Woods, Michael J.

Tuesday, 12 December 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 528 No. 1

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Order of Business.

The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 18, motion re powers of Joint Committee on Health and Children; No. 19, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services – Votes 19 and 21; No. 1, Fishe...More Button

I assure the Deputies that I am doing everything in my power to bring this dispute to a satisfactory conclusion.More Button

I ask the Deputies to let me reply. I assure the Deputies opposite that I am doing everything I can, both behind and in front of the scenes, to bring this dispute to a conclusion.More Button

If the Deputies do not want me to respond I will not answer—More Button

Deputies Owen and Quinn asked if I would meet teachers. I want to make it clear that I met teachers and discussed the matter with them on two occasions.More Button

Unfortunately, the teachers were not prepared to work within the PPF and wanted 30% on the table outside the PPF and to talk about the PPF after that. We advanced through various discussions to last w...More Button

I again explained the improved pay terms of the PPF following last week's budget and the benefits to ASTI members. Under the new measures the salary of a new recruit will increase from £18,990 to £24,...More Button

I made efforts to bring forward benchmarking and was successful in that. I pressed on behalf of the teachers for adjustments in relation to inflation and was successful.More Button

The first day the ASTI came in to me it said it did not want benchmarking because it was too slow and would not deal with the issues that were there in the first instance, such as inflation.More Button

On behalf of all the teachers, I pressed the partners, as did the INTO and the TUI, to deal with those issues. I was as satisfied as they were when those issues were dealt with because they affect all...More Button

The benchmarking process is one which can deal with any of these issues as widely as is required. That is the interpretation and understanding of the benchmarking. It is also an entirely independent b...More Button

I understand the Minister has made arrangements that the National Community Games can proceed this year in Mosney.More Button

It will be before the House in the next session.More Button

This is a matter for scheduling which is a matter for the Whips. It will be here in the next session.More Button

A number of the Bills will be published this week. Towards the end of the week we will probably have a better picture.More Button

I will give the Deputy the details if he would like.More Button

The Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 2000, was published on 24 October and the Irish Film Board (Amendment) Bill, 2000, was published on 3 October. The Vocational Education Committee (Amendment)...More Button

We are busy most days. We are highly productive and more productive than some others when they were in office. The record will show that. The Electoral (Amendment) Bill is expected before Cabinet on 1...More Button

The Appropriation Bill was published on 11 December. The ICC Bank Bill was published on 18 October. The Courts and Court Officers Bill will be published during the Christmas recess. The Human Rights (...More Button

Legislation is not promised.More Button

It is being handled by the Red Cross.More Button

This is a Private Members' Bill. As the House will be aware, the Taoiseach is bringing forward a major package in relation to this matter. This Bill will be taken fully into account in that context.More Button

No.More Button

The Water Services Bill which has 180 heads is at an early stage of preparation. Work on that Bill is at a preliminary stage.More Button

The plan for the compensation fund is being worked on. What was the second question?More Button

The final text of that matter is being studied.More Button

Legislation will arise in that area. The Minister of State, Deputy Molloy, is working on it.More Button

I do not have a time for that but it will be as soon as possible.More Button

We have not given up on this yet, but it will not be before the Christmas recess.More Button

I certainly hope so.More Button

Written Answers. - Task Force on Autism.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the newly appointed task force on autism reflects the broad spectrum of teaching methods available; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am satisfied that the membership of the task force in question represents a broad range of expertise and experience in the field of autism, including the range of educational models available to chi...More Button

Was asked: if the task force on autism will examine issues such as health and support services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The terms of reference of the task force on autism require that it review the range of educational provision and support services available to children with autism. In fulfilling this remit, the task ...More Button

Written Answers. - Free Fees Initiative.

Was asked: his plans in respect of assisting part-time and evening students who do not presently qualify for free fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the free fees initiative, the State meets the tuition costs of eligible students, who are attending full-time undergraduate courses, which must generally be of at least two years duration, at ap...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will appoint a shared resource teacher to Carrigaholt National School, Kilbaha National School, Cross National School, Moveen National School, and Querrin National School; and if he will make a ...More Button

I am aware that an application for resource teacher support has been received from the schools referred to by the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the steps he will take to have a home school liaison officer appointed to a secondary school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will take steps to have a home school liaison officer appointed to a secondary school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 386 and 394 together. All second level schools which have been designated as disadvantaged have been invited to participate in the home-school-community liaison scheme...More Button

Written Answers. - Post-Primary School Funding.

