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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 200-219
 Header Item Wind Energy Guidelines
 Header Item Irish Language
 Header Item National Broadband Plan
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Road Projects Data
 Header Item Road Projects Expenditure
 Header Item Road Projects Expenditure
 Header Item Swimming Pool Programme
 Header Item Irish Language
 Header Item Coast Guard Services
 Header Item Trans European Transport Network Programme
 Header Item National Transport Authority
 Header Item Driver Test Waiting Lists
 Header Item Driver Test Data
 Header Item Taxi Data
 Header Item National Car Test Fees
 Header Item Road Toll Data
 Header Item Childcare Services Funding
 Header Item Affordable Childcare Scheme Data

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 979 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 200-219

Wind Energy Guidelines

 200. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe Information on Kevin O'Keeffe Zoom on Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will consider placing a moratorium on the development of windfarms until guidelines are in place. [8522/19]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton All developments, including windfarms, are subject to the rigours of the planning system. Revisions to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines are currently being progressed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. These will be subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and public consultation by that Department, which will ensure that environmental considerations are fully integrated into the revised Guidelines. It is expected that the revisions to the Guidelines will be finalised and come into effect during 2019 following the completion of the SEA process.

Irish Language

 201. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the progress made on implementing all aspects of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 to 2030 that are relevant to his Department and bodies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8615/19]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 was published on 21 December 2010. To support the 20-year Irish Language Strategy, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has published a 5-year Action Plan (2018-2022). As part of this Action Plan, DCHG engages directly with broadcasters.My Department has adhered to its commitments under objectives 1 and 9 in accordance with the Broadcasting Act 2009 to ensure high quality broadcast services through the medium of Irish especially through the continuous development of RTÉ, Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4.

Some of the specific measures taken include:   

  - the allocation of licence fee money to the Broadcasting Funding Scheme, of which TG4 is one of the main beneficiaries, was increased from 5% to 7%.

  - The Good Friday Agreement provided that the British Government would work with the relevant British and Irish broadcasting authorities to make TG4 more widely available in Northern Ireland. Following the switchover to digital television in 2012, TG4’s coverage has reached 94% in Northern Ireland. Raidió na Gaeltachta is also being provided on the Northern Ireland Freeview DTT network.

  - Providing exchequer funding to TG4 to enable the Irish language broadcaster deliver on their statutory remit.

RTE and TG4 have delivered a wide range of commitments over the course of the Strategy to date and have engaged directly with the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in identifying further actions to be taken in the Action Plan 2018-2022 published by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in June last year.

RTÉ launched its 5 year Irish language action plan in 2015. The plan aims to integrate Irish into everything that RTÉ does. RTÉ news website and News Now app now feature national, international and regional news in Irish and the broadcaster launched the Irish Language Radio app.

TG4 launched an upgraded/redesigned TG4 Website with major new features for national and global users. This ensures access to Irish language programming to a worldwide audience via multiple devices.

In addition to ensuring high quality broadcast services through the medium of Irish, my Department remains committed to ensuring the Official Languages Act is fully implemented in the work that we do, and that appropriate arrangements are put in place to ensure the public’s right to use Irish in dealings with the State is met.

To this end, my Department has taken the following steps:

  - The Department developed and published its Workforce Plan 2017-2019 in April 2017 which included the identification of requirements for Irish language proficiency in business areas across the Department.

  - In 2018, the Department's Language Scheme 2018-2021 was developed, approved and published.

  - Under this scheme, in addition to fulfilling all mandatory obligations under the Official Languages Act, the Department has also committed to publishing corporate publications and major policy statements or reviews in both official languages, as well as guidelines, information leaflets and application forms for individual schemes and programmes.

  - Our Learning and Development team ensure access to advanced and intermediate Irish classes for staff members is available. Gaelchultúr, the educational company providing these courses, is a FETAC-accredited body.- The Department also supports employees who wish to further their professional development through our “Education Support Scheme”- In addition to these measures, through the workforce planning process, the HR Business Partners engage with divisions to identify Irish language requirements and any potential for further designated Irish language roles.

National Broadband Plan

 202. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the status of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8746/19]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of all 2.3 million Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. When this Government came into office, this had risen to 52%. Today, 74% of premises can access high speed broadband.

The NBP procurement process is now at the final stage. My priority is to bring the procurement process to a fair and impartial conclusion as quickly as possible. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in relation to the NBP in the coming weeks.

