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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 455-472
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item Official Engagements
 Header Item Community Services Programme
 Header Item LEADER Programmes
 Header Item Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
 Header Item Departmental Schemes
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item Official Engagements
 Header Item Carer's Benefit Eligibility
 Header Item Tax and Social Welfare Codes
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Benefit Applications Data
 Header Item Carer's Benefit Applications
 Header Item Departmental Staff

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 973 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 99 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 455-472

Departmental Funding

 455. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the grants and funding issued to organisations and projects in Dublin 24 in 2018. [40696/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Details of the grants and funding issued to organisations and projects in Dublin 24 under the programmes and schemes administered by my Department in 2018 are set out hereunder.

  Early Years Programmes and Services

Organisation *Funding Provided €
Discoveries Crèche & Montessori School Ltd 90,798.40
The Children's House Montessori School 18,657.60
Carrigwood Playgroup 18,285.20
Castleview Community Playgroup 35,349.30
St Dominic's Tots Playgroup 74,826.70
Ballycullen Montessori 55,098.44
Kilnamanagh Kids Crèche & Montessori School 132,443.37
Glenview Montessori Pre-School 34,190.98
Toddling Tots 49,178.30
Four Seasons Pre-School 83,560.46
St. Kevin's Childcare Centre 335,769.09
Young Explorers' Preschoool 155,928.80
Fonthill Lodge Daycare - Tallaght 76,275.86
Drysdale Montessori School 41,856.28
Headstart Pre-school 62,589.84
Stepping Stones Crèche and Montessori 223,943.30
Naíonra Chaitlin Maude Rath Miontain (Jobstown) 27,877.38
Daisy Chain Pre-School 87,106.74
Naíonra Santain Teoranta 94,589.30
Killakee Montessori & Crèche 31,432.80
Step-n-Stones Montessori 33,369.72
Starlight Playgroup 60,243.00
Ashling Nursery and Montessori School 101,105.20
Bohernabreena Community Enterprise 119,186.48
Kingswood Pre school 29,370.50
Firhouse Montessori School 44,466.90
Mini Marvels Montessori School 15,421.80
Ard Mor Montessori - Respond Childcare 38,319.04
Early Steps Pre-school 70,886.70
The Little Children's Centre - Fettercairn Community 143,792.40
Fledglings - St Anne's Fettercairn 53,945.80
Petal's 30,935.70
Cocoon Childcare - Tallaght 191,895.32
Cocoon Childcare - Citywest 197,426.30
St Mark's Youth Club 54,386.40
Happy Days Playgroup 84,565.20
Happy Friends Playgroup 59,211.20
Chuckleberries - Hunterswood 163,645.50
First Rung Early Education 51,194.70
Balrothery Crèche and afterschool 44,771.16
Tallaght Childcare Centre 230,615.98
An Turas 315,738.04
St Elmo's Pre-School 114,768.44
Jadd Childcare Service 50,244.44
Youth Horizons Ltd 46,375.76
Kingswood Childcare 53,295.72
Laugh and Learn Montessori 100,018.18
Barnados Millbrook Family Support Services 79,741.97
Rainbow House Educational Childcare Centre 60,145.32
Fledglings Kiltipper 68,374.75
Chuckleberries - Tree Tops 30,750.90
Scoil Íosa Playgroup 36,047.70
St Louise's Playschool 21,688.50
Brookview Childcare Service 74,816.30
Co-operative Childcare Brookview 27,080.44
Busy Beehive Preschool 191,216.90
The Links Crèche Southside Ltd. CityWest 103,339.74
Tickles Childcare 108,235.10
Loreto Playgroup Ltd 95,891.70
Care & Cuddles Pre-school 124,800.62
Three Little Lambs 123,353.70
Little Ladybird Crèche & Montessori Ltd 73,623.60
Kathy B's 91,071.50
Nurture Childcare AMNCH 46,173.50
Kidorama Academy Ltd 132,295.90
Laugh and Learn 79,609.90
Once Upon A Time - The Arena 79,769.78
Ferncourt Preschool 9,178.00
Precious Days Childcare Limited 33,615.60
Little Fairies Crèche & Montessori Ltd 230,382.38
Naíonra Chaitlín Maude 271,358.85
Dublin West St Mary's 132,071.69
Diane's Breakfast and Afterschool Club 33,382.00
Twinkle Stars Preschool 9,788.00
Wombles Crèche 94,308.88
Tallaght Childcare Fettercairn 83,837.26
Best Start Early Year Service Jobstown 20,858.70
Kids Inc St Killian's 3,584.00
St Mark's Preschool 23,988.00
Oakview Tallaght 139,869.90
Mrs Giggles 15,378.00
Starlight Preschool 16,054.20
Ard Mor Montessori - Respond Childcare 4,690.00


  *Funding provided consists of the sum of all payments made from 1 Jan 2018 to date under 2017/18 and 2018/19 programme calls in the Dublin 24 area.

