11. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to introduce flexible working time and shift arrangements to improve the work-life balance for Defence Forces members in particular for those who have family commitments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20437/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The achievement of an effective balance between the demands of the workplace and the home is important for the long-term welfare and development of the Defence Forces. Family-friendly working conditions and operational effectiveness are both possible. The Defence Forces will continue to develop appropriate work-life balance initiatives to assist personnel whilst ensuring that defence capability is maintained. A range of initiati...

16. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to change the need for compulsory medical examinations for serving Defence Forces members over 40 years of age; the rationale for compulsory medical examinations for persons over 40 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20435/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Medical Services)

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I can assure the Deputy that the health and safety of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a high priority for me. Given the robust nature of military life and the unique physical and psychological demands it places on individuals, it is necessary that the members of the Defence Forces are physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenges of all military operations. The State has a duty of care to ensure that each individual ...

30. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to introduce technical apprenticeships for aircraft maintenance; the number of apprenticeships the Defence Forces offer across disciplines; his further plans to increase this number or introduce more in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20436/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Defence Forces Training)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Currently the only Apprenticeships within the Defence Forces are Apprentice Aircraft Technicians in the Air Corps. Aircraft Technicians provide the maintenance and servicing of Air Corps aircraft, their engines, systems, equipment and weapons. Aircraft Trainee Technicians hold the rank of Apprentice during their training. 
Competitions for the Aircraft Trainee Technician Programme are generally run on an annual basis and succes...

106. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the Syria Donor Conference; the measures Ireland is undertaking to press EU and UN member states to pursue a full diplomatic resolution to the Syrian conflict and increase humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians who require better solutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20160/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Syrian Conflict)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Ireland has consistently been a strong donor to the victims of the Syria crisis. At the Second Brussels Conference for Syria and the Region, Ireland pledged €25 million in humanitarian support for 2018. This brings Ireland’s support since 2012 to over €100 million – our largest ever response to a single crisis. Our funding provides supports to those in need inside Syria, as well as Syrian refugees and vuln...

116. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to a general practitioner practice (details supplied) which has closed; his views on the impact such a closure has on patient files; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19147/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - General Practitioner Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I understand the company the Deputy is referring to was a private limited company providing medical services to customers that had paid a membership fee.
If a patient experiences difficulties accessing their personal data or medical records following the closure of a medical practice or private company, they should contact the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner for assistance.
 ...

27. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to fund the restoration of over 12,000 km of secondary roads deemed to be in severe structural distress by the National Oversight and Audit Commission, NOAC, and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17769/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Roads Maintenance)

Deputy Brendan Ryan: I am very interested in hearing the Minister’s plans to fund the restoration of over 12,000 km of secondary roads throughout the country deemed to be in severe structural distress by the NOAC. I raise this as a Deputy who represents Dublin Fingal, which, on the face of it, is close to Dublin but which has a massive network of primary and secondary roads, some of which are in atrocious condition and will not find their way into a works programme this year or possibly next ye...

33. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will reconsider the appointment of Fingal County Council as the noise regulator for Dublin Airport in view of the response from local residents and the reliance the council has on rate-based income and the perception that the regulator needs to be seen as an independent stakeholder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17768/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Airport Development Projects)

Deputy Brendan Ryan: There have been variations on this question today and on previous occasions, but I make no apology for raising it again. I want the Minister to reconsider this issue. It is my intention to remind him of the relationship that exists between Fingal and Dublin Airport. It is a commercial relationship and the decision should be reconsidered.
 ...

65. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if elements of the MetroLink project such as the provision of park and ride areas in Swords will be fast tracked separately from the railway order in order to help ease the immediate crisis of traffic into Dublin city centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17766/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Rail Network Expansion)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 45, 62 and 65 together.
As the Deputies are already aware the recently published National Development Plan (NDP), which was launched earlier this year by Government as part of Project Ireland 2040, brings together the Metro North and Metro South projects, as envisaged by the NTA’s GDA Strategy, into one project called MetroLink.
MetroLink will provide Dublin with a high capacity, high frequency cross-...

79. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the setting up of a forum for public transport as committed to in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17767/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Transport)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the Deputy is aware, following on from a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government and as further committed to in the latter part of 2017, work is underway in the Department on reviewing public transport policy “to ensure services are sustainable into the future and are meeting the needs of a modern economy”. As part of this review, I as Minister am committed to convene and host a round-table policy discussion for...

226. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeframe from when a site is identified and purchased for a new school or an existing school to be transferred to a new site, built and opened; the main stages in the process after land acquisition to school opening; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17727/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Schools Building Projects)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has set out on its website, the stages in school building projects and also outlines the current status of existing major projects in the school building programme in a more user-friendly format. The status of projects is being regularly updated to reflect their progress as part of the €8.4 billion investment in school buildings under Project Ireland 2040. Please see here: www.educat...

628. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if both the interim report and the final report of the State-wide derogations review will be published; if public statements that explain and justify all aspects of each derogation granted will be issued by her Department; if derogations are not State-wide, if the zoning approach used will be explained (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17937/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Wildlife Protection)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 to 628, inclusive, together.
The EU Birds Directive allows Member States to make derogations from its protective measures in respect of certain wild bird species in certain circumstances – for example, where they are causing damage to crops, livestock and fauna or represent a threat to public health or safety or to air safety.  The Declarations to implement these derogations are renewe...

363. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied) relating to appeals under section 29 of the Education Act 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15450/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Ministerial Appointments)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 363 and 364 together.
Section 29 appeal hearing committees have to date been composed of three members, and, as set out in section 29 1 (2) of the Education Act, 1998 “each of which shall include in its membership an Inspector and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate.” 
The current panel of Ministerial appointees who serve as section 29 appeal committee members are all persons who have...

364. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied) relating to appeals under section 29 of the Education Act 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15451/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Ministerial Appointments)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 363 and 364 together.
Section 29 appeal hearing committees have to date been composed of three members, and, as set out in section 29 1 (2) of the Education Act, 1998 “each of which shall include in its membership an Inspector and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate.” 
The current panel of Ministerial appointees who serve as section 29 appeal committee members are all persons who have...

365. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the success rate for facilitators appointed by the section 29 appeals committees in circumstances in which such committees considered that it may have been possible to facilitate agreement between appellants and school boards of management in brokering agreements between parties to appeals in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15452/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - School Management)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A facilitator is generally appointed, within 8 to 10 days, following the receipt of an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. A facilitator is not appointed in cases where the school in question is managed by an Educational Training Board (ETB) as all section 29 appeals relating to these schools are taken to the ETB, in the first instance.
The appointment of a facilitator provides assistance for both parties to the appeal t...

384. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school transport route (details supplied) will be amended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15577/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - School Transport Availability)

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 116,000 children, including almost 12,000 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 at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.
Bus Éir...

763. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health his views on the lack of general practitioners here with particular reference to the lack of same in the Fingal area of County Dublin; and the strategies in place to ensure an adequate number of general practitioners is available in Fingal and throughout the State. (Question 15468/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - General Practitioner Services Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 763 and 764 together.
The Government is committed to delivering more non-acute care within the primary care sector, so that better care closer to home can be provided for communities around the country.
GPs play an important role in the primary care system.  The number of GPs on the specialist register continues to increase – up from 2,270 in 2010 to 3,637 in 2017 and there are now 2,485 GPs contracted to the HSE under t...

764. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the number of general practitioner practices in the Fingal area of County Dublin; the number of these practices that are not accepting new patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15470/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - General Practitioner Services Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 763 and 764 together.
The Government is committed to delivering more non-acute care within the primary care sector, so that better care closer to home can be provided for communities around the country.
GPs play an important role in the primary care system.  The number of GPs on the specialist register continues to increase – up from 2,270 in 2010 to 3,637 in 2017 and there are now 2,485 GPs contracted to the HSE under t...

1421. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the removal of a household benefits package for a person (details supplied) can be re-examined with a view to reinstating this payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15407/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - 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. 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 is also available to carers and people with disabilities under the age of 66 who are in receipt of certain welfare type paym...

1491. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the protections he will introduce for students reliant on affordable accommodation making specific reference to a case (details supplied). (Question 15694/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Rent Controls)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1491, 1556 and 1579 together.
Rent Pressure Zones have their legal basis under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended.  This legislation regulates the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented residential sector.  Pursuant to section 3(1), this Act applies to every dwelling that is the subject of a tenancy. The provisions of the Act, ...

271. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide primary schools in Swords; his views on the need for a primary school in the River Valley and Ridgewood area of Swords; the meetings that have taken place with his Departmental officials on this matter in recent months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13902/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department has recently contacted all of the primary schools in the Swords area to review their projected enrolments for September 2018. The schools concerned generally commenced their enrolment process for the new junior infants in early January of this year and this process is not yet complete. In that regard, the level of demand for all schools is not available at this point. Each school has issued invitations for enrolment through...

316. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when Rush Garda station will be reopened. (Question 14037/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Garda Stations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. This includes identifying and progressing any necessary remedial or refurbishment works required at individual stations. As Minister, I have no...

64. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the recruitment targets for the 2018 intake in view of the opening of RDF recruitment to take place in April 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10196/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The White Paper on Defence (2015) provides for a Permanent Defence Force (PDF) strength of 9,500 personnel and the Government is committed to ensuring that the PDF reaches this strength level. In this context, the Government has ensured that there is sufficient funding in place to provide for a full strength of 9,500 PDF personnel. 
The PDF has a higher turnover level than other elements of the Public Service and this is not a ...

67. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the implications of the ruling of the European Committee of Social Rights to allow the Defence Forces troops affiliate to a trade union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10197/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 67 together.
The European Committee of Social Rights has considered a complaint submitted by EUROMIL, a European umbrella body for military associations, on behalf of PDFORRA, concerning the lack of certain rights for military representative associations in Ireland.
In a non-binding ruling, the Committee has concluded that prohibiting military personnel from the right to strike was not in ...

294. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the regular flight plan routes into Dublin Airport; if there are approach routes which travel over Lusk; if so, the altitude at which aircraft should fly if approaching over Lusk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13074/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Air Traffic Control Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issues raised are operational matters for the Irish Aviation Authority.   I have referred the Deputy’s question to them for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
 ...

969. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the contract to run the JobPath programme by Seetec will cease; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12566/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - JobPath Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is a service that supports people who are long-term unemployed to secure and sustain full time paid employment in the open labour market. Seetec is one of the two companies (Turas Nua being the other), contracted by my Department to deliver the service.
The contracts comprise two consecutive phases: phase one entails four years of client referrals while phase two entails a ‘run off...