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					                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers




                                      Written Answers.
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     The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the
     ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].




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  Questions Nos. 1 to 8, inclusive, answered orally.

                                     Departmental Agencies.
  9. Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Finance the implications in terms of a
reduction in staff numbers and savings in annual costs of the programme of rationalisation of
State agencies outlined in Budget 2009. [45145/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): In my Budget Statement on 14 October last,
I announced that the Government had decided to implement 30 rationalisation decisions spread
across 11 Government Departments. The details of the rationalisations, which will result in a
reduction of some 41 bodies, were set out in Annex D of the Summary Budget Measures.
   Implementation of these rationalisation decisions, which are a matter for the relevant parent
Government Departments, involves amalgamating bodies, reassigning legislative and adminis-
trative functions, and discontinuing bodies in some cases, is a complex exercise. In light of this,
my Department has requested all relevant Departments to prepare Implementation Plans by
the 12th of December. Each Plan should cover the projected savings and the timeframes for
implementation.
  Consequently, it is not possible at this stage to identify the specific savings that this round
of rationalisations will deliver or to set out a precise deadline for their delivery, as most of the
proposals involve the amendment of legislation. However, it is Government policy that these
changes should be implemented urgently with the objective of enhancing the relationship
between citizens and the State while maximising the level of savings.
  While cost-savings and economy are important, I wish to emphasis that alongside major
savings in administrative overheads including staff numbers, a key outcome of this process is
to deliver a more citizen-friendly system of government with better, more focused delivery
of services.
  I also hope to identify further bodies to be rationalised in the context of the next Estimates
process.
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


                                     House Repossessions.
   10. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the establishment of
a fund or other mechanism to prevent a huge increase in house repossessions over the 2009 to
2010 period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45358/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I have no plans to introduce such a scheme.
   As the Taoiseach said in the House earlier this week, the Government has been pro-active
in seeking to safeguard the interests of households that experience difficulties in meeting their
mortgage payments owing to circumstances beyond their control. A particular priority is to
ensure as much as possible that difficulties in relation to mortgage arrears do not result in legal
proceedings for home repossession.
  One of the most important recent actions taken by the Government has been to include a
mandatory requirement that banks operating in Ireland participating in the Guarantee Scheme
confirm their compliance with the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) Code of Practice on Mort-
gage Arrears. This is a detailed and robust Code which has been operated successfully by banks
in Ireland since 2000 and has long had a positive impact on the mortgage market here as
evidenced by the very low number of Court Orders for repossession attributable to mainstream
lenders that subscribe to the Code. The other IBF and Irish Mortgage Council members comply
with the IBF Code on a voluntary basis.
   There are two important supports under the Social Welfare system for people who find
themselves experiencing difficulty in making their mortgage payments. The Mortgage Interest
Supplement scheme provides short-term income support to those eligible who are unable to
meet their mortgage interest repayments. My Department understands that about \20 million
has been paid out under the scheme to-date in 2008. In addition, the Money Advice and
Budgeting Service (MABS), is a national, free, confidential and independent service for people
in debt or in danger of getting into debt.
   The Financial Regulator’s Consumer Protection Code (CPC) applies to home loan providers
operating in the State. It requires mortgage lenders to undertake suitability assessments before
offering a product or service to consumers. It also requires the regulated provider to contact
the consumer as soon as it becomes aware that a mortgage account is in arrears irrespective of
the amount of the arrears. Under the CPC, the regulated provider must have in place a pro-
cedure for handling accounts in arrears which includes a requirement that lenders should agree
a remedial action plan with a borrower as soon as it detects arrears starting to emerge and to try
to assist the borrower to manage his or her financial commitments and not allow the situation to
worsen.
   Home re-possession should be, and generally is, the last resort for the lender and the pre-
ferred method of dealing with arrears cases should be early intervention. Although the number
of cases involving applications for possession orders has increased, it should be noted that this
is from a low base. In addition, orders are not always granted and do not always represent
residential mortgages nor are they always followed through by the lender. Levels remain low
compared to historical averages and in comparison to similar jurisdictions such as the UK.
  In the light of all of the above, I am satisfied that adequate safeguards are currently in place
to minimise home re-possessions in Ireland. However the Government will continue to monitor
the situation carefully and will of course consider the requirement for any further responses in
order that the legitimate interests of mortgage holders are safeguarded.

                                   Foreign Direct Investment.
  11. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance if he or officials in his Department
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


have made contact with the transition team of President-elect Obama; if discussions have taken
place, or if correspondence has been exchanged, with respect to possible reforms to the US
corporation tax regime and their possible implications for Ireland; if such discussions are sched-
uled for the coming months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45372/08]

  41. Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Finance the meetings that he has had to
ensure that the needs of US companies based here are not adversely affected by moves to
change the tax rules in the United States. [45224/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and
41 together.
  I understand that President-elect Obama is at present concentrating on the appointment of
his Cabinet and that it will be some time before we have a firm idea of the make up of the
specific policy teams in the various Government Departments. In the circumstances I think the
Deputies will appreciate that it is too early to be seeking dialogue in relation to specific tax or
any other issues, with an administration which has not yet taken up office.
  It is the case that President-elect Obama was involved in one of two Bills introduced in the
US Senate aimed at curtailing tax haven abuse. Both Bills contained a list of 34 countries that
have been designated as tax havens in Internal Revenue Service court filings. However, it is
important to remember that Ireland does not appear on that list. That said I am always mindful
of any international developments that could potentially impact on foreign direct investment
here and in that respect we will continue to closely monitor developments.

                                           Tax Yield.
  12. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he has assessed the impact on
retail sales here and on VAT receipts of the differential of 6.5 points on VAT in the North
and in the UK. [45210/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Budget increase of 0.5% in the standard
VAT rate is estimated to yield the Exchequer \208 million in 2009 and \227 million in a
full year.
   As part of a fiscal stimulus package, the UK Government reduced their standard VAT rate
from 17.5% to 15% on a temporary basis with effect from 1 December 2008 to 31 December
2009. I have no plans to make a similar reduction in the standard VAT rate in Ireland or to
reduce the rate to the UK level of 15%.
 It is not possible to estimate the effect on Exchequer revenues of tax changes in other
Member States. In any case, I would point out that the weakening of sterling has had a far
more significant impact on relative prices than any VAT changes in this regard.
  It must be recognised that our starting point is different from the UK’s. We already have a
low taxation economy, especially in the area of direct taxation, both income and corporation
taxes, which has a direct impact on all employment in the State. This lower starting position
for direct taxation makes it is more difficult to reduce taxes further.
  Already we are borrowing over 10% of all day to day spending on public services (before
capital spending). This is unsustainable and we faced difficult choices in bringing forward cor-
rective measures. The estimated \227m that will accrue in a full year from the VAT increase
will go some way towards funding necessary public services.
  Each 1 percentage point reduction in our standard VAT rate would cost around \450 million
in a full year. For Ireland to reduce the standard VAT rate by 2.5 percentage points would
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
cost around \1,125 million in a full year. For Ireland to reduce the standard VAT rate to the
UK level of 15%, which would mean a reduction in the standard VAT rate of 6.5 percentage
points, this would cost almost \3 billion in a full year. This is equivalent to around two and a
half times the amount of revenues to be raised in a full year through the new income levy.
   Some of the goods and services that will be affected by the increase in the standard rate are
alcohol, cigarettes, cars, petrol, electrical equipment, furniture, telecommunications, cosmetics,
confectionery, soft drinks and adult clothing and footwear. The effect of the 0.5% increase in
the standard rate is that the price of goods and services, which apply at this rate, will increase
by 0.41%. This equates to an increase of 8 cent on a good costing \20, or 41 cent on a good
costing \100.
  It must be also be recognised that around half the value of goods and services purchased in
the State are not subject to the standard rate of VAT and therefore are unaffected by the
change in the standard rate. All Government services, local authorities, hospitals and schools
etc., are exempt from VAT. The zero rate of VAT applies to the majority of foodstuffs, oral
medicines, books and children’s clothes and shoes. In addition, housing, electricity, gas,
domestic fuels, restaurant services, and labour intensive services such as hairdressing and shoe
repair, are applicable at the 13.5% reduced rate of VAT.
  Although the reduction in the UK standard VAT rate will have an impact on the price
differential on some goods between the North and the South, I would point out that the UK
has increased excise on alcohol, cigarettes, petrol and diesel to offset the 2.5% reduction in
VAT on these items. Consequently there will be no reduction in the price of these products in
Northern Ireland as a result of the reduction in the UK VAT rate to 15%.
  As a small open economy, many of our standard rated goods are imported, and cutting the
VAT rate could benefit the economies from which we import more than our own. In other
words, while, it might help the consumer, it would not be the most effective way of helping our
own economy.
   There are other means of stimulating the economy, outside of the VAT system. The Govern-
ment is providing a long term fiscal stimulus through capital investment of approximately 5%
of GNP, which is twice the average in the EU. This fiscal stimulus will not only support jobs
in the short term but will also add to our long term productive capacity.
  Irish taxation policy of low direct taxation has given us a significant competitive advantage
over the past 15 years. We have ensured that we have had the lowest levels of direct taxation
on income, therefore we have had marginally higher indirect taxation. That model of taxation
has worked well for our economy and will be even more important now in leading us back to
the path of economic growth.

                                     Public Service Review.
  13. Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Finance the terms of reference and the
proposed order of programme review by the advisory group chaired by Colm McCarthy; if the
analysis will be published; and the decisions taken on a programme by programme basis.
[45176/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I refer the Deputy to the Government State-
ment on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives
of the Special Group are to:—

    a. Review the scope for reducing or discontinuing Expenditure Programmes with a view
       to eliminating the current budget deficit by 2011.
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


    b. To this end, analyse and make recommendations on reducing the numbers employed in
       each area of the Public Service having regard to:—

       i. the need to identify and prioritise particular output targets and areas;

       ii. the achievement of greater efficiency and economy in the delivery of all services;

      iii. the scope for rationalising and streamlining delivery of public services in the con-
           sumers’ interest.

    c. Make recommendations on reallocation of staffing or expenditure resources between
       public service organisations as appropriate to deliver the objectives set out in the Prog-
       ramme for Government.

    d. Examine and make recommendations for further rationalisation of State agencies
       beyond the rationalisation proposals and principles set out in Budget 2009.

As I elaborated in my comments at that time, the Special Group’s examination of all prog-
rammes funded through public expenditure will identify options for savings in the context of
the Government’s fiscal objectives as set out in Budget 2009. It will also ensure that public
expenditure is being used to address relevant priority policy objectives in the current fiscal
environment and the overall efficiency of the public service will also be examined, including
any ways of doing business that are out of step with the needs of a modern, responsive public
service.
  The Group consists of Mr. Colm McCarthy (Chair) and Mr. Donal McNally as core Members
and they will be assisted by Mr. Pat McLoughlin, Mr. Maurice O’Connell, Mr. William Slattery
and Ms. Mary Walsh. It will establish its own working methodology and any vacancy arising in
the Group will be filled by me.
  The Group will report to me every two months and will submit a final report to me by the
end of June 2009.
  The Special Group’s analysis and recommendations will assist me and my Government col-
leagues to identify economies which can be made on the scale necessary to ensure that the
public finances are brought under control in a short and economically prudent timeframe. The
Group’s conclusions will accordingly be considered on an ongoing basis in the context of pre-
paring the Estimates of Expenditure for 2010 and later years, and publication or otherwise will
be decided on in that context.

                                        Capital Projects.
  14. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Finance the 20 projects on which spot
checks were undertaken by the Central Evaluation Unit; and the projects which had issues of
potential non-compliance with value for money requirements flagged. [45171/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit
(CEEU) in my Department has undertaken a substantial programme of direct spot checks of
individual capital projects encompassing over 20 projects across six different Departments —
Transport; Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Education and Science; Health and
Children; Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and Arts, Sport and Tourism.
  On completion, a final report on each spot-check is submitted to the relevant Department.
Final reports have been issued in respect of all projects spot-checked to date bar those relating
to the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment projects, in respect of which the
reports are currently being finalised.
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]

  Four projects were examined in the Department of Health and Children: the amalgamated
maternity unit at Cork University hospital; phase 2B of Mullingar hospital; redeveloping the
infectious diseases services at the Mater Hospital including provision of a new bioterrorism
suite; and, phase 1A of the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Ennis.
  In the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism spot-checks were carried out on the
Lansdowne Road stadium project; 3 applications under the Sports Capital Programme; and 2
applications under the Arts and Culture Capital Enhancement Support Scheme. Four projects
now coming under the aegis of the Department of Transport were examined: Luas line B1
(extension from Sandyford to Cherrywood); the N5 national primary route bypass of
Charlestown/Bellaghy; the Western Distributor Road in Sligo; and, additional buses, garage
                                    ´
upgrades and a new garage for Bus Atha Cliath.
  Two projects now coming under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Heritage and
Local Government were examined: the Susie’s Field housing development in Cork City and
the Ennis/Clarecastle sewerage scheme. Three projects were examined in the Department of
Education and Science: a primary school in Monkstown, a post-primary school in Athlone and
an Information Technology building in University College Cork.
  Finally, five projects were examined under the aegis of the Department of Enterprise Trade
and Employment: a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) under the Science
Foundation Ireland (SFI) CSET grant scheme; two projects under the Principal Investigator
grant scheme run by SFI; support under Enterprise Ireland’s Productivity Improvement Fund
to Company A and an IDA Fixed Asset Grant to Company B.
  The objective of the spot-checks and associated final reports is to identify and affirm good
practice where it already exists and to promote improvements where it doesn’t. As may be
expected, these reports have identified many instances of good practice but they have also
raised issues on aspects of the planning, appraisal and execution of specific projects by refer-
ence to the VFM framework in place. Compliance with this framework is in the first instance
the responsibility of the relevant spending Department and upon notification of any issues
arising they are expected to consider and take action as appropriate.
   I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that as these reports cover a range of issues over a
wide range of sectors, further detail in relation to any specific report would be best obtained
from the relevant Minister.

                                     House Repossessions.
   15. Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn
to the fact that other jurisdictions facing rising home repossessions are considering a foreclosure
holiday whereby those at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage default will not face this
risk for a certain period; his views on such an initiative appropriate in the Irish context; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45354/08]

 Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I refer the Deputy to my answer to Dail
Question No. 10 (Ref: 45358/08) of 11th December 2008.
  I would add that for 2007 as a whole, the total number of houses repossessed by mainstream
lenders in Ireland was of the order of 50. My Department understands that the number of
repossessions in 2008 to date is in line with this trend. The Deputy may wish to note that the
level of repossessions in Ireland is also very low in comparative terms when compared with
the UK.
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                  Questions—              11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                       Economic Forecasts.
  16. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Finance if he has revised his forecast for the
economy in 2009; and the impact this will have on spending and tax receipts forecast.
[45204/08]

  34. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance the forecast for Irish economic growth
for 2009 in view of further deterioration in the economy since he forecast a 1% contraction in
GNP on Budget Day 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45361/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and
34 together.
  As I indicated in my response to an earlier question, the Budget forecasts were that the
economy would contract by 1 per cent in 2009. Forecasts produced at the time by the ESRI
and by the Central Bank set out a similar economic assessment. Reflecting the unprecedented
recent economic developments since then, by end-November the consensus of market fore-
casters was for economic activity to decline in 2009 by around 3 per cent.
  At Budget time, I identified that there were significant risks to the economic and fiscal
forecasts for 2008 and for 2009. The further deterioration in tax receipts in 2008, as seen by
the end-November Exchequer Returns, the continuing weakening of consumer and investor
confidence, adverse currency movements, continued difficulty in the international financial
markets and depressed economic conditions, are all evidence of those risks materialising. All
indications are that economic activity in 2009 will contract by significantly more than the fore-
cast in the recent Budget with an overall contraction of perhaps somewhere in the region of 3
to 4 per cent. The disimprovement in the 2008 revenue take alone would push the 2009 General
                                                     1
Government Deficit up by about \1.5 billion to 74 per cent of GDP. In addition, each 1 per
cent disimprovement in economic activity in 2009 beyond the contraction of growth of 1 per
                                                                                   1
cent already forecast would increase the General Government Deficit by about 2 per cent.
   Upon receipt of the end-year fiscal data and the latest economic data, including the third
quarter national income data, a revised economic and fiscal assessment will be prepared by my
Department in early January and brought forward for Government consideration. This assess-
ment will reflect the dramatically changed environment now being faced. We are living in a
time of unprecedented economic difficulties, and the changed circumstances that have occurred
in a short period of time must be addressed.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  17. Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied that businesses
are getting satisfactory lines of credit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45197/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Nobody wants a situation where viable busi-
nesses fail because banks will not lend them money. At my meetings with certain financial
institutions over the last two weeks, I asked those institutions covered by the Government’s
guarantee Scheme to consider the contribution that they can make to the economy through
appropriate credit initiatives in relation to small and medium sized businesses and otherwise.
I have, therefore, welcomed the fact that certain institutions have announced initiatives in
this regard.
  The Deputy may also wish to be aware that I recently met Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice-
President of the European Investment Bank, which recently announced that it was providing
additional funding through its lending facility for SMEs in the European Union. Mr Sakellaris
confirmed that the Bank has been in discussion with a number of Irish financial institutions
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
about participating in this facility for SMEs and that the EIB hopes that agreements to provide
such loan facilities can be finalised as soon as possible. I have urged Irish banks to utilise the
facility to the maximum extent possible with a view to making the additional funding available
to SMEs as soon as possible. It is therefore pleasing to note that a number of banks have
announced their intention to do so.
  Additionally, with my colleague, the Tanaiste and Minster for Enterprise, Trade and Employ-
ment, I have been in regular contact with the banks regarding the flow of lending to small
business.
  The Central Bank’s October Monthly Statistics showed that lending to the Irish economy
was essentially flat in October and this is a matter of concern. However, we should be cautious
about drawing strong conclusions from one month’s data. Forfas/Enterprise Ireland are survey-
ing 200 clients or County Enterprise Boards and Enterprise Ireland in order to gather more
detailed information.

                                      EU Recovery Plan.
  18. Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance if Ireland will take part in the
EU Commission’s \200 billion recovery plan, which aims to protect workers, households and
entrepreneurs who risk being adversely affected as the financial crisis spreads into the broader
economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45213/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I welcome the Commission’s Plan as an
important signal to EU consumers and business that Member States and the Commission are
working together to help boost demand and to support business in these difficult times. The
Plan recognises, however, that not all Member States are in the same position to help by a
further fiscal stimulus but it also says that for those that have such scope they should do so in
a co-ordinated manner.
   In common with virtually all the world’s advanced economies, Ireland is facing substantial
economic and fiscal challenges in the immediate future. Ireland, however, is particularly badly
affected and our scope to have a further fiscal stimulus on top of what we are already doing is
extremely limited. Our priority must be to stabilise and to restore the public finances to good
order, to improve competitiveness and to maintain international confidence in Ireland as a
place to work and invest.
   While the first priority must be to bring our current budgetary position back to balance, thus
once again funding current day-to-day spending from current resources, we are continuing to
commit substantial funding to public investment to secure the future growth potential of the
economy and maintain employment and competitiveness. We are maintaining public invest-
ment at about 5% of GNP which is equivalent to almost twice the EU average. We will be
borrowing over \8 billion next year to continue to provide essential infrastructure such as
roads, schools, public transport and water treatment projects. This investment represents a
significant fiscal stimulus and it supports employment in the short term and increases our
productivity in the long term.
   For a small, open economy such as ours, sustainable increases in living standards can only
be achieved by supplying goods and services to the wider global economy. Therefore, we must
also ensure the economy is in a position to take advantage of the global recovery when this
emerges. Among other things, this will require a greater focus on competitiveness. To support
our competitiveness objectives, the Government is committed to maintaining a low burden of
taxation on capital and labour and has implemented a range of policies aimed at improving
competition in product markets and flexibility in the labour market.
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                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


  In addition, the recently published Finance Bill sets out a number of measures that are
targeted at the enterprise and environment sectors, such as the R&D tax credit changes and
the extension to the categories of technology qualifying under the accelerated capital allow-
ances scheme for energy efficient equipment.

                                  Departmental Programmes.
  19. Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied that he has
addressed the issues with e-Government projects that were highlighted by the Comptroller and
Auditor General earlier in 2008; the steps he has taken to ensure that lessons have been
learned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43652/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Since the publication of the report referred
to, the following measures have been taken by my Department:
  Firstly, as recommended by the Reach Review, the functions of Reach and the Public Service
Broker were transferred to my Department in April, following which the recommendations of
the Review regarding simplification and the use of off-the-shelf software were implemented.
  Secondly, early in the summer, I presented a memo to Government which set out a new
approach to eGovernment, particularly focussing on those services benchmarked by the Euro-
                                                    ´
pean Union, and services identified in the agreed Dail joint motion on eGovernment of 30th
April 2008. Currently, my Department is meeting with various Departments and Agencies to
establish what measures can be taken in the short-term, and to agree with them how they will
make progress in the medium-term. An initial report to Government will be made in February.
  Finally, the Deputy will be aware of the recent Government Statement on Transforming
Public Services, and the numerous clear commitments on eGovernment that were made in it.
  It is clear that lessons have been learned, and that effective action is being taken to deal
with any issues that have arisen.

                                  Banking Sector Regulation.
  20. Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance his views on stronger legislation
against predatory lending, particularly so called sub-prime lending; and if he will make a state-
ment on the matter. [45371/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): At the outset, I would point out to the Deputy
that the Government has taken steps last October under Section 19 of the Markets in Financial
Instruments and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2007, which amended Part V of the Central
Bank Act, 1997, to provide for an appropriate system of authorisation and supervision by the
Financial Regulator of retail credit firms engaged in specialist or so-called sub-prime lending
and home reversion providers not previously subject to financial regulation in respect of lending
activities. The primary purpose of this amendment was to extend to customers of these firms
the benefit of the consumer protections provided for in the Financial Regulator’s Consumer
Protection Code. This regulatory regime is in place since 1 February 2008.
   Consumer credit, including sub-prime lending, is also regulated in Ireland under the Con-
sumer Credit Act 1995. The Act makes detailed provision for the form and content of loan
agreements and for advertising of consumer credit. The Financial Regulator has powers of
investigation, review and enforcement in relation to matters covered by the Act. Consumer
complaints about the performance of creditors with respect to their obligations under the Act
also fall within the remit of the Financial Services Ombudsman. The Consumer Protection Act
2007 established the National Consumer Agency with an extensive remit including enforcement
powers in relation to unfair commercial practices and unfair terms in consumer contracts. In
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                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
the case of regulated financial service providers these powers may be exercised by the Finan-
cial Regulator.
  I am satisfied that the legislative framework now in place provides sufficient powers to the
Financial Regulator to discharge its statutory mandate in relation to safeguarding the interests
of all consumers.

  Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 6.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  22. Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Finance if he has set specific require-
ments in the bank plans submitted under the guarantee scheme for the handling of mortgage
arrears and repossessions. [45160/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The terms and conditions of the Scheme
include paragraph 26 of the Scheme, which states “Each covered institution shall, at such fre-
quency as the Minister shall determine, confirm in writing to the Minister its compliance with
the Irish Banking Federation Code of Practice on Mortgage Arrears and the Consumer Protec-
tion Code issued by the Regulatory Authority.”
   Moreover, the Scheme requires each covered institution to report quarterly to the Financial
Regulator, providing the Regulator with compliance certificates from: (i) its auditors; and (ii)
its chairman and chief executive jointly, confirming compliance with all of the terms and con-
ditions of this Scheme.
   Discussions are currently ongoing between my Department and the covered institutions
regarding the compliance certificates for the first quarter. However, I have been assured by
the covered institutions that they are operating in compliance with the Irish Banking Feder-
ation’s Code of Practice on Mortgage Arrears and the Financial Regulator’s Consumer Protec-
tion Code.

                                           Fiscal Policy.
  23. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance the amount the Exchequer will
borrow in 2009; the amount he intends to raise through the National Treasury Management
Agency on capital markets in 2009; if a schedule has been established for this debt raising; the
recent changes in the cost of Exchequer borrowing; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45352/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The NTMA have advised me that their annual
net funding requirement is determined by the level of the Exchequer Balance and the amount
of maturities of existing loans. Based on Budget 2009 projections, the NTMA has advised the
market of its funding plans for 2009 which includes a \5 billion bond repayment in April 2009.
As such a gross debt issuance requirement of \18.4 billion next year is currently being planned.
This will obviously be reviewed in the light of the position at end 2008.
  The funding requirement in respect of 2009 will be met by a combination of new syndicated
benchmark bond issues and auctions. The NTMA’s objective is to further develop a continuous
and liquid yield curve for Irish Government bonds. The NTMA has advised me that it is in a
comfortable cash position and will decide on the timing of its issuance in the light of market
conditions.
  The interest rates at which the State can borrow are historically low. However, as a result of
the increased borrowing requirement in 2008 and 2009, the interest element of the servicing of
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                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


the national debt has been forecast to increase from \1,641 million in 2008 to \3,295 million in
2009. The 2009 estimate represents around 2% of GNP and this is in line with the average over
the last 10 years.

                                Decentralisation Programme.
  24. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the timetable for the completion
of the decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45072/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): As I announced in the Budget, the Govern-
ment has reviewed the Decentralisation Programme in light of the changed economic circum-
stances and identified priority elements on which implementation should proceed at this time.
The Government’s decision will result in the relocation of approximately 6,000 posts to over
40 locations outside of Dublin in the current phase of the programme. This is made up of 2,600
posts already moved, together with an additional 3,400 posts which are in train. Decisions on
the timing of further work on implementation of the balance of the programme are being
deferred pending a review in 2011 in light of budgetary developments.
  The Decentralisation Implementation Group (DIG) and the Department of Finance will give
priority to putting in place arrangements for finalising these projects over the coming period.
  The October 2007 DIG report provides the most recent update of the OPW timeframes for
the expected completion of permanent accommodation. A review of the property timeframes
for permanent accommodation is currently being undertaken based on the OPW’s experience
to date in relation to property selection and acquisition, brief and design issues, tendering
periods, planning issues and contractual arrangements. I expect that an update on timeframes
will be finalised over the coming weeks and I will make this information available to the Deputy
as soon as possible thereafter.

                                      Public Sector Staff.
  25. Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Finance when it is proposed that staff mobility
across the various segments of the public service will commence; and the statutory provisions
that will be required to implement it. [45186/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): On 26 November 2008 the Government pub-
lished the Report of the Task Force on the Public Service, Transforming Public Services, along
with a major policy statement which sets out how the recommendations of the Task Force will
be implemented.
  The Government statement recognises the need to be able to redeploy people in one part
of the Public Service from activities which are no longer priorities, towards new challenges
which are often in other areas. This means breaking down the barriers to mobility
(organisational, sectoral, professional and geographical) between the different parts of Public
Service. It also means having appropriate exit options where people cannot be redeployed.
   Work will begin immediately to identify and remove barriers to a unified Public Service
labour market. This process will include the preparation of any necessary legislation. It will
also require urgent negotiations with the Public Service unions. The Government is committed
to bringing forward new arrangements on redeployment and exit options within 12 months.

                                          Tax Code.
  26. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if measures in respect of pro-
                                               621
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Terence Flanagan.]
motion of research and development are planned which have not been included in the Finance
(No. 2) Bill 2008; and the proposals regarding same. [45182/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Apart from the increase in the rate of the tax
credit from 20% to 25 %, which I announced in my Budget Statement, the Finance Bill includes
a number of other very significant changes to the R&D tax credit scheme including: an option
to carry-back unused tax credits for set-off against the previous year’s corporate tax liability,
thus generating a tax repayment; a further option, where there is insufficient or no corporation
tax liability in the previous year, to claim payment of the remaining unused credit which will
be paid in instalments over a 3 year period, these options will remove any uncertainty about
the availability of the tax credit and ensure that a company will secure the full benefit of a tax
credit arising in any year from 2009 over a relatively short period; the permanent setting of
2003 as the base year for calculating incremental R&D expenditure under the scheme. Over
time, this will have the effect of turning the scheme into a volume-based scheme.
  Finally, the Bill provides that a tax credit will be available in respect of a proportion of the
expenditure incurred on a new or refurbished building used in part for R&D activities. Up to
now, a building had to be used “wholly and exclusively” for R&D in order to avail of the tax
credit on qualifying expenditure. This change reflects the reality that R&D takes place in
manufacturing or production environments and not only in discrete laboratory conditions. In
making this change, I would hope that we will not only encourage more R&D activity in these
environments but that it will also capture the fruits of this additional R&D in production and
other activities here.
  I have no plans for further changes to the R&D tax credit scheme at this time.

                                           Tax Yield.
  27. Deputy Padraic McCormack asked the Minister for Finance his latest forecasts for the
                 ´
tax receipts in 2009 in view of the shortfall in tax receipts in October and November 2008 and
the downward revision in forecasting for the economy; the way he plans to allocate the shortfall
between higher taxes, higher borrowing or lower spending. [45194/08]

  54. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the November 2008
Exchequer returns, there is a need to revise his forecast General Government Deficit of 6.5%
of GDP, or just over \12 billion for 2009; if there will a need for a mini-budget or other
measures in the first half of 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45347/08]

  69. Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Finance when he proposes to introduce
a supplementary budget for 2009 in view of the decline in Exchequer tax receipts to date in
2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45381/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 54 and
69 together.
  In the period since the Budget was presented to this House, the economic environment has
become considerably more difficult. Many of our trading partners have entered recession and
projections for demand in our key export markets have been revised downwards significantly.
To put this into perspective, the IMF now expects economic activity in the world’s advanced
economies to contract next year, the first contraction for this group of countries in the post-
war period. On the domestic front, the economic and fiscal data which have become available
                                                622
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


since the Budget have been poor, confirming that the outlook for next year has deteriorated
further.
  The November Exchequer Returns show that overall government spending for 2008 is close
to what was planned. However, the latest 2008 tax returns reflect the severity of the current
economic slowdown which has accelerated considerably both at home and internationally in
recent times. The gap between spending levels and tax receipts in 2008 has widened and as a
result I now expect that the Exchequer will have to borrow about \13 billion in 2008.
  In the Budget my Department projected that the economy would contract by 1 per cent in
2009. Forecasts produced by the ESRI and by the Central Bank set out a similar economic
assessment. Reflecting the unprecedented recent economic developments since then, by end-
November the consensus of market forecasters was for economic activity to decline in 2009 by
around 3 per cent.
  At Budget time, I identified that there were significant risks to the economic and fiscal
forecasts for 2008 and for 2009. The further deterioration in tax receipts in 2008, as seen by
the end-November Exchequer Returns, the continuing weakening of consumer and investor
confidence, adverse currency movements, continued difficulty in the international financial
markets and depressed economic conditions, are all evidence of those risks materialising. All
indications are that economic activity in 2009 will contract by significantly more than the fore-
cast in the recent Budget with an overall contraction of perhaps somewhere in the region of 3
to 4 per cent. The disimprovement in the 2008 revenue take alone would push the 2009 General
                                                     1
Government Deficit up by about \1.5 billion to 74 per cent of GDP. In addition, each 1 per
cent disimprovement in economic activity in 2009 beyond the contraction of growth of 1 per
                                                                                   1
cent already forecast would increase the General Government Deficit by about 2 per cent.
   Upon receipt of the end-year fiscal data and the latest economic data, including the third
quarter national income data, a revised economic and fiscal assessment will be prepared by my
Department in early January and brought forward for Government consideration. This assess-
ment will reflect the dramatically changed environment now being faced. We are living in a
time of unprecedented economic difficulties, and the changed circumstances that have occurred
in a short period of time must be addressed.
  In terms of Government action, I would remind the Deputy that last summer in response to
the weakness in tax receipts, we took steps in relation to the growth in public expenditure.
Then in the autumn we decided to bring forward the Budget so as to address the fiscal situation.
In the Budget we took various measures needed to safeguard the public finances as well as
underpinning economic activity. For instance we are continuing to invest about 5% of GNP in
capital projects that will enhance the productive capacity of the economy. Also the Finance Bill
has a number of pro-enterprise measures including various improvements to the Research &
Development tax scheme.
   Now, in the light of the further deterioration in the economic and budgetary situation, the
Government is continuing to identify measures to ensure the sustainability of the public
finances, while also focusing on areas that can expand the productive capacity of the economy.
This will enable the economy to be suitably positioned to exploit the global recovery when it
emerges either late in 2009 or, as is now more likely, well into 2010.

                                         Fiscal Policy.
  28. Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Finance his views on a fiscal stimulus
                                                623
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Eamon Gilmore.]
package to jump-start the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45355/08]

  71. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance if he proposes measures to boost
consumer spending to avoid the risk of a deflationary spiral; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45356/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and
71 together.
   In common with virtually all the world’s advanced economies, Ireland is facing substantial
economic and fiscal challenges in the immediate future. Ireland, however, is particularly badly
affected and our scope to have a further fiscal stimulus on top of what we are already doing is
extremely limited.
  Our first priority must be to stabilise and to restore the public finances to good order by
bringing our current budgetary position back to balance over the medium term. This we will
do while continuing to commit substantial funding to public investment to secure the future
growth potential of the economy and maintain employment and competitiveness. This will then
underpin international confidence in Ireland as a place to work and invest.
  Furthermore, we are maintaining public investment at about 5% of GNP which is equivalent
to almost twice the EU average. This means that we are planning to borrow over \8 billion
next year to continue to provide essential infrastructure such as roads, schools, public transport
and water treatment projects. This investment represents a significant fiscal package and it
supports employment in the short term and increases our productivity in the long term.
   For a small, open economy such as ours, sustainable increases in living standards can only
be achieved by supplying goods and services to the wider global economy. Therefore, we must
also ensure the economy is in a position to take advantage of the global recovery when this
emerges. Among other things, this will require a greater focus on competitiveness. To support
our competitiveness objectives, the Government is committed to maintaining a low burden of
taxation on capital and labour and has implemented a range of policies aimed at improving
competition in product markets and flexibility in the labour market.
  In addition, the recently published Finance Bill sets out a number of measures that are
targeted at the enterprise and environment sectors, such as the R&D tax credit changes and
the extension to the categories of technology qualifying under the accelerated capital allow-
ances scheme for energy efficient equipment.

                                   Public Service Contracts.
   29. Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the details of the new public procure-
ment unit to be established in the Office of Public Works; the annual savings this unit is
expected to make for the Exchequer; if this unit will be responsible for, or will oversee all
procurement by Government Departments and Government agencies; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45373/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): It is proposed that the new public procurement
unit to be based in the Office of Public Works will (i) oversee procurement on the part of
central Government Departments and Offices, agencies and non-commercial State bodies so
that they can acquire a range of goods and services more effectively, efficiently and with better
value for money; (ii) provide professional procurement advice across the entire public service;
                                                624
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


(iii) develop targeted and accredited procurement training and education measures for the
public service and (iv) further develop web-based e-tenders, including the use of eAuctions for
certain goods and services where this would deliver better value for money.
  It is intended that better public procurement practices will make a significant contribution
to reducing Exchequer expenditure on goods and services and in this regard the Government
will set targets on an annual basis for substantial savings on procurement resulting from the
Unit’s activities.

                                            Tax Code.
  30. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if he will revisit the \10 and \2
exit tax to ensure that no airport has a comparative advantage over another due to Government
policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39969/08]

  40. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he has held discussions
with the Department of Finance on the operation of the new \10 air travel tax which will
operate for airports here; the person who will collect the tax from departing passengers; if his
Department undertook an analysis of the potential impact on volumes of airline passengers
were a new airline tax to be introduced; the reason the owners of private jets with less than
twenty seats will be exempt from the tax; if he will review the operation of the \10 air tax from
Galway, Shannon, Ireland West, Cork and Kerry Airports in view of the higher tax that passen-
gers from those airports will face when travelling to major UK destinations; if his attention has
been drawn to the comments made by the chief executive officer of Galway Airport and of
Ryanair regarding the impact on the aviation industry of the proposed new \10 air travel tax;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40065/08]

   45. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance his views on the impact of the \10
departure tax on the outcome of tourism policy here in view of the fact that it will increase the
costs on tourists visiting; the discussions that he has had with the Department of Arts, Sport
and Tourism and the Department of Transport on the impact of a departure tax in terms of
the effect that it will have on the numbers of tourists that will visit here; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [41831/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 30, 40 and
45 together.
  I announced in Budget 2009 that an air travel tax will come into force in respect of passengers
departing from Irish airports on and from 30 March 2009. A general rate of \10 per passenger
will apply, with a lower rate of \2 for shorter journeys.
  The Finance Bill confirms the introduction of an air travel tax from 30 March 2009. However,
I have taken account of concerns raised by the regional airports particularly those on the
western seaboard. The lower rate of \2 will apply to departures from any Irish airport where
the destination is 300kms or less from Dublin airport. This means that all Irish departures to
locations such as Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow will be subject to the \2 rate. The airlines
will be the liable persons for the tax, including paying it to Revenue.
  Ireland is not unique in regard to applying a tax on air travel. A number of countries within
the EU apply similar taxes including, the UK, France and the Netherlands, as do Australia and
New Zealand. The proposed rates for the Irish air travel tax are not unreasonable both for
shorter and longer journeys, when compared to rates in other countries.
                                                625
                   Questions—              11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]

   Aircraft with less than 20 passenger seats are exempt from the air travel tax. This is a practical
arrangement towards the operation of the tax. The cost of collecting the tax in respect of small
aircraft would be high relative to the amounts of tax collected in respect of such aircraft. It
also ensures that passengers travelling to and from the Irish islands are exempt from the tax,
as the aircraft used on those services have less than 20 passenger seats. I would point out that
the UK, France and the Netherlands all have arrangements in place that result in their air
travel taxes effectively not applying to small aircraft.
   It should be recognised that tourists will only be subject to the tax on their return journey.
The additional \10 or \2 in the context of a much larger purchasing decision involving travel,
hotel expenditures etc. shouldn’t have much of an effect on tourist numbers. I appreciate the
airline industry continues to go through a difficult period. However, this difficult trading period
has, in addition to weak world economic activity, been largely driven by a massive spike in oil
prices. Oil prices have now halved from the all-time high prices experienced earlier in the year.
   I tried to be as fair as possible in looking at areas for additional tax revenues. It is also worth
noting that fuel used by commercial airlines is completely exempt from tax, so it’s a sector that
already has considerable preferential treatment.

                                         National Museum.
  31. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance if the funding for the new exhi-
bition space at the National Museum at Collins Barracks is provided for in the 2009 capital
budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41275/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): Progress on this
project is at an advanced stage and the Office of Public Works is currently preparing tender
documents which should be finalised by April 2009. A decision to invite tenders and place a
contract will then depend on the availability of funding.

                                          Tax Collection.
  32. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the number of Irish people, and
                ´ ´
the amount of money, he believes have moved assets overseas through offshore trusts in each
of the past five years to date in 2008; the number and the proportion of these people who
declared income for tax in the appropriate year; when the Revenue Commissioners expect to
be able to complete its investigation into the utilisation of such tax avoidance mechanisms using
the new powers set out in the Finance (No.2) Bill 2008; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45366/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners
that investigations carried out under the various legacy enquiries revealed the use of offshore
trusts in the settlement of funds by Irish residents on non-resident trustees. The existence of
such trusts came to light in the probing and examination of financial records and transmission
of funds in individual cases. These investigations highlighted the need for access to information
to assist in the identification of persons who have settled assets and funds on offshore trusts.
   The Finance (No 2) Bill 2008 provides for measures which would assist in this identification
process in the five year period up to the date of the passing of the Finance Act and would also
provide a flow of information in respect of the period post that date. In addition, the provision
allows for an Authorised Officer to serve a notice requiring a person, whom the Authorised
                                                  626
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


Officer has reason to believe has information relating to a settlement, to deliver such infor-
mation as required under the notice.
   Details of the overall number of Irish persons who have settled assets and funds on offshore
trusts, and the related value of the settlements, in each of the five years to 2008 is not readily
available. Accordingly, it is not possible at present to state the number of persons who have
declared income from such sources for tax purposes.
   In regard to settlements made in the five-year period to 2008 the Finance Bill itself provides
for the delivery of information to Revenue within six months of the passing of the Act. As
such, the receipt of information will be expected to commence in mid 2009. The Revenue
investigation of cases involving offshore trusts will be concerned with establishing the identities
of persons who have made settlements on the trusts and also investigating whether any
additional liabilities to tax arise on the settled funds. These enquiries will involve an examin-
ation of the trust structures, the nature and character of the settled assets and funds and the
manner of operation and control of the trust assets. The scope of the Revenue investigation of
this sector will largely depend on the nature and extent of the information received in respect
of the settlements and it is not possible at this stage to determine a likely completion date.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
  33. Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Finance the provision for pay increases and
increments that has been made in respect of public sector pay in Budget 2009; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [45351/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): No specific provision has been made for the
cost of the first phase (3.5%) of the new agreement: Towards 2016 — Review and Transitional
Agreement 2008-09, scheduled for 1st September 2009. The cost arising would have to be found
from within existing allocations. There is also a pay contingency amount of \40m provided for
in 2009.
   No additional provision has been made for increments for 2009. Year-on-year increases in
allocations would not normally be granted for increments. In the normal way, the overall cost
of increments for staff on incremental scales should be offset by reductions in cost arising from
retirements or other movements by staff.

  Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 16.

                               National Pensions Reserve Fund.
   35. Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the work of a person (details
supplied) on the review of the National Pension Reserve Fund; the terms of reference for this
review; if consideration is being given to the adoption by the fund of comprehensive principles
or rules on ethical investing; if consideration is being given to modifying the investment criteria
to encourage investment in domestic infrastructure or public private partnership projects; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45375/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I announced in my Budget speech that I was
conducting a review of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in the context of recent economic
and fiscal developments. I asked Mr Maurice O’Connell, former Governor of the Central Bank,
to conduct the review. Mr O’Connell has now submitted his review to me and I am considering
his conclusions.
                                                627
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]

   As I stated in my Budget speech, any changes requiring legislation will be brought forward
in due course.

  Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 6.

                                            Tax Code.
  37. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance the strategy his Department has
to implement the proposed parking levy; the areas which he considers are urban areas; if he
plans to end renting car park spaces for public servants in his Department; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [40250/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The levy will apply where employers provide
parking facilities for employees in the urban centres of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and
Waterford. The specific areas to which the levy will apply and the date from which the levy
will apply will be designated by me by way of Order. This will be done after appropriate
consultation has been carried out. I can, however, confirm at this stage that, in accordance with
the terms of the legislation, the levy will apply only to areas which are within the administrative
areas of the five city councils. While the extent to which car parking is provided in association
with Government offices varies, the number of spaces provided is always a fraction of the
number of staff serving in the office and there are no immediate proposals to change policy in
this regard.

                                        State Borrowing.
   38. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recent spike in the
cost of credit default swaps on Irish sovereign debt; his further views on whether Ireland could
lose its AAA sovereign rating at some point over the coming two years; his further views on
the expected higher cost of State borrowing Ireland will face in 2009; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45353/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The National Treasury Management Agency
have advised me that the current aversion to risk in global markets has led to an increase in
the cost of insuring exposure to all counterparties, and the associated increase in credit spreads
has more to do with the general sentiment in the credit markets than the financial position of
individual issuers. Irish government debt has not been immune to this trend. However, the
market for Irish government credit default swaps is small and prices quoted are volatile. Also,
it should be noted that such spreads represent a cost to the investor and do not directly affect
the cost of debt to the Exchequer.
  The interest rates at which the State can borrow are historically low. However, as a result of
the increased borrowing requirement in 2008 and 2009, the interest element of the servicing of
the national debt has been forecast in Budget 2009 to increase from \1,641 million in 2008 to
\3,295 million in 2009. The 2009 estimate represents around 2% of GNP and this is in line with
the average over the last 10 years.
  Ireland has the top AAA rating from all the major rating agencies. In assessing overall
credit worthiness, consideration has to be given to the overall level of government debt. The
government debt ratio was forecast in Budget 2009 to be around 36% of GDP at end-2008.
This ratio does not take into the account the assets of the National Pensions Reserve Fund or
the significant cash balances that the NTMA has built up for the Exchequer. When the assets
                                                628
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers


of the NPRF are netted off, the projected net indebtedness position for end-2008, as set out in
Budget 2009, is in the region of 25% of GDP. The projected EU average for end 2008 is around
60% of GDP. However, given the continuous deterioration in the public finances, as evidenced
in the end-November Exchequer returns, and the downside risks to growth next year, it is
inevitable that our borrowing will rise in the years ahead. The Government is concerned at
such a development and is giving priority to stabilising and restoring the public finances to
a sustainable position, particularly by bringing the current budget back to balance as soon
as possible.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  39. Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the meetings or correspondence
he has had with a group (detail supplied) since the announcement of the Governments credit
institution guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45325/08]

                         ´ ´
  59. Deputy Caoimhghın O Caolain asked the Minister for Finance the meetings or correspon-
                                  ´
dence he has had with a group (details supplied) since the announcement of the Governments
credit institution guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45330/08]

                        ´
  78. Deputy Aengus O Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the meetings or correspon-
dence he has had with a group (details supplied) since the announcement of the credit insti-
tutions (financial support) scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45326/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 39, 59 and
78 together.
   The Government’s Guarantee Scheme has been successful in safeguarding the stability of
the Irish banking sector and in restoring its liquidity position. However, international capital
market expectations in relation to capital levels in the banking sector have altered. In my
statement on 28th November, I indicated that it would be appropriate for the State in certain
circumstances, through the National Pensions Reserve Fund or otherwise, to consider sup-
plementing private investment with State participation, consistent with the aim of securing the
financial system. In that regard, the State is open to evaluating proposals from potential inves-
tors that would add value to the security and stability of the financial system and would enhance
its ability to contribute in a positive way to economic development.
  I have met in recent weeks with a number of banks and investment businesses. I have indi-
cated that it is a matter for the Board of each financial institution concerned to develop further
their own plans for raising capital where appropriate. The relevant institutions have agreed that
they will work closely with potential investors and the Government to develop matters further.
  Any parties with serious propositions for investment in an institution are of course referred
to the institutions concerned. Any proposals involving State participation or investment would
be considered only following advice from the NTMA and from financial and legal advisors
as appropriate.
  It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any specific proposals as the issue of
their capitalisation is a matter for individual banks in the first instance, and the details are
potentially market sensitive.

