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Bruton, Richard

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Leaders' Questions

First, I share Deputy MacSharry's view that this has come as a shocking revelation in an area of particular sensitivity.More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

We all understand the trauma people and families go through in cases of suicide. There has been major shock and disgust among those who have supported the charity. As the Deputy said, it is very ...More Button

The Deputy referred to the role of the Charities Regulatory Authority, which is being rolled out. Its first priority was to establish a proper register of the organisations the operations of whi...More Button

Some elements such as the investigation of potential fraud fall beyond the operation of the Charities Regulatory Authority. Failings in respect of directors' responsibilities fall to be investig...More Button

Part of the work of this and the previous Government has been turning over stones that were not previously overturned. Activities were ongoing that were totally unacceptable. The result of the wo...More Button

I fully agree with the Deputy that this is an appalling situation. I also agree we have a right to ensure the oversight bodies and their activities are fully accounted for before the Oireachtas. ...More Button

It is correct that issues arose previously which were identified by the National Office for Suicide Prevention. That resulted in control actions being taken then. It was when the 2013 accounts ...More Button

There will be follow-up in those various agencies where there has to be due process. I share the Deputy's view that the HSE should appear and account for its activities as it is obliged to do.More Button

I have absolute confidence. The Committee of Public Accounts is an independent committee. It has its own authority. The HSE will respond to requests that come from the Committee of Public Accoun...More Button

To be fair to the HSE, it is important to understand that this has followed its close scrutiny of irregularities that were identified. The audit has come from one undertaken by the HSE. It has pu...More Button

People can be assured that the HSE does oversee the bodies referred to. To go back to Deputy MacSharry's point-----More Button

-----it is very clear that the charities regulator will also have a role to play in overseeing all charities.More Button

I thank the Deputy. There were a number of questions. I assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the target of 15,000 gardaí, which is in the programme for Government. That means th...More Button

On the wider issue of the industrial relations situation, the Lansdowne Road agreement is the context within which the Government has provided for the gradual restoration of public pay. Over the...More Button

I agree with Deputy Lowry. Entrants' pay is an issue across the public service and is not confined to the Garda. All new entrants took a reduction in pay. The Minister for Public Expenditure and...More Button

There is scope for these matters to be addressed under the Lansdowne Road agreement. A number of unions, for example, the TUI and AGSI, have sat down, engaged in discussions and reached agreemen...More Button

I share the Deputy's deep disappointment that there is a further delay in the trial of Mr. Halawa. The courts had indicated in advance of the latest hearing that there would be significant develop...More Button

The Government is continuing to keep its approach under close review. As recently as 16 June, as part of that approach, the Minister, Deputy Charlie Flanagan, met the Egyptian Foreign Minister, ...More Button

There is no doubt that the Government has been extremely active on this issue. If the Deputy has suggestions for further initiatives that could be taken, I have no doubt the Minister and his tea...More Button

I understand the Government did examine closely those other cases to determine whether there were lessons to be drawn from them that could be applied in this case. They were found to be different ...More Button

A number of legal avenues have been pursued. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will take every opportunity open to him to highlight this case. I will bring to his attention the Deputy'...More Button

Questions on Proposed Legislation

While I have read the reports to which the Deputy refers on a Private Members' Bill, I have not seen the Bill and it will be a matter for the Deputy in question to present it to the House. The Gov...More Button

On the investigations into the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland or rather the assessment of its operations, this was done at the request of the Department of Health following a protected di...More Button

It must be borne in mind that the FEMPI legislation was designed to protect our capacity as a country to strike the necessary balance between the demand for new public services and the restoration ...More Button

Questions on Proposed Legislation (Continued)

The FEMPI legislation and the Lansdowne Road agreement is an orderly way in which people are having their pay restored and that is important.More Button

It is the business committee of the House that decides the order and it is up to the business committee, which is not controlled by Government, to decide what is debated in the House. That has t...More Button

I answered Deputy Ryan's question on the Government's position on the case of the Ibrahim Halawa. I assure Deputy McDonald that the Government will do everything possible. Regardless of all the...More Button

I agree with the Deputy on the case of Ibrahim Halawa. If there are initiatives that can be developed, there is no doubt that we will be keen to support them.More Button

