Header Item Written Answers Nos. 155-163
 Header Item Human Rights
 Header Item Registration of Births
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Supervisors
 Header Item Public Sector Staff
 Header Item Departmental Investigations
 Header Item Civil Service Reform
 Header Item Waterways Issues
 Header Item Gaeltacht Policy

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 935 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 155-163

Human Rights

 155. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); the efforts that have been made to date to assist this person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2145/17]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am very aware of the extremely difficult circumstances in which this individual and his family find themselves.

  We understand that the citizen remains on bail and is waiting for his appeal to be logged with the Philippines Supreme Court against his conviction and sentence in 2013.

  As this is an ongoing legal case, it is for the citizen’s legal representatives to advise him and to act on his behalf in matters before the courts.

  My Department officials in Dublin and in Singapore have provided and continue to provide all appropriate consular support, within the limits of assistance we can offer in such legal cases. I have personally raised my concerns about the case with my Philippine counterpart on a number of occasions.

  In November our Embassy in Singapore wrote to the Administrator of the Supreme Court to request that the individual’s appeal hearing be expedited on humanitarian grounds. This request was reiterated at a meeting on 11 January 2017 with senior Philippines Foreign Ministry officials.

  The citizen is in regular and direct contact with Department officials both in Dublin and in Singapore, and an Embassy Singapore official visited the individual in October.

  The Department in Dublin, our Embassy in Singapore and our Honorary Consulate in the Philippines will continue to provide whatever consular assistance we can to this individual and to his family.

Registration of Births

 156. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a foreign births registration application will be expedited to allow a person (details supplied) to provide proof of nationality for student grant purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2156/17]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Applications for Foreign Births Registration generally take between four and six months to process from the time all the required documentation has been submitted.

  In light of the exceptional circumstances in the case to which the Deputy refers, the Foreign Births Registration Unit in my Department expedited the processing of this application.

  I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the Foreign Birth Registration Certificate was issued on 5 January 2017.

Flood Relief Schemes

 157. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will approve funding for the Lower Morrell River flood scheme in County Kildare, to enable Kildare County Council to seek planning approval for the scheme from An Bord Pleanála; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2054/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Seán Canney): Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney The Lower Morrell River flood relief scheme is being progressed by Kildare County Council (KCC) as the Contracting Authority for the scheme with funding provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

I am advised that KCC and its consultants are currently working on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and detailed design of the scheme which includes liaising with the various landowners/stakeholders who will be impacted by the proposed works, in advance of the scheme being submitted for planning approval. Once the final details of the scheme have been designed and before the scheme is submitted for planning approval the Council will request formal approval of the scheme and funding arrangements from the OPW. It is envisaged that the scheme will be submitted for planning approval in the first half of 2017.

It is not possible to indicate when exactly works can be commenced until the scheme has been advanced through the planning process by the Council as outlined above but it is hoped that works would commence before the end of 2017. This is, however, dependent on planning approval being received. I can confirm that the Lower Morrell Scheme remains a priority and the OPW has included provision for the cost of the proposed works in its financial profiles in the period up to 2020.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

 158. Deputy Mary Butler Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe when a meeting will be scheduled in view of the fact that a chairperson has been appointed to the high-level community and voluntary forum and it has not met since April 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2104/17]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The issue of pension entitlements for Community Employment Scheme Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors was the subject of a Labour Court recommendation in 2008. The position is that although the employing bodies concerned are mainly funded by public expenditure programmes, the State does not have any role as an employer in this sector and the employees of such bodies are not public servants.

This matter together with other related issues is the subject of discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum (or Working Group) (previously the Informal Forum) which was convened to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector.  The forum met on 27 November 2015 and on 11 April 2016.  The forum now has a new Chair and it is intended to reconvene the forum in the first quarter of 2017.

Public Sector Staff

 159. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will put in place a more worker-friendly transfer system for public and civil servants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2155/17]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, Action 15 of the Civil Service Renewal calls to 'Expand career and mobility opportunities for staff across geographic, organisational and sectoral boundaries'. 

  A Service Wide Mobility Scheme is currently under development.  The Scheme will generate an open, fair, transparent and practical system that facilitates effective mobility of staff across the Civil Service in pursuit of development opportunities and relocation while also supporting the needs of the business.    

  This Scheme will initially be phased in for Civil Service general service grades up to and including EO level for both mobility within a single location, and mobility between locations.  Further phases will include Civil Service general service grades up to and including Assistant Principal. Equivalent Professional and Technical grades are not covered under the early phases of the Scheme and consideration will be given to mobility for these grades at a later date.  It is anticipated that the first phase of the Scheme will be implemented by end 2017. 

  The Scheme will extend over time to provide additional development opportunities.

  It is not possible at this stage to give a definitive date when the scheme will be extended to the Public Service.

Departmental Investigations

 160. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the cost to the Exchequer of all ongoing investigations or inquiries in his Department. [2163/17]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe In response to the Deputy's question, my Department has not been responsible for setting up any Commissions of Investigation or Tribunals of Inquiry since it was established in 2011.

Civil Service Reform

 161. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the current status of proposals to amalgamate the SO grade of the Civil Service with the EO grade; if such an upgrade takes place, that staff officers who have been working in that position for a number of years will receive the appropriate pay rise commensurate with the upgrade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2218/17]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The matter of the amalgamation of the Civil Service Staff Officer grade with the Executive Officer grade is currently under deliberation between the management and union side parties concerned.  As this deliberative process has yet to be concluded it is considered that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances to comment on any issues that may arise between the parties concerned.

Waterways Issues

 162. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the steps she is taking in conjunction with Waterways Ireland to bring to an end an issue that is occurring with increasing frequency (details supplied). [2199/17]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have been informed that Waterways Ireland technical staff recently visited the location in question to assess the situation referred to by the Deputy and to determine the options available to try to make the location referred to by the Deputy less attractive to such activities.

  Waterways Ireland is currently assessing these options and, subject to available funding, hope to be in a position to implement measures to improve matters, while ensuring that any changes do not negatively impact on the general public.

  With regard to an immediate response to dealing with the specific issue raised by the Deputy, Waterways Ireland staff do not have enforcement powers to restrict this activity.

  I and Waterways Ireland would encourage anyone who witnesses such activity to report the matter to An Garda Síochána.

Gaeltacht Policy

 163. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her plans for the Ráth Cairn Gaeltacht in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2063/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne As the Deputy may be aware, the Gaeltacht Act 2012 gives statutory effect to the language planning process under which language plans may be prepared at community level in areas to be recognised under the Act as Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns or Irish Language Networks. In the case of all Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, including Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib in Co. Meath, organisations will be given up to 2 years from the date on which they are selected by Údarás na Gaeltachta to submit a language plan to me, as Minister, for approval in line with language planning criteria prescribed under section 12 of the Act.

Once a plan has been approved under the Act, organisations will be given 7 years in which to implement same with the assistance of Údarás na Gaeltachta. My Department will periodically review the implementation of these plans during this period.  It is anticipated that the language plan in respect of Ráth Chairn agus Baile Ghib will be submitted for approval under the process by March 2018.

Insofar as all Gaeltacht areas are concerned, including Gaeltacht na Mí, the Deputy should also be aware that both my Department and Údarás na Gaeltachta administer a wide range of schemes, initiatives and programmes through which financial support is provided to assist in the implementation, at Gaeltacht community level, of practical actions, interventions, initiatives and projects which have as their core objective the maintenance and development of Irish as the community language of the Gaeltacht.


Last Updated: 05/03/2018 10:02:42 First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page