Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 2566-2583
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Community Development Initiatives
 Header Item Rural Development Plan
 Header Item Remote Working
 Header Item Seirbhísí Farantóireachta
 Header Item Dog Breeding Industry
 Header Item LEADER Programmes
 Header Item Rural Development Plan
 Header Item Community Welfare Services
 Header Item Local Improvement Scheme
 Header Item Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
 Header Item Air Services
 Header Item Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 7
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 207 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 2566-2583

Departmental Funding

 2566. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she has allocated additional funds to local authorities in the context of the major increase in outdoor recreational activity which is likely to continue into the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19848/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Since 2016, my Department has allocated almost €68 million to nearly 1,000 projects through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS). Earlier this year I announced details of 226 projects to the value of almost €15.8 million that were approved funding under ORIS 2020.

The scheme invests in physical infrastructure that underpins recreational activities based on the use of the resources of the countryside. This investment is making a significant contribution to supporting healthy, active lifestyles while also building the economic and tourism potential of rural areas. The scheme is even more important now given the growing usage of this infrastructure as a result of the pandemic.

The scheme provides funding for the development and/or enhancement of outdoor recreational infrastructure such as cycleways, walking trails, blueways and mountain access routes in rural areas. It also supports infrastructure at beaches and inland waterways. The scheme is delivered through Local Authorities, Local Development Companies and State agencies, depending on the nature and scale of the measure in question and in accordance with the guidelines for the scheme which are published annually.

Continued investment in outdoor recreation infrastructure has never been more important and I am pleased to have secured a 20% increase in funding for ORIS in 2021. Exchequer funding for the scheme this year will be €12 million, compared to €10 million in 2020. The scheme is also supported with additional funding from Fáilte Ireland, who are partners with my Department in delivering the scheme.

I will be announcing details of the 2021 scheme in the coming weeks.

Community Development Initiatives

 2567. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the research her Department is undertaking to enhance community living, neighbourhoods and social solidarity in communities; the discussions she is having with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18313/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development (Deputy Joe O'Brien): Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien My Department's Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities, the five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland, is an ambitious strategy which sets a general direction of travel for Government policy in relation to community development, local development and the community and voluntary sector for the coming years.

  With a number of high level objectives and related actions, it seeks to support and build capacity in the sector and its structures, to build and underpin thriving communities. More importantly, it articulates the values and principles that will guide and shape Government’s support for communities and the community and voluntary sector in the coming years, and help realise our vision for communities by the end of the decade.

  As part of this work, my Department, has begun research into the skills gaps in the sector through a three project modular approach. It is intended to undertake a training needs analysis of –

  - Training needs of Local Community Development Committees in preparation for Local Economic and Community Plan reviews

  - Skills gaps of voluntary boards of mid-sized organisations

  - Skills gaps across smaller community & voluntary groups

  This work is being completed by Pobal, on behalf of the Department, with oversight by the Cross-Sectoral Group on Local and Community Development. The resulting reports will inform future training design, with the end result of increased capacity for engagement, inclusion, consultation and better decision making.

  Research to enhance community living is the subject of the report on the pilot “Town Centre Living Initiative” (TCLI) published in June 2020. The research explored how more people might be encouraged to live in rural town and village centres and thus increase residential occupancy. This independent report, produced on behalf of the Department, outlined differing approaches taken by each of six towns funded under the initiative and highlighted 15 suggested actions based on its outcomes.

  An Inter-Departmental Group, chaired jointly by my Department and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, is currently considering the introduction of a Town Centre First (TCF) policy to rejuvenating our towns and villages and will report to Government on its findings. The work of the Group includes a consideration of all of the 15 suggested actions in the “Town Centre Living Initiative” Report.

  The Public Participation Network (PPN) is a structure that brings together Community and Voluntary, Environmental and Social Inclusion groups in each local authority area. Public Participation Networks were established on foot of the report of the Working Group on Citizen Engagement with Local Government published in 2013. The report recommended greater input by communities into decision making at local government level.

  Public Participation Networks (PPNs) have been operational in all Local Authority areas for 4-5 years.

  The PPN is the main link through which the local authority connects with the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors.

  Where community representation is to be provided on appropriate committees of the Local Authority, such as Strategic Policy Committees/Local Community Development Committees etc., it must be sourced through the PPN. PPNs have a significant role in the development and education of their member groups, sharing information, promoting best practice and facilitating networking.

  A fundamental independent “root and branch” review of PPN structures is to be conducted to ensure that PPN’s continue to be fit for purpose and support the ongoing development of PPNs.

  A key element of this review will be widespread consultation with all stakeholders. My Department conducted a tendering process through the Office of Government Procurement and the consultancy firm has been appointed.

  The work will begin soon and we expect a final report on the review towards the end of 2021. The review will also look at HR issues (which falls under the ‘Resources’ heading of the recommendations).

