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Burton, Joan

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Leaders' Questions

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. He has done so in a very helpful manner. I do not believe there is anybody in the House who is not interested in hearing some of the responses to alleg...More Button

I am conscious that the Deputy's colleague, Deputy John McGuinness, is leading an all-party Committee of Public Accounts inquiry committee in regard to the position and that both Brendan McDonagh...More Button

We need to be very clear about what happened and what the mood in the country was at the time when NAMA was established. The Labour Party did not support the establishment of NAMA. We saw flaws...More Button

The second principle, on which everybody in the House agreed, and I presume still agree, was that politicians would not be directly involved with NAMA. This was for all the reasons we know, whic...More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Exactly.More Button

Let me be very clear. Deputy Kelleher's colleague beside him will remember the long debates in this House that went through the night on several occasions, in which I represented the Labour Party.More Button

The Deputy should bear with me now. The point is that we made a decision collectively, for good or for bad, as a Parliament. I think it was for the good - I supported the late Mr. Brian Lenihan i...More Button

I am glad that Fianna Fáil now supports that approach.More Button

I have no difficulty, nor has the Government, with NAMA going to any institution in the North of Ireland. We do not dictate to NAMA----More Button

The Fianna Fáil Deputies are trying to have their cake and eat it.More Button

Their party caused the bank crash. That was bad enough. It established NAMA. I was a critic of it and am still-----More Button

The Deputies should hold on and listen. As far as I am concerned it is a decision for NAMA if it chooses to go to the North. I would be perfectly happy----More Button

I cannot tell them----More Button

It is an agency which operates as far as possible with a remit which is free from the day-to-day pressures of politics-----More Button

It was established in order to get the country out of a mega debt problem which unfortunately we inherited courtesy of Fianna Fáil, along with a mega crash.More Button

I have no problem with NAMA going North but I want the NAMA board and executives to reach a business decision.More Button

NAMA is currently before the public accounts committee chaired very ably by one of the Deputy's colleagues.More Button

All of these issues are now being debated there. I do not have a difficulty as Tánaiste, nor am I aware that anyone else in Government has a difficulty with NAMA making a decision to go before the...More Button

That is unfair, the Deputy is not jealous of John McGuinness. We know that.More Button

This is the other side of the NAMA story.More Button

One of the Deputy's.More Button

I was not talking about the Deputy personally.More Button

I express my sympathy to the people living in the development at Longboat Quay. I can imagine how worrying it is for people who have bought apartments there and who took out mortgages over a long ...More Button

As this development was initially within the remit of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and as that authority is in the process of moving over to the local authority, which is Dublin Ci...More Button

There was a similar set of circumstances with Priory Hall, as mentioned by Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh. The developer's political movement affiliations were well known. That case was resolved thro...More Button

The fire brigade worked very closely with the Dublin City Council authorities to address what I understand must be enormous fears among families with children and individuals over the fundamental...More Button

Why not?More Button

The one thing I do regret reading about Dublin City Council in recent days was that it took a sprightly but elderly woman - I think she was 90 - to court over a satellite television debt. To be pe...More Button

As regards what is happening to the families who have entered into a whole series of different mortgage arrangements, it is a beautiful development. I do not know if the Deputy has been down the...More Button

What is necessary in this case is for Dublin City Council to step up to the table and work with the fire authority to address the issues which are really serious. The docklands authority was the...More Button

If Deputy Ó Snodaigh would like to see further legislation, as he has suggested, the Government will examine any recommendations he may bring forward. However, the immediate issue is to take the...More Button

The council can do it.More Button

First, I have to declare an interest as, like most people here, I am a credit union member and have been over a long period. I basically agree with the Deputy that credit unions are incredibly imp...More Button

For my part as Tánaiste, I can say that the Government is absolutely committed to having credit union movements in place. There are a number of different umbrella organisations which offer peopl...More Button

The Deputy referred specifically to regulation CP88. My understanding is that it is about the level of deposits that credit unions can take from members. This issue has already been addressed a...More Button

The credit union movement provides a fantastic financial service to people, including families, up and down the country. My Government colleagues and I are absolutely committed to ensuring that ...More Button

