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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 222-241
 Header Item Workplace Relations Commission
 Header Item Public Sector Pay
 Header Item State Art Collection
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Údarás na Gaeltachta
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Sport Ireland
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Údarás na Gaeltachta
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Fáilte Ireland
 Header Item Fáilte Ireland

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 88 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 222-241

Workplace Relations Commission

 222. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the status of the WRC ruling of 9 June 2020 regarding the funding of the CIÉ pension scheme that is currently being assessed by his Department and the Pensions Authority. [43282/20]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath Issues in relation to the funding of the CIÉ pension scheme are in the first instance a matter for the trustees of the scheme as well as the employer ( the CIÉ Group).

Any specific matters arising from the WRC ruling of 9 June regarding the funding of the CIÉ pension scheme and which may require ministerial consultation will in the first instance be reviewed by the Department of Transport as it is the Government Department under whose aegis responsibility for CIÉ falls.

In the normal course of events, any proposals arising from this assessment would subsequently be submitted by the Department of Transport to this Department. At present there are no such proposals under review by this Department.

Public Sector Pay

 223. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the amount allocated in 2021 for public sector pay increases and the part of this that has been earmarked to address pay issues in the section 39 sector. [43535/20]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Public Service Stability Agreement is due to expire at end-2020. Within Budget 2021, the following allocations were made to cover the carryover costs associated with changes implemented on 1 October 2020:

  - €276m is allocated in the Budget Estimates for the carryover cost of the 2% increase in public service salaries.

  - €37m is allocated in the Budget estimates for the restoration of certain allowances reduced under Financial Emergency Legislation.

  These allocations cover Exchequer and non – Exchequer funded public servants.

  Matters pertainintg to Section 39 sector organisations fall within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Heatlh to address.

State Art Collection

 224. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the current market value of the State art collection as an entire collection; if he will provide a schedule of the items and value of items that are unaccounted for, lost, missing , or all three, as of 11 December 2020 (details supplied); the number of items that are on display outside the State; and the number of thefts that have been reported from the entire collection over the past ten years to date in 2020. [43560/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The State Art Collection comprises artworks dating from 17th century to the present day. The OPW does not undertake market valuations on the entire collection. Valuations are undertaken on individual items for insurance purposes when such items are placed on loan to third parties or external exhibitions. The State Art Collection is measured by its cultural and heritage significance not its financial value and therefore fluctuations in the art market do not alter its value.

  The OPW Art Management Office undertakes routine surveys of artworks for which it has responsibility in State owned buildings. These audits take place through a programme of spot-checks and they are conducted on a regular basis as part of the day-to-day management of the collection. Artworks are on display in 480 locations around the country and over 90% of the collection is out on loan. Every artwork in the State Art Collection is given a unique number and photographed before it is placed on loan. The data obtained from the collection surveys is registered on an art database.

  In 2020, the Art Management Office commenced a major collection management project to improve its control systems. This project involved migration of data and images from a database that has been in use since the mid-1990s to a new collection management system. Phase 1 of the migration project has been completed recently and Phase 2 is currently underway. Phase 2 involves extensive checking of over 17,000 records transferred from the old database. Each record contains an image of the artwork and multiple data fields, including location. All fields in each record have to be checked to ensure that the information catalogued on every artwork is correct and up-to-date. Until this process has been completed, it is not possible to provide an accurate schedule of items. Phase 2 is due for completion in June 2021.

  Since the early 1990s, the OPW has not had responsibility for placing artworks on display in State owned properties abroad. However, some 600 artworks acquired by the OPW prior to this period remain on loan to 41 embassies abroad. A small number of these artworks have been placed on loan in recent years.

  As the database project is underway currently and checking is not complete, it is not possible to provide accurate information dating back to 2010 at present. It can be confirmed that no thefts of artworks have been reported to the Art Management Office from January 2020 to-date.

Art

Pension Provisions

 225. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the number of those on the State payroll who have purchased benefit under the public service single scheme pension purchase facility in its first year of operation since 1 October 2019; the number who have purchased benefit categorised by Department, State agency or other; the reason purchase is available through lump sum payment only rather than through periodic payments as applies to earlier public service pension schemes; his plans to put in place a more user-friendly purchase facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43574/20]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Deputy is referring to the facility for the purchase and transfer of retirement benefits in the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Single Scheme), established by way of Statutory Instrument (S.I. No 252/2019) and introduced to Scheme members by way of D/PER Circular 15/2019 with effect from 1 October 2019.

