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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 24-43
 Header Item Central Statistics Office
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Company Liquidations
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Foireann Roinne
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Remote Working
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 110 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 24-43

Central Statistics Office

 24. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Taoiseach Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin the statistical evidence available on the mode of travel for pupils to school in the different constituencies in Dublin; and if there is a different pattern among primary and secondary schools. [43773/20]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers Tables 1 and 2 are based on the usually resident and present population as recorded in 2016 for the 11 Dublin Dáil Constituencies. The data are presented for children aged between 5 and 12 years (representing primary school children) and students aged between 13 and 18 years (representing secondary school students).

  Table 1a: Children at school, aged between 5 and 12 years, usually resident by age and means of travel in Dublin Dáil Constituencies, 2016

 
All means of travel
On foot
Bicycle
Bus, minibus or coach
Train, DART or Luas
Passenger in a car
Other
Dublin South-Central
9606
4224
298
666
70
3584
764
Dublin Bay North
14426
6116
709
724
50
6033
794
Dublin West
16166
6910
474
760
13
6782
1227
Dublin Central
6339
3549
237
393
28
1461
671
Dublin North-West
8642
2794
213
746
1
4136
752
Dublin Bay South
6943
3524
377
280
60
2275
427
Dublin Mid-West
15626
6433
461
676
10
6965
1081
Dublin South-West
18005
7100
258
775
61
8756
1055
Dublin Fingal
20384
8177
471
1138
33
9483
1082
Dublin Rathdown
9161
2635
300
227
141
5578
280
Dún Laoghaire
11982
3790
376
420
148
6909
339
Total Dublin Constituencies
137280
55252
4174
6805
615
61962
8472


  Table 1b: Students at school or college aged between 13 and 18, usually resident by age and means of travel in Dublin Dáil Constituencies, 2016
 
All means of travel
On foot
Bicycle
Bus, minibus or coach
Train, DART or Luas
Passenger in a car
Other
Dublin South-Central
6167
2456
305
1489
145
1419
353
Dublin Bay North
10079
3162
974
2380
560
2607
396
Dublin West
9111
3551
547
2017
269
2268
459
Dublin Central
4155
1844
371
973
73
481
413
Dublin North-West
5461
1720
481
1603
18
1304
335
Dublin Bay South
4713
1672
523
763
295
973
487
Dublin Mid-West
9115
3389
296
2192
41
2744
453
Dublin South-West
10982
4021
405
2406
159
3451
540
Dublin Fingal
11155
3820
295
2474
689
3385
492
Dublin Rathdown
6227
1394
406
1057
810
2325
235
Dún Laoghaire
8496
1486
489
2030
1081
3134
276
Total Dublin Constituencies
85661
28515
5092
19384
4140
24091
4439


  Table 2a: Percentage of children at school, aged between 5 and 12 years, usually resident by Age and Means of Travel in Dublin Dáil Constituencies, 2016
 
All means of travel
On foot
Bicycle
Bus, minibus or coach
Train, DART or Luas
Passenger in a car
Other
Dublin South-Central
9606
44%
3%
7%
1%
37%
8%
Dublin Bay North
14426
42%
5%
5%
0%
42%
6%
Dublin West
16166
43%
3%
5%
0%
42%
8%
Dublin Central
6339
56%
4%
6%
0%
23%
11%
Dublin North-West
8642
32%
2%
9%
0%
48%
9%
Dublin Bay South
6943
51%
5%
4%
1%
33%
6%
Dublin Mid-West
15626
41%
3%
4%
0%
45%
7%
Dublin South-West
18005
39%
1%
4%
0%
49%
6%
Dublin Fingal
20384
40%
2%
6%
0%
47%
5%
Dublin Rathdown
9161
29%
3%
2%
2%
61%
3%
Dún Laoghaire
11982
32%
3%
4%
1%
58%
3%
Total Dublin Constituencies
137280
40%
3%
5%
0%
45%
6%


  Table 2b: Percentage of students at school or college, aged between 13 and 18, usually resident by age and means of travel in Dublin Dáil Constituencies, 2016
 
