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Bruton, Richard

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions (Continued)

I share Deputy Michael McGrath's concern that there would be an impact on many people who are in a vulnerable position. Our primary objective now must be to protect the valuable services which hav...More Button

The way this matter came to light was through enhanced governance oversight by the HSE leading to an audit by the HSE of what was going on within Console. The system has been working. We can al...More Button

I can assure the Deputy, however, that there has been a meeting with Console. The primary motivation behind that meeting is to protect services, as the Deputy said, to ensure that Console's work...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that the Minister for Justice and Equality has signed the order to equip the Charities Regulatory Authority with the necessary investigative powers under Part 4 of Charities...More Button

I assure the Deputy that the relevant Ministers have been directly involved in these meetings and are not dealing with this matter on a hands-off basis. Their priority is to ensure the continued d...More Button

I understand that in respect of the cases that have arisen, the State has offered an ex gratia payment to those who suffered in this way. This payment is available to people and, as th...More Button

The courts have to decide who is responsible for abuses and to what extent that responsibility is shared by those who are in a position of trust. That cannot be decided by the Oireachtas; it has t...More Button

Courts decide these issues. The issues of responsibility that the Deputy has raised-----More Button

The issue the Deputy is raising is that people have been damaged and where the responsibility for that lies. Obviously that lies-----More Button

-----in the primary instance with the individuals involved. Then the question is: does that extend to others? It is for the courts to decide where those responsibilities lie but the State has rec...More Button

I thank Deputy Danny Healy-Rae for raising this. Coming from my previous job where we were concerned to speed up the development of the south west, I am in no doubt that infrastructure such as thi...More Button

The work on this project is well advanced. It has full statutory approval. I understand the notice to treat has gone out to landowners on the route and that land acquisition is under way. Alre...More Button

On the Kerry Group issue, I was directly involved in that project. While I know there would have been a great desire to see that in Kerry, the truth was that it was competing with the Netherland...More Button

I am not in a position to identify what will be in the 2017 Estimates.More Button

I can give the Deputy some reassurance that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform recently announced to the House, as the Deputy knows, that the capital envelope is being increased and the...More Button

The tax affairs of any company are open to pursuit by the Revenue Commissioners and if the Deputy has information that he needs to bring to the attention of the Revenue Commissioners, I recommend t...More Button

The Finance Acts provide for anti-avoidance measures and the Revenue Commissioners execute those. They have the powers to deal with them effectively. Those powers have been enhanced every year, i...More Button

If the Deputy has details of some new avoidance mechanisms that ought to be scrutinised by the Revenue Commissioners they will be more than pleased to consider them and bring forward to the House m...More Button

Questions on Proposed Legislation

It is a Bill of 83 heads. The pre-legislative scrutiny process has been completed and the 83 heads have now gone for drafting to the OPC. They already have been approved by Government. There is ...More Button

My understanding is that the Minister has signed into effect the Part of that Act that deals with investigations and recruitment is under way with a view to increasing the staff complement by more ...More Button

Questions on Proposed Legislation (Continued)

That Bill was approved by Government this week and it is being published in the normal way. I indicated yesterday that I had obtained approval for the Bill. In terms of dealing with the issue of ...More Button

I understand the Minister will bring forward an action plan for housing that will include legislative but also non-legislative proposals. The Government recognises the acute pressure on housing su...More Button

I understand this was done as a last resort for reasons of public safety. I know as well as the Deputy that diseases in our herd can have a huge impact on the fortunes of the entire farming sector...More Button

It is my understanding that such a selection would be made by the Garda Commissioner. Obviously, as it is a pilot, the lessons learned will be assessed in terms of the implications for the best in...More Button

That Bill is still under consideration. However, with regard to issuing guidelines, one of the matters being worked on by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister for Social Protecti...More Button

The Minister has indicated that he would be prepared to take legislative action if companies do not agree to comply with the approach that has been worked out. There is no doubt, as the Deputy has...More Button

I understand that the pre-legislative phase of the Bill will be taken shortly. I am not in a position to confirm exactly whether it will deal with that issue. The pre-legislative scrutiny will af...More Button

It will be down to the committees to order their business, but I understand it is available to do that.More Button

No. It is a Private Members' Bill as I understand it.More Button

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, is no longer here. I will ask him to brief the Deputy on that matter.More Button

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Public Ownership of Certain Assets) Bill 2016: First Stage

No.More Button

Estimates for Public Services 2016

I move the following Estimates:More Button

  That a sum not exceeding €3,811,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2016, for the salaries and e...More Button

  Votes put and agreed to.More Button

Teacher Recruitment

Was asked: if he will consider lifting the moratorium on the appointment of year heads in secondary schools, which would be seen as a positive move by teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

