Header Item Written Answers Nos. 642 - 666
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme
 Header Item Motor Insurance
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Road Projects
 Header Item Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item Cyber Security Policy
 Header Item Job Losses
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item Employment Data
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item IDA Jobs Data
 Header Item Tusla Payments
 Header Item Child Poverty
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Child Care Services
 Header Item Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 938 No. 3
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 642 - 666

Ministerial Responsibilities

 642. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross further to this Deputy's request at a recent committee meeting on sport, if he will outline the delegated functions to the Minister of State in his Department.  [7222/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​There has been no statutory delegation of functions to Minister of State O'Donovan. The Minister of State was allocated general responsibility for sport, with a particular focus on:

- the Sports Capital Programme;

- the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme;

- engagement with Sport Ireland, National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships in relation to

  (a) promoting participation in sport, recreation and physical activity and

  (b) the promotion of high performance sport;

- oversight of the National Sports Campus; and

- engagement with the institutions of the European Union on sport matters, including attendance at the Council of Ministers when significant sports issues are to be discussed and attendance by a Minister is required.

  Minister of State O'Donovan was also allocated general responsibility for domestic tourism, with a particular focus on:

  - development of tourism product;

  - domestic tourism marketing;

  - Tourism generating events including festivals, sports, business, and cultural tourism.

  In addition to these functions, it was agreed that Minister of State O'Donovan will support me in relation to:

  - Oireachtas business;

  - international commitments;

  - attendance at public events; and

  - other matters as may be required by Minister Ross.

Tax Code

 643. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will confirm his commitment during his speech at the National Tourism Awards on 3 February 2017 to reduce the 9% VAT rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7223/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross Taxation and fiscal policy are the responsiblity of my colleague, the Minister for Finance, and decisions on tax rates are a matter for him.

The 9% VAT rate, taken together with other favourable factors, have had positive impacts on the tourism and hospitality sector.  The 9% VAT rate enhances the competitivenss of the tourism and hospitality sector in Ireland which in turn facilitates (i) the creation of employment, (ii) savings for the Exchequer in Social Welfare costs and (iii) Exchequer gains in additional income tax.

Sports Capital Programme

 644. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of application workshops which were held to help groups applying for sports capital grants; the counties in which these were held and when; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7266/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan On 21 December last, I, along with Minister Ross, announced that €30m is being made available under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme. The application process opened on 23 January and will remain open until the 24 February.

  For the 2017 Sports Capital Programme my Department has introduced a number of innovations to try to reduce the proportion of invalid applications submitted.  These include:

  - The application form has been simplified and reduced from 14 pages to 6;

  - There is more online validation of application information to prompt users to provide the correct information;

  - A relaxation in the requirements for applicants to provide supporting documentation especially around quotations and planning permission.

  My Department has also produced a comprehensive written and video guide, both of which are available on my Department's website.  Finally, my Department arranged seven regional workshops to guide organisations through the application process.  The details of the workshops are set out in the following table.

LocationFacilityDateTime
LimerickThomond ParkMonday, 06/02/20177-9pm
AthloneAthlone Institute of TechnologyTuesday, 07/02/20177-9pm
Dublin/ National Sports CampusNational Sports CampusWednesday, 08/02/20171st session 6.00-7.30pm and 2nd session .00-9.30pm
CorkCork ConstitutionFriday, 10/02/20177-9pm
SligoSligo Regional Sports CentreMonday, 13/02/20177pm-9pm
Dublin/ Aviva StadiumAviva StadiumTuesday 14/02/20177-9pm


  It was not possible to hold a workshop in every county but it is intended that venues for workshops for future rounds of the programme will be varied to give a geographical spread.

  Question No. 645 answered with Question No. 617.