Was asked: if his Department has studied the report on post-primary school funding; the steps he will take to redress the imbalance that existed in funding in this area; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: the action he will take following the report of the steering group into funding of second level schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 387 and 400 together. I have previously welcomed the report, referred to by the Deputy, which represents a comprehensive review of the funding arrangements of post-pri...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be given special needs assistance to permit her enter the mainstream education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for special needs assistant support has been received by my Department and is currently being investigated by my Department's inspectorate. When this investigation is complete, official...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made in respect of an application by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 for a special needs assistant.More Button

I understand that the person referred to by the Deputy was employed as a special needs assistant at the school in question in the last school year, to assist two special needs pupils enrolled in the s...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position concerning the proposed new school to replace St. Mary's Secondary School, Mallow, County Cork; the reasons for the delay in having the project progressed; if his attention has been drawn...More Button

My Department's planning and building unit is currently assessing the revised stage 4 submission, detailed design, for the proposed new school at St. Mary's, Mallow, County Cork. It is expected that t...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will direct that a matter concerning a classroom assistant (details supplied) will be addressed without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has sanctioned a part-time special needs assistant to help the school in meeting the needs of three special needs pupils, including the pupil referred to by the Deputy. This part-time po...More Button

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the need for schools (details supplied) to have children privately assessed.More Button

I understand from the authorities of the National Educational Psychological Service – NEPS – agency that the school in question, together with all the other primary schools in the area, has access to ...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who is entitled to three and a half hours of resource teaching per week is only getting two and a quarter hours per week.More Button

The pupil referred to by the Deputy is on the caseload of a resource teacher for children with special needs. I understand that the school, which the pupil attends, has made application to my Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Was asked: the measures he has taken to facilitate secondary school teachers to transfer to primary in view of the shortage of primary school teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As a response to a shortage in the supply of primary teachers, my Department requested the colleges of education to provide a postgraduate course to enable degree holders train as primary teachers. Th...More Button

Written Answers. - Victims of Abuse.

Was asked: if he will report on the meeting of 22 November 2000 between officials of his Department and representatives of abuse survivors groups; the groups present; the purpose of the meeting; the events which...More Button

The purpose of the meeting of 22 November was to discuss, with representatives of the main survivor groups, plans for the establishment of a national office to support victims of abuse, and in so far ...More Button

Written Answers. - Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscoileanna.

Was asked: an bhfuil sé sásta glacadh le héileamh Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta - Coiste na Mumhan - maidir leis an struchtúr nua don Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscoileanna (an t-eolas leis seo) agus an ...More Button

Forálann alt 31 den Acht Oideachais, 1998 go mbunóidh an tAire comhlacht daoine chun comh-ordú, tacú agus comhairle a chur ar fáil maidir le múineadh trí Ghaeilge agus múineadh na Gaeilge. Tá mo Roinn...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the number of facilitators that have been appointed by him since taking office to ensure that individual schools prepare and publish mission statements; the name of the people appointed; and the salar...More Button

The preparation of a mission statement is part of the school development planning process. The school development planning initiative – SDPI – was established with effect from 1 September 1999 to assi...More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: if his Department offers any scheme of financial assistance towards the purchase of computers for persons attending third level education who have hearing disabilities.More Button

In addition to the financial assistance available under the grant schemes for further and higher education, hearing impaired students attending courses in third level colleges-institutions and post le...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if his Department is in receipt of an application from a school (details supplied) in County Kildare to extend their school; if the necessary funds will be provided in 2001 to allow the development co...More Button

My Department's planning and building unit has recently examined the stage 1 submission, site suitability, in relation to the proposed extension at the school to which the Deputy refers. The school au...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in approving documentation submitted by a school (details supplied) in county Dublin; and if he will approve refurbishment and rebuilding of parts of this school.More Button

An application has been received in my Department, from the management authority of the school to which the Deputy refers, for the replacement of prefabs, the replacement of a building on the school c...More Button

Written Answers. - ASTI Talks.

