipment

 734. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the details of the aircraft fleet replacement programme for the Air Corps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49904/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out on the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment planning process. In this context the principal aim over the period of the White Paper will be to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements both at home and overseas.

The White Paper on Defence provides that the Air Corps will see the Cessna fleet replaced with three larger aircraft suitably equipped for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance tasks. The tender competition for the procurement of the three new aircraft is under way and the cost will be determined by the outcome of the tender competition which is expected to conclude shortly.

The two Air Corps CASA 235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft are due for replacement in 2019. The White Paper also provides for the replacement of the CASA 235s with consideration to be given to their replacement with larger more capable aircraft which would enhance maritime surveillance and provide a greater degree of utility for transport and cargo carrying tasks.

Also, a decision was made in 2016 to replace a PC-9M aircraft and this aircraft was delivered from Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland this July at a cost of €5 m exclusive of VAT. The new aircraft brings the fleet up to 8 and will assist in a required increase in pilot training in the Air Corps.

Appointments to State Boards Data

 735. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of vacancies in each State board under the aegis of his Department, in tabular form. [49933/17]

 736. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the names of persons he has appointed to each State board under the aegis of his department that have not come from the Public Appointments Service list of suitable candidates, in tabular form. [49995/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 735 and 736 together.

The only State body currently under the aegis of the Department of Defence is the Army Pensions Board. The Army Pensions Board is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act 1927. The Act specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non-military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

The most recent appointment to the Army Pensions Board was Commandant Zdenek Osecky as an ordinary member with effect from 24th June 2016. Commandant Osecky was appointed on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff to fill the ordinary member position which must be filled by a serving officer of the Army Medical Corps.

No vacancies currently exist on the Army Pensions Board.

Ministerial Communications

 737. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he has used a private email account to send or receive official documents or positions on Brexit; and if so, the details of this correspondence. [50056/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I did not use a private email account to send or receive official documents or positions on Brexit.   

Departmental Bodies Data

 738. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the bodies under the aegis of his Department to which his Department provides in excess of €1 million funding per annum; the public funding received by these bodies; the bodies for which 50% or more of their income comes from public sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50112/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe There are no bodies under the aegis of my Department that receive funding in excess of €1 m.

Ministerial Meetings

 739. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans to meet the UK Defence Secretary and US Secretary for Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50318/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Formal and informal meetings of Ministers at EU level provide a significant opportunity to engage bilaterally with Ministers from other member States, including the UK, on issues of concern to Ireland, both within the scope of the Ministry but also more broadly. In terms of formal bilateral meetings, I have previously met with The Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon, MP the then Secretary of State at the UK Ministry of Defence. Our discussion covered a wide range of topics mainly in the security and defence domain but also focused on Brexit and the implications for Ireland and the EU. Last month, I met with The Rt Hon Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence where again our main focus was in relation to Brexit.   

  At this time, there are no arrangements in place for meetings with the current UK Defence Secretary, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, or the US Secretary for Defence, Mr. James Mattis.   

Emergency Planning

 740. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if the Army is satisfied that it has the resources to offer meaningful support to individual families and communities in the event of dangerous flooding this winter and spring; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50334/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe At National level, representation on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, by both the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, ensures the fullest co-ordination and co-operation in the event of an emergency. In accordance with the Framework for Major Emergency Management, primary responsibility for responding to emergencies caused by severe weather events, such as storms and flooding, rests with the three designated principal response agencies, namely, the relevant Local Authority, An Garda Síochána, and the Health Service Executive. The Defence Forces provide the fullest possible assistance to the appropriate agencies in the event of a natural disaster or emergency situation in its Aid to the Civil Authority role.

Major Emergency Plans have been developed by local and regional authorities and these Plans identify the procedures for requesting assistance from the Defence Forces.

The Defence Forces retains a wide range of specialist skills which can be deployed in such circumstances. The full spectrum of Defence Forces personnel and equipment are available for deployment in response to any emergencies that may arise.

I am satisfied that the assistance provided by the Defence Forces is provided in a co-ordinated way and that the tried and tested arrangements work well in response to emergencies.

Defence Forces Remuneration

 741. Deputy Michael Harty Information on Michael Harty Zoom on Michael Harty asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the progress that has been made on ameliorating low pay and conditions experienced by Defence Forces personnel (details supplied) outlined in a University of Limerick report in last July 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50335/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The rates of remuneration and conditions of employment in the Defence Forces are set by reference to relative levels of pay across the various parts of the public sector. Like other areas of the Public Service, the pay of the Permanent Defence Force was reduced during the financial crisis. The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts of 2009-2015 (FEMPI) and the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2018 (the Lansdowne Road Agreement) define current pay policy for Public Servants and members of the Permanent Defence Force.   

