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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 85-97
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Data
 Header Item Emergency Works Scheme Data
 Header Item Autism Support Services
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item DEIS Scheme
 Header Item DEIS Eligibility
 Header Item School Staff
 Header Item Schools Building Projects Status
 Header Item Student Visas Data
 Header Item Care Orders
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards Data
 Header Item Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 981 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 66 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 85-97

Schools Building Projects Data

 85. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the status of the first of four new schools for Donabate, County Dublin; the site location, patronage and timeline for delivery of the school; if the school will open in September 2020 as stated by him in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15808/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 16 classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Donabate school planning area. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. 

  A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.  Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process. 

  The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).  Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision.  The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

  An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

The patronage process for the new schools to be established in 2020, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will commence later in 2019. The patronage process for the remainder of the new schools will also be run at a later date, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website (https://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and the Department’s website (www.education.ie ).

  It is intended that the permanent school building will be developed on the zoned school site within the  Local Infastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) residential development at Corballis, Donabate. 

   The school will be delivered under the Department's Design & Build Programme. This delivery programme uses a professional external Project Manager to progress the project through the relevant stages of architectural planning and construction.  A tender competition to establish a Project Manager framework is nearing completion.

Emergency Works Scheme Data

 86. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if he received an application under the emergency works scheme by a school (details supplied) to provide funding to facilitate special needs pupils attending the school; if the application will be assessed and sanction issued to the school authorities as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15815/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The school to which the Deputy refers applied for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme to carry out works to the school building to comply with Part M of the Building Regulations.  The application was of a general nature and did not relate to a particular future or currently enrolled pupil. It was deemed to be outside the scope of the scheme in that respect. 

However, it is open to the school to appeal this decision in respect of (a) particular pupil(s). It may submit a letter to that effect containing details of the enrolment of that pupil (or those pupils as the case may be) and an Occupational Therapist's Report on which the works being applied for are based. The Emergency Works Circular and Application form are both available on my Department's Website.

Autism Support Services

 87. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the supports available for pathological demand avoidance sufferers autism spectrum (details supplied); and the supports in place for persons who do not qualify for home tuition having been diagnosed with autism.  [15816/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh My Department’s preferred approach is that all children with Special Educational Needs are educated in school settings where children may have access to fully qualified teachers, individualised education programmes, special needs assistants, school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other students.

Where the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) confirm that a school placement is not available for a child with Special Educational Needs my Department provides for a compensatory educational service through the Home Tuition Grant Scheme, as an interim measure, until a placement is available.  Home Tuition is not an optional alternative to a school placement.

The July Education Programme (or July Provision Grant Scheme) provides funding for an extended school year for children, enrolled in recognised schools, with a severe/profound general learning disability and/or children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Under this scheme the school year of recognised schools is extended by four weeks for eligible pupils. Where school-based provision is not feasible, home-based provision may be granted.

Where parents choose to educate their children in places other than recognised schools they have made a decision not to avail of recognised schools. As a result they are not eligible to avail of resources, including the July Education Programme, which they may have accessed through enrolment in a recognised school.

Schools Building Projects Status

 88. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the progress in relation to the development of a new permanent school building for a school (details supplied); the timeline for the delivery of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15940/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh As the Deputy is aware, the development of a new permanent building for the school referred to by the Deputy is dependent on the completion of a building project for another school which will result in a  building becoming available for the school in question.

The major building project for that school is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design) which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured. The Design team is currently completing works on a revised Stage 2b submission. My Department has also authorised the design team to carry out the pre-qualification of contractors. Upon receipt and review of the revised Stage 2b report, my Department will advise that Board of Management of the timeline for the progression of this project to tender and construction.

DEIS Scheme

 89. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if the DEIS identification review is complete; when it is proposed to progress applications from primary and post-primary schools for inclusion under the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15953/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh As the Deputy is aware, my Department has introduced an objective, statistics based model for assessing which schools merit inclusion in the DEIS Programme, so that all stakeholders can have confidence that we are targeting extra resources at those schools with the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage. This new model involves a  calculation of the level of disadvantage in each school,  based on the socio-economic background of their pupil cohort using centrally held data as previously outlined and is based on the geographical CSO Small Areas where the pupil cohort resides. A detailed document explaining the methodology used in the Identification process under DEIS plan 2017 is available on my Department’s website at https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/DEIS-Identification-Process.pdf

   It is important to note that there is no application process involved and that the new methodology was applied to both the primary and post primary sector.  Following an initial application of this new methodology, 79 new schools (14 of which were post primary), were brought into the DEIS programme in 2017 with a further 30 primary schools being upgraded from Band 2 to Band 1 status.  These schools were assessed as having the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage. 