All means of travel
On foot
Bicycle
Bus, minibus or coach
Train, DART or Luas
Passenger in a car
Other
Dublin South-Central
6167
40%
5%
24%
2%
23%
6%
Dublin Bay North
10079
31%
10%
24%
6%
26%
4%
Dublin West
9111
39%
6%
22%
3%
25%
5%
Dublin Central
4155
44%
9%
23%
2%
12%
10%
Dublin North-West
5461
31%
9%
29%
0%
24%
6%
Dublin Bay South
4713
35%
11%
16%
6%
21%
10%
Dublin Mid-West
9115
37%
3%
24%
0%
30%
5%
Dublin South-West
10982
37%
4%
22%
1%
31%
5%
Dublin Fingal
11155
34%
3%
22%
6%
30%
4%
Dublin Rathdown
6227
22%
7%
17%
13%
37%
4%
Dún Laoghaire
8496
17%
6%
24%
13%
37%
3%
Total Dublin Constituencies
85661
33%
6%
23%
5%
28%
5%


   Overview

  Approximately 85% of primary school students in the Dublin constituencies travelled to school either on foot (40%) or as a passenger in a car (45%). The percentage of secondary students travelling by these means was only 61%, with 33% travelling on foot and 28% as a passenger in a car. The percentage travelling to school by bus, minibus, coach or train was higher among secondary school students (23%) than among primary school children (5%).

  On foot

  The percentage of primary school children travelling to school by foot was on average 7% higher than for secondary school students in the same constituency. This discrepancy was greatest in Dublin Bay South where 51% of primary school children travelled to school on foot compared with 35% of secondary students.

  Bicycle   

  The percentage of secondary school students travelling to school on bicycle was on average 3% higher than for primary school children within the same constituency. Six percent more secondary school students than primary school children travelled to school by bicycle in both Dublin Bay South and Dublin North-West.

  Bus, Minibus or Coach

  An average of 23% of secondary school students travelled to school via bus, minibus or coach, compared with an average of 5% of primary school children in the 11 constituencies.

  Train, DART or Luas

  The percentage of secondary school students travelling to school via train, DART or Luas was on average 5% in 2016, compared with an average less than 1% of primary school children across the 11 constituencies. The discrepancy was most marked in Dublin Rathdown and Dún Laoghaire.

  Car Passengers

  An average of 45% of primary school children travelled to school as a passenger in a car in 2016, compared with 28% of secondary school students. The highest discrepancy between primary and secondary school students travelling to school as a passenger in a car was found in Dublin Rathdown and Dublin North-West.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 25. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Taoisigh Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin na pleannana atá ag a Roinn chun seirbhísí faoina riar a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, chun cur le líon na seirbhísí ar fáil trí Ghaeilge faoina riar, agus chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, le linn 2021. [43858/20]

 26. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Taoisigh Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin sonrú a dhéanamh ar gach post sainaitheanta le riachtanas Gaeilge ina Roinn faoi láthair, líon na bhfostaí in a Roinn ag a bhfuil cumas sa Ghaeilge acu, agus líon iomlán na bhfostaí in a Roinn. [43859/20]

 27. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Taoisigh Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin na fadhbanna is práinní i leith seirbhísí faoi riar a Roinn a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge sna ceantair Gaeltachta a shainiú, agus conas a bhfuil sé i gceist aige iad a réiteach. [43860/20]

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 to 27, inclusive, together.

  Tá roinnt gealltanas tugtha i Scéim Teanga 2019-2022 mo Roinne chun a chinntiú go gcuirtear seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge ar fáil sa Roinn lena n-áirítear sonraí i dtaobh dhá phost atá sannta ag an Roinn mar phoist ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge de dhíth.

  Tá ceangail ag an dá phost seo le hOifig Phríobháideach an Taoisigh agus le Seirbhísí Eolais an Rialtais agus tá na poist sin á gcomhlíonadh ag foireann shannta a bhfuil an inniúlacht Ghaeilge atá de dhíth acu. Tugtar aitheantas leis seo go mbaineann go leor den éileamh i dtaobh seirbhísí le hiarrataí ón bpobal i gcoitinne agus ó na meáin.

  Ina theannta sin, tá líon beag foirne ag mo Roinn lonnaithe i rannáin eile a bhfuil sé ar a gcumas seirbhísí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge, atá leordhóthanach chun an t-éileamh atá ann a shásamh, lena n-áirítear do dhaoine atá ina gcónaí i gceantair Ghaeltachta.