  Question No. 40 answered with Question No. 30.

  Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 11.
                                                 629
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


 42. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied that the charge
made for the guarantee of bank deposits represents a commercial charge. [45140/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Credit Institutions (Financial Support)
Scheme provides that each covered institution shall pay a charge to the Exchequer for the
guarantee provided under the Scheme.
   The charge for the provision of the guarantee is structured to cover the Government funding
cost, which is regarded as the closest measure possible to what could be considered an appro-
priate price in the current financial environment. It is estimated that the total aggregate charge
paid by the covered institutions over the next two years will amount to approximately one
billion euros. Each institution will pay its portion of the charge having regard to factors such
as the amount of covered liabilities, its risk profile and the steps it is taking to reduce that risk
consistent with the overall objectives of the Scheme.
  The intention in framing the charge was to protect the taxpayer’s interest, while not imposing
such charges as would add to the problems we are seeking to solve. At the same time, it was
our intention that financial markets would continue to function normally and that no unfair
competitive advantage would be given to the covered institutions.
  While it may be possible in theory to make an estimate of a commercial or market value for
the guarantee, any such estimate would have to make a number of fundamental assumptions.
In practice there is no real market price for such a guarantee as provided under the Scheme
and it is doubtful if any quasi-market price estimate could reliably be made.

                                   Economic Competitiveness.
   43. Deputy Ruairı Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which Irish enterprises
                     ´
and lending institutions have utilised EU funding for small and medium enterprises through
the competitiveness and innovation framework programme and joint European resources for
micro-to-medium enterprises; the extent to which he and his Department have encouraged
financial institutions to provide European Investment Fund guaranteed loan finance to small
businesses in the period from May 2007 to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45359/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): In relation to the general question of small
and medium enterprises (SMEs) being able to access finance, I am very conscious of the diffi-
culties that are being faced by Irish businesses in this regard. At my meetings with certain
financial institutions over the last two weeks, I asked those institutions covered by the Govern-
ment’s guarantee scheme to consider the contribution that they can make to the economy
through appropriate credit initiatives in relation to small and medium sized businesses and
otherwise. I, therefore, welcome the fact that certain institutions have announced initiatives in
this regard.
  The Deputy may be aware that I recently met the Vice-President of the European Investment
Bank (EIB) who has responsibility for the Bank’s activities in Ireland. The EIB recently
announced that it was providing additional funding through its lending facility for SMEs in the
European Union. The Vice-President confirmed that the Bank has been in discussions with a
number of Irish financial institutions about participating in this facility for SMEs and that the
EIB hopes that agreements to provide such loan facilities can be finalised as soon as possible.
I have urged Irish banks to utilise the facility to the maximum extent possible with a view to
                                                 630
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers


making the additional funding available to SMEs as soon as possible. It is, therefore, good to
note that a number of banks have announced their intention to do so.
                                        ´
  Additionally, with my colleague, the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and
Employment, Ms Mary Coughlan, TD, I have been in regular contact with the banks regarding
the flow of lending to small business.
                                ´
   I am also informed by the Tanaiste, that the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework
Programme (2007-2013) contains a financial instrument, the SME Guarantee Facility, that aims
to improve the financial environment for SMEs by facilitating their access to debt and equity
finance and that the SME Guarantee Facility is operated by the European Investment Fund
(EIF) on behalf of the European Commission. I would urge financial intermediaries to make
contact directly with the EIF concerning participation in the facility and I am informed that
some have done so in the past.
  In response to a recommendation of the Small Business Forum in relation to the above loan
guarantee facility, I understand that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
provided information to the Irish Bankers’ Federation on the proposal in December 2006,
including the operation and scope of the arrangement. I also understand that the Department
of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has made itself, and continues to make itself, available
to any bank interested in pursuing the possibility of securing funding under the SME Guaran-
tee, with a view to facilitating their contact with relevant officials in the EIF and the European
Commission, as appropriate, for further advice and assistance.
   I understand that proposals from financial intermediaries will be examined by the EIF on a
continuous basis, within the constraints of the available Community budget allocations. Irish
financial intermediaries will, therefore, continue to have an opportunity to participate in the
facility. I am informed that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will continue
to encourage participation and will remain available to financial intermediaries wishing to
access the facility. Participation in the facility is, of course, a commercial decision for any
financial intermediary concerned.
   In addition, I am informed that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, in
response to a recommendation of the Small Business Forum, is currently researching the possi-
bility of the financial institutions accessing loan guarantees from the European Investment
Fund that would enable them to expand their lending to small enterprises.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  44. Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which small busi-
nesses and personal borrowers are having difficulties in accessing the credit they need; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45346/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): An important aim of the Bank Guarantee
Scheme is to ensure that we have a banking system that as a whole works effectively, efficiently
and competitively in facilitating all the day-to-day ordinary economic transactions of commer-
cial, business, family and social life. At a round of meetings with the banks covered by the
guarantee scheme on 28 November I asked them to come back to me with proposals regarding
the extension of credit to SMEs, thus helping to ensure that the banking sector serves the needs
of the Irish economy. I welcome the fact that many of these institutions have already announced
funding schemes aimed at meeting the funding needs of the SME sector.
  I will continue to keep this most important area of economic activity under review. The bank
guarantee scheme includes strict terms and conditions on covered institutions to ensure that
                                                 631
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
the public interest, which includes the general consumer and small business sector, is protected.
By putting guarantees in place we have removed a major obstacle to financial institutions
continuing to play their proper role in facilitating enterprises and individuals with credit where
it is sought on the basis of a sound business proposition.
   The extent of lending to the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is dependant on
demand by businesses as well as on the supply of lending by the banks. My colleague, the
  ´
Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ms. Mary Coughlan, T.D., has
asked Enterprise Ireland to carry out a survey examining the effects of the current credit
situation on lending to the SME sector. While this survey is as yet incomplete, initial indications
are that while there has been a reduction in lending, most of companies approaching the banks
have received some or all of the finance requested, albeit with greater restrictions in place.
  Finally, I would also point out that the European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced
that it was increasing its support for Europe’s SMEs to help mitigate the effects of the current
credit crisis. I understand that the EIB has had discussions with a number of Irish banks about
participation in the facility.

  Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 30.

                                  Decentralisation Programme.
   46. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the savings he anticipates making in
expenditure on property, rents and leases arising from the suspension of parts of the decentra-
lisation programme; the leases or purchases of properties that are now redundant to require-
ments following his decision to suspend these elements of the programme; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45344/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): As announced
in the Budget, the Government has reviewed the Decentralisation Programme in light of the
changed economic circumstances and identified priority elements on which implementation
should now proceed. The Government’s decision will result in the relocation of up to 6,000
posts to over 40 locations outside of Dublin. This is made up of 2,600 posts already moved,
together with an additional 3,400 posts that are in train. Decisions on the timing of further
work on implementation of the balance of the programme are being deferred pending a review
in 2011 in light of budgetary developments.
  Having regard to the fact that the decision by Government is to defer, and not to cancel,
elements of the programme pending a review in 2011, it is not possible, in advance of that
review, to say what, if any, savings will be achieved as a result of the review. The total amount
of expenditure to date in relation to the property aspects of the programme is approximately
\270m. This includes the cost of site/property acquisitions, fit-out works and rent paid to date.
These costs have been offset by property disposals in Dublin.
   Sites have been acquired in the following locations where the programme has been deferred:
Cavan, Dungarvan, Edenderry, Thomastown, Thurles and Waterford. The total cost incurred
in their acquisition was \17.5m.

                                  Public Private Partnerships.
  47. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance the implications for public private
                                                632
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


partnership projects of the current economic difficulties; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45362/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The general tightening of credit markets has
implications for all privately funded projects, including PPPs. These include an increase in the
cost of private finance, changes to the terms and conditions of finance deals and a reduction in
the number of lenders in the infrastructure market. These challenges have to date required
more detailed contract negotiation. It is still too early to assess whether more strategic changes
may be required. It should be noted that in the longer term, PPPs are likely to remain relatively
attractive investment targets for financial institutions because of their national dimension and
Exchequer-funded unitary payments.
  The situation is slightly different in relation to the PPP housing regeneration projects that
have been the subject of media attention recently. These projects are based on a Design, Build
and Finance model and are closely linked to the value of private housing output obtained by
the developer. The market for private housing has substantially changed in the past 12-18
months which has made it much more difficult in the current economic climate to advance this
model. Nonetheless, there are a number of options that can be developed to make such projects
viable again and these are currently being examined by Dublin City Council.
   The overriding principle to be followed in assessing whether a specific project is suitable for
procurement as a PPP remains value for money. PPP has demonstrated that it has a role to
play, along with other procurement options, in delivering investment in our economic and
social infrastructure. The Government remains committed to the use of PPPs in appropriate
circumstances as an option in delivering certain public investment projects.

                                           Tax Code.
  48. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on dis-
cussions held with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on
the proposed new annual \200 tax for urban based employees; if he will define an urban area
for the purpose of this tax; if he will introduce any exemptions or partial exemptions to this
tax on urban workers who may be shift or part time workers; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [39835/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I am presuming the Deputy is referring to the
parking levy. The specific areas to which the levy will apply will be designated by me by way
of Order. This will be done after appropriate consultation has been carried out. I can, however,
confirm at this stage that, in accordance with the terms of the legislation, the levy will apply
only to areas which are within the administrative areas of the five city councils in Cork, Dublin,
Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
   Where parking spaces are shared by employees, the levy is reduced to \100 where the ratio
of the number of employees to the number of parking spaces is two to one or more. Reductions
in the levy are also provided for to take account of atypical work patterns, such as part-time or
shift working. The levy will not apply to disabled drivers. I would also point out that occasional
permission to park, for not more than ten days in a year, is excluded, as is occasional use of a
space by a retired person.

                                    Departmental Agencies.
  49. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the non-commercial State bodies for
which performance related bonuses have been approved by his Department; if a pool of 10%
                                                633
                      Questions—      11 December 2008.                    Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Hayes.]
pay applies in these schemes; and if the full pool has been taken up since the schemes com-
menced. [45164/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): In terms of the operation of performance
related award (PRA) schemes in non commercial State Bodies, the role of the Minister and
Department of Finance is to approve the introduction of such schemes where the relevant
Board and parent Department are of the view that the remit of the State body in question is
such as can meet the principles laid down by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the
Public Sector for the effective application and operation of such schemes.
  A list of schemes currently in operation in Non Commercial State Bodies is shown below.
   Most of the schemes listed apply to the post of CEO or equivalent only. In this context a
“pool” does not apply — rather access to such a scheme forms part of the relevant employment
contract and generally provides for awards up to a maximum of 20% of salary. In a total of
five organisations, schemes have been approved for 2nd level management. While individual
awards in these 2nd level schemes may be up to 20%, the pool for performance-related awards
for relevant staff will be 10% of the pay bill for those covered by the Scheme.
  I have no role in the subsequent determination of individual awards made under such
schemes. Individual awards made in non commercial state sponsored bodies are a matter for
consideration and determination by the Boards of the relevant bodies themselves and are
subject to monitoring by relevant parent departments.

           Parent Department                                               Name of Body

Communications Energy & Natural           1         National Oil Reserve Agency
 Resources
                                          2         Sustainable Energy Ireland
                                          3         Broadcasting Commission of Ireland
                                          4         Digital Media Development

Enterprise, Trade and Employment          5         Enterprise Ireland*
                                          6          ´
                                                    FAS
                                          7             ´
                                                    Forfas*
                                          8         Health and Safety Authority
                                          9         Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority
                                                      (IASSA)
                                         10         IDA *
                                         11         National Consumer Agency
                                         12         National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)
                                         13         Personal Injuries Assessment Board
                                         14         Science Foundation Ireland

Health and Children                      15         Food Safety Authority of Ireland
                                         16         Mental Health Commission
                                         17         Irish Medicines Board
                                         18         Adoption Board

Justice, Equality and Law Reform         19         Courts Service
                                         20         Equality Authority
                                         21         Human Rights Commission
                                         22         Irish Prison Service

                                              634
                     Questions—           11 December 2008.                    Written Answers


            Parent Department                                                  Name of Body

                                             23         Land Registry and Registry of Deeds
                                             24         Legal Aid Board

Social and Family Affairs                    25         Combat Poverty Agency
                                             26         Comhairle
                                             27         Family Support Agency
                                             28         The Pensions Board

Transport                                    29         Road Safety Authority (was Driver Testing Standards
                                                         Authority)
                                             30         National Roads Authority

Arts, Sport and Tourism                      31          ´
                                                        Failte Ireland*
                                             32         Irish Sports Council
                                             33         National Concert Hall

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food              34         Teagasc
                                             35         Bord Bia
                                             36         Irish Marine Institute
                                             37         Bord Iascaigh Mhara

Environment, Heritage and Local              38         Heritage Council
 Government
                                             39         Local Government Management Service Board*
* PRA schemes in place for 2nd level.


                                            Tax Code.
   50. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance his views on allowing tax relief at
the marginal rate, or other appropriate financial supports, on charges for IVF treatment; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45368/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The position is that health expenses relief will
be granted at the standard rate only in respect of expenses incurred from 1 January 2009 with
the exception of nursing home expenses which will continue to be granted at the marginal rate.
 Issues relating to financial support for health care are a matter in the first instance for the
Minister for Health and Children.

                                        Departmental Staff.
  51. Deputy Sean Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the number and percentage of dis-
                ´
abled persons employed by the Office of Public Works, as compared with the requirement of
3% disabled staff to be employed by State bodies; the reason for this situation; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [45073/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): The Office of
Public Works (OPW) is staffed by both Civil Servants and Non-Established State Industrial
Employees.
  The OPW conducted a census of its Civil Servant employees in early 2008 for the year ending
2007 seeking voluntary disclosure of disabilities in accordance with the definition provided in
the Disability Act, 2005. There is no statutory obligation on an employee to declare that they
have a disability. The census was conducted for the purpose of reporting on the 3% compliance
target for the employment of persons with disabilities under the Disability Act, 2005. The
                                                  635
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Martin Mansergh.]
returns received indicated that a total of 25 people had self-declared a disability representing
3.4% of the total number of Civil Servants employed in OPW.
  The census did not extend to the Non-Established State Industrial Employees. Accordingly,
there are currently no up to date figures available for the number of non-established state
industrial employees who have a disability.

                                            Tax Code.
                        ´ ´
  52. Deputy Caoimhghın O Caolain asked the Minister for Finance if he has assessed the
                                 ´
expected impact of the 0.5% VAT increase on consumer spending and VAT revenue; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45331/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Budget introduced a general package of
revenue-raising measures to fund key public services, one measure of which was increasing the
standard VAT rate by 0.5% to 21.5% from 1 December 2008. The VAT increase is estimated
to yield the Exchequer \208 million in 2009 and \227 million in a full year.
  With regard to assessing the impact of the VAT increase in consumer spending, consumer
price inflation is easing, which will help real disposable income. Accordingly, it is not antici-
pated that there will be any considerable negative impact from the increase in VAT on con-
sumer spending.
  Already we are borrowing over 10% of all day to day spending on public services (before
capital spending). This is unsustainable and we faced difficult choices in bringing forward cor-
rective measures. The estimated \227m that will accrue in a full year from the VAT increase
will go some way towards funding necessary public services.
   Some of the goods and services that will be affected by the increase in the standard rate are
alcohol, cigarettes, cars, petrol, electrical equipment, furniture, telecommunications, cosmetics,
confectionery, soft drinks and adult clothing and footwear. The effect of the 0.5% increase in
the standard rate is that the price of goods and services, which apply at this rate, will increase
by 0.41%. This equates to an increase of 8 cent on a good costing \20, or 41 cent on a good
costing \100.
  It must be also be recognised that around half the value of goods and services purchased in
the State are not subject to the standard rate of VAT and therefore are unaffected by the
change in the standard rate. All Government services, local authorities, hospitals and schools
etc., are exempt from VAT. The zero rate of VAT applies to the majority of foodstuffs, oral
medicines, books and children’s clothes and shoes. In addition, housing, electricity, gas,
domestic fuels, restaurant services, and labour intensive services such as hairdressing and shoe
repair, are applicable at the 13.5% reduced rate of VAT.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  53. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the establishment of
a fund to lend directly to small and medium enterprises, ensuring that they can access credit
and working capital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45357/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Lending by banks is, in the first instance, a
commercial decision for individual financial institutions who will evaluate loan applications
submitted by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Through the introduction of the Bank
Guarantee Scheme the Government have sought to maintain an environment where the finan-
                                                 636
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.         Written Answers


cial markets can continue to function normally and banks can continue to support economic
activity through their lending policies.
  At a round of meetings with the banks covered by the guarantee scheme on 28 November I
asked them to come back to me with proposals regarding the extension of credit to SMEs, thus
helping to ensure that the banking sector serves the needs of the Irish economy. I welcome the
fact that many of these institutions have already announced funding schemes aimed at meeting
the needs of the SME sector and I will keep this important area of economic activity under
review.
  The Deputy will be aware that in my Budget speech on 14 October, I announced tax relief
measures which will assist the SME sector by way of remission in Corporation Tax and Capital
Gains Tax in the first three years for start-up companies. These measures will help to grow
small business and promote an entrepreneurial culture.
                      ´
  My colleague, the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ms Mary
Coughlan, TD, has responsibility for enterprise development, including supports for SMEs.
Support for indigenous companies arises through maintaining a positive business environment
and through particular interventions from the State development agencies such as Enterprise
          ´
Ireland, FAS and the County and City Enterprise Boards. The significant allocations in the
2009 Estimates to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and to its develop-
ment agencies will provide for the continued support of the SME sector.
   I would also point out that the European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that
it was increasing its support for Europe’s SMEs to help mitigate the effects of the current
credit crisis. I understand that the EIB has had discussions with a number of Irish banks about
participation in the facility.

  Question No. 54 answered with Question No. 27.

                                   Public Service Review.
   55. Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the precise terms of reference and
membership of the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45374/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I refer the Deputy to the Government State-
ment on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives
of the Special Group are to: review the scope for reducing or discontinuing Expenditure Prog-
rammes with a view to eliminating the current budget deficit by 2011; to this end, analyse and
make recommendations on reducing the numbers employed in each area of the Public Service
having regard to: the need to identify and prioritise particular output targets and areas, the
achievement of greater efficiency and economy in the delivery of all services, the scope for
rationalising and streamlining delivery of public services in the consumers’ interest; make
recommendations on reallocation of staffing or expenditure resources between public service
organisations as appropriate to deliver the objectives set out in the Programme for Govern-
ment; examine and make recommendations for further rationalisation of State agencies beyond
the rationalisation proposals and principles set out in Budget 2009.
  As I elaborated in my comments at that time, the Special Group’s examination of all prog-
rammes funded through public expenditure will identify options for savings in the context of
the Government’s fiscal objectives as set out in Budget 2009. It will also ensure that public
expenditure is being used to address relevant priority policy objectives in the current fiscal
environment and the overall efficiency of the public service will also be examined, including

                                               637
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
any ways of doing business that are out of step with the needs of a modern, responsive public
service.
  The Group consists of Mr. Colm McCarthy (Chair) and Mr. Donal McNally as core Members
and they will be assisted by Mr. Pat McLoughlin, Mr. Maurice O’Connell, Mr. William Slattery
and Ms. Mary Walsh. It will establish its own working methodology and any vacancy arising in
the Group will be filled by me.
  The Group will report to me every two months and will submit a final report to me by the
end of June 2009.

                                        Sports Facilities.
   56. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the action that will be taken
to provide sporting facilities such as football pitches for residents of an area (details supplied)
in view of the fact that they are being prevented from using the gardens themselves; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [41315/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): The Iveagh
Gardens were laid out as exhibition gardens during the 19th century, with many unusual and
unique garden features such as the Maze, Rosarium, Cascade, the Grottoes and the sunken
Archery Grounds. On account of its designation as a National Historic Garden, its small size,
and the fact that its features are designed primarily for passive recreation, it is not proposed
to facilitate any active sporting activities in the Iveagh Gardens.

                                            Tax Code.
   57. Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to heed the recent ruling
in the EU Court of Justice which stated that services to sports clubs can be VAT exempt under
certain conditions; his further plans to transpose this information into Irish law; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [41124/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to
the Judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-253/07 — Canterbury Hockey Club
and Canterbury Ladies Hockey Club v The Commissioners for H.M. Revenue and Customs.
In that case the European Court of Justice considered the scope of the exemption from VAT
provided by Article 13A(1)(m) of the EU Sixth VAT Directive, now Article 132(1)(m) of the
EU VAT Directive 2006. That provision provides for exemption from VAT for certain services
closely linked to sport or physical education supplied by non-profit making organisations to
persons taking part in sport or physical education.
   The European Court of Justice ruled that the provision is to be interpreted as meaning that,
in the context of persons taking part in sport, it includes services supplied to corporate persons
and to unincorporated associations, provided that those services are closely linked and essential
to sport, that they are supplied by non-profit-making organisations and that their true benefici-
aries are persons taking part in sport. The Court also ruled that Member States are not permit-
ted to limit the exemption under that provision by reference to the recipients of the services
in question.
  I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that Irish VAT law and practice in this
area is already fully in conformity with the decision in the case and the services concerned are
exempt from VAT in Ireland.

                                                638
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                      Economic Forecasts.
  58. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if, based on the most recent
data available to him, he is satisfied that he can accurately predict the likely trend in the
economy in view of the present or projected position in respect of the economic fundamentals;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45295/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): At the current juncture, there is greater uncer-
tainty than normal attached to any set of forecasts, given the scale of the shocks to which the
global and domestic economies have been subjected to. In this context, the Stability Programme
Update, published alongside the Budget, highlighted that the Budget day economic forecasts
were more uncertain than normal, with risks to the outlook firmly on the downside.
  The further deterioration in tax receipts in 2008, as seen by the end-November Exchequer
Returns, the continuing weakening of consumer and investor confidence, adverse currency
movements, continued difficulty in the international financial markets and depressed economic
conditions, are all evidence of those risks materialising.
  As I have already said today, all indications are that economic activity in 2009 will contract
by significantly more than the forecast in Budget 2009 with an overall contraction of perhaps
somewhere in the region of 3 to 4 per cent.
   Upon receipt of the end-year fiscal data and the latest economic data, including the third
quarter national income data, a revised economic and fiscal assessment will be prepared by my
Department in early January and brought forward for Government consideration. This assess-
ment will reflect the dramatically changed environment now being faced. We are living in a
time of unprecedented economic difficulties, and the changed circumstances that have occurred
in a short period of time must be addressed.
  Finally, as I have said previously, short-term economic forecasting is not an exact science,
given the many moving parts which make up an economy. This is well evidenced by the
revisions that most international forecasters have had to make to their recently published
forecasts.

  Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 39.

                                           Tax Code.
  60. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the EU Commission’s
                   ´
veto of tax incentives for docklands re-generation as announced in Budget 2009, he will bring
forward revised proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45350/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): In my Budget speech on 14 October, I
announced the introduction of a new tax incentive scheme to facilitate the removal and relo-
cation of Seveso-listed industrial facilities which hinder the residential and commercial regener-
ation of Docklands in urban areas. The EU Seveso Directive seeks to protect public safety by
placing land-use restrictions on new residential and commercial development near locations
where potentially dangerous activities are undertaken. The Deputy will also be aware that I
indicated in my speech that this scheme will be subject to clearance by the European Com-
mission from a State Aids perspective.
  Although there have been some initial discussions on this matter with the EU Commission,
those discussions were undertaken by officials from Departments represented on the Cork
Docklands Development Forum and raised matters relating to the work of that Body on the
regeneration of the Cork docklands. In relation to the incentive announced in my Budget

                                                639
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
speech and detailed in the Finance Bill, there have not been any discussions with the EU
Commission either in advance of, or after, my Budget announcement and publication in the
Finance Bill of the draft legislation.
  During the discussions undertaken in the context of the Cork Docklands Development
Forum, the EU Commission indicated that the use of tax incentives to facilitate the remediation
of sites vacated by Seveso-type industrial facilities for any future residential and commercial
use will not pass the EU State Aid rules because of the ‘polluter pays principle’. This ensures
that an industry which creates a pollution incident (or in this case, which undertakes the land-
use that has damaged a particular location) must bear the cost of remediating the property back
to a pre-pollution/pre-damage, land-use basis. As a result, the remediation of lands occupied by
Seveso-type industrial facilities is not covered by the incentive contained in the Finance Bill
and it is not appropriate to develop any other tax-based incentives to address this matter.
  It should be noted however, that any company engaged in Seveso-type industrial facilities
which remediates lands occupied by those facilities during the course of developing those lands
for sale is allowed deduct the costs of this remediation against their taxation in the normal
manner attributable to business-related costs.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  61. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance the outcome of his recent dis-
cussions in Farmleigh with Irish banking executives, public servants, Irish and international
investors; the individuals involved in these discussions; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45370/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Government’s Guarantee Scheme has
been successful in safeguarding the stability of the Irish banking sector and in restoring its
liquidity position. To ensure the effective implementation of the Scheme, and to ensure that
covered institutions are meeting their obligations under the Scheme, my officials and I are in
regular contact with the covered institutions. In addition, the Central Bank and Financial Regu-
lator are consulted on the implementation of the Scheme on an ongoing basis.
   I have met with the CEO and Chairpersons of the covered institutions and asked them to
examine their options to attract or raise private capital to underpin their long term sus-
tainability and support their lending to the economy. These discussions have been productive
and informative. I have also met with a number of investment businesses in recent weeks.
Parties with serious propositions for investment in an institution are of course referred to the
institutions concerned.
  In certain circumstances it would be appropriate for the State, through the National Pensions
Reserve Fund or otherwise, to consider supplementing private investment with State partici-
pation, where in doing so the aim of securing the financial system can be better met. The
relevant institutions have agreed that they will work closely with potential investors and the
Government to develop matters further.
  As part of monitoring ongoing compliance with the terms of the Bank Guarantee Scheme,
and in assessing proposals to raise capital levels in the covered institutions, I have consulted
with my legal and financial advisors as well as other interested stakeholders as appropriate. It
would not be prudent for me to elaborate further on these market sensitive discussions.

                                 National Pensions Reserve Fund.
  62. Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the holding of the National

                                                 640
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


Pension Reserve Fund; if they are held directly or through funds, in banks quoted on the Irish
stock exchange and banks quoted on international stock exchanges; if he will set out a table of
these holdings on 30 September 2007, 31 December 2007, and 30 September 2008; the acquis-
ition cost of each investment; the market value of each investment; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45376/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The National Pensions Reserve Fund, as a
large diversified global investor, has invested in over 2,500 stocks globally. As required by the
National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000, the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission
publishes a detailed list of the assets of the Fund at end-year, including its holdings in banking
stocks. The Report, which is available on the Fund’s website www.nprf.ie, also includes the
market valuation of each investment at end-year. Holdings of equities and debt securities of
banks represented some 11.4% of the Fund at 31 December 2007. The Commission does not
publish details of its investments at end-quarters.
   Shares in individual companies are acquired at a variety of prices as and when the Fund
invests the Exchequer contributions received on a quarterly basis each year. More generally, it
is worth making the point that the return on an investment portfolio should be assessed on the
basis of the overall return, not by reference to an individual investment or class of investments.

                                           Tax Code.
  63. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the number of people availing of
the rent-a-room tax relief; the cost to the State of this relief in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [45322/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners
that the most recent year for which the necessary detailed statistical information is available in
relation to the Rent-a-Room Scheme is the income tax year 2005. In that year, an estimated
2,820 claimants availed of the tax exemption at an estimated cost to the Exchequer of \3.3
million.

                                          Flood Relief.
  64. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the plans of the Office of Public
Works in relation to carrying out works on the weir in Fermoy, County Cork; the progress
made in resolving certain issues in relation to the rowing club in the town; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45323/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): The Office of
Public Works has agreed in principle to a request from the Department of Communications,
Energy and Natural Resources, to facilitate the construction of a rock ramp fish pass at Fermoy
Weir in the course of the execution of the proposed Flood Relief Scheme Works. This agree-
ment is subject to the proviso that the proposal is agreed with Fermoy Town Council, and that
its inclusion will not delay the progress of the Flood Relief Scheme.
   In facilitating construction of the fish pass, OPW would be acting as agent for the Depart-
ment of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and Fermoy Town Council, which it
is understood is the owner of the weir and which will be required to maintain the works.
  Design of the rock ramp fish pass and consultation with the Town Council and other stake-
holders is being undertaken by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources.

                                                641
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Martin Mansergh.]

  I am aware that Fermoy Rowing Club has expressed reservations about the impact of the
proposed fish pass on its activities and that the matter is also of concern to the Town Council
and to inhabitants of the town. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources has responsibility for dealing with these issues, but the Office of Public Works is
happy to assist the Department with a view to seeing them resolved.
  The Office of Public Works expects to invite tenders for the Flood Relief Scheme within the
next week.

                                  Departmental Expenditure.
  65. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Finance when the contracts for the
building of the new Department of Defence headquarters were signed; the cost commitments
entered into with the contract; if the signing of the contract was reconsidered in view of the
budgetary problems being experienced; if the costs allocated to the building and equipping of
the building are being reviewed in view of the declining budgetary situation; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [42924/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): On 21 May 2008,
following a competitive tendering process, the Office of Public Works awarded a Fixed Price
Contract to P. Elliott & Co. Ltd. in the sum of \24,894,842, including VAT, to construct a new
Headquarters for the Department of Defence at Station Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Work
on site is well underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
  This contract does not include for fitting out the canteen. Tenders for this aspect will be
invited in due course.
  The provision of equipment such as IT, telephones, etc., will be a matter for the Department
of Defence when the building is ready for occupation. A separate contract is in place for supply
of furniture.

                                  Banking Sector Regulation.
  66. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Finance his views on the high level of credit
card debt held by consumers here; if consideration has been given to increasing the minimum
payment on credit card balances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45377/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): have no role in relation to payment terms for
commercial debt (including credit card debt) which, for the generality is a matter, for the
parties concerned.
  While the overall level of debt on credit cards has been rising, the pace at which it has been
growing has declined significantly. From a high of almost 20% year on year growth in March
2007, the equivalent data for outstanding indebtedness on credit cards in October 2008 was an
increase of less than 9%. Credit card debt represents less than 2% of personal sector credit
overall. In addition, credit card data refers to debt outstanding on all credit cards at end-month
and includes balances that subsequently may be paid in full at the payment due date. The
increase in the number of credit cards issued and the amount of debt outstanding is in line with
a general trend of increased market penetration in the EU and a move towards electronic retail
payment methods.
  A survey, conducted by the Financial Regulator, indicated in March 2007 that 55% pay
their balance in full each month, thus incurring no interest. Unfortunately, a small minority of
borrowers develop credit card debt problems. Anyone experiencing difficulty in repaying such

                                                642
                   Questions—              11 December 2008.            Written Answers


a debt should discuss the matter with the credit card provider and seek appropriate advice
without delay. The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), which falls under the remit
of my colleague, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, is a national, free, confidential and
independent service for people in debt, or in danger of getting into debt. MABS offices,
throughout the country, work with people in order to assist them with their financial planning
and budgeting for the future.
  As Minister for Finance, I have consistently highlighted the need for responsible behaviour
by both borrowers and lenders and, in particular, the need to factor into their financial decision
making the effects of potential future changes in economic and financial conditions.
   All credit card providers must comply with the Financial Regulator’s Consumer Protection
Code, which states that financial services providers must act in the customers’ best interests
and only provide financial products that are suitable for the consumer. In addition, the Code
specifies that when a credit institution is announcing a change in its interest rates, it must state
clearly the effective date of the new rate in its notification. The credit institution must also
update the interest rate details on its information services as soon as the change comes into
effect. Furthermore a consumer’s credit card limit may only be increased following a request
from the consumer.
   The Financial Regulator spends significant time and resources informing consumers about
the potential risks of availing of credit card credit. Its publications, including its credit card cost
surveys, are designed to help consumers choose the card that best suits their needs. In addition,
its help-line and website provide details to help those who have problems with credit card debt.
In particular, its publication “Managing your Money” is aimed at helping consumers to plan
for the future, control spending and avoid debt problems.
   The Financial Regulator’s Consumer Director regularly highlights the issues of credit card
debt in the television and radio interviews, the key messages for consumers being: Use your
credit card for short-term credit but failure to pay your bill in full every month can mean that
debt can build up quickly. Shop around, using the online credit card cost comparisons, to see
if you can get a card with a lower interest rate or a no-interest introductory special offer. Don’t
just make the minimum payment — it will not be enough to reduce your balance in a reasonable
time and you will end up paying a lot of money in the long-term. If you cannot pay your bill
in full, pay off as much as you can afford to, don’t miss any repayments and don’t use your
card again until the balance is paid off.
  The Financial Regulator has also carried out a review of the transparency of the information
contained on credit card statements and will be consulting on this as part of the Review of the
Consumer Protection Code due to begin in 2009.
  Finally, the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) and its members do not recommend credit cards
as a tool for longer-term borrowing. The credit card is a beneficial payment instrument —
offering credit, flexibility and safety — when used responsibly. It is not suitable for long-term
credit — there are other more suitable forms available such as personal loans.

                                        Pension Provisions.
  67. Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the meetings or correspondence
he has had with the Irish Pension Board since 1 January 2008; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45324/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Under the Pensions Act 1990 the Pensions
Board reports to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs — rather than the Minister for
Finance — on all matters relating to the functions assigned to the Board under that Act and

                                                  643
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
on matters relating to pensions generally. I have not met with the Pensions Board but my
Department has regular contact with the Executive of the Board on a range of pensions and
related matters.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  68. Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Finance the measures he proposes to
ensure that the recapitalisation of the banks will ensure that credit is provided to businesses
and consumers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45382/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): As outlined in my statement of 28 November,
I have asked the covered banks to examine their options to attract or raise private capital to
underpin their long term sustainability and support their lending to the economy. I am not
promoting or supporting any particular proposal nor would it be appropriate for me to do so.
I have however asked all the covered institutions to engage actively with all credible proposals
and of course I am prepared to explore proposals for what Government participation or
involvement may accompany the private investment.
  Further, I have also asked these Institutions to consider the contribution that they can make
to the economy through appropriate credit initiatives in relation to small and medium sized
businesses and otherwise. On foot of this request several Institutions have announced compre-
hensive SME support packages.
  The Deputy may also wish to be aware that I recently met Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice-
President of the European Investment Bank, which recently announced that it was providing
additional funding through its lending facility for SMEs in the European Union. Mr Sakellaris
confirmed that the Bank has been in discussion with a number of Irish financial institutions
about participating in this facility for SMEs and that the EIB hopes that agreements to provide
such loan facilities can be finalised as soon as possible. I have urged Irish banks to utilise the
facility to the maximum extent possible with a view to making the additional funding available
to SMEs as soon as possible. It is therefore pleasing to note that a number of banks have
announced their intention to do so.

  Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 27.

                                            Tax Code.
  70. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance his plans to review the capital
gains tax regime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45071/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): As the Deputy may be aware, I have made a
number of changes to the capital gains tax code in my recent Budget and Finance Bill (as
initiated). These include changes to the payment dates in respect of disposals made on or after
14 October 2008 and also an increase in the rate of capital gains tax from 20% to 22%.
  I have no plans at this time to make further changes to the capital gains tax code.

  Question No.71 answered with Question No. 28.

                                           Live Register.
  72. Deputy Ruairı Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his views on recent trends in live
                    ´
register figures and the latest quarterly household employment survey; if he will revise his
                                                 644
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


forecast of average unemployment for 2009, from the 7.3% forecast on Budget 2009 day; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45360/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The latest Live Register figures relate to
November 2008, when the number of people on the Register reached 277,200 on a seasonally-
adjusted basis. This represents an annual increase of 106,800. This corresponds to a standard-
ised unemployment rate of 7.8%. Both the scale and the speed of the deterioration point to
the continued difficult economic conditions pertaining.
   The latest Quarterly National Household Survey data relate to the third quarter of this year.
These data show that employment declined at an annual rate of 1.2% in the third quarter, the
first decline in employment since the early 1990s. Unemployment on a QNHS basis rose to
6.3% in the third quarter, once adjustment is made for seasonal factors.
   The Budget day forecast for unemployment to average 7.3% next year was based on the
assumption that while employment would decline, there would be some easing in the growth
of labour supply, brought about by lower participation rates and lower rates of migration.
However, as I have already said in response to an earlier question, my Department is in the
light of the recent negative information revising downwards its macroeconomic forecasts. While
that assessment is not finalised yet, I expect that the Department’s view of the labour market
will reflect the worsening economic position now emerging.

                                    Public Service Review.
  73. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the terms of reference of the Special
                  ´
Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes, chaired by Mr. Colm
McCarthy; if these terms of reference include a review of all proposed current and capital
expenditure for 2009 and beyond; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45349/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I refer the Deputy to the Government State-
ment on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives
of the Special Group are to:—

    a. Review the scope for reducing or discontinuing Expenditure Programmes with a view
       to eliminating the current budget deficit by 2011.

    b. To this end, analyse and make recommendations on reducing the numbers employed in
       each area of the Public Service having regard to:—

       i. the need to identify and prioritise particular output targets and areas;

      ii. the achievement of greater efficiency and economy in the delivery of all services;

      iii. the scope for rationalising and streamlining delivery of public services in the con-
           sumers’ interest.

    c. Make recommendations on reallocation of staffing or expenditure resources between
       public service organisations as appropriate to deliver the objectives set out in the Prog-
       ramme for Government.

    d. Examine and make recommendations for further rationalisation of State agencies
       beyond the rationalisation proposals and principles set out in Budget 2009.

As I elaborated in my comments at that time, the Special Group’s examination of all prog-
rammes funded through public expenditure will identify options for savings in the context of

                                                645
                   Questions—              11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Lenihan.]
the Government’s fiscal objectives as set out in Budget 2009. While the focus of the Group is
on current expenditure, this does not preclude the Group from looking at capital expenditure
if that is necessary to fulfil its remit. It will also ensure that public expenditure is being used
to address relevant priority policy objectives in the current fiscal environment and the overall
efficiency of the public service will also be examined, including any ways of doing business that
are out of step with the needs of a modern, responsive public service.
  The Group consists of Mr. Colm McCarthy (Chair) and Mr. Donal McNally as core Members
and they will be assisted by Mr. Pat McLoughlin, Mr. Maurice O’Connell, Mr. William Slattery
and Ms. Mary Walsh. It will establish its own working methodology and any vacancy arising in
the Group will be filled by me.
  The Group will report to me every two months and will submit a final report to me by the
end of June 2009.

                                Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  74. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Finance the way he is monitoring and the
actions he is taking to ensure that section 44 of the credit institutions (financial support) scheme
which states that a covered institution shall not pass on the costs of the guarantee to its
customers in an unwarranted manner is being adhered to by financial institutions; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [45328/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Scheme is a major benefit not only to the
banks but also to their customers and, of course, the economy as a whole. Of course, the
Scheme includes the application of strict terms and conditions on covered institutions to ensure
that the public interest, which includes the taxpayer, the general consumer and small business
sector, is paramount.
  As I have stated previously, the cost of the charge to institutions should not be passed on to
ordinary customers under the Scheme and that is the meaning and purpose to paragraph 44.
  Of course the Scheme itself is only about two months old and I will be monitoring its effects
over time. My Department and the Financial Regulator are setting up mechanisms for monitor-
ing the financial institutions in relation to the Guarantee and this issue will form part of the
work programme.
  The Deputy will also be aware that the Financial Regulator has the power to monitor, review,
and approve bank charges pursuant to section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act.

  75. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied that the return
to traditional banking practices and principles in respect of lending and borrowing is achievable
in the current or predicted climate; if there has been an identification of bad borrowing or
lending practices which can or will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45294/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The Guarantee Scheme for financial insti-
tutions put in place by the Government has been successful in safeguarding the stability of the
Irish banking sector and in restoring its liquidity position in order to support its normal lending
activities. The Scheme is intended to provide a detailed framework for the positive and con-
structive changes that must flow from this to restore and uphold for the future the traditional
banking values of responsible and balanced risk-taking lending in order to underpin the long-
term sustainability of the banking system.

                                                  646
                   Questions—              11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  Financial institutions particularly those participating in the guarantee Scheme have a key
role to play in supporting both individuals and businesses in the current challenging economic
and financial environment. As I made clear when presenting the Guarantee Scheme to the
Oireachtas in mid-October the boards and senior executives of the participating institutions
have a key role to play in ensuring that finance is channelled appropriately to support and
underpin sustainable economic activities on a prudent and responsible basis which is clearly in
the interest of both the bank, the borrower and wider economy.
   The Deputy will be aware at recent meetings with certain financial institutions I asked them
to consider the contribution that they can make to the economy through appropriate credit
initiatives in relation to small and medium sized businesses and otherwise. Subsequently certain
institutions have announced new initiatives to help the SME sectors. I welcome these important
announcements and look forward to further dialogue on this important issue in the coming
days and weeks.
   The regulation of lending practices of Irish financial institutions is the statutory responsibility
of the Financial Regulator. In addition to what is contained in the Guarantee Scheme, and
building on revised capital and liquidity measures which it introduced during 2006 and 2007,
the Regulator has instigated a series of new regulatory measures to take account of the changed
financial environment, including an increased focus on the management of credit and liquidity
risks of the banks. Among the actions the Financial Regulator is taking are the following:- the
immediate recruitment of an additional 20 senior supervisory staff with banking experience to
be placed on-site in key banks to monitor developments; requiring banks to set out new busi-
ness plans focusing on the need to reduce their risk profile and how their models of banking
are sustainable in the new environment; and enhanced reporting obligations in relation to
capital, asset quality and individual large loans to supplement daily liquidity reporting
requirements.
  In conclusion, many aspects of our regulatory systems have proved themselves to be robust
and sound in the recent turmoil. But it is also clear that regulators in Ireland as elsewhere need
to learn the lessons of recent events. I am relying on the Financial Regulator to do just that,
and to adapt its regulatory systems to new conditions, to take on new skills and to ensure that
Ireland has a top class regulatory system.

   76. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the current additional cost of
                 ´ ´
public borrowing in the aftermath of the bank guarantee of covered institutions; the way this
                                                                             ´ ´
compares to the costing of the guarantee in the scheme presented by him to Dail Eireann; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45343/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The thinking behind the Charging Model is
set out in some detail in the Annexe to the Scheme. However, the main principle is that the
Minister for Finance estimates an aggregate cost that the State will bear as a consequence of
the guarantee and each covered institution will pay its share in accordance with its risk profile
and the guarantee charging model, subject to the estimated cost to the Exchequer being fully
recouped. In case the actual cost for the State is higher, the charge will be adapted accordingly.
  The Deputy will be aware that a cost of \1 billion over two years was the original estimate
for recouping the cost to the State of extra borrowing. Nothing has yet arisen to suggest that
this estimate was inaccurate. The cost of public borrowing constantly changes in the financial
markets in response to many different influences, and there is no reason to suggest that these
changes are all driven by the guarantee scheme.

                                                  647
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                  Economic Competitiveness.
  77. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether Irish retailers
                 ´
are at a serious competitive disadvantage to those in the UK in view of the 6.5% differential
in the respective top rates of VAT in both jurisdictions; his views on introducing measures to
help retailers who may be disadvantaged by this tax deferential; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45363/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): As part of a fiscal stimulus package, the UK
Government reduced their standard VAT rate from 17.5% to 15% on a temporary basis with
effect from 1 December 2008 to 31 December 2009. I have no plans to make a similar reduction
in the standard VAT rate in Ireland or to reduce the rate to the UK level of 15%.
  It must be recognised that our starting point is different from the UK’s. We already have a
low taxation economy, especially in the area of direct taxation, both income and corporation
taxes, which has a direct impact on all employment in the State. This lower starting position
for direct taxation makes it is more difficult to reduce taxes further.
  Already we are borrowing over 10% of all day to day spending on public services (before
capital spending). This is unsustainable and we faced difficult choices in bringing forward cor-
rective measures. The estimated \227m that will accrue in a full year from the VAT increase
will go some way towards funding necessary public services.
  Each 1 percentage point reduction in our standard VAT rate would cost around \450 million
in a full year. For Ireland to reduce the standard VAT rate by 2.5 percentage points would
cost around \1,125 million in a full year. For Ireland to reduce the standard VAT rate to the
UK level of 15%, which would mean a reduction in the standard VAT rate of 6.5 percentage
points, this would cost almost \3 billion in a full year. This is equivalent to around two and a
half times the amount of revenues to be raised in a full year through the new income levy.
   Some of the goods and services that will be affected by the increase in the standard rate are
alcohol, cigarettes, cars, petrol, electrical equipment, furniture, telecommunications, cosmetics,
confectionery, soft drinks and adult clothing and footwear. The effect of the 0.5% increase in
the standard rate is that the price of goods and services, which apply at this rate, will increase
by 0.41%. This equates to an increase of 8 cent on a good costing \20, or 41 cent on a good
costing \100.
  It must be also be recognised that around half the value of goods and services purchased in
the State are not subject to the standard rate of VAT and therefore are unaffected by the
change in the standard rate. All Government services, local authorities, hospitals and schools
etc., are exempt from VAT. The zero rate of VAT applies to the majority of foodstuffs, oral
medicines, books and children’s clothes and shoes. In addition, housing, electricity, gas,
domestic fuels, restaurant services, and labour intensive services such as hairdressing and shoe
repair, are applicable at the 13.5% reduced rate of VAT.
  Although the reduction in the UK standard VAT rate will have an impact on the price
differential on some goods between the North and the South, I would point out that the UK
has increased excise on alcohol, cigarettes, petrol and diesel to offset the 2.5% reduction in
VAT on these items. Consequently there will be no reduction in the price of these products in
Northern Ireland as a result of the reduction in the UK VAT rate to 15%.
  The VAT rate is not the only factor in the price differential between North and South of the
border. The weakening of sterling has had a far more significant impact on relative prices than
any VAT changes in this regard.
                                                648
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  As a small open economy, many of our standard rated goods are imported, and cutting the
VAT rate could benefit the economies from which we import more than our own. In other
words, while, it might help the consumer, it would not be the most effective way of helping our
own economy.
   There are other means of stimulating the economy, outside of the VAT system. The Govern-
ment is providing a long term fiscal stimulus through capital investment of approximately 5%
of GNP, which is twice the average in the EU. This fiscal stimulus will not only support jobs
in the short term but will also add to our long term productive capacity.
  Irish taxation policy has given us a significant competitive advantage over the past 15 years.
We have ensured that we have had the lowest levels of direct taxation on income, therefore
we have had marginally higher indirect taxation. That model of taxation has worked well for
our economy and will be even more important now in leading us back to the path of econ-
omic growth.

  Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 39.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
                                          ´
  79. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and
Employment the number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents she has allocated within
her Department to support the Better Regulation Group’s work; the financial resources that
have been spent in support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the
remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
[45699/08]

  Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): The
    ´
Better Regulation agenda is supported by the Company Law Reform and Business Regulation
Section, which is a Unit within the Department’s Commerce, Consumers and Competition
Division. The Division is headed up by an Assistant Secretary. The role of the Section is to
modernise and simplify the Irish company law code; support the work of the Company Law
Review Group; drive the cross Department effort to reduce the administrative burden on busi-
ness by 25% by 2012; and support the work of the High-level Group on Business Regulation.
  The total staff complement of the Section is 7: 1 Principal Officer, 2 Assistant Principals, 1
Higher Executive Officer, 2 Executive Officer and 1 Staff Officer.
                                                                                ´
   In addition to the foregoing, the Section can call upon the resources of Forfas, as appropriate,
in carrying out their reduction in administrative burden work. Furthermore, Regulatory Impact
Assessments are carried out, as appropriate, in cases of new legislative/regulatory proposals by
the relevant sections of my Department.
  The High-level Group on Business Regulation has a budget of \60,000 for 2008, of which
some \36,000 is expected to be spent by year end; for 2009, the budget is \60,000.

                                    Freedom of Information.
                                              ´
  80. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and
Employment if she will list all valid non-personal Freedom of Information requests received
by her Department, and agencies under her remit in 2006, 2007 and to 1 September 2008; if,
in each case, a request was made for an additional payment in relation to anticipated search
and retrieval costs, or other associated costs; the amount of the additional payment requested
and the reason for same in each case; if the FOI request was subsequently not continued with
                                                649
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Leo Varadkar.]
by the applicant, was refined by the applicant, or if the requested payment was made in full in
each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45707/08]

  Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan):
    ´
There are eight separate prescribed bodies within my Department and its Offices subject to
the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts. The figures outlined below are cumulative figures in
respect of my Department and those bodies.
  In 2006, there was a total of 58 valid non-personal FOI requests, of which 11 attracted search
and retrieval fees of \119.00, \45.38, \40.00, \63.52, \50.79, \50.79, \46.42, \62.85, \1,047.50,
\62.85 and \209.50, respectively. Of these 11 cases, the first was refined by the requester and
in respect of the last 4, the requests were not continued, as the fees were not paid. The
requested fee was paid in full in each of the other cases.
  In 2007, there was a total of 49 valid non-personal FOI requests, of which 5 attracted search
and retrieval fees of \47.14, \49.90, \20.95, \29.33 and \419.00, respectively. None of these
cases was refined by the requester, and the requested fee was paid in full in all but the last
case which is ongoing.
  In 2008, up to 1 September, there was a total of 46 valid non-personal FOI requests, of which
6 attracted search and retrieval fees of \46.78, \80.00, \32.22, \50.79, \21.87, and \50.79. None
of these cases was refined by the requester, and the requested fee was paid in full in each case.
  FOI search and retrieval fees are based on the number of hours it takes to efficiently com-
plete this element of the FOI process which involves locating all records considered to be
within the scope of the request. The prescribed amount payable per hour has been set by the
Minister for Finance at \20.95 per hour.
 In relation to the processing of FOI requests in the agencies under the remit of my Depart-
ment, this is a day to day matter for each agency and one in which I have no function.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
                                         ´
  81. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employ-
ment the position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation
to the preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report;
and if she will provide this information in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on
the matter. [45850/08]

  Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): The
    ´
information requested by the Deputy insofar as my Department is concerned is set out in the
following tabular statement:




                                                650
                                                                                     2007

                     Name of Consultant                           Cost              Name and Reason for Each Report                              Current Position

      Corporate Risk Strategies Ltd                    \24,200 (incl VAT)   The provision of Health & Safety Active              The Department is currently implementing the
                                                                              Monitoring Reports (Safety Audits) on each of        recommendations contained in the Reports
                                                                              the Department’s eight buildings. The purpose of
                                                                              each Active Monitoring Report is to enable the
                                                                              Department to identify hazards and potential
                                                                              health and safety risks to employees of the
                                                                              Department as is required under Section 19 of
                                                                                                                                                                                Questions—




                                                                              the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005

      Mazars                                           \10,482              Internal Audit Report of the Department’s General    Completed in 2007
                                                                              Payments Systems

      RITS                                             \118,928             Review of the Department’s ICT Security.             Report delivered and recommendations being
                                                                                                                                  implemented

      Vision Consulting Ltd.                           \95,711              Review of the national Employment Rights             Report delivered and recommendations being
                                                                             Authority (NERA) Information Services.               implemented

      Cawley Nea Ltd.                                  \43,894              National Employment Rights Authority (NERA)          Completed in 2007




651
                                                                             “Awareness of & Attitudes Towards
                                                                             Employment Rights Barometer” Research.
                                                                                                                                                                                11 December 2008.




      Farrell Grant Sparks                             \17,000              Third and Fourth (or final) payments for an Ex-      Report completed in December 2007.
                                                                              Ante Evaluation of the European Social Fund co-
                                                                              funded Human Capital Investment Operational
                                                                              Programme.

      Vision Consulting Ltd                            \186,334             Report of “Findings and Service Insights” from       Completed
                                                                             Vision Market Study of Employee Callers for the
                                                                             National Employment Rights Authority to
                                                                             improve Employee Caller Awareness, Information
                                                                             Provision, Service and Satisfaction.
                                                                            Background Information and Recommendations           Completed
                                                                              from Vision For The National Employment
                                                                                                                                                                                Written Answers




                                                                              Rights Authority to improve Information
                                                                              Provision, Service, and Satisfaction.

      Economic and Social Research institute (ESRI).   \84,232              To carry out two national surveys relating on        The surveys were published in March 2007.
                                                                              workplace bullying — one relating to employees
                                                                              and one relating to employers — inputting to the
                                                                              Bullying in the Workplace Survey Reports 2007.
                                                                               2007 — continued

                    Name of Consultant                    Cost                       Name and Reason for Each Report                                  Current Position

      Ove Arup & Partners t/a Arup Consulting   \28,814                      Review of the Regulation of Petroleum Handling          Final Report delivered in July 2008.
       Engineers                                                              and Storage Facilities.

          ´
      Mairead Carey B.L.                        \6,050                       Legal Services in connection with functions of the      Completed
                                                                               Labour Court

      John Gleeson S.C.                         \960                         Legal Services in connection with functions of the      Completed
                                                                                                                                                                            Questions—




                                                                               Labour Court

      Indecon Economic Consultants              \5,086.60 (Paid in 2007 —    Study of Efficiency and Effectiveness of Vocational     Completed in 2007.
                                                  A total cost of \152,599     Training Services and Rehabilitation Training         Contract signed in 2006
                                                  was divided equally          Services for Persons with a Disability provided by
                                                  between the                  Specialist Training Providers
                                                  Department of
                                                  Enterprise, Trade &
                                                  Employment, the
                                                  Department of
                                                  Health & Children and
                                                    ´
                                                  FAS — \50,866.33




652
                                                  each.)

      Indecon Consultants                       \2,000                       Part payment for a report called the Final              Complete 2007
                                                                                                                                                                            11 December 2008.




                                                                               Evaluation of the Leonardo II Programme in
                                                                               Ireland. (Indecon’s contract was with the
                                                                               Department of Education and Science (DES).
                                                                               The total cost of the report was \52,041.10.
                                                                               Leargas, the agency that ran the Leonardo
                                                                               programme, paid \25,000 towards the report with
                                                                               the balance paid by the DES. The report was a
                                                                               requirement of the EU funding provided for the
                                                                               initiative.)

      Indecon                                   \30,000(to Forfas as a 1/3   Assessing the Implications for Industry in Ireland of   Report completed October 2007
                                                  contribution to the cost    the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to provide an
                                                                                                                                                                            Written Answers




                                                  of a study.)                assessment of the competitiveness impact of the
                                                                              EU Emissions Trading Scheme on Industry in
                                                                              Ireland

      Millward Brown IMS                        \44,790                      Market Research — overview of the company law           Finalised
                                                                              compliance environment and the performance of
                                                                              the Office of the Director of Corporate
                                                                              Enforcement (ODCE) in the discharge of its
                                                                              functions
                                                                                 2007 — continued

                    Name of Consultant                      Cost                     Name and Reason for Each Report                                  Current Position

      PriceWaterhouseCoopers                     \103,259             Forensic Accounting Assignment for the ODCE.                       Finalised

      Dan Flinter                                \8,643               Facilitation of two workshops and Report to High Level Group on    Finished.
                                                                        Business Regulation

      RPS Consultants                            \9,575               Research relating to the Interim Board of the National Consumer    Completed
                                                                       Agency’s response to the White Paper “Delivering a Sustainable
                                                                                                                                                                                      Questions—




                                                                       Energy Future for Ireland”.

      Goodbody Economic Consultants              \23,595              Review of the Wage Subsidy Scheme                                  Interim Payment — Report completed in
                                                                                                                                           2008.

      WRC Social and Economic Consultants        \26,632              Research Report on Acquired Disability and Employment              Interim Payment — Report completed in
                                                                                                                                           2008.




                                                                                        2008




653
                    Name of Consultant                      Cost                     Name and Reason for Each Report                                  Current Position
                                                                                                                                                                                      11 December 2008.




      Institute of Public Administration (IPA)   \19,867              Report and Recommendations from the Consultation Process with      Report completed and delivered in June
                                                                       Staff in the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment.        2008. As a consequence of the report an
                                                                                                                                          internal action plans has now been agreed
                                                                                                                                          on how we can improve in areas such as
                                                                                                                                          communications, teamwork and leadership.

      Mazars                                     \10,482              Internal Audit Report on the operations of the Department’s        Completed in 2008
                                                                        Payroll System.

      Contractauditline (CAL)                    \19,820 (excluding   Productive Sector Operational Programme (PSOP) Managing            Report due by 15 December, 2008
                                                   VAT)                 Authority Lookback Audit (Part 1)Productive Sector Operational
                                                                                                                                                                                      Written Answers




                                                                        Programme Managing Authority Lookback Audit (Part 2)
                                                 \16,480 (excluding   [The PSOP is an EU co-funded Operational Programme under the       Report due by 27 February, 2009
                                                   VAT)                 2000-2006 Structural Funds.]

      KPMG                                       \273,460             Report of an assessment of a named company’s restructuring plan.   Report completed 11 April 2008.

      Indecon Economic Consultants               \185,408             Value for Money Review of Science Foundation Ireland — Part of     Report published July 2008
                                                                       the Government’s Value for Money & Policy Review Initiative
                                                                                 2008 — continued

                   Name of Consultant                      Cost                       Name and Reason for Each Report                                  Current Position

      IPA                                       \3,630                Quality Assessment of Value for Money Review of Science           Review completed In 2008
                                                                       Foundation Ireland — per D/Finance guidelines

      CIRCA Consultants                         \51,182 (Shared           ´
                                                                      Forfas commissioned evaluation of Ireland’s membership of the     Awaiting finalization. Publication of report is
                                                  equally between       European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)                     anticipated by the end of January 2009
                                                                  ´
                                                  D/ETE and Forfas)
                                                                                                                                                                                          Questions—




      CIRCA Consultants, SIA Group and          \105,082 (Shared          ´
                                                                      Forfas commissioned evaluation of Discover Science and            Report has been completed. Publication is
        International Panel of Experts.           equally between       Engineering Programme                                            anticipated by the end of December 2008
                                                  D/ETE and Forfas´

      Version 1 (Work started in 2007 and was   \20,364               Business Process Review (BPR) of the Department’s Insolvency      Report delivered and recommendations
       completed in 2008)                                              Payments Section.                                                 being implemented.

      Trigraph Professional Services            \2,995                Review of Department’s ICT Project Management procedures and      Report delivered and recommendations
                                                                       practices.                                                        being implemented

      RITS                                      \17,669               3 ICT Technical Reports on laptop encryption, the Department’s    Reports delivered and recommendations




654
                                                                        financials application and scans of on-line systems.             being implemented

      RITS                                      \2,580                Report of the forensic analysis of the ESF website.               Analysis underway and report due shortly.
                                                                                                                                                                                          11 December 2008.




      Computer Associates                       \13,310               Review of Department’s ICT Backup Systems                         Report delivered and recommendations
                                                                                                                                         being implemented

      Ove Arup & Partners t/a Arup Consulting   \115,257              Review of the Regulation of Petroleum Handling and Storage        Final Report July 2008
       Engineers                                                       Facilities.

      Cawley Nea Ltd                            \29,645               National Employment Rights Authority “Awareness of & Attitudes    Completed
                                                                       Towards Employment Rights Barometer” Research.

          ´
      Mairead Carey B.L.                        \7,260                Legal Services in connection with functions of the Labour Court   Completed

      IQ Content                                \41,261               Website evaluation Report                                         Completed in June 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                          Written Answers
                                                                               2008 — continued

                 Name of Consultant                   Cost                          Name and Reason for Each Report                                     Current Position

      Social and Market Research            \23,850                 Conduct an Equality survey under the European Social Fund (ESF)      Completed.
                                                                      co-funded EQUAL Community Initiative (CI)

      Ernst & Young                         \25,090                 Audit of “DAWN” project under the EQUAL CI                           Completed.

      PA Consulting                         \61,595                 Review and Assessment of the EU co-funded EQUAL Community            Underway.
                                                                     Initiative 2000-2006
                                                                                                                                                                           Questions—




      Millward Brown/IMS                    \15,898                 Market Research — overview of the company law compliance             Finalised.
                                                                     environment and the performance of the Office of the Director of
                                                                     Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in the discharge of its functions
                                                                     (continuation of 2007 contract)

      PriceWaterhouseCoopers                Fee not paid to date    Forensic Accounting Assignment for the ODCE.                         On-going
                                              — original estimate
                                              provided was
                                              STG£55,650




655
      Grant Thornton                        \71,874(incl VAT)       Business Process Re-engineering examination of the Companies         Not yet finalised
                                                                      Registration Office (CRO).

      PricewaterhouseCoopers                \26,965                 Comparative Report on Media Mergers. This report was                 Completed
                                                                                                                                                                           11 December 2008.




                                                                      commissioned by the Media Mergers Advisory Group which was
                                                                      established on the 30th March 2008 to review the current
                                                                      legislative framework relating to the public interest aspects of
                                                                      media mergers in Ireland.

      Emily Gibson BL                       \5,596                  Media Research required by the Media Mergers Advisory Group.         Completed
                                                                     This report was commissioned by the Media Mergers Advisory
                                                                     Group which was established on the 30th March 2008 to review
                                                                     the current legislative framework relating to the public interest
                                                                     aspects of media mergers in Ireland.

      Goodbody Economic Consultants         \23,595                 Review of the Wage Subsidy Scheme                                    Complete
                                                                                                                                                                           Written Answers




      WRC Social and Economic Consultants   \53,264                 Research Report on Acquired Disability and Employment                Complete
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                       Departmental Offices.
  82. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the type of heating systems that will
be employed at the new public service buildings in Buncrana; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45721/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): There are two
buildings adjacent to each other currently under construction in Buncrana, one for the Depart-
                                                                 ´
ment of Social and Family Affairs, and the other for An Garda Sıochana. These buildings were
designed in 2006. Oil-fired boilers provide the heating in both buildings.
  It is a policy in the Office of Public Works to consider biomass fuel in all new buildings. A
review was undertaken of buildings already designed or in the very early stages of construction
with a view to providing space and other facilities for the future installation of biomass boilers.
As a consequence of this review, both buildings in Buncrana were re-designed to accommodate
the installation of biomass boilers in the future.

                               Financial Institutions Support Scheme.
  83. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the position in relation to the reform,
reorganisation and recapitalisation of the Irish banking sector, particularly those institutions
covered by the bank guarantee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45390/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): In my discussions with the covered institutions
I have asked all the banks to examine their options to attract or raise private capital to underpin
their long term sustainability and support their lending to the economy. I am not promoting or
supporting any particular proposal nor would it be appropriate for me to do so. I have however
asked all the covered institutions to engage actively with all credible proposals. I am prepared
to explore proposals regarding Government participation or involvement that may accompany
private investment. Of course, any substantial equity capital raising in a listed bank will require
shareholder and regulatory approval.
  The Government indicated on 28 November a willingness to participate alongside private
investors in the recapitalisation of Irish financial institutions. Talks on this issue are ongoing
with the institutions and potential investors. Also not withstanding reports to the contrary, the
fact is that, as outlined in my statement of 28 November, I have not asked any institutions to
consolidate or merge with any other.

                                     Departmental Properties.
  84. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if he will ascertain from the Office
of Public Works the person who made the decision in relation to recent purchases (details
supplied). [45684/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Martin Mansergh): In relation to
the Garda HQ per cent for art project, representatives from Garda HQ were accompanied to
the RHA exhibition by staff from the OPW Art Management Office.
  The Art Advisor of the OPW advised the Garda representatives on the art works in the
exhibition, and he assisted them in the selection process and recommended art for purchase.

                                            Tax Code.
  85. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the new level of permitted pur-
chases which a person can bring into Ireland without being subjected to border taxation; the

                                                 656
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


level of revenue collected by the authorities here on goods being brought in that exceeded the
old limit in the most recent twelve month period for which data is available; and his views on
whether there is a large undetected tax loss in this area. [45690/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners
that the value and the amounts of goods that a person travelling to Ireland from outside the
EU may bring into the country free of VAT and excise duties are governed by the European
Communities (Tax Exemption for Certain Non-Commercial Goods Imported in the Personal
Luggage of Travellers from Third Countries) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 480 of 2008) which
came into operation on 1 December 2008. These regulations also apply to a person travelling
to Ireland from a territory where the Community provisions on VAT or excise duty do not
apply. Details of the Regulations are set out in the Revenue Commissioners’ Public Notice
1878a, which is available on their website.
  Under these Regulations, which transpose Council Directive 2007/74/EC of 20 December
2007, the total value of goods, other than alcohol or tobacco, may not exceed \430, or, in the
case of a person under 15 years of age, \215. The allowances apply where the goods are
intended for a traveller’s own use or as gifts and are not for commercial purposes.
  Separate quantitative limits apply in the case of alcohol and tobacco products. In the case of
tobacco products, these limits have not been changed by the Regulations. In the case of alcohol
products, the limit for wine has increased from 2 to 4 litres, and a new limit of 16 litres has
been introduced for beer. Otherwise, the limits for alcohol products are unchanged. Lower
quantitative limits apply in the case of crewmembers.
 Similar provisions apply in respect of customs duty by virtue of Council Regulation (EC)
No. 274/2008.
  The revenue collected in the three main airports on goods in excess of the limits which
applied prior to 1 December 2008 amounted to \161,539.99 for the period 1 December 2007
to 30 November 2008. Ongoing enforcement action being taken by Revenue’s customs service
indicates that large-scale smuggling is not taking place and that there is no substantial leakage
of customs duty, excise duty or VAT.

                                      Departmental Staff.
   86. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff in terms of
whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the Better Regu-
lation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such work to
date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45701/08]

   Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): My Department is represented on the High
Level Group on Business Regulation, the Regulatory Impact Analysis Network and on an
interdepartmental working group on reducing administrative burdens. Within my Department,
work in support of these groups is undertaken from within existing staff resources. Accordingly,
it has not been necessary to dedicate staff and other resources exclusively in this case. It is
envisaged that the same situation will apply for 2009.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  87. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding all contracts
for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of reports of any
                                                657
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Joanna Tuffy.]
kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he will provide this infor-
mation in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45852/08]

  Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): The following table sets out details of all
consultancy contracts entered into in the years 2007 and 2008 which resulted in or are intended
to result in the production of a report. Information on the following offices is included; the
Department of Finance, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, the Office of Public Works,
the Public Appointments Service, the Valuation Office, the Office of the Ombudsman, the
Commission for Public Service Appointments, the State Laboratory, and the Office of the
Comptroller and Auditor General. In addition the Office of the Appeal Commissioners did
not have any relevant contracts in the period to which the Deputy refers.




                                               658
      Year               Contractor                      Purpose of contract                Payment                         Office                    Has the Report
                                                                                                                                                           been
                                                                                                                                                       completed?

                                                                                               \

      2007   Cassin Scott Associates Ltd   Audit Methodology Review                          21,236      Commission for Public Service Appointments   Yes
      2007   Noel Ryan & Associates        Internal Auditor                                   8,034      Commission for Public Service Appointments   Yes
      2008   Noel Ryan & Associates        Internal Auditor                                   8,748      Commission for Public Service Appointments   Yes
      2008   Open Interface                Accessibility & Usability Audit of Website         6,716      Commission for Public Service Appointments   Yes
                                                                                                                                                                       Questions—




      2008   Institute of Public           HR & Organisation Audit                            5,500      Commission for Public Service Appointments   Yes
               Administration
      2007   Ernst & Young                 Value for Money Evaluations                      102,414      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2007   Norcontel                     C&AG ICT System                                   30,552      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2007   University of Glasgow         Value for Money Evaluations                       28,523      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2007   Golden & Associates           Value for Money Evaluations                        9,075      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2007   Brookhill Ltd                 Value for Money Evaluations                        5,808      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2008   Institute of Public           Quality Review of VFM Published Reports           47,493      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
               Administration




659
      2008   Mazers Risk Management        Risk Management Consultancy                       29,706      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2008   Matthew Harman & Partners     Value for Money Evaluations                       28,938      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
                                                                                                                                                                       11 December 2008.




      2008   Lifestrategies                Value for Money Evaluations                       27,007      Comptroller & Auditor General                No
      2008   Collier Broaderick            Value for Money Evaluations                       21,151      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2008   Golden & Associates           Value for Money Evaluations                       18,150      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2008   Golden & Associates           Value for Money Evaluations                       14,520      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2008   Golden & Associates           Value for Money Evaluations                        9,801      Comptroller & Auditor General                No
      2008   Ita Mangan B.L                Value for Money Evaluations                        2,420      Comptroller & Auditor General                Yes
      2007   Hay Group Ireland, Mount      A job evaluation of approximately one hundred    190,249.19   Department of Finance                        Yes
              Street, Dublin 2              senior posts in the Irish public sector by
                                             reference to jobs of a similar weight in the
                                             private sector in Ireland.
                                                                                                                                                                       Written Answers




      2007   Mercer Consulting             PSBB surveys of public service and private       349,301      Department of Finance                        Yes
                                             sector companies
      2007   Hay                           Hay Job Evaluation Project (Job Evaluation       262,166      Department of Finance                        Yes
                                            Exercise)
      2007   Hay Group (Ireland) Ltd.      PSBB surveys of public service and private       206,956      Department of Finance                        Yes
                                             sector companies
      Year              Contractor                          Purpose of contract                Payment                      Office   Has the Report
                                                                                                                                          been
                                                                                                                                      completed?

                                                                                                  \

      2007   The Reward Partnership           Parallel Benchmarking (Examination of pay of     151,554   Department of Finance       Yes
                                                craft workers in the Health and Local
                                                Authority sectors).
      2007   Jenny Smyth & Associates         PSBB surveys of public service and private       104,863   Department of Finance       Yes
                                                sector companies
                                                                                                                                                      Questions—




      2007   Indecon International Economic   Review of Section 481 Film Relief Scheme          92,112   Department of Finance       Yes
               Consultants
      2007   Life Strategies Ltd.             Pensions Study (PSBB and Review Body)             87,726   Department of Finance       Yes
      2007   Goodbody Economic                Review of exemption from taxation of royalties    59,532   Department of Finance       Yes
              Consultants                      or income derived from patents.
      2007   Ernst & Young                    Econometric Study of CSO National                 56,657   Department of Finance       Yes
                                                Employment Survey, 2003
      2007   PWC                              Risk Evaluation — Accountant’s Branch/PMGs        49,624   Department of Finance       Yes
              (PriceWaterhouseCoopers)
      2007   Hay Management Consultants       Review of remuneration of CEOs of                 47,795   Department of Finance       Yes




660
                                               commercial State bodies
      2007   Study of Potential Effects of    Goodbody Economic Consultants                     43,651   Department of Finance       Yes
                                                                                                                                                      11 December 2008.




               commencing S110 FA 2007
      2007   Indecon (Ireland)                Update of review of scheme of tax relief for      42,592   Department of Finance       Yes
                                               residential units associated with nursing
                                               homes.
      2007   Nifast                           Hazards and Risks Assessment (to provide a        22,750   Department of Finance       Yes
                                               hazards and risk assessment and safety
                                               statements for the Department’s Dublin
                                               Offices).
      2007   Horwath Consulting Ireland       Value for Money Review of Ordnance Ireland        19,201   Department of Finance       Yes
              Ltd. Petrus Consulting Ltd       (with respect to the the Grant-in-Aid
              performed an External            provided to the Ordnace Survey Ireland
              Evaluation of Horwath            which is used to part fund the OSI).
                                                                                                                                                      Written Answers




              Consulting Ltd. report.
      2007   Cornamona Health and Safety      Work Station Review in Tullamore                   7,800   Department of Finance       Yes
      2007   Safety Solutions Limited         Health and Safety audit of Tullamore offices       2,420   Department of Finance       Yes
      Year              Contractor                         Purpose of contract              Payment                       Office    Has the Report
                                                                                                                                         been
                                                                                                                                     completed?

                                                                                               \

      2008   Hay Group Ireland, Lr. Mount   Job evaluation of senior posts in the Public    114,344   Department of Finance         Yes
              Street, Dublin 2                Sector
      2008   Ernst & Young                  Study on the economic and budgetary              96,600   Department of Finance         Yes
                                              implications of a CCCTB
      2008   IPA — Institute of Public      Review of the Capacity of the Dept of Finance    50,000   Department of Finance         Yes
                                                                                                                                                     Questions—




               Administration
      2008   Petrus Consulting              Evaluation of value for money and policy          4,114   Department of Finance         Yes
                                              review on construction procurement reform
                                              initiative
      2007   Sogeti                         ICT Strategy Review                             120,758   Office of Public Works        No
      2007   Grant Thornton                 Cash Handling review                             42,354   Office of Public Works        Yes
      2007   Escat                          Security Audit                                   10,648   Office of Public Works        Yes
      2007   Professional Solutions Ltd.    Consultancy services                              3,912   Office of Public Works        Yes
      2008   CBRE                           Value for Money Review of Ptoperty               45,562   Office of Public Works        No




661
      2007   Wilson Hartnell Public         Public Relations Consultancy                     22,938   Ombudsman                     Yes
              Relations
      2007   Ita Mangan                     Communication Audit                              10,285   Ombudsman                     Yes
                                                                                                                                                     11 December 2008.




      2007   Delve Research                 Market Research                                   2,994   Ombudsman                     Yes
      2008   Open Interface                 Website Accessibility Audit                      12,705   Ombudsman                     Yes
      2008   Institute of Public            Risk Management                                  11,400   Ombudsman                     Yes
               Administration
      2007   Crowleys DFK                   Auditing Services                                18,270   Public Appointments Service   Yes
      2007   Dell Computer (Ireland)        IT Services                                       2,166   Public Appointments Service   Yes
      2008   WRC Social & Economic          Research Services                                30,000   Public Appointments Service   No
              Consultants Ltd
      2008   Crowleys DFK                   Auditing Services                                22,199   Public Appointments Service   Yes
                                                                                                                                                     Written Answers




      2008   Caveon Llc                     Specialist Testing Services                       8,609   Public Appointments Service   Yes
      2008   Dilucid Limited Consultancy    Research Services                                 7,260   Public Appointments Service   Yes
      Year              Contractor                         Purpose of contract               Payment                      Office     Has the Report
                                                                                                                                          been
                                                                                                                                      completed?

                                                                                                \

      2008   O Herlihy Access Consultancy   HR Services                                         908    Public Appointments Service   Yes
      2007   Deloitte consultants.          VFM Review of IT External Resources              118,580   Revenue                       Yes
                                             expenditure in 2006.
      2007   Frontend                       Revenue website accessibility-audit and advice    23,450   Revenue                       Yes
                                             on redesign strategy.
                                                                                                                                                      Questions—




      2007   Costello Commercial            Valution Advice                                   20,328   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   Niamh Brodie                   Valution Advice                                   16,500   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   IQ Content Ltd.                Review and report upon the Revenue website.       14,641   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   Polaris HR Ltd.                HR Consultancy                                    13,315   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   Gerry McMahon                  Valuation Advice                                   7,099   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   C. Moore & Associates          Independent Quality Assessment of the VFM          2,677   Revenue                       Yes
                                              Review of IT External Resources expenditure
                                              in 2006.
      2007   Carlisle Advisory Services     Fees for Advisory Services/Research                2,420   Revenue                       Yes




662
      2007   Enterprise Ireland             Technical advice on tariff classification          2,360   Revenue                       Yes
      2007   James Nash                     Advice on document analysis                         847    Revenue                       Yes
                                                                                                                                                      11 December 2008.




      2007   Psychological Consultancy      HR Consultancy                                      726    Revenue                       Yes
               Services Ltd.
      2008   Costello Commercial            Valuations                                        42,500   Revenue                       Yes
      2008   Market Research Bureau Ltd     Research Project Illegal cigarettes               24,845   Revenue                       Yes
      2008   Peter I Mitchell Phd Cphys     Radiation Protection Advisor                      12,000   Revenue                       Yes
      2008   Niamh Brodie                   Valuation opinion                                  8,100   Revenue                       Yes
      2008   C. Moore & Associates          Independent evaluation of the Value for            4,283   Revenue                       Yes
                                              Money & Policy Review of IT External
                                              Resources Expenditure in 2006
      2008   Cruickshank                    Technical Advice                                   2,370   Revenue                       Yes
                                                                                                                                                      Written Answers




      2008   Miscellaneous Small            HR Related Reports                                 1,370   Revenue                       Yes
              consultancies
      2008   Ballycotton Marine Serv        Maritime feasibility study                          700    Revenue                       Yes
      2008   Gerry McMahon                  Tech Consultany on tariff classification            663    Revenue                       Yes
      2008   O Herlihy Access Consult.      Design                                              450    Revenue                       Yes
      Year               Contractor                        Purpose of contract            Payment                      Office   Has the Report
                                                                                                                                     been
                                                                                                                                 completed?
                                                                                                                                                 Questions—




                                                                                             \

      2008   Darlington Consulting           Ergonomic Assessment                            436    Revenue                     Yes
      2007   Polaris                         Staff Mediation                               28,908   State Laboratory            Yes
      2007   Pat Firth                       Staff Mediation                               24,000   State Laboratory            Yes
      2007   Clare O’Meara                   Carrying out Internal Audit                   12,657   State Laboratory            Yes
      2008   Atkins Faithful & Gould         Review of Facilities Management contract       8,793   State Laboratory            Yes
      2008   Clare O’Meara                   Carrying out Internal Audit                    7,986   State Laboratory            Yes




663
      2007   Most Consultants                Recruitment Competency Consulatancy           32,616   Valuation Office            Yes
      2007   Amarach Consulting              Survey on Customer Charter — Independent      18,876   Valuation Office            Yes
                                               validation
                                                                                                                                                 11 December 2008.




      2007   Curley Smith                    Consultant advice on schedule of costs         4,235   Valuation Office            Yes
      2007   Price Waterhouse Coopers        Independent validation of Performance          2,420   Valuation Office            Yes
                                               Indicator
      2008   Amarach Consulting              Independent validation of customer charter    12,584   Valuation Office            Yes
      2008   Valuation Office Agency         Consultancy advice on quarries                12,349   Valuation Office            Yes
      2008   Tennyson Consultant Engineers   Consultant advice for Valuation Tribunal       4,538   Valuation Office            Yes
                                                                                                                                                 Written Answers
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                 Nursing Home Subventions.
  88. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the increased
high dependency subvention for nursing home patients that was due to start on 1 January 2008
has not been provided; if she will address this matter; and if she will back date the payment to
1 January 2008. [45688/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Maire Hoctor): I
                                                                              ´
assume the Deputy is referring to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal. The
legislation required in order to introduce the Scheme is complex and involved careful drafting
in order to ensure that the interests of older people requiring residential care are fully
protected.
  The Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008 was published on 9 October and the Minister
                                         ´
introduced it at Second Stage in the Dail on 13 November. It is intended to progress the
legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas with a view to implementing the scheme in
2009. The Bill provides for financial support under the new scheme to be backdated to the
date of the commencement of the Act for existing residents.

                                       Health Services.
  89. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will allocate
funding to an organisation (details supplied) in order that they can access a language line so
that victims of domestic violence who do not speak English can have access to their helpline
and support services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45789/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Mary Wallace): As this
is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                        Medical Cards.
  90. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her response to the
submission made to her by an organisation (details supplied) prior to budget 2009; if she will
address the financial problems amputees have as a result of unavoidable expenses such as the
cost of \10,000 for a prosthetic leg. [45797/08]

   108. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her response to a
submission from an organisation (details supplied) to address the financial problems faced by
amputees as a result of the cost of prosthetic limbs and other costs; and if she will make a
statement on the matter. [45796/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): I
propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 108 together.
  The pre budget submission sought the provision of medical cards to all amputees. I have no
plans to provide for the granting of medical cards to any particular group as a whole.
   Medical cards are made available by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to persons and
their dependants who would otherwise experience undue hardship in meeting the cost of
General Practitioner (GP) services. In general, eligibility for medical cards and GP visit cards
is determined following an examination of the means of the applicant and his/her dependants
(income and relevant outgoings).
  In assessing a medical card/GP visit card application, the HSE uses guidelines based on
people’s means which includes their income after tax and PRSI, and takes account of reason-
able expenses incurred in respect of rent or mortgage payments, childcare and travel to work.

                                               664
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


The assessment process also takes account of other factors, such as medical or social need,
which may impact on people’s ability to meet the cost of GP services.
   My Department is currently reviewing all legislation relating to eligibility for health and
personal social services with a view to making the system as fair and transparent as possible.
The Eligibility Review Team was established in my Department in 2005, to begin working on
a new legislative framework to provide for clear statutory provisions on eligibility for health
and personal social services. As part of this work the Department is reviewing the eligibility
criteria for the assessment of medical cards in the context of financial, medical and social need
in line with the commitment in Towards 2016 to clarify entitlement to a medical card. A
Steering Group has been established to carry out this work and is expected to complete its
work within the next few months.

  91. Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of
savings which a person can have before they are excluded from entitlement to a medical card;
and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45908/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Medical cards are made available
by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to persons and their dependants who would otherwise
experience undue hardship in meeting the cost of General Practitioner (GP) services. In
general, eligibility for medical cards and GP visit cards is determined following an examination
of the means of the applicant and his/her dependants (income and relevant outgoings).
  In assessing a medical card/GP visit card application for a person aged under 70, the HSE
uses guidelines based on people’s means which includes their income after tax and PRSI, and
takes account of reasonable expenses incurred in respect of rent or mortgage payments, child-
care and travel to work. The assessment process also takes account of other factors, such as
medical or social need, which may impact on people’s ability to meet the cost of GP services.
  The HSE’s guidelines provide that for persons aged under 70, saving are currently assessed
on the following basis: — The first \20,000 of savings/investments for a single person will be
disregarded and \40,000 for a couple will be disregarded. — The next \10,000 is assessed as an
income of \1 per week per \1,000. — The next \10,000 is assessed as an income of \2 per week
per \1,000. — Savings/Investments in excess of the above are assessed as an income of \4 per
week per \1,000.
  For persons aged 70 and over, the Government’s proposal, to be effected in legislation, is
that automatic entitlement to a medical card for this cohort will end on 31st December 2008,
and with effect from 1st January, 2009, the income thresholds for entitlement to a medical card
for those aged 70 and over will be \700 (gross) per week (\36,500 per year) for a single person
and \1,400 (gross) per week (\73,000 per year) for a couple. Persons whose income is above
the specified thresholds will have until 2nd March 2009 to advise the Health Service Executive
that their income is above those limits. After that date, their medical card will no longer
be valid.
  As part of the means test for persons aged 70 or over after 1st January 2009, any savings
and similar investments up to \36,000 (single) / \72,000 (couple) will be disregarded and only
interest from savings or similar investments above these figures will be considered as income
for means testing purposes.

                                Health and Safety Assessments.
  92. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children if a risk assessment
                                                665
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Michael Ring.]
(details supplied) has been carried out at locations; if these risks included ornamental fountains;
and the precautions that have been put in place as a result of these risk assessments. [45686/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): My Department has no water
fountains in any of its buildings. In December 2007, Health Buildings International (HBI) were
contracted by the Office of Public Works to carry out a Risk Assessment Survey on water
systems in Hawkins House. The survey was carried out with reference to all current legislation
and best practice guidelines and in accordance with Health and Safety Commission recom-
mendations contained within the document “Legionnaires’ Disease — The control of legionella
bacteria in water systems — Approved code of practice & guidance” (L8).
   The summary report indicated negligible risk but highlighted a number of recommendations
and requirements which were required to be carried out to ensure all risk systems meet a
standard of compliance with ACOP, L8. A number of remedial works have already been com-
pleted. The Department and the Office of Public Works are ensuring that the remainder of the
recommendations are carried out.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
  93. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff
in terms of whole time equivalents she has allocated within her Department to support the
Better Regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such
work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009;
and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45703/08]

   Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The concept of Better Regulation
is one to which my Department is wholly committed. Officers from my Department at Principal,
Assistant Principal and Administrative Officer level, as appropriate, have in 2008, as part of
their relevant responsibilities, attended meetings of the Inter-Departmental Group on Adminis-
trative Burden Reduction and the Regulatory Impact Analysis Network. Further, officials from
various sections in the Department have worked on a one to one basis with the RIA Network
in the preparation of certain legislation in support of the goal of achieving Better Regulation.
In a similar manner, the Department co-operates with the Statute Law Revision Project which
is also part of the Better Regulation agenda.
  Accordingly, since Better Regulation is seen as an ongoing process in my Department rel-
evant to everyone engaged in legislation and policy analysis and review rather than as a dedi-
cated function for a limited number of specific officers, it is not possible to reflect the human
and financial resources involved in a quantifiable manner as envisaged in the Deputy’s question.

                                        Health Services.
   94. Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of secur-
ity cover for the former Bon Secours Hospital in Tuam, County Galway since the site was
acquired by the Health Service Executive up to 1 December 2008; and if she will make a
statement on the matter. [45715/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Maire Hoctor): As this
                                                                           ´
is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

                               Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.
  95. Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a claim by a

                                                666
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


person (details supplied) in County Galway has not been processed together with a further
2000 outstanding claims under the nursing home repayment scheme which are awaiting verifi-
cation despite assurances that this process would be completed within a two year timeframe;
the further reason clients have not been advised in writing in relation to these delays; and if
she will make a statement on the matter. [45724/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The Health Service Executive has
responsibility for administering the Repayment Scheme and the information sought by the
Deputy relates to matters within the area of responsibility of the Executive. My Department
has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter
investigated and to have a reply issued to the Deputy.

                                        Health Services.
   96. Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is a developmen-
tal clinic for young infants available in the health centre, Loughrea, County Galway; the age
at which children are called for these assessments; and if she will make a statement on the
matter. [45726/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                               Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.
   97. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay
                   ´
in processing the claim for a person (details supplied) under the health repayment scheme; the
further reason an appeal lodged in September 2007 was not responded to; the average time for
the resolution of appeals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45742/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The Health Repayment Scheme
Appeals Office is an independent office established to provide an appeals service to those who
wish to appeal the decision of the Scheme Administrator under the Health (Repayment
Scheme) Act 2006. ΛThe Health Repayment Scheme Appeals Office received a completed
appeal form from the claimant referred to by the Deputy on 19 September 2007 and the
Appeals Officer commenced his investigations.Λ Unfortunately, the Appeals Officer had not
made a determination on this appeal by October 2008 when the patient’s son informed the
Appeals Office that the patient was deceased.
   While every effort is made to determine an appeal as soon as possible, the time taken to
resolve an appeal is dependent on the complexity of the appeal and whether any additional
reviews are required to be completed by the Health Service Executive or Scheme Adminis-
trator. The patient’s son was informed that the appeal would have to be withdrawn due to the
death of the patient and a ‘follow on’ claim would have to be submitted by the legal representa-
tive of the estate in compliance with the established legal framework governing the operation
of the scheme.
  The average completion time for an Appeals Officer’s decision is currently 102 calendar
days. A second Appeals Officer was appointed on 1 September 2008 to ensure that outstanding
appeals are processed as quickly as possible. It is regretted that it was not possible to process
this particular appeal prior to the death of the patient in order that she could benefit from any
repayment due.

                                                667
                 Questions—            11 December 2008.         Written Answers


                                   Vaccination Programme.
  98. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children when a child (details
                ´
supplied) in County Cork will receive their BCG immunisation; and if she will make a state-
ment on the matter. [45751/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                        Foster Care.
  99. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
children and teenagers with foster families here. [45756/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): The
September 2008 Performance Monitoring Report of the HSE includes the information that
there are 4,800 children and teenagers with foster families here.

                                      Health Services.
   100. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
children considered at risk here who are under the observation of the Health Service Execu-
tive. [45757/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): As
this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                   Health Service Offices.
   101. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of square
meters of unused office space or potential office space in the Health Service Executive estate
in County Donegal; and the number of metres of office space or potential office space unused
at St Conal’s Hospital Estate, Letterkenny, County Donegal. [45758/08]

 Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Office space in the Health Service
Executive estate in County Donegal is a service issue and the query has been referred to the
Executive for direct reply.

  102. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money
being spent on the renting and leasing of private property by the Health Service Executive in
each of the 26 counties on a county basis in tabular form. [45759/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                              Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.
  103. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a claim
by a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim under the nursing home repayment scheme
was refused; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45760/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                              668
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                               General Medical Services Scheme.
   104. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of general
practitioners who will retire year on year over the next five years; the plans in place to replace
these GPs in view of the fact that there is a lead-in time in excess of a year to fill a post; and
if she will make a statement on the matter. [45772/08]

   Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The number of General Prac-
titioners who are in active practice is some 2,500, of which some 2,100 are contracted by the
Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide services under the General Medical Services
(GMS) Scheme. General Practitioners (GPs) are self employed contractors and my Department
does not therefore collect the statistics sought by the Deputy. Accordingly, my Department
has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to examine this
matter and to provide the information which it has available directly to the Deputy.
   A joint Department of Health and Children / HSE working group on workforce planning
was established in June 2006. It also includes representatives of the Departments of Finance
and Education and Science, and the Higher Education Authority. Research is currently being
                   ´
undertaken by FAS on behalf of the joint working group. This research will analyse the labour
market for 12 healthcare grades and professions, including GPs, and will help determine future
                        ´
GP training needs. FAS is expected to complete its work in February 2009 when it will report
its findings to the joint working group.

                                         Hospital Staff.
  105. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of consult-
ants who will retire year on year over the next five years; the specialties in which these retire-
ments will take place; the plans in place to replace these consultants in view of the fact that
there is a lead-in time of in excess of a year to fill a post; and if she will make a statement on
the matter. [45773/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                        Health Services.
  106. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason public
health nurses in the north east are not doing dressings for patients who are medical card
holders; if it was not the purpose of the Health Service Executive to bring uniformity of service
to all people here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45792/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                      Child Care Services.
  107. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money
recouped from private child care providers in County Meath who received a grant to develop
and operate a child care facility and who subsequently ceased to operate; and if she will make
a statement on the matter. [45795/08]

  121. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the individual grants
given to private child care providers in County Meath from 2003 to date in 2008; and if she
will make a statement on the matter. [45826/08]

                                                669
                    Questions—             11 December 2008.             Written Answers


  122. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the private child
care facilities which received a grant in the period 2003 to 2008 in County Meath and which
no longer operate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45827/08]

  123. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the procedure for
recoupment of public moneys in County Meath when a private child care provider who has
received a public grant ceases to operate; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
[45828/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): I
propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 121 to 123, inclusive, together.
  As the Deputy is aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Prog-
ramme (NCIP) which has a total allocation of \575m, of which \358m is in respect of capital
funding, and \217m is in respect of current funding. The NCIP is the successor programme to
the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) which concluded at the end of 2007.
The EOCP was, and the NCIP is administered by Pobal on behalf of my Department.
  The status details in relation to 15 of the applicants is shown as “pre-contract”. In the first
ten of these cases, funding has been approved in principle, but the applicants are currently
undergoing a pre-contract process and no payments have been made to date. In the final five
of these cases, funding was approved in principle, but these applicants did not proceed to
contract and the approvals were formally decommitted. No payments were made in these cases,
and therefore the question of recoupment did not arise.
  In relation to the applicants shown under the heading “Decommitment of unspent/unpaid
funding”, the first applicant was approved a grant of \75,000, but only spent a total of \69,919.
The balance of \5,081 was formally decommitted but, as this amount had not been paid to the
applicant, the question of recoupment did not arise. The second applicant was approved a grant
of \1,175. This amount issued to the applicant, but was returned unspent. There was no recov-
ery process initiated.
  The decommittal and recovery of approved funding can arise where an applicant either does
not proceed to contract, or is in breach of contract.
   All applicants for funding under the EOCP and the NCIP were/are obliged to enter into a
contract with Pobal in relation to the provision of the childcare service. The contracts provide
that the facility must remain in operation for a certain number of years following receipt of the
final instalment of the grant. The number of years varies from two years to seven years,
depending on the amount of the grant approved, as follows:

                      EOCP                                                  NCIP

Up to \19,044                    2 years            Up to \30,000                          2 years
\19,045 – \36,821                5 years            \30,001 – \70,000                      5 years
\36,822 – \50,790                7 years            \70,001 – \100,000                     7 years


Until the final instalment of the grant is received, the provider is obliged to regularly report
and account for all expenditure incurred. Once this process has been concluded, the provider
is required to complete an annual Confirmation of Continued Service document until his or
her contractual obligations are fulfilled, i.e. for the requisite number of years as laid down in
his or her contract.
  Pobal would not normally be made aware of cases where a facility ceases to operate following
the completion of the provider’s contractual obligations. Therefore, Pobal is not aware of any
                                                  670
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.         Written Answers


private childcare providers in County Meath who received a grant to develop and operate
a childcare facility since 2003 and who subsequently ceased to operate within the term of
their contract.
  The following table provides details of the funding approved for 50 individual private child-
care providers in Meath since the beginning of 2003.