Yes, indeed, but there has to be something that has been thought out and that has a likelihood of success. The Government and the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, will be happy to discuss initiatives th...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that it will be important that all political parties in the House are actively involved in the process that is about to start when the British activate the relevant articl...More Button

I will alert him to Deputy Howlin's concern. If there are structures that we could put in place that would assist, I am sure he will support them.More Button

I am not in a position to say. That will have to be tabled to the relevant Ministers and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. I have seen newspaper reports on the subject, but I am not...More Button

I understand Deputy Barry is a member of the business committee and so he ought to know what is being transacted there. Negotiations under the Lansdowne Road agreement have been pursued by the Gov...More Button

-----for the orderly restoration of pay under the FEMPI arrangements.More Button

As I indicated, that agreement will provide for €884 million of-----More Button

In addition, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated that the Government supports the orderly and negotiated unwinding of the FEMPI agreement to end that. However, it will be ...More Button

-----and the first item will be a public service commission which will look specifically at the issue Deputy Barry raised, namely, the difference in entrants' pay affecting those who were restricte...More Button

There is an orderly process here that allows the Government to manage our affairs in a way that allows us to invest in badly needed public services, which was a major issue in the recent general el...More Button

We have to strike that balance.More Button

My understanding is that under the FEMPI Acts the Minister is obliged to review the FEMPI legislation and provide a report, which he is required to lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas, as to wh...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. It would have been helpful had she flagged that it concerned south Kildare, as I do not have specific information on that area.More Button

I will try to give the Deputy what information I have. It presents a picture that is better than the one she has painted. Therefore, I would like to see the south Kildare data.More Button

Was asked: if a full time special needs assistant can be provided to a person (details supplied) for September 2016 onwards in view of their need for help; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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 applicatio...More Button

Special Educational Needs Service Provision (Continued)

Overall, there are 14,000 students with ASD in the school system, of whom some 63% are educated in mainstream classes, 23% in special classes in mainstream primary and post-primary schools and 14% ...More Button

The position on special classes, an issue the Deputy raised in particular, is that the National Council for Special Education, NCSE, recently published a list of special classes for the coming 20...More Button

There should be no child with special educational needs who cannot find a school place because the NCSE will assess the needs of each child with special educational needs. Many are accommodated ...More Button

The EPSEN Act is the gold standard for the personal education plan for each child and we are moving towards it. Each school is expected to have a personal plan for each child. It is a legal req...More Button

I will undertake to obtain more data, specifically for County Kildare.More Button

I would welcome receiving the details. There is an entitlement to appeal any decision. Where parents have applied to a school for a place for their child and deem the NCSE's specification of so m...More Button

It is, undoubtedly, the case that although roughly 100 additional classes are being opened every year, there is a requirement for six children or at least the prospect that this number will be re...More Button

Schools Building Projects (Continued)

I thank the Deputy for raising the matter. As she is aware, Lusk Community College is a co-educational post-primary facility under the patronage of Dublin-Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Boar...More Button

The first phase which was completed under the Department’s design and build programme provided a building to cater for 350 pupils. This first phase was completed in July 2013 and the school open...More Button

The design team for the project was appointed in January 2012 and the project was authorised to commence architectural planning. The project is included in the six-year construction programme wh...More Button

The stage 2b report has been completed by the design team and is being co-ordinated by the education and training board for submission to my Department for review in the coming days. Upon comple...More Button

This building project was identified from the outset as a two-stage process. The Department has requirements in respect of architectural planning, planning permission, the design of school buildin...More Button

The Deputy is correct that the Department is making provision for rented temporary accommodation to accommodate approximately 170 pupils. While the planning process is under way, we will provide...More Button

Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools Scheme

Was asked: the way a new action plan will affect a school from applying for Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools status under proposals from his Department's action plans for disadvantage; and if he ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the review of the DEIS programme is currently underway and it is my intention that a New Action Plan Educational Inclusion will be published by the end of this year.
More Button

Was asked: the reason a school (details supplied) is not in full DEIS status; the way this school would go about applyig for full DEIS status; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The school the Deputy refers to applied for the DEIS Programme in 2005 but was assessed not to have a sufficient level of disadvantage for inclusion in the scheme at the time. As the Deputy is awa...More Button

The review is looking at all aspects of DEIS, including the identification process for the inclusion of schools in the programme, the range and impact of different elements of the School Support ...More Button