I am a very strong supporter of the credit union movement. It is the friendliness, approachability and quality of personal service that is available from credit unions that is extremely attractive...More Button

In respect of the proposal of the credit unions that they have access to a mechanism for using the funds of their members to invest directly with Government, I assure the Deputy that if the credi...More Button

The Deputy referred to the banks. He is correct in stating that banks have moved away from having direct physical branch presences in inner cities, areas with local authority housing and rural a...More Button

I am glad to say that the difficulties which beset a relatively small number of credit unions in the context of the overall banking crisis are well on their way to being resolved. We are at a po...More Button

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 14, proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Exchange of Information Relating to Tax Matters (Argentine Republic) Order 2015 (back from committee); No. 15, proposed appro...More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

There will be a dedicated debate on the capital programme, which will put a significant amount of public investment into the capital programme over the next five years. In fact it will provide emp...More Button

-----working in that industry.More Button

We inherited from Fianna Fáil-----More Button

----- a country where unfortunately because of its misguided-----More Button

-----and failed actions on the building industry-----More Button

-----we ended up with the receivers coming into Ireland from the IMF-----More Button

-----and the other institutions.More Button

We took on the rescue and we are now at a position-----More Button

We are now at a position where there has been an enormous improvement in the number of houses now being built. My constituency is a hive of development activity because it is on the outskirts of D...More Button

Across the constituency we now have a very significant recommencement of building homes for families which is welcome. That is happening particularly right across Dublin but it is also happening i...More Button

We are also developing a very ambitious social housing programme.More Button

We will be very happy and there will be a debate next week on the capital programme. That will certainly happen next week.More Button

On the important issue of debating all the reports from the Convention on the Constitution, I would be happy to suggest to the Whips, including Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, that they might provide for...More Button

I am just trying to be helpful to the House. We have no difficulty in putting on additional time and particularly utilising Fridays and Mondays to address any of the outstanding recommendations th...More Button

I understand the Dublin Docklands legislation will be in next week.More Button

If, as a Whip, the Deputy discusses having a debate on refugees with his fellow Whips, the Government would certainly be happy to facilitate that. We have agreed in discussions with the European...More Button

Any direct attack on anybody who is part of the emergency services, of the kind described by Deputy Calleary, would be considered a criminal attack and would be a matter for the Garda to prosecute ...More Button

I will ask for a report and send it to the Deputy. Speaking for my Department, when I became Minister for Social Protection there were a number of urgent issues relating to the social welfare stat...More Button

My understanding is that NAMA is working very hard on the matter and has already delivered more than 1,500 apartments and houses, which have been used to house families.More Button

I understand that ongoing issues arise in certain local authorities in terms of whether certain accommodation is acceptable to them. I am not familiar with the detail of the development which the ...More Button

NAMA already allows for the transfer of property.More Button

I am sorry.More Button

It is allowing for transfers.More Button

I am aware that the trial is due to take place and that it should finally go ahead on 4 October. As Deputy Crowe is aware, the difficulty has been that there have been constant delays and adjournm...More Button

I am sorry, we have consular staff and they have been providing constant assistance to him in the context of him being held in custody. We would like to see Mr. Halawa returned home to Ireland and...More Button

The University of Limerick is a very fine institution and it has provided first-class educational and development services to students, not only from Limerick but from the entire country. It is ri...More Button

In my experience as a former member of the Committee of Public Accounts, the remit would properly lie with it.More Button

On the apprenticeship Bill, that should be published early next year. In respect of the Criminal Assets Bureau and the proceeds of crime, I understand the discussions with CAB are ongoing with a v...More Button

The public health (alcohol) Bill will be introduced this session, while I understand the sale and consumption of alcohol Bill will be some time next year.More Button

I thank Deputy Conway for raising this important issue and will ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when this will be forthcoming. I do not have an answer to hand for the Deputy but it...More Button

Personal Micro Credit Scheme

Was asked: when micro-loans will be made available for families currently under financial strain; the office that will administer the loans; the location and time when applications for such loans can be submi...More Button