  DEIS Plan 2017 states that the improved data on the socio-demographic of schools resulting from the new identification model will have an impact not only on the assessment of schools for inclusion in the programme but also on the scaling of resources to allow for more graduated levels of support.  This in turn allows for the ultimate objective of allocating resources to best meet the identified need of individual schools.

  Further analysis is currently being undertaken to examine other variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage in the context of resource allocation.  An analysis is also underway on the quality of the address data of individual schools.  Until this analysis is complete, it is not intended to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.

DEIS Eligibility

 90. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if DEIS status will be conferred on a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15954/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh As the Deputy is aware, my Department has introduced an objective, statistics based model for assessing which schools merit inclusion in the DEIS Programme, so that all stakeholders can have confidence that we are targeting extra resources at those schools with the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage. This new model involves a  calculation of the level of disadvantage in each school,  based on the socio-economic background of their pupil cohort using centrally held data as previously outlined and is based on the geographical CSO Small Areas where the pupil cohort resides. A detailed document explaining the methodology used in the Identification process under DEIS plan 2017 is available on my Department’s website at  https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/DEIS-Identification-Process.pdf

  DEIS Plan 2017 states that the improved data on the socio-demographic of schools resulting from the new identification model will have an impact not only on the assessment of schools for inclusion in the programme but also on the scaling of resources to allow for more graduated levels of support.  This in turn allows for the ultimate objective of allocating resources to best meet the identified need of individual schools.

  Further analysis is currently being undertaken to examine other variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage in the context of resource allocation.  An analysis is also underway on the quality of the address data of individual schools.  Until this analysis is complete, it is not intended to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.

School Staff

 91. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if an application for a third teacher for a school (details supplied) in County Kerry will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15977/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the appeal process and application form are available in Circular 0019/2019, "Staffing Arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2019/20 School Year", which is published on the Department website.

My Department has received a staffing appeal from the school referred to by the Deputy for consideration by the Appeals Board under the Small Schools criteria.  The Primary Staffing Appeals Board will meet to review appeals for the 2019/20 school year in the coming weeks and the school will be notified of the outcome of the appeal.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Schools Building Projects Status

 92. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if a project (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage at an early date in view of the fact that all details have been submitted by the architect; if his attention has been drawn to the need to upgrade existing accommodation and provide additional permanent accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15992/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The major building project referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been obtained.

The Design Team has recently completed work on its NZEB submission for this project which will ensure the new school building will be a "Near Zero Energy Building" (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations.

It is anticipated that this project will shortly be authorised to commence the pre-qualification process to create a shortlist of contractors to which the project will be tendered.

Student Visas Data

 93. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the progress regarding the new non-EEA students scheme in view of the precarious position of a number of applicants who are eligible for the scheme and are awaiting a decision in order to complete their studies.  [15757/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the Special Scheme for Students closed to new applications on 20 January, 2019.  The scheme applies to students who were registered between 1st January 2005 and 31st December 2010 when new immigration arrangements for students came into operation.  Part of these arrangements provided for students registered before 2010 to finish their course of study.

INIS received approximately 3,100 applications comprising former students and their family members under the Special Scheme for Students.  To date, INIS has made a decision in approximately 800 cases.    The Deputy will appreciate that it is necessary to process such applications in compliance with legal requirements and in accordance with the Scheme criteria.  While every effort is made to process applications as soon as possible, processing times will vary having regard to the overall volume of applications and the complexity of individual cases.

INIS has already taken a number of measures to address this cohort of complex cases including the introduction of an on-line application facility for the Scheme to make it as streamlined as possible for applicants.  The resources available for these activities, which includes the provision of overtime, and the accompanying operational and organisational structures, are kept under ongoing review to ensure that applications are processed as efficiently as possible. 

Care Orders

 94. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will provide a breakdown of childcare orders by type and District Court division. [15804/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that overall figures in relation to childcare orders per category granted by the District Court in 2017 are contained on pages 64-65 of the Courts Service Annual Report 2017.

The Courts Service has advised that a breakdown of overall figures in relation to childcare orders is recorded by Court Office.  However, they advise that it is not possible to provide this breakdown for 2017 in the time available; the information will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is to hand. 