Motor Insurance

 646. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross when this Deputy will recieve a detailed reply to an issue referred to his Department on 7 September 2016 (details supplied); the reason for the delay in this matter; the amount of correspondence received by his Department before this date generally that has not been replied to; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7315/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross A final reply has now issued to the Deputy in relation to the issue raised.  The delay was due to the very significant workload within the Road Safety Division of my Department including work related to the Cost of Insurance Working Group and its subgroups.

  The Deputy's correspondence related to a person who did not have Irish or EU residency, but maintains a holiday home and car in Ireland, and spends a few months of the year in Ireland who has experienced difficulty in insuring his car here.

  My Department raised the particular issue with the Department of Finance last month, following the publication of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance.  The Department of Finance have noted the broad issue as one which is appropriate for their discussions with the insurance industry and Insurance Ireland in particular over the coming months regarding relevant actions in the Report for which Department of Finance have lead responsibility concerning motor insurance for persons coming to and returning to Ireland from abroad.

The Deputy will also be aware that there is a Declined Cases Agreement mechanism, which is used  where a person has been refused motor insurance by a number of insurers.  Under the Central Bank's 'General Good Requirements for Insurance and Reinsurance Undertakings', all motor insurers operating in the State must abide by the Declined Cases Agreement.  If a person is unable to obtain a quotation for motor insurance, they should contact Insurance Ireland, 5 Harbourmaster Place, IFSC, Dublin 1, DO1 E7E8 quoting the Declined Cases Agreement email: declined@insuranceireland.eu Tel: 01 676 1914.  The Declined Cases Committee of Insurance Ireland deals with any cases of difficulty in obtaining motor insurance.

Road Safety

 647. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to implement a crash barrier on a route (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7408/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and maintenance of individual road projects (including the N3 at the townsland of Knockanoark, Co. Cavan) is a matter for the Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within ten working days.​

Road Projects

 648. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the road infrastructure projects undertaken in the Dublin region since 2011; the amount expended on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7419/17]

 651. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the new capital infrastructure road projects planned for the Dublin region in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7426/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 648 and 651 together.

  As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects in the Dublin region is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

  Details of the allocations to each local authority in respect of national roads are available in the Dáil library.  However, details of the actual drawdown of funding for these roads are a matter for TII. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

  In relation to regional and local roads in Dublin, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on regional and local roads roads are funded from the relevant local authorities' own resources supplemented by State grants, where applicable.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. 

Arising from the arrangements in place in relation to Local Property Tax receipts the four Dublin Councils became self funding for regional and local roads under the main road grant categories from 2015.  Provision was made in the Capital Plan for the upgrade of roads in the vicinity of Grange Castle Business Park and the Department is providing grant assistance for that strategic scheme at present.

  Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities since 2011 and allocations for 2017 are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment and allocation booklets which are available in the Dáil Library. 

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

 649. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the capital expenditure undertaken on infrastructural projects in the Dublin region in tabular form in each of the years 2007 to 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7420/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects in the Dublin region is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

  Details of the allocations to each local authority in respect of national roads are available in the Dáil library.  However, details of the actual drawdown of funding for these roads are a matter for TII. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.

  In relation to regional and local roads in Dublin, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on regional and local roads roads are funded from the relevant local authorities' own resources supplemented by State grants, where applicable.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority. 

  Arising from the arrangements in place in relation to Local Property Tax receipts the four Dublin Councils became self funding for regional and local roads under the main road grant categories from 2015.  Provision was made in the Capital Plan for the upgrade of roads in the vicinity of Grange Castle Business Park and the Department is providing grant assistance for that strategic scheme at present.

  Details of the regional and local road grant payments to local authorities since 2007 and allocations for 2017 are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment and allocation booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.

  The following table lists the direct payments to Local Authorites made from the Department's Sustainable Transport Division.  Further payments would have been made by the NTA who will reply directly on these.