Rural Development Plan

 2568. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she plans to publish detailed timeframes for the targets and policy measures contained within the Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 - Our Rural Future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18380/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Our Rural Future, Ireland's new Rural Development Policy, is an ambitious framework for the sustainable development of rural Ireland for the next five years. The vision of the policy is for a thriving rural Ireland which is integral to our national economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing and development.

Our Rural Future
contains over 150 commitments across Government, for both the short-term recovery and longer-term, sustainable development of rural areas.

  A Work Programme will be published annually setting out the key measures for delivery each year and implementation will be monitored by six-monthly Progress Reports. As the Policy is a living document, there is scope for the inclusion of additional measures on an annual basis, as needs, opportunities and priorities naturally evolve.

Regular reports to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment, chaired by An Taoiseach, will ensure progress across all Government Departments on the implementation of these commitments.

My Department is currently finalising the 2021 Work Programme which will identify the key actions for delivery this year and I expect to publish this in the coming weeks.

Remote Working

 2569. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the qualifying criteria for hubs announced under Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 - Our Rural Future; the person or body administering the scheme; the application process; the budget that has been allocated; and the person who is the line Minister on the matter.  [18520/21]

 2571. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the assistance available for the development of remote digital working hubs as announced recently in the Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 - Our Rural Future; if assistance is confined to not-for-profit and community companies; if private sector businesses can apply for assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [18879/21]

 2581. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if her Department has a funding stream to assist communities to develop local hubs; if so, if guidance documents will be provided to a community (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [19680/21]

 2588. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the assistance available to community projects for the development of remote working hubs to date; if application forms for same are available; if such hubs can be developed in leased buildings; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [20169/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 2569, 2571, 2581 and 2588 together.

The increased shift to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity for a greater regional distribution of jobs and to support a better quality of life for many people who previously spent many hours in long commutes.

Remote working has the potential to transform rural Ireland, allowing people to build careers in good quality jobs while continuing to live closer to home, and to generate increased economic activity in our rural towns.

Building on an initiative by the Western Development Commission in developing a network of remote working and co-working hubs along the western seaboard, an Inter-Departmental Working Group, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, was established last October to oversee the development of a National Hub Network. The first phase of the Group’s work is to identify, map, survey and classify the various remote working facilities available throughout the country. Over 400 hubs have provisionally been identified, with the mapping and surveying of these hubs ongoing. The first iteration of this map will be published in the coming weeks.

This data-gathering work has identified an ecosystem of hubs operating across the country that is varied in terms of location, capacity and client base. These hubs are also diverse in their ownership models, running a wide range from directly state-owned, to private-for-profit, to social enterprises. My Department, supported by the Western Development Commission and the other members of the Inter-Departmental Group, are now engaged in the establishment of an integrated network of these remote working facilities with shared back-office services and a common booking engine for hub users. I expect to be in a position to outline the results of this work over the course of the year.

In addition to the supports and tools being developed under the National Hub Network programme, I have allocated €5 million to fund a Connected Hubs Call under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme this year. This initiative will provide funding to support small scale capital works in existing hubs and Broadband Connection Points. The aim of the Connected Hubs Call is to increase the capacity of the National Hub Network through improvements in the service offering available to users. This scheme will be open to applications from the full range of hubs and will not exclude any particular types of hub or ownership models. I intend to announce further details, including details of the application and evaluation process, of the Connected Hubs Call shortly.

In addition, my Department has invested over €50 million in the development of remote working facilities since 2016 through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. Investment in new remote working facilities will continue in 2021 through further calls for both schemes. Only this week, I announced €75million for 24 landmark projects under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. Many of the successful projects involve the regeneration of historic town centre buildings as Enterprise and Co-Working Hubs.

Significant investment is also being made in remote working infrastructure and connectivity through the Broadband Connection Points (BCP) initiative.

Seirbhísí Farantóireachta

 2570. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Forbartha Tuaithe agus Pobail Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys an bhfuil sé i gceist aici coinníoll a chur sa chéad chonradh eile do bháid paisinéirí chuig na hoileáin go gcuirfear áit ar fáil le málaí a fhágáil in oifigí an chomhlachta a bheidh ag cur na seirbhíse ar fáil; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [18875/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Faoi láthair, is ar mhaithe le díolacháin ticéid atá na h-oifigí atá luaite sna conarthaí agus is faoin gcomhlacht farantóireachta atá sé na socraithe cuí a dhéanamh le spás stórála a chur ar fáil cois céibhe le gur féidir ábhar a stóráil, go háirithe agus seirbhís lastais éadrom á chur ar fáil.

Is cuid lárnach den phróiseas athnuachana dos na conarthaí atá dhá fhóir dheonú ag mo Roinn, mianta na n-oileánaí a lorg agus a mheas sular dtugtar faoi bpróiseas tairisceana.