  In addition to the above the Deputy might note that Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) received funding of €1,190,000 from my Department in 2018 for the support of the Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes. My Department also provide additional funding to ECI on the agreement that they act as an “authorised signatory” and process applications for the Garda Vetting of its members. In 2018, the Department allocated funding of €222,080 to ECI for Garda Vetting.

Local Drug Task Force projects   
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
St Aengus Neighbourhood Youth Project €39,488.00
Youth Skills / Peer Education Tallaght €23,292.00


Special Projects for Youth   
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Tallaght Youth Service €473,505.00
West Dublin YMCA, Brookfield €63,802.00
Tallaght Travellers Youth Service €61,458.00


  Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Tallaght Travellers Youth Service €34,927.00
Springfield Community Officer €38,042.00
At Risk in Brookfield €36,353.50
Community Addiction Response Programme, Killinarden €30,252.25
Killinarden Community Council Youth Project €147,369.00
Fettercairn Youth Project €38,284.00
St Mark's Youth Project, Fettercairn €38,284.00
Brookfield Youth & Community Centre €76,601.27
Big Issue Street League Tallaght €1,035.98


  Local Youth Club Grant Scheme
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Newcastle Foróige €450.00
Boy Girls Social Club €450.00
St Anne's Baton Twirlers €1,561.50
The Knights of Eanna €450.00
Citywise Education € 1,000.00
Fettercairn Summer Project €900.00
St Jude's Summer Project € 1,000.00
Whitechurch/Ballyboden Summer Project €800.00
Glenasmole Summer Project €800.00
Holy Spirit Summer Project €800.00


Quality and Capacity Building Initiative
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Anam Cara Parental and Sibling Bereavement Support €18,715
CDI (on behalf of South Dublin CYPSC) €28,150
An Cosán €32,470
Childhood Development Initiative Tallaght West €50,215.64
KICK (Kickboxing to inspire) €30,250


  Area Based Childhood Programme
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative €1,511,972


  Children and Young People’s Services Committees
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Programme funding to support work of South Dublin CYPSC in their priority actions outlined in their 3 year plan €20,000
Healthy Ireland funding paid through Pobal to support work of South Dublin CYPSC under Healthy Ireland initiative €30,303


  Other Programmes
Organisation/ Project Funding Provided
Funding towards the Irish Foster Care Association's National Conference (Children and Young People’s Programme). €12,981

Children in Care

 456. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on the adequacy of decision-making support available for parents prior to placing a child in voluntary care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40769/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla's policy is that social workers seek to keep children at home with their parents when it is deemed to be in their best interest, and when any risk can be managed safely. Tusla has introduced 'Signs of Safety', a child protection practice model which supports families working with social workers to develop safety plans for their children.

I am informed by Tusla that, when the need to place a child in care is being considered, the decision making supports for parents vary, depending on each family’s circumstances. A parent may seek to have their child placed in care in some circumstance. This might arise, for instance, if a single parent, with little community support, needed to undergo treatment for a health issue.

In all cases, the first step is to keep children safely at home with supports from the State and/or from their own networks. If voluntary care is required, the possibility of this being available safely with family and friends is always considered in the first instance, and supported as appropriate.

Parents who seek voluntary care are brought through a supportive process to ensure they understand what they are requesting, including the possible impact on the child, and possible consequences that may arise if their home situation remains unsafe. Parents whose children need care for safety reasons, but who are reluctant to proceed with voluntary care, will be supported to understand their children’s needs, the reasons that voluntary care is in their best interest and their right to consult with their solicitor.

The process for voluntary care requires parental consent. However, a parent can withdraw their consent at any time. If consent is withdrawn, a decision is made about the necessity to seek a court order. This will depend on whether it can be deemed safe to return a child to his or her parents' care.

In some areas there is a parent advocacy service. An advocate employed by Tusla or one of its funded organisations, is available to support the parents, either individually or in groups, to deal with issues arising and also to advocate on their behalf.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

 457. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40775/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Since September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months are eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. This measure refines the development introduced in 2016 and increases the duration of each registered child on ECCE from a previous average of 61 weeks, to a potential duration of 76 weeks (two programme years). This delivers fully on a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that is good for children, families and Early Years providers.