  Tá 224.05 ball foirne fostaithe i Roinne an Taoisigh ar bhonn coibhéise lánaimseartha i láthair na huaire.

Departmental Budgets

 28. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Taoiseach Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin the current budgets in his Department for social media advertising for 2021; and the campaigns behind each budget line in tabular form. [44030/20]

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The 2021 communication budget for my Department is currently being planned. My Department will participate in all appropriate initiatives and public information campaigns as required, in light of events such as, for example, developments on Covid-19 and Brexit.

Brexit Issues

 29. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for an exchange programme for holders of certificates (details supplied) to EU or Irish certificates following Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43702/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As both Ireland and the UK are Contracting Parties to the ADR (UN European Agreement on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) and this will not change following Brexit. ADR driver training certificates that are in conformance with ADR 8.2.1 and issued in accordance with ADR 8.2.2.8 are mutually accepted by competent authorities across ADR Contracting Parties.

Thus, ADR driver training certificates issued in the UK will remain valid in Ireland after Brexit and an exchange programme is not necessary.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 30. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will clarify the situation regarding the level 3 lockdown and the capacity of enterprises (details supplied) to operate in that context. [43675/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance as possible.

It is important to note that all decisions taken by Government on the timing of any lifting of restrictions will be guided by advice received from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The measures in place are published and regularly updated on www.gov.ie.

I know that employers and employees want to get back to work and I support them in that ambition, but it must be safe to do so. My Department contributed to the considerations around the phased re-opening of sectors and I will work within Government to secure further details and clarity for businesses as we progress through the phases outlined in the Roadmap.

A wide range of stakeholders including employers, unions and representative groups were consulted and their advice formed part of the considerations when drawing up the Roadmap.

It is a living document and Government has the ability to amend its plans depending on the circumstances existing as we progress through each phase. It will be subject to regular review in the context of the progression or suppression of the disease in Ireland or new guidance or research that emerges from other sources.

These decisions are not taken lightly, and I am acutely conscious of the impact it is having on businesses. That is why since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has provided a comprehensive range of measures for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities. For a full list of supports for business please see my Department's website.

Company Liquidations

 31. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will review a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43731/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Joint provisional liquidators have been appointed by the High Court to four Irish operating companies, that are part of the UK fashion group Arcadia.

  It is important to note that a provisional liquidator does not take steps to wind up the company but rather preserves and secures the company’s assets pending appointment of an official liquidator. As such, the employees of Arcadia remain as employees and continue to have employment rights which they can exercise.

  I extend my sympathies to the workers who are in danger of losing their jobs. I fully appreciate how difficult the situation is for those involved.

  I understand that it is hoped to procure the sale of the Irish operations as part of an overall sale of the group and that the Irish stores will continue to trade through Christmas to maximise the value of stock. The Government hopes a suitable and sustainable buyer can be found, and that any potential job losses can be avoided.

  Section 12 of the Protection of Employment Act 1977 makes it mandatory on employers to notify the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment of a proposed collective redundancy. To date none has been received in relation to Arcadia.

  Redundancy is a matter for the employer in the first instance. The State will guarantee statutory employment rights to the workers. If necessary, the Social Insurance Fund, provides a safety net for employees to ensure they receive their statutory entitlements.

  The Companies Act 2014 provides safeguards to ensure that a liquidation process complies with the relevant statutory requirements.

  Workers also have rights as creditors under company law and they can execute their lawful rights through the courts. They, or their representatives, can go to court on any question arising in the winding up of a company.

  Government will work in a coordinated way to support any person who loses their job. Supports include welfare entitlements, job-search assistance and upskilling opportunities.

Departmental Funding

 32. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total investment in hubs capital infrastructure in the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43753/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department has invested in the development of enterprise/co-working hubs in every region. Under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the Border Enterprise Development Fund, the Community Enterprise Centre Scheme, and the Community Enterprise Initiative Scheme, Enterprise Ireland has invested over €180 million in these infrastructures. Based on Enterprise Ireland’s analysis, approximately 3,200 co-working/enterprise spaces are being developed across 45 of the 117 projects supported under these Funds.

These facilities provide affordable physical workspace for businesses across the country, deliver training and soft supports to their tenants and other companies in their locality and regional area, and offer co-working facilities.