                                               671
                                          Private Providers Approved Childcare Funding in Meath 01 January 2003-08 December 2008

      Date Funding                              Applicant Name / Facility Name                              Status    Amount       Decommitment      Net Amount
       Approved:                                                                                                      Approved     (if applicable)    Approved

                                                                                                                          \                              \

       07/07/2006    Alison Hickey / NCIP Alison Hickey                                                Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000
       22/06/2005    Angel Faces Creche / Angel Faces Creche — Glen Abhainn                            Funding paid     35,000           n/a            35,000
       13/10/2005    Angel Faces Creche / Angel Faces Creche — Innwood                                 Funding paid     35,000           n/a            35,000
       13/10/2005    Bambinos Creche & Montessori / Bambinos Creche & Montessori                       Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
                                                                                                                                                                  Questions—




       07/07/2006    Coole Montessori School / NCIP Coole Montessori School                            Funding paid     33,750           n/a            33,750
       21/07/2003    Deanhill Montessori School / Deanhill Montessori School                           Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
       25/09/2006    Geri’s Montessori / NCIP Geri’s Montessori                                        Funding paid      3,750           n/a             3,750
       04/02/2008    Giraffe Childcare Ltd / NCIP Giraffe Childcare & Early Learning Centre (Navan)    Funding paid     40,000           n/a            40,000
       04/02/2008    Hopscotch Creche and Montessori Limited / NCIP Hopscotch Creche and Montessori    Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000
       04/02/2008    Karen Keane / NCIP Karen Keane                                                    Funding paid     45,000           n/a            45,000
       27/03/2003    Karen McGovern / Mother Hubbards Childcare (Blackcastle Demesne)                  Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
       07/03/2007    Karen McGovern / NCIP Mother Hubbards Creche (Flower Hill)                        Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000




672
       05/09/2003    Kentstown Montessori School / Kentstown Montessori School                         Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
       10/05/2006    Kidz of the Manor / NCIP Kidz of the Manor                                        Funding paid     58,650           n/a            58,650
                                                                                                                                                                  11 December 2008.




       25/09/2006    Lisa Mallan / NCIP Acorn Academy                                                  Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000
       07/07/2006    Mammy Day Care / NCIP Mammy Day Care                                              Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000
       15/12/2006    Marion Guckian / NCIP Kilcoon Preschool                                           Funding paid    100,000           n/a           100,000
       12/12/2005    Mornington Montessori Creche & Afterschools Club / Aspiration’s                   Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
       10/05/2006    Oasis Childcare Centre / NCIP Oasis Childcare Centre                              Funding paid     51,736           n/a            51,736
       15/12/2006    Pear Tree Cottage / NCIP Pear Tree Cottage                                        Funding paid     26,250           n/a            26,250
       10/06/2004    Rugrats Academy / Rugrats Academy                                                 Funding paid     50,790           n/a            50,790
       07/03/2003    Sandy’s Childcare Ltd / Sandys Nursery & Montessori Playschool (Dunshaughlin 1)   Funding paid     50,000           n/a            50,000
       21/01/2003    Sandy’s Childcare Ltd / Sandys Nursery & Montessori Playschool (Navan)            Funding paid     50,000           n/a            50,000
                                                                                                                                                                  Written Answers
                                   Private Providers Approved Childcare Funding in Meath 01 January 2003-08 December 2008 — continued

      Date Funding                              Applicant Name / Facility Name                                   Status    Amount     Decommitment      Net Amount
       Approved:                                                                                                           Approved   (if applicable)    Approved

                                                                                                                              \                             \

       24/03/2006    Scallywags Playgroup & Afterschool Service / NCIP Scallywags Playgroup & Afterschool   Funding paid     35,111         n/a            35,111
                       Service
       18/12/2006    Seagrave Montessori / NCIP Seagrave Montessori                                         Funding paid      9,750         n/a             9,750
       27/03/2003    Simonstown Preschool and Playschool / Simonstown Preschool and Playschool              Funding paid      8,532         n/a             8,532
                                                                                                                                                                     Questions—




       11/08/2006    Stamullen Academy of Childcare Ltd / NCIP Stamullen Academy of Childcare Ltd           Funding paid    100,000         n/a           100,000
       07/07/2006    The Belfry Creche & Montessori / NCIP The Belfry Creche & Montessori                   Funding paid     29,361         n/a            29,361
       15/06/2006    The Glebe Creche Limited / NCIP The Glebe Creche Limited                               Funding paid     47,072         n/a            47,072
       11/08/2006    The Kilberry School of Montessori / NCIP The Kilberry School of Montessori             Funding paid    100,000         n/a           100,000
       26/08/2004    The Montessori Story / The Montessori Story (Kells)                                    Funding paid     50,790         n/a            50,790
       10/05/2006    The Schoolhouse Montessori / NCIP The Schoolhouse Montessori                           Funding paid     37,331         n/a            37,331
       15/12/2006    Tir na Nog Highscope / NCIP Tir Na Nog Highscope                                       Funding paid    100,000         n/a           100,000
       16/10/2003    Tir Na nOg T/A. Clann Lir Childcare / Tir Na nOgT/A. Clann Lir Childcare               Funding paid     50,790         n/a            50,790




673
       25/09/2006    Tom & Anne O’Gorman / NCIP Elderdale Montessori & Afterschool                          Funding paid    100,000         n/a           100,000
       05/09/2003    Tom & Anne O’Gorman / Tom & Anne O’Gorman                                              Funding paid     50,790         n/a            50,790
                                                                                                                                                                     11 December 2008.




       14/01/2004    Windmill Nursery & Montessori School / Windmill Nursery & Montessori School            Funding paid     50,790         n/a            50,790
       18/10/2008    ACE Childcare Ltd / NCIP Ard Cluin Creche                                              Pre-contract    100,000         n/a           100,000
       26/04/2007    Aideen Newport / NCIP Aideen’s Cute ’n’ Clever Kids                                    Pre-contract    100,000         n/a           100,000
       18/10/2008    Care Bears Playgroup / NCIP Care Bears Playgroup                                       Pre-contract     11,388         n/a            11,388
       04/02/2008    Fiona Tierney / NCIP Fiona Tierney                                                     Pre-contract    100,000         n/a           100,000
       04/02/2008    Gortwella Creche / NCIP Gortwella Creche                                               Pre-contract    100,000         n/a           100,000
                                                                                                                                                                     Written Answers
                                          Private Providers Approved Childcare Funding in Meath 01 January 2003-08 December 2008 — continued

       Date Funding                                   Applicant Name / Facility Name                          Status        Amount        Decommitment      Net Amount
        Approved:                                                                                                           Approved      (if applicable)    Approved

                                                                                                                                \                               \

         04/02/2008      Hilltop Creche & Montessori / NCIP Hilltop Creche & Montessori                 Pre-contract         100,000              n/a         100,000
         18/10/2008      Kids Klubs / NCIP Kids Klubs                                                   Pre-contract         100,000              n/a         100,000
         18/10/2008      Little Acorns / NCIP Little Acorns                                             Pre-contract         100,000              n/a         100,000
         04/02/2008      Nicola Maguire / NCIP Little Buddies Playgroup & Montessori                    Pre-contract          90,000              n/a          90,000
                                                                                                                                                                         Questions—




         23/10/2006      Vickette Ltd. / NCIP The Willows Creche & Montessori                           Pre-contract          40,000              n/a          40,000

      Did Not Proceed to Contract:

         27/03/2003      June Fegan / Dolly Dimples                                                     Pre-contract          50,790            −50,790             0
         20/11/2003      Tir na nOg Childcare Service / Tir na nOg Childcare Service                    Pre-contract           6,455            −6,455              0
         25/09/2006      Yellow Furze Montessori School / NCIP Yellow Furze Montessori School           Pre-contract         100,000           −100,000             0
         15/12/2006      Anne Byrne / NCIP Buzzy Bees                                                   Pre-contract           3,000            −3,000              0
         07/03/2007      Jigsaw Creche Limited / NCIP Jigsaw Creche (Dunboyne)                          Pre-contract         100,000           −100,000             0




674
      Decommitment of Unspent/ Unpaid Funding Only:
                                                                                                                                                                         11 December 2008.




         25/09/2006      Rainbow Lane Limited / NCIP Rainbow Lane Limited                               Funding paid          75,000            −5,081         69,919
         25/09/2006      Forever Friends / NCIP Forever Friends*                                        Funding paid           1,175           In process       1,175

                         Applicants: 50                                                                 Totals:             3,282,001          −265,326     3,016,675
      *This applicant has returned its unspent funding paid to Pobal.
      Key:
      Pre-contract: Funding ‘indicatively’ approved only — no payments made to date.
      Funding paid: Some or all of the amount approved has been paid to the applicant concerned.
                                                                                                                                                                         Written Answers
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 90.

                                  Medical Aids and Appliances.
  109. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health
Service Executive will provide local minor repair services for hearing aids in County Louth;
and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45805/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                         Health Services.
  110. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she pro-
poses to take to counteract the adverse impact on dental patients of the halving of tax relief in
budget 2009 for patients who require non-routine dental treatments such as orthodontics, root
canal treatments and periodontal treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
[45810/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): My Department and the Health
Research Board periodically sponsor epidemiological studies aimed at assessing the oral health
status of the population. There is no evidence available to me at present to suggest that fiscal
policy decisions such as the one referred to by the Deputy will result in a deterioration in the
population’s oral health. I intend to publish shortly a National Oral Health Policy aimed at
delivering quality oral health services in a planned and cost effective way over the next ten
years.

                               Health Representative Organisations.
   111. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if the role of the
Irish Dental Association will be given essential recognition under the plans to amend the Com-
petition Act 2002 to allow for greater engagement with health representative bodies; and if she
will make a statement on the matter. [45811/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): My Department engages with the
Irish Dental Association on an ongoing basis in relation to a wide range of issues. I met with
the Irish Dental Association on the 15th November last where the issue of the Government’s
plans to amend the Competition Act 2002 was discussed. I am aware of the position of the
Irish Dental Association in relation to the Competition Act and I am keeping the matter
under review.

                                       Child Care Services.
  112. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the position of
the application by an association (details supplied) for funding under the National Childcare
Investment Programme 2006-2010 for a new and purpose built child care facility to include
pre-school and after school services. [45813/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): As
the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Prog-
ramme 2006 -2010 (NCIP), which will invest \575 million over 5 years, with \358 million of
this in capital grant aid for childcare services. I understand that the service in question has
applied for \430,000 in capital funding through its local County Childcare Committee. This
application is currently being assessed by Pobal, which is engaged to administer grants under

                                                 675
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.             Written Answers

  [Deputy Barry Andrews.]
the NCIP. Following Pobal’s assessment of the application it will be forwarded to the Childcare
Directorate of my Office for recommendation on funding. The service will then be notified of
the decision.

                                         Health Services.
  113. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children when a child (details
supplied) in County Longford will receive essential orthodontic treatment; and if she will make
a statement on the matter. [45814/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                               Services for People with Disabilities.
  114. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the funding allo-
cation for 2009 in respect of the disability sector following the diverting of \17 million from
this sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45816/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): Almost
\1 billion is provided each year to non-statutory providers of disability services. In line with
the efficiency measures being taken elsewhere in the health system, an efficiency reduction of
1% will be applied by the HSE to the allocations of non-statutory disability agencies for 2009.
   Under the Multi Annual Investment Programme additional funding of \75m was allocated
in both 2006 and 2007. In the 2008 Budget, \50m was provided to the Health Service Executive
(HSE) to fund a range of additional services under the Multi Annual Investment Programme
for Disability. Although the commencement of the planned developments in disability services
this year had been delayed due to a financial review, I am pleased to inform you that the
Executive has informed the Department of Health and Children that it is now in the process
of rolling out the planned developments. The HSE has indicated that due to the delayed start
to some of these developments, it expects to spend \33m of the \50m by the end of 2008. The
resulting \17m time related savings were included in this Department’s budgetary consolidation
measures announced to the House in July 2008.
  As the issue raised is a matter for the HSE it has been referred to the Health Service
Executive for direct reply.

  115. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans on behalf
of an association for persons with an intellectual disability (details supplied) in County Long-
ford, to ensure continued service to users of this facility in view of the cut in allocations paid
to non-statutory service providers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45817/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): As
this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

  116. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if the final tranche
of the multi-investment programme initiated in 2005, which amounts to \50 million, will be
delivered to the disability sector in 2009, the final year of the programme; and if she will make
a statement on the matter. [45818/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): An
additional \20 million for health and education services for children with special educational

                                                 676
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


needs was announced in Budget 2009. \10 million of this allocation will be to the Health Service
Executive (HSE), and \10 million to the Department of Education and Science, to enable the
services provided to children with special educational needs to be enhanced and strengthened,
as a first step towards the full implementation of the EPSEN Act, and of Part 2 of the Disability
Act for 5 to 18 year olds, at a later date.
   The additional \10m allocated to the HSE will provide for 125 additional therapy posts in
the disability and mental health services, targeted at children of school-going age. An additional
90 posts will be provided in the disability services area, to include speech & language therapists,
occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists for children’s disability services.
There will be 35 additional posts for the child & adolescent mental health services, including
clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech & language therapists and social workers
for new and existing multi-disciplinary teams. As the specific issue raised by the Deputy is a
service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

                                        Health Services.
  117. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide
funding to the Health Service Executive for the provision of an outpatient addiction treatment
centre for Waterford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45819/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As the Deputy’s question relates
to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

   118. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a health centre
(details supplied) in County Clare will be opened; if her attention has been drawn to the fact
that it is ready to be occupied and that the running costs are unlikely to be much more than
costs associated with running services in other inappropriate settings; and if she will make a
statement on the matter. [45821/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As the Deputy’s question relates
to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                   Clinical Indemnity Scheme.
  119. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress that
has been made in discussions aimed at including independent midwives in the State’s insurance
package; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45823/08]

   Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Historically the Irish Nurses
Organisation has facilitated a certain level of insurance cover to independent self-employed
community midwives who were members of that organisation. As and from 30th September it
withdrew this facility. I would like to emphasise that I support choice for women in childbirth.
However, the option of domiciliary births must only be provided in a safe and secure manner.
This was the key finding of the Expert Group on Domiciliary Births which reported in 2004.
The Health Service Executive established a National Implementation Committee, representa-
tive of all the stakeholders involved, to implement the recommendations of the report.
   Following extensive consultations, agreement has been reached for the extension of the
HSE’s cover, under the State’s Clinical Indemnity Scheme, to include self-employed community
midwives. This is subject to the signing by the individual midwife of a Memorandum of Under-
standing (MOU) with the Health Service Executive (HSE). The MOU is constructed on the
                                                677
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Mary Harney.]
basis of appropriate forms of governance, clinical supervision, clinical care pathway, perform-
ance management and audit frameworks being in place to ensure a safe system for home births.
  The new arrangements came into operation on 1st October 2008. These arrangements cover
those midwives who have signed the MOU with the HSE and provide a robust national clinical
governance framework which ensures that self-employed community midwives work closely
with the HSE, the HSE maternity services and voluntary maternity hospitals.

                                      Health Service Staff.
  120. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of occu-
pational therapists who have been recruited in 2008 to fill the estimated 183 unfilled posts at
the end of 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45825/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Almost 130,000 people work full-
time or part-time in our public health services. In recent years, the Government’s ongoing high
level of investment in health has achieved and maintained significant increases in the numbers
of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals employed in the public health services.
The Government has also invested heavily in the education and training of such personnel in
order to secure a good supply of graduates to provide for the healthcare needs of the population
into the future.
  Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the
responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is
a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the require-
ments of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the
public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

  Questions Nos. 121 to 123, inclusive, answered with Question No. 107.

                                        Health Services.
  124. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a response to
a proposal (details supplied) will issue. [45831/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                     Consultancy Contracts.
   125. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding
all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of
reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if she will provide
this information in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45854/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The information requested regard-
ing consultancy expenditure for the years 2007 and 2008 is set out in the following ocument, a
copy of which has issued directly to the Deputy.




                                                678
                                                                                    2007

      Count                            Consultant                                                      Contract Details                                  Expenditure (incl VAT)

                                                                                                                                                                    \

        1     Childrens Research Centre, Trinity College                 A Study of Intercountry Adoption Outcomes in Ireland.                                   188,194.00
        2     Collier Broderick Management Consultation Ltd              Engaged to carry out analysis of staff survey 2007 and report on the                     10,000.00
                                                                           findings.
        3     School of Public Health and Population Science, UCD        To conduct an All-Ireland Traveller Health Study.                                       349,000.00
        4     Carr Communications                                        To develop and implement a communications strategy for the                               48,400.00
                                                                                                                                                                                      Questions—




                                                                           announcement of a new initiative on Long Term Care for Older People.
        5     Colm Rapple, Economist and financial journalist.           To facilitate a one-day round table meeting on the financial abuse of older               3,000.00
                                                                           people.
        6     Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd                             Chairing Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body                                18,150.00
        7     Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd.                            Chairing Sustaining Progress Implementation Group on Alcohol Misuse                      18,150.00
        8     Dr Mark Morgan                                             To complete the Irish portion of the European School Survey Project on                   48,400.00
                                                                           Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD)
        9     SLAN 07 Consortium                                         To undertake National Health and Lifestyle Survey (SLAN 07)                             755,233.00
       10     NUI, Galway                                                To undertake Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study                      91,299.50




679
       11     Independent Review Group                                   Independent Clinical Review of Symptomatic Breast Care Services at            137,474.48 between Sept 2007
                                                                           Barrington’s Hospital, Limerick                                                    and March 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      11 December 2008.




       12     Dublin Institute of Technology                             Research commissioned on : The Physical Chastisement of Children by                      76,033.98
                                                                          Parents
       13     The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College            Research commissioned on: A follow up study on the educational and                       19,000.00
                                                                          Social Support experiences of Young People in Long Term Foster Care
       14     The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College            Research commissioned on: Public Library Services for Children and Young                 34,118.40
                                                                          People in Ireland
       15     The Centre for Bioethical Research and Analysis            Research commissioned on: Ethics Committees and Ethics Approval for                      21,583.80
                (COBRA), National University of Ireland, Galway           Children’s Research in Ireland
       16     School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College   Research commissioned on: A Study of Parent-Child Agreements and                         21,626.00
                                                                          Arrangements based on Court Records
                                                                                                                                                                                      Written Answers




       17     The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College            Research commissioned on: Child Protection Services in Ireland: An                       45,145.00
                                                                          Evaluation
       18     Dublin Institute of Technology                             Research commissioned on: Services and Supports for Children on Remand                   29,986.67
                                                                          in Ireland
                                                                              2007 — continued

      Count                           Consultant                                                       Contract Details                              Expenditure (incl VAT)

                                                                                                                                                               \

       19     The School of Psychology and The Children’s Research        Research commissioned on : Children’s Perspectives on Parenting Styles              10,200.00
                Centre, Trinity Collegeand The Dublin Institute of         and Discipline
                Technology
       20     Economic and Social Research Instituteand Children’s        Research Commissioned on : National Longitudinal Study of Children in            4,825,290.21
                Research Centre, Trinity College                           Ireland (NLSCI)
                                                                                                                                                                              Questions—




       21     Dr. Satya Brink,DirectorHuman Resources Development         International expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of              12,496.10
               Canada                                                       Children in Ireland Steering Group
       22     Professor Ann SansonNetwork CoordinatorAustralian           International expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of               6,220.26
                Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Melbourne         Children in Ireland Steering Group
       23     Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG                                         ´
                                                                          Report on Youth Cafe Provision                                                      31,511.42
       24     Cnag ar an Doras Consultancy and Life Coaching              Service to evaluate and facilitate the Children and Young People’s Forum            12,152.00
       25     Cnag ar an Doras Consultancy and Life Coaching              Project management of consultations on alcohol misuse including                     30,093.00
                                                                            preparation of the report.
       26     Cnag ar an Doras Consultancy and Life Coaching              Evaluate the Comhairle na nOG Development Fund programmes and                        9,680.00




680
                                                                            submit periodic reports to OMC Communications and Participation Team
                                                                            Management.
       27     Liz Harper                                                  Evaluation of Children and Young People’s Forum 2005 — 2007.                        12,000.00
                                                                                                                                                                              11 December 2008.




       28     Liz Harper                                                                 ´        ´
                                                                          Evaluation of Dail na nOg Council.                                                   5,000.00
       29     National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)                                                           ´       ´       ´       ´
                                                                          Service to manage operate and develop Dail na nOg and Dail na nOg                  311,173.00
                                                                            Council including report of event.
       30     Professor John Pinkerton, Queens University BelfastDr Pat   The consultants were requested to produce a concise and clear children’s            11,946.00
                Dolan, Dr John Canavan, NUI Galway                          policy for the Office of the Minister for Children — The Agenda for
                                                                            Children’s Services
       31     Fitzpatricks Associates, Economic Consultants               Value for Money Review of the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme               30,443.00
       32     Raymond Burke Consulting                                    Quality Assessment of the Value for Money Review                                     2,995.00
       33     Teri Garvey                                                 Facilitator engaged to manage work days for complementary therapist                 14,000.00
                                                                            organisations and to produce a short report for the Department
                                                                                                                                                                              Written Answers




              Total                                                                                                                                        7,239,994.75
                                                                                                 2008*

          Count                                 Consultant                                                          Contract Details                               Expected Cost in 2008 (incl
                                                                                                                                                                            VAT)

                                                                                                                                                                                \

             1         School of Public Health and Population Science, UCD            Travellers Health Study                                                                 593,000.00
             2         Dr Mark Morgan                                                 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD)                        24,151.00
             3         Mr Peter Cassells Consulting Ltd                               Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body                                         18,150.00
             4         Accenture                                                      Knowledge Strategy on Children’s Services                                                84,700.00
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Questions—




             5         Tom Considine                                                  Study on HSE Accounting Practices — Tom Considine                                        54,450.00
             6         Tender process underway                                        Review of the Nursing Degree Programme                                                         Nil
             7         Professor Brendan McCormack                                    Review and Analysis of Initiatives and Literature in relation to Practice                15,000.00
                                                                                       Development in the Irish Healthcare setting
             8         National University of Ireland                                 Children as Carers — A study of the extent to which children undertake                   43,390.00
                                                                                        inappropriate care roles
             9         Tender process underway                                        Evaluation of Home Care Packages                                                               Nil
            10         PA Consulting Group                                            Analysis for Regulatory impact Assessment on Nursing Home Standards                      80,000.00




681
            11         Collier Broderick Management Consultants                       External Stakeholders Survey, 2008                                                       24,199.50
            12         Dublin Institute of Technology                                 Research commissioned on: the Physical chastisement of children by                       50,689.00
                                                                                       parents
                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 December 2008.




            13         The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin        Research commissioned on: A follow up study on the educational and                       14,250.00
                                                                                       social support experiences of young people in long term foster care
            14         Economic and Social Research Institute                         Research commissioned on: National Longitudinal Study of Children in                  5,109,227.00
                                                                                       Ireland (NLSCI)
            15         Dr Satya Brink, HR Development Canada                          International Expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of      Value of contract is fixed at a
                                                                                        Children in Ireland (NLSCI)                                               per diem rate and overall cost
                                                                                                                                                                  is dependent on the extent of
                                                                                                                                                                     the service requested and
                                                                                                                                                                              provided
            16         Professor Ann Sanson, Network coordinator, Australian          International Expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of      Value of contract is fixed at a
                         Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Melbourne            Children in Ireland (NLSCI)                                               per diem rate and overall cost
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Written Answers




                                                                                                                                                                  is dependent on the extent of
                                                                                                                                                                     the service requested and
                                                                                                                                                                              provided

      *Information relating to 2008 is the expected spend in each consultancy for this year, based on figures supplied up to the end of September, 2008.
                                                                                          2008* — continued

          Count                                 Consultant                                                          Contract Details                              Expected Cost in 2008 (incl
                                                                                                                                                                           VAT)

                                                                                                                                                                               \

            17         Mr Jeremy Neathey, Associate Director of Research              International Expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of     Value of contract is fixed at a
                        Economic and Social Research Council, UK                        Children in Ireland (NLSCI)                                              per diem rate and overall cost
                                                                                                                                                                 is dependent on the extent of
                                                                                                                                                                    the service requested and
                                                                                                                                                                             provided
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Questions—




            18         Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG                                            ´
                                                                                      Report on Youth Cafe Provision                                                          26,043.00
            19         Cnag ar an doras, Consultancy and Life Coaching                Service to evaluate and facilitate the Children and Young Peoples Forum.                12,804.00
                                                                                        Reports of evaluation submitted to OMC Communications and
                                                                                        Participation Team Management
            20         Cnag ar an doras, Consultancy and Life Coaching                Service to evaluate OMCYA Inclusion Programme to include provision of                   15,307.00
                                                                                        reports
            21         Cnag ar an doras, Consultancy and Life Coaching                Project Management of consultation on teenage mental health issues                      36,935.00
                                                                                        including preparation of report
            22         Cnag ar an doras, Consultancy and Life Coaching                Evaluate the Development Fund programmes and submit periodic reports                    19,602.00




682
                                                                                        to OMC Communications
            23         Liz Harper                                                     Evaluation of Dail na nOg Council                                            7,500 estimated expected
                                                                                                                                                                  amount in 2008 (incl. 3,250
                                                                                                                                                                                                   11 December 2008.




                                                                                                                                                                         paid to date)
            24         Liz Harper                                                     Facilitation of OMC Inclusion Programme.                                       6,000 to date in 2008
            25         National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)                       Service to manage, operate and develop Dail na nOg and Dail na nOg         363,513 total expected amount
                                                                                        Council incl. report of event                                               to spend in 2008 (incl. of
                                                                                                                                                                  101,173 paid to date in 2008)
            26         Queen’s University, Belfast                                    Economic analysis in the context of developing a National Oral Health                   25,000.00
                                                                                        Policy
            27         Tender process to commence shortly                             ICT analysis of DTBS and DTSS systems in the context of developing a                    15,000.00
                                                                                        National Oral Health Policy
            28         York Health Economics Consortium                               Commission to establish a 35 hour week for nurses and midwives                         137,895.00
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Written Answers




                       Total                                                                                                                                               6,776,805.68
      *Information relating to 2008 is the expected spend in each consultancy for this year, based on figures supplied up to the end of September, 2008.
                   Questions—              11 December 2008.             Written Answers




                                        Ambulance Service.
  126. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied
that the ambulance fleet throughout the country has been adequately updated and modernised
in terms of vehicles, equipment, staff and staff training; and if she will make a statement on
the matter. [45863/08]

   143. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of ambul-
ances attached to the Kildare-west Wicklow area of the Health Service Executive; the location
at which they are stationed; the number of ambulance personnel within the same area and base
to which they are attached; the position of the control base for all of the ambulances and the
mechanism of control; the linkage with other HSE areas; if there is a link with such areas for
emergency cover or ordinary everyday operations; if so, the cover that is maintained within
the Kildare-west Wicklow area on such occasions; and if she will make a statement on the
matter. [45917/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos.
126 and 143 together.
  As the issues raised are service related, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                          Health Services.
  127. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to
which her Department has identified specific funding for orthodontics; if this is expected to
meet requirements in terms of a reduction in waiting lists; and if she will make a statement on
the matter. [45864/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

                                Services for People with Disabilities.
  128. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
children born in each of the past ten years affected by autism or Asperger’s syndrome; the
degree to which research has been undertaken to identify possible cause or causes on a county
or regional basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45865/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): The
position as outlined in my Department’s responses to the Deputy’s PQs Ref No 322 and 323
of 30th September 2008 and Ref No 279 of the 25th November 2008 has not changed in the
interim in respect of these matters.

                                         Hospital Staffing.
  129. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the degree to
which agency nursing staff are utilised in the public and private hospital sectors; and if she will
make a statement on the matter. [45866/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As the question asked by the
Deputy in so far as it refers to the public hospital sector is a service matter it has been referred
to the HSE for direct reply. Information on the utilisation of agency nursing staff in the private
hospital sector would not be a matter for my Department or the HSE.

                                                  683
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


                               Accident and Emergency Services.
  130. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied
regarding the availability of adequate accident and emergency staff at all locations throughout
the country over the next 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45867/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

                                        Cancer Incidence.
  131. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to
which she has received or sought information which might indicate the level of various forms
of cancer on a county or regional basis; if any such comparisons have been made with previous
years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45868/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Statistics in relation to cancer
incidence are collated by the National Cancer Registry. My Department has asked the Director
of the Registry to examine this matter and to reply directly to the Deputy.

                                        Hospital Services.
  132. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
cystic fibrosis patients who received transplants here in the past 12 months; the number referred
overseas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45869/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

                                 Cancer Screening Programme.
   133. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to
which laboratory facilities to meet all expected requirements are available here without refer-
ring same overseas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45870/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I assume the Deputy is referring
to the cytology laboratory provider for CervicalCheck, the National Cervical Screening Prog-
ramme. The contract was awarded to Quest Diagnostics earlier this year. As this is a service
matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

                                        Health Services.
  134. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to
which the health budget for 2009 is expected to meet requirements in full to the end of 2009;
and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45871/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I approved the National Service
Plan for the Health Service Executive on Tuesday and I have laid it before both Houses. In
approving the Plan I emphasised the necessity for the HSE to operate within the limits of its
voted allocation in delivering at a minimum the levels of service which are provided for in
the plan.
  In broad terms the Plan outlines that the HSE will deliver the same activity in 2009 as in
2008. In order to deliver the level of services it is committing to, the HSE will be reconfiguring
many front line services. This is in keeping with the overall strategic direction as set out in the

                                                684
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


HSE Corporate Plan 2008-2011 and includes: conversion of inpatient work to day case work,
a focus on reducing inpatient length of stay in acute hospitals, reduction of in-patient bed
numbers and associated costs and the provision of more services in community settings, thus
reducing the dependency on in-patient beds.
   The vote of the Executive was determined in the context of the fiscal challenges facing the
country. In framing the vote the Government has provided an additional \950m to meet service
pressures, including \120m to deal with pressures arising from demographic trends, such as
increased birth rates and increased numbers of older people. However the Government has
also required the Executive to undertake a range of cost saving measures and value for money
initiatives of \323m in order to fund the increased level of expenditure in 2009.
  With regard to pay I have allocated funding to meet the full year cost of the national pay
award introduced in September of this year. However, in line with Government’s overall
approach no additional funding has been allocated in respect of the pay award due in
September next year. I have requested the Executive’s Board to submit a detailed plan to
deliver sufficient savings in pay and overhead costs which have no impact on front line services
to enable this award to be paid.
  In addition to the measures I have just outlined I have also allocated a further \55m to
enable the Executive to implement the ‘Fair Deal’ initiative as well as \15m to further develop
cancer services and \10m for services for people with disabilities.
  The current position regarding the public finances demands the most careful control of public
expenditure. This requires all of those working within the HSE and the agencies it funds to
control costs and seek to get the most from existing budgets. I am satisfied that the level of
funding for the HSE will, through effective budgetary management and changes in service
delivery, enable it to maintain and improve overall service provision and allow for key devel-
opments in line with the Government’s priorities.

                                  Hospital Accommodation.
  135. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent to
which comparisons have been made regarding bed occupancy in the public and private sector;
and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45872/08]

  137. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
hospital beds available to the health services in the public and private sector; the way this
compares with the number available over the past 20 years; and if she will make a statement
on the matter. [45874/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos.
135 and 137 togehter.
  The latest available comparable national data on average bed numbers in the public acute
hospital sector relates to the period 1993 to 2006. This information is set out in the following
table. Equivalent information for the period prior to 1993 is not available. This information
has been provided to the Department of Health and Children by statutory health agencies and
hospitals. These figures refer to the average number of beds available over each year, taking
beds that have been temporarily closed or opened into account. It is important to note that the
number of beds available in any hospital may fluctuate over time depending on service demands
and other factors such as seasonal closures and refurbishment.
  The table shows an increase over the 1993-2006 period of in excess of 2,100 beds (including
day places) in public acute hospitals.

                                               685
                     Questions—                 11 December 2008.               Written Answers

  [Deputy Mary Harney.]

  The Programme for Government includes a commitment to provide an additional 1,500
public acute hospital beds. In this context, the co-location initiative which I announced in July
2005 aims to make available approximately 1,000 additional acute beds for public patients
through the transfer of private activity from public hospitals to co-located private hospitals.
The balance will be made available through the Health Service Executive’s capital programme.
  Neither my Department nor the Health Service Executive routinely collects bed numbers or
patient activity data in relation to the private acute hospital sector. Furthermore the nature
and scope of the services provided in these two sectors differs considerably and would not
easily allow for meaningful comparison of bed occupancy rates.
              Publicly Funded Acute Hospitals Average number of beds available for use 1993-2006

                                     53 HSE Network Acute Hospitals only

                                                                                   Totals

                         1993                                                      11,417
                         1994                                                      11,498
                         1995                                                      11,652
                         1996                                                      11,719
                         1997                                                      11,730
                         1998                                                      11,685
                         1999                                                      11,731
                         2000                                                      11,905
                         2001                                                      12,145
                         2002                                                      12,497
                         2003                                                      12,713
                         2004                                                      13,015
                         2005                                                      13,346
                         2006                                                      13,528
Notes (i) Figures refer to the average number of beds available for use over the year taking beds that were tempor-
arily closed or opened into account.



   136. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of
extra public hospital beds expected to become available to co-location; and if she will make a
statement on the matter. [45873/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The aim of the acute hospital co-
location initiative is to make available approximately 1,000 additional public acute hospital
beds for public patients by transferring private activity, with some limited exceptions, from
public acute hospitals to co-located private hospitals. Co-location is considered the quickest
and least expensive means of providing significant additional bed capacity for public patients.
No capital outlay is required as the beds in the public hospitals are already in place, having
been funded by the Exchequer.
   Significant progress has been made on the co-location initiative. The Board of the HSE has
approved preferred bidder status for the development of co-located hospitals at Beaumont,
Cork University, Limerick Regional, St James’s, Sligo and Waterford Regional Hospitals. Pro-
ject Agreements for the first four of these projects have been signed. Planning permission was
                            ´
granted by An Bord Pleanala for the Beaumont project in November 2008. The decision of An
             ´
Bord Pleanala is awaited in the case of the Cork and Limerick projects, where planning has
                                                       686
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.        Written Answers


been granted and appealed. An application for planning permission in respect of the St James’s
project is expected to be made shortly. Preparatory work in relation to the Project Agreements
for the two remaining projects is proceeding. Two further projects at Connolly and Tallaght
Hospitals are at earlier stages of the tendering process.

  Question No. 137 answered with Question No. 135.

                                        Cancer Incidence.
  138. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamen-
tary Question No. 420 of 8 July 2008, if she has given further consideration to conducting a
baseline health study in the Cobh area of County Cork; and if she will make a statement on
the matter. [45904/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Earlier this week my colleague
the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government published the report on
the assessment of current site conditions at the former Irish Steel facility at Haulbowline. The
report was compiled by Environmental Consultants who were engaged by the Minister earlier
this year to carry out an independent and rigorous assessment of site conditions. The assess-
ment involved analysis of soil, slag, dust, surface and ground water samples for all likely con-
taminants to determine whether there is a threat to human health or the environment and to
assist in securing the site from a health and safety perspective pending the Government’s
decision as to its future use.
   The report from this assessment will inform subsequent discussions at Cabinet level and I
understand that the Minister will bring a Memorandum to Government in the New Year for
decisions on whatever actions are shown to be necessary including the question of any studies
in regard to human health.

                                  Nursing Home Subventions.
  139. Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children when persons (details
supplied) in County Roscommon will be considered for the new nursing home scheme.
[45911/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The Nursing Homes Support
Scheme Bill 2008 was published on 9 October and the Minister introduced it at Second Stage
        ´
in the Dail on 13 November. It is intended to progress the legislation through the Houses of
the Oireachtas with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009.
  Only after the legislation has been enacted, and the scheme commenced, can the Health
Service Executive begin to consider applications under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme.
Existing nursing home residents in public or approved private nursing homes, and new entrants
to public and approved private nursing homes, will be able to apply for State support.
  In order to become approved for the purposes of the scheme, a private nursing home must:

  (a) be registered under the Health (Nursing Homes) Act 1990 at present and, in the future,
      under the Health Act 2007 (once the relevant sections are commenced),

  (b) have agreed a price for the purposes of the scheme with the National Treatment Purchase
      Fund (NTPF),

  (c) hold a valid tax clearance certificate.

                                                 687
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


                                  Departmental Expenditure.
  140. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children her estimate of the
                  ´ ´
annual cost to the Exchequer of providing each carer with a needs assessment every year, every
two years and every three years. [45912/08]

  141. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children her estimate of the
                 ´ ´
annual cost to the Exchequer of providing a free medical check to each carer. [45913/08]

  142. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children her estimate of the
                  ´ ´
annual cost to the Exchequer of providing in-home respite for a week to each carer. [45914/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Maire Hoctor): I pro-
                                                                      ´
pose to take Questions Nos. 140 to 142, inclusive, together.
  I am very conscious of the important role of carers, particularly family carers. However, as
there are no plans to introduce these three initiatives referred to by the Deputy, the Depart-
ment has not carried out an exercise to estimate the potential cost of introducing them.

  Question No. 143 answered with Question No. 126.

                                        Medical Cards.
  144. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position of a medical
card application in respect of a person (details supplied)in County Kildare; and if she will make
a statement on the matter. [45918/08]

  Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): As this is a service matter it has
been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

                                 Nursing Home Subventions.
  145. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the money which
she had made available in the 2009 Estimates for implementation of the nursing home support
scheme; if it will be funded on a demand led basis from the date of its introduction; the number
of months she expects this budget to cover for the scheme; and the planned commencement
date. [45919/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Maire Hoctor): Budget
                                                                            ´
2009 provided \55 million for the implementation of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme next
year. This brings the total funding in the subhead for long-term residential care in 2009 to \909
million. However, the timeframe for commencement of the scheme will be contingent upon
the passage of the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas and the successful nego-
tiation by the National Treatment Purchase Fund of agreed prices for the scheme Within this
context, and the operation of subhead B16 during 2009, I anticipate that the Scheme will
commence during the second half of 2009.
  The existing requirement on the HSE, under the 1970 Health Act as amended, to make
available long-term residential care is subject to the overall resources available to the HSE.
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme will also incorporate a resource limit and will not be
demand-led. Each year the Government will have the opportunity to allocate whatever
resources it considers appropriate to meet the needs of applicants under the Scheme. This will
ensure there is an incentive to seek value for the taxpayer when agreeing prices for nursing
home places in both public and private nursing homes. It will also highlight the need to avoid

                                                688
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


inappropriate admissions to long-term care and the importance in that context of continuing
to develop and fund alternative community- based support services.

                                Airport Development Projects.
   146. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport if, in line with the improved
standards for value for money, he will approve an independent cost benefit analysis of Dublin
Airport’s proposed parallel runway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45673/08]

  Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA)
operates under a clear commercial mandate and its capital investment programme, including
the proposed new parallel runway, is entirely funded from its own internal resources.
  Proposals in relation to the development of Dublin Airport are, in the first instance, a matter
for the DAA, which has statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop the airport
and to provide such facilities and services as it considers necessary for aircraft and passengers.
Accordingly, the application of a cost benefit analysis or other appropriate appraisal in relation
to the new runway is a matter that falls within the responsibility of the management and board
of the DAA, operating within its commercial mandate.

                                         State Airports.
  147. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport his views on a fairer scheme
(details supplied) whereby the economic value of all airports is recognised; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45685/08]

  Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): I would again refer the Deputy to my reply
                           ´
to his previous question (Dail Question No. 81) answered on 4 December, 2008. The basis on
which the scheme operates was dictated by the need to comply with the relevant mandatory
EU guidelines. A scheme on the lines outlined by the Deputy would not be in compliance with
those guidelines.

                                  Departmental Expenditure.
   148. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff in terms of
whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the Better Regu-
lation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such work to
date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45706/08]

  Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): Work in my Department on better regu-
lation is an integral part of the functions of a number of staff in my Department and, hence,
there are no full-time dedicated staff or budgets allocated to that function. All Divisions in the
Department are aware of their obligations to conduct regulatory impact assessments when
preparing legislative proposals. Each division takes its own decision on whether a full regulatory
impact analysis is required. Each division is also responsible for preparing draft regulatory
proposals and transposing EU directives which are settled by the Office of the Parliamentary
Counsel and for reducing administrative burdens where possible. Information notes on EU
Commission proposals are prepared by line divisions for the Joint Committee on European
Affairs. The legal services unit co-ordinates the monitoring of transpositions and attends the
Inter-Departmental Co-ordinating Committee on EU Affairs to report on the Department’s
progress in relation to the transposition of EU directives. The Department also has a full-time
legal advisor and a legal network to advise and assist staff on legal issues.

                                                689
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                          Road Safety.
   149. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the reason he signed on 14
September 2008, Statutory Instrument No. 366 of 2008, in view of the potentially disastrous
effect this could have for business here in the distribution of goods throughout the island of
Ireland; the number of other EU countries which have such severe restrictions on distribution
vehicles within their respective jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45770/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Transport (Deputy Noel Ahern): The vehicle height
limit of 4.65 metres was introduced in the interests of public safety and the protection of costly
road and rail bridge infrastructure from accidental damage by high vehicles, and was made
following a very extensive public consultation process and prior notification to the European
Commission. With a limit of 4.65 metres, I am satisfied that the objective of bringing about a
higher level of safety consistent with the competitiveness of Irish trade and industry will be
achieved. A maximum vehicle height limit applies in most European countries.

                                Airport Development Projects.
   150. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the
provision of an airport for the midlands regions and in particular the extension of an airstrip
at Abbeyshrule Aerodrome, Abbeyshrule, County Longford to facilitate improved accessibility
to the midlands to promote investment, employment opportunities and growth in tourism; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45809/08]

  Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): The existing network of State airports and
regional airports is adequate to cater for the air transport needs of all parts of the country for
the foreseeable future. Accordingly, I have no plans to develop any new airport in the midlands
region. The long-standing policy of my Department is that private interests may develop air-
ports in whatever location they wish, as long as the requirements of the Irish Aviation Auth-
ority are met and planning permission is secured.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
   151. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding all con-
tracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of reports of
any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he will provide this
information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45857/08]

   Minister for Transport (Deputy Noel Dempsey): The information requested by the Deputy
is contained in the following table:




                                                690
                            Consultant                         Cost                                Report                        Status of Report (i.e. whether report is completed and
                                                                                                                                                   implemented etc)

                                                                 \

      Dom Hegarty                                              18,876    A review of funding arrangements for Long Mile          Completed and implemented.
                                                                          Road Junction
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                            59,986    Value for Money Review of Traffic Management            Completed and being implemented
                                                                          Grants
      Petrus Consulting                                         2,904    Independent Review of above Review                      Completed and being implemented
      Community Transport Association of Ireland Ltd            2,500    Study into development of Cross-Border Transport        Completed and implemented
                                                                                                                                                                                          Questions—




                                                                           Service
      Ann Frye Ltd                                            4,548.31   Peer Review of Transport for All                        Completed
      Configure Ltd                                            36,663    Doors checks on selection of domestic Passenger Ships   Completed and being implemented
      PA Consultants                                         85,486.50   Report on the cost of motor insurance premiums for      Report completed and findings published in June
                                                                          young drivers which was undertaken on foot of a         2008.
                                                                          commitment given by the Government in the Social
                                                                          Partnership Agreement ‘Towards 2016’
      Warren Estates auctioneers                                1,210    Valuation-South quay, Wicklow                           Completed
      Baker Tilly O’Hare                                        6,050    Updates and monitoring of Dundalk 21 October 2005       Completed




691
      Richard Hooper                                           18,000    Bremore report                                          Completed
      Deloitte and Touche                                      20,570    Review on audited accounts for port companies           Completed
                                                                                                                                                                                          11 December 2008.




      INDECON (Ireland)                                       157,550    Dublin Port Study                                       Ongoing due for completion 2009
      Danwood                                                  4,4250    Print Management / Efficiency Report for the            Draft report delivered.
                                                                           Department
      Colin Buchanan & Partners Ltd                          26,550.34   Cycle Study for Navan                                   Report is completed.
      Colin Buchanan & Partners Ltd                            45,913    National Cycling Policy                                 Report is completed.
      Contractauditline                                        82,825    Closure audits of EU-funded projects under the          Completed. Follow-up in progress.
                                                                           ESIOP for the Department of Transport
      Phoenix Safety, The Digital Hub,10-13 Thomas Street,   10,698.13   Preparation of a mandatory safety statement for the     Completed
        Dublin 8,Ireland.                                                  four Marine Survey Office around the country.
      Sogeti Ireland Ltd, Hardwicke House, Upper Hatch       80,066.10   Development of an IT Vision for the Marine Safety       Completed and implemented
                                                                                                                                                                                          Written Answers




        Street, Dublin 2                                                  Sector
      Consultavia                                              68, 804   Auditing, technical and commercial advice services to   Ongoing
                                                                          the Irish Coast Guard for its Helicopter Service
      M. Aherne & Associates                                   22,675    Accommodation and technical advice for Irish Coast      Completed
                                                                          Guard Coordination Centres
                            Consultant                                Cost                               Report                            Status of Report (i.e. whether report is completed and
                                                                                                                                                             implemented etc)

                                                                        \

      Eagle Lyon Pope                                                 44,175      Technical advice on Emergency Towing Vessel              Being Prepared
                                                                    70,059*       Article 4 verification checks on EU co-financed public   Completed
                                                                                   transport projects under the ESIOP 2000-2006
      Raymond Burke Consulting                                         3,265      Independent External Evaluation of the Expenditure       Completed
                                                                                    Review of the Subvention paid to CIE´
      Deloitte Touche                                                285,000      Cost and Efficiency review of Bus Eireann & Bus          Final Report due shortly
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Questions—




                                                                                    ´
                                                                                    Atha Cliath
      Mr. Pat Butler S.C.                                             33,275      Report of the Public Inquiry into the Cork-Midleton      Completed & implemented
                                                                                   Railway Order application
      Caplin Meehan                                                14,217.50      Financial Audit of cohesion funded rail network track    Completed
                                                                                    and signalling project
      Risk Solutions Ltd                                        119, 198 ex VAT   Value for Money review of the second Railway Safety      Report to be finalised December 2008
                                                                                   Programme
      Petrus Consultants                                        2,887.50 ex VAT   External Evaluation of Value for Money Review of         Report to be finalised December 2008
                                                                                    the Second Railway Safety Programme




692
      Goodbody Corporate Finance / Matheson Ormsby                 1,347,165      Report and advice relating to procuring facility         Ongoing
       Prentice / Mott MacDonald                                                   management operator for Terminal Two at Dublin
                                                                                   Airport
                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 December 2008.




      Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd                                  30,250      Consultancy relating to the Cork Airport debt            Complete
      INDECON (Ireland)                                            67,979.98      Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme Review for              Complete
                                                                                    regional airports
      Steer Davies Group                                             179,358      Ongoing appraisal audits                                 Ongoing
      Booz & Co.                                                     197,226      Ongoing implementation Audits                            Ongoing
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                                  105,320      Business Case review programme of Transport 21           Ongoing
                                                                                    projects
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                                   27,823      Review of Department of Transport Common                 Ongoing
                                                                                   Appraisal Framework Guidelines
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                                    6,196      Drafting of Department of Transport Post project         Ongoing
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Written Answers




                                                                                   review guidelines
      Drury Communications Ltd                                        74,643      Information & communications strategy for Transport      Completed.Implementation ongoing
                                                                                    21

      Note: invoice for expenses incurred over period of contract due shortly.
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers




                                  Departmental Expenditure.
  152. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the
number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to
support the Better Regulation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in
support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the
budget for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45704/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The Deputy will
appreciate that the work of the Better Regulation group has, by definition, a systemic effect
on how my Department goes about the business of developing policies and legislation —
primary and secondary — and negotiating EU instruments within my functional area. As the
group’s work must, by its very nature, become an integral part of these processes and the
general public policy formation process within my Department, it is not possible to isolate the
staffing and financial resources involved in the manner requested by the Deputy. In light of
my Department’s extensive programme of criminal and civil law reform, however, the resources
consumed in meeting our obligations in this respect are significant.

                                     Asylum Applications.
   153. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when
a decision will be made on the application by a person (details supplied) for subsidiary protec-
tion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45783/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on 3 December 2004. His application was refused following consider-
ation of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the
Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act
1999, as amended, the person concerned was informed by letter dated 30 March 2007 that the
Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of him. He was given the options,
to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the
making of a deportation order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the
reasons he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. In addition, he was notified of
his entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in the State in accordance with the European
Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person
concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection in the State in accordance with
these regulations. This application is under consideration at present. When consideration of
this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the
outcome. In the event that the subsidiary protection application is refused, the case file of the
person concerned, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section
3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, as
amended, on the prohibition of refoulement. When this latter consideration has been com-
pleted, the file is passed to me for decision.

                                    Liquor Licensing Laws.
  154. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the
proposals he has to stop below cost selling of alcoholic drink; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45785/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The problem of
below-cost selling and special promotions of alcohol was examined by the Government Alcohol

                                                693
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Dermot Ahern.]
Advisory Group. The group’s consideration of these matters is outlined in paragraphs 3.54 to
3.65 of its report. The group did not recommend measures to address below-cost selling due to
the difficulty of enforcing such proposals. It was not clear on whether such measures would
contradict EU trade provisions. The group recommended in paragraph 3.62 of its report
measures to control promotional practices which encourage the excessive consumption of
alcohol. Section 16 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 implements the group’s recom-
mendations in this regard by providing for the introduction of regulations relating to the sale,
supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor. The regulations are required to be notified in
draft form to the European Commission under the EU technical standards directives. This
notification process takes a minimum of three months. Following the enactment of the 2008
Act, I approved the drafting of regulations to prohibit a licensee from selling or supplying
intoxicating liquor at a reduced price or free of charge on the purchase of a quantity of alcohol
as provided for at section 16(1)(b). The use of loyalty cards or bonus points in connection with
alcohol sales is also prohibited. These draft regulations, which were drawn up in consultation
with the Department of Health and Children and the Office of the Attorney General, have
recently been notified to the European Commission.

                                     Asylum Applications.
  155. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a
decision will be made on a family reunification application for persons (details supplied) in
County Kildare. [45788/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I refer the Deputy
to my answers to Question No. 1213 of 30 January 2008 and Question No. 131 of 9 October
2008. I am informed by the immigration division of my Department that a family reunification
application was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in May 2002. A decision
was issued in January 2005. A review of that decision was carried out in 2005. Following the
review, the person in question was notified that the original decision was upheld. A new appli-
cation for family reunification was received from the person in December 2007. This application
was forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under
section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The investigation has been completed and the com-
missioner has forwarded a report to my Department. The report will be considered by my
Department and a decision on the application will issue in due course.

                                   Citizenship Applications.
  156. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the
reason for refusing an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in
Dublin 8; if he will relay these reasons in writing to the person concerned; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45798/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): An application for
a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy’s Question was received
in the Citizenship Section of my Department on 13 December, 2005. I decided to refuse this
application and the applicant was informed of my decision by way of letter dated 20
November, 2008.
  In reaching that decision, I exercised the absolute discretion as provided for by the Irish
Nationality and Citizenship Acts. The said Acts do not provide for a formal process of appeal
of my decision to refuse naturalisation. However, I am obliged to make the reasons for my

                                                694
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


decision available to the applicant under the provisions of Section 18 of the Freedom of Infor-
mation Act (FOI), 1997. I understand that the applicant submitted a request under the FOI
Act for records held by my Department in this matter and a decision on that request was
communicated to him on 25 November, 2008. If, following an examination of the copy of his
case file, the applicant considers that my decision has been based on incorrect or incomplete
information, it is open to him to seek a review of that decision.

                                        Waste Disposal.
   157. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his
attention has been drawn to the fact that a piece of land (details supplied) in Dublin 8 owned
by his Department is subject to illegal dumping; the way he will rectify this problem; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [45799/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I am grateful to
the Deputy for bringing this matter to my attention and I have asked the Irish Prison Service
to take any action required in order to address it. I am informed that an inspection will be
carried out in the near future to determine what further measures are needed to prevent the
activities in question.

                                   Citizenship Applications.
  158. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he
will confirm that the waiting period for the processing of applications for naturalisation is 28
months from date of receipt; if so, if he has proposals to reduce this timeframe to a more
reasonable waiting period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45802/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): There are currently
15,600 applications for naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department that are
awaiting a decision. The number of applications which were made more than 18 months ago is
6,400 and of these 30% (1,900) are on hold awaiting a response from the applicant and 44%
(2,800) are awaiting a response from other statutory bodies as part of the normal applications
checking process.
   Following the recent decentralisation of the Citizenship Division to Tipperary Town, substan-
tial resources have been made available to it in order to reduce backlogs and provide a better
quality service to all applicants. This has had a positive impact on processing times and the
average time from application to decision for the generality of valid applications is now at 23
months. A significant number of applications are initially found to be invalid for a variety of
reasons and these are now being dealt with and returned to the applicant within a week. More
complicated cases can at times take more than the current average while an element of straight
forward cases are now being dealt with in less than that time scale. It is expected that this will
progressively improve over the coming year and the Division is currently commencing further
processing of applications received in mid 2007.
  The Deputy will appreciate that there is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that
can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves
the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to
persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

                                    Public Order Offences.
  159. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he
will support a matter in an area (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [45804/08]

                                                695
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I am informed by
the Garda authorities that the location referred to by the Deputy is in Clontarf Garda Sub-
District. While at present no complaints in respect of the location are the subject of Garda
investigation, any such complaints received would be the subject of investigation.
  A member of the local Community Policing Unit is allocated to this area and liaises with the
local community. An active Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is in place, and the community
Garda attends its regular meetings. Any issues raised are attended to.
  The area is subject as directed by local Garda management to regular patrols by uniform
and plain clothes units, including the Community Policing Unit. Patrols are supplemented by
the District Garda Mountain Bike Unit, Detective and Drugs Units, the Divisional Crime Task
Force and the Traffic Corps.
   Current policing policy in the area is predicated on the prevention of crime, including crimes
of violence against persons and property, the prevention of public order offences and the
maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of the quality of life of the
residents. This strategy is, and will continue to be, central to the delivery of the policing service
in this area.

                                       Garda Investigations.
   160. Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the
efforts to bring to justice the killers of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45829/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The investigation
                                                                                ´    ´
into the killing of the individual in question is active and ongoing. An Garda Sıochana is leading
the investigation, which has a significant cross-border element. Liaison with the Police Service
of Northern Ireland was established at the outset of this investigation, and the Garda continues
to receive comprehensive assistance from the PSNI. To date fourteen individuals have been
arrested in connection with this investigation; seven of these in this jurisdiction, and seven in
Northern Ireland. The House can be assured that everything will continue to be done to bring
the perpetrators of this brutal crime to justice.

                                       Garda Deployment.
  161. Deputy Tony Gregory asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further
to Parliamentary Question Nos. 161 of 19 November and 182 of 26 November 2008, if he will
expedite a reply to question 182 from the Garda authorities in view of a recent murder (details
supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45836/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The death of Mr
O’Kane is deplored by all right thinking people and our sympathy is with his family and friends
as well as the community in East Wall. Recent developments in the case preclude me from
making any further comment on it at this time.
  I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that members of the local Community
Policing Unit have attended over twenty meetings with various groups representing the East
Wall area including the East Wall Residents’ Association. Individual residents from the East
Wall area have also attended meetings of the North Inner City Community Policing Forum,
the meetings of which are held in Store Street Garda Station and have also met with local
                                               ´
Garda Management. Additional patrols by Gardaı and other special initiatives targeting various
                                                 696
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


criminal activities, based on analysis of recorded crime and crimes trends, are addressing any
                                                ´   ´
issues brought to the attention of An Garda Sıochana in the specific area referred to.
                                         ´
  As I have outlined above, the Gardaı and the local community in East Wall work closely
together and I believe that this tragic incident will reinforce their determination to continue
working together.
   The Deputy will appreciate that dealing with public disorder is an issue on which cooperation
                     ´
between the Gardaı and the local community is vital. That is why I am proceeding with the
roll out of the joint policing committees, following its successful pilot phase. As part of this
pilot, a committee was established in the Dublin City Council area, and further sub-committees
in each of the city’s five areas. These committees enable local authority representatives and
                        ´
officials and the Gardaı, with the participation of Oireachtas members and community interests,
to get together in a structured way to discuss matters affecting the policing of the area. I believe
that this approach has great potential.
  The situation in the East Wall area will be kept under close review and the policing needs
of this area will be fully considered by the Commissioner within the overall context of the
needs of Garda stations throughout the country.

                                     Consultancy Contracts.
  162. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the
position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants for the preparation
of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; if he will provide
this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45855/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): In the time avail-
able it has not been possible to compile the full and accurate detail of the information sought
by the Deputy. When I have the information to hand I will respond to the Deputy.

                                       Residency Permits.
  163. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when it is expected an application for residency will be concluded in the case of a person
(details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45879/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on 11 February 2002. His application was refused following consider-
ation of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the
Refugee Appeals Tribunal.
   Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the
person concerned was informed, by letter dated 14 May 2003, that the Minister proposed to
make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within
15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation
Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be
allowed to remain temporarily in the State.
   Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and these represen-
tations will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended)
and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement, before
the file is passed to me for decision.

                                                 697
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


  164. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when it is expected that residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County
Cork will be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45880/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned arrived in the State on 26 February 2004 and applied for asylum. Her application was
refused and a Deportation Order was signed in respect of her on 15 November 2005. Judicial
Review proceedings challenging the Deportation Order were instituted on 20 December 2005.
These proceedings were determined on 18 January 2008 and the reliefs sought were refused by
the High Court. Costs were awarded in favour of the Respondents on the 29 January 2008.
  The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection pursuant to the
European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 S.I. No. 518 of 2006 (’The
Regulations’) on 13 February 2007. She was informed on 22 February 2007 that her application
was invalid as the Deportation Order had been made in respect of her prior to the coming into
force of the Regulation on 10 October 2006. Judicial Review proceedings challenging this
decision were instituted on 4 May 2007.
  These Judicial Review proceedings were settled following the Judgment of Mr. Justice
Feeney in the cases of Hila & Djolo, where he determined that under Regulation 4(2) of the
European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 S.I. No. 518 of 2006 that
I have discretion to accept and consider applications for Subsidiary Protection from persons
who do not have an automatic right to apply but who have identified new facts or circumstance
which demonstrate a change of position from that which pertained at the time the Deportation
Order was made.
  Subsequently the person concerning submitted an application pursuant to Regulation 4(2)
of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 S.I. No. 518 of
2006 on 23 November 2007, requesting that I exercise discretion to accept and consider an
application for Subsidiary Protection. Following a consideration of the material submitted it
was concluded that the applicant had established no grounds which would enable me to exercise
discretion under Regulation 4(2). The person concerned was notified of my decision on 18
March 2008. Judicial Review proceedings challenging the Regulation 4(2) decision were
instituted on the 8 April 2008 and are still on going and as the matter is sub judice, I do not
propose to comment further.

                                       Visa Applications.
  165. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if
he will review the application for a visa in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45881/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): My Department
has no record of a visa application for the person detailed. However, following contact by my
officials with the Deputy’s office, I can inform the Deputy that on 21 November 2007, a family
member of the person concerned applied for a ‘join parent’ visa. This was refused by the Visa
Officer on 5 December 2007 for a number of reasons:

  1. There was insufficient documentation submitted in support of the application;

  2. Documentation submitted was not translated;

  3. There was no evidence of finances shown;

                                                698
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


  4. It is not general policy to grant a visa to dependent family members over the age of 18,
     to join or visit persons granted residency/residing in the State.

  5. The immigration history of the applicant.

The applicant lodged an appeal on 15 January 2008. The decision of the Visa Officer was
upheld by the Appeals Officer on 25 January, 2008. The only option now available to the
applicant is to make a fresh visa application. Comprehensive information regarding visa appli-
cations can be found on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service at
www.inis.gov.ie.

                                     Deportation Orders.
  166. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County
Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45882/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I refer the Deputy
to the reply given to his Parliamentary Question No. 229 on Thursday 15 May 2008. The status
of the person concerned remains as set out in that reply.

                                   Citizenship Applications.
  167. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when consideration of an application for citizenship will be concluded in the case of a person
(details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45883/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): An application for
a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy’s question was received
in the Citizenship Section of my Department on 20 August 2003. On examination of the appli-
cation it was determined that the person concerned did not meet the statutory residency
requirements as set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. A letter
informing the applicant of this was issued on 25 October 2005. It is open to the individual
concerned to lodge a new application if and when she is in a position to meet the statutory
residency requirements.

                                      Residency Permits.
  168. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when it is expected that an application for residency or citizenship will be concluded in the
case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45884/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on 16 April 2003. His asylum application was refused following
consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on
appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immi-
gration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 16 August
2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given
the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of con-
senting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister
setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State.
                                                699
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Dermot Ahern.]

   Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and these represen-
tations will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended)
and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement, before
the file is passed to me for decision.

                                     Deportation Orders.
  169. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if
he will review the deportation order in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45885/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned arrived in the State on 2 February 2007 and applied for asylum on 7 February 2007.
His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee
Applications Commissioner, and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.
   Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, the
person concerned was informed, by letter dated 4 March 2008, that the Minister proposed to
make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within
15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation
Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be
allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why he should not be deported.
  I should also mention that a person who has been refused refugee status and has been served
with a notice of intention to deport is, since 10 October 2006, afforded a fourth option, viz. to
apply for Subsidiary Protection pursuant to the European Communities (Eligibility for
Protection) Regulations, 2006 — Statutory Instrument No. 518 of 2006. By correspondence
dated 22 April 2008, an application for Subsidiary Protection was made on behalf of the person
concerned by his legal representative. Following consideration of the information submitted,
the application was refused. The person concerned and his legal representative were notified
of this decision by letter dated 2 September 2008.
  His case was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended,
and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended, on the Prohibition of Refoulement.
Consideration was given to representations submitted on his behalf by his legal representative
for permission to remain in the State. On 30 October 2008, I refused permission to remain
temporarily in the State and instead signed a Deportation Order in respect of him. Notice of
this order was served by registered post requiring the person concerned to present himself at
the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 on Tuesday 25
November 2008 in order to make travel arrangements for his removal from the State. The
person concerned presented as required and is due to present again on Thursday 18
December 2008.
  I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum, for temporary
leave to remain in the State and for Subsidiary Protection, together with all refoulement issues,
were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport him is justified.
The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and
remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is, and remains,
an operational matter for the GNIB.

                                   Citizenship Applications.
  170. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

                                                700
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


the basis on which a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 can re-apply for citizenship; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45886/08]

   Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The Irish National-
ity and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute
discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory
conditions are fulfilled. These conditions are that the applicant must:

   • be of full age;

   • be of good character;

   • have had a period of one year’s continuous residency in the State immediately before
     the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period,
     have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years;

   • intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation;

   • have made, either before a Judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner
     as the Minister, for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of
     fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

In the context of naturalisation, certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These
include:

   • periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain
     in the State;

   • periods granted for the purposes of study;

   • periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning
     of the Refugee Act, 1996.

It is open to the person concerned to lodge a new application if and when she is in a position
to satisfy the statutory requirements applicable at that time.

                                      Residency Permits.
  171. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when it is expected to determine the residency application in the case of a person (details
supplied) in Dublin 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45887/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on the 30th March 2000. Her application was refused and a Deport-
ation Order was made in respect of her on the 28th October 2003. The person concerned
instituted Judicial Review proceedings on the 1st March 2004 challenging the decision to make
a Deportation Order in respect of her. Her Leave application to apply for Judicial Review was
granted on the 7th May 2004. These proceedings were determined on the 8th October 2008 in
the High Court where the Court quashed the applicant’s Deportation Order having adjudged
that there had been an error in the consideration which led to the signing of that Order.
   Arising from that High Court Judgement, the case of the person concerned falls to be con-
sidered anew pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended. As part of that
process, a representative of my Department will be writing to the person concerned in the
                                               701
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Dermot Ahern.]
coming days to invite her to submit, within a specific timeframe, any representations which she
would wish to have considered before a final decision is made in her case.
  The Deputy can be assured that any such representations will be fully considered under
Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996,
as amended on the prohibition of Refoulement, before the file is passed to me for a decision.

  172. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when it is expected that a residency or family reunification application in the name of a person
(details supplied) in County Kildare will be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45888/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I refer the Deputy
to my previous answers to Questions Nos. 1213 and 131 put down for answer on 30th January
2008 and 9th October 2008 respectively.
  I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that a Family Reunification
application was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in May 2002 and that a
decision was issued in January 2005. A review of that decision was carried out in 2005 and
following the review the person in question was notified that the original decision was upheld.
  A new application for Family Reunification was received from the person in question in
December 2007. The application was forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner
for investigation as required under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The investigation has
been completed and the Commissioner has forwarded a report to my Department.
   The report will be considered by my Department and a decision on the application will issue
in due course.

   173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the position in relation to an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied)
in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45899/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I would refer the
Deputy to the detailed Reply I gave to his recent Parliamentary Question, No. 135 of Thursday,
23 October 2008, in this matter.
  The position in the State of the person concerned is as set out in that Reply.

  174. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
when the residency process is expected to be concluded in the case of a person (details
supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45900/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I would refer the
Deputy to the detailed Reply I gave to his recent Parliamentary Question, No. 113 of Thursday,
27 November 2008, in this matter.
  The position in the State of the person concerned is as set out in that Reply.

  175. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the current or expected status in the application for residency in the case of a person (details
supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45901/08]

                                                702
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person referred
to by the Deputy applied for asylum on 21 July 2008. The claim was assessed by the Refugee
Applications Commissioner who concluded that the person concerned did not meet the criteria
for recognition as a refugee. The Commissioner’s recommendation was communicated to him
by letter dated 15 August 2008. This communication advised the person of his entitlement
to appeal the Commissioner’s recommendation to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, which he
duly did.
   The Refugee Appeals Tribunal considered the person’s appeal, following which the Tribunal
affirmed the Commissioner’s earlier recommendation to reject his claim. The outcome of the
appeal was made known to the applicant by letter dated 14 November 2008.
   In accordance with normal procedures, the applicant’s file was forwarded to my Depart-
ment’s Ministerial Decisions Unit for final processing of the asylum claim. A letter will issue
to him from my Department formally advising him that his asylum claim has been rejected and
affording him three options as follows:

  1. Return home voluntarily

  2. Consent to the making of a deportation order, or

  3. Make written representations to me within 15 working days for temporary leave to remain
     in the State and/or make an application for subsidiary protection under the European
     Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (SI No. 518 of 2006)

  176. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the current or expected status the application for residency in the case of a person (details
supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45902/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): It is not the practice
to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.
  As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by
an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and
the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice,
Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.
  A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of
the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal,
as appropriate.

  177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the current or expected status in the application for residency in the case of a person (details
supplied) in Dublin 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45903/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on 27 September 1999. His application was refused following con-
sideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal,
the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.
  Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the
person concerned was informed, by letter dated 27 November 2002, that the Minister proposed
to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised
within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a
                                               703
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Dermot Ahern.]
Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why
he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were received on his
behalf. Following consideration of his case, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999
(as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of
refoulement, a Deportation Order was signed in respect of the person concerned on 22
December 2004. Notice of this Order was served by registered letter dated 17 February 2005
requiring the person concerned to present himself to the Garda National Immigration Bureau
(GNIB) on a specified date in order to make travel arrangements for his deportation from the
State. The person concerned presented on the specified date as required and was given further
presentation dates by the GNIB.
  The person concerned, through his legal representative, requested the Minister to review the
decision not to allow to him permission to remain temporarily in the State in view of new
information which had come to hand. Following consideration of this new information the
Deportation Order was affirmed and the legal representative of the person concerned was
notified of this by letter.
   The person concerned, again through his legal representative, subsequently submitted a
request under Regulation 4 (2) of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regu-
lations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006) seeking the permission of the Minister to consider an appli-
cation for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with those Regulations which came
into force on 10 October 2006. Following consideration of the information submitted, the appli-
cation was refused. The person concerned and his legal representative were notified of this
decision by letter dated 21 November 2008. The person concerned was also required to present
himself at the GNIB on Thursday 4 December 2008 in order to make travel arrangements
for his removal from the State. He presented as required and is due to present again on 8
January 2009.
  The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and
remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational
matter for the GNIB.

                                    Asylum Applications.
  178. Deputy Sean Barrett asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status
                 ´
of an application from a person (details supplied) in Dublin 18 for leave to remain here on
humanitarian grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45906/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The person con-
cerned applied for asylum on 23 October 2003. His application was refused following consider-
ation of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the
Refugee Appeals Tribunal.
   Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the
person concerned was informed, by letter dated 12 July 2005, that the Minister proposed to
make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within
15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation
Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be
allowed to remain temporarily in the State.
   Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and these represen-
tations will be fully concerned, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended)
                                               704
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement, before
the file is passed to me for decision.

                                       Residency Permits.
  179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
the progress to date in the matter of an application for residency in the case of a person (details
supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45910/08]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I refer the Deputy
to Parliamentary Question No. 836 of Tuesday, 8 July 2008 and the written Reply to that
Question.
   The person concerned applied for asylum on 21 April 2006. Following investigation by the
Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, it was established that the person concerned
had previously made an asylum application in France and, as such, in accordance with the
provisions of the Dublin II Regulations, it was determined that his asylum claim should be
examined by the French authorities. This determination was upheld following an appeal to the
Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Consequently, a Transfer Order was signed in respect of the person
concerned, on 1 August 2006, obliging him to present himself at the Offices of the Garda
National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), on 22 August 2006, to make arrangements for his
transfer to France. The person concerned ‘presented’ as requested on this occasion and a flight
was arranged for his formal transfer on 30 August 2006. However the person concerned
‘evaded’ his transfer and thus became illegally present in this State. The person concerned
continued to evade his transfer to France with the consequence that the Transfer Order expired
and Ireland became responsible for processing his asylum application. At this point, in early
2008, the person concerned was admitted into the asylum process in this State. The person
concerned was invited to attend for interview at the Offices of the Refugee Applications Com-
missioner on 21 January 2008 but failed to attend as required. Therefore, in accordance with the
provisions of Section 13 (2) of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended), the Refugee Applications
Commissioner refused him a declaration of refugee status.
   Based on the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, and in accord-
ance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person
concerned was informed, by letter dated 11 June 2008, a copy of which was sent to his legal
representative, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He
was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily,
of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Mini-
ster setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. In
addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in
accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I.
No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned did not respond to my Department’s letter dated 11
June 2008.
  The case file of the person concerned will now be considered under Section 3 (6) of Immi-
gration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the
prohibition of refoulement. When this consideration has been completed, the file is passed to
me for decision.

                                      Human Rights Issues.
                ´ ´
  180. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding
                            ´
                                                705
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

            ´ ´         ´
  [Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl.]
the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; the initiatives taken by him or his European counter-
parts to secure her release; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45683/08]

  Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheal Martin): Aung San Suu Kyi remains under
                                               ´
house arrest following the decision of the military junta in Burma on 27 May to extend her
detention for a further year.
  At that time I condemned the decision of the Burmese authorities and called on them to
rescind the order and to release her immediately. I said that her release would be a humani-
tarian gesture to a woman who has spent more than 12 of the last 18 years in detention without
charge, and would provide real substance and significance to the regime’s professed goal of a
return to civilian democratic government in the country.
  I have since repeated this call on a number of occasions, including in my address to the
United Nations General Assembly on 29 September and most recently following the imposition
on 11 November of prison sentences of up to 65 years on a number of respected political
activists in Burma.
   Ireland remains committed to helping the Burmese people in their struggle for justice,
democracy and development. In pursuit of this goal, the Government has engaged in diplomatic
activity at Ministerial and senior official level with Burma’s neighbours and in international
fora. I welcome in this regard the fact that the Asia-Europe (ASEM) Summit on 24/25 October,
which was attended by the Taoiseach, adopted a very positive position on the Burmese
situation. The support of countries in the Asia region is crucial to a resolution of the problems
in Burma.
  EU Foreign Ministers last discussed Burma at their meeting on 10 November. We called
again for the lifting of restrictions placed on political parties in Burma and the early release of
those under detention. We also stated our view that the elections scheduled in Burma for 2010
will have no credibility unless all political prisoners are released unconditionally, in particular
Aung San Suu Kyi, and a political process is initiated with the support of the United Nations
on the basis of an inclusive, long-term dialogue in which the opposition and ethnic groups can
participate fully.
   We also reaffirmed our firm and unconditional support for the UN Secretary-General’s Mis-
sion of Good Offices and welcomed his renewed personal commitment to ending the current
deadlock. In this context, I welcome the statement made by the Secretary General at a press
conference on 5 December that he is ready to visit Burma whenever he can have reasonable
expectations that his visit will be productive and meaningful.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
   181. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of staff in
terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the Better
Regulation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such work
to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45702/08]

  Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheal Martin): I am fully committed to achieving the
                                              ´
goals set out in the Action Plan for Better Regulation and believe that improvements in regu-
lation can have a positive impact on the quality of engagement between the public and
Government.
                                                706
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  Most of the legislation brought forward by my Department does not impact significantly
on the regulatory environment. Regulatory Impact Assessments are, however, carried out on
appropriate legislation.
  The cost of implementing and supporting Better Regulation is difficult to quantify in terms
of staff numbers or specific budgets, as these obligations fall into much of the day to day work
of a number of sections within my Department. The Departmental Co-ordination Unit, which
has a staff of six, is responsible for the overall co-ordination of Better Regulation issues, among
many other responsibilities. The Legal Division within my Department also has an important
role to play in this area. The actual assessment of Regulatory Impact on a particular piece of
legislation is carried out by the policy section bringing forward that legislation. There is no
separate budget line maintained by my Department for Better Regulation.

                                        Foreign Conflicts.
 182. Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contacts he is
maintaining in a respect of the worsening situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a state-
ment on the matter. [45830/08]

   Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheal Martin): The worsening situation in Zimbabwe
                                              ´
is a cause of grave concern. For several years, the people of Zimbabwe have been the victims
of state violence, economic chaos and the collapse of basic social services such as health and
education. Most recently, due to the mismanagement of water and sewerage facilities, a major
cholera epidemic has developed. With almost 14,000 cases of cholera reported since 1 August
and nearly 600 deaths from the disease, the Zimbabwean health system has no resources to
cope. In addition, as a result of drought, the disruption caused by violence and a lack of
basic agricultural inputs which farmers can no longer afford, many Zimbabweans are facing a
catastrophic food shortage. The UN believes that the number dependent on food aid will reach
5 million, more than half the population, in January 2009.
   The international community is responding to these crises by supporting the UN and non-
governmental organisations in work aimed at improving conditions for the Zimbabwean
people. In response to the outbreak of cholera, the European Commission has allocated more
than \9 million to the UN and NGOs active in Zimbabwe to support water and sanitation
initiatives and the provision of essential medicines. In total the EU Commission has provided
more than \500 million in direct support to the population of Zimbabwe since 2002. Ireland
has contributed approximately \25 million in aid to the affected people in the period 2006 to
2008 (to date). In recent weeks, Irish Aid has contributed a further \500,000 to the UN in
respect of humanitarian work in Zimbabwe, and \100,000 to Goal to support its work in
response to the cholera outbreak.
   Substantial political change is urgently needed to bring Zimbabwe back on to a path to
stability, peace and economic growth. Despite the appalling violence against supporters of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) since the relatively free elections of March 2008,
Morgan Tsvangirai has maintained his willingness to work with Zanu-PF in a unity government.
However almost three months after the 15 September power-sharing deal was signed, there is
little or no hope that a new unity government will be in place soon. The MDC can only
represent the interests of Zimbabwe’s people effectively in government if Zanu-PF honours its
commitments under the power-sharing agreement. The refusal of Zanu-PF to allocate the two
key Ministries which are most crucial for reform — Finance and Home Affairs –to the MDC
is a clear demonstration of bad faith on the part of Robert Mugabe.
                                                707
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers

               ´
  [Deputy Micheal Martin.]

  The failure of regional leaders to press Mugabe to take the necessary steps to make a unity
government workable is extremely disappointing. While recent talks in South Africa between
ZANU-PF and the MDC agreed on a constitutional amendment , it is clear that constitutional
change will not be enough to allow a unity government to tackle the serious problems facing
Zimbabwe if the political will is still lacking.
  The Government continues to engage with our European partners in formulating a response
to the current crisis in Zimbabwe. Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of the General
Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC), which reiterated that the EU is ready to
support economic and social recovery in Zimbabwe once a government reflecting the will of
the Zimbabwean people is formed, and demonstrates its respect for human rights and the rule
of law and its willingness to take meaningful steps towards macroeconomic stabilisation. The
Council also updated the list of persons subject to EU restrictive measures by adding the names
of additional persons actively engaged in violence or human rights infringements in Zimbabwe.
   Ireland has also conveyed our concerns about the situation in Zimbabwe directly to our
partner countries in Africa through bilateral contacts. The countries of the southern Africa
region, as well as organisations such as the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the African Union (AU), have a key role to play in encouraging the two sides
in Zimbabwe to come to a workable agreement which reflects the democratic verdict of the
Zimbabwean people, and Ireland has emphasised this point to them. Our Ambassadors in
SADC countries have conveyed our concerns directly to the governments of our partner coun-
tries in southern Africa. The Irish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, who is based in Pretoria, has
communicated Ireland’s strong views to the Zimbabwean Ambassador there. In addition,
African embassies based in Dublin have been informed of Ireland’s position.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  183. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding all
contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of reports
of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he will provide this
information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45853/08]

   Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheal Martin): The Department of Foreign Affairs
                                               ´
is responsible for two Votes — Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs) and Vote 29 (International
Cooperation). The following tables set out the names of consultants used by the Department
in 2007 and 2008 (to date) for the preparation of reports and the costs arising in each case. It
should be noted that work is ongoing in relation to some of the reports listed for 2008 and that
final payments may not be made until 2009.
  I am very conscious of the need to achieve value for money on consultancy expenditure. The
Department commissions consultancies only where specialised knowledge and/or skills are not
available within the Department and, particularly in the case of Irish Aid (Ireland’s official
development assistance programme), where an independent evaluation of programmes and
projects is required. Given the overall scale of the Irish Aid Programme, this level of monitor-
ing, review and evaluation is both prudent and proportionate.
  The information requested by the Deputy for Vote 28 is set out below.


                                               708
                       Questions—               11 December 2008.              Written Answers


                                            Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs)

         Consultants engaged in 2007                         Matter Reported On                     Costs 2007

                                                                                                         \

Sysnet Limited                             ICT Security Review                                         28,133
Goodbody Economic Consultants              Value for Money and Policy Review of the Support            25,894
                                            for Irish Emigrant Groups Programmes
Annesley Resource Partnership              Quality Assurance Assessment of the Value for Money          3,751
                                            and Policy Review of the Support for Irish
                                            Emigrants Groups Programmes
BCT Communications Limited                 Evaluation of the capacity building programmes              20,469
                                            provided by the Institute of Public Administration in
                                            2006 to the Bulgarian Institute of Public
                                            Administration and the Romanian National Institute
                                            of Administration.
Mr. Richard Townsend                       Assist with a review of the mandate and structures of        3,993
                                            the Ireland-United Nations Association (IUNA)



         Consultants engaged in 2008                         Matter Reported On                     Costs 2008

                                                                                                         \

Millward Brown                             Research Project to establish reasons underlying the       138,061
                                            result of the Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Communications Clinic                      The preparation of a detailed Communication Action        48,000 —
                                            Plan to be used to direct spending under the            some of this
                                            Department’s Communicating Europe Initiative            amount will
                                            (CEI) in 2009.                                           be paid in
                                                                                                       2009)


  The information requested by the Deputy for Vote 29 is set out below
                                       Vote 29 (International Cooperation)

                 Consultant                                  Matter Reported On                     Costs 2007

                                                                                                         \

Annesley Resource Partnership              Quality Review of Irish Aid Report re. Tsunami               2,723
Annesley Resource Partnership              Review of the Irish Aid Fellowship Training                 34,388
                                            Programme
Aodh O’Connor                              Technical Consultants to the Civil Society Section           9,800
                                            Funding Schemes
Dalberg Global Development Ad.             Evaluation of Learning and Training Programme for           26,245
                                            Development Workers (Dtalk)
Dalberg Global Development Ad.             Mapping of Irish Aid Approval Processes                     55,358
Debbie Thomas                              Production of publication material for communication        10,000
                                             about Irish Aid’s health programming
Ecorys Research and Consulting             Evaluation of the Mozambique Country Programmes             93,191
                                            2001-2006
Farrell Grant Sparks                       Provision of Consultancy Services for Irish Aid             92,767
                                             Management Review
Institute of Public Administration         Quality Assessment of Mozambique CSP Evaluation              2,904
Intrac                                     Public Expenditure Review of the Irish Govenments           31,181
                                            Support to Tsunami affected countries
Intrac                                     Review of the Irish Missionary Resource Service             66,105
                                            (IMRS)

                                                       709
                       Questions—        11 December 2008.               Written Answers

               ´
  [Deputy Micheal Martin.]
                Consultant                            Matter Reported On                     Costs 2007

                                                                                                 \
Jane Salvage                        Support to the AMAR Health Rehabilitation Project          12,135
                                      for the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq
John Grindle                        External Evaluator for Development Cooperation              8,500
                                     Ireland Project Proposals for the Balkans and CISs
John Grindle                        Support to Review of the Staffing Needs of the             15,426
                                      Diplomatic Missions in Programme Countries, Sierra
                                      Leone and South Africa
KPMG                                Value for Money Review of the Passport Service             35,406
Maeve Martin                        Evaluation of the Development and Intercultural            15,000
                                     Education (DICE) Project
Mary Jennings                       Mainstreaming Building Strategy and Practice within         3,020
                                     Irish Aid
Oxford Policy Management            Strategic review of Irish Aid engagement with the          61,316
                                      United Nations funds and programmes
Reginald Terrence Allsop            Support to the Zambia/Ireland Teacher Education            21,960
                                      Initiative
Richard Townsend                    Report on staffing needs of missions in Irish Aid           8,556
                                     Programme Countries
Karen Rothwell                      Piloting of Organisational Assessment Guidelines           24,421
Siobhan Mullally                    Independent/External Mid-term Evaluation of the             5,197
                                      Justice System Programme in Timor Leste
Steve Packer                        Evaluation of the Irish Aid World Bank Education           23,001
                                     Trust Fund
Theta Eta Advisors Limited          Preparation of a report entitled: Best Practice in the      6,050
                                      Governance of Aid Programmes
Oxford Policy Management            Research study entitled: “Measuring Impact: The            42,258
                                     Global and Irish Aid Programme Context”
Mr Tony Killick                     (i) Preparation of a report entitled: “Selectivity in      25,410
                                        Action: Choosing Irish Aid’s Tenth Programme
                                        Country”
                                    (ii) Editorial Work on Research Findings Volume 1
                                         Governance Trade and Aid Effectiveness.
Overseas Development Institute      Research study entitled: “Good Governance, Aid            141,284
                                     Modalities & Poverty reduction”



                Consultant                            Matter Reported On                     Costs 2008

                                                                                                 \

Farrell Grant Sparks                Irish Aid Management Review                               157,300
ITAD Ltd                            Joint Evaluation of Timor Leste                           129,711
Copenhagen DC A/S                   Primary Education Evaluation in Uganda                    108,397
Farrell Grant Sparks                HIV/AIDS Value for Money                                  144,888
Fitzpatrick Associates              Support for Kimmage Development Studies                    50,820
Patrick D. Murphy                   Evaluation of Global eSchools and Communities              45,189
                                     Initiative (GeSCI).
Oxford Policy Management            Hunger Task Force                                          39,613
Catherine A. Butcher                Development of Guidelines for HIV and AIDS                 66,876
                                     Partnership Scheme (HAPS)
Economics for the Environment       Irish Aid Strategic Partnerships                           34,647
Fitzpatrick Associates              Evaluation of Traidlinks                                   34,091
KPMG                                Value for Money Report on Irish Passport Service           35,979

                                                710
                      Questions—         11 December 2008.               Written Answers


                Consultant                             Matter Reported On                    Costs 2008

                                                                                                 \
Annesley Resource Partnership        Review of Fellowship Training                             20,458
Barry Ryan                           Review of Organisation for Security and Co-operation      12,551
                                      in Europe (OSCE) and Partnership Programme for
                                      Europe and Central Asia (PPECA).
Dalberg Global Development           Mapping of Approval Processes                             10,465
Fitzpatrick Associates               How the lessons of Ireland’s economic and social           7,260
                                      development can be formulated for delivery as part
                                      of Ireland’s cooperation programme in SE Asia
Cathy Gaynor                         Preparation of Country Strategy Papers Guidelines         25,816
                                       and Procedures
Cathy Gaynor                         Mainstreaming: Building Strategy and Practice within      48,141
                                      Irish Aid.
Dalberg Global Development           Evaluation of Learning and Training Programme for         23,753
                                      Development Workers (Dtalk)
Integra Economic Development         Report to Inter-Departmental Committee on                 22,143
  Consultants                         Development (IDCD) on development of skill sets.
The IDL Group Ltd                    Review of Irish Aid Zimbabwe Programme                     3,937
Siobhan Mullally                     Evaluation UNDP Support Programme                         10,115
Richard Townsend                     Report on Staffing needs of Missions in Irish Aid          4,096
                                      Programme Countries, South Africa and Sierra
                                      Leone
Petrus Consulting Ltd                Quality Review of draft HIV and AIDS VFM Report.           3,086
Maura Leen                           Programme of Strategic Co-operation between Irish          5,000
                                       Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes
Mary Jennings                        Mainstreaming: Building Strategy and Practice within      28,910
                                      Irish Aid.
Kate Dyer                            Revision of Irish Aid’s Country Strategy Planning         40,273
                                      Guidelines and Procedures
Jim O’Leary                          Assessment of Value for Money Review of the                6,000
                                      Passport Service.
Jane Salvage                         Feedback on evaluation of Irish Aids support to the         2068
                                       AMAR Health Rehabilitation Project for Marsh
                                       Arabs of Southern Iraq
Mr Tony Killick                      Research for the Advisory Board on Irish Aid on Irish      4,200
                                      Aid Programme Countries
Oxford Policy Management             Research report entitled: “Measuring Impact: The          11,150
                                      Global and Irish Aid Programme Context”
Overseas Development Institute       Research study entitled: “Good Governance, Aid             4,520
                                      Modalities & Poverty reduction”
Alan FitzGibbon                      Research report on “Private Sector Development.”          13,800
Brendan Riordan                      Research report on “Biofuels.”                             6,955



                                   Departmental Expenditure.
   184. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of
staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the
Better Regulation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of
such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for
2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45694/08]

  Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Martin Cullen): The Department actively
contributes to ongoing initiatives within the Civil and Public Service to regulate better, as set
out in the Government’s White Paper ‘Regulating Better’, which enunciates key principles of
                                                 711
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Martin Cullen.]
better regulation. This contribution includes liaison with the Department of the Taoiseach, as
required, as well as participation on a range of inter-departmental groups, including the Regu-
latory Impact Analysis Network chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Group
on Administrative Burden Reduction chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment.
  However, within its ambit, the Department has very much a ‘light’ regulatory role, so its
contribution is correspondingly proportioned. In whole time equivalent terms, only a small
portion of an Assistant Principal’s time is taken up with this work and the financial resources
are also correspondingly small. Because it is not a key regulator, the Department is not rep-
resented on the Better Regulation Group.

                                   Swimming Pool Projects.
  185. Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will confirm
that an allocation of finance has been ring fenced for the provision of a swimming pool in
Loughrea, County Galway; the reason the State Solicitor’s Office has delayed processing and
sanctioning the agreement with the parties involved, namely Galway County Council, Loughrea
Pool Committee, his Department and a private partnership; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45725/08]

  Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Martin Cullen): My Department has been in
discussions now for a number of years with Galway County Council regarding the grant aiding
of a swimming pool in Loughrea. The current proposal is that Galway County Council would
supply a site to a local hotel developer who would construct the pool and in return would make
the pool available to the public in Loughrea for an agreed number of hours per week and at
entrance prices comparable to other public pools in Galway. As part of this plan the Council
applied to my Department for a grant of \1.7m from the Local Authority Swimming Pool
Programme towards the construction of the pool.
  In this regard a meeting took place in July 2008 between representatives of my Department,
Galway County Council, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney
General to discuss certain legal aspects of the project. The Office of the Attorney General was
subsequently asked to advise on a number of legal issues raised at the meeting.
  Having considered the legal advice of the Office of the Attorney General, my Department
has decided that it cannot now recommend the granting of aid of \1.7m to Galway County
Council for the construction of a swimming pool at Loughrea under the current contractual
arrangements. My Department had requested Galway County Council to consider this matter
further and revert as soon as possible as to how it wishes to proceed. A reply from Galway
County Council has recently been received and is now being considered by my Department.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  186. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position
regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the prep-
aration of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he
will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45845/08]

  Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Martin Cullen): The information requested
by the Deputy is set out in the table below:

                                               712
                       Questions—        11 December 2008.               Written Answers




               Consultants              Cost                        Report                     Report Date

                                         \
 ´
Sean Cromien                             8,800     Review of operation of the Heritage         Sep 2007
                                                    Fund Leading to revised updating
                                                    legislation
CHL Consulting                          17,000     Progress on implementation of James         Nov 2007
                                                     Joyce Centre Business Plan
Indecon International Economic         114,000     Economic Evaluation of the Benefits to      Feb 2008
  Consultants                                       Ireland of the London 2012 Olympic
                                                    and Paralympic Games
Raymond Burke                            3,267     Evaluation of Irish Sports Council          Aug 2008
                                                    Value for Money and Policy Review
Raymond Burke                            3,354     Independent evaluation of the Local         Sep 2008
                                                     Authority Swimming Pool Programme
                                                     Expenditure Review as part of a
                                                     Value for Money Report conducted
                                                     by Department
DKM Economic Consultants                 3,146     Consultancy on the Update of the Cost       Oct 2008
                                                    Benefit Analysis for the National
                                                    Museum at Collins Barracks —
                                                    Report written by Department
Holohan Leisure                        113,740     Analysis of the Sports Facility Provision   Oct 2008
                                                    in Ireland
Mr. John Travers                        15,660     Chair of the Tourism Strategy               Dec 2008
                                                    Implementation Group, which
                                                    produced the Report
Farrell Grant Sparks                    19,465     Review of the Horse and Greyhound           Not yet
                                                    Racing Fund.                                Completed


This Department observes the Department of Finance Guidelines for Engagement of Consult-
ants in the Civil Service. Consultants are only employed by the Department in circumstances
where specialised knowledge or expertise, which is not available in the Department or else-
where in the public service, is required for a temporary period or a specialist study/project
must be completed within a very short time scale.

                                    Community Development.
                   ´ ´
   187. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht
                                  ´
Affairs the estimate of the value of additional public investment in a town (details supplied) in
County Kildare arising specifically from that town’s inclusion in the RAPID programme; and
if he will make a statement on the matter. [45681/08]

                                                                 ´        ´
  Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Eamon O Cuıv): The RAPID
                                                                               ´
Programme aims to ensure that priority attention is given to tackling the spatial concentration
of poverty and social exclusion within 46 designated RAPID areas nationally. As I have indi-
cated to the House on a number of occasions, it is a matter for individual Departments to
report progress with their projects under the RAPID programme. However, I am advised
through the mechanism of the RAPID National Monitoring Committee that over \23million
in local and national investment has been invested in the Athy RAPID area as a result of that
area’s inclusion in the RAPID Programme.
  With respect to my own Department, I initiated the RAPID leverage schemes in 2004 in
order to support small-scale projects identified locally by the Area Implementation Teams in
each of the RAPID areas. These schemes are co-funded by the relevant agencies and fund
projects that focus on estate enhancement, graffiti removal, traffic calming, community closed-
                                                 713
                    Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

          ´     ´   ´
  [Deputy Eamon O Cuıv.]
circuit television, health and sports facilities, and the provision of playgrounds and multi-use
games areas. These schemes are subject to ongoing review to ensure that they remain respon-
sive to the demands of the RAPID communities. Where opportunities arise, the eligibility of
individual schemes can be extended to reflect emerging needs identified by the Area Implemen-
tation Teams in each of the RAPID areas.
   Allocations under the RAPID Leverage Schemes and the RAPID Dormant Accounts
Additionality Fund to Athy total \1,082,874 to date. A detailed breakdown by Scheme is given
in the table below.