The number of additional schools to be included in the new programme will be determined by a new identification process for this purpose, which is currently in development and in which all school...More Button

In the meantime, I do not propose to make any changes to the current programme, including the addition of further schools.More Button

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Was asked: when category 3 mechanical works will be approved for a school (details supplied) under the summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of a Category 3 application for mechanical works under the Summer Works Scheme (2016-2017) from the school to which he refers.More Button

Valid SWS (2016-2017) applications from schools in respect of Categories 3 to 10 that were not reached under round one approvals announced on 28th April last, will, subject to the overall availab...More Button

The application from the school in question is available to be considered in this context. More Button

Was asked: if funding will be provided to a school (details supplied) under the emergency works scheme or summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of a Category 6 application for roof works under the Summer Works Scheme (2016-2017) from the school to which he refers.

Val...More Button

Teaching Contracts

Was asked: his plans to create equal supplementary panel rights for fully qualified regulation three teachers with Teaching Council numbers (details supplied).More Button

The supplementary panel application process for eligible fixed-term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers for the 2016/17 school year is set out in Circular 0058/2015 which is available on ...More Button

Special Educational Needs

Was asked: if he will review the criteria for special needs assistants, SNA, so that children with high functioning autism who may have difficulty with sensory and audio processing and difficulty with social ...More Button

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 applicatio...More Button

Schools Building Projects

Was asked: the funding available for the construction of a school sports assembly hall; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's focus in recent years has been on prioritising the funding available for the provision of essential classroom accommodation to meet demographic need.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, due to the competing demands on my Department's capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the available funding in this manner, it is not possible at this poin...More Button

Technological Universities

Was asked: his plans to upgrade AIT Athlone to university status; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the new Programme for Government outlines that this new Government will continue to support the creation of Technological Universities. More Button

This is in line with the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 which provides a framework for the development of the higher education sector to 2030. With regard to the institute of tec...More Button

The Government is keen not to replicate the mistakes made in other countries and to avoid a scenario whereby Institutes of Technology are allowed to become Technological Universities simply as a ...More Button

Regional Focus: There will also be a specific focus on the particular contribution the university will make to the needs of the region in which it is located. The development of technological un...More Button

Consortiums who have applied: As part of the implementation of the Strategy, the Higher Education Authority in 2012 published a four-stage process and criteria for applicant groups of institutes ...More Button

The designation process consists of four stages as follows:More Button

- an expression of interest,More Button

- the preparation of a plan to meet the criteria,More Button

- an evaluation of the plan, andMore Button

- an application for designation.More Button

There are currently four consortia engaged with the process to become designated as TUs. These are TU4Dublin (Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Institute of Techn...More Button

Position of Technological Universities Bill: The first Government Legislative Programme of this new Partnership Government was published on 8 June 2016, and the Technological Universities Bill ha...More Button

I recognise that there were a significant number of matters raised in respect of the Bill at both Committee and Report Stage. It is my intention to now consult with all of the relevant stakehold...More Button

Following the finalisation of this consultation process I will then advance the legislation having determined a position in relation to any matters raised as part of this consultation process.More Button

School Accommodation

Was asked: to examine the former Mullingar Army site with a view to using same for institutional educational purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An inspection of the Mullingar Army Barracks site was carried out by Professional and Technical staff of my Department's School Planning and Building Unit in 2012 with a view to determining its sui...More Button

Schools Building Projects Status

Was asked: to allow a school (details supplied) which has completed the stage 2(b) (detailed design) process to proceed to stage 3 tender action as this school was included in the school building projects as ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware the building project for the school in question is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. All statutory approvals have been obtained and the Stage 2b submission was ...More Button

However, on 1st January 2016 there were 66 major projects under construction. Since the start of this year 14 more major projects have been progressed to construction and there are currently 36 ...More Button

My officials will continue to closely monitor expenditure on existing contractual commitments over the coming months and, as funding allows, other projects, including the project for the school i...More Button

Was asked: the status of the provision of a new secondary school for the Malahide and Portmarnock areas of County Dublin, as announced in November, 2015; if he has identified locations for these proposed scho...More Button

Was asked: the status of the provision of a new secondary school for the Swords area of County Dublin, as announced in November 2015; if he has identified a location for this proposed school; and if he will m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 104 together.More Button

My Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places will arise. The GIS uses data from the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Irel...More Button

