605. Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she will give consideration to an application for funding (details supplied) under the town and village renewal scheme 2017; and if her attention has been drawn to the importance of providing grant aid to this town. (Question 35062/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Town and Village Renewal Scheme)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I launched the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme on 13th April last, with funding of €20 million available to support the revitalisation of up to 300 rural towns and villages over the next 12 months. The scheme will be delivered through the Local Authorities.
The selection of projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be by means of a competitive process, and all applications will be a...

606. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount of Leader funds allocated and spent in County Donegal in each of the years 2009 to 2016 respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36116/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Leader Programmes Funding)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The period 2009 to 2016 straddles two separate LEADER programmes: the 2007-2013 programme and the 2014-2020 programme.
LEADER funding for the 2007-2013 programming period was not allocated based on county boundaries, but to individual Local Action Groups (LAGs) on completion of the Local Development Strategy process. Some of the LAGs who administered the 2007-2013 LEADER programme in Donegal also deli...

607. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if all security and contract cleaning companies that have obtained contracts from her Department and agencies under the aegis of her Department under public procurement rules are paying the legal Employment Regulation Order (ERO) hourly rate to their security and contract cleaning employees; the steps she has taken to confirm full compliance with the ERO system; if she has cancelled contracts with companies that have been found to be in breach of the ERO system since 1 October 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35221/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The tendering and award of contracts for services by my Department and the agencies under its remit, including those referred to by the Deputy, is conducted in line with Public Service procurement procedures.
Neither my Department nor any of the agencies under its remit have a role in the enforcement of Employment Regulation orders.
I am advised that there has been no instance where a contract for serv...

608. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the sale of White’s Castle, Athy, County Kildare; and her plans to provide funding to the local authority to purchase this building in view of the fact that it is the second time in ten years the castle has come up for sale and is an important building and location in this heritage town. (Question 35404/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - National Monuments)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The property referred to by the Deputy is included in the statutory Record of Monuments and Places and, as such, is protected under the National Monuments Acts.
Because of the resource implications, the State is only ever in a position to acquire, maintain and present to the public a relatively small number of heritage properties and monuments. My Department makes such acquisitions from time to time i...

609. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount of the €28 million paid to local authorities under the regional and rural subheads in 2016 that has been spent by the local authorities and accounts sent to her Department accounting for this expenditure to date in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35418/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Rural Development Programme Funding)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): In 2016, just over €28 million was allocated to Local Authorities to fund projects approved under my Department’s Rural Development schemes.
My officials have been engaging with the Local Authorities on an on-going basis to monitor expenditure across these schemes. Data provided to my officials by the Local Authorities indicates that approximately €9.8 million was spent on these schemes up to 31st May...

610. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount spent by her Department on taxi and or limousine fares in the past two years to date by year and amount; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35482/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The details requested by the Deputy in respect of expenditure on taxi and or limousine fares in the past two years to date are set out in the following table. At all times value for money is a critical consideration in the use of such services. 
 Period Expenditure 2015July – December €9,205(€5,586) 2016Full year €13,852 2017January - to date €7,527 
 ...

611. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the festivals and arts organisations that Creative Ireland is funding directly, by county, in tabular form; the basis on which it is funding these arts organisations and festivals; the application process for these groups; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35824/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Creative Ireland Programme)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Creative Ireland Programme is a cross-Government initiative to mainstream culture and creativity in the life of the nation with significant benefits for individual and societal well-being and achievement. The programme is based on five pillars:
- Enabling the creative potential of every child
- Enabling creativity in every community 
- Investing in our creative and cultural infrastructure 
- Estab...

612. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps that have been taken to ensure that the Heritage Council has adequate resources to provide a comment on the matter of foreshore planning consent for a high priority strategic project foreshore lease planning application on Galway Bay (details supplied) to construct an offshore electricity generating station, in view of the fact that the council had previously cited limitations on staff resources as the reason it could not comment on the application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35900/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 612 and 613 together. 
I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions No 489 and 490 of 28 February last.
The Heritage Council is an independent statutory body, under the aegis of my Department, established in accordance with the Heritage Act 1995 and is separately a statutory consultee to the planning process, as a prescribed body under the Planning and Development Act...

613. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps that will be taken to ensure that the Heritage Council can formulate and provide an informed recommendation regarding the protection of national heritage to the appropriate Minister before the decision is made, as requested by her Department on 10 and 31 March 2016, in respect of foreshore planning consent on Galway Bay (details supplied) to construct an offshore electricity generating station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35901/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 612 and 613 together. 
I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions No 489 and 490 of 28 February last.
The Heritage Council is an independent statutory body, under the aegis of my Department, established in accordance with the Heritage Act 1995 and is separately a statutory consultee to the planning process, as a prescribed body under the Planning and Development Act...

614. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the status of progress with regard to the Ulster canal project; the amount which has been spent to date on this entire project; her future plans in respect of the project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35978/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Ulster Canal Restoration Project)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): One of my main priorities since taking Ministerial office has been the restoration of the Ulster Canal. I secured Government approval to restore a 2.5 km stretch of the Ulster Canal from the Shannon-Erne Waterway to the International Scout Centre at Castle Saunderson, Co Cavan on 24th February 2015.
The project, which comprises three work phases, is being undertaken by Waterways Ireland.
The contract ...

615. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the spend on the Leader programme to date in 2017 broken down between animation, administration and project spend; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35994/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Leader Programmes Expenditure)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Expenditure of approximately €5.420 million has been incurred to date in 2017 under the LEADER 2014-2020 programme. Approximately €5.301 million of this amount represents combined administration and animation expenditure by the Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver the programme in each LEADER sub-regional area. In line with Article 35 of EU Regulation 1303/2015, up to 25% of total expenditure incur...

616. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the capital spend to date in 2017 on the CLÁR programme and the town and village renewal scheme; the amount sanctioned to date in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35996/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The 2017 CLÁR programme was launched on 31st March last, with a closing date of 5th May. Funding for the programme this year was available under four separate Measures: 
Measure 1: Support for School and Community Safety Measures 
Measure 2: Play Areas 
Measure 3: Targeted Community Infrastructure 
Measure 4: First Responder Supports 
More than 500 applications were received across the four Measures, ...

617. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount sanctioned to date in 2017 under the Leader programmes 2014 to 2020 for projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35997/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Leader Programmes Funding)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The LEADER Programme is administered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) that deliver funding in line with Local Development Strategies that have been developed for each LAG area. 
To date, 270 projects with a value of over €6.4 million have been approved for LEADER funding by the LAGs. Funding offers have been issued to 141 of these project promoters and it is expected that the remainder will receive fundi...

618. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications received under the CLÁR measure 1 programme for funds for school or community safety measures for disadvantaged rural areas; the number that have been refused; the number of applications and the amount of funding that has been approved by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36017/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The 2017 CLÁR programme was launched on 31st March last with a closing date of 5th May. Funding for the programme this year was available under four separate Measures: 
Measure 1: Support for School and Community Safety Measures 
Measure 2: Play Areas 
Measure 3: Targeted Community Infrastructure 
Measure 4: First Responder Supports 
Over 500 applications were received across the four Measures to the ...

619. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the details of each body or organisation that is scheduled to receive in excess of €1 million from her Department’s Vote of expenditure or the group of Votes of expenditure connected with her Department in 2017 for the provision of services by the body or the organisation concerned; the amount involved in each case; if there is a signed service level agreement in place in respect of the services to be carried out by these bodies or organisations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36151/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Funding)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Details of the financial allocations for 2017, including those to bodies under the aegis of my Department, are published in the Revised Estimates for Public Services (REV) 2017 which is available at the following link: http://www.ahrrga.gov.ie/app/uploads/2016/12/2017-financial-allocations.pdf 
Under the revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies published by DPER in August 2016, Perfo...

620. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she will provide a list of census small area data for Wexford district electoral divisions and the average population loss for each area, comparing data in each of the periods 1926 to 2002, 1926 to 2006, 1926 to 2011 and 1926 to 2016, respectively, in tabular form, to ascertain CLÁR eligibility; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36272/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The CLÁR programme (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais) was originally launched in October 2001 to provide for targeted investment in disadvantaged rural areas. The National Institute for Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) in Maynooth University was engaged at that time to carry out an analysis of population census data at District Electoral Division (DED) level for the years 1926 and 1996.
The areas originally sele...

621. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the full year cost of increasing spending on the arts to 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.6% of GDP respectively. (Question 36362/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Arts Funding)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): GDP figures are published on the website of the Central Statistics Office at www.cso.ie. 
Funding allocations made available to my Department are published each year in the Revised Estimates Volume with the outturn published in the Annual Appropriation Account. These publications are available on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and on the website of the Office of the Com...

622. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason the nature conservation unit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service did not accept her Department’s invitation to participate in the marine licence vetting committee in addition to providing their observations on the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government’s foreshore lease planning application to construct an offshore electricity generating station in Galway Bay in view of the fact that this application is noted as a high priority strategic project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36431/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No 699 of 2 May last. 
As outlined in reply to previous questions, my Department provided observations on this application and I am satisfied that these observations were appropriate. For this reason, and given constraints of staffing resources, my Department was unable to attend the meeting referred to.
 ...

623. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs her plans to ensure the full spend of all funding provided to her Department for 2017 including carry over of capital from 2016 and pre payments to local authorities made in 2016 or 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36437/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): A gross provision of €368.422 million is available to my Department across five programme areas in 2017 comprised of current funding of €249.637 million and capital funding of €118.785 million. In addition, a further €13.548 million in capital funding was carried over from the 2016 provision. 
It is difficult to assess the full year expenditure for my Department at this point in time, as we are only ...

624. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of wildlife rangers, permanent guides, general operatives and building and maintenance staff employed at Glenveagh National Park; the number of same employed at the park in each of the past five years; if her department is planning to recruit additional staff in these roles; when a decision will be made on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36497/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - National Parks)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The table below outlines the number of wildlife rangers, permanent guides, general operatives and building and maintenance staff employed at Glenveagh National Park in each of the past five years 
 Year Wildlife Rangers Guide/Supervisor Guide/Head Guide General Operative Bus Driver(General Operative) Craftworker Foreman 2012 1 6 6 2 9 1 2013 1 6 5 2 9 1 2014 1 6 4 2 9 1 2015 1 ...

625. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of visitors to Glenveagh National Park in each of the past five years and to date in 2017; if the 2017 figures show an increase on 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36498/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - National Parks)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The visitor numbers to Glenveagh National Park in each of the past five years are set out in the table below: 
 Year Numbers 2012 117,557 2013 116,655 2014 150,691 2015 170,801 2016 176,444 2017 January - June 94,809 

Visitor figures for the month of July are not yet available. The visitor numbers from January to June of 2017, at 94,809, show an increase of circa 20,000 when com...

626. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the latest profiles in value and outruns forecasted in her Department for the end of December 2017 and variances that may arise based on her Department’s performance against profile in gross voted expenditure at the end of June 2017. (Question 36561/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Details of provisional expenditure in respect of my Department and all Government Departments are published at Vote level by the Department of Finance on a monthly basis. Provisional current and capital expenditure figures in respect of my Department at Vote level as of 30 June 2017 are available at: http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/170705%20Fiscal_Monitor_2017_June.pdf 
It is difficult ...

627. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason a report on the EU Birds Directive has not been submitted since 2012; when a report will be submitted; her views on whether the State is meeting its targets under the directive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36578/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - EU Directives)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 627 and 628 together. 
Ireland submitted its last annual report to the European Commission in 2014 and arrangements are underway to submit all outstanding reports which will be filed over the coming 6 months. I should add that the six year report on the status and trends of Ireland’s bird species required under the Birds Directive for the years 2008 to 2012 - the Artic...

628. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason a report on the EU Habitats Directive for the 2013 to 2014 period has not been submitted; when a report will be submitted; her views on whether the State is meeting its targets under the directive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36579/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - EU Directives)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 627 and 628 together. 
Ireland submitted its last annual report to the European Commission in 2014 and arrangements are underway to submit all outstanding reports which will be filed over the coming 6 months. I should add that the six year report on the status and trends of Ireland’s bird species required under the Birds Directive for the years 2008 to 2012 - the Artic...

629. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the estimated cost of implementing a living wage of €11.70 for all employees directly employed or in agencies funded by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36719/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Living Wage)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am advised that, based on current staffing and pay levels, the estimated additional annual cost of introducing an hourly wage of €11.70 for all employees, employed both directly in my Department and in agencies under its aegis and who are not already paid that amount or more, would be in the order of €255,165. 
 ...