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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 258-272
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Child and Family Agency
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Domestic Violence Refuges Provision
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation
 Header Item Apprenticeship Programmes
 Header Item Freedom of Information
 Header Item Student Support Schemes
 Header Item Third Level Admissions
 Header Item Third Level Admissions
 Header Item Third Level Staff
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Departmental Data

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. 258-272

Departmental Bodies Data

 258. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman if a list of section 56 and 59 organisations will be provided; the number of employees in each which have not received pay restoration in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17818/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman I can inform the Deputy that Tusla publishes considerable information on its funding of bodies under section 56 of the Child and Family Agency Acts 2013. For example, Appendix 1 of the Tusla's Annual Financial Statements for 2019 provides a list of organisations that received payments equal to or greater than €50,000 in that year. These are published https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Tusla-Annual-Report-2019-eng-web.pdf and were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in June 2020.

  It is important to note that Tusla is not the employer of persons in such organisations.

  As the Deputy's question refers to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, I have asked Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly.

Child and Family Agency

 259. Deputy Martin Browne Information on Martin Browne Zoom on Martin Browne asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman his views on the fact that the Tusla prevention, partnership and family support programme does not have a community-based team in south County Tipperary; his further views on the way funding is given to a local resource centre instead; his views on the appropriateness of not having a specific Tusla prevention, partnership and family support community-based team in south County Tipperary; the other health areas in which there is no community-based prevention, partnership and family support team run by Tusla; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17833/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman The purpose of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support Programme (PPFS) is to support children, young people, parents and families in accessing preventative and support services while enabling their participation in decisions which affect their lives. It aims to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating through building sustainable services within Tusla and partner organisations to perform preventative and early intervention work. The programme addresses Tusla’s statutory requirement under the Child and Family Agency Act to provide ‘preventative family support services aimed at promoting the welfare of children’. PPFS works to build connectivity by engaging with Tusla and external services across the continuum of care.

Tusla has established 118 Child & Family Support Networks (CFSNs) across Ireland, which help to support integrated and co-ordinated supports for children, young people and families at local community level. CFSNs are a frontline operational structure set up by Tusla to support integrated service delivery. Members of CFSNs come from a variety of agencies or local voluntary and community services such as the Community and Voluntary Sector, HSE Primary Care Social Work, Early Years Services, Sports Clubs, Speech & Language Therapy, An Garda Siochána, Youth Probation Services, Primary and Secondary Schools etc. There are three CFSN networks in South Tipperary, and South Tipperary PPFS continues to develop as do other PPFS services across the country in line with available resources.

In practical terms, if a family presents to one service within the Child & Family Support Network and that service is not equipped to meet their needs, that network member can effectively re-direct the family to the most appropriate network member(s) or service. To be able to do this, CFSNs develop a good understanding and become familiar with one another’s work. The CFSNs also facilitate the coordination of the use of Meitheal, the Tusla-led early intervention national practice model that identifies a child’s and their families’ needs and strengths, and brings together a team around the child to deliver preventative support.

South Tipperary follows this model and has a Senior CFSN Coordinator in place. Tusla commissions services from its community and voluntary sector funded partners, including the Family Resource Centres, based on identified need. The Senior Manager for PPFS would have a key role in identifying the need for these community based services and oversees related service level agreements.

Departmental Funding

 260. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman if his attention has been drawn to the funding difficulties in an organisation (details supplied) and the potential impact on its network across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17836/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman The current funding difficulties in the organisation referred to by the Deputy has been brought to my attention at a meeting with the organisation’s Board. The ongoing management of the organisation referred to by the Deputy is a matter for their Board, including the challenges being presented due to the recent Covid-19 restrictions.

My Department provides substantial funding to this organisation, which plays an important role in providing young people with opportunities for developmental experiences and informal learning. All of the youth funding provided by my Department has been maintained fully throughout the ongoing period of restrictions. In addition, I secured an increase in 2021 for youth services, including an increase for the organisation referred to by the Deputy.

My officials are in regular contact with youth sector representatives in relation to the impact of the pandemic and associated health restrictions. It is of importance that Exchequer funding to youth services nationally is protected and I am satisfied that Government has been able to continue to support them. My officials will continue to work closely with youth organisations and will actively monitor the situation.

