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Burton, Joan

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions (Continued)

They figure this is a way in which they can put the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Government in the dock and that it is another issue with which to have a thump at the Minister, Deputy ...More Button

No. That is not the case.More Button

I have answered the question.More Button

The question Deputy McDonald asked was whether I was satisfied that no organ of the State put the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission under surveillance. Yes, I am.More Button

I recall the question Deputy Joan Collins asked me last week. She asked me if the Minister for Education and Skills would meet representatives of the TEEU and the USI. The Minister was sitting be...More Button

This Government has a long-standing policy of meeting trade unions, student unions and bodies that represent people who have difficulties and grievances. I do not expect there will be any diffic...More Button

I do not see that there is an issue here.More Button

If the TEEU wants to meet the Minister for Education and Skills, it requests a meeting with the Minister and I imagine it can be arranged. If the Union of Students in Ireland wants to meet the Min...More Button

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 21, ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Bill 2013 - Report and Final Stages (resumed), to adjourn at 2 p.m. if not previously concluded; No. 2 - Public Health (Sunbe...More Button

I can only express surprise that none of the three questions on Leaders' Questions this morning referred to the suffering that a quarter of a million households in this country have endured as a re...More Button

Over 2,000 ESB Networks staff are out repairing the electricity supply network. They will be supported by contractors that they are bringing in.More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

It is reporting on an hourly and daily basis to the Minister. This is a serious emergency affecting many people.More Button

This session.More Button

The expected publication date of the Bill to which Deputy Doherty referred is 2015.More Button

The issue is the sale of the loan book will take place long before that and that is why the Minister for Finance is working on this with the Central Bank in order that the mortgage holders concerne...More Button

The Government is concerned about the position of the mortgage holders. It is being examined and I expect it will be dealt with.More Button

That Bill, which will be the first occasion on which climate change targets will be put on a statutory basis, will be published later this year.More Button

The Bill was approved by the Government on 28 January. Complex technical, legal issues are still being sorted out and the Bill is expected to be published this session.More Button

The Minister informs me that he would be happy to reply to parliamentary questions on that.More Button

The Bill is due this session.More Button

The health (transport support) Bill will be taken this year.More Button

The Bill is due later this year. The Government supports the enforcement of the national monuments legislation.More Button

Next year.More Button

I understand the Minister is working on the composition of the group and I expect it will be established shortly.More Button

The preparation of the Bill is obviously a matter for the Minister for Finance. As stated previously, the concerns of mortgage holders are being dealt with by the Government as a matter of urgency...More Button

The Bill is currently before the Seanad. It is quite complex and technical in nature. Due in part to the issues that were raised during the consultation process, a large number of amendments will...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: the position regarding community employment supervisors' entitlement to a pension scheme in view of the fact that the Labour Court recommended that FÁS implement a pension scheme in 2008 and some C...More Button

I would like to refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions 99, 89 and 102 dated 1st December 2011 on this matter. The position remains unchanged.More Button

Was asked: in view of the Element Six Commercial Court decision delivered on 4 February 2014, if the Pensions Board guidance notes will now give formal recognition to compensation funds which are being propos...More Button

Guidance notes issued by the Pensions Board must comply with and operate within the policies and principles set down in primary legislation. Guidance notes are kept under review and updated as requ...More Button

The judgement in the Element Six case, as with other Court cases arising in relation to pension provision, will be considered in detail and any proposals for change to pension provision will be b...More Button

Family Income Supplement Eligibility

Was asked: the degree to which family income supplement is paid to persons supporting families who live abroad. More Button

Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a social welfare payment which provides an income support for employees on low earnings with families. To qualify for FIS the applicant(s) must be employed in the...More Button

As FIS is a family benefit under EU regulations, the residency of the qualified children within the EU does not affect entitlement. FIS is currently in payment to approximately 44,225 families a...More Button

  Question No. 135 withdrawn.More Button

Social Welfare Appeals

Was asked: if she will expedite a living alone allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry, taking into consideration the findings of the Ombudsman; and if she will make a state...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the file of the person concerned was received from the Office of the Ombudsman on 07th February 2014. The appeal in question ...More Button

Was asked: when a file will be sent to the Social Welfare Appeals Office from the disability allowance section in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 21st November 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the ap...More Button

Social Welfare Offices

Was asked: if she will provide an update on the provision of Intreo offices in Clondalkin, Dublin 22, and Lucan, County Dublin.More Button

A total of 44 Intreo offices have now been opened. The Department is working closely with the OPW on the rollout of the service (including the refurbishment and where necessary the acquisition of ...More Button

It is expected that the remaining 16 offices, including Clondalkin will be delivering the full Intreo service by the end of 2014. The Department is also actively pursuing accommodation for a new...More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Appeals

Was asked: the progress made to date in respect of an appeal for a State pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 23rd January 2014, who will make a summary decision on ...More Button

  Questions Nos. 140 and 141 withdrawn.More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Data

Was asked: the number of applications for domiciliary care allowance received by her Department in 2012 and 2013; if she will provide a breakdown of the applications approved and refused; and the number of th...More Button

In 2012 a total of 4,339 Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) applications were received by the Department. There were 4,680 applications fully processed in 2012, with 2,204 allowed by a deciding offic...More Button

National Internship Scheme Administration

Was asked: the position regarding the JobBridge scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

