Dáil debates

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed)

Departmental Projects

1:50 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I do not have those figures in front of me. If, however, we believe in evidence-based policy, probably the best thing for us to do would be to examine those figures.

In terms of student accommodation, I believe that the growth of student accommodation across this city and other cities is very welcome. It brings young people into the area and brings greater diversity into different parts of the city and also frees up accommodation for others. Accommodation that would otherwise be used by people in the private rented market now becomes available. It is welcome that offices and businesses are moving into the north-east inner city area as well. I very much welcome the work that Dublin Port is doing to integrate itself with the north-east inner city. I had the pleasure to visit the port on Friday last and to witness again some of the work that Dublin Port Company is doing to integrate its activities with the surrounding community, which, I think, is very welcome. I want to applaud the company for that. Of course, none of this is being done to the exclusion of new social housing or the refurbishment of existing social housing. There are a number of projects under way in that regard.

When it comes to apprenticeships, I do not have the figures in front of me although I did a couple of days ago. There has been a very significant increase in the number of apprentices in recent years, in the last year or so, and it is very much on an upward trend and will increase into the future as well. Under the leadership of the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Richard Bruton, there has been a modernisation of apprenticeships, with new, different types of apprenticeships being added to the more traditional types. I think that is very welcome and it is further evidence that the Government is very supportive of apprenticeships as an educational and career option for young men and women.

I would say that over the past two years we have seen a sea change in Government policy towards apprenticeships. When the Labour Party controlled that Department, the number of apprenticeships was going down and there was not really any innovation or any new apprenticeships brought in-----

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