To support enterprise centres impacted by COVID-19, Enterprise Ireland ran a €12 million competitive fund to provide eligible enterprise centres with financial support for the implementation of a 6 to 12 - month Recovery Plan. On the 20th November, I announced €8.24m in grants for 95 Enterprise Centres. The 95 enterprise centres, which are in every region of the country, will receive grants ranging from €10k to €150k.

To build on the capacity of Enterprise Centres, Incubator Hubs and Shared Office Space to offer remote working facilities, a central objective of Enterprise Ireland’s regional strategy, Powering the Regions, is the Worksmart Challenge. This challenge aims to support 10,000 co-working and incubation spaces regionally.

There are a broad range of digital/enterprise/community hubs currently operating across the country, both publicly and privately funded, including social enterprises. The Western Development Commission has mapped over 100 remote working hubs within the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) region alone and aim to develop a network of facilities in the AEC region for remote workers, students and for community use.

The Deputy may wish to note that an Interdepartmental Working Group has been established to further develop a national network of remote working hubs and a senior official from my Department is a member of that Group.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 33. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of grants and loans approved for each individual Covid scheme by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43829/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar From my Department's perspective, the information which the Deputy is seeking is available, on a by-county basis, for programmes of the following bodies:

  - The Local Enterprise Offices

  - The Local Authorities who administer the Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus schemes

  - The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

  - Microfinance Ireland

  - Intertrade Ireland.

  The information is contained in the attached document at Supplementary information. My Department has also approached Enterprise Ireland for the information which the Deputy is seeking, and this data will be made available to the Deputy as soon as it is received. This information does not reflect the breadth of government schemes on COVID-19. The Deputy may wish to follow up with Ministers Donohoe or Humphreys regarding TWSS, CRSS, PUP and other schemes.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 34. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Tánaiste agus Aire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar cad iad na pleananna atá ag a Roinn chun seirbhísí faoina riar a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, chun cur le líon na seirbhísí atá ar fáil trí Ghaeilge faoina riar, agus chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, le linn 2021. [43861/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tháinig 3ú Scéim Teanga mo Roinne don tréimhse 2019-2022 i bhfeidhm ar an 18 Feabhra 2019. Ullmhaíodh an Scéim de réir forálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 agus bhí sí ceadaithe ag an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta. Leagann an Scéim amach a mhéid is atá na seirbhísí ar fáil faoi láthair trí Ghaeilge i mo Roinn, athníonn sí na réimsí gur féidir iad a fheabhsú don todhchaí agus pleananna chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn.

Críochnaíodh an Dara Céim do Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2019 sa Dáil ar 8 Deireadh Fómhair. Is é príomhchuspóir an Bhille ná Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a leasú ionas go mbeifear in ann feabhas a chur ar sholáthar seirbhísí phoiblí trí Ghaeilge agus líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge a earcaítear sa tseirbhís phoiblí a mheadú. Tá tacaíocht an Rialtais faighte roinnt leasuithe a mholadh a láidróidh an Bille. Tá an Rialtas tiomanta an Bhille a bhrú ar aghaidh a luaithe agus is féidir. Beidh Céim an Choiste ag tosú ar an 20 Eanáir.

Ceadaíonn an Bille Coiste Comhairleach reachtúil um Sheirbhísí Gaeilge a bhunú d’fhonn soláthar sheirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a fheabhsú. Bunófar an Coiste Comhairleach tráth nach ndéanaí ná sé mhí tar éis an Bhille a bheith achtaithe. Leagtar amach feidhmeanna an Choiste Chomhairligh sa Bhille, lena n-áirítear Plean Náisiúnta a fhoilsiú ar mhaithe le soláthar seirbhísí poiblí trí mheán na Gaeilge a mhéadú. Beidh an Plean Náisiúnta ullmhaithe agus curtha faoi bhráid an Aire tráth nach ndéanaí ná dhá bhliain tar éis a bhunaithe. Déanfar tuairisciú rialta ar an dul chun cinn trí tuairisc gach dara bliain ón Choiste Chomhairligh, a bheidh le cur chuig an Aire, an Coimisinéir Teanga agus le leagan os comhair na Tithe. Tabharfaidh sé seo leibhéal trédhearcacht d’obair an stáit chun soláthar sheirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a fheabhsú.