The vast majority of public servants recruited since 1 January 2013 in approximately 350 Relevant Authorities (public service bodies responsible for the administration of the Scheme) are members of the Single Scheme. Each Relevant Authority is legally responsible for administering the Single Scheme for its own staff who are members of the Scheme, including in relation to the purchase and transfer of retirement benefits. My Department does not hold the data requested by the Deputy in relation to purchases by Scheme members in other Relevant Authorities. In my own Department, however, where I have legal responsibility for the administration of the Scheme for employees, I understand that, although no Scheme member from the Department entered into a contract for purchase in the period in question, an application from one employee is currently being processed.

The purchase and transfer facility was developed around the particular features of the Single Scheme, which operates on the basis of pension credits and retirement lump sum credits, called “referable amounts” accruing as percentages of pay throughout a Scheme member’s career. The facility operates on a cost neutral basis for both the Exchequer and individual Scheme members alike. It offers Scheme members the opportunity to purchase extra pension and/or retirement lump sum credits in multiples of €1 in pension and/or €1 in lump sum, subject to specific individual limits, as provided for in the Circular. The main purpose of the limits is to ensure, as far as possible, that Revenue rules in relation to retirement benefits are observed. The structure of the Single Scheme is significantly different to the structure of the pre-existing public service pension schemes, where retirement benefits are generally based on pensionable remuneration at retirement and reckonable, pensionable service.

The purchase and transfer facility under the Single Scheme operates on the basis of annual contracts. A Scheme member can enter into multiple purchase contracts over the period of his/her career, subject to complying with the limits set out in the Circular. This gives the Scheme member the option to enter into a series of smaller purchases, rather than one large purchase, as is generally the case in relation to purchase of service under the pre-existing pension schemes. For this reason, lump sum, rather than periodic purchase is provided for.

My Department offers central support across key areas of Single Scheme administration to all Relevant Authorities by way of classroom based training and the provision of a dedicated website containing support materials for administrators and members of the Scheme. Specific training courses were devised to help with the rollout of the purchase and transfer facility under D/PER Circular 15/2019 and these were well attended, with participants providing very positive feedback on the courses. Due to the current Covid 19 pandemic, these training courses are being delivered by Webinar. Administrator and Scheme member tools in relation to the operation of the purchase and transfer facility are available on the Single Scheme website to assist Scheme members and administrators. An Administrator’s calculator tool automatically calculates limits for an individual Scheme member and provides an estimate of the cost of purchase for that member. There is also a tool on the website that Scheme members can use to automatically calculate the cost of purchase for themselves.

I have no plans to change the structure of the Single Scheme purchase and transfer facility at this time.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

 226. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin an aontaíonn sé leis an méid a deir an tAire Stáit ag a bhfuil freagracht na Gaeltachta, go bhfuil struchtúr Bhord Údarás na Gaeltachta ag feidhmiú go sásúil; an bhfuil sé fós ag geallúint go dtabharfar toghcháin Údarás na Gaeltachta ar ais agus é ina Thaoiseach anois; agus cén t-am faoina mbeidh an gealltanas sin comhlíonta. [43030/20]

 237. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin cén staid ina bhfuil an t-athbhreithniú ar struchtúr rialachais Údarás na Gaeltachta a gealladh sa Chlár Rialtais; cathain a bheidh an t-athbhreithniú sin críochnaithe; agus an bhfuil sí ag dul siar ar an ngealltanas a thug duine (sonraí tugtha) go dtabharfar toghcháin Údarás na Gaeltachta ar ais agus é ina Thaoiseach. [43029/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers I propose to take Questions Nos. 226 and 237 together.

Luaitear sa Chlár Rialtais go ndéanfar athbhreithniú ar struchtúir fheidhmiúcháin agus rialachais Údarás na Gaeltachta, agus ar an bpróiseas roghnúcháin/toghacháin i ndáil le Bord an Údaráis.

