Header Item Written Answers Nos. 270-284
 Header Item Garda Expenditure
 Header Item Closed-Circuit Television Systems Expenditure
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Garda Station Closures
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item State Bodies
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item School Absenteeism
 Header Item Early Childhood Care and Education
 Header Item Children in Care
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Foster Care Supports
 Header Item Children in Care

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 905 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 270-284

Garda Expenditure

 270. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald to support the budget allocation for the Garda Síochána air support unit in the years 2013 to 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4278/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of available Garda resources including personnel, the fleet and the various technologies utilised to support front-line Gardaí and intelligence-led operations against crime. This process takes account of annual policing priorities determined by the Garda Commissioner in conjunction with the newly established Policing Authority, in the context of annual policing plans, as provided for in section 20 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

  I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the budget allocation (including supplementary provisions) for the subhead of the Garda vote which covers capital and current expenditure on Garda Air Support Unit over the period 2013 to 2016 is set out in the table below. The Deputy may wish to note that the significantly higher allocation for 2015 is due to the additional €1.8 million in capital funding that I secured for the replacement and upgrade of equipment on the Defender fixed wing aircraft.

YearAmount
2013€1.250m
2014€1.250m
2015€3.331m
2016€1.050m

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Expenditure

 271. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the cost of increasing the number of Garda Síochána closed circuit television cameras in Dublin city centre from 77 to 107; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4279/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of the identified operational needs and priorities of An Garda Síochána. In that context I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the estimated cost for an additional 30 cameras in Dublin City Centre is approximately €500,000 including VAT. The exact costs could only be established on foot of a competitive tendering process and would depend on a range of factors.

Immigration Status

 272. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will grant permission to remain here to persons (details supplied) in County Donegal; if she provided sufficient information in regard to the entry requirement needed to remain here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4365/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the person referred to in the question has been previously advised, my Department will be reviewing this case. In the light of an overall review currently underway of the practices and procedures of this form of immigration permission.

Garda Station Closures

 273. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Garda Síochána stations that were closed in County Cavan and in County Monaghan over the past ten years, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4375/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda Stations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner in conjunction with the newly established Policing Authority, in the context of annual policing plans, as provided for in section 20 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

  The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme implemented in An Garda Síochána during 2012 and 2013 resulted in the closure of 39 Garda stations in 2012 and 100 Garda stations in 2013. Nine Garda Stations were closed in the Cavan/Monaghan Division, as outlined in the table below.

  The Programme was based on a review of the Garda Station Network by Garda management which concluded in relation to certain stations, many of which were only open part-time and manned by a single Garda, that resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained. In reaching these conclusions, Garda management reviewed all aspects of the Garda Síochána policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations. The Programme supports the provision of a modern 21st century policing service for both urban and rural areas and allows front line Gardaí to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility, and in a more focused fashion, particularly with regard to various targeted police operations. As a result of the Programme, communities have benefited from increased Garda visibility and increased patrolling hours which has enabled An Garda Síochána to deliver an improved policing service to the public.

  It is understood from discussions with the Garda Commissioner that the current consolidation process is largely completed. There are no proposals to either re-open or close any Garda stations in the Policing Plan for 2016.

  Cavan / Monaghan Division Station Closures

Year ClosedDistrictStation
2012MonaghanClontibret
2012MonaghanSmithboro
2012BailieboroTullyvin
2013MonaghanNewbliss
2013CavanStradone
2013BallyconnellBawnboy
2013CarrickmacrossCorrinshigagh
2013CavanRedhills
2013CarrickmacrossShantonagh

Garda Stations

 274. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Garda Síochána stations in County Cavan and in County Monaghan in each of the past ten years, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4376/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources and for the day to day management of An Garda Síochána. The Deputy should be aware of two relatively recent initiatives regarding the Garda station network. The Garda Síochána 2008 Policing Plan set out realigned Garda Divisional boundaries to make them coterminous with local authority boundaries.

  Secondly, the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented in An Garda Síochána during 2012 and 2013. The objective of the review was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. The review concluded that a revised district and station network commensurate with the organisations resource base would best meet public demand.

  Consequently, I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of Garda Síochána stations in the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Division, on the 31 December in each of the past ten years, was as set out in the following table.

