2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the rationale underpinning her decision to prevent the disclosure of the names of companies which have used the JobBridge scheme in view of the significant benefits these companies derive from the work done by interns paid for by her Department; and if in the interests of deterring abuse of the scheme she will make a statement withdrawing the expectation of confidentiality that she has created for the companies involved. (Question 50873/13 asked on 28 Nov 2013 - Job Initiatives)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I am trying to get the Minister to indicate why she is refusing to disclose to the public the list of companies availing of the JobBridge internship scheme, which is a State-sponsored scheme. Will she end the expectation that these companies have confidentiality, which is an expectation that she and her Department have created?
 ...

5. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the delays in making disability allowance payments to 1,700 persons who made successful appeals to the social welfare appeals office; and if she will recruit more staff in order that decisions of the appeals office can be implemented immediately in the future. (Question 50874/13 asked on 28 Nov 2013 - Disability Allowance Payments)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: What steps will the Minister take to address the increase in the delay between social welfare appeals being successful and appellants subsequently receiving payment from the Department? This delay is now over three months in the case of disabled applicants.
 ...

8. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on the Gateway scheme. (Question 50776/13 asked on 28 Nov 2013 - Work Placement Programmes)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I am seeking more details on the Gateway scheme which seems at a glance to be more akin to the Workfare scheme, because there is no training budget and no prospect of work by the host organisation. Can the Minister elaborate on the scheme?
 ...

2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has conducted research assessing the capacity of those targeted by Budget 2014 to absorb the changes affecting them; her views on the impact the changes to social transfers will have on poverty and employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43513/13 asked on 17 Oct 2013 - Budget 2014)

(Deputy Joan Burton): Deputies will be aware that the expenditure report of 2013 published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last December provided for additional new expenditure reduction measures of €440 million to be achieved in 2014 in the Department of Social Protection budget. Again this year I sought to minimise the impact of the necessary adjustments to my Department’s welfare expenditure and to protect as far as possible key income supports. This week my colleague the...

7. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the recent detention of Bahraini opposition leader Khalil al-Marzooq; if he will raise the case with the Bahraini authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41158/13 asked on 02 Oct 2013 - Human Rights Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): According to reports received, Khalil al-Marzooq, assistant secretary general of the Bahrain opposition party al-Wefaq, was arrested on 17 September. Mr. al-Marzooq is a former Deputy Speaker of Parliament who resigned with other opposition MPs in response to the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in February 2011. It appears that Mr. al-Marzooq’s arrest was in response to a speech ...

2. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir leis an gcóras ceapacháin a bhí ann do bhord nua Údarás na Gaeltachta, agus conas a chinntigh an tAire go gceapfaí baill a mbeadh taithí agus saineolas cuí acu chuig an mbord; an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir le tuairiscí sna nuachtáin go raibh gearrliosta ann de dhaoine oiriúnacha don Bhord a dhréachtaigh an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta agus maidir leis an gcúis nár ghlac an tAire le hainm ar bith ina measc, agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir leis an tábhacht atá leis an eolas iomlán faoin gCóras Ceapacháin a chur os comhair an phobail, i bhfiainaise tuairiscí á rá nár tugadh na cáipéisí seo ar láimh do Nuacht RTÉ/TG4 nuair a iarradh taifid a bhain leis an gcóras ceapacháin faoin Acht um Shaoráil Faisnéise i Nollaig 2012. (Question 38598/13 asked on 18 Sep 2013 - Údarás na Gaeltachta)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht(Deputy Dinny McGinley): I bhfógra poiblí a rinne an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí ar son mo Roinne i mí Iúil 2012, lorgaíodh léirithe spéise ó dhaoine a raibh suim acu i gceapachán chuig bord Údarás na Gaeltachta ach na cáilíochtaí cuí agus an taithí chuí a bheith acu. Tugadh le fios san fhógra go bhféadfaí daoine a cheapadh taobh amuigh den phróiseas sin. Fuarthas 68 ráiteas spéise de bharr an fhógra, chomh maith le dh...

6. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an raibh aon phlé aige leis an Roinn Comhshaoil i dtaobh an tionchar a bheidh ag na hathruithe ar an tslí ina mbeidh na scéimeanna forbartha pobail, ar nós LEADER, á riaradh, ar phobail Ghaeltachta, ar fhorbairt pobail sa Ghaeltacht, agus ar phleanáil teanga sa Ghaeltacht; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. (Question 38493/13 asked on 18 Sep 2013 - Scéimeanna Forbartha Pobail)

Deputy Deputy Dinny McGinley: D’írím aird an Teachta ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 375 ar 18 lúil 2013 inar thug mé le fios go dtagann Leader faoi réimse na Roinne Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil agus go raibh an t-ábhar a bhí luaite sa Cheist á phlé idir oifigigh mo Roinne agus oifigigh na Roinne sin. Leanann an scéal amhlaidh.
Ina theannta sin, tá oifigigh mo Roinne agus oifigigh Údarás na Gaeltachta ag déanamh cíoradh ar na riachtanais agus ar na deiseanna maoinithe...

13. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence the financial supports that will be available to members of the Reserve Defence Forces in the future. (Question 35932/13 asked on 18 Jul 2013 - Defence Forces Reserve Funding)

(Deputy Paul Kehoe): The steering committee which undertook the value for money, VFM, review of the Reserve Defence Force recognised the importance of retaining an effective reserve capacity that can augment the Permanent Defence Force in times of need. The Government values the contribution made by all members of the Reserve Defence Force. Similar to many other voluntary organisations, members of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve undertake unpaid activities on a voluntary basis. In ...

9. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if consideration has been given to focusing additional supports in his Department on indigenous business through additional supports to Enterprise Ireland and the county enterprise boards. (Question 33497/13 asked on 10 Jul 2013 - Enterprise Support Schemes)

Deputy John Perry: The Deputy will recall that the capital budget for enterprise supports was broadly protected for 2013 to ensure continued support for Irish business and the implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs programme. This plan is about using available resources in smarter ways and achieving new forms of collaboration across Government to promote enterprise and jobs.
Many of the innovative ideas developed under the Action Plan for Jobs have been aimed at developing new opportunities...

56. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection her proposals to subsidise employers who take on persons who are long-term unemployed; and if her attention has been drawn to the dangers of subsidising private businesses to this extent. (Question 33543/13 asked on 09 Jul 2013 - Jobs Initiative)

Deputy Joan Burton: I was delighted to launch JobsPlus yesterday in Waterford with the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Bruton. The new scheme, JobsPlus, is a simplified scheme. It is as easy as I could make it for employers and applications are made online. The scheme replaces the employer job PRSI exemption scheme, which started in June 2010, and the Revenue job assist scheme which began in 1998. Employers had said to me that while these ...

20. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the recent visit of the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces to Lithuania. (Question 29112/13 asked on 18 Jun 2013 - Defence Forces Personnel Official Visits)

(Deputy Alan Shatter): The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Seán McCann, paid an official visit to Lithuania during the period 28 May to 1 June 2013. His visit was conducted in the context of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union as part of the 18 month Trio programme of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece. The visit afforded the Chief of Staff the opportunity to call on the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, where he met the Minister of National Def...

2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans regarding the future of family income supplement and its income limits. (Question 26027/13 asked on 29 May 2013 - Family Income Supplement Application Numbers)

(Deputy Joan Burton): The family income supplement, or FIS payment, is designed to provide income for employees on low earnings who have families. The FIS payment preserves the incentive to remain in employment in circumstances where the employee might only be marginally better off than if he or she was unemployed and claiming other social welfare payments. Some people may believe that taking up employment might only offer a marginal improvement to their income.
The Revised Estimates for my D...

13. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide an update as to the progress that has been made as regards the commitment in the 20 years strategy to provide targeted language learning opportunities to be put in place to assist families where only one parent speaks Irish; if he will outline the nature of such targeted language opportunities; and the way these opportunities will be further developed. (Question 19286/13 asked on 25 Apr 2013 - Irish Language)

(Deputy Dinny McGinley): My Department’s family language support programme - clár tacaíochta teaghlaigh - has as its key objective the further strengthening of Irish as a household and community language in the Gaeltacht in accordance with the 20 year strategy. It seeks to achieve this objective by way of a range of practical measures which will better support Gaeltacht families who are raising their children through Irish or wish to raise their children through the medium of Irish. Under the ...