A proposal for a Personal Micro Credit scheme in Ireland is currently being developed under the auspices of Citizens Information Board and the Social Finance Foundation. More Button

A preliminary outline of the scheme envisages a microloan facility, operated by Credit Unions, providing small loan amounts (circa €500), over an average term of 12 months, at an interest rate o...More Button

There has been extensive engagement in recent months with a number of stakeholders including my Department, Department of Finance, Central Bank of Ireland, Irish League of Credit Unions, Credit U...More Button

An Implementation Group, comprising key stakeholders has been established (chaired by Department of Social Protection) to oversee the implementation of the Personal Micro Credit Scheme in a numbe...More Button

To date, 33 Credit Unions throughout the country have indicated agreement to participate in the pilot scheme which is intended to be in place towards the end of this year. The outcomes and learn...More Button

Disability Allowance Data

Was asked: her plans to increase disability allowance, given the major additional living costs of citizens with disabilities, and given that this proposal was a long-term objective of her own political party ...More Button

In line with its commitments when it took office, the Government has protected core weekly social welfare rates. Any increases in social welfare rates can only be considered by the Government in t...More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: if she will expedite a decision on an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I confirm the Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) on 14 August 2015. In order to determine the circumstances of the person concerned, her file was forwarded to her loc...More Button

A decision on her entitlement to DA will be made on receipt of the Social Welfare Inspector’s report. The person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.More Button

Was asked: if a disability payment will be approved for a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.More Button

I confirm that the department is in receipt of an application for disability allowance (DA) from the above named person on 31 August 2015. On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspec...More Button

The processing time for individual DA claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information t...More Button

Any person who is awaiting a decision on their DA application may apply for means-tested supplementary welfare allowance from their local community welfare officer.More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: if she will expedite a decision on an application for renewal of a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance (CA). The continued eligibility of the person in question for CA is currently under review.More Button

To this end, the person concerned was asked to submit up to date evidence in relation to the care recipient and, specifically, in relation to the ongoing requirement for full-time care and attent...More Button

Once the review is completed the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.More Button

Was asked: whether a carer's allowance and respite facilities can be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a social assistance payment made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a relevant person/persons and whose income falls below certain limits.
<...More Button

Dietary Allowance Administration

Was asked: her plans to increase the funding for persons in receipt of a diet allowance because of specific medical conditions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Fuel Allowance Data

Was asked: her plans to increase the income limit for applicants under the national fuel allowance scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The fuel allowance is a payment of €20 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, to low income households. The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. Th...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: if she will examine the diversity in the means assessment for the adult dependent payment of disability allowance claims, whereby currently, self-employed adult dependents have all of their income ...More Button

The Department operates a range of statutory means tested schemes where, in order to qualify for the social assistance payment, the claimant must satisfy a means test. The means test takes account...More Button

Where a spouse is in insurable employment, the means test takes the gross weekly earnings less PRSI, superannuation, and trade union contributions. A disregard of €60 per day for each day worked...More Button

Where a spouse is self-employed, account is taken of the income which the spouse may reasonably expect to receive in the next year. All expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out the business...More Button

This is the method used in assessing spousal earnings, not only for Disability Allowance, but also for Jobseeker’s Allowance and Farm Assist. Any change to the means testing of these schemes wou...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Data

Was asked: if she will clarify the estimated cost of increasing the number of community employment scheme places from 23,943 to 26,000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Social Welfare Fraud Investigations

Was asked: if she will investigate a matter (details supplied) regarding social welfare fraud; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The vast majority of people on social welfare are claiming the correct entitlement due to them. However, a small minority is not and a range of measures are employed by the Department to ensure th...More Button

The Department has set out its strategic approach to tackling fraud and error in the Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy. It includes systematic measures to prevent and detect fraud and to ensure...More Button

A key measure of control activity is the value of control savings achieved by the Department on an annual basis. Control savings are an estimate of the value of various control activities across...More Button

Furthermore the presence on the ground has been increased through the secondment of 20 Gardaí to the Department’s Special Investigation Unit. These officers are augmenting the resources and expe...More Button

