Tuesday, 11th April, 2017
John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of compensation cases brought by Gardaí against her department for injuries suffered or losses incurred in the line of duty which have resulted in financial awards or out of court settlements in the past ten years; and the total compensation pay out relating to such cases over this period.
REPLY (Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald):
The Garda (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the performance of their duties as members of An Garda Síochána and for the dependents of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them. The total number of cases in respect of which awards were made in the period 2007 to 2016 was 1,525 and the total compensation paid was €66.7 million.
There is an Ex-Gratia Scheme in place for members injured or killed while driving an official vehicle in the line of duty where no malice was involved. The scheme is set out in the Garda Conciliation Council Agreed Report No. 639. In the period 2007 to 2016, four awards were made totalling €290,000.
December 7, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the additional resources that have been provided to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation on foot of concerns raised by the Garda Inspectorate a year ago regarding its workload and an absence of dedicated expertise.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Units and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that the allocation of Gardaí is continually monitored and reviewed taking into account all relevant factors including crime trends, demographics, and security assessments relating to the area in question so as to ensure optimal use is made of Garda human resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) is part of Special Crime Operation and has a dedicated expert staff, including professional civilian staff to address white collar, fraud and economic crimes.
As of 31 October, 2016 the latest date for which figures are available there were 55 members of An Garda Síochána, two professional accountants and 12 civilians attached to the Bureau. A competition to appoint a further two forensic accountants has recently been completed by the Public Appointments Service and it is expected that they will assigned to the Bureau early in 2017.
In addition, I am informed that the Commissioner has recently held competitions to fill vacancies for members in Garda Special Crime Operations and the needs of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau will be considered, when assigning successful candidates from these competitions.
December 7, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Taoiseach the number of net jobs that have been created in Waterford city and county over the past ten years; and the number of these that were created during the past three years.
The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available. The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is the official source of estimates of employment in the State. The most recent figures available are for Q3 2016.
Estimates of employment are produced by NUTS 3 Regions. The NUTS 3 South-East region includes Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford City, Waterford County and Wexford. Due to methodology and sample size it is not possible to produce reliable Waterford City and County estimates from the QNHS.
Table 1a below shows the number of persons aged 15 years and over in employment classified by NUTS 3 South-East region in Q3 of each year from 2006 to 2016.
Table 1b shows the annual change in the numbers of persons aged 15 years and over in employment classified by NUTS 3 South-East region in Q3 of each year from 2007 to 2016.
As Table 1a shows the overall stock of persons employed at given points in time, the annual changes which are calculated using these stock figures depend both on the number of jobs lost and jobs created over the period in question. The QNHS does not record whether a job is newly created.
November 29, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of Waterford businesses that have availed of the accelerated capital allowance scheme in each of the past five years.
I am advised by Revenue that the number of Waterford businesses that have availed of accelerated capital allowances in any given year between 2012 and 2015 is between 1 and 10. Figures for 2016 are not yet available. According to Revenue records, no businesses in the county availed of the scheme in 2011.
The Deputy may be aware that the provisions of Section 851A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 oblige Revenue to treat taxpayer information confidentially. As such, due to the low numbers of businesses involved, the precise numbers by year cannot be provided.
November 22, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Courthouse redevelopment project in Waterford; and the timeline for its completion.
As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that Waterford courthouse is one of seven courthouses nationwide which are currently being built or refurbished as part of the Governments Infrastructure Stimulus programme.
Work on the refurbishment and extension of the courthouse commenced in December 2015 and is expected to be completed by late 2017. The refurbishment and extension of the existing courthouse will accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities and will, when completed, provide significantly improved facilities for all court users in Waterford.
Dáil Question - May 31, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the level of take-up to date in each designated area under the Living City Initiative; and if he has received any assessment from his officials as to why the scheme has not been more successful in view of the ex-ante cost-benefit analysis that was carried out prior to its launch
REPLY | Minister Michael Noonan:
Application for the Living City Initiative (LCI) are only required to be made to the relevant local authority under the residential element of the scheme.
Applications to local authorities are not required to be made under the commercial element of the scheme and thus it is likely to be early next year before information on this aspect of the scheme will become available.