            Breakdown of RAPID Leverage and Dormant Accounts Additionality funding to Athy

                        Scheme                                           Amount

                                                                            \

Community CCTV Scheme                                                      35,726
Health Sector Co-fund                                                      33,273
Local Authority Housing Estate Enhancement Scheme                         110,000
Playgrounds Grants Scheme                                                 257,430
Sports Capital Top-Up Scheme                                              259,050
Traffic Measures                                                           62,395
Dormant Accounts Additionality Fund                                       325,000

Total                                                                    1,082,874




                                      Departmental Expenditure.
  188. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
the number of staff in terms of whole-time equivalents he has allocated within his Department
to support the better regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in
support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the
budget for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45696/08]

                                                              ´       ´
  Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Eamon O Cuıv): I can confirm
                                                                          ´
to the Deputy that my Department is supportive of the work of the Better Regulation Group.
  One officer at Assistant Principal level working in the Corporate Governance Division of
my Department has been assigned responsibility for progressing work in this regard, including
actions outlined in the White Paper on Better Regulation. This officer represents my Depart-
ment at the RIA Network. The work in relation to Better Regulation represents approximately
one eighth of this officer’s work and the associated salary costs are \8,270 per annum. It is
envisaged that the costs arising in 2009 will be of a similar order.

                                       Departmental Contracts.
   189. Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
if he has received complaints regarding the way in which a company (details supplied) in the
Gaeltacht, which received funding from his Department is operating; if he is satisfied with the
corporate governance of the company; if he has initiated an inquiry into the company; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45720/08]
                                                    714
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                                                 ´      ´
  Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Eamon O Cuıv): The Group
                                                                            ´
in question is a private company limited by guarantee. Although such companies may be con-
tracted to deliver a number of programmes on behalf of my Department, my Department has
no role to play in the management and/or staffing of the company.

                                Water and Sewerage Schemes.
  190. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
                                                   ´
the measures, in view of the suspension of CLAR funding water and sewerage schemes for
2008, he is planning for 2009; if these will include the proceeding of schemes on hand; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45812/08]

                                                                    ´      ´
  Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Eamon O Cuıv): As the
                                                                                ´
                                                            ´ R programme has been the level
deputy is aware one of the more successful aspects of the CLA
of funding provided to the various Water and Sewerage measures over the years. Funding
approved under those measures has risen from approximately \2.4m in 2002 to more than
\16m in 2008. In total over \45m has been approved to date for water and sewerage schemes
since the programme was launched in 2001.
  I am reviewing the resources allocated to and the impact of the various individual schemes
              ´
under the CLAR programme. All eligible applications on hand in the Department at the date
the scheme closed have been processed and funding approved where appropriate. In relation
to accepting new applications for water and sewerage schemes, consideration will be given to
re-opening a revised measure for Water and Sewerage schemes in 2009.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  191. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
the position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in the prep-
aration of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he
will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45847/08]

                                                                 ´       ´
 Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Eamon O Cuıv): My Depart-
                                                                              ´
ment has made available on its website details regarding consultancies (excepting those of
minor value, i.e., less than \5,000 excluding VAT) from June 2002 to the end of October 2008.
The link in relation to expenditure on consultancies by my Department is:
www.pobail.ie/en/CorporateSupportServices/Finance/Consultancies.
  I am also arranging to have the information sought by the Deputy for the years 2007 and
2008 forwarded to her at her e-mail address in the Oireachtas.

                                  Departmenal Expenditure.
   192. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of
staff in terms of whole-time equivalents she has allocated within her Department to support
the better regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of
such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for
2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45705/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The Department of Social
and Family Affairs did not have a representative on the High Level Group on Business
Regulation.
                                               715
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Mary Hanafin.]

  The Department contributes to the reduction of the administrative burden on business by
the participation of a Principal Officer on the relevant Inter-Departmental Group chaired by
the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
  A process has commenced, in the Department, to measure the administrative cost to business
of regulatory provisions in social welfare legislation with a view to contributing to the achieve-
ment of the Government target to reduce these burdens by 25% by 2012.
  The Programme Evaluation Unit in the Department supports the work of the Regulatory
Impact Assessment network through participation by an Assistant Principal and Administrative
Officer. Meetings of the network, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach, take place three
or four times per year. The Programme Evaluation Unit also supports the implementation of
Regulatory Impact Analysis in the Department.
   No specific budget has been allocated in the Department to the reduction of the administra-
tive burden on business.

                                    Social Welfare Benefits.
                           ´ ´
  193. Deputy Caoimhghın O Caolain asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the
                                     ´
reason for the denial of an exceptional needs payment to a person (details supplied) in County
Carlow. [45718/08]

   Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): Under the supplementary
welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on behalf of the Department by the com-
munity welfare division of the Health Service Executive, an exceptional needs payment (ENP)
may be made to help meet an essential, once-off cost which the applicant is unable to meet out
of his/her own resources. There is no automatic entitlement to this payment. Each application
is determined by the Executive based on the particular circumstances of the case.
  The Executive has advised that the person concerned has been refused an exceptional needs
payment in respect of clothing as she was deemed to have sufficient income to meet her clothing
needs. It is open to the person concerned to appeal against the decision of the community
welfare officer to the Executive’s designated Appeals Office.

   194. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason there
is a need for a social welfare officer to call again to a person (details supplied) in County
Galway when in fact all information has been provided and is with her Department. [45732/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The review of the one-parent
family payment claim of the person concerned is ongoing. The Social Welfare Inspector has
been in contact with her and has made arrangements to meet with her shortly to clarify certain
aspects of her circumstances. When the inspector’s enquiries are complete, a decision will be
made as soon as possible and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.
  Under Social Welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by Deciding
Officers and Appeals Officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in
regard to making such decisions.

  195. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person
(details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved and awarded the one-parent family pay-
ment. [45735/08]

                                                716
                    Questions—               11 December 2008.            Written Answers


  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): A Social Welfare Inspector’s
investigation of the circumstances of the person concerned has been completed. A decision will
be given in her case as soon as possible and she will be notified of the outcome.
  Under Social Welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by Deciding
Officers and Appeals Officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in
regard to making such decisions.

                                 Money Advice and Budgeting Service.
   196. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will
                  ´ ´
provide MABSIS data up to the end of November 2008 for each Money Advice and Budgeting
Service centre in respect of the number of new clients, the number of new clients earning a
wage, the number of new clients with a mortgage and the total and average debt owed by new
clients when they first presented to MABS. [45745/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The Money Advice and
Budgeting Service (MABS) provided services to 15,647 new clients in the period to end
November 2008. In addition, 2,303 people sought information about budgeting and money
management. The MABS National Helpline, received 9,990 calls to date in 2008 and some
11,500 calls since its launch in October 2007.
   The detailed statistical breakdown of clients per centre requested by the Deputy is not readily
available from the MABSIS. However the national MABS statistics show that the majority of
clients were on social welfare payments (59%), the highest numbers being 2,726 (17%) who
were in receipt of the one parent family payment, 2,790 (18%) who were in receipt of job-
seekers payments and 2,149 (14%) in receipt of illness/disability payments. Some 28% of clients
were in receipt of wages and 3% were self-employed.
  Clients mostly lived in rented accommodation, with 26% living in private rented accom-
modation and 24% in rented local authority accommodation. People with mortgages made up
27% of new clients and 7% lived with parents.
   The total owed by new clients in 2008 to creditors, based on the debt they had when they
first came to the MABS, amounted to \189 million, which works out at an average amount of
\12,100 debt per client. Of the total amount of debt 64% was owed to banks/financial insti-
tutions, 16% was owed to credit unions, 3% was owed in respect of utilities bills and 1% was
owed to moneylenders.
   Information on new clients per MABS company up to the end of September 2008 is detailed
in the following table.
                            Money Advice and Budgeting Service — New Clients

              Company                New Clients to 31st December 2007   New clients to 30th September 2008

Arklow                                              183                                 199
Athlone                                             140                                 130
Ballymun                                            457                                 416
Blanchardstown                                      394                                 332
Bray                                                379                                 439
Carlow                                              698                                 426
Cavan                                               230                                 146
Charleville                                          83                                     86

                                                    717
                    Questions—           11 December 2008.            Written Answers

  [Deputy Mary Hanafin.]
             Company             New Clients to 31st December 2007   New clients to 30th September 2008

Clare                                           224                                 220
Clondalkin                                      252                                 239
COMAC                                           246                                 310
Cork                                            596                                 780
North Cork                                      224                                 275
West Cork                                       221                                 222
North Donegal                                   236                                 210
South Donegal                                    49                                     64
West Donegal                                     27                                     13
Drogheda                                        158                                     99
Dublin 12 Area                                  232                                 200
Dublin North City                               380                                 199
Dublin North East                               308                                 294
Dublin South East                               155                                 158
Dundalk                                         134                                 135
Dundrum/Rathfarnham                             203                                 236
Dun Laoghaire                                   290                                 325
Fingal                                          219                                 163
Finglas                                         432                                 353
North Galway                                    256                                 257
South Galway                                    486                                 456
Kerry                                           520                                 514
Kildare                                         376                                 342
Kilkenny                                        274                                 265
Laois                                           271                                 319
Leitrim                                          87                                     94
Liffey South West                               303                                 223
Limerick                                        185                                 468
Longford                                        106                                 113
North Mayo                                      113                                     85
South Mayo                                      158                                 166
Meath                                           172                                 133
Monaghan                                         77                                     61
Mullingar                                       174                                 134
Offaly                                          147                                 172
Roscommon                                        96                                 108
Sligo                                           131                                 165
Tallaght                                        332                                 321
North Tipperary                                 166                                 155
South Tipperary                                 357                                 425
Waterford                                       443                                 453
West Waterford                                   98                                     94
Wexford                                         256                                 234



                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  197. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position
                                                718
                      Questions—                 11 December 2008.               Written Answers


regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the prep-
aration of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if
she will provide this information in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the
matter. [45856/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The Department has engaged
consultancy expertise in 2007 and 2008 to support it in undertaking strategic reviews (e.g.
review of the Social Insurance Fund and the equality review of the Social Welfare Code) and
to provide specialist technical expertise in the application of information technology.
  Details of the consultants engaged to undertake strategic reviews and reports in each of these
years along with the amount of money paid in the particular year are set out in the Appendix.
The 2008 table covers the period 01/01/2008 to 31/10/2008 inclusive and includes consultancies
ongoing at 31/10/2008 where reports have not yet been finalised.

               Details of consultancy contracts for 2007 in Department of Social and Family Affairs

                        Project                                     Name of Consultancy Firm          Spend in
                                                                                                        2007

                                                                                                         \

Microsoft Windows Active Directory (AD) strategy          Hewlett Packard Ireland Ltd                  58,962
Report on Charges on Supplementary Pension                Technical Guidance Ltd                        5,748
 arrangements and Standard PRSAs (Personal
 Retirement Savings Accounts)
Review of the sustainability of the Social Insurance      Mercer Human Resource Consulting            199,650
 Fund
Study to identify viable possible social housing          Goodbody Economic Consultants                36,784
  solutions to meet needs of those who are dependent
  on long-term rent supplementation
Information Communications Technology (ICT)               Steve Wylie (Independent ICT                 24,200
  strategy report                                           Consultant)
Technical review of the social welfare code to examine    Mel Cousins and Associates                   73,871
 its compatibility with the Equal Stats Act 2000
Examination of the Cost Of Healthy Eating and             Dr. Muireann Cullen                           5,850
 Specialised Diets for a Single Individual in Ireland
Research Studies — Thematic Review on reforming           OECD                                         70,000
 Disability Benefit
Review of Management Advisory Committee                   Prospectus                                    6,624
Family Patterns and Trends Report                         UCD                                           5,227


Report on Economic Implications of Demographic            Goodbody Economic Consultants                20,086
 Change
Report on Trusteeship and Proposed Regulation of          Technical Guidance Ltd                        5,203
 Scheme Administrators’
Report on Health & Safety Management Programme            NTTX Ltd                                     43,560
Personnel Investigations                                  Polaris                                       9,623
Accessibility Consultancy Services                        National Council for the Blind                2,500
Peer Review                                               Edmond Cussen                                 1,800




                                                         719
                      Questions—                  11 December 2008.              Written Answers

  [Deputy Mary Hanafin.]
               Details of consultancy contracts for 2008 in Department of Social and Family Affairs

                        Project                                    Name of Consultancy Firm           Spend in
                                                                                                      2008 (to
                                                                                                      31/10/08)

                                                                                                         \

Technical review of the social welfare code to examine      Mel Cousins & Associates                    98,494
 its compatibility with the Equal Stats Act 2000
 (continued from 2007 and due to be completed by
 end 2008)
Family Income Supplement — Uptake Research                  Millward Brown IMS                          32,670
  Project (Project ongoing)
Strategic Review of Client Eligibility Services (Project    Accenture                                  203,054
  ongoing)
Strategic Review of Customer Facing Services (Project       Grant Thornton                              92,565
  ongoing)


Report on Auto Enrolment Scheme Impact                      Technical Guidance Ltd                       3,448
National Employment Action Plan (NEAP)                      ESRI                                        51,847
 Evaluation (Project ongoing)




                                            Social Welfare Benefits.
  198. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position
in regard to the payment of supplementary welfare allowance in the case of a person (details
supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45876/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The supplementary welfare
allowance scheme is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare
division of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
  The Executive has advised that the person concerned is in receipt of basic Supplementary
Welfare Allowance but has been asked to provide documentation to the Community Welfare
Officer. This documentation has not been provided to date. The person concerned has been
advised in correspondence which issued on 27 November 2008 that payment of basic sup-
plementary welfare allowance will be suspended if the requested documentation has not been
provided within a specified period.

  199. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason
an unemployment benefit claim and rent allowance has been refused in the case of a person
(details supplied) Dublin 8; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45877/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The person concerned made
an application for Jobseeker’s Allowance on 21 April 2008. Following a full investigation, the
application was disallowed by a Deciding Officer on the grounds that the person concerned
failed to establish that he was genuinely seeking employment. The person concerned appealed
the decision of the Deciding Officer and an appeal was forwarded to the Social Welfare
Appeals Office. The appeal was disallowed on the basis that the person concerned had not
made sustained and concentrated efforts to obtain employment.
  The person concerned was in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) and Rent
Supplement while his Jobseeker’s Allowance claim was pending. In August 2008 he was asked
                                                           720
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.         Written Answers


by the Community Welfare Officer to provide evidence of his efforts to obtain employment.
No evidence was produced by the person concerned and he stated that he was a student in
full-time education. Payment of SWA and Rent Supplement was terminated on the basis that
students in full-time education are excluded from receiving assistance under the Supplementary
Welfare Allowance Scheme.

  200. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position
in regard to payment of carers allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County
Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45878/08]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Deputy Mary Hanafin): The claim for carer’s allow-
ance, by the person concerned, was refused by a Deciding Officer of the Department on 21
October 2008 on the grounds that the care recipient was not so invalided or disabled as to need
full-time care and attention.
  An appeal was opened on 25 November 2008 and I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals
Office that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department was asked for the
documentation in the case and the Deciding Officer’s comments on the grounds of the appeal.
  On receipt of the Department’s response the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer for
early consideration.
  The Social Welfare Appeals Office is an office of the Department that is independently
responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

                                 Departmental Expenditure.
   201. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Defence the number of staff in terms of
whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the Better Regu-
lation Group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such work to
date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45697/08]

  Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): My Department operates a Legislation Branch
to drive and implement the legislative reform programme within the Department. As part of
that role my Department is represented by staff of the Legislation Branch on the RIA Network
and the Inter-departmental Committee on Reducing the Administrative Burden. These areas
of work represent a portion of the overall work of the Legislation Branch and costs for the
branch are not measured to capture individual segments of work within that branch.

                                   Consultancy Contracts.
  202. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding all contracts
for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of reports of any
kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he will provide this infor-
mation in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45848/08]

  Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): The information sought by the Deputy is set
out in the table.




                                               721
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.                Written Answers

  [Deputy Willie O’Dea.]


  Year         Name of Consultancy firm                           Detail                       Cost

                                                                                                 \

   2007    Petrus Consulting                 Carried out Independent Quality Assessment of      2,904.00
                                              VFM Review of Clothing Procurement in the
                                              Defence Forces. The Report was received in
                                              August 2007.
   2008    PA Consultant Group               To make recommendations on the best means         60,138.09
                                              of meeting the medical requirements of the
                                              Defence Forces. Value of contract is \95,000.
                                              (Amount paid to date is \60,138.09). The
                                              Report is expected to be delivered before the
                                              end of the year.
   2008    Entograph                         Carried out a study to review and evaluate        30,129.00
                                              options for bracken control in the Glen of
                                              Imaal and identify a plan for its control. The
                                              Report was received in April 2008.
   2008    Dr. Eileen Doyle                  To act as external expert and to chair the        37,109.12
                                              Independent Monitoring Group to review
                                              progress made by the PDF since the
                                              publication in 2004 of the report ‘Response to
                                              the Challenge of a Workplace”. The Report
                                              will be formally launched on 17 December
                                              2008.
   2008    FGS Consulting                    VFM Review of Military Training Lands. (Two       60,500.00
                                              stage payments made to date of \24,200 and
                                              \36,300, total value of contract \90,000 incl.
                                              VAT). Final Report is due early in 2009.
   2008    BMT Defence Services Ltd, UK      Consultants engaged in relation to the Naval      45,643.38
                                              Vessel Replacement Programme. The Report
                                              was received in July 2008.
   2008    Mott Mac Donald Ltd               To carry out a review of the Safety Policy at     37,500.00
                                              Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. Value of
                                              contract is \50,000. (Amount paid to date is
                                              \37,500). The Report is expected within the
                                              next two weeks.




                                 Water and Sewerage Schemes.
                 ´ ´
  203. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
                              ´
Government the level of investment made by his Department in infrastructural programmes in
County Kildare during 2008 under the serviced land initiative; and if he will make a statement
on the matter. [45682/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): To
date this year my Department has recouped \620,000 to Kildare County Council under the
Serviced Land Initiative measure of the Water Services Investment Programme.

                                  Departmental Expenditure.
  204. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his
Department to support the Better Regulation Group’s work; the financial resources that have
been spent in support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder
of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45700/08]
                                                 722
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


   Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
Better Regulation, in general, forms an important part of the Government’s drive for greater
economic competitiveness and modernisation of the public service. In particular, the principles
of better regulation underpin my Department’s extensive policy and legislative programmes
and is an integral part of the work of all staff engaged in such work. As such, there is no
specific budget applied to the Department’s activity in this area. In addition, my Department
is represented on a number of different cross-Departmental groups associated with aspects of
the better regulation agenda. The Department is represented at Assistant Principal level on
the RIA Network, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach to share and develop best
practice in relation to the conduct of Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA) across Govern-
ment Departments. The network meets a number of times a year and was extensively involved
in the central review of RIA published in July 2008.
   On foot of the Government Decision in March 2008 which set a target of 25% reduction in
administrative burdens on business arising from domestic regulations, my Department is also
represented at Principal Officer level on an inter-departmental senior officials group, estab-
lished by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in July 2008, to drive and co-
ordinate the identification, measurement and reduction in such burdens. My Department is
working towards the cross-Departmental target date of end-2009 for the identification and
prioritisation of information obligations on business, which are within the remit of my Depart-
ment, and to have the appropriate measurement process in place for the calculation of savings
to business. In accordance with the Government Decision, the intention is to effect all such
savings by end-2012.
   My Department is also represented at Assistant Secretary level on the cross-Departmental
High Level Group on Business Regulation, chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade
and Employment, which is tasked with taking concrete measures to reduce administrative bur-
dens in five specific regulatory areas (including the environment), based primarily on sugges-
tions put forward by the business sector. The Report of the High Level Group was published
in July 2008. It identified both cost savings already achieved for business as a result of changes
to administrative procedures and those that should accrue as a result of changes made, includ-
ing in relation to waste collection permits.
  At an EU level, the Spring European Council agreed at its meeting in March 2007 that
reducing administrative burdens was an important measure for boosting Europe’s economy,
especially through its impact on SMEs. The Council agreed therefore that administrative bur-
dens arising from EU legislation should be reduced by 25% by 2012. My Department has been
working with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in contributing to this
project as appropriate.

                                   Urban Renewal Schemes.
  205. Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the improvements implemented in the Ballymun regeneration project, Dublin,
involving the issues raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his value for money
report and the hearings of the Committee of Public Accounts; the lessons learnt from same;
the procedures changed and the savings achieved; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45719/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
(Deputy Michael Finneran): The recommendations arising from the Comptroller and Auditor
General’s Special Report on Ballymun Regeneration cover a broad range of issues, from rela-
tively minor changes in administrative practices, which are now being implemented, to major

                                                723
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Michael Finneran.]
recommendations that relate to the social and economic fundamentals of the regeneration
programme over the medium to long term. My Department is actively working with Ballymun
Regeneration Ltd and the local authorities involved to ensure that the recommendations of the
Comptroller and Auditor General are fully responded to in the context of the continuing
regeneration of the Ballymun area, with particular focus on achieving best value for money.
Also, in the context of the regeneration programme nationally, my Department has already
taken action to ensure that all future regeneration proposals are developed against the back-
drop of the lessons learned from the Ballymun regeneration experience.

                                         Turbary Rights.
   206. Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government if he will specify the kinds of equipment it is permitted to use when cutting turf;
if it remains the case that while use of the sausage machine is illegal, it is permitted to use the
hopper machine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45731/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): A
small proportion of Ireland’s peatland is designated for conservation purposes under the Habi-
tats Directive or the Wildlife Acts. Landowners and holders of turbary rights on bogs within
Special Areas of Conservation or Natural Heritage Areas can currently cut turf for their own
domestic use. Since 1999, the use of “sausage” machines has not been permitted in these areas.
However, “hoppers”, or other hand-held machines, have been permitted. There are fewer
restrictions on undesignated bogs. Large-scale peat extraction works may require planning
permission, with an associated environmental impact assessment, under the planning code.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
  207. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
                    ´
Government the way emoluments to adjudicators or mediators are legislated for under the
Residential Tenancies Act 2004 in regard to the Private Residential Tenancies Board; if such
persons are employees of the PRTB; if they are paid on a by case basis or if they are paid a
per diem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45755/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
(Deputy Michael Finneran): Under section 164 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, the
Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) may appoint adjudicators and mediators for the
purposes of its dispute resolution functions. Section 164 also provides that the fees and expenses
paid to adjudicators and mediators are such as the PRTB may determine, with the consent of
the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister for Fin-
ance. Adjudicators and mediators are not employees of the PRTB; they are paid a flat daily fee.

  208. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the number of electronic voting machines being stored in south Tipperary; the
storage costs to date; the projected future storage costs; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45820/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): No
electronic voting machines are stored in South Tipperary and there are no proposals for such
storage in future. In November 2007, the electronic voting machines previously stored at a
premises in Clonmel, County Tipperary in respect of both North and South Tipperary were
moved to a central storage facility located at Gormanston Army Camp. Based on information

                                                724
                   Questions—                11 December 2008.              Written Answers


received in my Department from the Returning Officer, the total costs for storage of the elec-
tronic voting equipment (including the cost of insurance, service charges, rates, heating, etc.)
in respect of the storage arrangements in Tipperary are set out in the following table:

                  Annual Storage   Annual Storage         Annual Storage   Annual Storage     Annual Storage
                   Costs (incl.     Costs (incl.           Costs (incl.     Costs (incl.       Costs (incl.
                     VAT)             VAT)                   VAT)             VAT)               VAT)

                        \                \                       \               \                  \

                      2004             2005                   2006              2007              2008
Tipperary (N&S)     42,700.00        42,700.00              31,200.00        39,196.00           2,592.00



                                     Departmental Agencies.
  209. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government if he is satisfied that the legislation established (details supplied) is sufficient for
the quick resolution of disputes. [45833/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
(Deputy Michael Finneran): Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, one of the functions
assigned to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) is to review the operation of the
Act and to make recommendations to the Minister for its amendment, where necessary. The
PRTB has recently completed an examination of the Act and, informed by four years of experi-
ence, has made a number of recommendations for legislative change. These recommendations
are currently under consideration and I will be aiming to ensure that any amendments con-
sidered appropriate are brought forward in the context of the passage of the Housing
(Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 through the Oireachtas.

  210. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government if a new corporate plan has been developed by an agency (details supplied) to
optimise all aspects of their work including the disputes resolution service. [45834/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
(Deputy Michael Finneran): I understand that the agency concerned is at an advanced stage
of preparing its Corporate Plan for the 2009 to 2011 period and this will be finalised shortly.

                                   Alternative Energy Projects.
  211. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the number of submissions received on the draft proposals for phasing out energy
inefficient light bulbs; the next steps to be taken on foot of the draft proposals and any sub-
missions; when it is intended to notify draft regulations to the European Commission; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45842/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
Over 200 submissions have been received in response to the public consultation document on
the proposed energy efficiency and performance standard for light bulbs. A summary of these
responses will be published on my Department’s website in due course. Arrangements are
underway to secure the necessary EU clearance to the introduction of the proposed standard
in Ireland. These arrangements involve detailed and formal notification procedures which have
been initiated, and are being followed by Ireland and the European Commission. A decision
on the notification is awaited.
                                                    725
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                     Wildlife Protection.
   212. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the steps taken by his Department on foot of spraying of road side verges at the
N52, N51 and parts of the M3 in May 2008 with the pesticide 2,4-D; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45843/08]

   Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
Under Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts, the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction by other
means of vegetation growing on uncultivated land or in hedges or ditches is prohibited during
the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife, from 1 March to 31 August. This is
subject to certain specific exceptions. In most instances, it is required by law that work to
hedgerows is carried out outside this period. However, it is accepted that in some cases, trim-
ming may be necessary, during the prohibited period, on grounds of public health and safety,
notably when new road hazards are detected that require hedge trimming or vegetation clear-
ance. Local authorities and relevant public bodies are reminded annually of their responsibil-
ities in this regard.
  I was seriously concerned in relation to the spraying of road verges in May 2008 by Meath
County Council. My Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service has initiated a pros-
ecution under the Wildlife Acts against both Meath County Council and the Company which
carried out the spraying for the Council, and I understand that a date for the hearing of the
case will be set in March, 2009.
  On foot of the County Meath incident my Department issued a circular at the end of May,
2008 reminding all local authorities that extensive, untargeted spraying of road verges with
herbicide is, prima facie, an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts, and it is my policy
to prosecute in such cases.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
   213. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants
in relation to the preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for
each report; and if he will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45851/08]

 Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
The information requested in the question is set out in the following table.




                                               726
                        Name of Consultant                                              Title of report                               Cost (Including VAT)              Year

                                                                                                                                                 \

      Indecon                                              Independent Assessment of Proposed Acquisition by the Irish Heritage              14,520.00                  2007
                                                             Trust Limited of Fota House and Gardens, Co Cork
      UCD ERG                                              Energy Efficiency Regulations for New Dwellings & Options for                       108,779                  2007
                                                             Improvement
      NSAI                                                 Eurocode 2 Study — Concrete Study (on going)                             81,675 (total contract price)       2007
      NSAI                                                 Eurocode 6 Study — Masonry Study(on going)                               65,004 (total contract price)       2007
                                                                                                                                                                                    Questions—




      Fitzpatrick Associates                               Review of the operation of Local Authority Capital Expenditure           29,251.75 (06) 29251.25 (07)        2007
      Mazars                                               Financial Review of the Trustees of Muckross House (Killarney), Ltd.                 28,647                  2007
      ESRI                                                 Quarterly survey of Repair and maintenance                                           24,200                  2007
      DKM                                                  Construction Industry Reports                                                       117,954                  2007
      O’Mahony Pike Planning Consultants                   Urban Design Guide                                                                  240,000                  2007
      National Institute for Regional & Spatial Analysis   Evaluation of European Spatial Network Research to Ireland                           48,376                  2007
      Tobin Consulting Engineers                           National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report                                  104,398                  2007
      AEA Consultancy                                      Analysis of national emissions of pollutants from Powergen sector                    29,950                  2007




727
      Dr. Liam Downey & Dr. Dermot Harrington              Monitoring of Archaeological Monuments Programme                                     94,985                  2007
      DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald                                Storage of Electronic Voting Equipment — Conclusion of Local Lease                   35,090                  2007
                                                             Arrangements
                                                                                                                                                                                    11 December 2008.




      NSAI                                                 Code of Practice on Timber Frame Houses                                           33,882.50                  2007
      John Fitzgerald                                      Limerick Regeneration Programme                                                      21,764                  2007
      RITS                                                 Report on the security of meteorological self-briefing systems for                     8,500                 2007
                                                            aviation
      Mary Higgins                                         Examination, assessment and modification of a draft version of revised                 4,114                 2007
                                                             homeless strategy (final version entitled: “The Way Home: A strategy
                                                             to address adult homelessness 2008-2013”)
      Gus Cummins                                          Process Auditor on Mullingar DBO Sewerage Scheme                                       5,261                 2007
      OCTO Consultants                                     INEX 3 Exercise Report Ireland                                                    43,449.30                  2007
      Owen Boyle                                           Process Auditor on Grouped DBO Sewerage Scheme Waterford                             19,068              9,443 (2007)
                                                                                                                                                                                    Written Answers




                                                                                                                                                                    9,624 (2008)
      John Murphy                                          Final Accounts Examination on water services schemes                                 21,570              16,425 (2007)
                                                                                                                                                                     5,145 (2008)
                       Name of Consultant                                       Title of report                                 Cost (Including VAT)     Year



      Indecon                                      Independent Assessment of Proposed Acquisition by the Irish Heritage               14,520.00          2008
                                                     Trust Limited of Annes Grove House, Garden and Home Farm,
                                                     Castletownroche, Mallow, Co Cork.
      OCTO Consultants                             INEX 3 Exercise Report Ireland                                                      4,827.70          2008
      Nathan O’Connor                              Preparatory work in relation to ‘Service Indicators in Local Authorities              9,000           2008
                                                     2007’
      Indecon International Economic Consultants   Indecon Review of County/City Development Board Strategic Reviews                    93,170           2008
                                                                                                                                                                Questions—




                                                     and Proposals for Strengthening and Developing the Boards
      McHugh O Cofaigh                             Limiting Thermal Bridging & Air Infiltration Acceptable Construction               18,368.27          2008
                                                     Details
      Murrays Consultants                          Communications Strategy for ENFO                                                     32,812           2008
      Brid McGrath                                 Development of A Library Plan for ENFO                                               13,500           2008
      Prof. Jukka Jokilehto                        World Heritage Tentative List for Ireland Review (Part 1)                           5071.00           2008
      Prof. Jukka Jokilehto                        World Heritage Tentative List for Ireland Review (Part 2)                           3872.65           2008
      White Young Green                            Former Irish Steel Plant Environmental Report (2008)                              355,856.87          2008




728
      Sirius                                       Peer review of WYG Environmental Report 2008                                       22,958.26          2008
      Eunomia Research and Consulting              International Review of Waste Management Policy                            Work now underway but no   2008
                                                                                                                               payments made to date
                                                                                                                                                                11 December 2008.




      ESRI                                         Quarterly survey of Repair and maintenance                                           26,620           2008
      DKM                                          Construction Industry Reports                                                       117,954           2008
      AP Env Econ Ltd                              Regulatory Impact Assessment Report (Waste Facilities & Plastic Bags)                67,894           2008
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                Gateway Innovation Fund Proposal Evaluation                                          73,689           2008
      Tobin Consulting Engineers                   National Litter Pollution Monitoring System Report                                  101,203           2008
      Goodbody Economic Consultants                Assessment of Need for “Living over the Shop” Tax Incentives to                      32,186           2008
                                                    Support Urban Regeneration in NSS Gateways
      Enviros Consulting                           Study on Meeting the Requirements of the European Regulation 842 on                84,657.60          2008
                                                     Certain Fluorinated Greenhouses (F-Gases)
                                                                                                                                                                Written Answers




      Aegis Archaeology Ltd.                       Knocknarea, Carrowmore and Carns Hill Conservation Study                             71,148           2008
      Headland Archaeology Ltd.                    Irish Battlefields Project                                                          290,542           2008
      Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd.                    Monasterboice Conservation Study                                                   39,160.44          2008
                       Name of Consultant                               Title of report                            Cost (Including VAT)      Year
                                                                                                                                                         Questions—




      Golder Associates                     Geotechnical Consultancy — Rath Lugh                                          3,257.34           2008
      University College Dublin             Preliminary Study on the Establishment of an Electoral Commission in            8,400            2008
                                              Ireland
      NSAI                                  Code of Practice on Timber Frame Houses                                        13,553            2008
      NCCRI                                 Building Integrated Neighbourhoods                                             10,000            2008
      Combat Poverty Agency                 Fuel Poverty Study                                                             15,000            2008
      Grant Thornton                        Strategic Review of the Capital Funding Scheme for Voluntary &                 80,000            2008




729
                                              Cooperative Housing
      Olive Safety Services                 Draft of Safety Statement                                                       1,089            2008
                                                                                                                                                         11 December 2008.




      Mary Higgins                          Advice and input in relation to implementation plan of homeless                 4,981            2008
                                             strategy
      Brendan Fehily                        Review and Report on Certain Matters Relating to Dublin City                   34,345            2008
                                             Council’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant at Ringsend
      Maurice O’Connell                     Final Accounts Examination on water services schemes                            9,915            2008
      Community Consultants                 Waterford Youth Service — Research Project                                     15,000         Report to be
                                                                                                                                          completed by
                                                                                                                                            early 2009
                                                                                                                                                         Written Answers
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


                                       Recycling Policy.
  214. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the position regarding the proposal to fund the implementation of recom-
mendations set out in the market development programme for waste resources in 2007 with
\13 million; the individual projects on which the \13 million will be spent; the time period
involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45915/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
The work programme for the Market Development Programme is outlined in the Market
Development Programme for Waste Resources 2007 — 2011 which is available on my Depart-
ment’s website. The programme will run for a period of 5 years and commenced on 1 October
2008. As I have previously indicated, in light of recent developments in the market for recy-
clates, I have asked that the work programme be reviewed with a view to prioritising elements
which can help address these developments. Following this review, a work plan for 2009 will
be published in January.

                               Private Rented Accommodation.
 215. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the number of rented properties which have been registered with the Private
Residential Tenancies Board in Dublin City. [45920/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
(Deputy Michael Finneran): My Department has no function in the operational matters of the
Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), which is an independent statutory body estab-
lished under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. The PRTB may be contacted at
their offices at O’Connell Bridge House, Dublin 2 or by telephone or email. Contact details
and details of tenancy registrations are available on the Board’s website at www.prtb.ie

                                   Special Protection Areas.
  216. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the objections which have been lodged to his proposed special protection order
for Dublin Bay; if the advisory body has assessed these objections; if he has set a date by which
the advice must be furnished to him; and when he plans to make a decision. [45921/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): In
May of 2008, I proposed that three areas in Dublin Bay be designated as Special Protection
Areas for birds and invited submissions on the proposals. Of the submissions received within
the three month time-frame, only three included requests for areas within the proposed sites
to be excluded from the designation. All three related to the proposed South Dublin Bay and
River Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area (site number 004024). Two of the submissions
were from local authorities and one was from a semi state body. These submissions are being
examined in my Department and will be discussed with the bodies concerned. I will make a
decision in each instance once this process of dialogue has concluded and in the light of the
appropriate advice to me. I hope to be in a position to make these decisions early in the
New Year.
   The Designated Areas Appeals Advisory Board will not be involved in this case. This body
is used primarily to advise me in regard to objections from private individual land owners
and users.

                                                730
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


                                    Dublin Bay Task Force.
   217. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government the way he will ensure that the master plan being developed for Dublin Bay by
Dublin City Council and by the task force which he has appointed are ultimately given legal
effect. [45922/08]

  Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley):
The Dublin Bay Task Force was established at my request by the Dublin Regional Authority,
to prepare a draft Master Plan for Dublin Bay and make recommendations in relation to
institutional arrangements for coastal zone management in the Bay. As outlined in the Prog-
ramme for Government, I will consider legislation, if necessary, to implement the recom-
mendations of the Task Force.
  Dublin City Council, which is represented on the Dublin Bay Task Force, has prepared a
report on its analysis of the future of the central Bay area, from Sutton to Booterstown entitled
A Vision for Dublin Bay. The report, and the studies underpinning it, is being considered by
the Task Force in the context of its own work on the future of the Bay.

                                     Departmental Bodies.
  218. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources the amount of travel and subsistence paid to each chief executive officer of the
seven Regional Fisheries Boards, during the year ending 31 December 2007. [45672/08]

  Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
(Deputy Sean Power): The payment of expenses is a day-to-day operational matter for each
            ´
of the regional fisheries boards and I have no function in the matter.

                                 Telecommunications Services.
  219. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources the reason the local exchange upgrade for broadband is not servicing the house of
a person (details supplied) in County Donegal that is located 3 km from the local exchange
upgrade; if he will address this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45687/08]

  Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): I have
no function in the matter of the enabling for broadband purposes of exchanges owned by
private companies or the quality of lines for provision of broadband services.

                                  Departmental Expenditure.
  220. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources the number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his
Department to support the Better Regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have
been spent in support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder
of 2008; the budget for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45695/08]

 Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): My
Department is fully engaged in the Better Regulation agenda to contribute to the initiative of
making it easier to do business in the State and with the State.

                                                731
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Eamon Ryan.]

  The Better Regulation agenda, including regulatory impact analysis and administrative bur-
den reduction practices, is part of the everyday normal work of staff in all Divisions of the
Department.
  Staff resources are not exclusively deployed to deal with this issue due to the fact that it is
part of their ongoing workload. It is not possible, therefore, to separate out the costs of servic-
ing the needs of Better Regulation from overall administration costs.

                                 Telecommunications Services.
  221. Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources if his attention has been drawn to the problem with the ducting for the provision of
broadband in Tuam, County Galway whereby it is proposed to install a new water and drainage
scheme but without putting in the proper ducting for broadband which would appear to be the
most efficient way of doing the job without having to dig up the streets again; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [45710/08]

  Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): I pre-
sume the Deputy is referring to the possible construction of a Metropolitan Network (MAN) in
Tuam should a future phase of MANs be approved. Any future investment decisions, including
investment in further phases of the MANs Programme, will be guided by (i) a policy paper on
Next Generation Broadband, which is being finalised at present, (ii) a Value for Money and
Policy Review undertaken on Phase I of the MANs Programme (iii) any other analysis as
appropriate and (iv) the availability of resources.
  Should Tuam be selected for investment under a new phase of the MANs Programme then
any MANs duct laid as part of the water and drainage scheme could be funded as advance
works for the MANs project. It is a matter for the relevant local authority to decide whether
or not to include and fund appropriate ducting at this stage.

                                        Grant Payments.
   222. Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources if he will forward the details of the new insulation grant to a person (details supplied)
in County Galway. [45713/08]

  Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): I will
arrange for Sustainable Energy Ireland to forward details of the Home Energy Saving Scheme
to the individual, as soon as they become available.

                                     Broadcasting Services.
  223. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
                  ´ ´
Resources when the compulsory switch to digital television is scheduled for north Dublin city;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45838/08]

  Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): The
Broadcasting (Amendment) Act, 2007 puts in place a flexible framework for the licensing of
Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) into the future. The Act provides for the development of
DTT by both public service and commercial broadcasters. The DTT service is being used to
upgrade and eventually replace the national analogue free to air television services provided
       ´
by RTE, TG4 and TV3 and received using an aerial.

                                                732
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


   In order for Ireland to benefit fully from the switch to DTT, a switch-off of analogue terres-
trial television services is necessary. Ireland has indicated that analogue switch over will take
place by 2012, in line with other European countries. Section 11 of the Broadcasting
(Amendment) Act, 2007, provides a mechanism for setting a date(s) for analogue switch over.
In providing such a date(s), the Minister must take account of, inter alia, the extent of rollout
and take up of digital television services.
  Information in relation to the notice and timing of analogue switch off will be made available
to viewers at an appropriate future date.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
   224. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources the position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in
relation to the preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for
each report; and if he will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45846/08]

  Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): In the
following table are details of consultancies for 2007 and to date in 2008. The table contains
data on Marine consultancies that were undertaken prior to the transfer of functions to the
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during 2007. The data covers both consultancies
incurred under subhead A7 of my Department’s Vote as well as consultancies associated with
Programme spend. Expenditure on consultancies in 2009 will be significantly reduced in line
with Government policy.




                                                733
                                        Consultancy                                            Consultant    2007       2008

                                                                                                               \          \

      DCENR Audit Committee                                          Chair & Board of Audit Committee         5,000      5,000
      Temporary Head of Internal Audit Unit                          Helm Corporation Ltd                    27,091     56,218
      Provision of Mediation Services                                Mason Hayes + Curran                    11,494     11,776
      Provision of Mediation Services                                John O’Dowd                              5,445
      Provision of Mediation Services                                McGuinness Killen Partnership Ltd        1,634
      Preparation of five FHCF Accounts for 2005                     O’Malley & Company                       1,162
                                                                                                                                 Questions—




      Financial Advisor to DCMNR                                     ESB Independent Generation              93,170     16,940
      Spot Checks on Capital Investment 2006                         DK Crowley                                    —    10,748
      2005-2006 EAGGF Audit                                          Deloitte & Touche                        2,213
      Financial Advisor to the Department                            Stephen O’Connor                       114,092    193,056
      Expert Advice on Health and Safety Audits                      Employment and Safety Associates        14,470
      Healthy Eating Initiative                                      Miss Marguerite Brennan — Murphy         4,550
      TechReview of the emergency call answering service (ECAS)      Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd                171,858    129,319
      Legal Advice on procurement of an ECAS Provider                Matheson Ormsby Prentice                91,143     24,543




734
      Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR)                                   Eric van Rongen                         15,826
      Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR)                                   Dr. Michael Repacholi                    7,190
                                                                                                                                 11 December 2008.




      Drafting of Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007                  Marie McGonagle                                     7,500
      Drafting of Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007                  Margaret O’Driscoll                     28,435      7,865
         ´
      RTE Licence Fee Review                                         INDECON                                171,699
      Legal advice against threatened legal actions                  Mason Hayes + Curran                    38,480
      Media Literacy                                                 Media Literacy Education                      —     9,000
                                 ´
      Re-Engineering of annual RTE Review Process                    PriceWaterhouseCoopers                            102,197
      Legal advice on DTT                                            Mason Hayes + Curran                               30,825
      Technical Advice on DTT                                        Gary Tonge                                          5,446
      Review of public sector benefit of postcodes                   PA Consulting                                      54,450
                                                                                                                                 Written Answers




      Assistance on draft policy paper on Next Generation Networks   Analysys Mason Limited                  23,506     30,849
      Legal Advice for BnM — ESOP documentation                      A & L Goodbody Solicitors               11,108     26,018
                          ´
      Legal Advice for BGE — ESOP                                    Beauchamp Solicitors                               62,267
                                         Consultancy                                         Consultant       2007       2008

                                                                                                                \          \

      Legal Advice re post sale of INPC/Whitegate Refinery           Matheson Ormsby Prentice                 97,068      8,492
      Review of Ireland’s access to commercial Oil Supplies          Purvin & Gertz Inc                                 271,766
      Study on transmission line infrastructure                      ECOFYS GMBH                                        145,052
      Study on transmission line infrastructure                      Brindley Advertising                                22,100
      Study on transmission line infrastructure                      Golder Associates Ire                                3,388
                               ´
      Review of proposed BGE investments                             KPMG                                               181,500
                                                                                                                                  Questions—




                           ´
      Review of proposed BGE investments                             Mason Hayes + Curran                                22,578
      Legal Advice on Biofuels Mineral Oil Tax Relief                Arthur Cox Solicitor                      1,431
      Drafting of PSO under Section 39 of Electricity Reg Act 1999   Noel J Travers                                       9,075
      Gas to the Northwest Study                                     Fingleton White & Co Ltd                141,699
      Legal Advice to EU infringement proceedings                    Mason Hayes + Curran                     68,964
      All Island LNG & Gas Storage Study                             CSA Group                               213,738
      DETINI — Review of North South Pipeline                        Dept Enterprise Trade & Investment NI    16,195
      Single Electricity Market                                      CAP ITA Resourcing Ltd                   35,091




735
      All Island Grid Study                                          Dept Enterprise Trade & Investment NI   218,608
      Legal Advice for ESB — ESOP                                    Beauchamp Solicitors                                18,265
                                                                                                                                  11 December 2008.




      Corporate branding and website design                          Dara Design & Print Ltd                   6,697
      UCD Portal Study                                               Kepler Consulting Ltd                     6,970
      Provision of international seabed mapping services             Marine Institute                          4,600
      Advice on GSI library acquisitions & management 07             Dr. Ralph Horne                           5,250      5,670
      Advice GSI to link data/outputs to LC Syllabus 07              AG Education Services Ltd                18,150
      Archivist Services for Archived Files                          Petra Coffey                             15,000     17,500
      Archivist Services for Archived Files                          Eneclann                                       —     2,856
      EPA Mine Wastes                                                CDM (Camp Dresser & Mc Kee Irl Ltd)      40,000
      Groundwater Protection                                         Tobin Consulting Engineers               81,675
                                                                                                                                  Written Answers




      Aggregate Resource Mapping                                     Mr Michael Philcox                       16,093
      Geoenvironmental Surveys (Airborne Data Interpreta             Reid Geophysics                           2,551
      Geoenvironmental Surveys (Airborne Data Interpreta             PetRos Eikom Ltd                          4,060
      Geoenvironmental Surveys (Airborne Data Interpreta             Natural Environ Research Council         15,058
      GeoUrban (Dublin Pilot Project)                                Aurum Exploration Ltd                    19,152
                                        Consultancy                                                              Consultant      2007         2008

                                                                                                                                   \            \

      GeoUrban (Dublin Pilot Project)                                                 Glenbeigh Records Management               2,142
      Geoheritage (Geoparks)                                                          DR ROBBIE MEEHAN                          20,570
      Comparative Study GSI / GSINI                                                   CSA Group                                        —     14,338
      Corrib Verification Process                                                     KEANE OFFSHORE INTEGRITY LTD              90,077      116,963
      Environmental Monitoring Group                                                  Members of EMG                             4,981        5,171
      Review of Licensing Terms                                                       INDECON                                   30,710
                                                                                                                                                        Questions—




      Strategic Environmental Assessment — Porcupine                                  ERT (Scotland) Ltd                       119,325
      Strategic Environmental Assessment — Porcupine                                  Louise Johnson                             1,324
      Oil and Gas Industry Support Service                                            CSA Group                                 78,652       10,249
      Petroleum Engineering Support                                                   David Fox                                        —    170,538
      Legal Advice on Corrib Pipeline                                                 Arthur Cox Solicitor                                   42,946
      Review of Corrib EIS                                                            AEA Technology                                   —     47,204
      Geophysical Support                                                             Clare Morgan                                           56,114
      OIC 2007 Action                                                                 Cefas — Lowestoft Laboratory                            3,527




736
      TAG on Corrib                                                                   Advantia                                         —     22,870
      INFOMAR                                                                         Grainne O’Shea                             2,458
                                                                                                                                                        11 December 2008.