Was asked: the action he will take in regard to continuing talks with the ASTI (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The ASTI lodged its claim for an immediate 30% increase last March. My Department negotiated with the ASTI and made an offer on its claim. The offer was not acceptable to the ASTI. The matter was then...More Button

Written Answers. - National Reading Initiative.

Was asked: the reason he has decided to discontinue funding for the national reading initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national reading initiative was launched on 21 January 2000 as a one year initiative with two briefs: to raise awareness in the general public of the importance of reading and to lay the foundatio...More Button

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: if an employee of a school (details supplied) in County Mayo can buy into a pension.More Button

My Department provides a grant under the PESP scheme towards the cost of secretarial services in the school, referred to by the Deputy. Under this scheme, grants are paid as additions to the standard ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

Was asked: the reason a two line acknowledgement has been his Department's only response to a request for the provision of additional accommodation for a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which was fir...More Button

My Department has recently completed an assessment of the long-term enrolment projections for the school referred to in the details supplied and a technical inspection of the school building will take...More Button

Written Answers. - Freedom of Information Act.

Was asked: the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department; the number of requests rejected; if he will review the treatment of freedom of information requests; and if he will make a sta...More Button

The total number of applications received in my Department under the Freedom of Information Act from 21 April 1998 – date of commencement of the Act – to 30 November 2000 was 2004. All requests receiv...More Button

Written Answers. - Student Support Schemes.

Was asked: if he will implement the recommendations of the report of the special project team and carry out a comprehensive review of every aspect of the third level maintenance grants for the 2001-02 academic y...More Button

In the present financial year expenditure on student support, including free fees, is expected to be about £250 million. In view of the scale of expenditure involved and the representations being made...More Button

Written Answers. - School Safety Provisions.

Was asked: if he has had any further discussions with other agencies in relation to improved safety provisions at St. Wolstan's Secondary School, Celbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

My Department appointed consultants to prepare a traffic report regarding safety conditions at St. Wolstan's Community School, Celbridge, County Kildare. This report is expected to be completed shortl...More Button

Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the criteria used for allocating additional top up grants to students from disadvantaged areas who proceed to third level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There is provision within the national development plan for a third level access fund totalling £95 million over the period of the plan, aimed at tackling under-representation by students from disadva...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: if he will give a progress report on an application by a school (details supplied) in Dublin 11 for major refurbishment works.More Button

My Department's building unit is currently examining a report prepared by the Office of Public Works on the proposed works at the school in question. The school authorities will be kept informed of de...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: if he will confirm that the extra bus which was provided for the transport of school children between schools (details supplied) in County Roscommon will be provided on a permanent basis; if its intro...More Button

The aim of the school transport scheme is to provide a basic level of service for rural pupils who might otherwise experience difficulty in attending school regularly. Given the high costs involved, t...More Button

Written Answers. - Industrial Relations Disputes.

Was asked: if staff in his Department involved in an industrial relations dispute and thereby working to rule, have been paid their wages on occasions when this form of protest has occurred.More Button

In industrial relations disputes, decisions in relation to the payment or non-payment of salary must take account of a range of factors including the nature and scale of the action and its impact upon...More Button

Written Answers. - Remote Area Grant Scheme.

Was asked: if he will confirm details of the remote areas grant for second level students; the numbers and cost involved; his views on whether the grant should be increased; and if this will be done.More Button

Under the remote area grant scheme, provision exists for the payment of grants in respect of pupils whose homes are outside the range of public transport services to schools providing suitable free se...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: if, in view of the recent clarification from the south Dublin planning authority (details supplied) he will direct his officials to proceed further with proposals for the provision of two primary scho...More Button

At my Department's request, two sites have been reserved in the Adamstown area of Lucan, one for a primary school and the other for a post-primary school, to meet anticipated need in the area. A furth...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has only a concessionary pass on the school bus service; the historical reasons regarding previous school closures that affect this decision; and ...More Button

A report has been requested from Bus Éireann on the matter. The Deputy will be advised of the outcome as soon as the report has been received and assessed.More Button

Written Answers. - Illegal Activities of Sects.