Foireann Roinne

 35. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Tánaiste agus Aire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar sonrú a dhéanamh ar gach post atá sainaitheanta mar phost a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge leis ina Roinn faoi láthair, líon na bhfostaithe ina Roinn a bhfuil cumas sa Ghaeilge acu, agus líon iomlán na bhfostaithe ina Roinn. [43862/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Níl aon fholúntas reatha taobh istigh mo Roinn faoi láthair a bhfuil cumas Gaeilge riachtanach faoi leith. Mar gheall ar éileamh íseal ar sholáthar seirbhíse do chustaiméirí trí Ghaeilge i mo Roinn, níor aithníodh aon phost ainmnithe ina bhfuil cumas Gaeilge mar réamhriachtanas. Tá 993 bhall foirne fostaithe i mo Roinn faoi láthair.

   Tá mo Roinn go hiomlán tiomanta do Scéim na Gaeilge 2019-2022 a ullmhaíodh de réir Alt 15 d’Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Cuireann an Scéim le prionsabail na Seirbhíse Ardchaighdeáin do Chustaiméirí agus leis an ngealltanas i gCairt Chustaiméirí na Roinne, chun a chinntiú gur féidir le custaiméirí ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge é sin a dhéanamh.

   I gcomhréir leis an Scéim seo, tá mo Roinn tiomanta leibhéal an éilimh a mheas ar bhonn leanúnach ar bhealach pleanáilte, comhleanúnach agus inrochtana.

  Chun a chinntiú go mbíonn fáil ag custaiméirí ar fad ar mo Roinn agus go mbíonn an eagraíocht cumasach dul i ngleic leo, cuireann Ionad Teanga agus Forbartha na Státseirbhíse Oiliúint Ghaeilge ar fáil trí OneLearning.

  Áirithíonn an oiliúint seo go mbíonn cohórt foirne sa Roinn atá in ann cabhrú le haonaid ghnó cliaint a fhreagairt ar mian leo teagmháil a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge. Chomh maith leis sin, tugann an cohórt seo tacaíocht do bhaill foirne a chuid scileanna Gaeilge agus a chuid scileanna seirbhíse do chustaiméirí a fhorbairt. Maidir leis seo, tá 8 mball foirne i mbun oiliúna Ghaeilge nó tá an oiliúint sin curtha i gcrích acu sa bhliain 2020 (féach ar an tábla thíos). Tá 6 bhall foirne eile cláraithe chun páirt a ghlacadh in oiliúint Ghaeilge in 2021.

Teastas sa Ghaeilge Ghairimiúil  
Leibhéal Méid Foirne
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Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 36. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Tánaiste agus Aire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar cad iad na fadhbanna is práinní i leith seirbhísí faoi riar a Roinne a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge sna ceantair Ghaeltachta, agus cad atá beartaithe aige chun iad a réiteach. [43863/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tá mo Roinn go hiomlán tiomanta chun a chinntiú gur féidir le custaiméirí ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge é sin a dhéanamh. Ar an iomlán, tá leibhéal an éilimh an-íseal sa Roinn ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge. Tá an méid teagmhála faighte as Gaeilge, i scríbhinn, ar an nguthán nó aghaidh ar aghaidh an-íseal.

Mar chuid den dul chun cinn a dhéanamh ar an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030, tá prótacal forbartha ag Gníomhaireacht mo Roinne, Fiontraíocht Éireann, i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta thar ceann 8 n-Oifig Fiontair Áitiúla (OFA) i limistéir Ghaeltachta. Is é aidhm Údarás na Gaeltachta agus an 8 n-OFA – i nDún na nGall, Maigh Eo, Gaillimh, Ciarraí, Corcaigh Theas, Corcaigh Thuaidh agus Thiar, Port Láirge agus an Mhí – tríd an bprótacal seo chun comhionannas deiseanna d’fhiontraithe agus do ghnólachtaí a áirithiú maidir le tacaíochtaí Rialtais. Áirithíonn an prótacal seo go bhfuil rochtain ag cliaint Údarás na Gaeltachta ar shaineolas leathan de na OFA trína gcláir oiliúna agus meantóireachta.

Is é aidhm an phrótacail seo ná an méid seo a leanas:

- Áirithigh go dtugtar comhionannas deiseanna agus seirbhísí agus tacaíochtaí inchomparáide do chliaint lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht ag Údarás na Gaeltachta mar a sholáthraíonn Oifígí Fiontair Áitiúla in áiteanna lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht d’fhiontraithe agus d’fhiontair nua nó atá ann cheana.