      IT Consultancy (Landmark Software)                                              DMAP Ltd                                                1,178
      IT Consultancy                                                                  CPL Solutions                                           9,051
      Provision of technology briefings and advise on ICT trends and implementation   Gartner Ireland Ltd                       38,745
        strategies
      IT Infrastructure                                                               Nexitroane                                              3,963
      ICT Strategy                                                                    Astron / Sonas / RITS                            —     70,422
      Expenditure Reviews of MANS and GBS                                             Petrus Consulting Ltd                      3,388              —
      Expenditure Review of EU & Exchequer Support of the Aquaculture Sector          Epsilon Consulting                         5,808              —
      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         NBI Consulting                               854
                                                                                                                                                        Written Answers




      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         Richard Black Solicitors                  32,973
      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         Magnum Opus Ltd                         1,671,495    1,158,166
      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         Norcontel (ire) Ltd                       22,267       15,282
      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         Arthur Cox Solicitor                     114,406      569,580
      ICT Project Consultancy                                                         Quantum Equity                                   —     12,584
                                       Consultancy                              Consultant         2007         2008

                                                                                                     \            \

      ICT Project Consultancy                        KPMG                                         18,150
      ICT Project Consultancy                        Eamonn O’hEachach                                         32,348
      Legal Advice — Schools Broadband               Mason Hayes & Curran                                —      9,273
      Group Broadband Scheme                         Mazars                                       48,666
      NBS Consultancy                                Aneta Scieplek                               28,942       60,334
      NBS Consultancy                                Commission for Communications Regulation    157,397       67,517
                                                                                                                          Questions—




      NBS Consultancy                                ESRI Ireland                                 28,433       39,441
      NBS Consultancy                                McCann Fitzgerald                                        572,229
      NBS Consultancy                                Analysys Mason Ltd                                        32,670
      NBS Consultancy                                Eoin McCullough                                            6,050
      Next Genaration Networks                       Alexandra Dunlop                                          29,928
      Make IT Secure                                 Ireach                                              —     20,000
      Review of National Digital Research Centre     Various                                                    6,393
      ICT Project Consultancy                        Richard Black Solicitors                                   1,331




737
      Digital Terrestrial Television                 John F O’Connor                               6,150
      Digital Terrestrial Television                 Maxtel Communications                        14,429
                                                                                                                          11 December 2008.




      Digital Terrestrial Television                 BT Ireland                                                 7,986
      Digital Terrestrial Television                 Gary Tonge                                    3,519
      Gas Technical Standards Committee              National Standards Authority of Ireland      41,399       36,000
      Energy Research Strategy                       Network Resources Ltd                               —     65,050
      National Energy Efficiency Campaign            Network Resources Ltd (Dr heather Greer)      3,969     1,703,584
      National Energy Efficiency Campaign            Cawley Nea Ltd                             4,953,031
      Review of Fisheries Act 1959 — 2006            Alan McGurdy                                  4,966              —
      INFOMAR                                        Sea & Shore Safety Services Ltd                 965
      INFOMAR                                        Grainne O’Shea                               57,007       46,813
                                                                                                                          Written Answers




      INFOMAR                                        Ronan O’Toole                                13,777       27,875
      INFOMAR                                        Fugro Survey Ltd                              1,211
      INFOMAR                                        Woods Hole Oceanic Institute                               1,194
      INFOMAR                                        John Deasy                                                 5,400
                                         Consultancy                                                           Consultant    2007       2008

                                                                                                                               \          \
      INFOMAR                                                                        PWC Belfast                                   —    66,086
      Petroleum Engineering Support (sept 07 — aug 08)                               David Fox Associates                    41,288     17,940
      Petroleum Engineering Support (May 06 — June 07)                               David Fox Associates                   175,879

      IT Consultancy (Landmark Software)                                             DMAP Ltd                                 1,674
      Corporate branding and website design                                          Dara Design & Print Ltd                            19,940
      Advisory Services to CSSO re legal case Minister vs Mogul of Ireland Ltd       BDO Simpson Xavier                       4,840
                                                                                                                                                 Questions—




      Corporate Recovery Services                                                    BDO Simpson Xavier                       3,630
      Advice on closure / restoration scheme for new Dolomite Quarry, Co Tipperary   John Barnett & Associates                5,324
      Rehabilitation of Clashduff Mine                                               Hayes Higgins Partnership                     —     1,215
      Interpretation of Airborne Geophysical Data                                    PGW Europe Ltd                           4,840
      Avoca Remedial Study                                                           Camp, Dresser & McKee Irl Ltd          567,874    122,612
      Airborne Geophysical Data Release Programme                                    Scantech Geosceince Ltd                 11,519
      Examination of planning application for K2 extension to Galmoy Mine            Cantab Consulting Ltd                              12,122
      Geological Advice                                                              Ben Dhonau                                         18,093




738
      IGH County Sites Audit                                                         Aaron Sheehan Clarke                    16,000
      Provision of Interviews for site suitability Assessment Training Programme     Cormac O’Suilleabhain                    1,452      1,125
                                                                                                                                                 11 December 2008.




      Griffith Geoscience Research Awards                                            Dr David A Falvey                        5,455
      Galway Groundwater Vulnerability Maps                                          Dr David Drew                            1,400
      EPA Mine Waste                                                                 Dr JA Martin                             1,736
      Galway Groundwater Vulnerability Maps                                          Dr Robbie Meehan                        41,019
      Galway Groundwater Vulnerability Maps                                          Tobin Consulting Engineers                         77,686
      Gwater Source Prot (Off/Ros/CK)                                                Dr Robbie Meehan                          650       1,815
      Wastewater Septic tank Course                                                  Dr Robbie Meehan                         1,089      2,068
      Wastewater Septic tank Course                                                  Dr Pamela Bartley                                   4,503
      Wastewater Septic tank Course                                                  ESRI Ireland                                        3,176
                                                                                                                                                 Written Answers




      EPA Mine Waste                                                                 Dr Vincent Gallagher                    54,450     67,936
      EU Water Framework Directive                                                   ESRI Ireland                            70,852
      Historic Mines Project                                                         Fionnuala Ni Mairtin                    14,450     55,951
                                          Consultancy                                  Consultant    2007       2008

                                                                                                       \          \

      EPA Mine Waste                                            GWP Consultants                      10,536
      EPA Mine Waste                                            AGB                                                   85
      Wastewater Septic tank Course                             Laurence Gill                          726
      Wastewater Septic tank Course                             Gerard Murphy                                    1,091
      IGH County Sites Audit                                    Mr Aaron Clarke                      24,000
      Irelithos                                                 Mr Jason Bolton                      47,094
                                                                                                                           Questions—




      EPA Mine Waste                                            Mr Pheilim Lally                     45,375       259
      Griffith Geoscience Research Awards                       Natural Environ Research Council      1,105
      Gwater Source Prot (Off/Ros/CK)                           Paul Johnston                         1,089
      Irelithos                                                 Claudia Loesch                                   9,081
      Griffith Geoscience Research Awards                       Prof CJ Hawkesworth                   3,280
      Geourban project — data manipulation                      Aurum Exploration                          —    26,813
      Aggregate Potential Mapping                               Mr Pheilim Lally                     12,705     77,510
      GIS Technician Services — GeoUrban Dublin pilot project   Edel O’Regan                         14,888     33,499




739
      National Mapping Programme -                              Tobin Consulting Engineers           29,040    247,407
      National Aquaifer Report                                  Geoff Wright                         14,625
                                                                                                                           11 December 2008.




      Landslides Susceptibility Mapping                         M/S Mouchel Ireland                        —    89,811
      PRISM Models Maintenance                                  National University Galway           24,000
      Coast Protection Strategy Study                           National University Galway           30,000
      Coast Protection Strategy Study                           RPS Consulting Engineers             91,264
      Coast Protection Strategy Study                           Compass Informatics Ltd              13,256
      Coastal Surveys                                           Blom Aerofilms Ltd                   16,220
      Coastal Surveys                                           Simmons Aerofilms                     6,738
      Coastal Surveys                                           Ormston Technology Ltd                2,034
      Independent Review of Fisheries Control Regime            Martec NI Ltd                       202,217
                                                                                                                           Written Answers




      Drafting of SIs in relation to Sales Notes                Una Mary Tighe                       11,193
      Tarbet                                                    IGLS Ltd                              2,752
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


                                    Departmental Schemes.
  225. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if an
evaluation of the effectiveness of the food dudes pilot scheme in primary schools has been
carried out; and if he will make a statement on the implementation of the scheme to date.
[45803/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Evaluations of the
Food Dude Programme were undertaken by UCD in 2006 and 2007, which indicated that
children who participated in the programme were now consuming more fruit and vegetables
both at school and at home. The success of the pilot programme was recognised when it was
awarded the International Best Practice Award from the World Health Organisation in 2006.
An evaluation of the earlier Bord Glas pilot scheme which was published in the European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition earlier this year concluded that the Food Dude intervention was
effective in changing parental provision and children’s consumption of lunchbox fruit and veg-
etables in Ireland.
  A further evaluation was undertaken in 2008, which found that the programme was very well
received by over 90% of participating children, parents and teachers.

                                  Farm Waste Management.
                    ´ ´
   226. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the
                                   ´
statistics on a county basis of the number of applications approved for participation in the farm
waste management scheme; the level of funding dispersed to date under this scheme; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [45678/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): 42,970 approvals to
commence work have issued, to date, to farmers under the revised Farm Waste Management
Scheme introduced by my Department in March 2006. A county-by-county breakdown of these
approvals is not available at present.
  To date in 2008, \346.56 million has been paid out to farmers under the Scheme. This com-
pares to \113.88 million in 2007 and \21.32 million in 2006.

                                         Live Exports.
                  ´ ´
  227. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his
                                ´
views on the live export trade during the course of 2008; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45679/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Live exports are an
important component of Ireland’s livestock industry providing an essential alternative to com-
petition with the beef trade.
  Live cattle exports from Ireland in 2007 amounted to 207,000 animals, worth an estimated
\110 million. To date this year, 141,347 live cattle and calves have been exported from Ireland
(up to week ending 22nd November). This number is some 30% below the level for the corre-
sponding period in 2007.
  Bord Bia is working intensely to give support to the export of Irish livestock through a
number of targeted activities. This includes providing up-to-date market information to live
exporters, weekly livestock reports and bi-monthly market-updates from Spain, Italy and the
Netherlands, along with regular communication with market offices.
                                                740
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


   Each year, Bord Bia also organises livestock open days in Spain and Italy, in conjunction
with individual exporters. This involves displaying Irish cattle in a continental feedlot, illustrat-
ing their advantages in health, performance and carcass quality to potential customers and
agri-media. Other services provided by market offices include contact with buyers, arranging
itineraries / inward buyer visits, language interpretation, attendance at trade fairs and market
research.

                                       Marketing Strategies.
                   ´ ´
  228. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the
                                ´
success achieved during 2008 by An Bord Bia in securing new markets and increased market
share for Irish beef and lamb; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45680/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The Bord Bia market-
ing strategy for Irish beef for 2008 to 2013 is being implemented since the beginning of this
year. The main emphasis of the strategy is on the high value European market. While the retail
penetration of Irish beef in Europe is already very high and there is little room for significant
conversion of new business there have been considerable gains in terms of volume of higher
value business going to standard retail outlets and the introduction of 24 premium offerings in
foodservice and retail outlets in Italy, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain,
Portugal, Scandinavia, Germany & Eastern Europe.
  The Bord Bia lamb strategy for 2008 is based on a number of objectives. These include
maximising returns on the home market by means of promotional programmes during the year
which have targeted younger consumers by highlighting the convenience and versatility of lamb.
Consumer penetration at retail level has grown from 70% to 73%, and lamb’s market share
within the meat category has remained stable.
  Bord Bia also assist exporters to diversify into new markets through a number of branding
and packaging initiatives to add value to export volumes on non-traditional markets. These
include two new retail listings on the British market and a direct retail supply contract with a
Scandinavian retailer.
  Bord Bia is also collaborating in the Generic Lamb/‘Agneau Presto’ Campaign in France.
The goal of the campaign is to attract new consumers into the lamb category by developing a
more convenient, portion driven offer that appeals to younger consumers. The campaign
launched in February 2008, has received significant media coverage and retail presence.
  To support this Bord Bia launched an in-store merchandising campaign with five major
retail groups which ran from August to October 2008. The campaign which represented a total
investment of \3.9million will run over a three year period to 2010. Coupled with the Premium
Lamb promotion, the Agneau Presto ensured that Irish lamb was sold in over 1,000 retail
outlets across the Belgian and French market.

                                   Departmental Expenditure.
  229. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the
number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to
support the Better Regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in
support of such work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the
budget for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45693/08]

 Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): An officer in the
Legal Services Division of my Department is a member of the RIA Network and is also the

                                                 741
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.        Written Answers

  [Deputy Brendan Smith.]
liaison officer within the Department for RIA. The Better Regulation Agenda is a portion of
this officer’s work. In addition 8 officers attended the RIA training course at the Civil Service
Training and Development Centre this year. It has not been necessary for my Department to
allocate resources to Better Regulation other than the staff outlined above.

                                         Grant Payments.
  230. Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the
reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received their payment under the
cow suckler welfare scheme in respect of the 25 animals for which they applied; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [45709/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Payment of \1,360 in
respect of seventeen animals was issued on 14 November 2008. Five calves will not qualify for
payment as they were registered outside the statutory requirement of 27 days from the date of
birth. One calf will not qualify because its dam calved down under 22 months of age. The
remaining two animals are showing errors on the animal event dates. Staff from the Suckler
Herds Section of my Department in Portlaoise will be in contact with the herdowner shortly
to seek to resolve the remaining errors.

                                        Farm Inspections.
   231. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the source
from which his Department receives the satellite photographs used in departmental inspections
of farms. [45717/08]

   246. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the legis-
lation, domestic or EU, under which the use of satellite photographs as evidence in farm inspec-
tions is based. [45841/08]

 Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): I propose to take
Questions Nos. 231 and 246 together.
  The EU Commission provides the satellite imagery used for eligibility inspections by way of
Remote Sensing. Satellite inspections are carried out for the control of eligibility of the area-
based schemes in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 and Commission
Regulation (EC) No. 796/2004 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the Single
Payment Scheme and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1973/2004 laying down detailed rules
for the implementation of further support schemes, including the Energy Crops Scheme and the
Protein Crop Premium. The inspections are carried out in accordance with Common Technical
Specifications for the application of satellite inspections specified by the EU Commission each
Scheme year.

                               Rural Environment Protection Scheme.
  232. Deputy Padraic McCormack asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the
                 ´
reason REP scheme payments are not being made to a person (details supplied) in County
Galway who joined the REP scheme in January 2005 and has not been paid for 2007 and 2008;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45740/08]

   Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The person named
commenced participation in REPS with effect from 1 May 2005. She received payments for the
first two years. However she was then selected for inspection and land included in the appli-

                                                 742
                  Questions—              11 December 2008.          Written Answers


cation was found to be ineligible. She appealed this decision locally and then to the Agriculture
Appeals Office. The Appeals Office upheld the Department’s decision and the person named
was notified of this by letter dated 28th November 2008.

                                     Farm Retirement Scheme.
  233. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a
decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied) in County Cork in
respect of their application for early retirement; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45750/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The application in
question is being examined with a view to being finalised shortly. The person named will be
informed of the outcome once this examination is complete.

   234. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will
reverse his decision to disallow an application for early retirement by a person (details supplied)
in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45752/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): An application under
the Early Retirement (ERS3) Scheme for the person named was received in my Department
on 16 October 2008. It could not be accepted for processing as the Scheme was suspended for
new applications with effect from 15 October 2008.
  I have no plans, at present, to reopen the Early Retirement Scheme to new applications, but
the limiting of the suspension of the Scheme will be considered at the earliest opportunity
having regard to the general budgetary situation.

                               Rural Environment Protection Scheme.
  235. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he
proposes to restrict access for farmers to the REP scheme; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45754/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The Programme for
Government sets a target of 70,000 farmers in REPS. At present there are some 61,000 farmers
involved,including 12,700 applicants for REPS 4. Notwithstanding the current budgetary diffi-
culties, I have allocated an increased provision for REPS in 2009 of \355 million and I believe
this demonstrates my commitment to the long-term future of REPS as a measure that has
brought great benefits not only to farmers and the environment but also to the community as
a whole. The 2009 allocation seeks to protect REPS, including the 17% increase in rates, and
to ensure that it can continue to accommodate farmers wishing to join in 2009.

                                      Departmental Surveys.
  236. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a
ground visit will be arranged in order that a matter in respect of a person (details supplied) in
County Mayo will be finalised. [45761/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The ground survey
has taken place recently and a map will be drawn up as soon as possible.

                                         Grant Payments.
  237. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will
                ´
                                                 743
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers

            ´
  [Deputy Sean Sherlock.]
put in place an arrangement in which a farmer can claim their grant in advance of paying bills
associated with the investment in view of the fact that a number of farmers are encountering
problems obtaining finance to meet all bills in relation to the farm waste management scheme;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45763/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The provisions of the
Farm Waste Management Scheme require farmers to lodge a fully documented payment claim
with my Department by 31 December 2008. I do not propose to alter this procedure.

                                       Farm Inspections.
  238. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view
                   ´
of the pressures on public expenditure, he will address the issue in which a number of State
agencies are inspecting farms on the same issue, for example, his Department and local auth-
orities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45764/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The position is that
the Local Authorities are the designated control authorities under the Nitrates Regulations (SI
no. 378 of 2006) which are the responsibility of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage
and Local Government in the first instance. As such they have legislative obligations in terms
of monitoring and controls. My Department has responsibility for nitrates inspections in the
context of the cross-compliance arrangements associated with Direct Payment Schemes to
farmers. The Nitrates Directive is one of the 18 Statutory Management Requirements under
cross-compliance.

                                         Dairy Sector.
  239. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the price
                    ´
supports he is seeking from the EU Commission, in view of the difficult position in dairy
markets at present and the bleak outlook for 2009, in order to stabilise markets at a reasonable
price level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45765/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): In view of the tempor-
ary volatility in dairy markets and uncertainty in the short-term outlook, I contacted EU Com-
missioner Mariann Fischer Boel in early November to activate market measures in support of
the sector. I was pleased that the Commission acted decisively and brought forward the scheme
of private storage aid for butter. This will now take effect from 1st January, two months earlier
than usual and will assist in stabilising the market. At the Agriculture Council on 28th
November the Commissioner agreed to keep the market situation under review and to come
forward with additional measures in the New Year should the situation warrant it.
   Once the effect of the early introduction of APS is evident, we can then assess the need to
activate other mechanisms to assist dairy exporters who are facing difficulties exporting product
from the EU onto world markets. I will continue to monitor developments in the dairy markets
and will intervene again with the Commissioner as the market situation evolves.
   EU market supports are extremely important particularly in times of market volatility. In
the recent Health Check negotiations, the maintenance of key market supports was one of my
main objectives. Securing the retention of intervention for butter and SMP, without losing the
compulsory purchase at the intervention price of the first 30,000 tonnes and 109,000 tonnes
respectively was a major achievement. This was true also in respect of the retention of private
storage aid for butter. This was crucial given our need to even out the production cycle and

                                                744
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


allow product to be kept in the control of processors for subsequent release into commercial
markets. As a result of the Health Check negotiations, I have secured the preservation of all
the important market instruments that Ireland uses without any change whatever. These will
now be activated, first with APS in January and later, in March, when intervention will be open
where warranted by market conditions.

                                          Milk Quota.
   240. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his views
                   ´
on the fact that less than 10% of dairy farmers purchased milk quota in the last quota exchange;
the measures he will take to restore confidence in the dairy sector; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45766/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Decisions by dairy
farmers in regard to the purchase of milk quota in the Milk Quota Trading Scheme are based
on individual circumstances, an assessment of the value and need for milk quota in particular
farm enterprises and the prevailing market conditions for milk and milk products. On this
occasion, 13 per cent of all dairy farmers decided to apply for quota and I am very pleased that
75 per cent of those who did apply were successful. In fact, nearly 90 per cent of all milk quota
offered for sale was taken up.
  On the broader question of restoring confidence, I have stated repeatedly that, while the
current environment is a volatile one, policy needs to be driven by a consideration of the
long-term outlook rather than short-term volatility. Longer-term prospects are generally very
positive, with a sustained increase in global demand for dairy products anticipated over the
next decade and beyond. Ireland needs to position itself to take advantage of the opportunities
presented by such developments.
  The Government’s strategy has been a three-pronged one. The first element has been the
implementation of the \100 million Dairy Investment Fund aimed at stimulating the necessary
investment at processing level to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the industry. The
second has been the introduction of the Milk Quota Trading Scheme, which has brought a
more open market approach to the transfer of milk quota and has ensured that larger volumes
of quota than ever before are now getting into the hands of active, committed milk producers.
The final element was delivered recently when I successfully concluded negotiations on the
Health Check of the 2003 CAP reform. These delivered an outstanding outcome for the dairy
sector in the form of substantial milk quota increases and the retention of the market manage-
ment measures of key importance to Ireland. Most significantly, the outcome has provided a
greater degree of policy certainty for the industry going forward.

                                       Farm Inspections.
  241. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason
                ´
more than 10% of cross compliance inspections are taking place in December; the progress he
has made to reduce the level of inspection from 5% to 1%; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45767/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Under the Regu-
lations governing cross-compliance, Member States must ensure that on the spot controls for all
requirements and standards relevant to cross-compliance are carried out throughout the year.
   To-date, for the year 2008, over 96% of farmers selected for control under the cross-com-
pliance requirements, including animal identification and registration requirements, have
been inspected.

                                                745
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Brendan Smith.]

  The rate of on-farm inspection required for cross-compliance is 1% of those farmers to whom
the Statutory Management Requirements or GAEC apply. However at least 5% of producers
must be inspected annually under the Bovine Animal Identification and Registration require-
ments as this level is prescribed under the relevant Regulations. In the sheep sector 3% of
producers must be inspected annually involving 5% of animals.

                                      Departmental Staff.
  242. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the annual
                 ´
budget of the special investigations unit; the number of staff who work in the unit; the number
of prosecutions made in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45768/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): While the Special
Investigation Unit (SIU) was established in the late 1980s to deal with serious problems relating
to use of illegal substances (hormones, angel dust etc.) in animal production, its remit was
expanded in the intervening years to include assistance in the implementation of various
schemes and, in particular, to investigate breaches of legislation governing animal disease con-
trol, animal identification and smuggling, etc. Apart from investigative duties, the Unit also has
an important role in providing advice and training to other staff in the Department.
  The investigations of the Unit in the animal remedies area resulted in the successful pros-
ecution of 252 people/companies since 1996 for offences under the animal remedies legislation
(72 people received custodial sentences and fines in excess of \0.95m were imposed). In the
wider veterinary area, over the past 8 years, its actions resulted in over 130 successful pros-
ecutions. Fines ranging from \250 up to \24,000 have been imposed and periods of imprison-
ment were laid down in 13 cases.
  There were 3 prosecutions initiated in 2007 and 8 successful prosecutions were obtained in
the same year. In addition, the Department decided in 2007, following the judgement of the
Supreme Court in the Quinn /Tector case, not to proceed with 25 other cases.
   The estimated cost of the Unit including staff costs was circa \1.5m in 2007. The current
staffing of the Unit stands at 16.
  The effectiveness of the actions taken by the Unit is evidenced by the on-going overall low
levels of positive samples in food and the absence of residues of growth promoters in targeted
testing in recent years under the National Residue Monitoring Plan. In addition, the significant
progress made in reducing the incidence of various diseases (i.e. BSE and Brucellosis) in recent
years can be partly attributed to the action taken by the Unit.

                                        Coastal Erosion.
   243. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the pro-
posals he has to urgently address the erosion problems at the Foyle Tramore, Counsellors
Strand, Dunmore East and Woodstown Strand in County Waterford; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45784/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): In line with a recent
Government decision, responsibility for Coastal Protection and Coastal Flooding will become
the responsibility of the Office of Public Works with effect from 1st January 2009. Arrange-
ments are currently in train to effect the transfer.

                                                746
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


  The Office of Public Works will therefore be responsible for the allocation of funding for
Coast Protection works for 2009 and onwards. Any queries with regard to funding should be
directed to that office.

                                    Departmental Schemes.
   244. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is
open to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo to apply for the suckler welfare scheme;
if an application will be accepted at this late stage; and the reason no reply issued from his
Department to this query. [45832/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The person named
did not apply for the Suckler Welfare Scheme by the closing date of 31 March 2008. It will not
be possible to accept an application at this late stage, unless there were exceptional circum-
stances that prevented him from applying on time. Staff from the Suckler Herds Section of my
Department in Portlaoise will be in contact with the person named shortly.
  The delay in replying to your email dated 24 November 2008 is regretted. It arose because
the Suckler Herds Section has been very busy over the last month dealing with the large
number of telephone calls and e-mails arising from the issue of query letters and grant payments
under the scheme.

                                     Fisheries Protection.
  245. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if satellites
are used to monitor fishing off the Irish coast. [45840/08]

   Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Vessel Monitoring
Systems (VMS) are required under EU Regulation to be fitted on all fishing vessels over 15
metres in overall length operating in EU waters and all EU vessels wherever they operate. The
collection and use of the information received through the VMS system for all vessels operating
in Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone and Irish vessels operating in other waters is a matter for
the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), an independent authority, which was estab-
lished under Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 on January 1st 2007. The Act
clearly provides that the Authority is independent in the exercise of its functions and as such
I have no remit as to its work programme or its strategic deployment of resources.

  Question No. 246 answered with Question No. 231.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
   247. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the posi-
tion regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the
preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and
if he will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45844/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The information
requested by the Deputy in respect of my Department for 2007 and 2008 is set out in the
following tables:


                                                747
                        Questions—           11 December 2008.               Written Answers

  [Deputy Brendan Smith.]
                                                  2007

              Name of Consultant                             Nature of Work                     Payment

                                                                                                    \

John Malone — Consultant                     Sheep Strategy Development Group                    13,433.02
P.P. Ryan & Co — Solicitors                  Legal advice                                         2,123.55
Configure Ltd                                Preparation of a disability access report for 6     19,965.00
                                               Fishery Harbour Centres and
                                               recommendation of the implementation plan
Ray Burke Consulting                         Development of a Business Plan for the FHCs         23,602.26
Mazars                                       Assist & provide IT audit expertise to Internal     58,147.00
                                              Audit Unit
Achilles Procurement Services                Advice on procurement                                3,245.83
Una Tighe                                    Providing legal advice in relation to drafting a    11,192.50
                                               statutory instrument
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd     Review of the Fishery Control Regime                76,105.78
Dr. Noel Cawley                              Chair the Seafood Strategy Implementation           29,289.00
                                              Group established to oversee the report on
                                              seafood industry — Steering a New Course
Achilles Procurement Services Ltd            Provision of advice & assistance in the              5,868.63
                                               preparation of tenders
Open Interface Ltd                           Production of an accessibility report on             8,470.00
                                               Department’s web & online services
Achilles Procurement Services                Produced report & provided advice on                 2,240.00
                                               specialised ICT procurement
Vantage Resources                            Business analysis for Forestry Online               20,421.00
                                              applications, development strategy & costing
                                              estimates
Resources Global Consultancy                 Conduct a post implementation review on the         11,480.00
                                              IFORIS computer system
RITS                                         Quarterly IT security review report as required      2,916.00
                                              for EU Accreditation purposes
ESPION                                       Quarterly IT security review report as required     19,360.00
                                              for EU Accreditation purposes
Royal Haskoning Consulting Engineers         Engineering Consultancy Services for                44,242.63
                                              Greencastle Harbour Development
RPS Consulting Engineers                     Engineering Consultancy Services for Killybegs      33,370.72
                                              Harbour Development
Ryan Hanley Consulting Engineers             Design & supervision for Rossaveal Store, Co.       10,688.80
                                              Galway
Mott MacDonald Pettit Consulting Engineers   Project consultants for Rossaveel Ferry             83,363.98
                                               Terminal Pontoon Project
Mott MacDonald Pettit Consulting Engineers   Engineering Services: Design & construction of     173,344.75
                                              harbour development works at
                                              Castletownbere FHC
JE Jacobs Consulting Engineers               Engineering Services: Provision of resident site   139,045.94
                                              supervision for works at Castletownbere
                                              FHC
RPS Consulting Engineers                     Engineering Services for An Daingean FHC            39,070.90
                                              Dredging — Studies
RPS consulting Engineers                     Detailed Design for Dunmore East Harbour            57,814.10
                                              redevelopment
Philip Lee Solicitors                        Procurement advice                                   6,050.00
Marine Modelling Centre (NUI) Galway         Assessment of surge model                           10,500.00
Marine Modelling Centre (NUI) Galway         Coastal surge Forecasting                           19,500.00

                                                    748
                     Questions—                11 December 2008.              Written Answers


              Name of Consultant                              Nature of Work                     Payment

                                                                                                     \
Marine Modelling Centre (NUI) Galway           Running computer model, PRISM                      24,000.00
Marine Modelling Centre (NUI) Galway           Relocation of WAM model                            10,100.00
Blom Aerofilms UK                              Airborne Laser Coastal Survey Ireland- Phase      134,592.84
                                                1
RPS Consulting Engineers                       Airborne Laser Coastal Survey Ireland- Phase        8,991.51
                                                2 Tender Assessment
Reencon Development Services                   Coastal Protection Strategy Study-                 12,101.21
                                                Topographic Survey
RPS Consulting Engineers                       Coastal Protection Strategy Study- Phase 2         29,510.70
RPS Consulting Engineers                       Coastal Protection Strategy Study- Phase 3        108,571.73
Compass Informatics Dublin                     Provision of GIS Services                           9,804.02
ERA Maptec Dublin                              SE Coast DTM Update                                 7,411.25
Brendan Riordan                                Progress report of “The net Contribution of         3,000.00
                                                 the Agri-Food Sector to the Inflow of Funds-
                                                 a New Estimate”
Indecon                                        Acting as independent expert on the               154,670.00
                                                implementation of the \145m scheme of EU
                                                restructuring aid for the sugar industry
Deloitte & Touche                              Pre Accreditation Review                           12,500.00
Deloitte & Touche                              2006 EAGGF payment 3                               47,157.38
Mazar                                          Computer Audit & Security Services                 16,970.00
Mazar                                          Computer Audit & Security Services                 24,960.00
Deloitte & Touche                              2007 EAGF & EAFRD payment 1                       158,912.00
Deloitte & Touche                              2007 EAGF & EAFRD payment 2                       161,159.42
Deloitte & Touche                              Pre Accreditation Review                           17,890.00
Mazar                                          Computer Audit & Security Services                  6,125.00
Ecosafe/Surepath                               Dangerous goods adviser                             5,973.00
John McCarthy Consultant                       Consultancy in relation to the introduction of      1,331.00
                                                Milk Quota trading scheme
IFER Monitoring & Mapping Solutions            National Forestry Inventory                        57,213.00
UCD Forestry Department                        National Forestry Inventory                         3,200.00
Dr. Gerhardt Gallagher                         National Forestry Inventory                         3,085.50
Bearing point Management Consultants           Work on Human Resource Management                  38,060.55
                                                System



                                                     2008

              Name of Consultant                              Nature of Work                     Payment

                                                                                                     \

Mazars                                         To assist and provide IT audit expertise to the    67,911.00
                                                Internal Audit Unit
Fitzpatrick Associates, Economic Consultants   Independent Ex-Post Evaluation of the Rural        74,084.25
                                                 Development Plan 2000-2006
John Malone                                    The preparation of a report “Factors Affecting     23,363.83
                                                Afforestation in Ireland in Recent Years”
                                                that was published by the Department in
                                                March 2008
Deloitte & Touche Certifying Body              2007 EAGF & EAFRD payment 3                        83,936.61
Deloitte & Touche Certifying Body              2008 EAGF & EAFRD payment 1                       161,595.56
Mazar                                          Computer Audit and Security Services               18,425.00

                                                      749
                     Questions—            11 December 2008.              Written Answers


             Name of Consultant                           Nature of Work                     Payment

                                                                                                 \
Mazar                                      Computer Audit and Security Services               20,250.00
Mazar                                      Computer Audit and Security Services               17,450.00
Deloitte & Touche Certifying Body          2008 EAGF & EAFRD payment 2                       164,013.02
Deloitte & Touche Certifying Body          2008 EAGF & EAFRD on the Spot Checks               19,518.40
                                             Payment 1
Brendan Riordan                            Completion of report “The Net Contribution          3,000.00
                                            of the Agri-Food Sector to the Inflow of
                                            Funds- a New Estimate”
Horizon Consulting                         Review of VFM report                                1,936.00
Horizon Consulting                         Review of VFM report                                2,299.00
Raymond Burke Consulting                   Review of VFM report                                3,267.00
Raymond Burke Consulting                   Review of VFM report                                2,722.50
Iwrite                                     Review of VFM report                                2,420.00
ARUP — Consulting Engineers                Engineering report & conditional inspection of      5,536.36
                                            the West Wharf in Dunmore East FHC
Aquatic Services Unit Environmental        Sediment sampling & Analysis Report for            19,915.39
 Research Institute                          Dunmore East Fishery Harbour Centre
RPS Consulting Engineers                   Dunmore East Sedimentation Study &                 18,634.00
                                            Dredging Feasibility Report
MERC Consultants Marine Environmental      Sediment sampling & Analysis Report for            20,920.90
 Resource Conservation Consultants Ltd       Howth Fishery Harbour Centre
HMRC, UCC, Cork                            Wave Data Acquisition and Processing Report         7,865.00
HMRC, UCC, Cork                            Computer Model of Harbour and Report               12,705.00
RPS Consulting Engineers                   Coastal Protection Strategy Study- Phase 2          5,929.00
                                            Report
Aquafact International                     Ecological Assessment (Marine) for                  5,747.50
                                            Doonloughan Pier,Co. Galway
Keville & O’Sullivan Associates            Ecological Assessment (Terrestrial) for             2,678.94
                                            Doonloughan Pier, Co. Galway
RPS Consulting Engineers                   Coastal Protection Strategy Study — Phase 3       261,194.53
                                            Report
ESPION                                     Quarterly IT security review report as required      15,730
                                            for EU Accreditation purposes
Veterinary Laboratories Agency             BSE Risk Analysis                                   4,594.85
Achilles Procurement Services LTD          Provision of advice & assistance in the              317.63
                                             preparation of tenders
Dr. Noel Cawley                            Chair the Seafood Strategy Implementation          56,305.00
                                            Group established to oversee the
                                            implementation of the report on the seafood
                                            industry- Steering a New Course
Mazars                                     To assist & provide IT audit expertise to the      46,797.00
                                            Internal Audit Unit
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd   Preparation of a Cost Benefit Analysis in          17,968.50
                                             respect of a proposed development at
                                             Dunmore East Fishery Harbour Centre
P.P. Ryan & Co Solicitors                  Legal advice                                         559.63
Fitzpatrick Associates                     EX-post Evaluation of the CAP Rural                36,965.50
                                            Development
Ray Burke Consulting                       Development of a Business Plan for the             79,653.09
                                            Fishery Harbour centres
Surepath                                   Dangerous goods adviser                             2,202.50
Morehampton Consultancy Services           Work on 2008-2011 IT Strategy                        950.00


                                                  750
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


                                        Grant Payments.
  248. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he
will review the rate of grant awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny under
the horticultural grant aid scheme with a view to having the full percentage of grant awarded;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45907/08]

  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Under the Scheme
of Investment aid for the development of Commercial Horticulture sector the standard rate of
grant is 40%. The applicant, on the basis of being a young farmer, was provisionally approved
for the higher rate of grant (50%) aid under the Scheme. This provisional approval was based
on him being in a position to demonstrate, by the date he applied for payment of aid, that he
was in control of financial management of the grant aided enterprise.
   The applicant duly applied for payment and a pre-payment inspection was conducted by
DAFF. At the time of inspection the applicant was not in a position to demonstrate control of
financial management of the grant-aided enterprise. Therefore aid was paid at the standard
rate with the right to appeal.
   The applicant subsequently appealed and his case was fully reviewed by DAFF. This included
a second farm visit by a different Inspector. Having assessed the appeal DAFF has concluded
that the applicant is not entitled to the higher rate of aid. When he applied for payment, the
applicant was not in control of financial management and consequently has been paid at the
standard rate of 40% for the eligible investments.

                                        School Staffing.
                   ´ ´
  249. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Education and Science the way the
                                 ´
substitution and supervision scheme operates; if it is available to all schools; if the moneys are
paid directly to teachers or to the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45674/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The details of the operation of
the supervision and substitution scheme are outlined in Circular PPT 01/03. I have included a
copy of the Circular for the information of the Deputy. The scheme is available to all primary
and second level schools funded by my Department.
  Permanent, temporary and part-time teachers employed in the school may volunteer at the
commencement of the school year for supervision and substitution duties over the course of
the year.
   Wholetime volunteer teachers are required to contract to deliver a minimum of 37 hours
supervision and substitution over the course of the school year. Part-time and job-sharing
teachers who volunteer are required to deliver supervision and substitution on a pro-rata basis.
This will cover both the supervision and substitution requirements of the school as determined
by the school authorities following a consultation process. In the event that the full allocation
of hours available to the school is not exhausted by the volunteers on the basis of the minimum
commitments, the additional hours may be distributed among the volunteers, or any number
thereof, on a pro-rata basis or as agreed locally, subject to a maximum allocation of 49 hours
per annum, in the case of wholetime teachers, not being exceeded. In addition to the maximum
allocation of 49 hours per annum, a part-time teacher may commit to the difference between
the annual contracted part-time teaching hours with the school/VEC and 735 hours.
                                                751
                    Questions—           11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]

  On the basis of the contractual arrangements outlined, teachers qualify for an annual pay-
ment. The annual payment for the 2008/2009 school year is \1,862 for undertaking 37 hours
supervision and substitution. Teachers are paid an hourly rate of \50.34 from the 1st September,
2008 for undertaking the additional hours supervision. The payments are made direct to the
teachers by my Department.
  The process of seeking teacher volunteers (from amongst the permanent, temporary and
part-time teachers employed by the school) may not produce enough school-based volunteers
to cover the school’s supervision and substitution needs. In such circumstances, school manage-
ment may source and recruit personnel to provide supervision services before school, at break-
times and after school, and (where substitute teachers are not available) supervision of classes
where teachers are absent on uncertified sick leave or on other approved absences on school
business.
  Such personnel employed by the school as supervisors may be paid either on a casual basis
or on a contract basis from funds provided by my Department based on the balance or pro-
portion of the balance of the non-committed supervision and substitution hours. The hourly
rate for supervisors who contract for the delivery of supervision services for the 2008/2009
school year is \22.43 per hour from the 1st September, 2008.
  To: Management Authorities of second-level schools.

    (i) Supervision of pupils during the morning and lunchtime breaks and before and after
        school

    (ii) Extension of approved substitution to cover uncertified sick leave and Teachers’
         absences from class because of other approved school activities (e.g. games, compe-
         titions and other extra-curricular activities).

  1. Introduction
      1.1 This Circular Letter replaces and supersedes Circular M 39/02. The Minister for
          Education and Science wishes to inform authorities of post-primary schools of the
          arrangements for the pensionability of supervision and substitution payments and
          restate and clarify the revised arrangements for supervision and substitution in
          second level schools. The purpose of this circular letter is:

          (a) To advise schools regarding the new arrangements for paid supervision and sub-
              stitution that will apply arising from agreement between the parties at the
              Teachers’ Conciliation Council.

          (b) To set out the conditions that will apply to the pensionability of supervision and
              substitution payments.

          (c) To outline to schools the funding/payment arrangements that will apply

          (d) To confirm the extension of paid substitution

    1.2 Context of the Agreement on paid Supervision and Substitution
        Teachers are routinely involved in supervision of pupils in their care as part of their
        contractual duty of care in a variety of situations. Supervision of pupils in classes under
        their control is an integral part of teachers’ professional duties and the contracts of
                                                752
               Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


      employment. This proposal relates to supervision of students during periods that are
      not assigned to any teacher and which had previously been provided by teachers on a
      voluntary basis.

      The paid substitution element of this agreement is intended to cover situations where
      a suitable substitute is not immediately available. This has, up to the present, generally
      involved other members of the teaching staff substituting/supervising for their absent
      colleagues on a voluntary basis. It is this substitution that is intended to be provided
      under the new paid supervision and substitution arrangements.

      While the scheme envisages that supervision and substitution will be provided by
      teachers, the circular letter also makes provision for the situation, which may pertain
      in those schools where teachers are not available to carry out this work.

      The scheme, which applies to all post-primary schools, is outlined below. Detailed
      operational guidelines specific to the three different sectors (Community and Compre-
      hensive, VEC and Voluntary secondary schools) may be circulated by the relevant
      management authorities following consultation with the relevant teacher unions. The
      Department may also issue further elaboration/clarification as required.

2. Basis of Scheme for Supervision and Substitution
    2.1 Schools will be allocated hours for supervision and substitution on the basis of 37
        hours per wholetime teacher equivalent (WTE) per school year. The WTE figure
        used for the allocation of supervision and substitution hours will be based on the
        teacher allocation as on the 1st September each year to the school.

    2.2 Hours will be allocated to VECs on the basis of the teacher allocation as on 1st
        September each year to the scheme.

    2.3 Payment will be made in July of each year on the basis of certified delivery as
        provided in the scheme. The payment will be calculated by reference to the hourly
        rate, appropriately weighted to give proportionate effect to any increases in the rate
        in the school year ending on the 30th June preceding payment. It is intended that
        payment will be made through the normal payroll system on the basis of certification
        by the Principal or Board of Management/VEC in relation to the commitment
        entered into by each individual teacher and the actual hours delivered. Further dis-
        cussions will be held with the parties on agreeing arrangements for an advance pay-
        ment in December.

3. Contractual Arrangements for Teaching Staff
    3.1 Permanent, temporary and part-time teachers employed in the school may volunteer
        at the commencement of the school year for supervision and substitution duties over
        the course of the year. A copy of the contract for permanent wholetime teachers is
        attached as Appendix 1. Other contracts will issue in due course.

    3.2 Wholetime volunteers will be required to contract to deliver a minimum of 37 hours
        supervision and substitution over the course of the school year. Part-time and job-
        sharing teachers who volunteer will be required to deliver supervision and substi-
        tution on a pro-rata basis. This will cover both the supervision and substitution
                                             753
                Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

[Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]
        requirements of the school as determined by the school authorities following a con-
        sultation process. In the event that the full allocation of hours available to the school
        is not exhausted by the volunteers on the basis of the minimum commitments, the
        additional hours may be distributed among the volunteers, or any number thereof,
        on a pro-rata basis or as agreed locally, subject to a maximum allocation of 49 hours
        per annum, in the case of wholetime teachers, not being exceeded. In addition to the
        maximum allocation of 49 hours per annum, a part-time teacher may commit to the
        difference between the annual contracted part-time teaching hours with the
        school/VEC and 735 hours.

    3.3 The supervision and substitution contract will provide that volunteers, who are whole-
        time teachers, will not normally be required to provide more than 1 hour 30 minutes
        per week on the contracted duties in a given week. However, the contract will provide
        that a teacher may agree to undertake contracted duties for more than 1 hour 30
        minutes in a particular week on the request of the Principal. Additional time worked
        in such circumstances will be reckoned towards the total annual commitment.

    3.4 The system of extra and separate payment for both supervision and substitution is
        for service in addition to normal class contact hours. Payment for supervision duties
        may not be made for periods within assigned timetabled class periods. In applying
        the system of additional and separate payments for both supervision and substitution
        the practice of timetabling teachers for these duties within normal teaching hours
        should cease. Similarly direct delivery of supervision and substitution duties should
        no longer form part of the duties of an Assistant Principal or Special Duties post.

    3.5 On the basis of the contractual arrangements outlined above, teachers will qualify
        for additional annual payments, on the basis of an hourly rate of \37 w.e.f. 1
        September 2002. Payment will be made on the basis of actual delivery. However, in
        the event that management does not demand delivery of the 37 contracted hours
        during the course of the school year, payment for the 37 hours contracted commit-
        ment will be made. Final payment on this basis will be made in July each year.

    3.6 In the event of the allocation of hours to a school not being exhausted by the contrac-
        tual arrangements the remaining hours may be used by the school to:

         (i) pay teachers in addition to their contractual arrangements in respect of any
             additional casual supervision and substitution they provide, or

        (ii) pay any other teacher, if no contracted teacher is available, to perform these
             duties on a casual basis.

4. Operational Arrangements for Supervision/Substitution
    4.1 The Principal should consult with the volunteers in deciding on the timetable for
        supervision duties. Supervision duties should be timetabled over the course of the
        school year.

    4.2 Residual hours available after the timetabling of supervision will be available for
        substitution. The specific arrangements for a substitution timetable should be made
        following consultation between management and teachers. The total time assigned
                                              754
                Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


                                                           1
        to substitution and supervision may not exceed 12 hours in any given week (save
        where otherwise agreed with the teacher). A commitment from teachers to be avail-
        able for two timetabled class periods per week will form part of these arrangements.

