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Hospitality and Tourism Sector: Motion [Private Members] (19 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I welcome the opportunity to respond to some of the issues raised in the debate on the motion put forward by the Rural Independent Group. Deputies expressed the view that the 9% VAT rate should be brought back and made permanent for the tourism and hospitality sector. The Deputies proposing the motion also asked that VAT rates be varied across the country such that areas outside Dublin...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Sports Facilities (19 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: Sport Ireland does not provide capital funding to developments outside the national sports campus. My Department operates two capital funding programmes for sport, namely the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) and the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). The SCEP is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Sports Organisations (19 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I regularly meet the CEO of Sport Ireland, Dr. Una May, at a wide range of sports events, launches and formal cross-sport engagement structures, such as the Sports Leadership Group, which meets approximately every quarter. In addition, my officials and I meet periodically with Dr. May to discuss sports policy and governance, as well as Sport Ireland's annual programme and strategic plans ...

Protection of Accident Victims from Non-Consensual Recording of Images Bill 2022: Second Stage [Private Members] (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Deputy for bringing forward the Bill. The Government will not oppose it. I look forward to engaging with Deputies today but, in general, the Minister of State, Deputy Browne, and the Minister, Deputy McEntee, look forward to engaging with Deputy Smith on this. We have all been appalled at the phenomenon of sharing videos of accidents and their aftermath. Some truly shocking...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Animal Welfare (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: The footage shown last night was appalling and the actions of the individuals shown are abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Deputy Coveney raised some interesting questions. I am reluctant to go too far in light of potential prosecutions and the Department's determination to bring the full force of the law to bear. However, I have no doubt that horse butchers in European countries where...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Animal Welfare (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: As I am not in the Department of agriculture, I am not in a position to answer that but I will make sure that question gets put to the Minister for agriculture as a matter of urgency.

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Septic Tanks (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I thank Deputy Flaherty for his comments and will relay them to the Minister, Deputy O'Brien. Grant support is available for households where there are identified water pollution risks. However, it should be noted that, under the Water Services Act, the owner of a system is responsible for its maintenance and for keeping it in good repair. The local authorities have a key role in the...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Animal Welfare (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: Last night's "RTÉ Investigates", which I also watched, showed really horrifying footage of welfare abuses on a farm premises adjacent to the sole horse slaughter plant in Ireland, as well as potential breaches of traceability rules in Ireland and member states across the EU. The behaviour seen last night is utterly unacceptable. It is disgusting and entirely inconsistent with the...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Septic Tanks (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue and providing me with the opportunity to address the matter on behalf of the Minster for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The policy of providing grant support for domestic wastewater treatment systems, or septic tank grants, arises from the need to address damage being done to water quality in sensitive areas, in particular, and in...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Education Costs (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: The Senator raises a very important issue. I am happy to provide an update to him. The Funding the Future Framework, published in May 2022, outlines the Government's vision for how higher education will be funded and how this will support students, employers and wider society. At the core of this approach is the maintenance of a dual focus on increasing recurrent funding for our third...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Education Costs (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: Funding the Future outlines an ambitious programme of reform, centred on improving quality, driving skills and engagement, enhancing student participation and creating a more unified third level system. The measures taken over the last two budgets represent the Government’s response to Funding the Future. They signal the policy intention to improve the standing of our higher...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Further and Higher Education (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Senator for raising this issue as it gives me a chance to provide an update to the House on the current position on the recently announced closure of Newpark Academy of Music. Newpark Academy of Music is a separate entity and simply does not come within the remit of the Department of Education. It has operated from Melfield House, a 200-year-old building on the grounds of...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Further and Higher Education (13 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I fully understand and appreciate the concerns the Senator raised. That said, the decision to close the academy was not made by the Department of Education. The academy is not in any way under the remit of the Department of Education. The role of the Department of Education is to support, fund and deliver primary and post-primary education in the State. This is the update as far as the...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Pleanáil Teanga (11 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: Chuir Foras na Gaeilge dréacht plean teanga do Bhaile Seirbhíse na Gaeltachta An Chlochán faoi bhráid na Roinne ag deireadh 2023. Tar éis don Roinn an plean teanga a mheas bhí gá dul ar ais chuig an bhForas chun soiléiriú a fáil i leith roinnt gnéithe. Is mian liom a dheimhniú go bhfuil leagan leasaithe den phlean teanga faighte ag...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Sports Funding (11 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: A total of €166.6 million was provisionally allocated under the 2020 round of the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme. €16.6 million was provisionally allocated in equipment-only grants in August 2021 and €150 million in capital grants was provisionally allocated in February and May 2022. The progress on drawdown to date is set out below. SCEP 2020 – Drawdown...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Sports Funding (11 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. The 2023 round of the SCEP has seen a record number of applications received, including the application referred to, by the Deputy. On 9 May 2024, Minister Martin and I...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Sport and Recreational Development (11 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: Government funding for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is primarily aimed at supporting the delivery of programmes at local level. Considerable additional financial support has been provided by the state for the development of football in Ireland, particularly through the 2020 - 2023 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the government and the FAI. The MOU provided for a package...

Written Answers — Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: Swimming Pools (11 Jun 2024)

Thomas Byrne: My Department operates two capital funding programmes for sport, namely the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) and the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). Capital support for new swimming pools is currently being provided through the LSSIF subject to published guidelines and conditions of the scheme. The National Sports Policy, which was published in 2018, provided for...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Sports Funding (30 May 2024)

Thomas Byrne: In terms of checking whether funding is delivering the intended benefits, the Department does check. There is a rigorous process and we take a very hardline view on it. I do not get involved. I let our officials make sure the applications are done properly. The benefits of the funding are clear to see. I am visiting clubs around the country at the moment, seeing all the projects and...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Sports Funding (30 May 2024)

Thomas Byrne: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 15, 25, 31, 46 and 53 together. The sports capital and equipment programme, SCEP, is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreational facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment. It is the policy of the Department after every round of the sports capital programme that we undertake a review and...

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