When the moratorium on the filling of posts of responsibility was introduced in 2009, the Government exempted Principal and Deputy Principal posts in all primary and post-primary schools. These po...More Button

There are limited alleviation arrangements in place for schools that are acutely affected by the impact of the moratorium at Assistant Principal level. These arrangements are mainly focused at p...More Button

It is widely accepted that the quality of school leadership is a key determinant of school effectiveness and the achievement of good learning outcomes. Indeed international research indicates th...More Button

The recently established Centre for School Leadership (CSL) is a collaboration between my Department and the representative professional bodies for school principals. It has been created to offe...More Button

The work of the Centre draws on best international practice and research in the professional development of school leaders. Priorities for the Centre include a new postgraduate qualification for...More Button

In addition my Department will shortly publish Looking at Our School 2016, a quality framework for schools which is designed to support the efforts of teachers and school leaders, as well as the ...More Button

In Budget 2016 and as part of the 2,260 additional teaching posts announced in that budget, 250 posts were provided to second level schools to enable Deputy Principals to be freed from teaching t...More Button

Autism Support Services

Was asked: the specific provision made for children with autistic spectrum disorders and the number of places available in autistic spectrum disorder units in mainstream schools and in special schools at prim...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that this Government is committed to ensuring that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to ...More Button

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, ...More Button

There are approximately 14,000 students with ASD in the school system.More Button

- 63% are educated in mainstream classesMore Button

- 23% are educated in special classes in mainstream primary and post-primary schools; andMore Button

- 4% are educated in special schools.More Button

We now have the highest level of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support, Resource Teaching allocations and Special Class provision that we have ever had, which will ensure that children with speci...More Button

I recently announced that from September next 12,900 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will be available for allocation to primary and secondary schools, which is 860 more posts, or a 7% increase i...More Button

In addition, there are currently over 11,800 learning support and Resource Teacher posts in mainstream primary and post-primary schools providing additional teaching support to pupils with specia...More Button

In respect of children with ASD who cannot be accommodated in mainstream education, they may be enrolled in special classes or special schools where more intensive and supportive interventions ar...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource ...More Button

It is also the role of the NCSE to make appropriate arrangements to establish special classes in schools in communities where the need for such classes has been identified.More Button

Special classes within mainstream schools are intended for children who, by virtue of their level of Special Educational Needs, cannot reasonably be educated in a mainstream class setting, but wh...More Button

Progress in developing this network has been significant and in addition to the special school placements there are currently over 1,000 special classes throughout the country at primary and post...More Button

The NCSE recently published a list of special classes for the 2016/17 school year. In total there will be 1,153 special classes available next year, which is an increase of over 100% in the numb...More Button

The NCSE has advised that for the coming school year there will be 127 early intervention classes, 525 primary ASD classes and 237 post-primary ASD classes, which represents an increase of approx...More Button

Of these there will be 145 ASD classes in Cork City and County, including 24 Early Intervention Classes for children who are not yet school going age, 80 primary school classes and 41 at post-pri...More Button

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs, including those in Cork City and County, are available on www.ncse.ie in county order, with new classes identified.More Button

School Admissions

Was asked: if he will respond to correspondence previously sent to him by a person (details supplied) regarding the State education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The correspondence to which the Deputy refers relates to school admissions and religious instruction in schools. More Button

I can advise the Deputy that a reply to the correspondent is currently being prepared.More Button

The position in relation to school admissions is that parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools wher...More Button

In relation to any amendments to section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, it is acknowledged that any change to the Equal Status Act would be extremely difficult as this is a hugely complex area ...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills, is to consider the complex issues raised by the Labour Party's proposed amendment to section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Sta...More Button

This will allow parents, children, patrons and other stakeholders to have their say. Taking time to consider this complex issue in the relevant Oireachtas Committee, in the same way that all gov...More Button

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to publish new School Admissions legislation taking account of current draft proposals and addressing issues including publication of school enr...More Button

In this regard, I can advise that the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016 will be published this week. The Bill will bring tangible benefits to all parents. The Bill will oblige all scho...More Button

In relation to the teaching of religion in schools, under the Constitution and in accordance with Section 30 of the Education Act 1998, parents have a right to have their children opt out of reli...More Button

The manner in which any school ensures that the right to opt out of religion classes is upheld is a matter for the school concerned. Each individual school must determine the particular arrangem...More Button

The new Education (Admission to Schools) Bill will include a specific requirement that school enrolment policies must include details of a school's arrangements for any students who do not wish t...More Button

A follow-up paper to Report of Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector was published in 2014. The paper outlines good practice and options for promoting diversity in all schools a...More Button