This new measure will address the previous situation with regard to multiple entry points whereby there was a broad fluctuation in the number of free preschool weeks a child could avail of (between 61 and 88 weeks depending on the date of birth of the child) and will ensure a programme that is equitable for all children. The situation where there was more than one entry point created a perception of inequality to some parents when they considered the variance in the number of weeks of ECCE provision, dependant on their entry point.

It must be noted that age limits have been used to determine eligibility since the inception of the ECCE programme in 2010. These rules are a necessary component of any Government scheme and ensure that Exchequer funding is used for its intended purpose.

The upper age limit for the ECCE programme was set in consultation with the Department of Education and Skills. It ensures that children transition into primary school with their peers and limits the age range of children beginning primary school. Limiting the diversity in age ranges in children beginning primary school education is considered generally to be in the best interest of children, in relation to peer interaction in junior infants, as well as other educational considerations.

My Department does its best to ensure, in so far as possible, the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for childcare funding under the ECCE Programme. In order to ensure objectivity and fairness, it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied evenly. An essential component of the ECCE programme rules is an eligibility start date to ensure that the programme can be administered and budgeted for in an appropriate manner.

Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes

 458. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to a cohort of children who are no longer eligible for the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme due to changes to the enrolment points eligibility criteria; if measures to cover those no longer eligible will be considered; if changes made to the enrolment points of the ECCE programme, being implemented from September 2018 in order to expand access, will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41122/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone There is no question of any child losing entitlement to eligibility for the ECCE scheme. Rather ECCE eligibility has increased to two years.

From September 2018, all children meeting the minimum age requirement of 2 years and 8 months will be eligible for a full two programme years on the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE). The upper age ECCE requirement is that the child must not reach 5 years and 6 months before the end of the programme year.

This new measure will address the previous situation with regard to multiple entry points whereby there was a broad fluctuation in the number of free preschool weeks a child could avail of –(between 61 and 88 weeks depending on the date of birth of the child)– and will ensure a programme that is equitable for all children. The situation where there was more than one entry point created a perception of inequality to some parents when they considered the variance in the number of weeks of ECCE provision, dependant on their entry point.

The number of entry points reverted to one at the beginning of September 2018. One enrolment period at the start of the pre-school year will help to streamline the administration process and will make it easier for childcare providers to operate and budget for the programme year. It also makes it easier for parents to secure places on the ECCE programme for their children. There are currently no plans to change this single entry point.

Some children will not be able to commence their ECCE in September of the programme year as they will not have reached the age of 2 years and 8 months on or before 31st August. However, they will be able to commence ECCE in the following September and continue for a further year from September of the next programme year. Parents of children born around this time of the year may prefer for their children to start school at 4 rather than 5. These parents may therefore choose to avail of one year of ECCE only. However, it is important to note that this is a parental choice and that the overall policy change has ensured that two programme years are available to all children.

Ministerial Communications

 459. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if the Department has a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business; and, if so, if it will be published. [41518/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The following text is an extract from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs' policy on the use of private email for Government business.

WebMail Services  

"As there is no way of filtering the messages relayed by webmail providers, they pose a potential security threat. Users may not transmit sensitive or classified information using any 3rd party e-mail services. The Department reserves the right to ban access to 3rd party e-mail services if it is discovered that they are being used inappropriately."

Official Engagements

 460. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she and-or officials in her Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41532/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I did not attend the 2018 Ryder Cup, nor did my officials.

Community Services Programme

 461. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the status of the next community services programme; when it will open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40699/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports more than 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. Funding is provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. More than €46 million is available to support community organisations under the programme in 2018.

My Department continues to accept expressions of interest under the programme and funding for new organisations will be considered, in light of available budgets, during the year.

My Department will commence a review of the CSP shortly. The review will consider, among other things, how the programme fits with overall Government priorities as well as my Department’s other community programmes and policy objectives. Decisions on the future shape and structure of the programme will be determined on foot of the review.

LEADER Programmes

 462. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if a review of the criteria will be carried out to allow childcare providers apply for Leader grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40917/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Funding under the LEADER Programme is targeted at innovative approaches to addressing the needs of rural areas as identified in the Local Development Strategies prepared for each sub-regional area. The funding can be provided under a broad range of themes, including enterprise development and social inclusion. It is important, however, to ensure that the available funding is targeted at policy areas where it can provide the greatest added value.

Provision of funding supports for childcare providers is available through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the City and County Childcare Committee. It is not, therefore, proposed to extend the LEADER Programme to include childcare providers at present.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

 463. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the number of applications received for the rural regeneration fund by the 27 September 2018 deadline; the process and timeline for assessing applications, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41217/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The National Development Plan provides for an allocation of €1 billion for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to enable towns, villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably and support delivery of the strategic objectives of the National Planning Framework.