Faoin socrú reatha agus faoi réir na bhforálacha ábhartha Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, ainmníonn na hÚdaráis Áitiúla a bhfuil ceantar Gaeltachta faoina gcúram acu cúigear comhalta faoi seach chuig an mbord. Faoi réir an Achta, agus i gcomhréir le cleachtais choitianta i ndáil le boird stáit, roghnaítear an seachtar comhalta eile tríd comórtas poiblí a eagraítear faoi scáth na Seirbhíse um Cheapacháin Phoiblí.

Tá sé mar sprioc agam go gcuirfear tús le hathbhreithniú faoi réir an ghealltanais sa Chlár Rialtais chomh luath agus is féidir. Chuige sin, tá iarrtha agam ar oifigigh mo Roinne Téarmaí Tagartha don athbhreithniú a thabhairt chun cinn. Tá dul chun cinn maith déanta cheana féin i dtaobh na hoibre seo agus táim ag súil le moltaí ina leith a fháil gan mhoill ionas go mbeifear in ann tús a chur leis an athbhreitniú sa bhliain nua.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 227. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the rationale for allowing certain GAA games, other than at elite level, to proceed while prohibiting soccer and GAA games for similar age groups; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43416/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers It is regrettable that at this time, it is not possible to permit a broader return to competition, but the current Level 3 restrictions are clear that matches and competitive sporting events are not permitted except for professional and elite sportspeople, including specific elite underage competitions. This is in recognition of the need to limit insofar as possible person-to-person contact to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The protocols applied for elite sports training and competition are aligned with international best practice and have been developed in consultation with the Expert Group on the Return to Sport. It is unfortunately not feasible or realistic to expect the application of such rigorous COVID-19 protocols at every level of competition, whether in a club or school.

Under the current restrictions, all clubs can engage in non-contact training outside in pods of up to 15. My Department and Sport Ireland are engaging with the various sporting bodies to inform a review of the measures currently in place for sporting activity, which will be considered by Government early in the New Year. The issue of resuming competitions and leagues will form part of the review.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 228. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin her views on a matter raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) in relation to indoor training for a sport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42861/20]

 232. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the rationale behind the decision taken regarding the operation of in-line figure skating under level 3 of the living with Covid-19 plan [42967/20]

 233. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she has met with or plans to meet with an association (details supplied) to discuss its concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its members; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42968/20]

 242. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if in-line skating and figure skating are allowed to operate under level 3 restrictions. [43123/20]

 246. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan Information on Christopher O'Sullivan Zoom on Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she will consider allowing in-line figure skating, a solitary sport, to resume indoor training so that skaters can avail of the many benefits of the sport for physical and mental well-being; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43314/20]

 247. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) will receive a response; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43391/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers I propose to take Questions Nos. 228, 232, 233, 242, 246 and 247 together.

I refer the Deputies to the Government's Framework for Restrictive Measures www.gov.ie/en/publication/ad569-level-3/#measures-in-place-from-1-december, which outlines the overriding public health rationale for the suite of measures applicable to each of the Framework's five levels.

Under the current level 3 of the Framework, only individual training is permitted indoors subject to compliance with prevailing public health requirements. Sport Ireland has published practical guidance on the measures around indoor sporting activity on its website at www.sportireland.ie/covid19/individual-and-indoor-training.

Apart from the limited number of exemptions set down in the public health regulations, which are subject to extraordinary levels of monitoring control and supervision that are not amenable to being replicated at non-elite levels at multiple locations countrywide, all other sports are subject to the current level 3 restrictions on indoor sporting activity.

I can confirm that my Department received correspondence from a representative of the inline figure skating and artistic roller skating communities, and that a response has issued, advising that they make contact with Sport Ireland, the statutory body responsible for the development of Irish sport at all levels.

Sport Ireland

 229. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if an organisation (details supplied) will receive support in fast-tracking its application for membership of Sport Ireland given the impact this will have on its ability to train under level 3 Covid-19 restrictions. [42886/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers The application process for National Governing Body recognition, to which the Deputy refers, is a matter solely for Sport Ireland as the statutory agency responsible for the development of Irish sport. I can confirm that my Department received correspondence from a representative of the group in question, and that a response has issued, advising that they make contact with Sport Ireland.

