Written Answers - National Drugs Strategy.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 706 No. 2

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  202.  Deputy Róisín Shortall  Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   if her attention has been drawn to the importance of an initiative (details supplied) for third level education in terms of improving retention and participation in school; and if in view of the cost effectiveness of this project, she will undertake to maintain her Department’s funding. [14448/10]

Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  My Department has provided funds for over thirty projects in Local Drugs Task Force areas, including the project specifically referred to by the Deputy.

The projects are administered by the three VECs in Dublin City, Dublin County and in Dún Laoghaire, while the remaining three projects are funded directly by my Department.

In the context of the budget for 2010 and the difficult fiscal climate, it was decided that funding for these projects was to be reduced from €3,643,000 in 2009 to €2,461,000 in 2010 and to cease from 2011.

In the Dublin City area, a decision was taken to prioritise those projects where frontline staff were employed. In that context, no allocations were made to a small number of projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy.

It is important to note that since 1990 my Department has funded an Initiative for Third Level Education in the same locality as the project in question. The interventions under this initiative, both financial and cultural, aim to increase educational aspirations not only in the schools but also in the wider community and to increase the participation rate of pupils from the area in third level education.

  203.  Deputy Róisín Shortall  Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the scope of the review by her Department on the implications of Budget 2010 cuts to local drugs task force mainstreamed projects; the timescale of this review; the precise format of same; when this information will be made available to each of the projects; and if in view of the impact of these cuts in the most disadvantaged areas, she will consider reversing this decision. [14449/10]

Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  My Department provides funds for over thirty projects in Local Drugs Task Force areas.

In the context of the budget for 2010 and the difficult fiscal climate, it was decided that funding for these projects was to be reduced from €3,643,000 in 2009 to €2,461,000 in 2010 and to cease from 2011.

My Department is currently reviewing the implications of the budget decisions relating to funding allocations for all of these projects.

A key aspect of the review is to determine whether my Department is the appropriate location for these projects or whether funding could more appropriately be channelled through another Department or agency. In this regard, officials of my Department have held discussions [382]with officials in the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to determine whether projects which involve a significant element of youth work might be more appropriate to that Office. These discussions are ongoing.

A number of the projects are being reviewed within my Department in the context of their work being similar to that of other Departmental initiatives aimed at preventing early school leaving.

I anticipate that the examination of the projects and related discussions with the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will be completed shortly and that a report on the findings of the review will be provided to me for consideration.


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