211. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision on an application for a carer’s allowance by a person (details supplied) will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49705/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I confirm that my department received an application for carer’s allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 3 August 2017. 
The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) to assess the level of care being provided, composition of the household, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied. 
Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made an...

575. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a carer’s allowance application by a person (detail supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48983/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I confirm that my department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person concerned on 10 April 2017. Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to people who have a disability such that they require that level of care and who satisfy a means test.
A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where t...

605. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in respect of a disability allowance application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49392/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Disability Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Following a successful appeal, this gentleman has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 1 February 2017. The first payment will be made to his chosen payment method on 22 November 2017.
Arrears of payment due, issued by cheque to this gentleman on 16 November 2017.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
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191. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to outline his plans to introduce a reduction for those on low income, social welfare or senior citizens regarding the fixed fee when applying for naturalisation; his further plans to abolish the penalty that applies at present to those that are not in a position to pay the fixed rate within a set period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48160/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Naturalisation Applications)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The fees to be paid by an applicant for a certificate of naturalisation are governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 569 of 2011). The application fee, stipulated at €175, is payable on application for a certificate of naturalisation and a certification fee is payable on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation. The standard certification fee is set at €950, while a reduced fe...

459. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision on a domiciliary care allowance review for a person (details supplied) will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47754/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from this lady on the 5th April 2017. The application was not allowed as it was considered that the child did not meet the eligibility criteria for the allowance. A letter issued on the 7th September 2017 outlining the decision.
A request for a review of this decision was received on 21st September 2017. The application wil...

11. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of the media campaign designed to promote the public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46856/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Dara Calleary: There has been quite considerable controversy around the public services card. The Data Protection Commissioner is investigating issues around it under section 10 of the Data Protection Act. Can the Minister outline how much money is being used to promote the use of the public services card and whether the expenditure of that money is being suspended pending the outcome of the data protection review?
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250. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the public services card is required as proof of identity to sit the driver theory test; if an in date passport will suffice instead; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47430/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Driver Test)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): This is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
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204. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when persons who are self-employed will be in a position to apply for an invalidity pension; if the contribution rule has been determined; her plans to provide the option of partial capacity benefit for self-employed persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47166/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Invalidity Pension Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Self-employed contributors will be eligible for the invalidity pension from December 2017. This is a major reform as self-employed people could have access to income support without having to go through a means test, if they become permanently incapable of work as a result of an illness or disability. Details as to how to apply will be made public by my Department in the coming weeks.
Parti...

49. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if all members of the Citizens Information Board unanimously signed off on the cost-benefit analysis report on the restructuring of MABS and the CIS; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46918/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Departmental Agencies Reports)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: My question is self-explanatory. Did the Citizens Information Board unanimously sign off on the cost-benefit analysis of the restructuring of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS, and the Citizens Information service, CIS? I want to know if the Citizens Information Board unanimously signed off on the cost-benefit analysis on the restructuring of MABS and CIS.
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51. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the report she has asked her Department to prepare on the post-2012 contributory pension band rates is expected to be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46919/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question relates to the recent motion, passed unanimously by the House, on changing the pension contribution rules introduced in 2012. The Minister will recall that in her counter-motion, she made certain commitments, namely, that she would examine the problem, ask her Department to study it and get back to her, and then report to the Cabinet. Has that process started? If so, at what stage is it?
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60. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the heads of the Bill regarding protection for persons on insecure low hour contracts will be published; when the Bill will be introduced on Second Stage in Dáil Éireann; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46855/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Legislative Programme)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: It is the Government’s stated intention to introduce the legislation referred to in the question before the Christmas break. I merely want to know if it is on target.
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61. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the Citizens Information Board’s refusal to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection to discuss the reorganisation of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS and the Citizen Information Service, CIS and the cost of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46859/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Citizen Information Services)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: The question is self-explanatory. I am seeking the Minister’s views on the refusal by the Citizens Information Board, CIB, to attend a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection to discuss the reorganisation of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS and the Citizen’s Information Service, CIS.
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65. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason she no longer plans on introducing a new working family payment, as committed to in the programme for Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46857/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Working Family Payment)

Deputy Regina Doherty: The Department’s approach, my approach and that of my predecessor to the working family payment is guided by two principles: first, that we have to ensure that work pays and that it is worthwhile for people to go out to work, and, second, that it should have a positive impact on reducing child poverty in the country, which is still far too high. This is of particular importance to me. To advance the commitment contained in the programme for Government, the Department est...

69. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on an independent review (details supplied) on the amendments to the one-parent family payment since 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46858/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 72 together.
The independent review completed by Indecon of the changes to the one-parent family payment since 2012 provides a robust and thorough analysis of these changes. I am grateful to Indecon for their work on this and welcome the findings of the review. 
The Report supports the rationale and continued relevance of the policy changes made since 2012. It highlights that ...

1224. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made in respect of a carer’s benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46190/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Carer’s Benefit Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): An application for carer’s benefit was received from the person concerned on 12 September 2017.
The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 12 October 2017 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 9 November 2017.
Arrears of benefit due from 12 October 2017 to 8 November 2017 will also issue to her bank on 9 November 2017. 
The person co...