  It should be noted that the remarks relating to levels of pay contained within the focus group report compiled by the University of Limerick, predate a number of measures which have been taken this year to increase the pay of Permanent Defence Force personnel. The focus of these measures have been on the lower paid.

PDFORRA signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) agreement in March 2017. The finalisation of negotiations under the agreement allowed for the commencement of the process for the implementation of pay increases and arrears, which have now been applied to the Permanent Defence Force. An increase of 2.5% from 1 January 2016 for annualised salaries up to €24,000 and 1% for annualised salaries between €24,001 and €31,000 was included in the weekly payroll of 5 July 2017. An increase of €1,000 from 1 April 2017 on annualised salaries up to €65,000 per annum was paid on 19 July 2017.    

  The pay of general service recruits and privates who joined the Permanent Defence Force post 1 January 2013 has been increased further following an agreement, facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), between the Department of Defence, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and PDFORRA. These improved payscales have been backdated to 1 July 2016. The payments were made to relevant personnel on 30 August 2017.    

  Going forward, there is the potential for further increases for public servants, including members of the Permanent Defence Force, arising from the recent negotiations on the extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 contains proposals for:

 - a 7.25% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning less than €30,000 per annum

 - a 6.75% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning between €30,001 and €32,000 per annum, and

 - a 5.75% increase over the period of the agreement for those earning over €32,000 per annum. 

  The Government recognises the contribution made by all public servants, including members of the Permanent Defence Force, during the economic crisis, to restoring our public finances and getting the country back on track. In making these improvements the Government is ensuring that the increases are weighted in favour of those on lower pay.   

  Under the provisions of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017, which is currently before the Oireachtas, it is anticipated that, between 2018 and 2020, the pay of public servants, including members of the Defence Forces, earning under €70,000 will be restored to pre-FEMPI levels.   

  The proposals have been presented to the Permanent Defence Force representative associations who participated in the negotiation process. They are subject to ballot by members of the associations.    

  Future remuneration of Defence Forces personnel will continue to be dealt with within this collective process.   

Defence Forces Personnel Data

 742. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of civilian positions which have become vacant in the year 2017 to date at Custume Barracks, Athlone; if these positions will be filled; if so, the timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50352/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Two civilian posts have become vacant at Custume Barracks, Athlone to date in 2017. Following the lifting of the embargo on recruitment to the Public Service, the military authorities have been identifying posts to be filled at various locations throughout the country on a prioritised basis. Competitions to fill posts identified by the military authorities are initiated following assessment of the business requirement for the posts. Posts in Custume Barracks, Athlone, as is the case with posts at other military installations, are currently the subject of this ongoing assessment process.

Departmental Contracts Data

 743. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the public contracts between his Department and companies (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2016; the value of each contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50398/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I can confirm that my Department placed a contract with the second of the three named companies in 2013 in the amount of €1,987.36.

Foireann Roinne

 744. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Taoisigh agus Aire Cosanta Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar cén líon iomlán foirne atá fostaithe ina Roinn faoi láthair; cé mhéid post atá daingnithe nó aitheanta ag an Roinn (i scéim teanga, nó ar aon bhealach eile) mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo; cé mhéid duine atá ann ag a bhfuil líofacht i nGaeilge agus atá ag feidhmiú sna poist sin atá daingnithe no aitheanta mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo; an bhfuil sé beartaithe ag an tráth seo aon phost eile de chuid na Roinne a aithint mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge [50679/17]

 745. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Taoisigh agus Aire Cosanta Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar cé mhéid folúntas a líonadh ina Roinn ó thús na bliana seo; cé mhéid de na folúntais sin a bhain le poist a bhí sainaitheanta mar phoist a raibh Gaeilge riachtanach ina leith; cé mhéid folúntas atá le líonadh faoi láthair agus cé mhéid de na folúntais siúd atá sainaitheanta mar fholúntais a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leo. [50696/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 744 and 745 together.   

  Bhí 348 ball foirne i mo Roinn an 31 Deireadh Fómhair 2017. 33 an líon iomlán folúntas atá líonta i mo Roinn go dtí seo in 2017. 7 bhfolúntas ar fad atá fós le líonadh.

  Níl aon phost laistigh de mo Roinn atá aitheanta mar phost a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leis agus níl sé beartaithe aon phost a aithint sa Roinn mar phost a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag baint leis. Is beag caidreamh a bhíonn ag an Roinn leis an bpobal agus mar sin is beag éileamh atá ar sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge. Mar a fhoráiltear i Scéim Gaeilge reatha agus roimhe seo na Roinne, baineann an Roinn úsáid as grúpa pearsanra a cuireadh le chéile ar bhonn deonach chun cabhrú le Brainsí na Roinne seirbhísí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge agus chun idirghníomhú le custaiméirí más gá. Déantar athbhreithniú leanúnach ar an ngrúpa deonach seo.   


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