  Number of Stations in Cavan/Monaghan 2006-2015

YearNumberYearNumber
200635201134
200735201231
200835201325
200934201425
201034201525

Garda Strength

 275. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Garda Síochána on 1 January in each of the past ten years, including details of the numbers in training on those dates. [4394/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will appreciate the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of resources. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the total number of Gardaí and the number of student Garda at the end of 31 December 2006 to 31 December 2015 are as set out in the following tables.

This Government is committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to provide effective and visible policing throughout the country. A crucial element of the Government's strategy is ensuring ongoing seamless recruitment to renew An Garda Síochána. With this in mind Budget 2016 made provision for the recruitment of 600 new Gardaí this year bringing to 1,150 the number of new Gardaí who will have been recruited since the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore in September 2014. To date there have been six intakes of Garda Trainees to the Garda College, giving a total intake of 550 with a further intake provisionally scheduled for 11 April 2016. So far 296 of these new recruits have been fully attested and are undertaking Garda duties in communities nationwide.

YearGarda Strength
31/12/200612,954
31/12/200713,755
31/12/200814,412
31/12/200914,547
31/12/201014,377
31/12/201113,894
31/12/201213,424
31/12/201313,093
31/12/201412,799
31/12/201512,816
YearStudent Garda
31/12/20061,126
31/12/20071,043
31/12/2008944
31/12/2009232
31/12/20102
31/12/20111
31/12/20120
31/12/20130
31/12/2014200
31/12/2015250

Crime Data

 276. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of incidences reported to An Garda Síochána at Garda Síochána stations in Ballybofey, Carrigans, Castlefinn, Convoy, Lifford and Ballybofey in County Donegal, in each of the years 2010 to 2015, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4472/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the publication of recorded crime statistics.

  In relation to the matters referred to, I have requested the CSO to provide the available statistical information directly to the Deputy.

State Bodies

 277. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the details of appointments to State boards, by name of appointee, date of appointment and appointment through a public application process or otherwise, from 7 March 2011 to date; the number of vacancies on State boards under her remit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4621/16]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald This material has now been compiled by my Department.  As the information requested by the Deputy is voluminous in nature I will be forwarding same to her directly this week.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 278. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he is aware that some groups of Montessori teachers, who work in early years childcare, have been told by their employers that their Association Montessori Internationale qualification will no longer be acceptable to teach on the Early Childhood Care and Education preschool scheme; the reason for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4073/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme introduced the first-ever requirement for minimum qualifications for staff working in the childcare sector. Prior to the introduction of the programme there was no requirement for staff working directly with children in pre-school services to hold any education qualification.

It is a requirement of the ECCE programme that pre-school year leaders in services participating in the programme, and who are receiving the standard capitation, hold a qualification in childcare which is equivalent to Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications of Ireland (NFQ). A higher capitation rate is available to services participating in the ECCE programme in which all of the pre-school leaders hold an appropriate qualification at a minimum of Level 7 and pre-school assistants hold a Level 5 on the NFQ.

As part of the Early Years Quality Agenda, new qualification requirements for childcare workers are being introduced. All staff caring for children in an early years service will be subject to a minimum qualification requirement of Level 5, while pre-school leaders delivering the ECCE programme will require a Level 6 qualification. It is expected that these requirements will come into effect from the end of this year.

Following the introduction of the qualification requirement, childcare providers submitted a wide range of qualifications to my Department in support of their applications for the higher rate of capitation or seeking to satisfy the minimum qualifications that the programme set out. This presented a problem for officials in my Department and for childcare providers as there was no definitive list that could be referenced. To address this problem a detailed and extensive list of qualifications suitable for the purpose of meeting the minimum qualification requirements and for meeting the contractual requirements of the ECCE programme was prepared and published and is available on the Department website. I understand that an advisory group established to evaluate qualifications submitted prior to publication of the list did consider and approve four Association Montessori Internationale qualifications for inclusion.

Where a qualification is not included on the published list and the holder considers it to be an appropriate Major award on the NFQ or equivalent, the holder should apply to my Department to have their qualification assessed.

School Absenteeism

 279. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the strategies that are in place, or planned, to increase attendance and combat absenteeism in schools, and to ensure greater levels of school completion by members of the Traveller community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4190/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, under the remit of my Department, has a statutory responsibility to ensure each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The education welfare services of Tusla, comprising the statutory Education Welfare Service, the School Completion Programme and the Home School Community Liaison scheme, are key supports for children who are vulnerable to early school leaving and educational disadvantage including Traveller children.