The Programme for Government also reflects the Government's objective of strengthening parental choice and further expanding diversity in our school system. The desire of parents for diversity i...More Button

When it is decided that a new school is required to meet demographic needs in an area, the Department runs a separate patronage process to decide who will operate the school. It is open to all p...More Button

Since 2011, all 24 new primary schools that have opened have been multi-denominational. In 2015/2016 a total of 108 primary schools are multi-denominational.More Button

School Accommodation

Was asked: if he is aware of the over-crowded classroom situation at a school (details supplied); if he will provide funding to enhance the school environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can confirm that my Department considered an application for additional accommodation from the school referred to by the Deputy. My Department advised the school that due to competing demands on...More Button

I understand that the school has operated as a two teacher school for several years and that enrolment numbers do not warrant the appointment of an additional teaching post. More Button

The school recently submitted further correspondence to the Department relating to the matter. The correspondence will be considered and a response will be provided to the school authority.More Button

Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements

Was asked: the reason for declining a person (details supplied) under the HEAR and DARE grant schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) scheme is a third-level admissions scheme operated by a number of higher education institutions which offers places on reduced points and extra college supp...More Button

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third-level admissions scheme for students with a disability which is also operated by a number of higher education institutions. More Button

Admissions under both the HEAR and DARE schemes are regulated by the institutions themselves. Each higher institution determines its own admission policy in relation to HEAR and DARE, the number...More Button

In the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, your request should be directed to the Irish Universities Association (IUA) who coordinate the HEAR and DARE schemes for participating higher...More Button

Corporate Governance

Was asked: the procedures in place, in view of the emphasis his Department has on new corporate governance guidelines for agencies under his remit, to ensure persons deemed to be debtors are not actively enga...More Button

My Department's oversight of corporate governance for agencies is informed by the stipulations of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Code of Practice for State Agencies.

&n...More Button

Question No. 106 withdrawn.More Button

School Curriculum

Was asked: his plans to provide new courses in State examinations to increase the information and communications technology skills of students; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Programme for a Partnership Government includes an undertaking to further accelerate the Digital and ICT agenda in schools by including a coding course for the Junior Cycle and introducing ICT/...More Button

The Programme for Government commits to a range of new subjects, and this is something I will be keen to expand on over the coming years.More Button

The new Framework for Junior Cycle allows for the introduction of short courses. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has in this context developed short courses in Coding a...More Button

The revision of Leaving Certificate Applied Maths is at an advanced stage and it is anticipated that computers will be used as a learning tool in aspects of the programme. Computer Aided Design ...More Button

The focus in schools currently is on using ICT as a tool in learning guided by the ICT curriculum framework developed by the NCCA. This is supported by digital content on the Scoilnet website, b...More Button

The development of skills is key to successful learning and this is highlighted in the new Framework for Junior Cycle. All of the 8 key skills in the Framework highlight the use of digital techn...More Button

European Globalisation Fund

Was asked: the latest estimated final expenditure for each of the three European Globalisation Adjustment Fund programmes currently in operation, in tabular form.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware it is difficult to accurately forecast final expenditure on EGF programmes as public beneficiary bodies generally fund the cost of EGF measures from national budgets and...More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: if he intends to introduce a scheme of grants for health and safety works in schools, including works on car parks, bus turning bays and so on; if so, when is this likely to be announced; and if he...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, funding is prioritised under my Department's 6 year school capital investment programme towards the delivery of major school projects to provide the essential mainstrea...More Button

UK Referendum on EU Membership

Was asked: the number of staff dedicated to managing Ireland's response to the decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union; the structure of this team; how it will work with teams in other Depar...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

As part of this contingency planning, a number of existing structures are in place and will be employed to manage the process on a whole-of-government basis. They include the Cabinet Committee o...More Button

At Departmental level, Management Boards are making the appropriate arrangements to ensure the operation of Department-wide oversight and stakeholder engagement. A senior official in my Departme...More Button

The preparation, analysis and planning work will proceed now and in the coming weeks and months the issues identified in my Department's area will be further analysed and actions developed as nec...More Button

Consultancy Contracts

Was asked: to provide details of all external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form and per annum; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the re...More Button

Details of all consultancy payments made by the Department for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 are available on my Department's website More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the total photography costs per annum for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance in tabular form; the list of occasions for which ph...More Button

The following tabular statement contains details of photography costs incurred at my Department since I came to office. My Department adheres to appropriate procurement guidelines when engaging th...More Button

Public Relations Contracts Data

Was asked: to provide, broken down per annum, the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department since coming into office, in tabular form; the external public relations firm used; to outli...More Button

In relation to my Department's policy for the engagement of external expertise, such engagement is considered where the issues involved require expert skills or capabilities that are not available ...More Button