128. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department paid for advertorials titled Action Plan for Education 2018 in a newspaper (details supplied) in recent weeks; the cost of these advertorials; his views on whether this use of moneys is appropriate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11087/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Departmental Advertising Expenditure)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Action Plan for Education 2018 provides a roadmap to achieve the ambition to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe by 2026  and to transform peoples lives and to help everyone achieve their potential in life.  Almost one quarter of our population are learners and there is a huge level of interest in the work of the education and training service due to its wide spread impact.  
The government approved a num...

153. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an emergency task force can be set up to include all patronage bodies and senior officials from his Department to tackle the primary school places crisis in Fingal, particularly in Swords and Balbriggan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11249/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department uses a Geographical Information System to identify the areas under increased demographic pressure nationwide. The system uses data from the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and information from my Department’s own databases. With this information, my Department is currently carrying out demographic analyses to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at...

559. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the section of legislation which requests persons in receipt the State pension (contributory) to provide bank statements and supporting documentation for dependants as part of a means test; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11051/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have paid sufficient social insurance (PRSI) contributions. It is not a means-tested payment. 
Under Section 112 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended), a person receiving State Pension (Contributory) may get an increase for an adult dependant (called a qualified adult). Section 2 (2) of the same Act sets out the definiti...

415. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the rules regarding charging medical card holders for blood tests in cases in which those medical card holders have type two diabetes and require regular blood tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9490/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Medical Card Administration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phlebotomy services provided by their GP which are required to either assist in the diagnosis of illness or the treatment of a condition. The HSE has advised GPs that where a blood test forms part of the investigation or necessary treatment of a patient’s symptoms or conditions, this should be free of charge for patients who ho...

171. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure that a high speed fibre optic broadband connection is provided to a location (details supplied) in view of the fact that the lack of such a connection is putting jobs at risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8858/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, almost 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. Since this Government came into office almost 400,000 add...

27. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the proposed DART extension to Balbriggan; the timeframes for this; the plans for 2018 to advance this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7511/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Rail Network Expansion)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) “Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035” proposes implementation of the overall DART Expansion Programme.  As the Deputy may be aware, the Government’s budgetary framework for capital investment, “Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021”, which was reviewed last year in the context of the Mid-Term Review of Capital priorities, delivery and funding, provided fund...

73. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rationale for appointing Fingal County Council as the official independent noise monitor for Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7543/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Noise Pollution)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 32, 73 and 77 together.
The Government has recently approved my proposal to designate Fingal County Council as the Noise Regulator for Dublin Airport in order that Ireland fully complies with EU Regulation 598/2014, which came into effect in 2016.  
As the Deputies will be aware, an earlier proposal was that the Irish Aviation Authority would be designated as the Noise Regulator for the purpose of EU ...

76. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when public consultation will begin for the new metro north; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7544/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Rail Network Expansion)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 76 and 88 together.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsiblity for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) including new Metro North.
Funding of over €700 million has been allocated under the Government’s present Capital Plan 2016-2021 for planning, design and beginning construction of ...

121. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the proposed changes to the Irish language requirements for PME courses; the way in which they impact on persons planning to take a course (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6183/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Teacher Training Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I understand that the Deputy is referring to the criteria for entry to primary Initial Teacher Education. 
In addition to the CAO points required (in the case of the Bachelor of Education) or the third level award requirement (in the case of the Postgraduate Masters in Education) for entry to programmes of primary Initial Teacher Education, my Department specifies minimum entry requirements in the core subjects of Irish, English and Math...

597. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the differences that exist between long-term unemployment and long-term disability payments in respect of opting for credits to count towards a person’s State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5846/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pensions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of credited contributions or “credits” is to protect social insurance entitlements by bridging gaps in an employee’s social insurance record, where they are not in a position to pay PRSI, such as for periods of unemployment or illness. Therefore in general credits can only be awarded where an individual has had a recent attachment to the workforce i.e. within the last 2 years.
In isolation, credits do not...

317. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is a database accessible to each local fire station that includes the locations and notable details of the 292 multi-storied buildings throughout Ireland that utilise similar cladding to that which was used at Grenfell Tower in London. (Question 4798/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 317 and 329 together.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017,  fire authorities were requested to carry out a preliminary survey to identify buildings of more than six storeys, or more than 18m in height, fitted with external cladding or rain screen systems, with or without insulation, and to consider whether use of the power under Section 18 (6) of the Fire Services Act...

318. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the risk-based approach reports are still utilised by first responders in each local fire station since its introduction in 2012. (Question 4799/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 318 and 319 together.
In February 2013, my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management published the policy document, “Keeping Communities Safe - A framework for Fire Safety in Ireland” (KCS).
KCS is the report on the outcome of a wide-ranging review of fire services in Ireland which was undertaken in 2011/2012, and was endorsed as nation...

319. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the last time the risk-based approach report was updated. (Question 4800/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 318 and 319 together.
In February 2013, my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management published the policy document, “Keeping Communities Safe - A framework for Fire Safety in Ireland” (KCS).
KCS is the report on the outcome of a wide-ranging review of fire services in Ireland which was undertaken in 2011/2012, and was endorsed as nation...

320. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of fire appliances in service nationally. (Question 4801/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

321. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of fire appliances in each local fire authority; and the number of the appliances in operation. (Question 4802/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

322. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of fire appliances that are older than five, ten and 15 years, respectively. (Question 4803/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

323. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of turntable ladder and aerial ladder platform appliances that are in service nationally. (Question 4804/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

324. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of turntable ladder and aerial ladder platform appliances in each locality; and the number of those appliances that are in operation with an adequately trained crew. (Question 4805/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

325. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of turntable ladder and aerial ladder platform appliances in each local fire authority that are older than 5, 10 and 15 years respectively. (Question 4806/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

326. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of turntable ladder and aerial ladder platform appliances in each locality that were purchased new or purchased second hand respectively; and if purchased second hand, the age of the appliances when purchased. (Question 4807/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 326, inclusive, together.
The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises and fire appliances is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports ...

327. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the detail of advice in regard to staying in place or evacuating in the event of a high rise fire. (Question 4808/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The fire safety strategy and associated procedures to ensure the safety of people in buildings is the responsibility of the person having control over the premises. It is for the management of the building to implement the design strategy for fire safety and put procedures in place, including procedures for evacuation of the building, where necessary in the event of fire, and to ensure that all building occupants are aw...

328. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the process for an inspection of a residential building by a fire engineer; and the specific details that are inspected. (Question 4809/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Under section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, responsibility for fire safety in buildings of all kinds (other than dwellings) is placed on the ‘person having control’ of each building, for example a Management Company in an apartment complex. 
Inspections of buildings may be undertaken for many reasons and by many parties. Any member of the public who is concerned about ...

329. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there are pre-fire plans between stations for specific multi-storied buildings in their adjoining precincts. (Question 4810/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Safety)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 317 and 329 together.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017,  fire authorities were requested to carry out a preliminary survey to identify buildings of more than six storeys, or more than 18m in height, fitted with external cladding or rain screen systems, with or without insulation, and to consider whether use of the power under Section 18 (6) of the Fire Services Act...

330. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to increase the fire service’s predetermined attendance of three fire appliances and one high reaching appliance. (Question 4811/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Fire services are mobilised to incidents in accordance with a system of “pre-determined attendances” (PDAs). PDAs are the instructions given by a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) to the relevant Regional Communications Centre for the initial fire service response to a call for assistance. These include:
- Address PDAs - a listing of the order in which fire service response will be mobilised t...

48. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of qualified physical training instructors the Defence Forces has to oversee annual fitness tests, recruit induction fitness tests and general physical training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3655/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 50 together.
Application for General Service Recruitment to the Defence Forces in conducted on-line and all correspondence with applicants is conducted via e-mail. Candidates must successfully complete fitness testing, online psychometric testing and interview in order to progress through the competition. Following these stages of the recruitment process, successful applicants may be pla...