YearProjectLocal AuthorityGrant awarded (€)
2013River Dodder Greenway - planning and designSDCC25,000
-Ashtown to Castleknock GreenwayFingal CC600,000
2010Skerries Balbriggan Cycle RouteFingal CC766,293
​-The Metals cyclewayDLRCOCO202,000
2009Dublin Premium Cycle Route (completed 2012)DCC5,500,000
-Dublin City Cycle Lane refurbishmentDCC800,000
-Adamstown to Grand Canal Greenway (completed 2011)SDCC2,400,000
-Safe Routes to SchoolFingal CC39,000


  The following table sets out the capital investment in public transport on an annual basis from 2007-2016.  This includes programmes such as the ongoing maintenance and renewal of the heavy rail network nationwide, traffic management measures both in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and Regional Cities and the PSO fleet replacement programme which benefits both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.

  The funding given to Iarnród Éireann under the multi-annual contract, the IMMAC for safety and renewal of the rail network, is given on a countrywide basis, and not separated into Dublin and the rest of the county.

  It is not possible to provide a breakdown of public transport investment specifically in the GDA as large elements of the investment programme benefit the entire Public Transport network both within the GDA and outside of the GDA. 

  The overall figures above include capital investment in the *LUAS/Light Rail System in Dublin; the annual investment levels in respect of this programme are shown separately in the second column.
YearTotal Public Transport Investment (includes light rail investment*)

€m
Light Rail* investment

€m
2007641122
2008890212
2009633152
201061419
201137722
201225426
201326528
201439546
201533944
2016355110
Total4,763781

Electric Vehicles

 650. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the plans for electrically-powered buses for the Dublin area; the number of non-conventionally fuelled-powered vehicles operating in the Dublin Bus public transport fleet; to enumerate the growth in non-fossil fuelled vehicles since 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7423/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  The National Transport Authority (NTA), has statutory responsibility for the procurement of the bus fleet for PSO services, including Dublin Bus's PSO services. The procurement of buses for Dublin Bus's commerical services are a matter for Dublin Bus itself.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter raised, I have referred your letter to the NTA for a more detailed reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

  Question No. 651 answered with Question No. 648.

Company Law

 652. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor when the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 will be enacted (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7142/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 completed Committee Stage in the Dáil on 22 November 2016. Enactment of the Bill remains a legislative priority for the Government. Accordingly, I hope Dáil Report Stage will be scheduled as soon as possible. Clearly, the timing of enactment thereafter will depend on the availability of parliamentary time.

The Bill will introduce provisions to reduce or simplify the existing financial reporting requirements for small companies. It is intended to commence these provisions shortly after enactment of the Bill.

Company Law

 653. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor her views on a discrepancy between the European Economic and Social Committee approved wording of the EU Company Law Directive of 2003 and the detail which was finally placed into legislation (details supplied); the impact of this discrepancy on those Irish banks which have shares quoted on the Irish stock market; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6801/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The European Commission adopted its proposal to amend Directive 1978/660/EEC on 9 July 2002 (COM (2002)259/2 final). As part of the EU co-decision legislative process, the European Parliament proposed amendments to the text of that proposal, and some of these are reflected in the final text of what is now Directive 2003/51/EC.

  What impact, if any, those amendments have had on Irish banks is a matter of speculation.

Cyber Security Policy

 654. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the actions her Department is taking to protect against cyber attacks after the NTMA website was temporarily down for several hours after a suspected hacking attack; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [6884/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor My Department does not use the technology which was the subject of the recent incident in the NTMA.  Consequently, no actions specific to those technologies are required by my Department.

  My Department takes cyber security very seriously.  It invests considerable resources in cyber security defence and regularly reviews and updates the defences and mitigations available.

Job Losses

 655. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the actions she has taken to protect jobs at a company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7064/17]

 660. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if she had direct bilateral meetings with senior management of a company (details supplied) in Palo Alto, California, or any other location during the IDA investment mission to the west coast of the USA in October 2016 regarding securing jobs at the company's plant in County Kildare, in view of the fact the company announced it would cut up to 4,000 jobs over the next three years globally; if not, the reason; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7407/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor I propose to take Questions Nos. 655 and 660 together.