Departmental Staff

 261. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman if he will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administration officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in his Department by gender in tabular form. [17904/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman The table below shows a breakdown of staff employed in my Department in the requested grades by gender as of 30 March 2021.

Grade Female Male Total
Higher Executive Officer 40 29 69
Administrative Officer 21 14 35
Assistant Principal 58 35 93
Principal Officer 23 17 40
Assistant Secretary 4 2 6

Domestic Violence Refuges Provision

 262. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman if a refuge centre for victims of domestic abuse will be established in counties Cavan and Monaghan in 2021; the progress to date in reviewing emergency accommodation nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17931/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman The response to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue. Policy is coordinated by the Department of Justice. Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of DSGBV. Capital funding for approved housing bodies, including services that provide refuge accommodation for victims of DSGBV, is provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government sets out a number of commitments regarding DSGBV, including an audit on segmentation of DSGBV responsibilities across government departments and agencies, and a Third National Strategy on DSGBV, which will inform future investments in this area.

Tusla is also undertaking a review of emergency accommodation nationwide. This will assess the current and requisite distribution of safe emergency accommodation. The review's initial findings will be discussed with the Monitoring Committee of the Second National Strategy on DSGBV on the 31st March. The report, due for publication in Q2 2021, will examine where the underlying need for services is most concentrated, with regard to the current geographical location of existing services and the demographic profile of service users. The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to anticipate what the report may contain, in advance of its publication.

The Tusla review, recommendations of the Monitoring Committee for the Second National Strategy on DSGBV, and the audit of responsibility for DSGBV will all inform Tusla's future decisions on priority areas for investment and development of services.

It is of the utmost importance that the needs of those who experience domestic violence are met in the most appropriate way possible. I, along with my colleagues in government, am committed to ensuring future service provision is evidence based and designed to meet the holistic needs of individuals who experience domestic violence.

Departmental Data

 263. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types his Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17967/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman This Department does not provide the type of data this PQ references to the Department of Health.

General Data Protection Regulation

 264. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman the number of complaints his 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. [17985/21]

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Deputy Roderic O'Gorman): Information on Roderic O'Gorman Zoom on Roderic O'Gorman The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table:

Complaints / Requests Total number (2018 to date)  
Complaints. 2 (one from a member of the public)  
Requests for access to personal data. 102 99 accepted.3 refused (adverse effect on third party).
Requests for rectification. 1 1 Accepted.
Requests for erasure. 2 2 Accepted.

Apprenticeship Programmes

 265. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the estimated overall apprenticeship population if the target of 10,000 new apprenticeship registrations is reached taking into account the variation in apprenticeship durations and dropout rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17665/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Niall Collins): Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins The standing apprentice population is estimated to reach between 31,000 and 33,000 apprentices by 2025. This represents an expected increase of over 50% on the existing population of 19,969 at the end of February 2021.

There are currently 60 apprenticeship programmes of which 28 are four years in duration, 8 are three years and 24 are two years in duration. The actual population will be dependent on the range of takeup across the available apprenticeships, and those in development.

Freedom of Information

 266. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the data provided on foot of a recent freedom of information request (details supplied); the analysis his Department has carried out across third-level institutions which fall under the responsibility of his Department into the fining of students for the late payment of registration fees; if this issue will be examined as part of the ongoing review of Higher Education Authority legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17678/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are governed by the Universities Act 1997, the Institutes of Technologies Acts 1992 to 2006 and the Technological Universities Act 2018. Within the meaning of these Acts, HEIs are autonomous bodies and are responsible for their own day-to-day management and operational affairs including dealing with policy and procedure in relation to fee collection. My Department therefore has no role in relation to such matters.

  It is not intended that the reform of the HEA legislation will include any provisions which will amend the autonomy of institutions to determine such policies.

  However, I am very aware of the difficulties facing students during this pandemic. I would encourage all higher education institutions to have a responsive approach to student needs wherever possible and it is important to acknowledge that most HEIs have to date shown enormous willingness to be responsive in numerous ways. I would encourage all institutions to engage with students in relation to any issues,including fees.