The Fund will be a key driver in supporting the revitalisation of rural Ireland, delivering a significant and sustainable impact for rural communities and helping to address issues such as de-population in small rural town, villages and rural areas.

Initial funding of €315 million will be allocated to the Fund over the period 2019 to 2022 on a phased basis.

The closing date for applications under the first call for the Fund was 27th September. I understand there is strong interest in the Fund from across the country with over 250 applications received. The completeness and eligibility of all applications received is still being verified by my Department. I shortly expect to be in a position to share information on the number of complete applications received, applications by category and their locations.

My Department has established a Project Advisory Board which will oversee during October/ November the assessment of applications for the Fund. The Board is Chaired by my Department and made up of representatives from key Government Departments, along with a number of independent external experts.

Following this recommendation I hope to make announcements on the first set of successful applications under the Fund in November.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Departmental Schemes

 464. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the maximum number of applications permissible for each local authority for schemes (details supplied) in 2018; the allocation of funds, by county, for each scheme in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41218/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department operates a suite of programmes designed to support rural communities. These include the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the CLÁR programme, the Local Improvement Scheme and the Walks Scheme.

  Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2018:

  Under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, Local Authorities were required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns/villages in their area and then select up to 12 proposals for development into detailed applications for submission to my Department. Selection of projects under the 2018 Scheme was by means of a competitive process. On 5th October, I announced details of successful projects under the 2018 Scheme. Full details are listed on my Department’s website at https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018-Town-and-Village-Renewal-Scheme-Funding-1.pdf.   

2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme   

  Measure 1 of the 2018 Scheme relates to small scale maintenance/promotion and marketing projects. Applicants under this measure, in the main, were Local Development Companies. However in some counties where there were few applications from Local Development Companies, my Department accepted applications from Local Authorities. Details of successful Local Authority applications under the scheme are published on my Department's website: https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-ORIS-2018-M1-Local-Authority-approvals-002.xlsx.

  Local Authorities were eligible to submit up to four applications under Measure 2 - medium scale repair/upgrade and new trail development and one application under Measure 3 - large scale repair/upgrade and strategic trail development. No funding has been allocated under these measures in 2018 to date.

  2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

  In January 2018, I announced funding of €2.1 million for Measure 2 of the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Local Authorities were permitted to submit up to 4 applications under this measure in 2017. Details of successful applications are published on my Department's website at https://drcd.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Capture-1.png.

  CLÁR 2018

  Local Authorities were invited to submit up to 15 applications in total under the 2018 CLÁR programme for Support for Schools/Community Safety measures, and Support for play areas (including MUGAs). The remaining 2018 CLÁR measures were open to applications from bodies outside the Local Authorities. Detailed lists of successful applications are available on the CLÁR pages of my Department's website at: https://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/clar/.

  Local Improvement Scheme

  The list of projects which each of the Local Authorities plan to undertake under the scheme this year were submitted to the Department and detailed information regarding 2018 roads selected for improvement works under the scheme are available on my Department’s website at: http://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/local-improvement-scheme/.

  Walk Scheme

  The cost of the Walks Scheme on an annual basis is in the region of €2.6 million. These costs include participant and materials payments, a contribution toward the cost of employment of 12 Rural Recreation Officers (RRO) who are employed by 12 Local Development Companies, and administration fees to 16 Local Development Companies.

  The figures provided in the table for the cost of implementing the Walks Scheme for 2018 is indicative and based on the cost to the Department of the scheme in 2017. They include a contribution of €60,000 by Fáilte Ireland towards the cost of funding the 12 RROs.

  The Local Authorities are not involved in the administration of the Walks Scheme.

COUNTY Walks scheme Cost 2017
CLARE €131,757
CORK €819,139
DONEGAL €130,511
GALWAY €96,966
KERRY €371,442
KILKENNY €82,471
LAOIS €64,526
LEITRIM* €2,097
LOUTH* €47,727
MAYO €288,178
OFFALY* €19,381
ROSCOMMON €192,621
SLIGO €103,958
TIPPERARY €173,848
WICKLOW €101,979
Total €2,626,601


* LDC without RRO or contribution from Fáilte Ireland.

Ministerial Communications

 465. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if the Department has a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business; and if so, if it will be published. [41529/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department’s ICT User Policy provides for access to the Department's e-mail system and its authorised internet services, as the only methods approved for the issue or publication of official Department information in electronic format. The policy is made available to all staff and is published on the Department's Intranet site.

Official email business, in my role as Minister, is conducted via Department and Oireachtas email accounts.

