1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans on increasing the threshold for rent supplements in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47007/14 asked on 10 Dec 2014 - Rent Supplement Scheme Administration)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question relates to rent caps. I wish to ascertain whether the Government is going to increase those caps in view of the fact that actual rents have outstripped the rent cap levels in various parts of the country.
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4. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection when she will address the issues arising from the Dano judgment in the Court of Justice of the European Union; her views at the possibility of benefit tourism here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47107/14 asked on 10 Dec 2014 - European Court of Justice Rulings)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I am asking Minister if her Department has studied the Dano judgment and what actions, if any, it proposes to take on the basis of the judgment.
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78. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the classifications of employment which have been prohibited from utilising the JobBridge scheme; the number of positions which have been removed by her Department from the JobBridge scheme; the kind of positions removed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40054/14 asked on 21 Oct 2014 - National Internship Scheme Placements)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question is with regard to information recently publicised in the national media about certain positions being withdrawn from the JobBridge scheme.
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81. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the responsibility her Department accepts in the circumstances where private investigators accessed social protection information in breach of data protection; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40055/14 asked on 21 Oct 2014 - Data Protection)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question arises from recent legal proceedings in which private investigators were convicted of breach of the data protection legislation by using confidential information which they got from the Department of Social Protection.
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86. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection how the Department’s policy to migrate to electronic payments affects the Government’s stated objective of protecting the post office network; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39805/14 asked on 21 Oct 2014 - Social Welfare Payments Administration)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I tabled this question to ascertain how the Government can reconcile its repeated commitments to preserve the post office network as we know it with the headlong rush to an electronic payment system for social welfare recipients.
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63. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the review of the free travel scheme; if she is concerned at the possible withdrawal of private transport services from the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31161/14 asked on 15 Jul 2014 - Free Travel Scheme Review)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I congratulate the Tánaiste on her elevation. I also congratulate her new sidekick, the Minister of State, Deputy Kevin Humphreys, on his well-deserved promotion. The purpose of the question is to ascertain the impact, if any, of the review of the free travel scheme, on the people who already enjoy the benefits of free travel.
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66. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the actions she will take to address the increasing poverty levels here; if she will commit to protecting the universal payment of child benefit at its current levels; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31162/14 asked on 15 Jul 2014 - Poverty Data)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: My question relates to the fact that the most recent statistics on levels of poverty and income distribution in Ireland are two years old. I want to ascertain the progress made by the Government in dealing with these matters in the past two years.
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81. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to improve services to those who depend on the respite care grant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24272/14 asked on 10 Jun 2014 - Respite Care Services)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: The Minister will be aware that various suggestions were made to alleviate the effects of the cut in the respite care grant. I am trying to ascertain whether any of those recommendations has been implemented or is intended to be implemented.
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84. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection when she will review the caps on the rent supplement schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24273/14 asked on 10 Jun 2014 - Rent Supplement Scheme Payments)

Deputy Joan Collins: The Minister is aware there are now more families being forced to become homeless because of the increase in private rents around the city, particularly in my area, Dublin 12, where rents have gone up by some 14% to 16% in the past six months. We are trying to manage a situation where people are coming in to us, saying their rents have been increased and they cannot get anywhere else because landlords are not accepting rent allowance, and have now gone so far as to put “No ...

1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will contact persons who have been refused domiciliary care allowance for the past two years in view of the decision of the High Court of 1 April 2014 that found serious flaws in her Department’s handling of such applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17793/14 asked on 16 Apr 2014 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question arises out of the review conducted by the Department of eligibility for domiciliary care allowance and a decision by the High Court on 1 April which overruled a decision of the Department to refuse domiciliary care allowance.
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4. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons under the age of 26 years now in receipt of reduced jobseeker’s allowance; if this change has reduced the number of persons unemployed under the age of 26 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17794/14 asked on 16 Apr 2014 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Payments)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I am sorry that the question is somewhat ambiguously drafted. I will explain what I am trying to ascertain. It relates to the substantial reduction in social welfare payments to people under the age of 26 on the basis that they should be encouraged to apply for jobs or training places. I am trying to ascertain how successful the change has been.
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1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection to explain the reason for abolishing the diet supplement scheme; the number of persons who will be affected by the abolition; the savings that will be made from the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10611/14 asked on 05 Mar 2014 - Supplementary Welfare Allowance Payments)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question arises from a recent announcement on the website of the Department of Social Protection to the effect that this allowance which has been payable since the early 1990s and which was designed to assist a small group of people to purchase food which was medically necessary for them has been withdrawn.
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4. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the percentage of the population who live below the poverty line, measured as 60% of the median income; the actions she is taking to reduce this number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10612/14 asked on 05 Mar 2014 - Poverty Data)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question arises from the latest statistics which show that at least one in six people in Ireland lives below the internationally accepted poverty line. The Government is committed in its programme for Government and both parties’ election manifestos to reducing the incidence of poverty in Ireland. I am anxious to know what progress the Government has made.
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7. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress made to date to broaden the social insurance system to include the self-employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10445/14 asked on 05 Mar 2014 - Social Insurance)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This issue arises from the fact that a report submitted to the Government in May 2013 recommended certain changes to make more benefits available to the self-employed under the social insurance scheme. Has any progress been made on that?
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105. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection to outline the progress made through the Pathways to Work strategy; the current long-term unemployment statistics; the current rate of youth unemployment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3956/14 asked on 28 Jan 2014 - Unemployment Data)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: We are trying to ascertain the progress that has been made on the Pathways to Work scheme, which is central to the Government’s labour activation policy.
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108. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to reform the rent supplement scheme; if her attention has been drawn to reports that many tenants are being asked to pay top-up payments to landlords for rent that is above the maximum allowance limit under the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3957/14 asked on 28 Jan 2014 - Housing Assistance Payments Implementation)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: The purpose of this question is to ascertain the current position regarding the transfer from rent allowance to housing assistance payments.
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