  Under the current level 3 of the Framework, only individual training is permitted indoors subject to compliance with prevailing public health requirements. Sport Ireland has published practical guidance on the measures around indoor sporting activity on its website at https://www.sportireland.ie/covid19/individual-and-indoor-training.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 230. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the reason underage soccer players have been advised that they are unable to return to training and matches while in level 3 restrictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42919/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers Under the current level 3 restrictions it has been decided that the FAI Elite U19 and U17 Leagues for young women and men will be permitted to conclude their seasons. My Department has been assured by the FAI that the protocols and control measures applied for training and matches for these teams are equivalent to those applied for the senior teams. My Department is also satisfied that robust compliance structures are in place to ensure adherence to these protocols.

It is regrettable that at this time, it is not possible to permit a broader return to competition, but the current Level 3 restrictions are clear that matches and competitive sporting events are not permitted except for professional and elite sportspeople. This is in recognition of the need to limit insofar as possible person-to-person contact to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The protocols applied for elite sports training and competition are aligned with international best practice and have been developed in consultation with the Expert Group on the Return to Sport. It is unfortunately not feasible for every sporting body to apply such rigorous COVID-19 protocols. Neither is it possible to apply them at every level of competition, whether in a club or school.

Under the current restrictions, clubs including soccer clubs, can engage in non-contact training outside in pods of up to 15. My Department and Sport Ireland are engaging with the Football Association of Ireland and other sporting bodies to inform a review of the measures currently in place for sporting activity, which will be considered by Government early in the New Year. The issue of resuming competitions and leagues will form part of the review.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 231. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin her plans to allow for sport to resume among children both in and outside of school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42924/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers I would like to clarify for the Deputy at the outset that the prevailing restrictions in Level 3 are as determined by the Government in accordance with The Framework for Restrictive Measures, which is a risk management strategy that is designed to allow individuals, families, businesses and services better understand, anticipate and prepare for the measures Government might introduce to stop escalation of the transmission of COVID-19. The Government’s strategy, in line with the public health advice, is disease suppression. Under the Government's Framework for Restrictive Measures, children’s sport has continued since the publication of the Recovery and Resilience Plan in September, subject to certain restrictions on activities indoors and outdoors.

Under Level 3 effective from 1 December the following measures apply to Children’s sport:

  - Outdoors: Non-contact training only in pods of up to 15.

  - Indoors: Individual sports training only. This should be conducted in line with the guidance developed for indoor sport. No exercise or dance classes should take place.

  In relation to whether sport takes place inside or outside the school setting, a clear distinction has to be made between sport, especially sport in the community, and PE lessons in schools. PE lessons involve a range of activities of which team and individual sports are just one component part. The guidance to schools published by the Department of Education advises that PE lessons should be timetabled as normal where possible during the Covid-19 pandemic, although modifications may have to be made to the range of activities undertaken.

  While activities up to Grade 3 of the HPSC COVID-19 Interim recommendations for the return to sports activities for children and adolescents (https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/sportandrecreation/)

  may be possible depending on public health guidelines in effect at any particular time, individual activities and outdoor activities should be prioritised in PE lessons as these present less risk.

  Detailed guidance has issued to post-primary schools with regard to how practical subjects, including PE, can continue during the Covid-19 pandemic and schools should consult this document, particularly with regard to the list of activities that present a relatively low to moderate risk in PE lessons: (https://assets.gov.ie/85594/17fe45af-dc43-470d-90b5-3d6d2f82d66e.pdf)

  The Government recognises the importance of a broader resumption of sport for both children and adults. In that context, my Department and Sport Ireland are engaging with the various sporting bodies to inform a review of the measures currently in place for sporting activity, which will be considered by Government early in the New Year. The issue of resuming competitions and leagues, which have a particular appeal for children, will form part of the review.

  Question Nos. 232 and 233 answered with Question No. 228.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 234. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she will consider allowing instrumental music at weddings under strict regulations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43009/20]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin On 27 November the Government agreed the approach for easing restrictions, including a phased move to Level 3 nationally, with a number of exceptions in place for the Christmas period. The exceptions for the Christmas period are designed to support people to have a meaningful Christmas, albeit different to other years. The main objective is to stay safe and keep the COVID-19 numbers down so that we can maintain the lowest possible level of restrictions into the New Year. While weddings with up to 25 guests are permitted additional restrictions include no live music. This includes live instrumental music.

