21. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the fact that he plans to reduce Fáilte Ireland’s budget from €63.3 million in 2013 to €53.2 million by 2015, his views on whether this will have a negative impact on the tourist industry in terms of visitor numbers and employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57260/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Departmental Agencies Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring) (Deputy Michael Ring): This question relates to the budget allocation to Fáilte Ireland.
Next year is particularly significant for Irish tourism and Minister Varadkar has allocated a special incremental €7 million from within the Department’s overall budget for the Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative. This €7 million is included in Fáilte Ireland’s overall current Grant-in-Aid provision of €63.3 million,alth...

27. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will clarify his statement regarding Shannon Airport when he welcomed enormous possibilities for additional military flights; the kind of military flights he was referring; his views on the use of Irish airspace by foreign military forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57241/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Shannon Airport Facilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly) (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Deputy’s question relates to comments by Minister Varadkar regarding flights related to the on-going transiting of military personnel through Shannon airport. While they are often described as military flights, they are in fact civilian flights as they are civilian charter aircraft. Because they carry military personnel and equipment, the flights are subject to the provisions of the A...

28. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health if, in relation to the Government’s plan ‘future health’ and its statement that social care services will not be covered by universal health insurance, this will mean people having to pay for care services which they are eligible to receive without charge at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57014/12 asked on 19 Dec 2012 - Universal Health Insurance Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Under Universal Health Insurance, everyone will be insured for a standard package of primary and acute hospital services, including acute mental health services. While primary and hospital care will be funded mainly via the UHI system, specialised and social care services, including long term care, will be funded by general taxation. 
The future sustainability and model of delivery of social care services will have to be sub...

44. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Health his views on the study commissioned by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation showing that significant understaffing in our public hospitals adversely affects patient care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57015/12 asked on 19 Dec 2012 - Hospital Staff Issues)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The information available from the study referred to by the Deputy, which was undertaken on behalf of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, is quite limited. Other studies have cited figures which suggest that Ireland has a more favourable nurse-to-patient ratio than the United Kingdom. 
At present, some 1650 nurses/midwives graduate per annum from our Universities and other colleges. The Department of Health has recently completed a review of und...

82. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the recommendations of the Ryan Report that she has yet to implement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56783/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Child Abuse Reports)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Ryan Report Implementation Plan - Third Progress Report was laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 12 November 2012. This Report contained full details of the implementation status of each of the 99 actions specified.
Of the ninety-nine actions detailed in the Plan, 37 actions had a timeframe of ‘ongoing’. These are, by their nature, not once off actions and while they may be deemed complete for the purpose of this re...

497. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, considering recent progress on an EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, he will guarantee that he will not support any move to allow this agreement to be signed during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, due to the reservations of the Sahrawi people who have been ignored in these discussions. (Question 56841/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - International Agreements)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): In January 2012, the EU Commission introduced a draft negotiating mandate for a new protocol for the EU Morocco Fisheries Agreement. The mandate sought to conclude a protocol which would oblige Morocco to comply with international law and to report regularly on its use of the funds for the population concerned, including the people of the Western Sahara. A Council decision of 14 February 2012 authorised the opening of negotia...

31. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence if he will rule out the procurement of any Israeli technology through the European Defence Agency for use by the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54708/12 asked on 12 Dec 2012 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Deputy will appreciate that the principle of competitive tendering for Government contracts has to be used by the Department of Defence for the acquisition of defensive equipment for the Defence Forces. Central to those procedures is the requirement to allow fair competition between suppliers through the submission of tenders following advertising of the tender competition on the e-tenders site or on the European Defence Agency’s Electronic Bulleti...

81. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners under 18 years of age who remain in St. Patrick’s Institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54472/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Child Detention Centres)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I can advise the Deputy that on 7th December, 2012 there were 30 seventeen year old prisoners in custody in St Patrick’s Institution, 11 of which were held on remand.
As you will be aware the Government committed, in the Programme for Government, to remove 16 and 17 year old offenders completely from the adult prison system. In this context, the practice of sending 16 year old boys to St Patrick’s Institution ceased on 1st May, 2012. From...

74. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the discussions he has had regarding the possibility of extending the right to vote in elections here to the Irish diaspora. (Question 50094/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Election Management System)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Fergus O’Dowd): I understand that Minister Hogan has not been involved in any such discussions. The Constitutional Convention will be considering a number of issues, including giving citizens resident outside the State the right to vote in Presidential elections at Irish embassies or otherwise. Proposals for change to electoral law will be brought forward in light of the decisions for change which may...

125. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount of funding allocated by Irish Aid to Irish non-governmental organisations working in Uganda; the proportion of this funding which goes to NGOs and civil society organisations that work on improving democratic accountability and good governance; and the way this proportion compares to other like minded donors to Uganda. (Question 54136/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Overseas Development Aid)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.
I have set out in a following table details of Irish aid spent in Uganda over the past 5 years which includes expenditure on the bilateral country programme and the additional funding provided to Non-governmental or Civil Society Organisations for their programmes in Uganda. The table also includes a breakdown of the funding disbursed through the country programme on...

126. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide statistics on the historical trend of Irish Aid to Uganda, namely, the total amount of aid that has been given to Uganda by Irish Aid every year since it became a partner country; the percentage of the Irish Aid budget that the funding to the Ugandan programme represents for each of these years; and the share of funding that went to governance and anti-corruption based projects in each of these years. (Question 54137/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Overseas Development Aid)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.
I have set out in a following table details of Irish aid spent in Uganda over the past 5 years which includes expenditure on the bilateral country programme and the additional funding provided to Non-governmental or Civil Society Organisations for their programmes in Uganda. The table also includes a breakdown of the funding disbursed through the country programme on...

11. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Seán Crowe den an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sé sonraí faoi líon na scéimeanna nua teanga atá deimhnithe ag Eagrais Phoiblí le bliain anuas agus, de réir an ráta deimhniúcháin, cathain a bheidh scéim teanga deimhnithe ag gach Eagras Poiblí (Question 52979/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Scéimeanna Teanga)

(Deputy Dinny McGinley): Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 11 agus 41 le chéile.
Ba mhaith liom a chur in iúl go bhfuil naoi scéim teanga daingnithe go dáta i mbliana. Ciallaíonn sé seo go bhfuil 108 céad scéim teanga san iomlán daingnithe ón uair gur tháinig Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla i bhfeidhm. Sa bhreis air seo, tá 122 dréachtscéim san iomlán á n-ullmhú ag comhlachtaí poiblí faoi láthair agus tá plé leanúnach agus gníomhach ar siúl ag oifigigh mo Roinne le roinnt mhaith de na comhlachtaí sin ...

24. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if his attention has been drawn to the fact that 20,755 persons are directly employed in the Arts sector; his plans to protect these jobs and ensure continued funding for the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53058/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Job Protection)

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 44 together.
Positioned at the core of local, regional, urban and rural activities, the arts, creative and heritage-related sectors play a pivotal part in the economic life of communities across the country, including the vital area of employment. Employment in the arts sector embraces a very diverse and broad extent of activities, encompassing those engaged in specific arts practice, a...

98. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he plans to implement a tag off, tag on system to Dublin Bus for use of the Leap card as is in place for Luas users, in an attempt to reduce queues on buses. (Question 52664/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Integrated Ticketing)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 125 together.
The questions relate to the Leap card public transport integrated ticketing system. Responsibility to develop, procure, implement, operate and maintain the integrated ticketing system in the greater Dublin area became the function of the National Transport Authority, NTA, with effect from 30 September 2010 in accordance with section 58 of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008. The Leap card scheme continues to prove po...

154. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether sporting bodies should be allowed to register as charities; his plans to introduce legislation to this effect; his views on whether persons who make such donations should be able to claim a tax break; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52686/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Sports Capital Programme)

Deputy Leo Varadkar: With the agreement of the House I wish to take Questions Nos. 99, 102, 130, 132, 141, 152, 154, 163, 164, 722 and 725 together.
 ...

185. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide in tabular form, the number of staff in their Department, or in bodies which fall under the remit of the Department, whose annual remuneration including salary, pension and benefits at 31 December 2011 fell into bands of €400,000 and above, between €300,000 to €399,999, between €200,000 to €299,999 and between €150,000 to €199,000; if he will provide a breakdown of the positions held by the staff in the relevant pay brackets. (Question 52545/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Departmental Staff Remuneration)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table. 
Annual remuneration of staff at 31 December 2011

 Number of staff Grades Salary Bands None - €400,000 and above None - €300,000 - €399,999 1 Secretary General €200,000 - €299,999 7 2  Second Secretary 3  Deputy Secretary1  Chief Adviser to the Tánaiste1  Economic Adviser to the Tánaiste €150,000 - €199,999 
There are no State agencie...

186. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has made any contacts requesting staff whose annual salary is in excess of €200,000 in their Department or in any body under the remit of their Department, to waive 15% of their salary or such amount in excess of €200,000 whichever is the lesser; if he has, the date on which he first made this contact; the number of staff whose annual salaries were in excess of €200,000 at that date; the number of staff who acquiesced to the request for the waiver; the number of staff who refused the request for the waiver and the number of staff who have not responded to the request for the waiver (Question 52546/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Departmental Staff Remuneration)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): The Secretary General of my Department is the only member of staff in my Department with a salary exceeding €200,000. He voluntarily surrenders €15,590 of his notional annual salary of €215,590. He does so without me having spoken to him on the matter. There are no State agencies under the aegis of my Department.
 ...

10. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will develop the code of practise on access to part-time working to promote the entitlement to additional hours of work. (Question 51894/12 asked on 22 Nov 2012 - Employment Rights Issues)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Code of Practice on Access to Part-Time Working, which was promulgated in 2006, already contains provisions relating to the provision of additional hours of work to employees. The Code was prepared by the Labour Relations Commission in line with Section 13(5) of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001. The provisions in the 2001 Act had implemented an EU Directive, which itself was based on a Framework Agre...

116. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on comments expressed by the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland regarding the loss of national State certification at junior cycle level will damage education and that the decision to axe State certification at junior cycle level will have a negative impact on students. (Question 51350/12 asked on 20 Nov 2012 - State Examinations Reviews)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): My new Framework for Junior Cycle will allow schools to provide a programme to meet the needs of their students. Assessment will be a key component to supporting quality teaching and learning outcomes across the 3 years of Junior Cycle and will provide on-going high quality feedback to students and their parents. 
Assessment in the Junior Cycle is no longer high-stakes since in reality the vast majority of students continue to senior cycle...

142. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to introduce measures that will address the estimated 5,000 job vacancies in IT companies which cannot be filled because of the skills gap and the 2,300 IT experts from outside the EU who had to be hired by multi- nationals based here in the past year. (Question 51351/12 asked on 20 Nov 2012 - Skills Shortages)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn) (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): The joint Government-Industry Action Plan, which I launched in January this year, was developed as a direct response to specific skills shortages in the ICT sector. The Plan outlines a range of short, medium and long term measures to develop a sustainable domestic supply of high quality ICT graduates to support the further expansion and development of ICT sector and support innovation and growth across other sectors o...

22. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Finance if he supports the concept of equality budgeting; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Scottish Government provides an equality budget statement alongside each annual budget; his plans to provide an accompanying equality statement along with budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50247/12 asked on 15 Nov 2012 - Equality Proofing of Budgets)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): With regard to budgetary matters, when focusing on the primary objectives of reducing the deficit and returning sustainability to the public finances, it has been of vital importance to the Government to spread the burden of the adjustments made in as fair and equitable a manner as possible, while also seeking to minimise their negative impact on economic growth. The Deputy might be aware that the Programme for Government does contain a clear commi...

30. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide, in tabular form, the annual interest repayments owed for the next 40 years if the maturity of all remaining promissory notes currently owed to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation was extended out to 2052 and if annual interest on the notes was charged at 3%, 4% and 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50246/12 asked on 15 Nov 2012 - Promissory Note Negotiations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that financial crisis has had significant resource implications for my Department and as a result, I am not in a position to be able to provide hypothetical funding projections to Deputies. As set out in the repayment schedule below, there are significant capital and interest repayments pertaining to the existing IBRC Promissory Note. Any changes to the repayment scheduling of the capital balance will have an impa...

2. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when the report from the Irish Aid delegation that visited Uganda to investigate the misappropriation of Irish Aid funds will be completed; and if he will make it public. (Question 50341/12 asked on 14 Nov 2012 - Overseas Development Aid)

(Deputy Eamon Gilmore): I am deeply concerned about the recent misappropriation of Irish development funding in Uganda. Ireland has no tolerance for fraud or any other form of financial irregularity in our development co-operation programme. This is clearly known to all of our development partners, including the Government of Uganda. I have suspended approximately €16 million of Irish development assistance which was due to be channelled through Government of Uganda systems in 2012 and initia...

5. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the increased human rights abuses against the Kurdish minority in Turkey; and if the issue is being discussed at EU level. (Question 50342/12 asked on 14 Nov 2012 - Human Rights Issues)

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: The Irish Embassy in Ankara, with other EU delegations, continues to monitor closely the human rights situation in Turkey, including the treatment of Kurds and other minorities. Respect for human rights, minorities and fundamental freedoms are core values upon which the European Union is built. Turkey, as an EU candidate, is expected to uphold these values. The European Commission’s October progress report on Turkey draws attention to where further progress is required, ...

116. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to SIPTU’s call for the home-makers scheme to be backdated from 1994 to 1964; if she will make arrangements to backdate it as suggested; the estimated cost of doing so; and the likely number of women who would benefit. (Question 49848/12 asked on 13 Nov 2012 - Home-makers Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 124 together.
The State pension is a very valuable benefit and is the bedrock of the Irish pension system. Therefore, it is important to ensure that those qualifying have made a sustained contribution to the Social Insurance Fund over their working lives. 
The homemaker’s scheme makes qualification for the State pension (contributory) easier by disregarding time spent out of the workforce for caring du...