Based on information received from the City and County Councils to date, the number of applications received under the residential element per eligible city is as follows: Dublin 18; Cork 4; Limerick 0; Waterford 7; Kilkenny 2; Galway 2
The Initiative has only been in operation for just over a year, and take-up of the scheme is lower than anticipated considering up to 100% of relevant expenditure may be tax relieved. My officials are currently reviewing the LCI and considering potential changes to the scheme.
Any proposed amendments will be considered in the context of the Budget and Finance Bill.
Dáil Question - May 31, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if there are proposals to extend the Natural Gas pipeline to Dungarvan, County Waterford; if not, why not; and the towns next in line for connection.
REPLY | Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Denis Naughten):
The development and expansion of the natural gas network is in the first instance a commercial and operational matter for Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), which is mandated under Section 8 of the Gas Act 1976, as amended, to develop and maintain a national system for the supply of natural gas that is both economical and efficient.
Gas Networks Ireland's published Connections Policy, most recently revised in 2015, set out its policy on the connection of all loads to the transmission and distribution gas networks.
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) is statutorily responsible for all aspects of the assessment and licensing of prospective operators who wish to develop and/or operate a gas distribution system within the State under the Gas (Interim) (Regulation) Act 2002. It also approves the GNI Connections Policy.
I have no statutory function in relation to either the routing of pipelines or the connection of towns to the gas pipeline network.
April 26, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of charging points for electric motor vehicles in place in each county; the total cost per county of installing these facilities to date; and if he will provide a breakdown of the level of usage they generated in each county in 2015.
REPLY from Minister Alex White
The ESB, through its ecars programme, is continuing to roll out both publicly accessible charging infrastructure and domestic charge points. I am advised that 910 public charge-points have now been installed nationally. These include 78 DC fast chargers, most of which have been installed on major roads.
The location of these charge-points is available on the ESB’s website at https://www.esb.ie/our-businesses/ecars/charge-point-map. In addition, to the end of March 2016, ESB ecars had installed 1096 domestic chargers and 542 chargers on commercial premises.
The installation cost for these charge-points is an operational matter for the ESB. My Department does not hold information on the level of usage of these charge-points.
April 26, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the findings of any comparative analysis carried out by his Department, into the levels of fly-tipping and illegal dumping, reported by local authorities since the start of the economic downturn in 2008.
REPLY from Minister Alan Kelly
Enforcement action against illegal waste activity is a matter for the local authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Environmental Enforcement. My Department provides the legislative framework under which both local authority and EPA enforcement action is initiated and also continues to provide significant financial support to a network of local authority waste enforcement officers, as well as to the Office of Environmental Enforcement.
I would draw the Deputy’s attention to a range of reports and data on waste enforcement that is publicly accessible. For example, the Local Government Management Agency’s (LGMA) series of annual reports on Service Indicators in Local Authorities, provide data on a range of services including environmental complaints and enforcement and is available from the publications section of the LGMA’s website: www.lgma.ie
For an overview of the national picture, the publications and downloads section of the EPA‘s website (www.epa.ie) contains the latest data in the form of Waste Factsheets and the National Waste Reports.
In particular, the EPA published a report in 2014, entitled Focus on Environmental Enforcement in Ireland 2009 – 2012, which sets out the details of Ireland’s enforcement of environmental law, in the period 2009 to 2012, by local authorities and the EPA, and the role of the enforcement Network for Ireland’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (NIECE) in improving the effectiveness of enforcing environmental law.
The report noted that almost 15,000 local authority inspections relating to waste facility permitted sites, waste collection permits, and vehicle checkpoints were completed by local authorities between 2009 and 2012. Excluding litter inspections, local authorities conducted in total over 105,000 waste inspections between 2009 and 2012.
April 26, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will publish any recent research that national tourism authorities have conducted into overseas visitors’ attitudes to the levels of littering here; and his views on the extent of the problem.
REPLY from Minister Paschal Donohoe
Research on visitor attitudes and in particular the attitudes on litter is carried out by the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland, as part of their Visitor Attitudes Survey.
The findings of their most recent Visitor Attitudes Survey for 2015 can be accessed at http://www.failteireland.ie/Research-Insights/Visitor-Feedback-(1).aspx.
The survey confirms that our scenery and unspoilt environment are significant factors in considering Ireland as a holiday destination. Furthermore, the survey shows that 83% were satisfied that Ireland is "litter free / pollution free".