In line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19  the Government has, in recent months, framed restrictions to account for periods where there is low incidence of the disease, with isolated clusters and low community transmission, through to situations where there is high or rapidly increasing incidence, widespread community transmission and the pandemic is escalating rapidly in Ireland and globally. Throughout this period the Government has made special provision for weddings in view of the importance of these occasions to couples and the level of planning that is involved for couples and their families.

  Each level of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 contains a “basket” of measures which are intended, collectively, to contribute to lowering risk of transmission in alignment with the risk level at that time. The risk level at this time has meant that some activities have not been permitted such as live music at weddings. I understand the difficulties these restrictions pose for couples on their special day and the impact on musicians and bands. Nonetheless, the restrictions are informed by public health understanding of the disease, in particular how background noise and music can cause people to raise their voices and lean closer together.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 235. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she will consider allowing 50 persons to attend weddings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43010/20]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin On 27 November the Government agreed the approach for easing restrictions, including a phased move to Level 3 nationally, with a number of exceptions in place for the Christmas period. The exceptions for the Christmas period are designed to support people to have a meaningful Christmas, albeit different to other years. The main objective is to stay safe and keep the COVID-19 numbers down so that we can maintain the lowest possible level of restrictions into the New Year. Currently weddings with up to 25 guests are permitted. Any changes in this regard will be a matter for the Government and subject to ongoing review of the trajectory of the virus.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

 236. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin an raibh comórtas oscailte ann chun comhlacht dearaidh ghrafaigh a roghnú chun lógó nua Údarás na Gaeltachta a dhearadh; an roinnfear aon sonraí faoin bpróiseas roghnúcháin sin; cén comhlacht dearaidh ghrafaigh a roghnaíodh agus cén praghas atá ar an gceann a roghnaíodh; agus cad é an costas iomlán a bhaineann leis an lógó a athrú. [43028/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers Tá sé deimhnithe ag an Údarás gur fostaíodh comhlacht darb ainm New Graphic chun a lógó nua a dhearadh. Tuigtear don Roinn nár reáchtáladh comórtas oscailte sa chás seo de bharr an costas a bheith faoin tairseach costais mar a bhaineann sé le rialacháin soláthair poiblí.

  Tá sé deimhnithe freisin ag an Údarás gur bhain costas iomlán €3,800 móide cáin bhreisluacha leis an dearadh agus go raibh aithne fhorleathan ar obair an Údaráis ag an gcomhlacht a roghnaíodh de bharr gur bhuaigh siad tairiscint mar chuid de chomórtas oscailte ar etenders.ie chun suíomh idirlíon nua a tháirgeadh don Údarás, obair a cuireadh i gcrích i mbliana chomh maith.

  Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 226.

Sports Capital Programme

 238. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin when an application will be finalised for a community council (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43076/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers The organisation referred to by the Deputy was allocated a grant under the 2018 Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) which remains fully outstanding. The email of allocation which issued to the organisation set out the terms and conditions that must be met prior to formal approval of the grant. As is the norm for all grants under the SCEP, no drawdown of grants can commence until formal approval issues.

It is understood that the organisation is in the process of providing the required information to my Department and there will be no undue delay in issuing formal approval once this documentation is received.

Ministerial Meetings

 239. Deputy Martin Browne Information on Martin Browne Zoom on Martin Browne asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the number of times she has meet the director general of TG4 (details supplied) in the past three months. [43108/20]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin I can advise you that I have met with the Director General of TG4, once over the last 3 month period, on 27 October 2020, via video call. Officials in my Department also engage with TG4 on an ongoing basis on my behalf.

Fáilte Ireland

 240. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the rationale for demanding the past three years accounts, 2019 tax return, tax clearance certificate and bank balance in respect of the Ireland- based inbound agents business continuity scheme; if criteria to access this scheme can be reviewed in order to make it less cumbersome; and if she has considered the timeline involved in producing the level of documentation requested, in particular by persons that are sole trading. [43112/20]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The administration of the Ireland Based Inbound Agents Business Continuity Scheme is an operational matter for the Board and management of Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to them for further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Fáilte Ireland

 241. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the number of applications in respect of the Ireland-based inbound agents business continuity scheme that have been received since it was launched; the number of applications refused; and if there is an appeal process for applications that are refused. [43113/20]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The administration of the Ireland Based Inbound Agents Business Continuity Scheme is an operational matter for the Board and management of Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to them for further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


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