- Nasc struchtúrtha a bhunú idir Oifígí Fiontair Áitiúla agus Údarás na Gaeltachta go lárnach agus go háitiúil maidir le soláthar eolais, treorach agus tacaíochta do chliaint.

- Meicníocht a leagan amach maidir le soláthar rochtana ar sheirbhísí agus scéimeanna Údarás na Gaeltachta ó na hOifigí Fiontair Áitiúla d’fhiontair incháilithe Gaeltachta.

- Seirbhís oilte do chustaiméirí a chur ar fáil chun dul i ngleic le ceisteanna ó chliaint Údarás na Gaeltachta agus ó chliaint Oifigí Fiontair Áitiúla.

Is gné shuntasach de straitéis chorparáideach IDA Ireland fós é forbairt réigiúnach a bhfuil spriocanna infheistíochta réigiúnacha ann chun infheistíochtaí a mhéadú i ngach réigiún. Chun na spriocanna réigiúnacha uaillmhianacha seo a bhaint amach, leanfaidh IDA Ireland a bheith ag uaillmhianacha le páirtithe leasmhara eile, m.sh. comhlachtaí poiblí, an earnáil phríobháideach agus an lucht acadúil atá ag tabhairt tacaíochta le forbairt réigiúnach agus atá ag uasmhéadú acmhainneacht d’infheistíocht dhíreach eachtrach. Folaíonn sé seo IDA Ireland a bheith ag obair le comhghníomhaireachtaí ar bhealach comhoibríoch ina n-áirítear Údarás na Gaeltachta agus Fiontraíocht Éireann chun clár oibre régiúnach a chur chun cinn.

Tá prótacal ann freisin ag IDA Ireland le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta ó 2018, rud atá mar bhunchloch ag rannphartaíocht idir an dá eagraíocht agus a rud a cuireann leis an gcaidreamh láidir oibre atá táirgiúil agus leanúnach agus atá ann faoi láthair.

Baineann an prótacal le rannpháirtíocht, comhairliúchán agus teagmháil idir IDA Ireland agus Feidhmeannaigh Údarás na Gaeltachta. Buaileann ionadaí sinsearach ó IDA Ireland lena chontrapháirt/lena contrapháirt ó Údarás na Gaeltachta dhá uair sa bhliain ar a laghad agus nuair a thagann ceist chun cinn maidir le cliant ar leith, déanann na hiondaithe ó IDA Ireland cumarsáid dhíreach leis na hiondaithe ó Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Tá mo Roinn tiomanta leibhéal an éilimh ar sholáthar seirbhíse trí Ghaeilge a mheas ar bhonn leanúnach agus na héilimh sin a fhreagairt ar bhealach pleanáilte, comhleanúnach agus inrochtana.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 37. Deputy Pat Buckley Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if additional supports and resources will be given to businesses in the restaurant and pub trade that have invested heavily in outdoor seating and heaters in order to comply with the public health measures to ensure the safety of patrons and customers. [44003/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am keenly aware that publicans are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities. I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance as possible. A comprehensive range of measures is in place for firms of all sizes, including the wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities and is available on my Department’s website. The Government's Restart Grant and Restart Plus Grant of €650m were specifically provided to ensure that businesses could access grant support to make necessary changes to premises to reopen safely.

The Employment Wage Support Scheme was announced as part of Budget 2021. Changes were also made to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the EWSS, increasing the top rate to €350 for those who were earning in excess of €400 per week.

My colleague, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Social Protection, recently announced the doubling of the PUP threshold to €960 over an eight-week period. This will help people to restart their businesses and allow self-employed people to take on intermittent jobs.

The Revenue Commissioners' COVID Restrictions Support Scheme offers a temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels by up to €5,000 per week. For those that unfortunately have had to stay closed, including wet pubs, three double weeks of the CRSS will be paid because December is normally the busiest time of the year for these businesses.

Budget 2021 overall provides a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build resilience and help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the Credit Guarantee Scheme.

A six-month reduction in VAT rates down from 23% to 21%, and from 13.5% to 9% will benefit the hospitality sector. As well as a range of additional public capital investment measures to support the domestic economy.