Official Engagements

 466. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if he and-or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41541/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring Neither I nor any officials in my Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Carer's Benefit Eligibility

 467. 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 her plans to allow a transition period of four weeks for persons who are returning to work after spending a long period of time caring for a family member while in receipt of carer's benefit (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40661/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Through the commitments contained in both the Programme for Government and in the National Carers’ Strategy, the Government recognises the crucial role that family carers play in Irish society and is fully committed to their support through a range of supports and services. The main income supports provided by my Department include Carer's Benefit, Carers Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance, and the Carer's Support Grant. Spending on these payments in 2018 is expected to amount to almost €1.2 billion.

Carer's Benefit (CB) is made to insured people who temporarily leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. The payment may be paid for 6 weeks after the death of the person being cared for after which the person may return to the workforce. The CB payment is an entitlement based on social insurance contributions and any extension to the post care period of continued payment would have to be considered in a budgetary context and in the context of the scheme's objectives.

Carer's Allowance (CA) does not require any social insurance contributions and is a means tested income support payment that draws from the social insurance fund in order to provide appropriate income support for those providing full time care. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full time care and attention is required and being provided and that the means test which applies is satisfied.

In Budget 2016, the period when CA can be paid following the death of a care recipient was extended from 6 to 12 weeks. The Department's Intreo service is available to carers who wish to consider returning to work after their caring responsibilities ends.

I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

 468. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the estimated number of staff reductions and savings that will be made following the introduction of the new computer-based employee PRSI return in January 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40771/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty PRSI, along with tax and USC is collected by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners through the PAYE tax system.

From 1 January 2019 the Revenue Commissioners will launch their new PAYE Modernisation project. I understand that PAYE Modernisation has an objective of streamlining current business processes and reducing the administrative burden currently experienced by employers to meet their PAYE reporting obligations.

The main changes under the PAYE Modernisation project will affect how employers report payroll deductions to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners which collects PRSI on behalf of the Department. While the availability of more timely and accurate information will be of benefit to the Department is not anticipated at this point that there will be savings or staff reductions in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as a result.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility

 469. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if discriminatory elements (details supplied) of the domiciliary care allowance scheme will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40586/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is payable to whoever is considered to be the qualified person to receive the allowance. Section 186D of the SW Consolidation Act 2005 defines a qualified person as the person with whom the child normally resides and provides for the care of the child.

For DCA to be payable, a child must be resident with the qualified person for at least 5 days per week as per Section 140C of SI 162 of 2009. There is no provision under the legislation to support the splitting of DCA payment between two parents.

If the child is resident full-time in an institution, such as a hospital, DCA is not payable. However if the child comes home for not less than 2 days and not more than 4 days in any one week, then half rate payment can be made to the qualified person (ie. the person they would be considered as normally residing with if not in the institution). In this case payment is not split, but rather paid at a reduced rate to one person.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications Data

 470. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the delays in the issuance of carer's benefit following a first application, in terms of days and weeks; the number of applicants awaiting the processing of a claim for carer's benefit; the number of days and weeks from application to award; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40611/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

  Carer's benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

  At the end of August 2018, the average waiting time for new CARB applications was 11 weeks with 1,039 CARB applications awaiting decision.

  Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CARB, a person has to show that they have the required level of PRSI contributions, that they have left full-time employment, that they are providing full-time care and attention and that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

  In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. This is compounded if the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient; this is sometimes the case with CARB applications.

  The Department is currently in the process of re-designing the CARB application form. This will allow carers to provide more information on the type and level of care they provide, with an aim to providing Deciding Officers with the information they need to expedite decisions on entitlement.

  Staff have recently been re-assigned within the CARB area to work on claims processing and this should lead to a reduction in processing times.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

 471. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when an application for carer's benefit will be assessed in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40612/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty An application for carer’s benefit was received from the person concerned on 19 July 2018.

  The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 31 May 2018 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated post office on 11 October 2018.

  Arrears of benefit due from 31 May 2018 to 10 October 2018 will also issue to her post office on 11 October 2018.   

  The person concerned was notified on 3 October 2018 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.   

Departmental Staff

 472. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if assessments of resources are conducted in her Department in respect of staffing in order to cover telephone inquiries, administrative workflows and volumes adequately; if the areas in which resource gaps and deficiencies in service exist have been assessed; the way in which these impact on processing applications received; the way in which the definition of a reasonable response to an applicant is assessed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [40613/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the ongoing need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services.

Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised with specific targets set for responses within particular scheme area. This is to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department.

Like all Government departments and agencies, my Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget, which for this Department has involved reductions in staff.

As part of the Department’s ongoing programme of service modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have been implemented in recent years.


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