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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 224-240
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item National Council for Special Education
 Header Item Special Educational Needs
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item School Staff
 Header Item School Staff
 Header Item Teaching Qualifications
 Header Item Registration of Births
 Header Item Fuel Allowance
 Header Item Fuel Allowance
 Header Item Disability Allowance
 Header Item School Meals Programme
 Header Item Food Poverty
 Header Item Living Alone Allowance
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 224-240

School Enrolments

 224. Deputy Emer Higgins Information on Emer Higgins Zoom on Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if consideration will be given to the creation of a database of open school places to assist both parents and schools that cannot accurately predict their waiting lists due to parents applying to multiple schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17922/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley It is the responsibility of the school authorities of schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018.

My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary.

This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, it may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in their school of first choice. In this regard, school authorities may find it necessary to prioritise enrolment of children from particular areas or on the basis of some other criterion.

All schools must publish an admissions notice annually, prior to the commencement of the schools admissions process. Where a school was oversubscribed for the previous academic year, the admissions notice must provide details setting out the number of applications received and the number and order of offers made in that school year in respect of each of the school’s selection criteria.

Schools can share certain data in order to facilitate the efficient admission of students. Should they wish to do so, a board may provide a patron or another board of management with a list of the students in relation to whom an application for admission to the school has been received, or where an offer has been made to or accepted by a student.

National Council for Special Education

 225. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if the NCSE will approve the opening of a new class in a school (details supplied) to meet local pupil needs in view of the fact that pupils were turned away in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17944/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Education (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan Enabling children with special educational needs to receive an education appropriate to their needs is a priority for this Government. The Department of Education will spend approximately €2 Billion or over 20% of its total educational budget in 2021 on making additional provision for children with special educational needs this year.

  The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has responsibility for coordinating and advising on the education provision for children nationwide. It has well established structures in place for engaging with schools and parents. NCSE seeks to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special education placements.

  The NCSE, through its local network of SENOs (Special Educational Needs Organisers), is available to provide advice and support to parents of students on the possible placement options available to their child, including mainstream placement with appropriate support, special class placement and special school placement. Post-primary placements are supported with additional resources where required.

  NCSE is planning a further expansion of special class and special school places nationally, to meet identified need. This process is ongoing.

  Notwithstanding the extent of this investment, I am acutely aware that there are some parts of the country where increases in population and other issues have led to concerns regarding a shortage of school places.   

  Through better planning at both national and local level, it is my objective that specialist education places should come on stream to meet emerging demand on a timely basis. However, the active collaboration of school communities is essential in this regard.

  NCSE is aware of those parents whose children are seeking placement for the 2021/22 academic year, including mainstream placement with appropriate support, special class and special school placement. The NCSE continues to work to identify any and all relevant suitable placements.

  In circumstances, where no placement is available for a child with special educational needs, the Department can provide Home Tuition grant funding towards the provision of 20 hours home tuition per week as an interim measure until the NCSE confirms that a placement is available.

  Special schools do not apply to the NCSE to open additional classes. Since 2012 special schools have been staffed on the basis of their profile, including numbers of students and the disability category of each student. The Class teachers allocated to Special Schools are allocated in accordance with Department of Education Circular 0042/2011. School staffing schedules are reviewed and updated each year by the NCSE who collect up to date details of pupils attending special schools. Accordingly the staffing levels and pupil/teacher ratios reflect the profile of need that exists within an individual school.

  In respect of the school in question I understand that an application for additional accommodation for September 2021 has been submitted to my Department’s School Building Unit and is currently being reviewed.

The NCSE's local Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) remains available to parents and may be contacted directly using the contact details available at: https://ncse.ie/regional-services-contact-list.

Special Educational Needs

 226. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she will approve an assistive technology grant application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17950/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Education (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.

  In order to qualify for equipment under the assistive technology scheme, a child must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the child to access the curriculum. It must also be clear that the existing I.T. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs.

