753. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans for the development of independent advocacy services to support vulnerable persons in view of the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and the planned Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016; her further plans to prepare for the implementation of the safeguarding of vulnerable adults Bill 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32612/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Disability Services Provision)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy services to all citizens on a wide range of public and social services. One of the functions of the CIB, as defined in the Comhairle Act 2000 and the Citizens Information Act 2007, is to directly provide or support the provision of advocacy services to individuals and...

133. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans for payment of compensation for unpurchased pension service for persons at a company (details supplied); the details of such compensation; the timeframe for this to be paid to the persons in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25054/17 asked on 25 May 2017 - Pensions Insolvency Payments Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 together.
The mediated agreement for former Waterford Crystal workers covers 1,774 members of the Waterford Crystal Pension Factory and Staff Schemes. The vast majority of former workers have agreed full and final settlements and are in receipt of their payments.
During the mediation process it was agreed by the parties that disputes in relation to individual cases would be referred to an independ...

134. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the status of cases referred to the dispute resolution process for former workers of a company (details supplied) that subsequently made an appeal with regard to the calculation of their compensation offer vis-à-vis contract service. (Question 25055/17 asked on 25 May 2017 - Pensions Insolvency Payments Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 134 together.
The mediated agreement for former Waterford Crystal workers covers 1,774 members of the Waterford Crystal Pension Factory and Staff Schemes. The vast majority of former workers have agreed full and final settlements and are in receipt of their payments.
During the mediation process it was agreed by the parties that disputes in relation to individual cases would be referred to an independ...

255. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the measures to be taken to tackle unemployment and in particular youth unemployment when the EU Council discussed these matters in September 2016. (Question 28656/16 asked on 04 Oct 2016 - Youth Unemployment Measures)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Since mid-20012, Ireland’s youth unemployment rate has fallen from 31% (significantly above the then Eurozone average of 24%) to 17% (significantly below the current Eurozone average of almost 21%). 
Given the above trends, it is clear that improvement at the overall European level has not been as rapid as in Ireland over the last few years. Indeed, the youth unemployment rate is currently close to or above 40% in three countries, and over 2...

445. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if he is aware that 50 staff members with long service in the Central Remedial Clinic have been informed that their pension plan liabilities has exceeded its assets, and management have decided unilaterally to wind up the scheme which will result in undue hardship to these staff with long service who have made contributions to the scheme for many decades; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12799/16 asked on 31 May 2016 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): This is a matter for my colleague in Department of Health. The Department of Health and the Minister will issue a detailed reply to your query in due course.
 ...

206. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she sought advice from the National Adult Literacy Agency about the form that has been sent out to all householders for the water conservation grant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33260/15 asked on 29 Sep 2015 - Water Conservation Grant)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Department of Social Protection is committed to the provision of information to all of its customers in clear and easy to access formats, which adhere to the guidelines outlined by the National Adult Literacy Agency. The Department fully recognises the barrier that literacy difficulties can cause for individuals trying to gain an understanding of and access to services and supports available. The Department has worked in par...

42. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide, in tabular form, the number of requests for meetings she has received from private, external, non-State funded lobby groups; the number of meetings she has held with these groups; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26706/15 asked on 02 Jul 2015 - Ministerial Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): As the Deputy will appreciate, in view of the range of my remit as Minister I receive representations, including requests for meetings from a broad range of sources, including members of the Oireachtas, local and voluntary groups and private individuals and companies.
I meet with a wide number of groups and organisations in the normal course of my duties both informally and formally. While my Office does not maintain a register o...

205. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide, in tabular form, the number, name and date of Bills initiated in her Department, that have been subject to the pre-legislative scrutiny procedure in the Oireachtas. (Question 23645/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Legislative Process)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Government approved an expansion and reinforcement of the arrangements for pre-legislative scrutiny in September 2013. A number of new Standing Orders were adopted by the Dáil on 17 October 2013 in order to underpin these new arrangements and these Standing Orders came into effect on 5 November 2013.
In order to clarify the operation of these new Standing Orders, an Agreed Protocol for Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Heads of...

206. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide, in tabular form, the number, name and date of Bills initiated in her Department since September 2013. (Question 23671/15 asked on 16 Jun 2015 - Legislative Process)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I have initiated seven Bills since September 2013, six of which have been enacted. 
The details requested by the Deputy are set out in the table below.
Bills Initiated by Minister for Social Protection since September 2013
 Title of Bill as initiated Date Initiated Status Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013 (No. 101 of 2013) 21st October 2013 Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 (No. 38 of 2013)Enacted on 9th November...

245. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her views on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon, in relation to that person’s application for a carer’s allowance; the benefits that the person may be entitled to; her views on the financial difficulty of that person’s situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22142/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - Carer’s Allowance Eligibility)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Carer’s allowance (CA) is a payment made to persons who are providing full time care and attention to certain elderly people or to people with disabilities and whose income falls below certain limits. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full time care and attention is required and being provided, and the means test which applies is satisfied.
The person in question is in receipt of CA at a reduced rate ...

212. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the entitlements available for participation in activation programmes by unemployed persons who are excluded from the live register. (Question 20352/15 asked on 26 May 2015 - Labour Activation Measures)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Given the scale of unemployment levels, the key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives is to offer assistance to those most in need of support in securing work and achieving financial self-sufficiency. This policy objective prioritises scarce resources to those in receipt of qualifying welfare payments – Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance – that are conditional on the recipient bein...

116. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide in tabular form the number, name and date of Bills initiated in her Department that have been subject to the pre-legislative scrutiny procedure in the Oireachtas. (Question 1820/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Legislative Programme)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Government approved an expansion and reinforcement of the arrangements for pre-legislative scrutiny in September 2013. A number of new Standing Orders were adopted by the Dáil on 17 October 2013 in order to underpin these new arrangements and these Standing Orders came into effect on 5 November 2013.
In order to clarify the operation of these new Standing Orders, an Agreed Protocol for Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Heads of...

117. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide in tabular form the number, name and date of Bills initiated in her Department since September 2013. (Question 1835/15 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Legislative Programme)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I have initiated six Bills since September 2013, five of which have been enacted. The details requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.
Bills Initiated by Minister for Social Protection since September 2013
 Title of Bill as initiated Date Initiated Status Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013 (No. 101 of 2013) 21th October 2013 Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 (No. 38 of 2013)Enacted on 9th Novem...

303. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the programme for Government commitment on youth employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20849/14 asked on 10 Jun 2014 - Youth Employment Initiative)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Government will spend over €500 million in 2014 on employment, education and training opportunities for young people. This will support the gradual implementation of the new Youth Guarantee which will seek to offer young people employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed. As part of the Intreo process young people will be prioritised for case officer support and personal pro...

221. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if she or her Department have statistics for nurses who are unemployed; if she will provide a breakdown on a regional basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20020/14 asked on 06 May 2014 - Unemployment Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The total number of persons on the live register at the end of April 2013 was 388,559; of this total, 9,396 had health related occupations. The number of nurses is not separately identified within this total and consequently, the number of nurses on the live register is not available in my Department. A tabular statement detailing the number of registrants in health related occupations on the live register by county follows for the Deputy’s i...

84. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the benefits that are available to a person (details supplied) in County Meath who is a full-time carer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18127/14 asked on 16 Apr 2014 - Carer’s Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Carer’s allowance is a social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full time care and attention to elderly people or to people with disabilities and whose income falls below certain limits. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full-time care and attention is required and is being provided and that the means test is satisfied. The carer must not be working/self employed outside the home in excess of 15...

384. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 4; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7828/14 asked on 18 Feb 2014 - Invalidity Pension Appeals)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 6th February 2014, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...

421. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if any specific targets were set at the Youth Unemployment Conference in Paris; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50119/13 asked on 26 Nov 2013 - Youth Unemployment Measures)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 421, 422 and 424 together. 
The Paris Summit was the second in a series of meetings of EU heads of state devoted to discussing youth unemployment. The purpose of the summit was to enable EU leaders and Labour/Social Protection Ministers to share national experiences in dealing with youth unemployment, take stock of the implementation commitments made in the Youth Guarantee and the associated Youth employment I...

422. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if any specific actions will be taken here to tackle youth unemployment following the Youth Unemployment Conference held in Paris; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50121/13 asked on 26 Nov 2013 - Youth Unemployment Measures)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 421, 422 and 424 together. 
The Paris Summit was the second in a series of meetings of EU heads of state devoted to discussing youth unemployment. The purpose of the summit was to enable EU leaders and Labour/Social Protection Ministers to share national experiences in dealing with youth unemployment, take stock of the implementation commitments made in the Youth Guarantee and the associated Youth employment I...

423. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on youth unemployment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45859/13 asked on 26 Nov 2013 - Youth Unemployment Measures)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The most recent statistics available from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey show the level of youth unemployment has fallen from an average of 75,000 in 2010 to 63,000 in the most recent twelve months for which data are available. The level of employment of young people appears to have stabilised, and indeed the employment rate (proportion of the population with jobs) for those aged 20-24 years rose from 46.5% in mid-2012 to 49% in...

128. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if the back to education allowance which has been available for qualified candidates undertaking a higher diploma in education will be available for the masters in education which is replacing the higher diploma as a teaching qualification; if it is not available, the reasons for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49829/13 asked on 20 Nov 2013 - Back to Education Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The back to education allowance (BTEA) scheme is designed to support second chance education. It enables eligible persons to pursue approved education courses that leads to a higher qualification than that already held and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study, subject to conditions. BTEA covers full-time second level courses and third level courses to higher diploma level (level 8 in the national framew...

155. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the actions that are to be taken following the one-day special summit in Berlin on youth unemployment, particularly in respect of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34269/13 asked on 15 Oct 2013 - Youth Guarantee)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The main conclusion from European Heads of State and the European Labour and Social Protection Ministers at the Berlin conference in July 2013 was that implementation of the EU Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee should focus on:
- The development of a vocational dual-training model as used in Germany and Austria – i.e., an expanded system of formal apprenticeships featuring classroom based and work based training.
This requires significant co...

285. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if she is satisfied that there was enough progress made on youth unemployment during the Irish Presidency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31473/13 asked on 09 Jul 2013 - Youth Unemployment Measures)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Youth unemployment continues to present a major challenge for Ireland as it does for most Member States. Recognising the urgency required in tackling the challenge of youth joblessness, the EPSCO Council quickly agreed on the EU Council Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee in February. The Irish Presidency was at the forefront of securing agreement on the adoption of the Recommendation. The Recommendation is that Member States should: Ensure...

368. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of Dáil Topical Issue debates submitted to her Department following selection by the Ceann Comhairle since March 2011; the number of topical issues taken directly by her; the number of topical issues taken by a junior Minister in her Department; the number of issues taken by a Minister not from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30347/13 asked on 25 Jun 2013 - Topical Issue Debate)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton) (Deputy Joan Burton): Since March 2011 to date, approximately 1,000 Topical Debates were selected for answer by the Ceann Comhairle across all Government Departments. 358 Topical Debates have been tabled to this Department. Of those Topical Debates, 80 were selected for answer by the Ceann Comhairle and I took 22 debates in the Dáil.
There is no Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection. As a result, when I am not in...

575. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide details of the current level of unemployment including details of long-term unemployment on a county basis and to outline the 10 towns/areas with the highest levels of unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16087/13 asked on 16 Apr 2013 - Live Register Numbers)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton) (Deputy Joan Burton): The latest figures for the Live Register relate to end March 2013. The number of persons on the Live Register on the 29th March 2013 was 425,088. The overall number of persons on the register for more than one year was 187,896 or 44.2%. The number of persons on the Live Register by county is provided in the table, along with the breakdown of those persons on the register for less than a year and for more than a year for e...