Road Network

 203. Deputy Joe Carey Information on Joe Carey Zoom on Joe Carey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if a query in relation to a road (details supplied) will receive a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8533/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and operation of individual roads is a matter for the relevant road authority in relation to local and regional roads, or for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Projects Data

 204. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the final cost of the abandoned Galway city outer bypass project by category of expense such as planning and design, legal costs, environmental impact studies and so on; the estimated cost of the project when it was originally commenced; the original estimated timeframe for completion of the project; the length of time that elapsed from when the road was initially announced until it was formally abandoned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8562/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Projects Expenditure

 205. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the spend on the N6 Galway city transport project to date by category of expense; the date the project was formally announced; the estimated completion date; the estimated final cost of the road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8563/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Projects Expenditure

 206. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if he has discussed removal of the A5 funding with his British counterpart. [8033/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities.

The current funding arrangements in relation to the A5 are governed by the Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan - A Fresh Start. Under this Agreement the Government is committed to provide funding of £75 million (sterling) towards the cost of Phase 1a of the A5 upgrade scheme. The aim of this commitment was to facilitate the delivery of this phase of the scheme as soon as possible once the planning process in Northern Ireland was concluded.

As part of the Capital Plan Review in 2017 financial provision was made for meeting the Government's commitment regarding the A5 in 3 tranches over the period 2019 to 2021. When those allocations were put in place it was anticipated that the planning process would have concluded and construction of the 1st phase started before now.

However, legal challenges to the approval of the scheme have resulted in unavoidable delays to the timeframe for implementation of the scheme. Following judicial review proceedings last year the scheme approval was quashed.

In the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive I do not currently have a counterpart and the North South Ministerial Council has not been meeting. However, liaison is continuing, including meetings of the Senior Officials Group comprising Northern and Southern officials established to oversee implementation of the Fresh Start Agreement.

Allowing for the time required by the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to review work previously undertaken on the scheme and implement necessary statutory procedures, it was evident, following liaison at official level, that the initial €27 million tranche of funding would not be drawn down this year and would need to be rolled forward. As was the case for previous Government contributions, it is envisaged that payments towards the cost of the A5 will be based on an agreed protocol and linked to the achievement of construction stage milestones. Funding has been assured from 2020 onwards.

Swimming Pool Programme

 207. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the mediator providing mediation services in relation to a dispute (details supplied); the name of the mediator; the powers under which they were appointed; if copies of the terms of reference and objectives of the mediation process will be provided; the timeframe for negotiations and mediation; the projected cost of the mediation; the funding stream that will fund same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8606/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The key policy objective of the Sport area of my Department is “To contribute to a healthier and more active society by promoting sports participation and supporting high performance and the provision of facilities.” Within the Sport area, the Sports Capital Programmes Division facilitates the building and maintenance of sports facilities by clubs, local authorities and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport.

The case to which the Deputy refers involves a Local Authority swimming pool that is now closed and would require a multi-million euro investment to become fit for purpose. Should the Local Authority decide to proceed with the renovation works and investment required, agreement would need to be reached with one local sports club, whose lands surround the swimming pool. It would be expected that any works to the pool would cause significant disruption to the activities of the local sports club. For example, access and egress by construction traffic to the swimming pool site, the storage of construction materials close to the site, and potential cordoning off of the site during construction.

Over the last number of years, the sports club and the Local Authority have engaged on how best to move forward with the swimming pool renovation project. Progress has been quite slow due to a wide range of complex issues. The issue was brought to my attention and I discussed it with my official who in turn consulted Sport Ireland. Sport Ireland has experience in resolving sport related disputes and grievances and use a panel of experienced facilitators in this regard.

Given the relatively slow pace of progress in recent years, my official suggested to the Local Authority and the sports club that the services of a facilitator might be useful. Both parties were agreeable and Sport Ireland recommended some facilitators who might be suitable. My official contacted one of the facilitators, Mr. Austin Kenny, and Mr. Kenny agreed to facilitate discussions between the Local Authority and the sports club. I understand that discussions between the Local Authority and the sports club commenced soon afterwards. I further understand that considerable detailed technical work is underway by both parties and that this work needs to be completed before more material discussions take place between the parties.

Facilitation is a voluntary process entered into by the relevant parties. Terms of reference, timelines and costs are matters for the relevant parties. Sport Ireland would, from time to time, advise NGBs on dispute resolution, including efficient approaches to mediation, facilitation and arbitration. Requests from NGBs for assistance with the costs of facilitation are considered by Sport Ireland and are treated on their merits.

Irish Language

 208. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the progress made on implementing all aspects of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 to 2030 that are relevant to his Department and bodies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8628/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has a 3 year rolling Irish Language Scheme 2018- 2021 in place in accordance with its obligations under the Official Languages Act 2003 and in compliance with the 20 year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030. In addition to having a dedicated Irish Language Officer , the Department facilitates and funds training courses in Irish where requested by its staff as part of their development programme.