Was asked: the steps that have been taken to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe, Nos. 1178/92 and 1412/99 on the illegal activities of sects.More Button

The Deputy's question raises a number of points in relation to education.More Button

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Was asked: if he will significantly increase the higher education maintenance grant.More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to increase the student third level maintenance grant payment levels and also the qualifying thresholds.More Button

Was asked: the proposals he has to increase the maintenance grants for third level students; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views on the demand by the USI with regard to increases in grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 418, 425, 426 and 430 together. The statutory framework for the maintenance grants scheme, as set out in the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if a resource teacher will be appointed to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will give a timescale for the appointment in this regard.More Button

My Department's inspectorate is currently investigating an application for resource teacher support from the school referred to by the Deputy. As soon as the inspector's report is received in my Depar...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Funding.

Was asked: when he will sanction funding for the proposed development of Blackrock Town Hall, County Dublin as the senior college in Dún Laoghaire; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

No decision has yet been taken concerning the proposed acquisition and development of Blackrock Town Hall for use by Dún Laoghaire senior college.More Button

Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Was asked: the start up date for the GABAs, similar to the Cork ABA scheme, to start in Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware of the proposal to which the Deputy refers. My Department's inspectorate is currently pursuing possible arrangements for the establishment of an autism specific educational service for chi...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: his Department's guidelines regarding entitlement by a national school to a full-time learning support teacher; and when he will sanction a full-time support teacher for St. Patrick's Boys' National S...More Button

The Special Education Review Committee report recommended the provision of supplementary remedial teaching support to all pupils at first level, who score at or below the tenth percentile on standardi...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: the details of any discussions which have taken place between his Department and an organisation (details supplied) in relation to the disposal of the properties at Balloonagh and Moyderwell Secondary...More Button

Issues regarding the disposal of properties at Balloonagh and Moyderwell secondary schools, Tralee, County Kerry, consequent on the opening of the amalgamated secondary school at Mounthawk will be dea...More Button

Written Answers. - Roads Projects.

Was asked: if any discussions have taken place between his Department and the Department of the Environment and Local Government and Kerry County Council in relation to road improvements at Mounthawk, Tralee, Co...More Button

Consistent with normal practice and as part of the planning application process, discussions took place with Tralee UDC and the design team appointed to plan the new school at Mounthawk concerning the...More Button

Written Answers. - Physical Education Facilities.

Was asked: if he will provide funding to a school (details supplied) in County Kildare for the provision of physical education and utility room; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department will be pleased to consider an application for grant-aid from the school in question on receipt of a completed application form. A form is being sent to the school authorities.More Button

Written Answers. - School Accommodation.

Was asked: if, where rooms have become vacant in primary schools, the Department will accept offers from interested parties to provide crèches or play schools in them, and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: if a school (details supplied) in County Kildare will benefit from the funding allocated in the budget for disadvantaged schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have set the tackling of educational disadvantage as a priority and I will announce shortly the details of a new programme aimed at tackling educational disadvantage in selected primary schools over...More Button

Written Answers. - Education Welfare Act.

Was asked: when he will implement the terms of the Education Welfare Act, 2000; when he will establish the Education Welfare Board and appoint the members of the board; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

The Education (Welfare) Act was enacted on 5 July 2000. The Act itself provides that all of its provisions must be commenced within two years of enactment. The Act provides for the raising of the mini...More Button

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there can be up to a 30 minute delay in the pick up of two persons (details supplied) in County Sligo who are attending a special needs school; if he w...More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has recently sanctioned a home pick-up transport service for the two pupils in question. I expect that this will assist in alleviating any delays ...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will arrange to have a permanent resource teacher appointed to a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.More Button

The school in question does not have the services of a resource teacher. However, my Department has received an application for resource teacher support for a number of pupils attending the school. My...More Button

Written Answers. - Industrial Action.

Was asked: his views on the impact of the loss of teaching time to secondary school students as a result of the current industrial dispute involving the ASTI; if students will be at a disadvantage when sitting S...More Button

It is a cause of concern to me that any students, and particularly those in leaving certificate year, are experiencing disruption in their education as a result of the industrial action by the ASTI. T...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: the role and function of resource teachers in primary schools; the number of such teachers employed; the hours involved; the cost in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Resource teachers are allocated to provide teaching support for children with special educational needs arising from a disability, who are fully integrated in mainstream national schools, where there ...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the current position with regard to the proposed extension to a school (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

My Department's building unit requested the management of the school to which the Deputy refers to prepare a feasibility study. The feasibility study will address all necessary health and safety works...More Button


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