135. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the proposal to support family reunification for 500 Syrian families that have fled the conflict there; if it will include Syrian families currently in the EU that have a spouse or parent that is not Syrian; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53390/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Family Reunification Policy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): On 14 November last, together with my colleague, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton T.D., I announced a new scheme of family reunification in support of refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and their families.  
I would like to emphasise to the Deputy that this new scheme is aimed at assisting family members of all refugees from established conflict zon...

163. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue on an application for an extension to a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52755/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Schools Building Projects Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department is in receipt of an application for additional accommodation from the school referred to by the Deputy. Additional information sought and recently received from the school authority is being considered. My Department will be in direct contact with the school authority concerned when the assessment process has concluded.
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182. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a site has been acquired for a new school (details supplied); the arrangements that have been made for temporary accommodation for the school which is scheduled to open in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53002/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A building project for the new post-primary school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s current 6 year construction programme.
Officials from my Department have been working closely with Limerick City and County Council under the Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of school sites in order to identify and procure a suitable site for the school.
A number of potential site options have been identified and th...

486. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans for changes to the management of school completion programmes, particularly those that relate to voluntary secondary schools; if consideration is being given to transferring the management to ETBs to ensure effective governance and the continuing working of the programmes which have proved very beneficial to the students that participate in them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53171/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - School Completion Programme)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I believe that the School Completion Programme is critical to ensuring that children who are most at risk of early school leaving are supported to stay in education. However, I believe that it needs to be reformed to ensure that it delivers the best possible outcomes for children. To this end, I am examining carefully how best to strengthen it. 
Any reforms will be informed by the ESRI review of the Programme, which acknowledg...

526. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the benefits that accrue from the contribution of K stamp PRSI payments; if they are counted for pension purposes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53170/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Social Insurance)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All workers pay PRSI on their earnings from employment or self-employment. In the case of individuals who have more than one income source, PRSI is generally paid on all forms of income. 
Prior to 2013, exemptions from PRSI applied to the self-employed income of specific groups. These exemptions have since been abolished. 
Since 2013, modified rate employees contributors (i.e. civil and public servants recruited pr...

529. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons who were previously self-employed and who moved to carer’s allowance can acquire credited contributions for pension purposes similar to PRSI workers who become carers; if not, her plans to amend this in the interests of fairness to those self-employed persons who have to give up work to care for a family member; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53204/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Social Insurance Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of credited contributions (credits) is to protect social insurance entitlements by bridging gaps in an employee’s social insurance record, where they are not in a position to pay PRSI, such as for period of unemployment, illness or in receipt of certain payments, including carer’s allowance. 
In isolation, credits do not give entitlement to social insurance benefits. In combination with paid PRSI contrib...

530. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the overhaul of the PRSI contribution assessment for pension entitlement, including averaging of contributions, will be carried out; when it is likely to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53205/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The National Pensions Framework proposed that a total contribution approach should replace the yearly average approach to the calculation of the State Pension (contributory). Under this approach, the rate of pension paid would more closely reflect the total number of Social Insurance contributions made by a person throughout her or his working life and the incongruities of the Yearly Averaging method of calculating e...

7. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of households on local authority housing waiting lists at the end of November 2017, or October 2017 in the event November’s statistics are not available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52066/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists)

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: My question looks for an accurate figure for the number of people on waiting lists for local authority housing. At the rough end of that are the people described in Deputy Smith’s question but there are also issues related to construction and supply.
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25. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce a pilot scheme using the cost rental model developed by an organisation (details supplied) on one or more of the sites owned by local authorities in consultation with the relevant local authority and local residents groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52067/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Social and Affordable Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Reports such as the one produced by the organisation concerned are an important addition to the debate on housing in Ireland. I note that there is considerable common ground and consensus between this Report and the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness and the Strategy for the Rental Sector. 
As part of the review of Rebuilding Ireland, my Department has examined housing affordability ...

28. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he will appoint a director for Housing First; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52068/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Departmental Bodies)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): As the Deputy will be aware, Housing First provides direct access to housing and to the intensive health, addiction and personal supports required for people who are homeless and have complex needs. This includes rough sleepers, long-term users of emergency accommodation, young people exiting care, and those exiting institutions, such as prisons and hospitals. Evidence in Ireland and internationally shows the Housing Fir...

40. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if, a year after it was introduced in Dáil Éireann, he will review the legislative base for rent pressure zones, in particular the tight criteria for qualification which excludes many parts of the country in which rents have increased substantially in the past year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52065/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Rent Pressure Zones)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Since October 2013, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), has produced the RTB Rent Index on a quarterly basis. The RTB Rent Index is the most accurate and authoritative rent report of its kind on the residential rented sector in Ireland. It is generated using the actual rent figures provided when registering with the RTB.
Recent legislation establis...

192. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the organisations in County Louth that applied for support under the recent capital sports grant programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52342/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Sports Capital Programme Applications Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Details of all applications submitted under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme are published on my Department’s website at:
http://www.dttas.ie/sport/english/sports-capital-programme-applications-received.
 ...

304. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the contingency plans in place to protect persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as temperatures drop; when the winter initiative measures will be in place; the progress that has been made in opening up unused homes for families and persons that are homeless; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52591/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Homeless Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): At last September’s Housing Summit, I emphasised the need for all housing authorities to have sufficient capacity in emergency accommodation and to have appropriate facilities in place for every person sleeping rough, on any night of the week. 
I instructed the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, at that time, to set about ensuring the delivery of 200 additional permanent emergency beds by Christmas, in a range of new faci...

253. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to issue revised rural housing guidelines to local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52090/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Planning Guidelines)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the 2013 European Court of Justice ruling in the Flemish Decree case, a working group, comprising senior representatives from my Department and planning authorities, was established in May 2017 to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planni...

409. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health when the dyspraxia assessment which has been ongoing since 2015 for a person (details supplied) in County Louth will be completed and available to the family; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50326/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Disability Support Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality ...

107. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the roll-out of broadband to all schools has been completed; if not, the timeframe for all schools to be included; the percentage that have access to high speed broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49798/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Through the Schools Broadband Access Programme the Department provides for the supply of internet connectivity for all recognised primary and post primary schools, and some 98% of schools are included in this scheme.  All post-primary schools and some special schools are now included in the 100Mbps programme. 
The policy of this Department is to offer the best quality connectivity to all schools in line with the technical solutions avail...

133. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he expects asylum seekers will be granted the right to work; his plans to have restrictions on those who would qualify for this right, including the length of time they would need to be in the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49802/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Asylum Support Services)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Supreme Court judgment in the case of N.V.H. v. The Minister for Justice and Equality found, on 30 May last, that in an international protection system with no temporal limits as to when the application process will be concluded, an absolute prohibition on the right to work for international protection applicants is contrary to the right to seek employment under the Constitution.  The Court recognised that this is a matter for the ...

191. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress that has been made on the provision of a permanent building for a college (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48794/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to you Deputy that a project for the school in question was included in the Department’s 6 Year Capital Programme announced in November 2015. 
A suitable site in Local Authority ownership has been identified and the acquisition of the site has been devolved to the local Education and Training Board (ETB) for completion. 
The building project for this school is also in the process of being devolved for delivery to the loca...

192. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress that has been made on the provision of a new school building (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48795/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The delivery of the school project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB). A Stage 1 (preliminary design) submission has recently been received from LCETB and this will be considered at a meeting scheduled to take place shortly. If the submission is found to be in order the project will be allowed to proceed to the next stage (Stage 2a - developed design).
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329. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the progress made on the 96 bed extension to University Hospital Limerick and the transfer of the university maternity hospital to the Dooradoyle campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48793/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Hospital Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Health capital funding was outlined in the recently published Public Service Estimates for 2018 and the HSE is currently developing its Capital Plan for 2018 - 2021. 
The Government is also preparing a new 10 year National Investment Plan for the period 2018-2027, which is expected to be published by the end of the year alongside and in support of the forthcoming new National Planning Framework, to sustain national economic and social progress over the...

448. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the grants available through her Department for a pilot programme (details supplied) that works with young persons through voluntary organisations and schools in order to develop the project further; when and the way in which grants can be applied for; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47802/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Youth Services Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. The funding schemes support national and local youth work involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in youth services and communities throughout the country. I am pleased to confirm that I have allocated an extra €5.5 m...

508. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the counties in which pyrite has been located; the way in which a person who suspects their home may have a pyrite problem can access information in cases in which this might be an issue in quarries in their area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47810/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Pyrite Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): An independent Pyrite Panel was established in September 2011 to explore options for a resolution to the problems caused by the presence of pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material which had manifested in dwellings in a number of local authority areas.
The Panel undertook a desktop study, in conjunction with a stakeholder consultation, to establish certain facts in relation to the potential exp...

704. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health when day services for a person (details supplied) with disabilities will be transferred from a previous provider based in Dublin 9, in which this person used to live with a now deceased parent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46172/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Disability Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality ...

1345. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he met recently with the credit union movement; the progress that has been made in progressing the proposal of the organisation to fund social housing construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46730/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Social and Affordable Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Programme for a Partnership Government recognises the potential role that credit unions can play in housing finance and supports the efforts of the Registrar of Credit Unions at the Central Bank to gradually lift current lending restrictions as appropriate, including for housing.  The Programme further provides for consideration, with all stakeholders, as to how credit unions can support the delivery of social housin...

274. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the affordable housing scheme will be introduced; if work is being done on a cost rental model in order that mixed tenure housing can be realised in developments on publicly owned land and homes that are not provided under Part V in these developments can be genuinely affordable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45468/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Social and Affordable Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Housing affordability has been examined by my Department, in consultation with the Housing Agency, local authorities and other stakeholders, as part of the targeted review of Rebuilding Ireland.  The examination was carried out under the generally accepted premise that housing is deemed affordable where households, particularly low or moderate income households, are paying no more than a third of their disposable income ...