  I can advise the Deputy that an application for assistive technology support for the child referred to in his question has been received by my Department on 29th March and a response issued to the school on 30th March confirming the level of grant support available.

Departmental Data

 227. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types her Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17969/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Education (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan At the outset, I wish to acknowledge the seriousness of the issues raised in the recent RTE Investigates programme.

  I also want to assure the House and the families of children with special educational needs that my Department has never unlawfully collected or passed on the sensitive educational information of children involved in court cases.

  My Department is currently reviewing case files in this matter with a view to establishing the facts of how these cases were managed. The outcome of this review will inform further action.

General Data Protection Regulation

 228. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the number of complaints her Department has received from members of the public under the heading of GDPR and data information requests since 2018 to date in 2021; the number of data information requests that have been refused and accepted, respectively; the number of GDPR requests refused; and the basis on which they were declined in tabular form. [17987/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The statistical information requested by the Deputy concerning subject access requests and complaints under the General Data Protection Regulation EU 2016/679 (GDPR) concerning my Department is provided on the attached table.

SSHA

Covid-19 Pandemic

 229. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if a full return to school is now effective for all children at primary and post-primary level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18007/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley My Department has developed a plan with the relevant education stakeholders for the phased return to in-school learning for children in primary, post-primary and special schools. During March all primary level, fifth year post primary students and final year Leaving Certificate students returned to school. This phase also saw a return to full attendance for children in special schools.

The full re-opening of our schools for all students in line with public health advice remains a top priority for Government and my Department is focussing on the safe return of the last group of post primary students set to return to school after the Easter Break.

School Staff

 230. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley further to Parliamentary Question No. 109 of 25 March 2021, the number of substitutable days that have gone uncovered in this school year; the number of such days that have been subsequently claimed against via the new mechanism for banking such days according to the online claims system; the number of days a supply panel teacher was left unbooked separating days school buildings were open to days they were closed; the number of days that have been covered using the five-day rule for unqualified personnel; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18053/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Based on the reports received from schools for the first term of the 2020/21 school year, the Substitute Teacher Supply Panels were running at an average of 94% efficiency. The relevant schools are currently forwarding the reports in respect of the second term, therefore the information requested by the Deputy is not currently available.

A separate report shall issue to the Deputy directly providing the other information. This information has to be extracted from the payroll databases, checked and validated before issuing.

School Staff

 231. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the way in which the supply panel will be expanded for the 2021-2022 school year to meet demand; and the way in which SET provision will be expanded to make up for the loss of learning during the academic year 2020-2021. [18054/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Among the COVID-19 supports provided for the 2020/21 school year was the extension of the Substitute Teacher Supply Panel. Currently, there are 115 Substitute Teacher Supply Panels nationwide, with almost 330 newly appointed Supply Panel teachers employed, providing substitute cover to almost 2,300 schools across the country. The proficiencies of the Substitute Teacher Supply Panels is being monitored throughout the school year and will be reviewed by my Department at the end of the current academic year.

There are currently over 13,600 Special Education Teachers allocated to mainstream primary and post primary schools. This represents an increase of 40% in the total number of special education teachers allocated to schools since 2011, at which time 9740 teachers were allocated. The allocations are based on the profiled needs of schools and are designed to be updated, based on new school profile data, every 2-3 years. In the interim, additional allocations are made for new schools, or schools which have significantly developing enrolments.

In order to minimise disruption for schools, and to provide for continuity of allocations, the existing Special Education Teacher Allocations for schools will be maintained for the 2021/22 school year, with re profiled allocations now due to be made from September 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic and associated schools closures has hugely adverse consequences for many children and their families. The effect on children with complex special educational needs can be even greater.