  From my Department's perspective, students who avail of the SUSI grant have received a €250 top-up in their grant and students who do not avail of the grant but attend publicly funded Higher Education Institutions in the state can reduce by €250 any outstanding student contribution fee payments or receive a €250 credit note for their institution.

  Additionally Budget 2021 provides further funding to enhance SUSI grant supports for post-grads and increase support for the PATH access initiative. In July I announced a range of additional student supports including a doubling of the Student Assistance Fund, and a €15 million technology fund for devices for students.

  Students experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Information on the fund is available through the Access Office of the institution attended. The fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

Student Support Schemes

 267. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan Information on Pádraig O'Sullivan Zoom on Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the options available to a student to further their education (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17726/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) was introduced as part of a series of reforms to the student immigration system for international education in line with the Government decision of 19 May 2015. These reforms have been designed to:

  - tackle abuse of the immigration regime,

  - tackle abuse of the labour market,

  - improve the overall quality of offering to international students,

  - improve protection for learners,

  - safeguard the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers in line with the goals of Ireland’s international education strategy.

  As part of these reforms, further education programmes are no longer eligible for student immigration purposes. All Higher Education Institutions and English language education providers who wish to recruit non-EEA students must meet with relevant criteria and be listed on the ILEP in order to do so. The ILEP details the education programmes considered to justify the granting of permission to non-EEA students to live and work in Ireland.

  The ILEP was introduced in January 2016 and is administered by the Department of Justice in association with my Department. Further information on the ILEP including the Government decision leading to its establishment are available online here: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/inis/pages/interim%20list%20of%20eligible%20programmes%20-%20ilep.

Third Level Admissions

 268. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of social care students enrolled in each year of their course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17731/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The information requested by the Deputy is available in the attached spreadsheet. The data given is from the 2019/20 academic year, the latest available.

  The data on the year of study is taken as given by the Higher Education Institutions in their statistical returns to the HEA. In some instances HEIs categorise postgraduate students as being in their fifth or sixth year of study, while in other cases theses students may be categorised as being first or second year students. I have met with Tusla in recent months about how we can increase the number of social care places in our higher education institutions.

  Social Care Students

Third Level Admissions

 269. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will provide a full list of all publicly-funded higher education institutions and courses which are restricted or limited to independently determining the number of students they enrol for undergraduate and or postgraduate courses, such as teacher training; the limit set for each course or subject; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17775/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The information requested by the Deputy is not held by my Department and therefore cannot be provided.

  There are a number of external constraints which may place limits on the number of students that a HEI can enroll in a given course. In a course where a clinical or other work placement forms a necessary part of the learning experience, the capacity to provide such placements may limit the number of students that can be enrolled. Other constraints include the need for specialised environments such as laboratories or workshops and the need to maintain student-staff ratios.

Third Level Staff

 270. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when a review (details supplied) will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17799/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris My Department is aware of the issue referred to by the Deputy. The matter is currently under consideration by my officials with a view to addressing the issues involved.

Separately, my Department has committed to a review of the decision-making process in relation to the examination of previous complaints on governance issues at the institution. The process of compiling the records in order to inform the review continues, however the process is significantly constrained in light of current restrictions on access to paper records held within the line section. However, it is hoped that the Department will be in a position to progress the matter as soon as possible in accordance with the recommended public health guidelines.

Departmental Staff

 271. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if he will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administration officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in his Department by gender in tabular form. [17911/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As, the Deputy is aware, my Department was established in June 2020. I have attached a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administration officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in my Department by gender, please see the attached table. However, we are continuing to engage with colleagues in Government regarding an additional Assistant Secretary and additional staff.

  Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Grade Male Female Headcount   Total (FTE)
Assistant Secretary 3 0 3   3
Principal Officer  5 8 13   13
Assistant Principal Officer 12 21 33   32.33
Higher Executive Officer  8 21 29   27.4
Administrative Officer 5 2 7   6.8

Departmental Data

 272. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types his Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17974/21]

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In October 2020, my Department provided the Department of Health with a list of Further Education and Training, Higher Education public and HECA member institutions, addresses and contact numbers.

  Data in respect of the number of students in full time higher education institution-owned accommodation, with a breakdown of figures by institution was also provided in October 2020.

  No other data sets, databases or file types have been shared with the Department of Health since the establishment of my department in 2020.


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