671. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53574/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Commencement of Legislation)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): A number of provisions of the Charities Act 2009 have yet to be commenced. These sections provide for a range of miscellaneous matters, including for charitable fundraising. My Department was recently assigned responsibility for oversight of the Charities Regulatory Authority and will be working with the Authority in relation to the commencement of these sections of the Charities Act. 
 Section - Section 89 Permissi...

672. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount of the €28 million prepaid to local authorities at the end of 2016 that has not been spent to date on the projects for which it was approved; the steps being taken to either ensure that this money is spent or the money repaid to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53703/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): As part of the Government’s programme to support rural development, a number of initiatives including CLÁR, the Rural Recreation Scheme, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zones) were launched during 2016. In general, these initiatives were implemented through the Local Authorities. 
All funding was made available in line with the sanction received from the Department of Public Expenditur...

673. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his Department has sought permission from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to carry over unspent capital to 2018; if so, the amount sought as a carryover; the reason this was necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53704/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The proposed capital carryover will be finalised as part of the Revised Estimates Volume 2018. Government financial procedures provide for the carry-over of up to 10% of unspent capital funding from any year to the subsequent year. My Department has requested the carry-over of €7.7 million in unspent Capital allocations from 2017 to 2018. 
Capital underspends have arisen on some of my Department’s rural development schemes, g...

674. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the capital allocated to his Department for 2017; the amount spent to date by subhead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53705/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The total amount of capital funding allocated to my Department upon its creation was approximately €77 million. The allocations provided in the table below reflect the recently published Further Revised Estimates Volume 2017. To date payments totalling €48.7 million have been made, as shown in the table below. It has been impressed upon Local Authorities the need to accelerate spending on their 2017 projects as a matter of ur...

675. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if permission has been sought or granted to his Department to pre-pay local authorities or other bodies for works sanctioned but not carried out before the end of 2017 and to allow these bodies do the work in 2018; if so, the amount of money to be pre-paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53706/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Earlier this year, I launched a number of schemes that provide support for the development of rural communities. These include the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor/Rural Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the CLÁR Programme and the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS). 
It is important to note that apart from the LIS, the rural development schemes are expected to operate over a 12-15 month period. Therefore, it was alway...

676. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress as provided under the programme for Government on the development of a new Atlantic economic corridor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53718/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Action Plan for Rural Development Implementation)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Programme for a Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development both contain a commitment to progress the concept of an Atlantic Economic Corridor. The concept was proposed in February 2016 by a group involving a number of Chambers of Commerce in the Western region and the American Chambers of Commerce of Ireland. 
The overarching objective of the Atlantic Economic Corridor concept is to maximise the asset...

677. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his ministerial briefing has been published and is downloadable on his Department’s new website. (Question 53729/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Briefing)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): My ministerial briefing is available on my Department’s website at the following address:
http://drcd.gov.ie/about/ministers/
This briefing was provided to me on 19 June 2017. Since that date, my Department has also been assigned responsibility for the Charities Regulatory Authority. Functions relating to the Community Services Programme are due to transfer to my Department on 1 January 2018. 
 ...

678. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount allocated to town centre health checks per annum; the number of checks undertaken by county; and the number planned. (Question 54144/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Town and Village Renewal Scheme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): While there is no specific scheme available within my Department to fund town centre health checks, the preparation and development of such health checks are eligible for support under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme which is operated by my Department. 
I recently approved funding of €21.6 million to 281 rural towns and villages under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, with an emphasis on projects that focus on impro...

679. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the use his Department has made of the Government jet since coming into office in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54202/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 679 and 680 together. 
The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Since that date, I can confirm that my Department has not made use of the Government jet.
 ...

680. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the use his Department has made of the Government jet in each of the years March 2011 to February 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54218/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Travel)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 679 and 680 together. 
The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Since that date, I can confirm that my Department has not made use of the Government jet.
 ...

681. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 inclusive of costs incurred from the use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used, in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54234/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Any information relating to the functions transferred to this Department, for the requested period prior to that date, will be reported by the relevant previous parent Departments in their responses. 
My Department is currently in the process of tendering for a photography service through the framework provided by the Office of Government Procur...

682. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department in each year since March 2011; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; the internal Department policy with regard to employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54250/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Relations Contracts Expenditure)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Any information relating to the functions transferred to this Department, for the requested period, will be reported by the relevant previous parent Departments in their responses. My Department has not used these services since its establishment. There is no specific internal departmental policy with regard to employing such external public re...

683. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the external consultant reports commissioned by his Department since March 2011; the costs per report; the company involved; the title of the report; and the publication date in tabular form. (Question 54266/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Consultancy Contracts Data)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Any information relating to the functions transferred to this Department, for the requested period, will be reported by the relevant previous parent Departments in their responses, with the exception of the information provided below. 
The table contains details of an external consultant report which was commissioned in February 2017 by the then...

684. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the level of expenditure by his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on advertising of Government information campaigns published specifically in national and regional newspapers in addition to all online advertising for all such Government information campaigns; the name for each such information campaign to which this expenditure related; the cost of each, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54282/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Any information relating to the functions transferred to this Department, for the requested period prior to that date, will be reported by the relevant previous parent Departments in their responses. 
 My Department has no expenditure on advertising of Government information campaigns to date.
However, at my request, Pobal commissioned a media c...

685. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the level of expenditure by his Department or organisations under the aegis of his Department from 1 January 2017 to date in 2017 on photography, advertising, communications advice, public relations, website development, media interview training and preparation; the events, campaigns or policies to which this expenditure related; the company or person to which such payments were made, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54298/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The detailed information sought by the Deputy is not available within the timeframe to respond to this question. However I have asked my officials, and the organisations under the aegis of my Department, to provide me with the information requested and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available. 
 ...

235. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if additional funding will be provided for the provision of a library (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53368/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Library Services Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): A €22m Libraries Capital Investment Programme is in place for the period 2016-2021 to support the development of priority projects submitted by local authorities.  In this regard, the programme includes a priority proposal submitted by Longford County Council in respect of Edgeworthstown library.  
My Department is providing a contribution of €1.25m under the capital programme towards the overall cost of the Edgeworthstown devel...

488. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on funding safety items, such as alarms, censor lights, carbon monoxide alarms and so on (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53237/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Seniors Alert Scheme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.  Funding is available under the scheme towards the purchase by a registered community-based organisation of a personal alarm or pendant.  
Follow...

489. Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if funding will be made available under the CLÁR capital investment programme in 2018; if so, when it will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52758/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The 2017 CLÁR programme provided total funding of just under €7 million this year for 230 projects across four Measures as follows:
Measure 1: Support for School and Community Safety Measures
Measure 2: Play Areas
Measure 3: Targeted Community Infrastructure
Measure 4: First Responder Supports
Details of the approved projects are available on my Department’s website at http://drcd.gov.ie/subheader1/clar.
Decisions regarding th...

233. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to provide specific funding to local authorities for the local improvement scheme in the road works programme for 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52581/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Local Improvement Scheme Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): My Department wrote to Local Authorities last August to establish the level of demand for a local improvement scheme this year. This is a nation-wide scheme which The Local Authorities were advised that any requests for funds would be subject to their capacity to complete any proposed works in 2017, and funding availability. 
On 21st September last, I announced the provision of €10 million for a Local Improvement Scheme to supp...

234. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the support being given by his Department to mountain rescue; if this work is being co-ordinated through Comhairle na Tuaithe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52371/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Mountain Rescue Service)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Mountain Rescue Ireland (MRI) operates on a voluntary basis, but has received State support for a number of years from various Government Departments to help with the organisation’s operating costs. I understand that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport currently provides an average grant of approximately €7,400 per annum for each individual MRI rescue team, and a grant to Mountain Rescue Ireland as the coordinating b...

235. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the capital allocated to his Department in the 2017 Estimate by subhead; the amount spent to date by subhead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52374/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The total amount of capital funding allocated to my Department upon its creation was approximately €77 million. To the end of November, payments totalling €25.2 million have been made, as shown in the table below. It has been impressed upon Local Authorities the need to accelerate spending on their 2017 projects as a matter of urgency, and further significant recoupment requests have been received in my Department for processing...

236. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the moneys paid to local authorities to date for work that is not already completed and suitable verification provided to his Department by county; the schemes this money relates to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52375/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I interpret the Deputy’s question as referring to schemes launched by my Department in 2017.
Earlier this year, I launch a number of schemes that provide support for the development of rural communities. These include the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor/Rural Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the CLÁR Programme and the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS).
These schemes all include conditions which require works to have ...

237. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the person who requested legal advice (details supplied); the basis of the request; the reason there was a different approach taken to Galway; if he will provide the legal opinion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52403/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I presume the Deputy is referring to the Lot basis used for delivery of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).
The SICAP programme is implemented by 46 Programme Implementers in 51 geographic areas (known as Lots).  These Lots were determined by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in 2014, prior to the commencement of the current programme, which comes to an end on 31 December this year. ...

238. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans for the development of rural recreation in 2018; the schemes he plans to expand; the new schemes being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52464/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Rural Recreation Policy)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Pillar 3 of the Action Plan for Rural Development makes a commitment to a series of actions to maximise Ireland’s rural tourism and recreation potential in recognition of the contribution that tourism makes to the rural economy. Actions under this Pillar are implemented across a number of Government Departments and will support sustainable jobs through targeted tourism initiatives, promoting Activity Tourism, and developing and...

239. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of meetings of Comhairle na Tuaithe held since 6 May 2016; the number of these meetings he attended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52465/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): A meeting of Comhairle na Tuaithe took place on 6th April 2016, prior to the appointment the current Government, and a further meeting was held on 30th November 2016. I was not in a position to attend the meeting on 30th November in my role as Minister for State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.    
Since the establishment of Comhairle na Tuaithe in 2004 and the publishing of the Nationa...