The main demand for services through Irish in the Department is in relation to Motor Tax services. In keeping with the requirements of the Strategy the Department will keep under review, as part of its Irish Language Scheme, the need for any designated posts that would have an Irish Language competency requirement.

Coast Guard Services

 209. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Irish Coastguard no longer has the ability to use blue lights in emergency situations; the road traffic provisions for all emergency drivers and vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8633/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The Coast Guard recently issued a safety instruction to its volunteers in relation to the use of blue lights and warning devices (sirens) on Coast Guard vehicles on public roads. This instruction does not impact on their use while the vehicle is static. However, as part of the Coast Guard’s continuing drive to enhance safety and protect its volunteers, full-time staff and members of the public, it has issued this instruction as a clarification in relation to the existing position as regards their use while driving on public roads. The policy mirrors best practice in other Emergency Services for untrained “Blue-light” drivers. This notice in no way impacts on the Coast Guard’s status as an Emergency Service. The issue of training volunteers and full-time staff to drive with Blue Lights and sirens is being addressed in the Coast Guard’s Safety and Risk Work Plan.

Trans European Transport Network Programme

 210. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the reason Ireland did not apply for the revision of the TEN-T core network including applying for the reinstatement of the cross-Border Western Arc in the first three months as promised in A Programme for A Partnership Government almost three years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8639/19]

 211. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross if the Western Arc route is being excluded from the TEN-T core network in order to ensure funding is available for the development of the Dublin metro; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8640/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 and 211 together.

The TEN-T Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 stipulates that a review of the TEN-T network will take place no later than by the end of 2023. My Department will be making a formal submission within the next 2 months to the European Commission calling for an early review of the TEN-T Network, taking into account our National Development Plan, our National Planning Framework, and the potential implications of Brexit.

My Department have previously informed the European Commission of the intention of the Minister to make a submission and, in recent weeks, it has also raised the matter of an early review of the TEN-T Network in Brussels at the relevant Working Party.

The TEN-T Regulation explicitly states that the European Commission should take into account national implementation plans when carrying out the review of the TEN-T Network. In Ireland's case, these would include both the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework. Both of these Government documents will shape the future development of Irish planning and infrastructure across a range of sectors, including transport.

Additionally, the UK's Withdrawal from the EU has been an evolving process over the last number of years, both in terms of the negotiations between the EU and the UK and in terms of contingency planning for a range of possible Brexit scenarios, which has been a whole-of-government effort coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The preparation and making of a submission calling for a review of the TEN-T network should be strengthened by the proposals under the NDP and the National Planning Framework and by the added urgency of the implications of Brexit. However, the fact that a submission has not yet been made has no relationship to the development of the Dublin Metro.

It is important to note that the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the funding instrument of TEN-T, awards co-funding to eligible project proposals on a competitive basis. A strong business case must be made, including a cost-benefit analysis, which demonstrates high European added value and, crucially, a committed funding source for the balance of the project's funding.

As part of the European Commission's contingency plans for Brexit, it is seeking to introdude a new Regulation with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union in the event of a no-deal scenario. If adopted, the effect of this will be to reallign the NSMED Corridor to take account of the UK's exit from TEN-T. As part of this measure, supported by Ireland, it is proposed that a review the TEN-T Guidelines should be advanced to 2021 instead of 2023 as a result of posible changes in the flow of goods after Brexit.

A proposal for a new Regulation for CEF - the funding mechanism for TEN-T from 2021 - is also currently under consideration. In the latest draft, the Commission has accepted Ireland's proposal, made jointly with Malta and Cyprus, that funding be provided for infrastructure on the Comprehensive Network in Member States where there is no land border with another EU Member State. If this is maintained as part of the final agreed Regulation, it will mean that organisations will continue to be eligible to apply for funding for suitable projects on the coming within the application criteria after 2020.

National Transport Authority

 212. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross further to Parliamentary Question No. 923 of 15 January 2019, the expected publication date for the NTA transport plan for Newbridge, County Kildare. [8669/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As previously stated in my reply to the question referred to by the Deputy, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have no statutory function in relation to the development of the transport plan in question.

  As I understand there has been engagement between the local authority and the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to the plan, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for consideration and updated direct reply.

  Please notify my office if you have not received a response within 10 working days.

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

Driver Test Waiting Lists

 213. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the waiting time to sit a driver test per county, in tabular form; the average waiting time to sit a driver test; the number of persons per county at the end of January 2019 waiting to sit a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [8736/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The average waiting time for driving tests at all centres around the country are available on the Road Safety Authority (RSA) website www.rsa.ie. This information is updated weekly.

