15. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health the number of counselling and educational psychologists required to complete extensive in-service training in order to maintain eligibility for their own jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17031/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Psychological Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In 2015, the HSE established a group to review the eligibility criteria for employment as a psychologist in the Psychological Services. 
This review was completed in 2016 and made recommendations which have been accepted in full by the HSE Leadership Team. The group reviewed the care group delineation and decided to move the requirement away from named psychology qualifications solely. Instead, a combination of qualification and placements or supervise...

142. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if sites have been identified and secured and permission granted for proposed new primary schools in areas (details supplied) in tabular form. (Question 17186/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.
As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced the opening of 42 new schools over the next 4 years.  This announcement followed nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country.
Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools will be determined as part of...

143. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if sites have been identified and secured and permission granted for proposed new post primary schools in areas (details supplied). (Question 17193/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.
As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced the opening of 42 new schools over the next 4 years.  This announcement followed nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country.
Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools will be determined as part of...

163. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans in respect of the recently announced new primary school for Dunshaughlin, County Meath; if a preferred site has been selected; and when the tendering process is likely to commence. (Question 17344/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced the opening of 42 new schools over the next 4 years. This announcement followed nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country. 
Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools, including the new primary school to serve Dunshaughlin, will be determined during ...

164. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which he plans to proceed with the patronage of the recently announced new primary school for Dunshaughlin, County Meath; and if a local survey of prospective parents will be undertaken by his Department. (Question 17345/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - School Patronage)

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.
A patronage process is run after i...

165. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the location the new regional secondary school between Drogheda and Laytown school catchment areas is to be located in the context of the recent new school announcements. (Question 17346/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Schools Site Acquisitions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced the opening of 42 new schools over the next 4 years.  This announcement followed nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country. 
Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools, including the new post-primary announced to serve Laytown and Drogheda, will be de...

203. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to introduce the Leap card on Irish Rail in County Meath. (Question 16843/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Rail Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days. 
 ...

233. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Finance if first time buyers that purchased their home, paid their deposits and signed their contracts in 2008 but their first mortgage repayment was not until early 2009 ever received the increase in the tax relief at source that was introduced in Budget 2012 with regard to mortgage interest relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15327/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Mortgage Interest Relief Eligibility)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that Section 244 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for tax relief on qualifying interest paid in respect of qualifying home loans.  The applicable ceilings and rates of relief will depend on the particular circumstances of the borrower and are set out in Section 244. 
For the purposes of Section 244, a “qualifying loan” is a loan which is used by the individual solely for the purpose of defraying money employed in the pur...

280. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether there are problems with tax compliance in the farm contracting sector; and his further views on whether compliant contractors are at a disadvantage. (Question 16759/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Tax Compliance)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will be aware that tax compliance rates in Ireland are consistently high with the vast majority of taxpayers and businesses meeting their payment and returns filing obligations on a timely basis. However any non-compliance, by even a minority of individuals or sectors, deprives the Exchequer of much needed funds and puts compliant businesses at a competitive disadvantage. 
For these reasons, Revenue is very focused on ensuring all taxpay...

346. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the circumstances in which an Irish citizen who has not been resident for the purpose of Irish and EU college fees for the required period of time can avail of an exception to enable them to qualify for same. (Question 15257/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Third Level Fees)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The position is that in order to qualify for funding towards tuition fees, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. 
Where undergraduate students do not qualify for free fees they are required to pay fees to their higher ed...

390. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the summer works scheme for 2018. (Question 15625/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Summer Works Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Summer Works Scheme is designed to allow schools to carry out small and medium sized building works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings.
The current Summer Works Scheme 2016 -2017 was applied on a multi-annual basis. The Deputy will be aware that nearly 50% of schools have applied for inclusion under the scheme which reflects a very high demand. 
Almost €80 million has been approved to date under the Summer Work...

407. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools for which new prefab rentals were arranged during the course of 2017, in tabular form. (Question 15818/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that the information requested is currently being compiled by my Department and will be furnished to him shortly.
 ...

476. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to introduce an apprenticeship or traineeship in the farm contracting sector. (Question 16753/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Apprenticeship Programmes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): This Government is committed to expanding the apprenticeship and traineeship model into new sectors of the economy. The Government will double the number of apprenticeships through our Apprenticeship Plan.  Last year, a second call for apprenticeship proposals invited consortia of enterprise, professional bodies and education and training providers to submit proposals for apprenticeship programmes to be develope...

992. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health when a home care package awarded to a person (details supplied) will be put in place. (Question 16601/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Care Packages Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
 ...

1135. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether in the interests of public safety and legal compliance the business of farm and agricultural contracting should be licensed or regulated. (Question 16750/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Farm Safety)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The safety of both the public and farmers is of paramount importance in all areas of agricultural activity.  I would draw your attention to the implementation of the Machinery Directive and the on-going work in the area of workplace safety, both of which are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Authority under the aegis of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. That Department also has responsibility fo...

1194. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when Eir’s broadband and landline services will be available at an address (details supplied). (Question 16472/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Telecommunications Services Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, almost 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. Since this Government came into office almost 400,000 add...

1618. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when a decision on an application by a person (details supplied) under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme will issue. (Question 16600/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is operated directly by local authorities and the final decision on loan approval is a matter for each local authority and its Credit Committee. Decisions on all housing loan applications are made on a case-by-case basis. These decisions must be made in accordance with the statutory credit policy that underpins the scheme in order to ensure consistency of treatment for all applicants.
A...

1. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action being taken to address the need for additional schools infrastructure and staffing in areas of rapidly growing population and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14681/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Schools Building Projects)

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Could the Minister for Education and Skills tell me the position with regard to rapidly growing areas? I am not convinced that enough is being done in the Department to make sure the supply of schools and school places is sufficient.
 ...

3. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the initiatives being taken to enable greater choice for each gender regarding the school curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14682/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Deputy Thomas Byrne: My question probably should have been worded slightly more clearly. I am asking about shared facilities in schools. I recently met a delegation of transition year students from St. Joseph’s girls’ school in Lucan. They would love to be able to study technical graphics and building construction. They do not have the facilities in their school and they would like to share with a boys’ school, and vice versa the boys would like to study home economics in the girls’ school.
...

7. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when in-school speech and language therapy teams will be in place; and the nature of the service that will be provided. (Question 14451/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Speech and Language Therapy)

Deputy Thomas Byrne: The question asks that the Minister would flesh out the information on what exactly he is proposing in regard to in-school speech and language therapy. It was to be a pilot project but the language was changed subsequently to a study or a study project, which concerned people. What is the Minister’s vision in this regard?
 ...

18. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action he will take to ensure school building projects are completed on time; and if there is enough funding to complete the schools capital programme. (Question 14452/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Schools Building Projects)

Deputy Thomas Byrne: I told the Minister at a committee meeting yesterday that he is fast becoming the Minister presiding over a collapse in the school capital programme. Whatever money was in it has been absorbed by increased building and land costs. I want to get the Minister’s response to that.
 ...

44. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether the six-year route to qualifying as a second level teacher is too long. (Question 14449/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Teaching Qualifications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): There are two routes to the teaching profession at post primary level, concurrent (undergraduate) and consecutive (postgraduate) programmes of initial teacher education (ITE).  All ITE programmes in Ireland that lead to registration with the Teaching Council must have professional accreditation from the Council.
Teachers qualifying through the undergraduate route typically complete a four year level 8 ITE programme. I have announced 280 ...

47. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether schools are generally in severe financial difficulties; and if an increase in capitation rates will be ensured. (Question 14453/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Capitation Grants)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years. The first cuts to capitation were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance.  Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education.
Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue t...

59. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a clear path to pay equality for newly qualified teachers will be in place. (Question 14450/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Teachers’ Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. I, together with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, negotiated a 15-22% pay increase for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver convergence of the pay scales at later points in the scale.
As a result of these...

144. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of pay scales of teachers or resource staff members in Youthreach, adult education or PLC colleges; and if there is a national common scale. (Question 14638/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Teachers’ Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In December 2017, my Department published circulars setting out revised salary rates to be implemented with effect from 1 January 2018.  These revised salary rates were introduced as a result of the Public Service Stability agreement 2013 - 2020 (Haddington Road Agreement/Lansdowne Road Agreement) and the Public Service Pay and pensions Act 2017.
Circulars 0076/2017 and 0083/2017 include the pay scales for the staff members referred to b...