188. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health his plans to take action regarding the need for prompt approval of crucial funding a group (details supplied) to ensure that those living in urban and rural areas of counties Carlow and Kilkenny have equal access to important supports and resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53504/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Local Drugs Task Forces Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Local or Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces are responsible for allocating money for suitable projects, based on locally identified needs and priorities. Applications for funding for organisations should be made directly to the appropriate Drug and Alcohol Task Force, which in this case is South East Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
Contact details for Drug and Alcohol Task Forces are available at http://health.gov....

198. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on possible amendments to an agricultural scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53503/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - TAMS Administration)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The TAMS II Scheme has been very successful to date in terms of uptake with the number of approvals that have issued exceeding 11,660.  All of these approvals represent committed expenditure under the TAMS II measure of the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020. Until such time as these approvals are acted upon or expire the budget for TAMS must include provision for the potential expenditure involved.  There are no proposal...

199. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the absence of a time limit for the registration of newly born foals; if he has satisfied himself that the current arrangements are beneficial to stud owners in the collection of stud fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53505/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Equine Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The timeframe for registration of equines is governed by EU legislation (Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/262). With effect from 1 January 2016, all equines born in the EU must be identified and issued with a passport no later than 12 months from the date of birth of the equine. In order to ensure that the 12 month deadline can be met, under the terms of S.I. 62 of 2016, the keeper of the equine must submit a completed...

200. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if approval will be given to allow for on-site incineration of invasive weeds (details supplied); his plans to counteract potential impacts of these invasive weeds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53506/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Invasive Plant Species)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Following discussions between the Environmental Protection Agency, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Biodiversity Ireland, it was suggested that the level of regulation required for the management of waste arising from the cutting or excavation of invasive alien plant species may be disproportionate to the risk of environmental pollution posed by such activities.
Accordingly, in Autumn 2017, my Department sou...

173. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the summer works scheme application submitted by school (details supplied) to assist with the cost of window repairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52842/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Summer Works Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of a Category 7 application for  window replacement under the Summer Works Scheme from the school to which he refers. 
The current Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is being applied on a multi-annual basis. Nearly 50% of schools have applied for inclusion under the scheme which reflects a very high demand.
Almost €80 million has been approved to date under the SWS in respect of over 6...

251. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the status of the provision of overnight respite for children with special needs in counties Carlow and Kilkenny through the purchase of suitable property (details supplied); the position regarding the provision of interim alternative respite solutions for children with special needs in counties Carlow and Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52615/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Respite Care Services Provision)

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 o...

278. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the provision of services at a residential care centre (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52723/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - 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 ...

350. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the progress being made in alleviating waiting lists for day respite for parents of children with special needs in counties Carlow and Kilkenny in centres (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53083/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Respite Care Services Provision)

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 o...

351. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health his views on the significant number of parents of children with special needs that have had to take cases to the High Court due to failure in the provision of assessments of need by the Health Service Executive; his plans to alleviate the waiting lists for assessments of need for children with special needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53084/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Disabilities Assessments)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): This is an ongoing legal process and I do not wish to comment on the matter until these proceedings have been completed.
I have arranged for the Deputy’s question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.
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400. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the value of cross-compliance and non-compliance fines collected by his Department in 2015 and 2016; the value of such fines collected in the period concerned which were refunded to the European Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53026/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Agriculture Scheme Penalties)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The information requested by the Deputy is currently being complied and it will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as it is available.
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524. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied); if she will request that every effort is made by the disability allowance section to process this application before Christmas 2017 to provide financial assistance to the family; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53082/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from this lady in respect of her two children on 26 September 2017. She was notified on 7 December 2017 that her domiciliary care allowance claim has been awarded for her son. 
Further additional information in relation to her daughter’s care needs has been received and will now be considered before a decision is made in her case. S...

46. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in counties Carlow and Kilkenny as of 1 November 2017; the number of community gardaí in the division; and the number of Garda Reserve and new recruits assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 51634/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Garda Strength)

Deputy Bobby Aylward: How many gardaí are in each Garda station in Carlow-Kilkenny as of 1 November 2017; how many community Garda are in the division as a whole, how many Garda reservists and new recruits have been assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014?
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100. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has satisfied himself that the location of a school transport pick-up-drop-off point (details supplied) provides no health and safety risk to children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51326/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - School Transport)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. Currently over 114,000 children, including over 11,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually. Under the terms of my Department’s Post Primary School T...

101. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a meeting (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51327/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - School Transport Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently over 114,000 children, including over 11,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
Additional information relating to the children concerne...

284. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the date for the re-opening of beds at a hospital (details supplied) following receipt of Health Information and Quality Authority registration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50769/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Hospital Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
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458. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health if there has been a change to the reimbursement status of a drug (details supplied) in respect of the medical card scheme; the reasons for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50641/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

39. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress of general safety works and the tender documentation for the consultancy service for the proposed overbridge on the Piltown bypass on the N24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49342/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Road Projects Status)

Deputy Bobby Aylward: What progress has there been on the general safety works and the tender documentation for the consultancy service for the proposed overbridge on the Piltown bypass on the N24? Will the Minister make a statement on the matter?
 ...

51. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeframe for the national broadband plan and the measures contained to ensure equality in the roll-out of broadband services for rural areas, rural communities and regional towns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48678/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - National Broadband Plan Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I provided an outline on the current status of the National Broadband Plan in my response to earlier questions on today’s order paper.  The Deputy will be aware the aim of the NBP is to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that today over 65% of premises in Ireland have access to hig...

318. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the details of research undertaken to date by his Department to ensure the safety of the Gardasil vaccine; his plans to engage with the advocacy groups and families representing the 628 persons who claim to have suffered adverse health effects shortly after having received the vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48734/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): All medicines, including vaccines are subject to ongoing review and evaluation of all available data from a range of sources, including systematic scientific literature review, to consider any impact that their data may have on the overall assessment of the benefits and risks of a medicinal product. Taking into account the totality of the available information, the benefits of the HPV vaccines continue to outweigh their risks. The safety of these vacc...

47. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health if additional resources will be allocated to the existing cardiac catheterisation laboratory at University Hospital Waterford in order to increase the current capacity to accommodate the estimated 450 additional procedures that will be referred there through additional diagnostic angiograms set to be provided by mobile catheterisation lab; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48096/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Hospitals Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Funding of €0.5m was allocated in 2017 for Cardiology Services in University Hospital Waterford (UHW), as recommended in the Herity report, to increase planned Cath Lab sessions by 20%. I requested that the HSE maximise the benefit for patients from the €0.5m funding in respect of both additional sessions at the existing Cath Lab and the temporary use of a mobile Cath Lab for a specific period. The mobile Cath Lab was deployed for the short term provi...

169. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health if the HSE drugs committee group met on 14 September 2017 to discuss a drug (details supplied); if a decision was made to reimburse the drug; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48371/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.
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170. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the witnesses outside of the Health Service Executive drugs group which presented evidence at hearings in respect of reimbursement of a drug (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48372/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Medicinal Products)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.
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171. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the evidence the Health Service Executive drugs group considers in the assessment of rare and ultra rare diseases for drugs for potential reimbursement; the measures in place to ensure the participation of impartial expert clinicians in this assessment process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48373/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Rare Diseases)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 171 together.
In June 2017 a new Committee called the “Rare Diseases Medicinal Products/Technology Review Committee” was established by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The terms of reference for the Committee have been finalised and the responsibilities of the Committee include the review of proposals for funding of new products for rare diseases or expanded indications for existing products for...

340. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by the management committee of a centre (details supplied) in relation to statutory instrument number 394 of 2017 (details supplied). (Question 46109/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Teacher Secondment)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am aware of the issues raised by the Deputy. My Department arranges for the secondment of teachers from their teaching posts for the purpose of developing and providing CPD for teachers and for the appointment as Directors of Education Support Centres (ESC’s). Secondments are a temporary arrangement renewable on a year to year basis. While on secondment, teachers retain their school post, the terms and conditions that apply to teachers...

447. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the adequacy of the international response to the situation regarding the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Myanmar (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45962/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am deeply concerned by the deterioration in the situation in Rakhine State, Myanmar, since attacks on security outposts in August 2017. There are widespread, credible reports of human rights abuses by the Myanmar security forces against the minority Rohingya people and around 600,000 refugees, mostly Rohingya, have fled to neighbouring countries, primarily Bangladesh.
The situation in Rakhine State has received considerable attent...