The outcome of the latest demographic exercises, based on the GIS, was the announcement in November 2015 of the establishment of 13 new schools to open nationwide in 2017 and 2018 to cater for in...More Button

In April this year, my Department issued an invitation to all school patron bodies and prospective patron bodies to apply for the patronage of the nine new post-primary schools, including the sch...More Button

My Department is currently assessing the applications received from the prospective patrons and an assessment report will be prepared for the consideration of the New Schools Establishment Group ...More Button

My Department are liaising with Fingal County Council in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding in relation to the identification and acquisition of suitable locations for these schools. More Button

Agreement in principle has been reached in respect of a site for the new post-primary school in Swords and my Department is currently progressing with its acquisition.More Button

In relation to the new post-primary school to serve the Malahide and Portmarnock areas, the technical feasibility of an identified site option is currently being comprehensively assessed by offic...More Button

Due to commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions generally, I am, unfortunately, not in a position to provide further details at this time. I can, however, assure you that the site ...More Button

Special Educational Needs Staff

Was asked: his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding a teaching post; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the su...More Button

Staffing arrangements for special schools are in line with policy advice provided by the NCSE which did not recommend alteration to staffing ratios established under SERC Report in 1993.More Button

Circular 0042/2011 provides information to schools regarding the staffing arrangements which apply in Special schools.More Button

The Circular sets out that special schools are staffed based on their pupil profiles and the disability category of the pupils enrolled, as opposed to being based principally on school designatio...More Button

In determining the staffing allocation for schools, including the above school, the NCSE takes into account up-to-date enrolment and pupil profile information. School staffing schedules are revie...More Button

The NCSE are currently considering additional information in relation to the school's staffing allocation for 2016/17 and the school will be advised of the outcome of the NCSE's decision shortly.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide proper panel rights to special needs assistants.More Button

The supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were established on foot of proposals brought forward by the Labour Relations Commission when the Haddington Road Agree...More Button

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Was asked: the reason further to Parliamentary Question No. 197 of 21 June 2016, no emergency works scheme application had been submitted by a school (details supplied); when he will now provide funding to th...More Button

The Planning and Building Unit of my Department has checked this matter again and it has confirmed to me that it has no record of receiving the application to which the Deputy refers.More Button

The copy of the application provided with the details supplied is incomplete in that it is not signed or dated by the Chairperson of the Board of Management. It is also not properly signed off b...More Button

The school should submit a fully completed application form together with the mandatory photographic evidence to the Department's Devolved Grants/Rental Payments Section, Department of Education ...More Button

Schools Property

Was asked: his plans for a vacant school (details supplied); if he will put this property on the open market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board are currently in discussions with St. Aidan's Diocesan Trust, who are the owners of the school building to which ...More Button

  Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 100.More Button

National Council for Special Education

Was asked: if he is aware that special needs assistants in County Meath are losing contracted hours and jobs without any prior warning and with the information being gathered from the National Council for Spe...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating Special ...More Button

UK Referendum on EU Membership

Was asked: if he has undertaken any contingency planning for the effects of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union; and the areas in which this contingency planning has been undertaken and any key prop...More Button

The Government has a Contingency Framework in place which maps the key issues that will be most important to Ireland in the coming weeks and months. My Department participated fully in and contrib...More Button

The peace dividend generated by the Good Friday Agreement has led to wide-ranging and sustained cross-border cultural, economic and political developments. The region has long been recognised in...More Button

Officials in my Department will continue to work with our colleagues in Northern Ireland in seeking to encourage cross-border participation in education and training including pupils crossing the...More Button

Overall, in relation to upcoming negotiations my Department will work constructively to maintain and support the existing links and cooperation in the education sphere.More Button

Third Level Data

Was asked: the number of British and Northern Irish citizens who are registered as students in higher education institutes here; and the number of Irish students registered as third level students in both Gre...More Button

In the academic year 2015/16 there were 1,007 full-time and part-time Northern Irish domiciled enrolments and 1,805 full-time and part-time British domiciled enrolments in all higher education inst...More Button

The HEA does not collect data on students from the Republic of Ireland studying in Northern Ireland or Britain. However, I understand from the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland that...More Button

Obviously, this matter will need to be monitored in light of the UK referendum result last week. The Government has a Contingency Framework in place which maps the key issues that will be most i...More Button