Children who do not attend school regularly or who leave school early before age 16 or without completing 3 years of second level education are a priority concern for the Educational Welfare Service. Where school attendance problems arise for a child, including a Traveller child, Tusla's approach is to concentrate on finding solutions, within a collaborative intervention framework involving children, families, school and other relevant agencies. The work of the Educational Welfare Officer falls into two key categories. It can involve a brief intervention, at an early stage if the problem is identified and capable of being resolved, or, where the problem is more complex, it can involve the Educational Welfare Officer providing more intensive and ongoing support for the child and family.

The School Completion Programme operates in 470 primary schools and 224 post-primary schools. The programme provides targeted supports to children identified to be most at risk of early school leaving or of not reaching their potential in the educational system. School Completion Programme initiatives include breakfast clubs; homework clubs; afterschool supports; mentoring programmes; and therapeutic interventions as well as transfer programmes to support young people transitioning from primary to post-primary school.

Along with the School Completion Programme, the Home School Community Liaison Scheme is a core element of the integrated Educational Welfare Services of Tusla, serving schools identified under the Delivering Equality of opportunity in Schools (DEIS) action plan of the Department of Education and Skills. The Home School Community Liaison Scheme serves 528 schools. Coordinators work primarily with the salient adults in educationally disadvantaged children’s lives, in order to empower them, so that they can better support their children in relation to school attendance, participation and retention.

Central to both the Home School Community Liaison Scheme and the School Completion Programme is the identification of needs and the provision of a tailored and proportionate response to those needs, through a range of interventions, which are evidence-based, focused and structured. Tusla has advised that children and families from the Traveller Community who require additional support or are identified as vulnerable are provided with the full range of supports available through the Home School Community Liaison Scheme and the School Completion Programme. At a national level, Home School Community Liaison and the School Completion Programme are supported by the Senior Management Team of Tusla Educational Welfare Services. A senior manager represents the Education Welfare Service of Tusla on the Traveller Education Strategy Advisory and Consultative Forum convened by the Department of Education and Skills.

The Department of Education and Skills provides a range of supports to address additional educational needs of children, including Traveller children, in schools. I am advised that specific supports for Traveller children are part of mainstream provision in line with the Department of Education and Skills policy on inclusive education.

Early Childhood Care and Education

 280. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the status of the eligibility to free preschooling of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4437/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is implemented by my Department and provides free pre-school care and education for children before they commence primary school.

Children born between the 2 February 2011 and 30 June 2012 are eligible to avail of the free pre-school provision in the current school year. Under the current criteria for eligibility, the 30th day of June is the determining date for eligibility and not 3 July as suggested in your question. Children born in July 2012 are eligible to avail of the free pre-school provision in the school year commencing in September 2016.

Based on the information provided in your question this child is eligible for the programme in the current school year.

Children in Care

 281. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of young persons in care without an allocated social worker; by county or by sub-county level, such as Dublin North, Dublin South and so on. [4212/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The latest figures I have to hand from the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, indicates that, in October 2015, there were 6,331 children in care. Almost 93% of children in care were in a foster care setting. Of all children in care, over 93% (5,903) had an allocated social worker. Tusla's policy is that all children coming into care and those in high risk placements have an allocated social worker. Subsequent gaps may be attributed to a number of factors including maternity leave, vacancies and competing priorities.

  Where a child is awaiting the allocation of a social worker, this is responded to by a social work duty team on a risk management basis. During this time, specific pieces of work on the child's case may be undertaken by staff working in the duty system. The increased budget for Tusla for 2016 should result in higher levels of children in care having an allocated social worker.

  The following table represents the data available from 31 October 2015:

AreaNo. of Children in careNo. of Children in Care with Allocated Social Worker% of Children in Care with Allocated Social Worker
Dublin South Central39938195%
Dublin South East Wicklow304304100%
Dublin South West; Kildare West Wicklow47044394%
Midlands33832596%
DUBLIN MID-LEINSTER TOTAL1511145396%
Dublin City North63160596%
Dublin North33230291%
Louth Meath38635291%
Cavan Monaghan170170100%
DUBLIN NORTH EAST TOTAL1519142994%
Cork89885195%
Kerry146146100%
Carlow Kilkenny/South Tipperary36832789%
Waterford/Wexford43440393%
SOUTH TOTAL1846172794%
Mid West60749381%
Galway Roscommon41236589%
Mayo126126100%
Donegal206206100%
Sligo Leitrim West Cavan104104100%
WEST TOTAL1455129489%
NATIONAL TOTAL6331590393%

Child and Family Agency Staff

 282. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of front line and non-front line administrative staff and the number of senior managers employed in Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, including the wage costs by front line and by non-front line staff. [4213/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly There were a total of 548.95 whole time equivalent staff employed in the clerical administrative and senior management grades in Tusla at end December 2015. Of these, 92.08 (2.6% of all staff) were senior management grades. Senior management grades are defined as Grade VIII and above.