2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason retained fire-fighters who are entitled to social welfare payments when they are not working in other employment are still having payments withheld from them. (Question 19161/13 asked on 24 Apr 2013 - Social Welfare Code Issues)

(Deputy Joan Burton): Retained firefighters are entitled to a jobseeker’s payment in respect of days they are engaged in firefighting or training. They are, however, required to satisfy the statutory conditions for the receipt of a jobseeker’s payment of being available for and genuinely seeking work. A working group has reported to me and I am pleased to inform the House that I have decided to advance provision within the jobseeker’s schemes to cater for these workers. In arriving at this de...

5. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a jobs club service funded by FÁS has been withdrawn from Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin; and the reason jobs club workers have not been paid for weeks worked or being offered enhanced redundancy as would be the norm in such circumstances. (Question 19162/13 asked on 24 Apr 2013 - Job Initiatives)

(Deputy Joan Burton): Job clubs provide a valuable service to supplement the Department’s own employment services, particularly with regard to the provision of job search and CV preparation workshops for unemployed people. Job clubs accepted approximately 14,000 referrals of individual jobseekers from the Department in 2012. In addition, they provided a walk-in resource service to people in their community. The annual budget for the support of job clubs in 2013 is €6 million, an increase of 5...

6. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to help increase numbers using public transport options available to them particularly in areas with heavy commuter traffic. (Question 15053/13 asked on 27 Mar 2013 - Public Transport)

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Accessible and attractive public transport systems are essential to attract potential passengers out of their cars and to reduce congestion in our cities, towns and villages. Significant investment has been made in the country’s public transport network in the last decade. As I am sure every Deputy agrees, we have modern bus, tram and train fleets.
While we are not in a financial position at present to make further substantial investments to expand our public transport net...

81. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will list the changes introduced to child benefit payment since March 2011; and if she will demonstrate the way that these changes have reduced child benefit. (Question 11640/13 asked on 05 Mar 2013 - Child Benefit Rates)

Deputy Joan Burton: In 2013 the estimated expenditure on child benefit will be approximately €1.9 billion to around 609,000 families in respect of some 1.16 million children. Child benefit is a monthly payment made on a universal basis to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a physical or other disability.
Budget 2012 ma...

84. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the directives that she has given in relation to the clothing grant which community welfare officers issued under their exceptional needs payment scheme. (Question 11641/13 asked on 05 Mar 2013 - Supplementary Welfare Allowance Eligibility)

Deputy Joan Burton: Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment to help meet essential, once-off and unforeseen expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. The Government has provided over €47 million for the scheme in 2013. Exceptional needs payment are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the legislation an...

27. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views that the primacy for local small business development should rest within the agencies responsible to his Department. (Question 9058/13 asked on 21 Feb 2013 - Local Enterprise Offices)

Deputy Richard Bruton: I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 27 together.
The prepared reply is very similar to the one earlier delivered by the Minister of State, Deputy Perry. Let me paraphrase it rather than reading it again.
 ...

33. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the deterioration of the physical and mental health of a person (details supplied); his views on their prison conditions; and if he has discussed them with British Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers. (Question 8956/13 asked on 20 Feb 2013 - Northern Ireland Issues)

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 29, 30, 33, 63, 66 and 67 together.
I am very aware of the cases to which the Deputy refers and my officials monitor these and other cases very closely. The first individual referred to has been detained since 13 May 2011 following the revocation of her life licence by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Genuine concerns about several aspects of this case have been raised by Members on many occasions, and I have raised them ve...

124. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will confirm that jobsbridge interns were used by An Garda Síochána, with the agreement of her Department, to work in the highly sensitive area of Garda Vetting, which included research in respect of personnel working in a full-time, part-time, and voluntary capacity in a position in a registered organisation, through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults; and her views on whether this is an appropriate use of interns. (Question 4452/13 asked on 29 Jan 2013 - National Internship Scheme Placements)

(Deputy Joan Burton): Since it came into operation on 1 July 2011, significant progress in the JobBridge scheme saw 13,960 internships commence by 24 January 2013. There are 5,563 interns on the scheme, with a further 1,888 internships advertised on www.jobbridge.ie. The Department verifies the suitability of internships before they are advertised to ensure they will provide real work experience to enable an intern to develop new skills that will enhance the intern’s ability to secure employme...