Accordingly, my Department has taken a number of measures to support children with special educational needs during the school closure period. These measures include

- Providing additional guidance and supports aimed to improve remote learning for children with Special Education Needs in 2020/21 school year

- Prioritising the return of pupils with special education to school, during the phased reopening of schools

- Making provision for a supplementary education programme for pupils with special educational needs. The supplementary programme is intended to supplement the teaching and learning provided by the student’s school and alleviate the impact of this period of school closure through the provision of one to one in-person teaching or care support to be delivered in homes.

- My Department is also planning to provide for an enhanced summer programmes this year for children with complex special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage.

A number of measures have therefore been taken to support children with special educational during the school closure period, and to support their return to school. There are no plans at this time to increase the number of Special Education Teachers which are allocated to schools. However, as schools reopen, and the effect of school closures on pupils can be assessed, further measures may be introduced, if necessary.

Teaching Qualifications

 232. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the date when she will next approve the numbers of students which the four State-funded providers can take in to both the bachelor of education and professional masters of education programmes of primary initial teacher education; the rationale for the existing cap; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18077/21]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley In November 2020, as Minister for Education, I approved the annual intake figure for the academic year 2021/22 on the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) initial teacher education programmes provided in the four State-funded HEI providers. I also approved the continuation of the Professional Masters of Education (PME) programmes and the intake figure for the PME programmes provided in the four State-funded HEI providers. The annual intake figures approved for the B.Ed and PME primary ITE programmes are 1,000 and 200 respectively for the coming academic year.

Historically, the Department has endeavoured to manage the supply of trained primary teachers in an effort to achieve equilibrium between the supply of and the demand for trained teachers. In 2019, my Department published a technical report, Teacher Demand and Supply in Ireland 2020-2036, which projects teacher demand and supply to 2036. The potential impact of policy levers is not examined in the report. The report was published as a working document and was the subject of intensive consultation with stakeholders after its publication. Ultimately, the intention is to establish a robust data based model for the effective projection of future teacher demand and supply across the school system.

Registration of Births

 233. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh Information on Marc Ó Cathasaigh Zoom on Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans for the inclusion of babies who are stillborn before 24 weeks and or under 500g in weight to be included on the still birth register; her plans for those babies to receive a certificate of life (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18070/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The relevant legislation in this area is the Stillbirths Registration Act 1994 which applies to a child born weighing 500 grammes or more or having a gestational age of 24 weeks or more who shows no sign of life. Such thresholds are a feature of such registrations internationally and are in line with World Health Organisation guidelines in this area.

  I understand that these thresholds are currently under review in the Department of Health. Any future proposals for change in this area will be considered in the context of the outcome of that review.

  I trust this clarifies the position for you at this time.

Fuel Allowance

 234. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of persons in receipt of the fuel allowance; the number of applications for the fuel allowance; the number of refusals for the fuel allowance over the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17707/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Fuel Allowance is a means tested payment to assist pensioners and other long-term social welfare dependent householders with their winter heating costs. The payment is a contribution towards heating costs. It is not intended to meet these costs in full. The payment is made at the weekly rate of €28.00 or, if preferred, by way of two lump sum payments and is paid over the winter season (28 weeks in the 2020/2021 fuel allowance season). Only one Fuel Allowance is payable per household.

Current figures indicate that approximately 372,000 households are in receipt of Fuel Allowance. Those who qualified for Fuel Allowance last year automatically receive the payment again this year provided they continue to fulfil the eligibility requirements. They do not therefore need to re-apply.

Due to the payment of Fuel Allowance across different IT platforms, accurate numbers of claims received and disallowed are not readily obtainable. However, based on the information available, approximately 16,400 applications have been received in 2021 to date, with 4,700 disallowed. Approximately 17,200 were disallowed in 2020, 21,600 in 2019 and 22,000 in 2018.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance

 235. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the price substitute between bituminous smoky coal and smokeless coal; if the fuel allowance will be increased to take into account any prohibition of the sale of bituminous smoky coal, wet wood and sod turf; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17708/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Fuel Allowance is a payment of €28.00 per week for 28 weeks (a total of €784 each year) from October to April, to over 372,000 low income households, at an estimated cost of €300 million in 2021. The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household.