I will continue to work with my colleagues to monitor the schemes in place and to identify practical actions to help businesses.

Departmental Budgets

 38. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current budgets in his Department for social media advertising for 2021; and the campaigns behind each budget line in tabular form. [44019/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department plays an important role in communicating to business owners the grants, low cost loans, advice and training available to them to help grow their business or meet challenges they face. This role is particularly important in 2020 and 2021 as we face the twin challenges of Brexit and COVID-19.

My Department has an overall communications and advertising budget allocation of €360,000 for 2021. This allocation will be used for: print, radio and social media advertising; the creation of video and animations; photography services; book purchases; media monitoring services; and online subscriptions that my Department will engage in during 2021. My Department has not set a definitive spend against any of its key communications campaigns for 2021, rather will allocate funds as appropriate to each during the course of the year.

Remote Working

 39. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the targets set for new remote jobs in Ireland and transitioning existing jobs to remote working across the public sector, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44036/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As our country continues to navigate Covid-19, remote working has become more important than ever before. This is reflected in the Programme for Government, which contains commitments aimed at facilitating remote work across Ireland. These include a mandate for public sector employers, colleges and other public bodies to move to 20% home and remote working in 2021 and the development of a National Remote Work Strategy.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic my Department is closely following the guidance that all those who can work from home should do so. HR policies and practices for the Civil Service are governed centrally by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). This includes matters relating to employment terms and conditions, including Circular 4 of 2003 which promotes e-working in the Civil Service. DPER is collaborating with all Departments to develop a policy on remote working and my Department is engaging positively to progress this work.

In relation to the National Remote Work Strategy, my Department is leading on its delivery. The Strategy has been developed under the guidance of a broad Interdepartmental Group with representation across Government and the state agencies. The Strategy will consider what changes are needed to develop an environment that encourages remote working solutions. The Strategy will include a set of actions to be delivered and an Implementation Group will monitor the progress of these actions. It is expected that the Strategy will be published shortly.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 40. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of businesses in each local authority area that have received a restart grant and that have received a restart grant plus in tabular form; the funding allocated for each grant category in each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44041/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus schemes were designed to help small and medium sized businesses get back on their feet after what has been an exceptionally difficult time. Approximately €650m under the restart grant schemes will be allocated by the end of the year.

  The purpose of the schemes was to help with the cost of reopening or adapting business premises so that normal business could resume. Grant payments were administered by the Local Authorities via the commercial rates system as this was considered the most effective means to get urgent financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  The Restart Grant Plus scheme closed to new applications on 31 October and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) operated by the Revenue Commissioners is now in place.

  In total, over 118,600 applications have been managed under both Restart schemes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 31 local authorities and the Local Government Management Agency for their working in managing applications under both schemes.

  I have set out separately in tabular form the information requested by the Deputy as of 11 December 2020 at Restart Grants.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 41. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of businesses that have availed of the Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44042/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) is the largest guarantee scheme in the history of the State. Its function is to add certainty to businesses that liquidity is available for working capital and investment purposes. Loans of up to €1 million are available for up to five and a half years. Loans under €250,000 do not require collateral or personal guarantees.

  The Scheme was originally scheduled to run until 31 December 2020 in line with the requirements of the European Commission’s Temporary Framework on State Aid. Following the extension of the terms of this Framework Government approved, on 24 November, the extension of the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to run until 30 June 2021. It is available to SMEs, small Mid-Caps and primary producers.

  As part of the Commission’s State Aid Temporary Framework, each loan under the Scheme must have reduced interest rates. These are clearly articulated in the documentation businesses sign with their finance providers.

  The Government will cover 80 percent of any claims under the scheme. As per State Aid rules set by the European Commission, a premium must be paid to the Irish state which will alleviate some of the costs.

  The CCGS has a draw down rate of on average €8 million per week. This is close to guaranteeing in a week what was guaranteed in the full year of 2018 in the standard CGS. The sectors utilising the scheme most prominently are wholesale/retail at 20 percent, accommodation/food services at 14 percent, agriculture at 11 percent and construction at 9 percent. This demonstrates the strong need and utilisation of the CCGS by businesses most affected by COVID 19.

  The CCGS which is currently available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will see a number of new lenders joining the Scheme early in the new year offering new product-lines. These new lenders will ensure increased regional availability of finance through the CCGS.

