147. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if the list of estates deemed unfinished for the purposes of the local property tax will be based solely on the exemptions granted from the household charge; if the list will be revised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56320/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Property Taxation Exemptions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): It is envisaged that the list of unfinished estates to be prescribed by the Minister to the Environment, Community and Local Government for the purposes of the Local Property Tax will be in line with those used for the purposes of the Household Charge. Any such list may require amendment from time to time where the criteria specified in the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 no longer apply to an estate previously included on the list. Q...

422. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will clarify the person liable if a member of the general public that is a person not the owner of the house and not present in the house were injured in an accident caused by pyritic heave in a house for instance, a shattering window pane or gas explosion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56287/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pyrite Issues)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): My Department has no function in regard to the matter outlined in the question. The issue of liability in particular circumstances would be a matter for determination by the parties themselves and/or their legal representatives.
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423. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the criteria that was used for determining the list of unfinished estates for the purposes of an exemption from the household charge; the reason an estate (details supplied) in County Dublin was not included on the list; if these criteria will be reconsidered for the local property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56319/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Household Charge Exemptions)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 423 and 445 together.
As part of the process of preparing the National Housing Development Survey 2011, published by my Department in October 2011, local authorities provided details of all unfinished housing developments in their areas. Unfinished housing developments were divided into four categories as follows: category one, where the development is ...

103. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the delay in processing a carer’s allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay; when a decision will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56150/12 asked on 13 Dec 2012 - Carer’s Allowance Delays)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on 29th December 2011. Further information was needed to finalise the claim and that was requested from the person concerned. This information has recently been received back in carer’s allowance section. The application is with a deciding officer for a decision. Once processed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome...

200. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if, in respect of a newly qualified teacher working as a substitute teacher (details supplied) in County Dublin, his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person is being underpaid; the reason for this underpayment; when this error will be corrected and arrears paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54128/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Teachers’ Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): It was necessary for my Department to introduce an interim payment arrangement for teachers who were first appointed to the teaching profession since 01st February 2012 pending the outcome of the review of public sector allowances by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Arrangements are being made to have the payment issues raised by the Deputy resolved and officials of my Department will be in contact with the person referred...

248. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if the recommended exemption in the Commission on Taxation Report 2009 for persons who paid high rates of stamp duty will be considered in the Government’s proposed property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52930/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): It is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions. Having said that, the property tax forms an integral part of policy to broaden the tax base, to provide a stable funding base for local government and to assist the strengthening of democracy at local level. Due consideration will be given to a wide range of issues, including fairness,...

294. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm that the current site of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin which currently consists of temporary buildings, is in fact the long term permanent site for this school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52435/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 294 and 295 together.
I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has made an application to my Department for capital funding for school accommodation. I can also confirm that my Department is in the process of acquiring the site on which the school is currently located together with some additional adjoining land as the permanent site for the school. It is the Department’s intention to fully d...

295. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will indicate a timeframe for when permanent buildings will be constructed on the site of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; if it is included in current building programmes; if there is any application for permanent buildings with his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52436/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 294 and 295 together.
I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has made an application to my Department for capital funding for school accommodation. I can also confirm that my Department is in the process of acquiring the site on which the school is currently located together with some additional adjoining land as the permanent site for the school. It is the Department’s intention to fully d...

533. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made on the Programme for Government’s commitment to establish independent regulation of the legal professions to ensure adequate procedures for addressing consumer complaints; if he is considering the appointment of an Ombudsman for the legal profession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52872/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Programme of the Government for National Recovery 2011-2016 undertakes to “establish independent regulation of the legal profession to improve access and competition, make legal costs more transparent and ensure adequate procedures for addressing consumer complaints”. These undertakings complement those structural reforms in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland aimed at removing restrictions to trade and competition r...

429. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to include a village (details supplied) in County Dublin in the national broadband plan; if not, can it be included in the plan as surrounding towns and villages are included in the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51496/12 asked on 20 Nov 2012 - Broadband Services Provision)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): The Government accepts that the widespread availability of high speed broadband is a key requirement in delivering future economic and social development. With basic broadband services now widely available across Ireland, the challenge is to accelerate the roll out of high speed services.
The National Broadband Plan, which I published recently, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring...

247. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance in the Budget 2013, if he plans any changes to the Universal Social Charge for Deeds of Covenant as it relates to permanently incapacitated minors, in order to remove them from liability to pay the charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50075/12 asked on 13 Nov 2012 - Universal Social Charge Payments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): It is also a long-standing practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.
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248. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money that was collected from the Universal Social Charge from Deeds of Covenant in respect of permanently incapacitated minors in 2011 and to date 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50076/12 asked on 13 Nov 2012 - Universal Social Charge Payments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The position is that both income tax and Universal Social Charge (USC) are chargeable where a permanently incapacitated minor child is in receipt of income by virtue of a deed of covenant from a person who is not his or her parent. The income is chargeable to tax and USC in the hands of the recipient. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that information on the yield of USC from the income source mentioned in the question is not separately id...

249. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if he will itemise the way the money collected from the universal social charge is used; if it entitles persons to specific benefits and entitlements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50077/12 asked on 13 Nov 2012 - Universal Social Charge Payments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Universal Social Charge (USC) was introduced in Budget 2011 to replace the Income Levy and Health Levy. It was a necessary measure to widen the tax base, remove poverty traps and raise revenue to reduce the budget deficit. USC receipts form part of income tax and are paid into the Central Fund. They are therefore available, along with other sources of tax revenue, non-tax revenue and capital receipts as well as the funds sourced from borrowing...

330. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the reason no replacement for a specialist surgeon in a hospital (details supplied) has been hired in over 18 months; the impact this has had on waiting list for specialist surgeries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49216/12 asked on 08 Nov 2012 - Hospital Staff)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 330 and 331 together.
As these are service matters, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.
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331. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health if he will prioritise the hiring of a new specialist surgeon (details supplied) in order to tackle waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49217/12 asked on 08 Nov 2012 - Hospital Staff)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 330 and 331 together.
As these are service matters, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.
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324. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to the decision to discontinue the adult refugee programme, if the services provided by the programme will be replaced by new schemes or if existing schemes will be enhanced to cover the gap in service; if staff employed under the adult refugee programme whose contracts are not now to be renewed will be retained under these schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47861/12 asked on 06 Nov 2012 - Adult Education)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Migrants, including workers and refugees, will continue to be able to access a range of courses that have always been provided by Vocational Education Committees (VECs) under the Adult Literacy and Community Education Scheme (ALCES) and the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), both of which are funded by my Department. In 2011, some 12,000 people people accessed English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses provide...

397. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be allocated and works carried out by the Office of Public Works and or other relevant bodies, as a matter of urgency towards emergency coastal protection measures at the Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin in view of the rapid dune erosion in recent days and the imminent risk not only to family homes and business’ but to public property, namely the coastal beach walkway, public toilets, and public roads; if the concerns and worries of local residents who fear losing their homes to erosion can be sympathetically addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47563/12 asked on 06 Nov 2012 - Coastal Erosion)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): I propose to take Questions Nos. 396 and 397 together.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) administers the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme as part of its flood risk management responsibilities. This scheme provides funding to local authorities to undertake measures to alleviate localised flooding and coastal flooding or erosion problems within their administrative areas. There is ...

575. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that many applicants for positions through jobbridge are having their applications unacknowledged by host organisations; if there is any mechanisms in place to ensure that all applicants receive an acknowledgement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48244/12 asked on 06 Nov 2012 - National Internship Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The National Internship Scheme, JobBridge, was launched on 1st July 2011. It provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals at all skills levels. The aim of JobBridge is to assist individuals in breaking the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience. It provides them with an opportunity to gain valuable experience, relevant knowledge and skills within a working environment. The Scheme...

715. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will investigate the situation in an estate in North County Dublin (details supplied) which is unfinished and exempt from the household charge but where residents living in the unfinished section of the estate have been issued with late payment penalty notices, when no resident should have to pay any household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48210/12 asked on 06 Nov 2012 - Household Charge Collection)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 715 and 723 together. 
The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations 2012 provide the legislation underpinning the H ousehold C harge. 
Under section 4(4) of the 2011 Act, a person is currently entitled to a waiver if the residential property is situated in an unfinished housing estate. The 2012 Regulations prescribes a li...

375. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason incapacity supplement is not a qualifying payment for partial capacity benefit; and if there are plans to extend the partial capacity benefit scheme to make it available to those in receipt of incapacity supplement. (Question 46480/12 asked on 23 Oct 2012 - Social Welfare Code Issues)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton)(Deputy Joan Burton): The aim of the partial capacity benefit scheme is to address a limitation of the current welfare system by explicitly recognising and responding to the reality that some people with disabilities will have a capacity to engage in open market employment while continuing to need some income support from the State – the objective being to incentivise people to return to the workplace. Incapacity supplement is an increase to di...

447. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the interdepartmental working group established following the publication of the national waste policy A Resource Opportunity will report to him with its recommendations on measures to minimise the impact of waste charges on low income houses; when he will implement the working group’s recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46481/12 asked on 23 Oct 2012 - Waste Management Regulations)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland , was published in July 2012. Among the measures included in the policy is the establishment of an interdepartmental working group to report to Government with options to minimise the impact of waste charges on low income households. The working group, which comprises representatives of my Department and the Departments o...

292. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of times sites in the Balbriggan area of North County Dublin have been shown to prospective investors in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44792/12 asked on 16 Oct 2012 - Regional Development)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am informed by IDA Ireland that the data on site visits by potential investors is tracked on a regional basis. Balbriggan is located in the Dublin Region and, in the period from the beginning of 2008 to the end of August 2012, there had been a total of 666 site visits to that region. Details of the number of visits to the Dublin Region in each of the years 2008 to 2012 are set out in the attached tabular statement. 
Dublin...

396. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will engage with existing energy suppliers with a view to coming up with a national scheme for State funded schools in order to cut energy costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44790/12 asked on 16 Oct 2012 - Energy Prices)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): As part of the Better Energy Programme energy suppliers have agreed voluntary agreements with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in the delivery of their energy saving targets for 2012. While overall education policy is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, I would encourage schools to approach and actively engage with their energy suppliers to identify suitable projects ...

439. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider working with other Departments and private operators, to deliver waivers and/or cost reductions for water charges and waste charges for all State funded schools in order to alleviate cost burdens on the schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44789/12 asked on 16 Oct 2012 - Water Charges)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Following a three-year transitional arrangement, schools have been charged for water services on a full cost recovery and volumetric basis since 1 January 2010. There are no plans to revise this arrangement.
The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, was published in July 2012. While the policy does not contain specific measures in relation to the management of ...

695. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the Health Service Executive’s policy regarding young persons with disabilities leaving a foster care situation; if the HSE continues to be responsible for the provision of care to these young persons; the supports that are offered by adult disability services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44775/12 asked on 16 Oct 2012 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): As the Deputy’s question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.
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