The Courts Service has also informed me that statistics in relation to childcare orders for 2018 are currently being compiled and will be published in the Courts Service Annual Report 2018.

Garda Deployment

 95. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a permanent Garda sergeant is stationed in Strokestown Garda station, County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15697/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

The Deputy will be aware that Strokestown Garda Station forms part of the Castlerea District. The Garda strength of the Castlerea District on 28 February 2019, the most recent date for which figures are available, was 91 with 4 Gardaí and 1 Sergeant assigned to the Strokestown Garda station.

When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 recruits have attested as members and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 18 of whom have been assigned to the Roscommon/Longford Division. 

The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year.  The Commissioner has informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and he also intends to recruit 600 Garda Civilian Staff.  This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019. 

I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions including the Roscommon/Longford Division.

Appointments to State Boards Data

 96. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number and percentage of women on each State board under the remit of his Department on 8 March 2016 and 8 March 2019, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15712/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The following table outlines the number and percentage of women on each State Board under the aegis of my Department.  In circumstances where information in relation to the specified dates was not readily available figures for the end of the previous years have been provided.

  On 8 March, the Government agreed to the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Group on Gender Balance on State Boards, established by Government to identify ways to promote better gender balance on all State Boards. To give effect to these recommendations, my Department in consultation with relevant Departments is developing an implementation plan containing actions for implementation by all relevant public bodies. This will of course apply to relevant bodies under the aegis of my Department.

State Board Date Number of women Percentage of women
Censorship of Publications Appeal Board*

December 2015



December 2018
Board has had no members for the period encompassed by the question n/a
Censorship of Publications Board

December 2015

December 2018
3



3
60%

75%
Classification of Films Appeal Board

December 2015

December 2018
3



3
43%

43%
Courts Service Board

December 2015

December 2018
4



7
22.2%

38.9%
Garda Síochána Arbitration Board

8 March 2016

8 March 2019
0



0
0%

0%
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission 8 March 2016

8 March 2019
1

2
33.3%

66.6%
Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission December 2015

December 2018
8

8
53.33%

53.33%
Judicial Appointments Advisory Board December 2015

December 2018
4

3
44.9%

30%
Legal Aid Board

December 2015

December 2018
6

8
46.2%

61.5%
Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board 8 March 2016

8 March 2019
2

3
50%

75%
National Disability Authority December 2015

December 2018
7

8
53.85%

61.54%
Parole Board 8 March 2016

8 March 2019
2

2  
17%

17%
Policing Authority 8 March 2016

8 March 2019
5

5
55.56%

55.56%
Private Security Appeal Board 8 March 2016

8 March 2019
1

2
33%

40%
Private Security Authority December 2015

December 2018
6

2
54.5%

18%
Property Services Appeal Board December 2015

December 2018
2

2
33.3%

40%
Property Services Regulatory Authority December 2015

December 2018
5

6
45.5%

54.5%


    *With regard to the Censorship of Publications Appeals Board, owing to the minimal workload of the Censorship of Publications Board, and the lack of Appeals, no selection or recruitment process has been undertaken for the Appeals Board for a number of years.

Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities

 97. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to ensure the compliance of public bodies with obligations under the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015 to 2024; the sanctions available to address non-compliant and non-reporting bodies; the number of complaints made in relation to failure to comply with the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15721/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath As the Deputy will be aware, the Comprehensive Employment Strategy 2015 – 2024 is a ten-year cross-government approach that brings together actions by different departments and state agencies in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on employment of people with disabilities.

  The primary purpose of the Strategy is to ensure that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to, work are supported and enabled to do so. In tandem with that, it seeks to ensure there will be joined-up services and supports at local level to support individuals on their journey into and in employment. The Strategy's six strategic priorities are:

  1. Build skills, capacity and independence;

  2. Provide bridges and supports into work;

  3. Make work pay (the Make Work Pay Report was launched in April 2016 with many of its recommendations already being implemented);

  4. Promote job retention and re-entry to work;

  5. Provide coordinated and seamless support; and

  6. Engage employers.

  Implementation of the Strategy is monitored by a working group under the direction of an independent chairperson (Mr Fergus Finlay). This group is tasked with monitoring the progress of the six strategic priorities of the strategy, and with the assistance of representatives and stakeholders from the disability sector, ensures that each Government Department is fulfilling its obligations and meeting its targets.

  I can also advise that my officials, in cooperation with the National Disability Authority, and in consultation with the Strategy implementation group, are finalising a second three year action plan under the Strategy to ensure that the progress of implementation continues.


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