109. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) will receive notification of an application for citizenship. (Question 41009/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Citizenship Applications)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is under consideration and a decision is expected to issue in the near future. 
As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain...

236. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the status of an application for a disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and when the person can expect a decision on their case. (Question 40737/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Disability Allowance Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I confirm that my Department is in receipt of an application for disability allowance from this man. On 5 December 2016 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation in order to finalise the claim. On receipt of this information a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly in writing of the outcome. I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
 ...

29. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will be attending the meeting of the European Council of Ministers in Brussels on 15 December 2016; and the Government’s position on the European Commission’s European defence action plan which is to be discussed there. (Question 39978/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - European Defence Action Plan)

Deputy Lisa Chambers: What are the implications for Ireland of the European defence action plan? Clearly, the EU is facing an unprecedented set of security challenges both within its borders and outside. It is my view that this plan is a reaction to those threats. I would like a statement from the Minister of State please. 
 ...

224. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the persons or bodies that specifically hold responsibility for ensuring tenants adhere to fire safety regulations within council properties. (Question 40290/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Fire Safety Regulations)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 258 together.
The Building Regulations 1997-2014, in particular Part B Fire Safety, impose requirements in relation to fire safety in the construction of new buildings and works to existing buildings. However, there are no regulations imposing requirements on the tenants of residential properties. 
Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Hous...

258. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the body that specifically holds responsibility for ensuring tenants adhere to fire safety regulations within council properties. (Question 40101/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Fire Safety Regulations)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 258 together.
The Building Regulations 1997-2014, in particular Part B Fire Safety, impose requirements in relation to fire safety in the construction of new buildings and works to existing buildings. However, there are no regulations imposing requirements on the tenants of residential properties. 
Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Hous...

671. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the contingency plans his Department has drawn up to allow the rapid deployment of troops to respond effectively to flooding emergencies and other natural disasters. (Question 39979/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Emergency Planning)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In accordance with the Framework for Major Emergency Management, primary responsibility for responding to severe weather events including flooding rests with the three designated principal response agencies. These are the relevant Local Authority, An Garda Síochána, and the Health Service Executive. In accordance with agreed arrangements, all of the available resources of the Defence Forces are made available, upon request and...

293. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason he attended a NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016. (Question 39066/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - NATO Membership)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Ireland’s cooperation with NATO is conducted through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) which we joined in 1999 following approval by Dáil Éireann. Ireland’s purpose in participating in the PfP is to improve Defence Forces capabilities and to ensure that our Defence Forces are interoperable with the forces of other States engaged in UN mandated crisis management operations. Ireland’s continued participation in Partnership for Pea...

294. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the location and number of houses currently owned and maintained by the military authorities. (Question 39068/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - Departmental Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The table shows the number of houses by location currently owned and maintained by the Department of Defence for military use: 
 Location Number Curragh 21 Baldonnel (Air Corps) 6 Dublin ` 6 Athlone 1 Cork 1 Galway 1 Gormanstown 1 Haulbowline (Naval Base) 1 Kilkenny 1 Limerick 1 Total 40 

In addition there are 45 properties owned by the Department of Defence which are no ...

295. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of boardings of fishing and other vessels for each year in the past ten years, in tabular form; the number of persons arrested and vessels and equipment confiscated. (Question 39069/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - Naval Service Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The main day to day role of the Naval Service is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State’s obligations as a member of the European Union. These patrols are carried out on a regular and frequent basis. 
The number of Naval Service boardings and detentions of fishing vessels for each of the past ten years is set out the in the table.
 Year Number of Boardings Number of Detentions 2016 (up to...

296. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans for the outsourcing of previously employed civilian tasks; and the number of civilian staff in the Defence Forces and current cost of employing such person versus private sourcing. (Question 39070/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - Defence Forces Personnel Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): My Department currently has 487 civilian employees supporting the work of the Defence Forces. The basic pay of these employees, net of employer PRSI, will be €16,742,661 in 2016. Employer PRSI will amount to €1,846,963.
The employees discharge a wide range of roles, including tradespeople and specialist posts and therefore, it is not possible to provide a comparison of employment costs with private outsourcing.
As part of the ...

494. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will clarify the Government’s position on the European military headquarters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38722/16 asked on 06 Dec 2016 - European Defence Capabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I previously advised the House on 27th September 2016, there have been proposals around for some time, that the EU should establish a joint operational headquarters to support the planning and conduct of its civil and military operations. A permanent joint civil-military operational headquarters, appropriately configured, could potentially deliver more effective and responsive CSDP operations in support of the UN and interna...

496. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if any contingency plans have been put in place involving the Naval Service to provide a replacement ferry service for the persons of Inis Mór on a temporary basis until a more permanent solution is found. (Question 38826/16 asked on 06 Dec 2016 - Ferry Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Defence Forces do not have contingency plans in place for the provision of such a service. While the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs was in contact with my Department and I undertook to consider any request that is received, it has been confirmed to me that ferry services to Inis Mór have now resumed. With regard to the provision of ferry services generally, the military authorities have...

65. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the types of contracts that exist between his Department, the HSE, the NTPF and private hospitals for treatments commissioned by the private sector; if contracts are awarded en bloc, either in terms of funding allocated, speciality and so on or on a case-by-case basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37861/16 asked on 01 Dec 2016 - National Treatment Purchase Fund Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 65 together.
The NTPF was established on a statutory basis in 2004 and previously arranged for the provision of hospital treatment to classes of persons determined by the Minister. Since 2011 this function has been suspended. 
Budget 2017 provides for the treatment of our longest waiting patients. €20m is being allocated to the NTPF, rising to €55m in 2018. 
On foot of this allocation the NTPF recently issued a Pr...

93. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the 48 recommendations of the national steering group on rare diseases; the specific actions that are being taken on access to medication and technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37862/16 asked on 01 Dec 2016 - Rare Diseases Strategy)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The National Rare Disease Plan for Ireland (2014 - 2018) recommended that an Oversight Implementation Group of relevant stakeholders, including patients’ groups, be established to oversee and monitor implementation of the plan’s recommendations. This group was established by the Department of Health in 2015 and it has met on a number of occasions. 
One of the principal recommendations in the Plan was the establishment of a National Clinical Programme f...

104. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if an application for the back to education allowance will be awarded without delay as the person (details supplied) has no financial means. (Question 37871/16 asked on 30 Nov 2016 - Back to Education Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The person mentioned made enquiries about accessing the back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) at her local Intreo Centre. She was given an application form and subsequently returned the completed form. Her application was examined by a deciding officer and she was refused a back to education allowance because she did not meet a basic qualification of the scheme, i.e., that a person must be in receipt of a jobseekers payment for at least...

132. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will review its policy that states a nurse that provides care under a home care package cannot be left alone with a child they are caring for in order that single mothers such as a person (details supplied) may be able to leave their child in the care of a nurse, leaving them to take a break and spend time with their other children. (Question 37835/16 asked on 30 Nov 2016 - Home Care Packages)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality ...

142. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be awarded a bed in the national rehabilitation programme to undergo a three month programme. (Question 37875/16 asked on 30 Nov 2016 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality ...

248. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he is considering increasing the housing assistance payment limit in view of the increase in rents. (Question 36934/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Housing Assistance Payments)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Government increased the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) (and Rent Supplement) rent limits in every local authority area, taking account of geographic variations in market rents, with effect from 1 July 2016 meeting its stated commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government and Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. In addition, additional flexibility above the existing...

464. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs her plans to re-establish the decades of centenaries all-party consultative committee; and her further plans regarding future commemorative events related to events 100 years ago falling during her term of office. (Question 32802/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Commemorative Events)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 371 of 22 November 2016. 
 ...

771. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the sustainability fund; the criteria for inclusion in the interventions to assist community and not-for-profit child care services announced as a consequence of budget 2017; and when it will be rolled out. (Question 37187/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Child Care Services Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): In Budget 2017 provision was made for a fund of €1m to assist in the investigation of sustainability issues being faced by childcare providers, and to develop a policy to guide any future interventions. This initiative is at an early stage and officials will commence work in this regard in early 2017. At present there is no fund in place that would provide additional funding to services beyond the funding to which they are ent...

772. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the new regulations coming on stream in January regarding the use of community employment participants and their education levels in community and not-for-profit child care services will cause difficulties and challenges for the services to stay within the regulations; and her views on the matter. (Question 37188/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Child Care Services Regulation)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, registered providers of pre-school services will, from 31st December 2016, be required to ensure that each employee working directly with children attending the service holds at least a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework or a qualification deemed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs ...

773. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the ECCE child care scheme has caused some difficulties for some child care providers especially if they are open 50 weeks a year (details supplied). (Question 37189/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Community Childcare Subvention Programme )

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Officials from my Department have sought clarification from the Deputy as to what is meant by CSSF funding, and it is my understanding that the Deputy is referring to the Community Childcare Subvention Programme. Childcare service providers receive grant funding from the Department for the provision of ECCE for a period of 38 weeks, as per the 2016/17 ECCE grant funding agreement. Community/not for profit Childcare services th...

774. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on whether there is a crisis of sustainability in the child care sector not only in terms of pay and conditions for staff but in terms of the availability of qualified staff to deliver on new standards. (Question 37190/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Child Care Services Staff)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Although my Department does not act as employer to childcare it does acknowledge that the sector is under cost pressure, and that staff wages are a large component of cost. To go some way towards addressing this, I have secured additional funding of €14 million in Budget 2017 which will enable ECCE providers to be paid for a 39th week and part of a 40th week (7 ECCE days in total or 1.4 ECCE weeks) where they will have no child...

775. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the measures announced recently in budget 2017 and the way they impact on parents; the way parents will avail of or be identified for the affordable child care scheme; and her views on whether parents should be able to apply online prior to September 2017. (Question 37191/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Child Care Costs)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): A major policy priority for me is the development of a new Affordable Childcare Scheme, which is a major step in making quality childcare more affordable, and will enable both universal and targeted subsidies for parents towards their childcare costs. Under the new scheme, parents will qualify for a targeted subsidy based on their net income, and the highest levels of support will be offered to those on the lowest incomes. 
Bud...

776. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the new non-contact grant for child care services will be rolled out and first instalments paid to the services. (Question 37192/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - Child Care Services Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I have made €14.5m available to provide an additional payment to childcare providers to recognise the increasing volume of work done outside of direct contact hours with children. This funding will provide an additional payment of 7 days’ funding to all ECCE Services - and an equivalent level of payment to CCS and TEC services.
This will enable ECCE providers to be paid for a 39th week and part of a 40th week (7 ECCE days in t...