  Question No. 2571 answered with Question No. 2569

Dog Breeding Industry

 2572. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of registered breeding establishments situated in each local authority area in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18929/21]

 2573. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of inspections carried out by each local authority of establishments pursuant to the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 in each of the years 2010 to 2020 and to date in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18930/21]

 2574. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of prosecutions initiated by each local authority against individuals for offences which fall under the relevant legislation concerning dog breeding in each of the years 2010 to 2020 and to date in 2021, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18931/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 2572 to 2574, inclusive, together.

  Each year my Department publishes annual statistics on gov.ie in respect of a range of the dog control responsibilities of local authorities, including those that relate to dog breeding establishments. This information is collated from annual returns received from all local authorities. Information up to and including 2019, by county and in tabular form is available on gov.ie at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/879d4c-dog-control-statistics/

  Information regarding dog breeding establishments can be found on pages 12-14 of the 2019 dog control statistics, with page 12 outlining the number of inspections carried out on new premises and page 13 detailing the number of inspections, prosecutions and improvement notices on existing premises.

  Page 14, which is a summary page, shows that the number of dog breeding establishments in 2019 was 249. This figure includes 88 Commercial Dog Breeding Establishments (CDBEs), 88 Hunts Clubs and 52 Commercial Boarding Kennels (CBKs). The remainder of the 249 total comprises Animal Welfare Shelters and training kennels.

  The 2020 Dog Control Statistics are currently being collated and when checked and verified will be published on gov.ie later this year. The 2021 dog control statistics will be published in 2022.

LEADER Programmes

 2575. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the amount of funding allocated through the LEADER Programme in each of the years 2015 to 2020, inclusive by county; the way in which measures of rurality influenced the awarding of funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19402/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys LEADER is a multi-annual programme with a total budget of €250 million to be allocated over the period 2014-2020.

  The programme, which is co-funded by the EU, is based on a local-led, bottom-up approach to rural development. The programme supports projects from local community groups and businesses which, amongst other objectives, promote economic development, social inclusion and the protection of the rural environment.

  The programme is administered at local level by Local Action Group (LAGs) across the country who are responsible for selecting and awarding LEADER funding to projects within their own geographical area. In order for a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be compatible with the actions outlined in the approved Local Development Strategy in the area concerned, and it must comply with the Operating Rules and EU Regulations in place for the programme.

  In December last, I announced details of a Transitional LEADER Programme for the period 2021-2022. I also extended the timeframe for project approvals under the 2014-2020 LEADER programme to the 31 March 2021 with the Transitional Programme coming into effect from 1 April 2021.

  Over 4,400 projects with a value of over €184 million have been approved for LEADER funding by the LAGs since the signing of the Funding Agreements in mid-2016. As such, there were no project approvals in 2015.

  Table 1 below shows the LEADER projects as approved, broken-down by county on an annual basis up to 31st March 2021.

  The investment in these projects make a significant contribution to the development of rural communities across Ireland.

table

Rural Development Plan

 2576. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the consideration that was given to the impact of attracting remote workers to rural communities on house prices in rural areas in the development of Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021 to 2025; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19403/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Our Rural Future’, the new Rural Development Policy, contains over 150 commitments across the whole-of-Government, for both short-term recovery and longer-term development. As part of the development of the Policy an extensive research and consultation process was undertaken to identify the issues that matter most to people living and working in rural areas. Amongst the highest priorities of people in rural areas is the issue of depopulation and changing demographics.

  This policy recognises the challenges facing Irish society at present including those around regional development, climate action and, indeed, housing. Many of our cities are under unsustainable pressure whereas some rural areas continue to experience depopulation. As people leave our rural areas, the less attractive they become for those who remain. Our Rural Future aims to arrest this trend and capitalise on the opportunities available to us by achieving a more balanced regional development in a manner that is complementary to the objectives of the National Planning Framework.

  By encouraging people to move to, or move back to rural areas, we have an opportunity not only to revitalise our rural areas but we can address the pressure on cities, improve the achievement of our carbon emissions targets and enhance the wellbeing of all of our people.

  This approach has been informed by extensive research and consultation with technical experts and broader stakeholders including Government Departments, State agencies, rural stakeholder groups, academics and researchers, young people, and the wider public. Workshops were held throughout the country (including on the Aran Islands) which were attended by rural stakeholders including Local Authorities, community and voluntary groups, sectoral and representative groups and business interests. An online public survey which invited participants to submit their opinions on the challenges and opportunities facing people living and working in rural Ireland received 1,733 responses, and amongst with the top three challenges identified was the issue of changing demographics of rural areas.

  As a whole-of-government Policy, I also had detailed engagement with my Cabinet colleagues, including the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, who has primary responsibility for housing policy.

