On Tuesday, I spoke on my colleague Deputy Clare Daly’s amendments to the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018. On Wednesday morning, I asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment about cybersecurity and new regulations for Operators of Essential Services and I enquired whether the Irish government was lethargic on cybersecurity issues.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has this week received a reply to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) confirming that the Child and Family Agency, TUSLA, is now spending over €2.5 million per month on agency staff. This has increased greatly from 2016 where €1.552 million was the average monthly spend on agency staff and in 2017, €2.1 million was spent on average monthly. Over €18.6 million was paid to agencies during 2016 and that figure jumped to over €25.2 million in 2017. By the end of July this year, TUSLA had already spent €17.65 million on paying agency staff.
Deputy Tommy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, to report on the number of aftercare workers recruited by Tusla in 2015, 2016 and to date in 2017 and also for the number that left during the same period. In a reply received from Tusla today, Deputy Broughan was informed that there is not a separate grade for aftercare workers and so was provided with the annual figures for social care workers. In 2015, 35 social workers were hired and 42 left (-7); in 2016, 55 were hired and 56 left (-1) and to date this year 10 social workers had been hired while 13 had left (-3). Therefore, since 2015 there were 100 people hired as social workers but 111 left the service.
Deputy Tommy Broughan today received a response to a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, regarding the number of open cases with the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, without an allocation of a social worker. The reply states that up to the end of June 2016, “there were 26,214 open cases, of which 5,610 were without an allocated social worker”. While Deputy Broughan notes that this is a welcome reduction of 16% in ‘unallocated’ cases since the beginning of 2016, 21% of cases not having a social worker is still far too high and is completely unacceptable.