JobBridge is focused on providing unemployed people with high quality real workplace experience. JobBridge is a voluntary scheme where interns choose the internship best suited to their needs. Po...More Button

The Department has a number of controls in place to prevent abuse of the scheme. Over 4,400 monitoring visits have been conducted to date, 98% of which were found to be satisfactory. There are a...More Button

A total of 35 companies have been disqualified from participating in the scheme due to breaches of the terms and conditions. However, it is worth highlighting that over 11,600 companies have par...More Button

On average, a JobBridge internship costs the Exchequer €238 per week, inclusive of the €50 top-up. However, the independent evaluation has shown that the scheme has been good value for money thro...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that as a result of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012, a welfare recipient with a dependent adult and dependent children who takes up a community ...More Button

Participants in certain employment schemes, including community employment schemes (CE), receive a weekly payment which is equal to the social welfare payment appropriate to their family size, plus...More Button

In Budget 2013 the weekly PRSI-free allowance of €127 was abolished for all Class A contributors. This measure had no impact on Class A contributors who do not pay PRSI where their earnings are ...More Button

At the end of January 2014 there were 1,896 CE participants earning over €352 per week and who pay PRSI. In the vast majority of cases, even taking account of the increased PRSI charge, the amou...More Button

Any proposal to re-introduce the PRSI-free allowance to address this issue would reduce income to the Social Insurance Fund and could only be considered in a Budgetary context.More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 03 February 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Was asked: if she will give an assurance that the Government will deliver on its commitments to persons with disabilities (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

People with disabilities are a priority for my Department which will spend €19 billion on social protection measures in 2014.More Button

My Department has maintained this level of financial support for people with disabilities against a background where very significant reductions in the Department’s budget over successive years had...More Button

I should also add that my Department, along with nine other Departments of state, is contributing to the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (2013 -2015) which was published in 2013 ...More Button

  Question No. 147 withdrawn.More Button

Social Welfare Code

Was asked: the reason the monthly docket system for casual workers is being replaced by a requirement for workers to submit their dockets to the local social welfare office on a weekly basis.More Button

The Department is committed to ensuring that the correct payment issues to the appropriate person in a timely manner and in order to achieve this aim in relation to jobseeker payments it is necessa...More Button

In the majority of cases, where a person is engaged in casual or part-time work the days worked each week can vary. Accordingly, in order to ensure that the correct weekly payment issues, custom...More Button

In circumstances where a person’s work pattern does not fluctuate from week to week, arrangements are in place for the above to be replaced by monthly certification. However, if the employment pa...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Was asked: the reason rent support has not been paid for four months resulting in severe hardship and imminent eviction in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

The rent supplement claim for the person concerned has now been approved and she has been sent notification of this decision. An arrears payment to cover the period from October to December 2013 in...More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the reason for disallowance of appeal in respect of disability allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a ...More Button

In light of the additional medical evidence submitted by the Deputy the Department has been requested to return the file to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. On receipt of this file, the Appeals...More Button

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

One-Parent Family Payments

Was asked: the current weekly amount payable in respect of one-parent family allowance and the total receipts in respect of same year for the year ending 2013 in the case of a person (details supplied) in Cou...More Button

The current amount of one parent family payment in the case of the person concerned is €247.60 per week. The total amount of monies received by the person concerned in respect of one parent family ...More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: if the full amount of €188 for jobseeker's benefit is only based upon stamps accrued (details supplied). More Button

Since the extension of full social insurance cover to part-time workers from April 1991, a range of measures were introduced to the short-term illness and jobseeker’s benefit schemes in order to en...More Button

To overcome the potential disincentives involved, new arrangements were introduced with effect from January 1993 to relate the rate of benefit payable to the level of the claimant's earnings. The...More Button

Any person who is in receipt of a reduced rate illness or jobseeker's benefit payment and where their income is insufficient to meet their needs may be eligible for a top-up under the supplementa...More Button

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the financial help available to householders whose homes are flooded; the numbers and the cost of providing help to households flooded over the past five years; and if she will make a statement on ...More Button

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is the lead Department for severe weather emergencies and the Office of Public Works has responsibility for capital flood relief ac...More Button

Under the SWA scheme, the Department can make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected t...More Button

In addition to the payment of ENPs, SWA legislation also provides for assistance in the form of an urgent needs payment (UNP) which can be made to persons who would not normally be entitled to SW...More Button

A humanitarian assistance scheme was approved by Government in November 2009. The scheme, which is means tested, is available to assist people whose homes are damaged by flooding and who are not...More Button

Total expenditure on the humanitarian assistance scheme to the end of 2013 was approximately €2.2 million in respect of approximately 3,500 payments. The statistics available show that payments ...More Button

In dealing with events of this nature the DSP generally adopts a three stage approach as follows:More Button

- Stage 1 is to provide emergency income support payments for food, clothing, personal items and temporary accommodation in the immediate aftermath of the event. A relatively small amount of fina...More Button

- Stage 2 generally involves the replacement of white goods, basic furniture items and other essential household items. It is not until the flood water abates and houses dry out that the full exte...More Button

- Stage 3 is to identify what longer term financial support or works are required. It could take several months before this stage of response commences and this involves a cross Departmental/Agenc...More Button

Any person who is experiencing hardship as a result of the recent weather events should contact the Department’s local representative administering SWA who may be able to offer assistance.More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Appeals

Was asked: the position regarding an application for one-parent family payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 14 January 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

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