  Table 1 provides a breakdown of the number of businesses in each county that have drawn loans under the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme up to 3 December and the value of those loans.

  Table 1 – number and value of loans drawn by county

County Number Value
Carlow 15 € 506,000
Cavan 17 € 778,000
Clare 55 € 2,366,044
Cork 172 € 7,929,314
Donegal 60 € 2,336,445
Dublin 375 € 21,996,084
Galway 130 € 5,960,174
Kerry 39 € 1,270,165
Kildare 66 € 3,861,600
Kilkenny 33 € 1,641,955
Laois 34 € 1,405,396
Leitrim 4 € 69,600
Limerick 66 € 3,482,760
Longford 5 € 131,000
Louth 31 € 1,881,663
Mayo 72 € 3,326,537
Meath 80 € 3,512,878
Monaghan 25 € 1,301,000
Offaly 18 € 700,750
Roscommon 14 € 553,500
Sligo 23 € 988,666
Tipperary 61 € 2,881,678
Waterford 37 € 1,620,000
Westmeath 17 € 664,500
Wexford 19 € 801,000
Wicklow 48 € 2,058,360
Total 1516 € 74,025,069


  I want to assure the Deputy that I and my officials are closely monitoring the Scheme and its effectiveness. I would also direct the Deputy to my Department’s website which has the details of this scheme as well as other relevant loan and grant supports available to Irish businesses.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 42. Deputy Paul McAuliffe Information on Paul  McAuliffe Zoom on Paul  McAuliffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a business (details supplied) can open under level 3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44050/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Government’s Living with COVID-19 Plan recognises the need for an overall incremental approach which take account of the societal and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the varying responses required.

The Living with Covid-19 plan sets out how businesses should operate at five different levels. The Country is, at present, at Level 3. Under Level 3 restrictions no organised indoor gatherings (i.e. controlled environments with a named event organiser or owner or manager) should take place. While gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open they can only do so for the purposes of individual training, with protective measures in place. Also, since 1 December, changes have been made in respect of cinemas, galleries and museums over the Christmas period.

The Health and Safety Authority has no role in determining what businesses can open under any particular level of the Living with COVID-19 plan nor “approving” the re-opening of a business under any level. The role of Authority is as the lead Agency in co-ordinating inspections checking compliance with the Work Safely Protocol for those businesses that have re-opened in line with the different levels.

I would add that any business can check the detailed guidance available on the Gov.ie website so as to determine which category which it falls into within the different levels.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 43. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his Department has carried out an assessment of the impact of level 5 restrictions on the sectors of the economy under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44131/20]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My officials and I have been engaging intensively with businesses and with their representative bodies as the COVID-19 restrictions have fluctuated over the year. This includes engagement in fora such as the Retail Consultation Forum led by Minister English, the SME Taskforce, as well as my involvement with the Tourism and Hospitality Forum, led by Minister Martin. Participation in these fora keeps me aware of the concerns and issues facing businesses as we navigate different levels of restrictions.

My officials have assisted me and the Ministers of State in my Department in our engagement via these groups and in the design of grants or schemes to enable business manage the disruption imposed by Covid-19.

This ongoing work includes examining what the impact of the current pandemic is having on the economy and on businesses, including the impact of the imposition of restrictions, including at Level 5.

This involves utilising different data sources from the CSO, other Government Departments and higher frequency data from private businesses such as Google and Revolut.

In particular, the numbers on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) published weekly by the Department of Social Protection is useful in determining the impact of restrictions at different levels. The changes in numbers claiming the payment and the sectors they work in provides a good indication of the impact of restrictions imposed on employment and, by proxy, business.

In addition, the data on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) provided by the Revenue Commissioners provides additional insight into the most highly impacted sectors.

Complementing this official data, my officials have also used data from private sources such as Google, Apple, Revolut and OpenTable to highlight trends relating to consumer spending and the impact restrictions at different levels have had on sectors such as non-essential retail and the hospitality sectors.

Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland client firms employed over 460,000 people at the start of this year and engagement between the agencies and their client firms is an important additional source of information for me and my Department on the impact of this pandemic and Government restrictions.

All of these inputs and analysis feed into my thinking and help guide the Government's approach in regards to the level of restrictions which represents a balance between public health and economic considerations.


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