Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
628. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the proportion of her Department’s training budget that is spent on refunds to staff in respect of night-time or weekend study courses; the list of all courses funded by her Department in the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29390/05]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): The Department of Agriculture and Food administers the refund of academic fees scheme, under which staff can claim fee refunds in respect of attendance at, and completion of, approved second and third level courses. A list of courses funded by the Department of Agriculture and Food in the past three years is set out as follows. In 2004, 12.4% of the total staff training and development budget was spent on the refund of academic fees scheme, to date in 2005, 10.6% of this budget has been spent on this scheme.
The following is a list of courses funded under the refund of academic fees scheme for the last three years, 2002-2004, inclusive: advanced diploma in PC applications; Association of Chartered Certified Accountants course; BA degree, economics and French; BA in accounting and finance; BA in business studies; BA in health studies-psychology-sociology; BA in history and English; BA in international studies; BA in public administration; BA in public management; BA in training and education; BA degree in humanities; BA local and community studies degree; BA modular arts degree; Bachelor in business studies; bachelor of laws LLB; bachelor of science degree in rural development; bachelor of technology; barrister at law degree; BBS accounting GMIT Galway; BBS degree in human resources; BBS Degree in information systems management; BBS degree, accounting stream; BBS diploma in IT; BBSc in industrial relations-human resources; BCL-evening law programme; BSc Degree in IT; BSc in chemical sciences; BSc in information technology and computing; BSc in natural-environmental science; BSc in technology management; business management course, finance and information; certificate in animal welfare, science, ethics and law; certificate in business administration-business law; certificate in business studies; certificate in managing change; certificate in public management; certificate in quality management; certificate in Supervisory Management; certificate in technology, computer applications; certified accounting technician programme; certified payroll technician; chartered accountant exams; computing and mathematical sciences; cpa accountancy; cpd eu law; data computing and information; degree in accounting and finance; degree in business studies, it stream; diploma in accounting and finance; diploma in applied European law; diploma in business studies; diploma in chemistry; diploma in computer applications; diploma in computer science; diploma in European law; diploma in first line management; diploma in human resource development; diploma in Irish; diploma in legal studies, degree; diploma in management and employee relations; diploma in meat technology; diploma in people management; diploma in politics and government; diploma in project management; diploma in public relations; diploma in supervisory management; diploma in sustainable rural development; diploma in veterinary epidemiology and public health; diploma of Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; diploma in personal management; executive Masters of business administration; foundations of senior management; GCSE Spanish; graduate diploma in media development in education; IATI technician course international studies course; introduction to European law ;leaving certificate honours Irish; legal practice course; LLM environmental law and management; MA in agricultural economics; MA in food safety management; MA in public management; MA in rural development; master of veterinary medicine; MSc by research, biology; Msc in agricultural economics; MSc in agriculture; MSc in animal health and production; MSc in development management; MSc in education and training management; MSc in environmental health risk management; MSc in European food regulatory affairs; MSc in food safety management; MSc in food science and technology; MSc in GIS; MSc in livestock, health and production; MSc in management of operations; MSc in quality assurance; MSc in veterinary epidemiology and public health; MSc masters in project finance and venture management; national certificate in business studies; national certificate in public management; NUI accredited finance course at IPA; Open University law degree; Oscail arts degree; pathology postgraduate; PhD — salmonella in pigs; PhD, Scrapie; PhD at the National College of Ireland; PhD in agriculture; PhD in biological molecular sciences; PhD in neospora caninum infection; PhD in veterinary medicine; PhD in science; postgraduate diploma in biomedical sciences; postgraduate diploma in development management; preparatory course for Law Society of Ireland; rural environmental conservation; STRATEGY- Module 2 of MBA course; teacher diploma in information technology; thesis for a masters degree by research; certificate in project management; MSc graduate diploma in Internet systems; and a core network skills course.
629. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the amount spent by her Department on briefcases; the amount refunded to staff in her Department in respect of purchases of briefcases; the number of staff who have received briefcases; the number of staff who have received refunds for briefcases they purchased; the largest single amount paid or refunded in respect of one briefcase; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29405/05]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): The Department of Agriculture and Food has spent a total of €6,139.88 on 191 briefcases since 1 January 2003. These briefcases have been supplied to officers of the Department for official use in the course of their duties. The policy within the Department is to purchase briefcases centrally and provide them to areas on appropriate requisition for official business. We do not reimburse staff who have personally purchased briefcases. The unit cost of the most expensive briefcase purchased in this period was €131.89.
630. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of personal digital assistants provided to staff in her Department; the cost of same; the cost of the most expensive personal digital assistant purchased to date; the grades to which these devices are issued; if personal digital assistants are issued as a matter of course or are subject to preparation of a business case which is subsequently scrutinised; if so, by whom the final decision on allocation of personal digital assistants is made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29420/05]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mary Coughlan): My Department has purchased some 85 PDA devices for over 4,000 staff. The vast majority cost of some €600 each and the most expensive was approximately €735. The majority of these devices were purchased in 2001. Since then, the purchase price of such devices has reduced significantly.
Policy regarding issuance of PDA devices was considered and set by the e-Government assistant secretary group, a subgroup of the MAC in my Department. The policy requires the preparation of a business case that is scrutinised and decided at assistant secretary general level. The majority of devices were provided on a case by case basis to senior management.
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