1266. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost of all advertisements taken out in print media, online, television and radio highlighting the new PRSI benefits that came into effect on 28 October 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46876/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The current Treatment Benefit advertising campaign is designed to raise both awareness and uptake of the PRSI benefits that came into effect on 28 October 2017. The total cost of advertising for the campaign is €82,709 (excluding VAT). 
This campaign spans a number of weeks and includes national print media advertising, national and regional radio advertising, digital advertising, LUAS advertising and social media ad...

1327. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to extend modular housing as a response to the housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46421/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Housing Policy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department is encouraging the use of rapid build methodologies, including modular build, for accelerated delivery of social housing units and considerable progress is being made. 
In that regard, my Department recently asked all local authorities to review the social housing projects in their areas and in the interest of achieving earliest delivery, they have been requested to consider their suitability for Design an...

1353. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department has sanctioned funding to an association (details supplied) to fund the purchase of houses yet to be built at Rhebogue, Limerick city; the amount of funding that was sought; the amount that was approved; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the number of houses will be less than the amount for which funding was originally sought as a result of a planning decision by Limerick City and County Council; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the houses that were specifically proposed for persons with a disability have been removed from the scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is widespread opposition to this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46860/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Approved Housing Bodies)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department gave approval-in-principle for the development of special needs social housing at Rhebogue at a cost of €3.8m.  This approval was subject to planning permission and to the successful advancement of the project on technical and cost grounds.  The costs sought initially for the project were €3.9m.
The advancement of this project, including the planning permission and all other aspects, is a matter for the app...

254. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expected publication date of the report on pension inequities agreed to by the former Minister for Social Protection during the passing of the Social Welfare Bill 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45393/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 to 256, inclusive, together.
The average pension payments made by my Department to men and women over 66 years of age are within 1% of each other approximately, and this results in very similar outcomes for older men and women in avoiding poverty. The most recent CSO figures for Consistent Poverty indicated that 2.6% of women over 65, and 2.9% of men over 65, are in consistent pov...

255. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the actions she will take if the report on pension inequities agreed to by the former Minister for Social Protection finds that the changes introduced to bands in 2012 had an adverse effect on pensioners and women pensioners in particular; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45394/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 to 256, inclusive, together.
The average pension payments made by my Department to men and women over 66 years of age are within 1% of each other approximately, and this results in very similar outcomes for older men and women in avoiding poverty. The most recent CSO figures for Consistent Poverty indicated that 2.6% of women over 65, and 2.9% of men over 65, are in consistent pov...

256. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to address the anomalies in the calculation of the contributory pension before 2020 in view of the fact that the system is scheduled to move from an averaging approach to a total contributions approach; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45395/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 to 256, inclusive, together.
The average pension payments made by my Department to men and women over 66 years of age are within 1% of each other approximately, and this results in very similar outcomes for older men and women in avoiding poverty. The most recent CSO figures for Consistent Poverty indicated that 2.6% of women over 65, and 2.9% of men over 65, are in consistent pov...

106. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Finance the reason pensioners who were formerly civil servants, gardaí and members of the Defence Forces are excluded from NHR tax exemption in Portugal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45111/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As I informed the Deputy in my reply to his similar question of 5th October 2017 (No.42270/17), I am advised by Revenue that it is not their practice to comment on the application of the provisions of the national law of other countries. 
I am also advised that if the Deputy supplies identifying detail in respect of the person and specifies the source of income concerned, or the individual contacts Revenue with details of his circumstances and the i...

126. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of teaching principals in DEIS schools in the Limerick city and county catchment area; the supports and resources that are available to free them up to attend external meetings such as child protection case conferences or Meitheal meetings in which their contribution is vital to enhancing an inter agency response to a vulnerable child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44854/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - DEIS Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The number of teaching principals in DEIS schools in the Limerick city and county area is four.
Budget 2018 is building on measures in previous budgets to enhance school leadership. This Budget has made €0.4 million available to fund additional release days for teaching principals in primary schools, which allows them to undertake administrative, leadership and management functions within the school.
In relation to child protection conf...

384. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) dealing with Turas Nua cannot accept an offer of employment from north Tipperary Leader partnership in view of the fact they are on a job programme with Turas Nua; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44618/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - JobPath Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): JobPath is one of a range of activation supports, including schemes such as Community Employment (CE) and Tús, catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers. Referral to JobPath is by random selection and is generally for a 52-week period. Jobseekers who are already participating with the JobPath service will not be referred to Tús as they can only participate with one activation scheme or service at a time. This al...

394. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) signed up with Turas Nua cannot avail of funding to undertake a course that will help him or her to establish his or her own business; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44808/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - JobPath Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): People engaged with the JobPath service receive intensive individual support to help overcome barriers on their journey back to full time sustainable work. Each person is assigned a personal adviser who assesses their skills, experience, challenges and work goals and agrees a personal progress plan (PPP) that includes a schedule of activities, including relevant training and educational programmes. There are no barr...