Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a new European Commission study, The Gender Gap in Pensions in the EU, indicates that Irish women aged 65 years and over receive an average pension which is 35% lower than the average for Irish men in the same age group; her view on the reason for this imbalance; and the efforts being made to address same.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The recently published European Commission report, ‘The Gender Gap in Pensions in the EU’, deals with the gender gap in pensions across Europe and is the first study of its kind. The study reveals that across the 27 EU Member States, women who are currently in receipt of pensions, receive average amounts which are 39% lower than those of men. For Ireland, the report indicates this pensions gender gap is 35%.
The report considers total income received from all sources including State, occupational and private pensions. I am pleased to note that for those on modest levels of income, which would broadly include the State pension, the report details that the gender pensions gap in Ireland is considerably lower at 3.5% compared to the EU average of 48.7%. This indicates that the Irish State pension has been successful in providing citizens with a basic level of income in a more gender balanced manner than our European counterparts.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health the number of medical cards issued to persons by county in 2012. He also asked the Minister for Health the number of general practitioner cards issued to persons by county in 2012.
Reply from the Health Service Executive: The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) is currently not configured to provide the figures in the format requested. Please see attached document showing the number of eligible persons on Medical Cards and GP Visit Cards as at 31st December 2012 by local health office area.
::: Farm Assist Recipients 2008 to 2012
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons by county, in receipt of farm assist for each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The information requested by the Deputy is collated by my Department annually for inclusion in the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report which is laid before the Dáil when published and copies lodged in the Oireachtas library. Furthermore these reports are available to the public at www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Annual-Statistical-Information-Reports.aspx.
I enclose for the Deputy’s convenience a tabular statement detailing the number of persons in receipt of farm assist at the 31st of December in each of the years 2008 to 2012.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons receiving one parent family payment by county in 2012.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: There were 87,918 persons in receipt of a one-parent family payment at the 31st of December 2012. I attach a tabular statement detailing the breakdown of this number on a county by county basis.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her strategy to tackle long-term youth employment.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The official labour market figures published by the CSO indicated that the number of young unemployed at the end of 2012 was 59,000, of whom 27,300 were long-term (over one year) unemployed. The number of young long term unemployed represented a fall of 8,300 on the figure of 35,600 at the end of 2011.
In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle all forms of unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth. Past experience suggests that youth unemployment, which tends to rise relatively rapidly in a downturn, can be expected to fall relatively rapidly during the recovery.
The Government is also implementing a number of programmes to assist young unemployed persons and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to tackle youth unemployment: education, training, job search assistance/guidance, work experience, and encouraging job creation. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies and include:
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide details of the number of persons who have entered the JobBridge national internship scheme in each of the past three years.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, came into operation on 1st July, 2011. The Scheme has made very significant progress in a relatively short period of time. I wish to advise the Deputy that 3,748 internships had commenced as at year end 2011. An additional 9,725 internships commenced in 2012. An additional 4,136 internships have commenced so far in 2013. In total 17,609 internships have commenced to-date.
Tuesday, 5 March, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason for the delay in issuing files from the invalidity pension section to the appeals office; if she will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who requested an appeal on 27 March 2012 and whose file has not yet reached the appeals office; if she will ensure that information between the sections in her Department are passed on within a reasonable amount of time; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton (above): Invalidity pension section has been involved in a business process improvement review and backlog elimination programme. This programme has led to a significant reduction in the number of invalidity pension claims awaiting decision, down from 7007 claims at end May 2012 to 2593 claims at end Feb 2013. In addition, new claims are now processed on receipt with a decision being made based on information provided or, if this is not possible, further medical evidence or additional information is requested and a decision is made on receipt.
As a consequence of the very high number of decisions made in the last 9 months, there has been a corresponding substantial increase in the number of appeals being received. Delays in the preparation of claims for appeal are arising as a consequence and this is regretted. Invalidity pension section is now focussed on reducing the backlog in the appeals area.
Tuesday, 5 February, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on her plans to introduce in 2013 a community employment-type scheme to assist councils in the upkeep of the country’s rural roads network; and if she intends to expedite such a scheme in view of the numbers of tourists expected to travel on Irish roads during The Gathering.
Written reply from Minister Joan Burton: The Government, as part of the Budget package for 2013 announced a number of initiatives focused on providing work opportunities for those currently unemployed. The key elements of this package are to add an additional 2,500 places to JobBridge; 2,000 places on community employment; 2,500 to Tús – the community work placement initiative – and the development of a new initiative with local authorities to provide 3,000 opportunities in 2013. This is in line with the commitments set out in the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work.
The design of the local authority initiative and the nature of work to be undertaken will be determined by local authorities with the input of a range of stakeholders, including those bodies responsible for the delivery of other schemes funded by the Department of Social Protection. Development work on this new initiative has commenced with the local authorities and I hope to be a position to agree a number of pilot projects to inform the design of this important initiative in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the percentage and number of people living in Waterford City and County who are in receipt of a social welfare payment; and if he will list each category of payment with the number of recipients.
Reply from Deputy Joan Burton: The information requested by the Deputy is collated, at county level only, by my Department annually for inclusion in the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report. Work has commenced on the compilation of data for the production of the 2012 report. However, the most recent data available, at present, in respect of the number of people living in Waterford County and who were in receipt of a social welfare payment is for the year 2011.
This information is listed by each category of payment in these tabular statements.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.