155. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the status of an application by persons (details supplied) for a medical card; and when they can expect a decision on their case. (Question 53298/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Medical Card Applications)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, I have referred this query to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy. 
 ...

246. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will reconsider the household benefit package criteria for persons under 66 years of age that are living with another adult with the view to including those in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance as a qualified adult; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53350/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Household Benefits Scheme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The household benefits package (HHB) comprises the electricity or gas allowance, and the free television licence. My Department will spend approximately €232 million this year on the household benefits package for over 434,000 customers. 
The package is generally available to people living in the State, aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of a social welfare type payment or who satisfy a means test. The package...

43. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps taken by his Department to address the pay and conditions of the Defence Forces personnel as highlighted by a group (details supplied) in a recent protest. (Question 53034/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: This question is to ascertain whether the Minister of State has taken any steps to address the poor terms and conditions experienced by members of the Defence Forces, as highlighted a fortnight ago by the Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces, WPDF, organisation when it organised a 24-hour vigil outside Leinster House on Wednesday, 29 November.
 ...

58. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the action he has taken further to the Dáil Éireann motion prohibiting the use of Lariam as a drug of first choice for soldiers deployed overseas in areas in which exposure to malaria is a risk. (Question 52874/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Medicinal Products)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I stated in my reply to the Private Members’ Motion, which was before the Dáil on 28 June, fundamentally the use of anti-malarial drugs is a medical matter that should be decided by qualified medical professionals. In the Defence Forces these are decisions for highly qualified Medical Officers having regard to the specific circumstances of the mission and the individual member of the Defence Forces.
As I have outlined previo...

61. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the chemical exposure report 1994 to 2005 produced in 2014 by a person (details supplied); if a copy of that report was made available to the independent reviewer to allow them carry out a full assessment of the way in which the Air Corps dealt with recent whistleblowers’ statements; if not, the reason therefor; and if its publication will be authorised. (Question 52875/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Reports)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I can confirm to the Deputy that my attention has been drawn to the Chemical Exposure Report 1994 to 2005. As I outlined to the Deputy in my reply to Parliamentary Question number 547 of 26 September 2017, the report was undertaken in the context of ongoing legal proceedings. As the report is subject to legal privilege, it was not appropriate to make it available to the independent reviewer. The material used for the purpose ...

76. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps taken by his Department to increase the capacity of the Air Corps to provide priority air transfers for medical treatment in view of the fact that the service was suspended in 2016. (Question 52872/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Air Corps Operations)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Air Corps provides a broad range of services in accordance with its primary security role.  It also undertakes a diverse range of non-security-related tasks on an ‘as available’ basis. This includes providing an inter-hospital service on an ‘as available’ basis to the HSE, providing for the transfer of patients, including priority 1 patients, to the UK using Air Corps Aircraft.
The inter-hospital service is overseen by the ...

81. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his Department’s Estimates for each year since 2008; the percentage of GDP and GNP it was annually; if he has had communications with the Minister for Finance to increase it to the EU average of 1.4% or the proposed EU 2% of GDP annually in line with NATO countries projected military spend and with President Donald Trump’s pronouncements. (Question 52876/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Expenditure by my Department for Vote 35 (Army Pensions) and Vote 36 (Defence) for 2008 to 2016 is as set out in the table below, along with expenditure expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP). The Army Pensions and Defence budget provision for 2017 is €921 million. 2017 GDP and GNP figures are not expected to be published until Q2, 2018.
Defence Expenditure (Votes 35 & 36) 200...

85. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the fact that when the State Claims Agency interviewed Air Corps personnel in Baldonnel in 2013 that its attention was drawn to the fact that personal protection equipment was not being supplied to personnel and that it commissioned the formation safety office with performing a retrospective examination of at least one area of Casement Aerodrome, the engine repair flight workshop (details supplied); if he was informed by the State Claims Agency or the formation safety office of its findings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52873/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I have previously indicated to the Deputy, the Report of the Air Corps Formation Safety Officer was undertaken in the context of ongoing legal proceedings and it was in that context that the Report was requested by and provided to the State Claims Agency. As the Report was undertaken in the context of a claim, it is legally and professionally privileged. 
 ...

128. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 129 of 14 November 2017, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the State Claims Agency commissioned a retrospective report covering 1980 to 2007 to be carried out by the formation safety office Air Corps on much of Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnell, which was issued on 6 February 2014; if the State Claims Agency carried out actions on receipt of the report such as issuing findings to the Minister for Defence, the Health and Safety Authority, the chief of staff of the Defence Forces or Casement Aerodrome authorities; and if it withheld it for future use or not as it saw fit in legal proceedings being pursued against the State. (Question 53000/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - State Claims Agency)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The SCA have informed me that in answering question 129 of 14  November 2017 it interpreted the request to relate to its audit programme carried out by its Risk Unit. They have also informed me that in August 2013 on receiving a claim in which it was alleged that personal injuries were caused by exposure to toxic substances in Baldonnel, the SCA emailed Litigation Branch and Claims Administration asking that a Liaison Officer (L.O.) be appointed to...

302. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied). (Question 51427/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Hospital Appointments Status)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
 In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have...

491. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for disability allowance; and when a decision can be expected in the case. (Question 51609/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Disability Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): I confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance from this gentleman on 31 October 2017. The medical part of the application was incomplete and was returned to the gentleman on 10 November 2017. The completed medical report was received back from the gentleman on 27 November 2017. On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspects of the claim a deci...

492. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a half rate carer’s allowance payment; and when a decision can be expected. (Question 51610/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I can confirm that my Department received applications for carer allowance (CA) from the person concerned in respect of her mother and son on the 31 May 2017 and 7 June 2017 respectively. It is a condition for receipt of CA that the person being cared for must have a disability whose effect is that they require full-time care and attention. 
This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and...

621. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the funding from his Department in conjunction with Dublin City Council, for the Dublin City Community Co-operative Society will be retained or increased in 2018 and beyond to ensure the continuation of a vital project (details supplied). (Question 49876/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Departmental Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I assume that the Deputy is referring to transitional funding provided by my Department to the Dublin Inner City Community Co-operative Society on behalf of its members including the organisation referred to. I am aware of the issues regarding the transitional funding arrangements in place since 2015. I wish to confirm that my Department officials have met with officials from Dublin City Council and have agreed a plan in relati...

635. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is compulsory to return to JobPath in the case of a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that they completed a year on JobPath in August 2017. (Question 49901/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - JobPath Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All Jobseekers on the live register must be capable of; available for and actively seeking full time employment, they are also required to engage with the Department’s activation services. The Social Welfare (Consolidated) Act 2005, as amended, specifies that participation in activation meetings is mandatory. 
Clients for JobPath are chosen by means of a random selection process and protocols for selection currently...

222. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is a defibrillator in each primary, secondary and higher education institution in the country. (Question 49190/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Defibrillators in Schools Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take questions Nos. 222 and 224 together.
I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision to install a defibrillator is made at local level and is a matter for the governing authority of each individual school and higher education institution. 
My Department does not have information relating to the estimated cost of installing a defibrillator which, I expect, would depend on the variety of defibrillator model installed, toget...

223. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if all teachers in primary, secondary and higher education institutions are mandated to be trained in the use of a defibrillator. (Question 49191/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Defibrillators in Schools Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Under the provisions of the Education Act 1998, the board of management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school. Schools are required to take all reasonable precautions to provide training for teachers to ensure the safety and welfare of their pupils. 
In recognition of the responsibility which the Education Act has imposed on Boards of Management and the increasingly complex environment in which they must operate, my...

224. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of installing a defibrillator in every primary, secondary and higher education institution in the country. (Question 49192/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Defibrillators in Schools Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take questions Nos. 222 and 224 together.
I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision to install a defibrillator is made at local level and is a matter for the governing authority of each individual school and higher education institution. 
My Department does not have information relating to the estimated cost of installing a defibrillator which, I expect, would depend on the variety of defibrillator model installed, toget...

224. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a social welfare payment to a person (details supplied) was stopped in August 2017; and if the payment can be reinstated as soon as possible. (Question 48415/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Illness Benefit Payments)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Illness Benefit is payable to persons who are incapable of work due to illness and who satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions. During the course of a claim a person can be referred for examination by one of my Department’s Medical Assessors to ascertain if the medical conditions for receipt of the payment continue to be satisfied.
The person concerned is in receipt of Illness Benefit s...

231. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there are live tenders for the purchase of equipment such as armaments, clothing, ammunition, vehicles and so on; if there are contracts for the purchase of defensive equipment due to go to tender within the next six months; if so, the type of defensive equipment to be purchased, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48375/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 235, inclusive, together.
The primary focus for the procurement of defensive equipment by the Department of Defence is to maintain the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to fulfil the roles as assigned by Government. This includes undertaking overseas Peace Support Operations, and in this regard to afford the greatest possible force protection to Irish troops whilst on all missions. 
T...

232. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the live and upcoming tenders for the purchase of defensive equipment; the date of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48376/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 235, inclusive, together.
The primary focus for the procurement of defensive equipment by the Department of Defence is to maintain the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to fulfil the roles as assigned by Government. This includes undertaking overseas Peace Support Operations, and in this regard to afford the greatest possible force protection to Irish troops whilst on all missions. 
T...

233. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the contracts awarded to Israeli companies for the purchase of equipment, goods or services procured from Israeli based firms and companies over the past ten years by his Department or the Defence Forces; the value of each contract awarded; the nature of the goods procured under each contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48377/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 235, inclusive, together.
The primary focus for the procurement of defensive equipment by the Department of Defence is to maintain the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to fulfil the roles as assigned by Government. This includes undertaking overseas Peace Support Operations, and in this regard to afford the greatest possible force protection to Irish troops whilst on all missions. 
T...

234. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 62 of 17 May 2017, the number of firms that submitted tenders for the contract on the purchase of drones for the Defence Forces; the names of all such companies, the countries in which each firm was based; the difference in monetary terms between the value of the contract awarded and the next lowest tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48378/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 235, inclusive, together.
The primary focus for the procurement of defensive equipment by the Department of Defence is to maintain the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to fulfil the roles as assigned by Government. This includes undertaking overseas Peace Support Operations, and in this regard to afford the greatest possible force protection to Irish troops whilst on all missions. 
T...

235. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if EU legislation, the EUROMED agreement or the EU Neighbourhood Agreements provide for the refusal to award a contract for the purchase of military or defensive equipment in circumstances in which there is reason to believe that the equipment may have been used or manufactured by those involved in the commission of significant atrocities and human rights abuses; the circumstances in which such provisions may be enacted; if such provision may be enacted by a member state unilaterally; if the government has ever enacted such provision; if he has ever sought or received legal advice on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48379/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces Contracts)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 235, inclusive, together.
The primary focus for the procurement of defensive equipment by the Department of Defence is to maintain the capability of the Irish Defence Forces to fulfil the roles as assigned by Government. This includes undertaking overseas Peace Support Operations, and in this regard to afford the greatest possible force protection to Irish troops whilst on all missions. 
T...

129. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the reason the State Claims Agency did not seek assistance from the Health and Safety Authority immediately when it discovered in 2013 and 2014 that serious and ongoing breaches of health and safety legislation, including lack of risk assessments, lack of chemical training and lack of personal protection equipment, were causing ongoing harm to personnel of all Air Corps ranks and none; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48048/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - State Claims Agency)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The NTMA have advised me that the State Claims Agency did not undertake audits in the Defence Forces in 2013 and 2014.
 ...

455. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) was not eligible to receive the fuel allowance; and if the decision can be reviewed. (Question 47636/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Fuel Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week from October to April, to some 376,000 low income households to assist them with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household.
In order to be eligible for fuel allowance, a person must be in receipt of a qualifying payment...