  Matters relating to the sale of fuels are relevant to the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications.

  I am informed by the Minister that his Department (i.e., the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications) is currently holding a public consultation on the development of new solid fuel regulations which is due to close on Friday 2nd of April. The development of new regulations will involve a thorough analysis of all submissions, engagement with all relevant stakeholders and consideration of all associated matters including fuel poverty.

  I am also informed that, according to the most recent SEAI Fuel cost comparison (available at https://www.seai.ie/publications/Domestic-Fuel-Cost-Comparison.pdf), the difference between the cost of bituminous coal and smokeless coal is approximately €1.40 per 40kg bag, with the cost of smokeless coal having decreased by 2.7% in the last year.

Finally, I am further informed that, in order to improve our air quality, we must reduce our reliance upon the burning of solid fossil fuels, and that this is being supported by an allocation of €221 million for home and community retrofitting provided for in Budget 2021. This 82% increase on the 2020 budget is being funded through carbon tax revenue and includes €109 million in additional supports for low income homes. Social welfare recipients may also be entitled to a free energy upgrade. Further information on all SEAI grants and schemes is available at www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants  .

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance

 236. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys further to Parliamentary Question No. 988 of 24 March 2021, if a request for an appeal of a decision in respect of a person (details supplied) has been received by her Department to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17725/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered with that office on 19 March 2021. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing. Hearings are currently being conducted online or by telephone. Due to the current level of Covid-19 restrictions in-person oral appeal hearings have been suspended.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

 237. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the reason a school (details supplied) has not been selected for the school meals scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17780/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,557 schools and organisations benefitting 227,000 children. The objective of the programme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

As part of Budget 2019, funding was provided for a pilot scheme from September 2019, providing hot school meals in primary schools at a cost of €1m for 2019 and €2.5m in 2020. The pilot involved 37 schools benefitting 6,744 students for the 2019/2020 academic year and was aimed primarily at schools with no onsite cooking facilities.

In Budget 2021, I announced that an additional €5.5m would be provided to extend the provision of hot school meals to an additional 35,000 primary school children, currently receiving the cold lunch option. Officials from the department issued invitations for expressions of interest to some 700 primary schools in November 2020. A total of 281 expressions of interest were received in respect of 52,148 children.

The 35,000 places were allocated to each local authority area based on the number of children applied by local authority as a percentage of the total number. A minimum of one School for each Local Authority area was selected. Thereafter, a process of random selection was used for each area.

As a result of this process, 189 of the 281 schools that submitted an expression of interest were selected, including 4 schools in County Clare, and the 596 children attending these schools will be entitled to receive hot school meals.

Unfortunately, Scoil Chríost Rí, Ennis was not selected and I appreciate that this is disappointing for the school. Please be assured of my Department’s support and that the current cold lunch option remains available to the school.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Food Poverty

 238. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if her attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied); the steps her Department is taking to address food poverty in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17788/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have read the report provided by the Deputy which documents the challenges posed in the Finglas area by COVID-19 and related restrictions.

I can confirm that the Department of Social Protection is helping communities to address food poverty in the Finglas and wider Dublin 11 community through the School Meals programme and Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). FEAD supports EU Member States’ actions to provide food and material assistance to the most deprived.

Last year following the closure of the schools as a result of the pandemic restrictions, concern was raised that children from disadvantaged backgrounds might not receive nutritious meals outside of school. The Government decided that funding under the School Meals Programme could be used to support schools which identify pupils who were unlikely to receive nutritious food during the current COVID-19 pandemic and were willing to set up a system to provide children with nutritious food while the schools are closed. This funding was provided during the summer months and throughout the period of school closures following the move to Level 5 restrictions in late December. Funding is also available during the current Easter break from 29 March – 9 April.