Front line staff can be defined as workers who are in direct contact with the public. While many of the clerical administrative and management grades operate at local level, it is not possible to provide the numbers that have direct contact with the public as Tusla does not maintain records in this manner.

Foster Care Supports

 283. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of young adults discharged from State or foster care upon turning 18 years of age in 2014 and in 2015; the number or percentage of these young persons aged 16 and 17 years who had aftercare plans in place in preparation for leaving care and prior to being discharged, by region; and the cost of putting an aftercare plan in place for all children leaving care. [4214/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Aftercare is the term used to describe the planning and support put in place to meet the needs of a young person who is leaving statutory care at 18 years of age, to assist him/her in making the transition to independent living.   An aftercare programme is based on an assessed need, and an aftercare worker can make arrangements for various supports, including support for accommodation, and accessing training and education.

  Provisional figures for the end of September 2015 show that there were approximately 1,573 young people aged 18 to 22 years in receipt of an aftercare service, with 57% in full-time education or training.

  The numbers of 16 and 17 year old young people in care with an aftercare plan is a new metric which was not collected prior to 2015. The following table shows the provisional aftercare statistics collected by the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, to the end of September 2015:

  Table 1: Provisional aftercare data to 30/09/2015

2015 Aftercare Data to September 2015The number of Children in Care turning 18No. eligible for an Aftercare service
Dublin Mid-Leinster114100
Dublin North East8887
South127127
West6360
Total392374


* Please note that the figures listed are approximate, as some returns require validation.

  Provisional data provided by Tusla show that in 2014, approximately 484 young people were discharged from care by reason of turning 18. Of these, 98% were assessed as needing an aftercare service, and at the time of recording, 90% had been offered a service.

  The cost of developing an aftercare plan has not been determined as every plan is different for each young person and takes account of their individual circumstances. Tusla has introduced a Standardised National Aftercare Allowance of €300 per week to address the previously inequitable approach of different rates of financial supports being made available for young people leaving care around the country. The introduction of this aftercare allowance demonstrates Tusla's commitment to an aftercare service that offers consistent supports to ensure that young people leaving care and aftercare reach their potential in adult life.

Children in Care

 284. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the cost of including developmental outcomes for children in care as part of the general longitudinal study Growing up in Ireland Survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute; and the cost of implementing the Ryan report recommendation on introducing a recurring longitudinal survey that tracks young people leaving care. [4215/16]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Growing up in Ireland is a national population sample, with all sub-groups and segments of the population being selected on a pro rata basis based on their representation in the national population. On this basis, although children in care (fostered and adopted) are represented in the sample, their absolute number is too small to allow them to be analysed as a separate group or to be tracked on a longitudinal basis. In addition Growing up in Ireland is based on children and young people in private households, it does not include those in residential centres and Special Care.

  A study of the population in care would require a fundamentally different design to that used in Growing Up in Ireland and would need to be based on a dedicated sample of relevant children and young people. Such a project would require detailed specification; the cost of such a study would depend on the precise design and scope. It is likely that it would require to be competitively tendered for. It is therefore not possible to predict the cost of such a study.

  With reference to young people leaving care (PQ 42682/15 Weds 2 December 2015) I stated that Action 65 of the Ryan Implementation report (‘A longitudinal study over ten years was to be undertaken which would follow young people who leave care, in order to map their transition into adulthood’ ) was one of a small number of actions that had not been implemented at that time due to resource implications.

  I undertook to keep the Government informed of progress on the small number of actions from the Ryan Report which remain to be implemented. Following on from the submission of Tusla's Business Plan for 2016, I wrote specifically to Tusla on 25th last asking that my office be apprised of further progress and developments with regard to this and other remaining actions falling to Tulsa. In particular, I sought further details on the proposals referred to in the business plan and a timeline.

  However it is important to note in this regard that Tusla already collects information on attendance at school, overall placement stability, age, gender, placement type, the number received into care who leave within the same year and the reason for the care order, where ordered by a court.


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