  The number of people per county waiting to sit a driving test is a matter for the Authority, and I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

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

Driver Test Data

 214. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of driver test inspectors allocated by county up to January 2018 and to the end of January 2019, respectively, in tabular from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8737/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

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

Taxi Data

 215. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the number of taxi plates in County Kildare and in each county nationally, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [8743/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including the licensing of taxis, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act, 2013.

  Given the particular role of the Authority in these matters, I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

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

National Car Test Fees

 216. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the estimated cost per year of removing the fee for the national car test excluding retests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8757/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006), the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the operation and delivery of the National Car Test.

  I have therefore forwarded this Question to the RSA for direct reply to the Deputy. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

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

Road Toll Data

 217. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross the details of each of the tolls here; the name of the company that has the contract for each toll; and when each contract for each toll expires. [8771/19]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy in relation to roads. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects on national roads are a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority. For regional and local roads it is a matter for each respective local authority.

More specifically, the statutory powers to levy tolls on national roads as well as regional and local roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors are vested in TII (for national roads) and each local authority (for regional and local roads) under Part V of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007).

Noting the above, I am referring the question to TII for direct reply within 10 working days. Please inform my private office if you do not receive the information.

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

Childcare Services Funding

 218. 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 the funding supports available for renovations for a childcare facility (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8591/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I have secured €6.106m in funding for the 2019 Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Capital programmes.

  This funding will be delivered in three strands, as follows:

  €4.231m has been allocated to Strand A, which will offer grants of up to €50,000 in value to early learning and care providers for the creation of new 0-3 places where demand for these is clearly evidenced.

  €0.875m has been allocated to Strand B, which will offer individual grants of up to €15,000 in value to aid community/not-for-profit early learning and care services in addressing fire safety issues that have been highlighted in inspection reports by Tusla, the HSE or Local Authorities.

  €1m has been allocated to Strand C, which will offer individual grants of up to €20,000 in value to school age childcare providers for the creation of new school age places where demand for these is clearly evidenced.

  Funding will be available to providers nationwide in a competitive process, with the application window open from Monday 25th February to 3pm on Wednesday 27th March 2019.

  I would advise the service in question to contact Kerry County Childcare Committee by phoning (066) 7181582, to discuss any questions they may have regarding capital funding, including eligibility requirements, the application process, etc.

Affordable Childcare Scheme Data

 219. 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 the estimated cost of increasing universal subsidy levels under the affordable childcare scheme by increments of 50 cent up to an increase of €7.00 per hour, in tabular form. [8609/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The estimated costs per annum across the Affordable Childcare Scheme of increasing the universal subsidy in 50 cent intervals up to €7 are set out in the following table. The figures are based on the full cost to the Affordable Childcare Scheme, assuming that the minimum targeted subsidy is increased so as never to be below the universal subsidy in all cases.

  The costs are arrived at by:

  - establishing the number of families with children under 15 years by income bracket (data supplied by CSO) and

  - profiling these families by reference to the age of their children and

  - estimating the proportion of children in each income bracket and age range using registered care and

  - calculating estimated subsidy rates based on income levels and age profile and

  - applying estimates of the average hours used by age group for term time and non-term time.

  The cost estimates for subsidies at the existing levels (50c universal and the current targeted subsidy levels) assume a relatively conservative level of change from current scheme uptake. This change is used at a fixed level throughout the estimates. In other words, increased subsidies may create behavioural changes by families which is not factored into scenarios from €1 (universal) upwards (for example, families moving from unregistered childminding to registered Early Learning and Care services that are eligible for the ACS, or families where the second parent decides to return to work).

Universal Rate .50c €1 €1.50 €2 €2.50 €3 €3.50 €4.00 €4.50 €5.00 €5.50 €6.00 €6.50 €7
Additional Cost per annum   € 21m € 43m € 66m € 90m € 115m € 141m € 173m € 221m € 279m € 341m € 405m € 471m € 540m


  The following should also be noted:

  - The figures do not include once-off transitional “savers” costs under section 26 of the Childcare Support Act.

  - This assumes the minimum targeted subsidy is set by the universal subsidy for all subsidies, including for children not eligible for universal subsidies but eligible for targeted subsidies (i.e. children over 3 whose families qualify under the income thresholds for targeted subsidies).

  - As the universal subsidy increases and noting the minimum targeted can never fall below it, the number of subsidy bands reduces as the universal subsidy increases. For example, with €5 universal subsidy there is only one effective band for children 1 and over. Above €5.50 there is only one rate for all eligible families.

  Finally, an important factor in considering the levels of investment listed above is the fact that Government has currently no mechanism to control the fees charged to parents in the current market model of childcare provision in Ireland. Increases in the universal subsidies could result in increases to the fee to parents diminishing the intended reduction in cost to parents. First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families commits to establishing a new Funding Model to address this issue.


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