  The priority in this policy is to revitalise our towns and villages by ensuring people have options available to them, including by bringing vacant residential properties back into use and ensuring development is sustainable. The policy is focussed on people and the possibilities available to them. It has been published at a time when remote, or connected, working has the potential to transform rural Ireland, allowing people to pursue careers in good quality jobs, whilst reaping the benefits of reduced commuting times, lower emissions, more time with family and, most importantly, a better quality of life.

Community Welfare Services

 2577. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if moneys will be repaid to Pobal (details supplied); the action being taken to recover these moneys; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19566/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys  The organisation referred to in the Deputy's question received funding from POBAL under the Dormant Accounts Fund.

  This funding has since been disallowed under the Dormant Accounts Fund process. A recovery process for funds received is ongoing.

Local Improvement Scheme

 2578. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when an allocation for County Laois under the local improvement scheme will be made for 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19567/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) is just one of a number of initiatives funded under my Department's Rural Development Investment Programme. This Programme also includes the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, LEADER, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, CLÁR and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The Local Authorities are central to the delivery of these programmes. My Department launches the programmes each year in a planned way, with staggered opening and closing dates, to allow the Local Authorities plan and manage their engagement with communities and the preparation of applications under the different schemes.

I launched the CLÁR programme on 15th March and I will be announcing details of the other schemes, including the LIS, over the coming weeks. The LIS allocation for 2021 for each Local Authority, including in County Laois, will be announced at that stage.

The overall LIS budget for 2021 is €10.5 million, an increase of 5% on last year.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

 2579. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the details of the application process for 2021 for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19569/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities. The Fund provides investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas.

Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories – Category 1 and Category 2.

Category 1 relates to large scale ambitious capital projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed. Category 2 provides smaller grant funding to enable the development of project proposals suitable for future calls for Category 1 applications.

The application process for the Fund is competitive in nature. Applications are assessed under the oversight of the Project Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from key Government Departments and independent experts. Once that process is complete, my Department prepares a report setting out recommended projects and my role as Minister is to consider that report and make final decisions in relation to the allocation of funding.

Just this week, arising from the 3rd call for Category 1 applications which closed in December 2020, I announced funding of €75 million for 24 landmark regeneration projects in rural communities across the country. These projects will deliver total investment of €87 million.

I will be announcing the next call for Category 2 applications in the coming weeks and a further call for Category 1 applications will be announced later in 2021. Following each announcement, an application form and guidance document will be made available on the Department’s website for those seeking information on the call. My Department will also liaise directly with prospective applicants to provide further guidance as necessary.

Air Services

 2580. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if analysis has been carried out on the estimated costs that would be associated with the provision of an air service to Inishbofin from Aerphort Chonamara (details supplied); if not, her plans to carry out such an analysis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19598/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys In 2017 my Department undertook a public consultation process whereby it sought submissions from interested parties in relation to the future use of both Clifden and Inishbofin airstrips. On foot of that consultation my Department is in discussions with the HSE with a view to the use of part of the Inisbofin site to locate a Health Care Centre for the island, a facility for which the Island Development Company has been campaigning for some time.

The Department has no immediate plans to develop a new air service from Inisbofin. The airstrip on Inisbofin is not licenced for use by the Irish Aviation Authority at present, and would require substantial capital investment to be made suitable for use. Any developments that are being considered at present, such as the development of the Health Centre, will in no way hinder the potential for air services to operate from the airstrip in the future.

  Question No. 2581 answered with Question No. 2569.

Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

 2582. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if Louth County Council received €200,000 that was approved by her Department for the development of the Mell walkway in Drogheda, County Louth through the outdoor recreational scheme following the announcement in February 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19710/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure and for the maintenance and promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural Ireland. In February 2020, Louth County Council were approved for funding of €200,000 under the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme for the development and enhancement of the Boyne Greenway. I understand that the proposed works are located in the vicinity of the walkway referred to by the Deputy.

To date, no funding has been drawndown on the approved project. Louth County Council has requested permission to revise the scope of the approved works and in this regard, a meeting was held recently between officials from my Department and Louth County Council. Following on from that meeting, additional information was requested from Louth County Council and was received on 16th April. This information is now being considered by officials from my Department.

Appointments to State Boards

 2583. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if all vacancies (details supplied) are advertised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19821/21]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Since September 2014 the Public Appointments Service (PAS) has responsibility for managing an open, accessible, rigorous and transparent system to support Ministers in making appointments to State boards.

  Under the Guidelines for Appointments to State Boards, these board positions are advertised and recruited through the dedicated website, www.stateboards.ie.

  This process enables accomplished, experienced, and qualified people to apply to be considered for particular vacancies and to register to have suitable vacancies notified to them.


Last Updated: 14/07/2021 14:06:10 First Page Previous Page Page of 207 Next Page Last Page