Effective deterrence is also necessary to address fraud. It is important to ensure appropriate sanctions can be applied where fraud is discovered. Where an individual committing social welfare ...More Button

The Department is proactively targeting persons with overpayments to ensure all persons who have a social welfare overpayment are making a contribution towards the repayment of the debt outstandi...More Button

The overall aim of the Department’s approach to tackling fraud and incorrect payments is to ensure that the available resources are targeted at, and are available for, the people, who need them m...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Was asked: if she will provide an update on a claim by a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance at her full entitlement – the maximum personal rate per week. More Button

Social Welfare Benefits

Was asked: the status of an application or appeal for disability allowance by a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if an application for an increase in rent allowance will also be approved.More Button

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 28 January 2015. The first payment was made by his selected payment method on 12 August 2015.

  As a...More Button

  Question No. 40 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the cost in 2016 of a 1%, 2% and €5 per week increase in the weekly rate of all pension age payments, including proportionate increases for qualified adults where applicable; and if she will make a...More Button

Was asked: the cost in 2016 of a €5 increase in the monthly rate of child benefit from €135 to €140; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the cost in 2016 of an increase in the respite care grant to €1,700; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the estimated annual cost in 2016 of a €5 increase in the monthly rate of child benefit.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 to 44, inclusive, and 55 together.

  The cost in 2016 of a 1%, 2% and €5 per week increase in the weekly rate of all pension-age payments (inc...More Button

Disability Allowance Payments

Was asked: as to when arrears of payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance (DA) with effect from 17 June 2015. The first payment issued by his chosen payment method on 9 September 2015.

  It is ...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Payments

Was asked: the cost in 2016 of increasing the maximum child age of the one-parent family payment from its current threshold of seven years to 12 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The full-year cost, in 2016, of increasing the one-parent family payment (OFP) scheme maximum child age threshold from seven years to twelve years would be approximately €23.5 million.More Button

It should be noted that this figure includes a reduction in expenditure on the back to work family dividend (BTWFD) scheme. This arises as lone parents who currently are in receipt of this payme...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: with regard to contributory State pensions, the cost in 2016 of allowing persons to disregard up to 200 pre-1994 A1 pay related social insurance payments for the purpose of calculating their date o...More Button

State pension (contributory) is based on the PRSI contributions paid or credited by the person over their working life, and the level of entitlement depends on their yearly average number of contri...More Button

The homemaker’s scheme was introduced in 1994 to make qualification for State pension contributory (SPC) easier for those who take time out of the workforce for caring duties. The scheme allows u...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is not compiled by my Department, and is not therefore available. More Button

There are no plans to introduce a disregard in respect of parts of a person's insurance record to enable them to qualify for SPC.More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Was asked: the cost of increasing the rent supplement limit in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford by 5%, 10% and 15%; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the cost of increasing all rent supplement limits by 5%, 10% and 15%; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Back to Education Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: if she will review an application for a back to education allowance for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

 In order to qualify for the Back to Education Allowance scheme (BTEA) while pursuing a third level course certain conditions must be fulfilled, including being in receipt of a qualify...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance

Was asked: the extent to which jobseeker's allowance and basic payment continues to be made available to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned has been in receipt of a jobseeker's allowance payment from 21 May, 2012 to date. The person concerned will continue to receive the payment once he continues to meet the crite...More Button

Social Welfare Eligibility

Was asked: the extent to which a widow (details supplied) in County Kildare is in receipt of the full social welfare entitlements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of a widow’s contributory pension at the maximum rate payable to a person under age 66 years of age. She is also in receipt of a qualified child increase at the ...More Button

Additionally, the person concerned is in receipt of child benefit in respect of her qualified child. This year the person concerned has applied for, and received, a back to school clothing and f...More Button

No other primary social welfare payment is payable at the same time as widow’s contributory pension.More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit

Was asked: the progress to date in determining suitable employment through Intreo, or other means, for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; the extent to which Intreo assessment has concluded, or is...More Button

The person concerned has advised her case officer that she has access to her own transport.

  The person concerned met with her case officer firstly on 21 July 2015 where all pos...More Button

  Question No. 55 answered with Question No. 42.More Button