        Where, in any given week, a teacher is not called upon for substitution, the unmet
                                                                                         1
        commitment remains but is subject to a maximum delivery in any future week of 12
        hours within the two designated class periods (save where otherwise agreed with
        the teacher).

5. Pensionability of Supervision and Substitution Payments
    5.1 Teachers who are in pensionable service and who give a commitment in writing to
        undertake supervision and substitution duties under a 37 hour contract on an ongoing
        basis to retirement will have the agreed payment made pensionable subject to the
        payment of contributions and the rules of the Superannuation Scheme. The pen-
        sionability of supervision and substitution payments for part-time teachers will be
        addressed in the context of the discussions on the Protection of Employees (Part-
        Time Work) Act 2001.

    5.2 Serving teachers, in order to qualify for pensionability, shall make the necessary
        commitment on or before the 1st September 2004.

    5.3 New teachers, in order to qualify for pensionability, shall make the necessary commit-
        ment within 12 months of first appointment. Details of teachers who have entered
        such a commitment should be notified to the Department of Education and Science
        in order that payment of the pension contribution can commence.

    5.4 A teacher, who has entered such a commitment, but later ceases to meet the commit-
        ment, will forfeit pensionability and will not be allowed to re-enter such a commit-
        ment. The teacher will not, in such circumstances, be entitled to a refund of superan-
        nuation contributions paid in respect of supervision and substitution payments. Such
        teachers must advise their boards of management of their decision on or before the
        30th June prior to the commencement of the relevant school year. However, this will
        not be a barrier to the provision of paid supervision and substitution on a casual basis.

    5.5 Where teachers make an ongoing commitment, the commencement date for pen-
        sionability shall be the 1st September 2001 in the case of serving teachers who have
        delivered the appropriate service in each year since that date or the date of appoint-
        ment in the case of new teachers. On entering the commitment teachers will be
        required to make the appropriate pension contribution with effect from these dates.

    5.6 The pensionability of the supervision and substitution payment is restricted to the
        minimum commitment of 37 hours over the course of the year.

    5.7 A teacher who is not entering a commitment to undertake supervision and substi-
        tution duties under a 37 hour contract on an ongoing basis to retirement may con-
        tinue to provide supervision and substitution duties on a casual non-pensionable
        basis. Such teachers should advise their board of management of their availability on
        or before the 30th June preceding the next school year.

                                              755
                  Questions—           11 December 2008.           Written Answers

[Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]


6. Supervision
    6.1 School management has a responsibility to discharge its duty of care to pupils and to
        provide adequate supervision of pupils during the full period of time that schools are
        in operation.

    6.2 Teachers are routinely involved in a variety of situations in the supervision of pupils
        in their care as part of their contractual duty of care. Supervision of pupils in classes
        under their control is an integral part of a teacher’s professional duties and contract
        of employment. The issue being addressed in this scheme relates to supervision of
        students on the school premises outside of specified classroom teaching duties that
        has, up to the present, generally been provided by teachers on a voluntary basis.
        Under this scheme, the Department will make resources available to schools to
        provide supervision on a paid basis.

    6.3 The supervisor in discharging his/her duty should take such care as to ensure the
        health and safety of the pupils as is reasonable in the circumstances.

7. Substitution
    7.1 Substitution is the replacement of an absent teacher by another qualified teacher
        and substitution arrangements should aim to maximise appropriate teaching during
        substitution periods.

    7.2 At present, the Department provides for paid substitution for specified approved
        teacher absences. In the case of absences for which paid substitution is available,
        schools normally employ a suitable qualified substitute as soon as possible to teach
        the subjects and classes of the absent teacher.

    7.3 Under the terms of this agreement, the Department will now provide schools/VECs
        with resources to extend paid substitution for absences of teachers on uncertified
        sick leave, and other approved absences on school business, with a view to minimising
        the disruption of teaching programmes and improving the service to pupils. This
        substitution should be arranged in the normal way by the employment of a substi-
        tute teacher.

    7.4 In addition, in order to facilitate school management in dealing with short-term
        unplanned or unexpected absences, teachers already employed by the school may
        commit to and be paid for casual substitution under the supervision and substitution
        arrangements set out in Paragraph 3 of this Circular. This does not alter the existing
        arrangements for part-time teachers to undertake duties as a substitute in the nor-
        mal way.

8. Arrangements for Payment.
    The following arrangements for payment have been agreed.

    8.1 A claim form should be completed by each teacher who wishes to apply for payment.
        A copy of the claim form is attached as Appendix 11.

                                              756
              Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers


   8.2 Valid claims should be certified by the Principal and retained in the school. The
       Principal of each school should notify the Department/VEC of the list of teachers
       eligible for payment on a composite claim form. The composite claim form will be
       forwarded to schools in due course.

   8.3 The Department / VEC will arrange for payment of the teachers concerned through
       the teacher payroll system on receipt of the composite claim form.

   8.4 Further discussions will be held with the parties on agreeing arrangements for an
       advance payment in December.

9. Supplementary Arrangements
   9.1 The process of seeking teacher volunteers (from amongst the permanent, temporary
       and part-time teachers employed by the school) may not produce enough school-
       based volunteers to cover the school’s supervision and substitution needs. In such
       circumstances, school management may source and recruit personnel to provide
       supervision services before school, at break-times and after school, and (where substi-
       tute teachers are not available) supervision of classes where teachers are absent on
       uncertified sick leave or on other approved absences on school business.

   9.2 Such personnel employed by the school as supervisors may be paid either on a casual
       basis or on a contract basis from funds provided by the Department based on the
       balance or proportion of the balance of the non-committed supervision and substi-
       tution hours. Supervisors who contract for the delivery of supervision services will be
       remunerated at a weekly rate of \370 per week for which they will be expected to
       provide a minimum of ten hours and up to a maximum of twenty hours actual super-
       vision per week. Supervision on a casual hourly basis or in excess of 20 hours for
       contracted staff in any week will be paid at a pro-rata rate.

   9.3 These supplementary arrangements will continue to be kept under review in consul-
       tation with school management authorities.

10. Accounting Requirements
 In the normal way each school/VEC will be required to keep records of the utilisation of
 the hours allocated under the supervision and substitution arrangements. Each school/VEC
 will also be required to provide a balancing statement showing the hours allocated, the
 hours certified for payment and expenditure on the employment of non teaching staff
 where applicable.

11. Review
 The operation of the arrangements of this scheme will be monitored at national level
 throughout the year, and reviewed at the end of the school year, by a group representative
 of the parties to this agreement and may be revised as appropriate.

12. General
 Queries regarding individual payments to teachers should be addressed to Post Primary
 Teachers Section in Athlone (Tel: 090-6474621).
                                            757
                Questions—               11 December 2008.     Written Answers

[Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]

    Queries in relation to pensions should be addressed to Pensions Section (Tel: 090-
  6474621).

     Queries in relation to school funding should be addressed to Post Primary Admini-
  stration (Tel: 0506-24336).

13. Dissemination of Circular
  Please provide a copy of this circular to the appropriate representatives of parents and
  teachers for transmission in the normal way.

John Dennehy
Secretary General
10th January 2003

                                                                                 Appendix I
                     Contract for Supervision and Substitution Duties
                            (permanent wholetime teachers)

A. I ————————————— hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision and
   substitution duties for 37 hours per school year on an ongoing basis to retirement in
   accordance with the terms of the Circular Letter PPT01/03. I understand that, should I
   cease to meet this commitment, pensionability will be forfeited and I will not be allowed
   to re-enter such a commitment.
                                           or

B. I —————————————— hereby give a commitment to undertake supervision
   and substitution duties for 37 hours for the school year 2002/2003 in accordance with the
   terms of Circular Letter PPT 01/03. I understand that this is on a non-pensionable basis.

    Signed ————————————————————                              Date ——————
                             (Teacher)

    Signed ————————————————————                              Date ——————
                  (Principal/Board of Management)

                                            Optional

C. In addition to the commitment to undertake substitution and supervision duties of 37
   hours I undertake to provide additional casual supervision and substitution hours when
   available as and when the need arises.

    Signed ————————————————————                              Date ——————
                             (Teacher)

    Signed ————————————————————                              Date ——————
                  (Principal/Board of Management)
                                                758
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


                                                                                       Appendix II

   Claim for payment for voluntary Supervision/Substitution in the school year 2002/2003.

  To: ——————————————————————————————— Principal

  From: —————————————————————————————Applicant
                                  (Block Capitals)

  In accordance with the terms of Circular Letter PPT 01/03 I hereby claim payment for volun-
tary Supervision/Substitution outside timetabled class contact hours on the basis that I have
delivered on my contracted commitment of 37 hours over the course of the 2002/2003 school
year.

   In addition I hereby claim payment for an additional ———— non-pensionable hours which
I delivered over and above my contracted commitment of 37 hours in the school year.

  Signed: ————————————————————— Applicant

  Date: ———————————————————

  I certify that the above claim has been verified by reference to school records and is in accord-
ance with the terms of Circular Letter PPT01/03.

  Certified: ——————————————————————————— Principal

  Date: ——————————————————

                                   Schools Building Projects.
                    ´ ´
  250. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Education and Science the progress
                                 ´
achieved to date in respect of the tranche of school building projects, which includes a school
(details supplied) in County Kildare; when this group of schools will proceed to detailed design
and construction under his Department’s public private partnership programme; and if he will
make a statement on the matter. [45675/08]

   Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The second Schools PPP
bundle, which consists of six schools including the school referred to by the Deputy, was handed
over to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) in May 2008. The NDFA adver-
tised the bundle in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEC) on 20th May 2008.
  This tender competition is being procured using the competitive dialogue procedure as pro-
vided for under Community Directive 2004/EC/18 and three Shortlisted Candidates were
invited by the NDFA to commence the dialogue process on the 18th September 2008. During
this process, the Candidates will develop their design and construction solutions as well as
commercial proposals for each of the six schools. A number of formal meetings are underway
with each of the Candidates to assess the developing solutions during the dialogue, at the end
of which process the NDFA will then invite final, fixed price tenders. The expected timeframe
for these final tenders is Summer 2009.
                                                759
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers

  [Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]

  Following evaluation of the tenders received, an announcement on the appointment of the
Preferred Tenderer being the most economical advantageous tender is anticipated in early
autumn 2009 with construction expected to commence, subject to the planning process, in
early 2010.

                                    School Accommodation.
                   ´ ´
   251. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has agreed
                                ´
a strategy with County Kildare VEC in relation to the future accommodation needs of a school
(details supplied) in County Kildare; if he envisages the on site modernisation of the school or
if it is intended to construct a new school on a green field site; if a suitable site has been
identified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45676/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The school to which the Deputy
refers has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for an extension project.
No decision has been taken yet as to whether or not this can be provided within the confines
of the existing site.
   The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design
stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department’s
multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current
competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an
indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

                   ´ ´
   252. Deputy Sean O Fearghaıl asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has agreed
                                ´
a strategy with County Kildare VEC in relation to the future accommodation needs of a school
(details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45677/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I can confirm that the school
to which the Deputy refers has made an application to my Department for large scale capital
funding for a new school building. The application has been assessed in accordance with the
published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band 2 rating.
   The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design
stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department’s
multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current
competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an
indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

                                   Special Educational Needs.
  253. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will clarify the
terms of reference laid down by the Teaching Council in respect of the process for addressing
complaints against the special education needs organiser; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45689/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): As the Deputy will be aware
the Teaching Council Act 2001 provided for the establishment of a Council for the purposes
of promoting teaching as a profession, maintaining and improving the standards of teaching,
providing for the establishment of standards, policies and procedures for the education and
training of teachers, and other matters relating to teachers and the teaching profession.
                                                 760
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers


  The Teaching Council do not have a role in addressing complaints against special education
needs organisers.
  Complaints against Special Education Needs Organisers should be addressed to the National
Council for Special Education which employs the personnel in question. Any such complaint
should be sent to the Council’s head office at 1-2 Mill Street Trim Co. Meath.

                                 Departmental Expenditure.
  254. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of staff
in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the
Better Regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of such
work to date in 2008; the expected expenditure for the remainder of 2008; the budget for 2009;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45698/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): There are no whole time equiv-
alent staff engaged in support of the work of the Better Regulation Unit of the Department of
An Taoiseach and there is no specific budget allocation in this area.
  My Department is represented on a Working Group convened by the Department of An
Taoiseach to bring together officials from each Government Departments and the Office of
the Attorney General to share experience and develop best practice on conducting Regulatory
Impact Assessments (RIA). The inaugural meeting was held in January 2007 and there have
been a number of meetings to date. Participation in this Group takes place as part of the
normal duties of the official in question.
  My Department is also a member of the Department of An Taoiseach’s RIA Network. The
Network issues a regular RIA Bulletin, which is produced by the Better Regulation Unit of
the Department of An Taoiseach and which is made available to staff of my Department via
the Department’s intranet.
  My Department participates in periodic consultations of Government Departments by the
Better Regulation Unit of the Department of An Taoiseach in relation to particular procedures,
processes or practices concerning regulation.
  The outcome of the Working Group in terms of the legislative process is implemented by
the relevant business units of the Departments who are involved in the drafting of legislation
as part of normal work practice.

                                    Departmental Funding.
  255. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the effects of budget
2009 cutbacks on a secondary school (details supplied) in County Mayo, particularly as the
school has yet to be informed as to the situation they will face from 7 January 2009 thereafter;
and if immediate clarification will be made on the effects of the budget to this school.
[45716/08]

   271. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on
                    ´
whether increasing the pupil teacher ratio from 18:1 to 19:1 in a school (details supplied) in
County Cork will result in the loss of teaching resources at the school; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45793/08]

 Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I propose to take Questions
Nos. 255 and 271 together.
                                               761
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]

   The 2009 Budget required difficult choices to be made across all areas of public expenditure.
These decisions were made to control public expenditure and to ensure sustainability in the
long run. In this respect, the education sector, while protected to a much greater extent than
most other areas of public expenditure, could not be totally spared. The various impacts at
school level were included in the Budget day announcements. Even with the Budget measures
in place there will still be a significantly increased borrowing requirement in 2009.
   My Department will be advising individual schools in the normal way in relation to their
staffing and grant allocations. The preparatory work for this has commenced with the pro-
cessing of enrolment data that has been received from schools. The staffing allocation pro-
cesses, including notification to schools, will commence early in the New Year. The allocation
process includes appellate mechanisms under which schools can appeal against the allocation
due to them under the staffing schedules. In addition to the mainstream classroom teachers,
my Department also allocates teaching resources to schools for special needs and language
support. The final allocation to a school is also a function of the operation of the redeployment
panels, which provide for the retention of a teacher in an existing school if a new post is not
available within the agreed terms of the scheme.
  I have no difficulty in setting out for this House or for the public generally the overall
changes on aggregate teacher numbers or on grant levels in schools for the 2009/10 school year.
I will do this when the allocation processes have been completed. Furthermore, the staffing
schedule will be published; it is a transparent and clear way of ensuring that schools are treated
consistently and fairly and know where they stand.
  At this time, the priority for my Department within the resources available to it is to carry
out those processes in a timely manner. Diverting resources in order to compile either historic
information or to create staffing or funding profiles for individual schools requested by the
Deputies, information which at this time could only be speculative, could not be justified and
would in fact impede the process.

                                        School Staffing.
   256. Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of
whole time teacher equivalents employed in second level schools here; and if he will make a
statement on the matter. [45722/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Significant improvements have
been made in the staffing of our second level schools in recent years. In the 2001/2002 school
year, there were approximately 24,477 wholetime equivalent teaching posts allocated to second
level schools.
  Currently there are 26,821 wholetime equivalent teaching posts allocated to second level
schools. This figure is broken down as follows: 13,542 to voluntary secondary schools, 3,641 to
community, 626 to comprehensive and 9,012 to Vocational Educational Committees.
  Teacher allocations for second level schools are approved by my Department on an annual
basis in accordance with generally applied rules based on recognised pupil enrolments on the
30th of September of the preceding school year.
   Each school management authority is required to organise its curriculum, teaching time-table
and subject options having regard to pupils’ needs within the limits of its approved teacher
allocation.

                                                762
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  257. Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Science the way the \2.7
million announced on 4 December 2008 for substitution will be divided among second level
schools between January and June 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45723/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): As a result of the 2009 Budget
provisions for Education, arising from current economic challenges, and following subsequent
proposals from the management bodies of post-primary schools, new arrangements are being
put into place for substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in post-primary
schools and for official school business in post-primary schools.
  These arrangements are being put in place with effect from 1 January 2009 and will remain
in place for the remainder of the 2008/09 school year while a review of the
supervision/substitution 37 hour scheme and related matters takes place.
  Each post-primary school will be provided with a defined number of hours of substitution
cover outside of the supervision and substitution scheme to provide cover for teacher absences
arising from uncertified sick leave and official school business. This will be calculated on the
basis of the number of pupils in a school with a minimum number of available hours for all
schools with less than 100 pupils.
  Thus for the remainder of the school year there will be 16 hours substitution cover allocated
for schools with 100 pupils or less, 32 hours for a 200 pupil school and 64 hours for a 400 pupil
school, for example.
  The implementation of the proposals made by the second-level management bodies will,
over the balance of the current school year, provide a new basis for managing the use of
substitution cover for school business and enable schools manage unpredictable teacher
absences due to uncertified sick leave.

                                   Special Educational Needs.
  258. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding
the proposed autistic specific unit catering for up to 12 children to be provided at a school
(details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45727/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I can confirm that the school
to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for an extension project which
includes accommodation for a special needs unit.
   The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for
large scale building projects and has been assigned a Band 1 rating which is the highest Band
rating possible.
   The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design
stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department’s
multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current
competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an
indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

                                         School Staffing.
  259. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will quantify

                                                 763
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers

  [Deputy Brian Hayes.]
the savings which will be made by capping the number of language support teachers to two per
school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45736/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): My Department’s budget for
next year has been prepared on the same fundamental basis as any other year by estimating
the number of teachers that will be employed under the different categories given the policies
in place, for example, mainstream classroom teachers, special needs and language support
teachers and allowing for any change in overall demographics.
  Specifically in relation to language support teachers the budget measures will mean that the
level of language support will be reduced from a maximum of six extra teachers per school to
a maximum of two teachers per school, as was the case before 2007. The full year saving is
estimated at \6 million for every 100 teaching posts saved. My Department’s estimate for the
yield from the capping of language support posts is of the order of 350 posts saving up to \22
million in a full year. Apart from this policy change the ongoing requirement for current levels
of language support teachers in schools should also start to reduce in line with lower levels of
immigration and in line with improvements in the levels of proficiency of those pupils for whom
this resource has been available.
  The Deputy will appreciate that while the measure will only yield a portion of that saving in
2009 it is the full year that is most relevant given that the Government strategy is to manage
the correction needed in the public finances over the coming years as distinct from the 2009
position alone.
  Nonetheless, schools that require language support will still be entitled to get it. We still
envisage having over 1,400 language support teachers in our schools in September 2009 and up
to about 500 other teachers in part-time posts. By any standards this is a very significant
resource and the challenge will be to ensure that it is used to maximum effect.
  As I announced on budget day we will also provide for some alleviation for the position of
those schools where there is a significant concentration of newcomer pupils as a proportion of
the overall enrolment. This will be done on a case by case basis.
   The allocation process for language support teachers is an annual one and existing provision
is not rolled over automatically. Schools will be applying afresh in the spring and early summer
of 2009 for the 2009/10 school year, based on their assessment of the prospective needs of
existing pupils still in the school that need support and any new pupils that they are enrolling.

                                    Departmental Schemes.
  260. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will quantify
the savings which will be made by suspending the early retirement scheme for teachers; and if
he will make a statement on the matter. [45737/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): My Department estimates that
the cost of the Early Retirement Scheme in 2009 would have been \19m. This figure represents
lump sum and pensions for new retirees in 2009. With the suspension of the scheme, it is likely
that some teachers who would normally apply under the early retirement scheme will retire on
other grounds. Therefore, it is estimated that the scheme’s suspension will lead to a net saving
of approximately \10m next year.

                                                764
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


                                      Pupil-Teacher Ratio.
  261. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will quantify
the savings which are to be made at primary and secondary school levels as a result of the
increases in class size in budget 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45738/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): My Department’s budget for
next year has been prepared on the same fundamental basis as any other year by estimating
the number of teachers that will be employed under the different categories given the policies
in place, for example, mainstream classroom teachers, special needs and language support
teachers and allowing for any change in overall demographics.
   Specifically in relation to mainstream classroom teachers, the yield in savings that will result
from the change in the primary staffing schedules will ultimately depend on the aggregate
impact of the revised staffing schedule on the particular enrolment profile of all schools
countrywide as of 30 September last and the operation of the panel system of redeployment.
The full year saving is estimated at \6 million for every 100 teaching posts saved. My Depart-
ment’s estimating range for the yield from the staffing schedule adjustment for primary schools
is 350- 500 posts saving up to \30 million in a full year. Since the potential yield from this
reduction and from the policy changes giving reductions in posts will be offset by new posts
due to demographic changes in some schools and the continued policy of allocating special
needs posts through the work of the National Council for Special Education the net reduction
from the primary sector is estimated to be of the order of 200 posts.
   The position for the post-primary sector (i.e. across VEC, Community and Comprehensive
schools and not just secondary schools) is that the changed allocation ratios could ultimately
yield up to \64m in a full year. However, actual yield will depend on the functioning of a new
redeployment scheme yet to be agreed and is also a factor of the extent to which in any locality
it will be possible to match teachers that are surplus in some schools with vacancies in their
subject specialisms in other schools. Accordingly, the measure will only work through over a
number of years and for this reason the yield in 2009 is estimated at up to \8m. Again as is
the case in the primary sector the net yield of 200 posts factors in other measures that will
reduce the number of posts offset by increases largely related to the expansion of special needs
provision elsewhere.
  The Deputy will appreciate that while a measure will only yield a portion of that saving in
2009 it is the full year yield that is most relevant given that the Government strategy is to
manage the correction needed in the public finances over the coming years as distinct from the
2009 position alone.
  I have already put it on record that I have no difficulty in setting out for this House or for the
public generally what the final impact is on the overall changes on aggregate teacher numbers in
schools for the 2009/10 school year. I am not claiming in any way that there will be no impact
on the staffing position in schools generally but this will vary from school to school and there
will be schools where the number of teachers will remain the same.
   I will set out the final position when the allocation processes have been completed. The
allocation processes including notification to schools will commence early in the New Year.
The allocation process includes appellate mechanisms under which schools can appeal against
the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The final allocation to a school is also
a function of the operation of the redeployment panels which provide for the retention of a
teacher in an existing school if a new post is not available within the agreed terms of the
                                                 765
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]
scheme. The appellate process is particularly relevant at post-primary level where any specific
curricular needs of the school concerned are considered. Also at post-primary there is no
effective system wide redeployment scheme at present and this can mean that schools retain
teachers, though over quota.
  For the moment the priority for my Department is to move ahead with the allocation pro-
cesses and begin the interaction with individual schools early in the New Year.

                                      Schools Recognition.
   262. Deputy Roisın Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science further to
                    ´ ´
Parliamentary Question No. 284 of 3 December 2008, if he will clarify his statement that Glas-
nevin is already served by two multi-denominational schools; if his attention has been drawn
to the fact that the only other multi-denominational school in Glasnevin is full, has long waiting
lists and is unable to meet local demand; his views on whether there is an undisputed estab-
lished demand for a school (details supplied) in this area in view of its long waiting lists; and
if, in view of same, he will grant permanent recognition to this school. [45741/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Multi-denominational schools
serve a broad demographic area. On this basis, my Department considers that the North city,
including Glasnevin, is served by two multi-denominational schools namely the North Dublin
National School Project and Dublin 7 Educate Together NS.
  The Department accepted the argument made by the proposers of the school in question
that there was a need for a separate multi-denominational school to serve the Clontarf/
Marino/Fairview area of Dublin and the school was given temporary recognition on the basis
that the Patron would secure suitable accommodation in that area to meet this need. To date,
the Patron has not been able to do this and the school is currently located on a temporary
basis in premises outside the Clontarf/Marino/Fairview area. It continues to be my Depart-
ment’s intention to re-locate this school to that area if and when suitable accommodation
becomes available and as the funding situation allows.
  If there is a need for further multi-denominational school places in the Glasnevin area, my
Department will explore how these can be provided in the context of the pre-existing schools,
which is in accordance with normal procedures in these matters.

                                        School Staffing.
   263. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of certi-
fied and uncertified sick days taken by his Department in each year over the past three years;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45771/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The information requested by
the Deputy is outlined in the tabular statement. Details of sick leave of officials at the Depart-
ment of Education & Science 2005 to 2007.




                                                766
                    Questions—                  11 December 2008.                 Written Answers




    Year        Uncertified       Average No.     Certified sick    Average No.      Total certified   Average No.
                sick leave        of days per         leave         of days per        sick leave      of days per
                   days            employee        (excluding        employee             days          employee
                                                 long-term sick
                                                     leave)*

    2005           1,399.8           1.07           7,424.13            5.8            11,406.13           8.7
    2006          1,310.97           1.02           8,400.19            6.7            12,339.19           9.6
    2007          1,565.53           1.25           9,578.28            7.5            13,902.28          10.6
*Defined as more than 3 months.



  264. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the
number of teachers participating in in-service training and courses has reduced from a high in
2006 of 217,816 hours to 108,787 hours in 2008 in terms of the total in-service attendance; the
further reason there has been such a reduction in the number of hours provided by his Depart-
ment for in-service training and attendance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[45776/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): As stated in the response to
the previous question from Deputy Hayes in relation to inservice participants, the figure used
by the Deputy for 2008 refers to the number of participant days up to the 31/08/08 rather than
the number of hours of inservice. The full year figure will obviously be much higher than this.
In service participants will however be lower in 2008 than 2006 and this can be put down to
two main factors:

  (1) The former Primary Curriculum Support Programme has completed its intensive phase
      of inservice following the introduction of the revised primary curriculum. As part of the
      schedule of support for the revised curriculum which began in 1999 and was completed
      in 2007, subject areas were catered for annually with up to six days per year for whole
      staff training. From September 2008, the first steps were taken toward the creation of a
      cohesive single professional development support service for the primary sector. The new
      service, while continuing to provide professional development programmes in response
      to system priorities, will be primarily concerned with the provision of customised support
      to schools and teachers.

  (2) In 2008, due to Easter falling early there was a much shorter first term than usual. As in
      service seminars generally don’t take place in the third term, after Easter, this will con-
      tribute to a reduction in overall numbers for 2008.

                                     Departmental Correspondence.
   265. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the
issues raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45779/08]

   266. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the
issues raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45780/08]

  267. Deputy Sean Ardagh asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on con-
                  ´
cerns expressed in correspondence from the principal of a school (details supplied); if he will
respond to their concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45781/08]
                                                       767
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


 Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I propose to take Questions
Nos. 265 to 267, inclusive, together.
  I am aware of the concerns raised by the schools referred to by the Deputies. The Govern-
ment’s commitment to education is clear both from its track record over the past decade in
providing substantial additional resources, most notably extra teachers to meet previously
unmet needs and from the programme the Government set for itself when it came into office.
A lot has changed in the past year and the first and foremost imperative is that we stabilise
the public finances. It is only by doing so that we can shelter gains made and put ourselves in
the position of being able to make improvements in the future.
  However we are dealing with an economic situation of unprecedented difficulty. The Govern-
ment has a collective duty to respond to this and to take very difficult decisions in the national
interest. In doing this we have attempted to afford some shelter to the education sector but
given the scale of public expenditure on education it is simply not possible to avoid tough
decisions. The various impacts at school level were included in the Budget day announcements.
Even with the budget measures in place there will still be a significantly increased borrowing
requirement in 2009.
  I fully accept that these decisions are not of themselves desirable and that they can only be
justified by the imperative of securing the future economic stability of the country. I have called
for co-operation from all the education partners in meeting the challenges facing us both as an
education community and as a country.
   I am confident that as the global economy improves it will be possible to build again on the
significant achievements of recent years and do so in a manner consistent with overall prudent
management of the Irish economy.

                                   Schools Building Projects.
  268. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Education and Science when \30,000
for unavoidable extra cost in the delivery of a six classroom extension to a school (details
supplied) in County Limerick will be granted to the board of management; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45782/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): In 2007 the school in question
received approval to build 5 additional classrooms and 2 resource rooms under the devolved
Permanent Accommodation Scheme (PAS) and was allocated \720,000 for the project.
   The purpose of the PAS is to devolve funding to individual school authorities to undertake
building works which will address the school’s long term accommodation needs. Under the
terms of the Scheme, school authorities are empowered to manage these works with guidance
from and minimal interaction with the Department. Devolving funding to school management
authorities allows them to have control of their projects, assists in moving projects more quickly
to tender and construction and can also deliver better value for money.
  The scheme is not intended to leave schools with significant fundraising needs; rather the
terms of the Scheme require the schools to tailor the scope of capital works commissioned to
the available funding. The decision on whether to continue participating in the scheme or to
drop out, if the scope of build is more than the funding envelope permits, is a matter for each
school authority.
  The Board of Management submitted an appeal for additional funding which was rejected.
Following a re-assessment of the appeal it was decided to approve additional funding for the
                                                768
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


project. Arrangements have been made to have the additional funding transferred to the
schools bank account.

                                    Home Tuition Grants.
  269. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason home
tuition payments for October and November 2008 due to a person (details supplied) in County
Kildare in respect of their child have not been paid. [45787/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I am making enquiries into the
matter and will arrange for officials in my Department to contact the Deputy directly with an
update in this regard.

                                        School Staffing.
  270. Deputy Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide
                     ´
for substitution cover in respect of uncertified sick leave and outside activities such as sport
and field trips which count towards a student’s leaving certificate projects; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45790/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): As a result of the 2009 Budget
provisions for Education, arising from current economic challenges, and following subsequent
proposals from the management bodies of post-primary schools, new arrangements are being
put into place for substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in post-primary
schools and for official school business in post-primary schools.
  These arrangements are being put in place with effect from 1 January 2009 and will remain
in place for the remainder of the 2008/09 school year while a review of the
supervision/substitution 37 hour scheme and related matters takes place.
  Each post-primary school will be provided with a defined number of hours of substitution
cover outside of the supervision and substitution scheme to provide cover for teacher absences
arising from uncertified sick leave and official school business. This will be calculated on the
basis of the number of pupils in a school with a minimum number of available hours for all
schools with less than 100 pupils.
  Thus for the remainder of the school year there will be 16 hours substitution cover allocated
for schools with 100 pupils or less, 32 hours for a 200 pupil school and 64 hours for a 400 pupil
school, for example.
  The implementation of the proposals made by the second-level management bodies will,
over the balance of the current school year, provide a new basis for managing the use of
substitution cover for school business and enable schools manage unpredictable teacher
absences due to uncertified sick leave.

  Question No. 271 answered with Question No. 255.

                                     Psychological Service.
   272. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when a person
(details supplied) in County Dublin will obtain a psychological assessment, as this child has
some behavioural issues which need to be assessed and the mother of this child is not in a
position to provide a private assessment; the expected timeframe involved for an assessment
in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45800/08]

                                                769
                   Questions—             11 December 2008.           Written Answers


  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I can inform the Deputy that
NEPS, in common with many other psychological services and best international practice,
encourages a staged assessment process, whereby each school takes responsibility for initial
assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention, in consultation with their assigned
NEPS psychologist. Only if there is a failure to make reasonable progress in spite of the school’s
best efforts, will a child be referred for individual psychological assessment. This system allows
the psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children
indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred
unnecessarily for psychological intervention.
   Might I suggest that the Deputy advise the parent(s) of the child in question to raise the
issue with the school principal who may then consult the assigned NEPS psychologist with a
view to pursuing the matter further. I am aware that the psychologist in question will be visiting
the school shortly after the Christmas break.

                                        Interview Boards.
  273. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will confirm
that a circular was recently sent from his Department to every school in the country regarding
a new daily rate of pay for retired inspectors who agree to sit on interview boards in respect
of various positions for which an interview is organised; if this circular stated that the daily rate
per retired inspector-official has gone from \145 per day to \260 per day and that the full cost
of this must be paid by the school in question; the justification in the context of education
cutbacks where schools have to meet this increased cost; and if he will make a statement on
the matter. [45801/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Retired inspectors who sit on
interview boards for teachers in VEC and community and comprehensive schools are paid at
a daily rate in accordance with the Department of Finance approved rate of payment to retired
civil servants engaged to serve on interview boards. VECs and community and comprehensive
schools were advised by my Department in July 2008 of an increase in the rate, with effect
from 1 January 2008, from \161 to \282 per day.
  The Deputy should note that the fee is payable only to interview board members who are
not in public sector employment.

                                     Schools Refurbishment.
  274. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science when the applications
for qualification in respect of the summer works scheme 2009 be available; and if he will make
a statement on the matter. [45807/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Since the Summer Works
Scheme was introduced, over 3,000 projects, costing in excess of \300 million, have been com-
pleted. With so many smaller projects having been completed over the past few years, the
particular emphasis in 2008 has been on providing sufficient school places in developing areas,
while also delivering improvements in the quality of existing primary and post-primary school
accommodation throughout the country. Accordingly my Department has focused on delivering
as many large projects as possible in 2008 and funding was not made available for a Summer
Works Scheme this year.
  However, I recognise the benefits of the scheme in addressing the needs of schools and I
have previously informed the house of my intention to have a Summer Works Scheme in 2009.
The details of the operation of the scheme in 2009 and the level of funding to be made available

                                                 770
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.         Written Answers


under the scheme in 2009 are currently being considered and will be completed as soon as
possible. The Professional and Technical Reports provided by schools for 2008 can be used
again for future projects so that schools will not be at the loss of expenditure on them.

  275. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding
an application for funding to carry out works to ensure the safety of the pupils and also to
ensure the protection of the school building at a school (details supplied) in County Kildare;
and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45808/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The school in question submit-
ted an application to my Department for emergency funding.
  Emergency works grants are made available to schools most in need of resources as a result
of unforeseen emergencies of a capital nature that may arise during the school year.
  Following assessment of the application from this school and in light of the large number of
projects seeking funding from my Department for works of this nature from the budget allo-
cated, unfortunately, it was not possible to provide funding under the Emergency Works
Scheme on this occasion for the works sought.

                                 Early Childhood Education.
  276. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science the progress that
                                    ´
has been made in implementing the Sıalta programme; and if he will make a statement on the
matter. [45822/08]

   Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science (Deputy Barry Andrews):
 ´
Sıolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education was developed by the
Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education following widespread consultation
with the sector and has met with strong acceptance throughout the sector. The implementation
    ´
of Sıolta is now managed by my Department’s Early Years Education Policy Unit. The Unit is
co-located with the Office of the Minister for Children.
   Two former staff of the CECDE have joined the Early Years Education Policy Unit to assist
                             ´
with the implementation of Sıolta. The Unit is working closely with the Prevention and Early
Intervention programmes co-funded by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth
                                                                ´
Affairs and Atlantic Philanthropies on the implementation of Sıolta in early childcare centres
in these areas. My Department also secured Dormant Accounts funding for a pre-school initiat-
                                                        ´
ive in pre-schools in DEIS Band 1 areas that supported Sıolta standards in the following areas:

   • Initiatives to involve and support parents

   • Initiatives that support the inclusion of children with special educational needs

   • Initiatives that support the inclusion of children from minority ethnic groupings

   • Initiatives that foster successful transitions from home to preschool

   • Initiatives that foster successful transitions from preschool to primary school.

My Department will also be working closely with the National Voluntary Childcare Organis-
                                                                                           ´
ations and other existing structures within the childcare sector on the implementation of Sıolta.

                                       Grant Payments.
  277. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science if discussions have

                                                771
                  Questions—             11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Jan O’Sullivan.]
taken place between his Department and representatives of Protestant post-primary schools to
address the budget 2009 decision to alter the agreement made at the time of the introduction
of free second-level education (details supplied); the provision that will be made to ensure that
Protestant parents of limited means do not have to send their children to schools whose ethos
is of a different denomination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45824/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): I met with representatives of
the Church of Ireland Board of Education, led by Archbishop John Neill, on 13 November last.
   The meeting provided me with an opportunity to explain at first hand the context for the
budget changes that were of concern to the Bishops and the schools serving the Church of
Ireland and other minority churches. In the course of the meeting, I confirmed my budget day
announcement that the funding provided through the Protestant Block grant was being con-
tinued by the Government. I explained that against a backdrop of a difficult economic and
fiscal situation I had to take decisions that impacted on the staffing and the range of funding
grants to schools generally. The decision to cease paying certain grants to the Protestant fee
charging schools, that were not paid to other fee charging schools, has to be viewed in that
wider context.
   It was inevitable in the difficult financial circumstances that the education budget for 2009
could not be totally spared from the need to curtail expenditure but it is important to reiterate
again that the Protestant Block Grant which in the current school year amounts to \6.25 million
will continue to be available and the retention of this grant demonstrates the importance that
I, and this Government, continue to attach to ensuring that students of the Protestant faith can
attend schools that reflect their denominational ethos. Historically this payment covers capit-
ation, tuition and boarding grants and is distributed through the Secondary Education Commit-
tee established by the Churches concerned.
   I fully appreciate the concerns that were expressed to me about the needs of the dispersed
minority population and the particular need to sustain schools in the Protestant tradition that
are directly serving that dispersed population in particular areas of the country. In that regard
I expressed my willingness at the meeting to respond positively to any proposals that might be
made to my Department that would enable the available funding to be focused and adjusted
to more effectively meet the twin objectives of access for individuals and sustaining the dis-
persed schools that they wish to attend. The Bishops indicated that they would reflect on how
the funding I am continuing to make available might best be deployed to meet the needs of
their schools.
  Further meetings can be scheduled at any point to develop and build on what I believe was
a useful and constructive discussion.

                                    Consultancy Contracts.
  278. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regard-
ing all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of
reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if he will provide
this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45849/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The information requested by
the Deputy is contained in the following tables.


                                                772
                       Questions—         11 December 2008.     Written Answers


                                                2007

                   Name of Consultant                               Cost

                                                                     \
System Dynamics Solutions Ltd                                     13,310.00
Mary Immaculate College                                           73,000.00
Eustace Patterson Ltd                                             52,060.25
Phoenix Safety                                                     4,803.70
Horwath Consulting Ireland Ltd                                    80,525.50
Indecon                                                           78,200.00
Certification Europe Ltd                                          15,246.00
Deloitte & Touche                                                 27,860.25
Eco-Unesco                                                        23,305.00
Sonas Consulting Ltd                                              24,180.00
Road Plan Consulting Limited                                       2,420.00
JM Consulting Ltd                                                 21,297.83
Pat Ryan                                                          17,673.56
       ´      ´
Maire Uı Mhaicın                                                     812.64
Dr. Nigel Quirke-Bolt                                              1,050.00
Sean McCann                                                        7,006.52
Professor Iseult McCarthy                                         16,306.28


                                        2008 (to end October)

                   Name of Consultant                           Total Cost

                                                                     \

Professor Iseult McCarthy                                         14,096.46
Sean McCann                                                        3,853.33
John McGinty                                                      14,424.22
Patrick Dowling                                                   18,223.92
Pat Ryan                                                          16,196.91
Horwath Consulting Ire Ltd                                        29,474.50
Eco Unesco                                                        23,305.00
Deloitte & Touche                                                 27,860.25
Bearing Point                                                     26,379.69
Centre for Cross Border Studies                                    6,030.00
Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd                                           56,958.19
Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd                                           57,414.50




                                                 773
                 Name of Consultant     Individual or Firm   Cost (fees +         Basis of Calculation (fees)         Report             Date of Publication of Report
                                                              expenses)                                             Commissioned
                                                                                                                       Y/N?

                                                                  \

      System Dynamics Solutions Ltd     Firm                  13,310.00     Daily rate of \1,100                         Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
      Insight Statistical Consultancy   Firm                   4,970.68     Tender Process                               N         n/a
      Mary Immaculate College           Firm                  73,000.00     Tender Process                               Y         November 2007
      Eustace Patterson Ltd             Firm                  52,060.25     Daily Rate of \850.00 + expenses             Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
                                                                                                                                                                         Questions—




      Phoenix Safety                    Firm                   4,803.70     \745.00 daily                                Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
      Horwath Consulting Ireland Ltd    Firm                  80,525.50     Tender Process                               Y         Summer 2008
      Indecon                           Firm                  78,200.00     Tender Process                               Y         To be published by EU Commission in
                                                                                                                                     09/08
      Core International                Firm                   1,167.65     Daily rate of \815.00 + expenses             N         n/a
      Certification Europe Ltd          Firm                  15,246.00     Tender Process                               Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
      Deloitte & Touche                 Firm                  27,860.25     Fixed price quoted for task                  Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
      McDowell Purcell Partnership      Firm                   2,541.00     Fee of \2,000 for advice                     N         n/a
      Eco-Unesco                        Firm                  23,305.00     Tender Process                               Y         Expected mid 2008




774
      OLM Consultancy                   Firm                   9,307.00     Tender Process                               N         n/a
      Sonas Consulting Ltd              Firm                  24,180.00     Tender Process                               Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
                                                                                                                                                                         11 December 2008.




      Road Plan Consulting Limited      Firm                   2,420.00     Fixed price quoted for task                  Y         Not for publication. Internal use.
      JM Consulting Ltd                 Firm                  21,297.83     Daily rate of Stg £1,100                     Y         February 2008
      PricewaterhouseCoopers            Firm                     37,500     Daily Rate Stg£725 (Snr), Stg£440            N         n/a
                                                                             (Jnr)
      Pat Ryan                          Individual            17,673.56     Pre-arranged Fee of \14,000 + mileage        Y         Internal use
      Conor Feeney                      Individual             2,500.00     Once off payment for services                N         n/a
             ´      ´
      Maire Uı Mhaicın                  Individual               812.64     \203.16 daily                                Y         Internal use
      Dr. Nigel Quirke-Bolt             Individual             1,050.00     \210.00 daily                                Y         Internal use
      Sean McCann                       Individual             7,006.52     \250.00 daily                                Y         Unpublished to-date
                                                                                                                                                                         Written Answers




      Professor Iseult McCarthy         Individual            16,306.28     \350.00 daily                                Y         Unpublished to-date

                                        Total Firms:         471,694.86

                                        Total Individuals:    45,349.00

                                        Overall Total:       517,043.86
                      Questions—                  11 December 2008.               Written Answers



                                            Year 2008 (to end October)

       Name of consultant                                      Purpose                              Total Cost

                                                                                                        \

Professor Iseult McCarthy          Review thresholds re award of higher level qualification          14,096.46
                                    allowance for specialist teachers
Sean McCann                        Review thresholds re award of higher level qualification           3,853.33
                                    allowance for specialist teachers
John McGinty                       Review of Co-operation Hours Committee meetings                   14,424.22
Patrick Dowling                    Review Co-operation hours with other institutions                 18,223.92
Insight Statistical Consultancy    Analysis of Dept’s Guidance Questionnaire for Senior Cycle         4,970.68
                                    Students in Post primary Schools 2006/2007
Pat Ryan                           Review of Co-operation Hours Committee meetings                   16,196.91
Arthur O’Hagan Solicitors          Professional fee for Section 105 Inquiry re Peter Gargan           5,656.75
                                     1/01/07 to 25/04/08
Horwath Consulting Ire Ltd         Development of a National English Language Policy &               29,474.50
                                    Framework for Legally Resident Adult Immigrants
Eco Unesco                         Development of an education for sustainable development           23,305.00
                                    strategy
Sean Connolly                      Member of Steering Group — Review of Service Delivery              1,566.00
                                    Capacity of IT Unit
Deloitte & Touche                  Review of the Service Delivery Capacity of the IT Unit            27,860.25
Bearing Point                      Learner Database Advisory Project                                 26,379.69
Centre for Cross Border            Research/report on Southern Postgraduate Students attending        6,030.00
 Studies                            NI Higher Ed. Instutions
ESRI                               Provide assistance in identifying the geocordinates of a           2,359.50
                                     number of outstanding schools
Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd            Programme Evaluator — Schools Broadband Access                    56,958.19
                                     Programme
Norcontel (Ireland) Ltd            Technical,commercial & financial advice — Schools                 57,414.50
                                    Broadband Access Programme
Colgan & Associates                Provide research services re set up process for Special           31,780.00
                                     Education Appeals Board

Total Cost                                                                                          340,549.90



                                               School Placement.
  279. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if suitable
second level placement in main stream education will be found to facilitate a person (details
supplied) in County Kildare; the way this child’s needs can be met in view of the extensive
inquiries already made by their parents to date without success; if it is possible to meet their
requirements within reach of their home in any of the adjoining second level schools; and if he
will make a statement on the matter. [45862/08]

  Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The question of enrolment
in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools. The
Department’s main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater
for all pupils seeking places. This may result, however, in some pupils not obtaining a place in
the school of their first choice.
   It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools to implement an enrolment
policy in accordance with the Education Act. In this regard a Board of Management may find
it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular area or a particular age group
                                                         775
                  Questions—            11 December 2008.          Written Answers

  [Deputy Batt O’Keeffe.]
or, occasionally, on the basis of some other criterion. This selection process and the enrolment
policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of
all applicants.
  In 1993, the Department issued a circular (M 51/93) to post-primary schools, advising of a
memorandum of agreement between the Department and the post-primary schools managerial
association, that selection for the purposes of enrolment based on academic ability should
be discontinued.
   Under section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose
its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and
the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents choice are respected.
  Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, provides parents with an appeal process where a
Board of Management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the Board refuses enrolment
to a student. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents
of their right under Section 29 of Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to either the
relevant Vocational Educational Committee or to the Secretary General of my Department.
In the case of the latter, only where an appeal under Section 29 is upheld can the Secretary
General of my Department direct a school to enrol a pupil.
   I understand that an appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act has recently been taken
on behalf of this student, and that a determination in respect of this appeal has now been
issued to the child’s parents.
  The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which can assist
parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The NEWB
advises parents to apply to more than one school in order to assist in securing a school place-
ment. The Board can be contacted at National Educational Welfare Board, National Head-
quarters, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7 or by telephone at 01-8738700.




                                               776

				
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