20. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of progress on items included in the work programme of the Curragh forum for 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20382/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Curragh Plains Representative Forum)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 29 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Curragh Forum was established to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to consider and progress a wide range of issues regarding the use and management of the Curragh Plains.
The most recent meeting of the Forum took place in January 2018. It was attended by representatives of the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochá...

29. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the establishment of a new lands management team for the Curragh Plains to be put in place for 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20383/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Curragh Plains Representative Forum)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 29 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Curragh Forum was established to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to consider and progress a wide range of issues regarding the use and management of the Curragh Plains.
The most recent meeting of the Forum took place in January 2018. It was attended by representatives of the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochá...

91. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the interaction his Department has had with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the need for supplementary funding of local authorities for road repairs and maintenance budgets following damage caused by recent storms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20669/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Roads Maintenance Funding)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): There has been no interaction with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the need for supplementary funding of local authorities for road repairs and maintenance budgets following damage caused by recent storms.
As recently outlined by the Minister for Transport, Tourism (PQ 17344/18) the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of local authorities, in accordance with ...

110. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of progress of the design phase of a proposed new school for (details supplied) in view of the delays in the project to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20640/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The major building project referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured. 
My Department recently completed the review of the Stage 2b submission for this project and comments have issued.  Each member of the design team has been requested to s...

112. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the demographics of south County Kildare remain under review for the purposes of the provision of a new secondary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20670/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, I announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. 
In addition to the new schools ann...

113. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the criteria used in selecting the new schools included on the recently announced school building programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20677/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, I announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. 
In order to plan for school provi...

272. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the analysis that has been carried out on the need for supplementary funding of local authorities for road repairs and maintenance budgets following damage caused by recent storms; when clarity will be provided to local authorities on such funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20679/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Roads Maintenance Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I announced the 2018 regional and local road allocations in January and all grant funding available to my Department has now been allocated.  The grants this year include provision for: 
- An 18% increase in Restoration Improvement monies for road strengthening works;
- A 17% increase in Restoration Maintenance monies for surface dressing works;
- The introduction of a new grant for Drainage works (overall €10m);
- Ring fenced monies...

25. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the role her Department plays in the protection and promotion of heritage crafts here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20056/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Heritage Promotion)

An Ceann Comhairle: Tá an Teachta O’Dowd chun déileáil le ceist Uimh. 25.
 ...

67. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when additional projects in County Kildare can be considered for local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19734/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The first call for proposals under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) was issued to all local authorities in August 2016 and I have fully approved 30 projects for funding in the order of €195 million with an associated expected activation of delivery of 20,000 housing units by 2021.
Kildare County Council submitted seven projects for consideration under LIHAF. Funding was approved for three of thes...

10. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the timeframe for reviews of contributory pensions for those who took time out of work to care for the family, following changes announced in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19300/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - State Pension (Contributory))

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Deputy Heydon has indicated that he wants Deputy Deering to take his question. I have no difficulty with that. I call Deputy Aindrias Moynihan to introduce his question.
 ...

20. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the work in her Department to resolve issues regarding the classification of stable staff and racehorse trainers as employers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19299/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Employment Rights)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The issues which I understand the Deputy to be referring to would appear to relate to the application of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 to the Horse Racing sector.
In response to representations made to me by the industry and by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I wrote to the Attorney General seeking his advice as to what options, if any, might be available to me to clarify the derogations...

53. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the commitment in the Action Plan for Rural Development regarding improvements to 600 towns and villages by 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18985/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Action Plan for Rural Development Implementation)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is a key part of the Action Plan for Rural Development. The Plan contains over 270 actions across Government to help rural Ireland achieve its full economic and social potential. 
Since the launch of the Action Plan for Rural Development in January 2017, I have allocated €21.6 million to 281 projects throughout the country under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. 
Last week I launched the 2...

64. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the rural regeneration fund which was announced as part of Project Ireland 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18984/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Rural Development Programme Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Under the National Development Plan, the Government has committed to providing €1 billion for a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over the period 2019 to 2027. The fund will provide the opportunity for co-funding of suitable investment projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas. The objective of the new Fund is to drive collaborative, coordinated and complementary package...

34. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to review the funding of existing family resource centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18845/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Family Resource Centres)

Deputy Martin Heydon: I very much welcome the 11 new family resource centres announced recently by the Minister, two of which will be in Kildare, doubling the number in the county. Athy family and community centre and Teach Dara in Kildare town are very grateful and worthy recipients of full family resource centre status. My question is about the funding model in place for centres which predate the 11 announced recently such as Newbridge family resource centre and Curragh Pride in Kildare, and...

35. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of the affordable childcare scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18897/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I am pleased to present a positive update on progress with the scheme. There is much work to be done, but we have made good progress.
Officials from my Department, along with colleagues in Pobal, have been working hard to develop the legal, technical and administrative infrastructure for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. This scheme will provide financial support for parents, establish a sustainable platform for investment i...

7. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of farm incomes over the past year; the way in which these figures compare to previous years both nationally and in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18248/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Farm Household Incomes)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: This question relates to the level of farm incomes in County Kildare and throughout the country.
 ...

42. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the impact for farmers in County Kildare of the opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18243/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Food Exports to China)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The recent opening of the Chinese beef market to Irish beef is a very positive and significant development for the Irish beef industry, all along the chain from farmers through to processors and exporters. It marks the culmination of a number of years work involving my Department and the Irish Embassy in Beijing, their counterpart officials in China and with the cooperation of the Chinese Ambassador and Embassy in Dublin, Bord...

93. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of pensions for community employment supervisors; if a date will be set for a meeting of the high level forum on community employment supervisor pensions to further progress the issue in view of the concerns of community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18521/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Community Employment Schemes Supervisors)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I would refer the Deputy to my response to PQ 54985/17 of 16 January 2018 and PQ 13684/18 of 27 March 2018. 
 ...

242. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the outcome of a report into fire safety which included a case study on an estate (details supplied) in County Kildare; the steps he will take on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18458/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In July 2015, the then Minister directed that a review be undertaken by an independent fire expert to develop a framework for general application, in the interest of supporting owners and residents living in developments where concerns regarding non-compliance with fire safety requirements arise. It included a case study based on the Millfield estate at Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
This review has been completed and two repor...

42. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the impact the investment of €500 million from the European Investment Bank will have on the national broadband plan; the timelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18010/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - National Broadband Plan Funding)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 42, 50 and 53 together.
On 12th April 2018, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it had allocated finance of €500 million to the rollout of a high speed broadband network for the National Broadband Plan.  EIB financing is only offered to projects which contribute to EU Economic policy objectives, such as the improvement of EU transport and telecommunications infrastructur...

65. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which the implementation of recommendations from the mobile telephone and broadband task force report is assisting persons in County Kildare who experience poor mobile telephone and broadband coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18037/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Telecommunications Services Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 65 together.
Providing telecommunications services, including mobile phone services, is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), as independent Regulator. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to rollout services and make specific inve...

44. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the next round of sports capital grants will open for sports organisations; if changes will be made to the scheme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17770/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Sports Capital Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 78 together.
The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme attracted a record 2,320 applications.  In November and December last, Minister Ross and I announced €60m in allocations to a record 1,800 projects under the 2017 round. A review of the 2017 round of the programme has now been finalised and published on my Department’s website (www.dttas.ie). This review ...

57. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the progress on the Kildare route project to provide an additional train line to County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17774/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Rail Network Expansion)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the Deputy is aware, the Kildare Route Project Railway Order was signed by the then Minister for Transport on the 5th of December 2006. The Kildare Route Project (KRP) extends approximately 13km from a point just west of Heuston Station in the Dublin City Council area to a point just west of Hazelhatch in the Kildare County Council area. While the four-tracking between Cherry Orchard to Hazelhatch/Celbridge was completed, all othe...

158. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when legislation will be passed to facilitate the extension of the retirement age by choice for persons working in the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17956/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 53517/2017 on 14 December 2017.
The legislation is on the list of priority legislation for publication in the Spring/Summer Session 2018.
 ...

223. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grant options or financial assistance available from his Department for a person (details supplied) working as a special needs assistant for the past ten years who wishes to study to become an educational psychologist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17696/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Student Support Schemes)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The main support available to assist students with the cost of higher education is the student grant scheme. SUSI’s online system for the 2018 Scheme is now open. Students attending college in the academic year 2018/19 are required to submit their grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) via www.susi.ie to have their eligibility for grant assistance assessed.
I understand that the individual in question already hol...