The Government and IDA Ireland did everything it could to avert the decision by HP Inc. I spoke with the company's senior management earlier this month.  The IDA engaged intensively with HP Inc as well. Senior executives from the Agency visited the company in California and proposals were put forward to try and ensure the continuing presence of the business in Leixlip.  

Unfortunately, it did not prove possible for the company to change course as the decision formed part of its wider global restructuring process. The company made it clear that this was irreversible.

I welcome Hewlett Packard’s stated commitment to making every effort to help those employees who will lose their jobs. The Government is also already making relevant State support available to the impacted employees. The Department of Social Protection, together with the relevant State Agencies, will all be doing their utmost to help workers transition and find new employment opportunities.  This will include the provision of re-training, if required.

My investment mission to the USA in October last did not include a meeting with HP Inc.

Company Law

 656. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor when the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 will be enacted (details supplied). [7229/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 completed Committee Stage in the Dáil on 22 November 2016. Enactment of the Bill is a legislative priority for the Government. Accordingly, I hope Dáil Report Stage will be scheduled as soon as possible. Clearly, the timing of enactment thereafter will depend on the availability of parliamentary time.

Section 279 of the Companies Act 2014 provides that in limited cases for a particular transitional period, US Accounting Standards (US GAAP) may be used by certain companies. This period is due to expire on 31 December 2020.

On 17th January 2017 the Government approved the General Scheme of the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill. One of the Heads in that Bill is a provision to extend the transitional period at section 279 by 10 years to December 2030 for those companies already availing of that  section's provision.

The Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 transposes the EU Accounting Directive, which is overdue. It also introduces some important benefits for small and micro companies. Accordingly, enactment of the Bill is a priority for the Government. Introducing new provisions to the Bill at this stage runs the risk of further delaying its enactment.

Employment Data

 657. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if persons from Pakistan are entitled to work here; if so, the criteria for same; the way in which they should apply for authorisation to do so; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7242/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The employment of all non-EEA nationals in the State is governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 – 2014.  Under this legislation in order to work in the State all non-EEA nationals require a valid employment permit or relevant immigration permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality which allows them to reside and work in the State without the requirement for an Employment Permit.

  The Irish State’s general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the European Union and other EEA states. However, where specific skills prove difficult to source within the EEA, an employment permit may be sought in respect of a non-EEA national who possess those skills.  All applications are processed in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended and are dependent on a job offer from an Irish registered Employer.  It should be noted that the State's employment permit system is ordered by the use of lists which determine which employments are highly demanded and which are ineligible for consideration for employment permits at a point in time and these lists are reviewed on an bi-annual basis.

  Full information on the current eligibility criteria in relation to employment permits can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.djei.ie/en/What-We-Do/Jobs-Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/.

  If any non-EEA national is successful in securing a job offer from an employer in Ireland which falls within those employments eligible for an employment permit they may make an appropriate application.

Company Law

 658. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the expected timeline for publication of the general scheme of the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7278/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The General Scheme of the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill 2017 is being sent to the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation this week for consideration and it will be available on the legislation page of the Department’s website shortly after that.

Company Law

 659. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor if she will expedite the proposed extension to section 279(2) of the Companies Act 2014 via an amendment to the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 in order to avoid major disruption to applicable businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7279/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Section 279 of the Companies Act 2014 provides that in limited cases for a particular transitional period, US Accounting Standards (US GAAP) may be used by certain companies. This period is due to expire on 31 December 2020.

On 17th January 2017 the Government approved the General Scheme of the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill. One of the Heads in that Bill is a provision to extend the transitional period at Section 279 by 10 years to December 2030 for those companies already availing of that Section's provisions.

The Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 transposes the EU Accounting Directive, which is overdue. It also introduces some important benefits for small and micro companies. Accordingly, enactment of the Bill is a priority for the Government. Introducing new provisions to the Bill at this stage runs the risk of further delaying its enactment.

  Question No. 660 answered with Question No. 655.

IDA Jobs Data

 661. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the companies that she had direct bilateral meetings with during the IDA investment mission to the west coast of the USA in October 2016, including the location of each meeting, in tabular form.  [7432/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor In October last year, I led an investment mission to the West Coast of the US along with the CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan. During this visit, I met with over 40 potential and existing IDA Ireland client companies in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange County.

Whilst I cannot release details of these companies, due to commercial and client confidentiality, I can confirm that they were mainly in the technology and life sciences sectors and included both established and more emerging businesses.

Tusla Payments

 662. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if outstanding payments due to a person (details supplied) will be granted without delay. [6744/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can advise the Deputy that Tusla have confirmed that the arrears due to the person referred to were paid on 23 January 2017.

Child Poverty

 663. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the actions which have been taken to tackle child poverty by increasing community based early intervention programmes as specifically provided for on page 77 of the programme for Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7000/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone This Government and my Department remain committed, as outlined in the programme for Government, to addressing the contributions to child poverty and the improvement of outcomes for children in Ireland. To this end, we are leading and supporting a number of key initiatives in the area of community based prevention and early intervention.

One of these is the ABC programme, which is a prevention and early intervention initiative led by my Department aimed at testing and evaluating prevention and early intervention approaches to improve outcomes for children and families living in poverty in 13 areas of disadvantage. The programme commenced in 2013 and was designed as a time-bound co-funding arrangement of €29.7 million, in conjunction with the Atlantic Philanthropies.

In budget 2016, my Department secured an additional €4.5 million to extend the entire existing ABC programme to the end of December 2017, bringing the total investment to €34.2 million. This extension also brings the existing programme closer in line with the expected timeline for the delivery of the national evaluation report by the Centre for Effective Services in 2018.

My Department will utilise the emerging learning from the ABC programme and the findings from the national evaluation to inform the design of prevention and early intervention initiatives that comprehend the Programme for Government commitments.

A key purpose of the ABC programme is to identify the learning in and across the sites, and to transfer this learning into existing and established services, thus bringing improvements not only in specific areas, but addressing all areas of disadvantage. With this in mind, my Department has also been preparing a significant programme that will assist in mainstreaming the learning from various prevention and early intervention initiatives, including the ABC programme.

This Quality and Capacity Building Initiative (QCBI) aims to embed prevention and early intervention in services for children and young people, through resourcing a system change across service provision in this area. QCBI involves creating valuable tools that capture key data and learning, and make it accessible, in addition to developing cross-sectoral capacity building measures. Such measures will seek to enhance the quality of prevention and early intervention approaches, as well as fostering partnership among agencies and professionals who engage with children at risk of poor outcomes. This work has been informed in part, by an important EU Peer Review hosted by my Department in 2016 which emphasised the importance of an evidenced based approach to tackling child poverty, and which specifically acknowledged the importance of prevention and early intervention in this regard.

My Department continues to engage with interested stakeholders in working on mainstreaming the learning from existing programmes and improving the lives of children across Ireland.

Child Care Services

 664. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the actions she is taking to ensure that child care providers in the community setting have the resources to ensure adequate staff to maintain current capacity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6675/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training of Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, to ensure that regulatory changes do not impact on service delivery or the availability of childcare places.

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Childcare Committees Ireland were commissioned by my Department to investigate the impact of new childcare regulations on community childcare providers.

This research indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However this did find that some services had come to rely on Community Employment scheme workers, and I determined that these services should be provided additional funding to enable them to recruit and retain qualified staff to work alongside their CE scheme participants.

As a result, I have made available up to €2,000 for services to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management, with additional money being provided to each service after analysis of their individual financial situation, to ensure that they can fully meet the cost of these staff. No service will be forced to close.

Delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is my key goal, and this funding will ensure that every child will be cared for by a qualified professional, and that services can sustain existing levels of provision, while they prepare for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. Services are also providing more ECCE places than ever before, and I am confident that over 125,000 children will be receiving free pre-school care and education this summer.

All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with the CCI project during 2016, and detailed analysis has been completed. As some services clearly needed additional funding to maintain service levels, this money has now been allocated from the provision made for Sustainability Funding in Budget 2017, and will be available for drawdown from next week, with Pobal making payments on behalf of the local Childcare Committee.

Child Care Services

 665. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of child care providers in the Cork city area may potentially not be able to continue to provide a zero to three years service due to a lack of staff caused by changes in regulation; the action she intends to take to resolve this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6676/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I am aware that providing care for children below the age of three results in higher costs to services than caring for older children as a result of the legally required adult:child ratio, which is as low as 1:3 in the case of the youngest children.

Some services providing this care, including those in Cork City, have been impacted by the full implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, which requires that all staff should hold a minimum FETAC level 5 qualification, when working directly with children. In several cases, services have been utilising staff working on Community Employment (CE) schemes to count towards their required ratios, and under the regulations, this will only be allowed when the individual in question has the necessary qualification.

In order to assist services in addressing this challenge, I recently announced that €1m of additional funding will be made available to childcare providers who have been facilitating the training of Community Employment (CE) scheme workers, to ensure that regulatory changes do not impact on service delivery or the availability of childcare places.

In preparation for the implementation of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Childcare Committees Ireland were commissioned by my Department to investigate the impact of new childcare regulations on community childcare providers.

This research indicated that the vast majority of services would not face financial hardship as a result of changes required under the regulations. However this did find that some services had come to rely on Community Employment scheme workers, and I determined that these services should be provided additional funding to enable them to recruit and retain qualified staff to work alongside their CE scheme participants.

As a result, I have made available up to €2,000 for services to assist with the recruitment process or to provide expert support in HR management, and I will make sufficient additional money available to each service after analysis of their individual financial situation to ensure that they can fully meet the cost of these staff until September 2017. After this time these services should be in a position to fund these places through their own income; but this will be kept under review. No service will be forced to close.

Delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is my key goal, and this funding will ensure that every child will be cared for by a qualified professional, and that services can sustain existing levels of provision, while they prepare for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. Services are also providing more ECCE places than ever before, and I am confident that over 125,000 children will be receiving free pre-school care and education this summer.

All Community Childcare services around the country were afforded an opportunity to engage with the Childcare Committees Ireland project during 2016; over 200 did so, and detailed analysis has been completed. As some services clearly needed additional funding to maintain service levels, this money has now been allocated from the provision made for Sustainability Funding in Budget 2017, and will be available for drawdown from next week, with Pobal making payments on behalf of Cork City Childcare Committee.

The new Affordable Childcare Scheme, when introduced, will provide financial support for parents towards the cost of childcare. The universal element of the Scheme will be available to all families with children between the age of 6 months and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the free pre-school programme if later than 36 months).

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

 666. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone her views on proposals from survivor groups to provide for memorials for those that were incarcerated at mother and baby homes, as promised to them by the previous Minister. [6781/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I recognise the importance and value of memorials for former residents of mother and baby homes and their families. A number of advocacy groups have made representations to me seeking support for the provision of such memorials. I believe it is appropriate that their experiences would be publicly acknowledged in this way. I am also aware of the positive indications of my predecessor as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in this regard.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that funding has been identified from within my Department's 2017 Vote to support the provision of memorials. It is clear that an inclusive approach is a crucial to advancing this proposal and my Department will work with the representative groups to determine how best to support the delivery of local memorials.

I would hope that this could be significantly advanced while the Commission's work is on-going and my officials will be in contact with representative groups in the coming weeks.


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