Under the School Meals programme, the Department of Social Protection has committed nearly €1.8 million to 28 schools and organisations in Dublin 11, during the 2020/21 school year. This benefits over 5,800 children. More recently last week, Minister Humphreys launched the Hot School Meals Programme 2021, which will benefit some 35,000 pupils in 189 primary schools, a number of which are in the Finglas area.

FoodCloud is the primary Partner Organisation to deliver the food element of the FEAD Programme and they are responsible for the procurement and storage of the FEAD products, and coordinating collection of the FEAD products by the other Partner Organisations (mainly community-based charities). There are a number of Local Partner Organisations with access to FEAD products in the North Dublin/Finglas area, including the St Vincent De Paul, Barnardos Finglas and the Finglas Addiction Support Team (FAST). The Department and FoodCloud have been monitoring the supply and demand for food closely since the outbreak of COVID–19. If the existing need increases, local partner organisations can apply for an increase in the food/credit allocation by contacting the FEAD Unit (FEAD@welfare.ie) providing an outline of the increased level of demand.

Looking at food poverty on a broader scale, the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 was published in 2020 and is the national strategy aimed at reducing poverty and increasing social inclusion in Ireland. The Social Inclusion Roadmap Steering Group is an inter-departmental group which monitors the implementation and progress of Roadmap commitments. I chair the Steering Group which met for the second time on 30 March 2021.

The Roadmap includes a specific commitment for the development of a programme of work to further explore the drivers of food poverty and to identify mitigating actions. With this in mind, I intend to establish a Working Group to tackle the issue of food poverty. It is my intention that the group will comprise senior officials from various Government Departments and representatives from relevant NGOs. I believe that this approach will harness the collective efforts of all Departments and tackle the issue of food poverty in a coherent and holistic manner.

I thank the Deputy for her question and hope this clarifies the matter.

Living Alone Allowance

 239. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if a living alone increase will be backdated in the case of a person (details supplied). [17791/21]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys According to the records of my Department, the person concerned was awarded State Pension (contributory) from 22/08/2012, when they reached 66 years of age. At that time they were also awarded an Increase for Living Alone allowance, at the rate of €7.70.

  Their pension award along with additional allowances was confirmed in writing on 23 July 2012.

  They continue to be in receipt of this allowance at the now current rate of €19.00.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes

 240. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if an exception will be made in the case of a person (details supplied).  [17805/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Joe O'Brien): Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent CE sponsoring authorities that operate in the community and voluntary sector. The annual contract agreement between my Department and the CE sponsoring authorities establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for all purposes and all persons recruited by them.

My Department provides funding towards training and material costs in addition to CE participant and CE supervisor wages on a per capita basis. CE sponsoring authorities receive this funding in line with their annual contract with my Department.

CE supervisors are employed by CE sponsoring authorities, they are not employees of the Department. As the employer, CE sponsoring authorities provide fixed-term contracts to both new and existing CE supervisors in line with their annual contractual agreement with the Department.

Prior to being made redundant by the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland CE Scheme, the person concerned had been employed as an Assistant Supervisor during the period 07/05/2012 to 05/07/2013 and as a Supervisor from 08/07/2013 to 04/10/2020.

Following an interview process the person concerned was offered a temporary Supervisor position by the sponsoring authority of the Ballyfermot Centre for Children, Young People & Families CE Scheme also known as FamiliBase for an initial 3 month period with effect from 22/02/2021, commencing on Point 1 of the CE Supervisor payscale.

In 2019 the definition of a new CE supervisor was clarified as being a person who is not currently employed as a CE supervisor. Where a new CE supervisor has a new employment contract with a new CE sponsoring authority, there is no obligation on the new employer to continue on from any previous remuneration that the employee may have received, either from a former CE employer or any similar position that a new employee may have held.

All new CE supervisors commence on Point 1 of the appropriate payscale and move by annual increments on the anniversary of their commencement date thereafter, subject to satisfactory performance.

I trust this clarifies the matter.


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