274. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prosecutions for fuel laundering that took place over the past year; and if she will provide a county breakdown of the location where the offences took place. (Question 48909/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Criminal Prosecutions Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda authorities and I will be in contact with the Deputy again when the information is to hand. 
 ...

182. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance the steps he has taken to ensure that the tourism and hospitality sector is passing on the 9% VAT rate directly to consumers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47227/14 asked on 09 Dec 2014 - VAT Rate Reductions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The 9% Vat rate has been broadly welcomed by the tourism and hospitality industry since its introduction as part of the Jobs Initiative.
I indicated in my Budget speech that the 9% VAT rate will remain under review and have made it clear to the sector that if the reduced rate is not passed onto consumers, I will revisit the case for its retention. For ease of reference, I have included an excerpt from my Budget day speech:
“The reduced 9% rate of VAT...

206. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he has taken to ensure the hospitality sector are engaging in agreeing a new joint labour committee for the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47228/14 asked on 09 Dec 2014 - Joint Labour Committees Agreements)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Section 41A of Industrial Relations Act 1946 (inserted by Section 11 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012) provides that reviews of each Joint Labour Committee (JLC) be carried out by the Labour Court as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and at least once every 5 years thereafter. In this context the Court undertook a review of the ten existing JLCs in 2013 and made recommendations to me on th...

83. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount the State pays annually in ground rents for State owned buildings and buildings in State control; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46693/14 asked on 04 Dec 2014 - Ground Rents Payments)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 84 together.
The annual ground rent for properties under the remit of the Commissioners of Public Works is €4,147.44.
The top ten recipients of ground rent for properties in State ownership under the remit of the Commissioners of Public Works are set out as follows: 
The table shows the Landlord and the annual ground rent paid.
 Landlord Ground rent per annum...

84. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of the top ten recipients of ground rent payments from the Government in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46694/14 asked on 04 Dec 2014 - Ground Rents Payments)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 84 together.
The annual ground rent for properties under the remit of the Commissioners of Public Works is €4,147.44.
The top ten recipients of ground rent for properties in State ownership under the remit of the Commissioners of Public Works are set out as follows: 
The table shows the Landlord and the annual ground rent paid.
 Landlord Ground rent per annum...

224. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide assurances that homeowners currently living in pyrite damaged homes and who are in the process of, or awaiting to be processed for, remediation through the Pyrite Remediation Board, are entitled to have their local property tax waived, in line with existing legislation, without having to produce a certificate for the laboratory testing of the sub-floor hardcore material which can cost upwards of €2,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46287/14 asked on 02 Dec 2014 - Property Taxation Exemptions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The exemption from Local Property Tax (LPT) based on “significant pyritic damage” has been dealt with in a number of Parliamentary Questions this year, including Questions No. 217 on 18/2/14 (8212/14), No. 121 on 30/4/14 (19698/14), No. 43 on 19/6/14 (26462/14) and No. 14 on 2/10/14  (37016/14). 
Section 10A of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides for a temporary exemption of at least three consecutive years from the charge...

484. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in respect of the implementation oversight group set up under the aegis of his Department to oversee the overall implementation of the October 2013 Priory Hall resolution framework, the current status of the resolution process; the steps that have been taken to keep property owners informed of the current status of the Priory Hall development; if a point of contact has been appointed by the oversight group to keep residents informed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45280/14 asked on 25 Nov 2014 - Priory Hall Development)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): An implementation group, chaired by Dr Martin McAleese, is in place to oversee the effective implementation of all aspects of the agreed Framework. The implementation group includes representatives of both former residents and buy-to-let owners, thereby ensuring that all of the Priory Hall homeowners are fully engaged and fairly treated. In relation to the refurbishment works, the position is that in August 2014,...

520. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when his Department will introduce a new tenant purchase scheme for tenants of local authority housing; the provisions he plans to include in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43171/14 asked on 11 Nov 2014 - Departmental Schemes)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): Part 3 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 provides for a new scheme for the purchase of existing local authority houses, which will be open to local authority tenants in receipt of social housing support for a prescribed period of at least one year who have not previously purchased a house under a tenant purchase scheme and who have a minimum prescribed annual income. The new scheme will operate al...

528. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an up-to-date report on the details of the septic tank grant scheme, including clarification on the number of septic tank improvement grants issued so far; the total fund in place to provide for such grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43216/14 asked on 11 Nov 2014 - Septic Tank Inspections)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 499 and 528 together.
The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 assigns responsibility to the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) to make a National Inspection Plan for domestic wastewater treatment systems. The National Inspection Plan 2013: Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems was adopted and published by the EPA in February 2013. The Plan provided for a minimum of 1,000 ins...

168. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health to outline his plans to introduce a vaccination scheme for meningitis B; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42543/14 asked on 06 Nov 2014 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health.
The NIAC has not made any recommendation in relation to the use of Meningitis B vaccine in the primary childhood immunisation programme in Ireland. However,...

181. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection in respect of her Department’s review of rent levels for the purposes of setting the caps for rent supplement, the frequency of when these reviews take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41299/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Rent Supplement Scheme Administration)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 181, 201 and 241 together.
The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible people living in private rented accommodation who are unable to provide for their accommodation costs from their own resources. There are approximately 73,500 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has pr...

884. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports and compensation for fees paid that were offered to international students of a language school (details supplied) in Dublin following its closure; the protections that exist to give students reassurance; if none, the protections she will introduce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41466/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - International Students)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 884 and 894 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, a number of private colleges have closed in 2014. The first priority of both the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Justice and Equality has been to find a reasonable accommodation for genuine students affected by those closures. This accommodation must have regard to the fact that these colleges were private bodies with no relations...

885. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the contractors administration services are required to give advance notice of a visit to a construction site; if so, her views that this undermines their efforts to investigate questions non-compliance on school building projects; if she will consider authorising CAS to make site visits without prior notification; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41470/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Schools Building Contractors)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): School building projects which are funded from public monies, are required to use the forms of contract provided under the Capital Works Management Framework which includes a suite of public works contracts, standard conditions of engagement, model forms, suitability assessment questionnaires and guidance notes published by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). The OGP is an office within the Department of Public Expenditure & Refo...

894. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports and compensation for fees paid offered to international students of a language school in Dublin (details supplied) following its closure; the protections that exist to give students reassurance; if none, the protections she plans to introduce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41512/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - International Students)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 884 and 894 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, a number of private colleges have closed in 2014. The first priority of both the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Justice and Equality has been to find a reasonable accommodation for genuine students affected by those closures. This accommodation must have regard to the fact that these colleges were private bodies with no relations...

1124. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the role local councillors will play in the new structure when the Drogheda Harbour Commission is constituted into the Drogheda Port Company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41897/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Ports Policy)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): One of the principal recommendations of the National Ports Policy, published in March 2013, is the proposed transfer of five Ports of Regional Significance (including the Drogheda Port Company) to local authority control.  
The government recently approved the General Scheme of the Harbours Amendment Bill which will provide a legislative basis to allow for the transfer of the five ports to local authority control. Officials ha...

549. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the minor works grant scheme; if the scheme is to be continued; if she will provide details as to the future operation of the scheme; if not the schemes in place to replace it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40467/14 asked on 21 Oct 2014 - Minor Works Scheme Restoration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): Circular Letter 0062/2013 which was published as the Minor Works Grant for the school year 2013/2014 issued last November states “the grant will only be paid in future years as funding permits”. The focus under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme 2012-2016 is on meeting the demand for additional school places. Consequently, there is no funding provided at this time in the 2014 capital allocation for the payment of a Min...

188. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a senior architect has visited a school (details supplied) in County Dublin to examine the prefabs there, with a view to a permanent replacement of same; if she will confirm that an inspection has taken place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38611/14 asked on 09 Oct 2014 - School Accommodation)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers recently submitted an application to my Department for the replacement of prefabs. A technical site visit is due to be undertaken next week by officials from my Department and the school authorities have been notified of the details.
 ...

238. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the stalled metro north project; his plans for this project in the build up to the next capital investment programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38488/14 asked on 08 Oct 2014 - Light Rail Projects Status)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for developing public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) such as metro, light and heavy rail projects.  
Following the comprehensive review of capital expenditure carried out in 2011 a decision was taken to defer Metro North and a number of other major projects, including  DART Underground, due to the financial situation. It was made cle...

150. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if her Department have conducted any surveys into the average volume and weight of school books being carried by pupils and the potential long term health implications of excessive weight in school bags; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37232/14 asked on 01 Oct 2014 - Weight of Schoolbags)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): The report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags recognised that many of the solutions to this issue belong at local school level and made various recommendations in this regard, such as optimum use of storage facilities, developing pupil organisation skills and timetabling.
My Department issued circulars to all primary and post-primary schools in 2005 to highlight the potential health hazard of overweight schoolbags and to o...

564. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied), the reason a decision has not yet been made despite her deferral of a final decision until April 2014; when a decision will be made on this application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33126/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Naturalisation Applications)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can inform the Deputy that the application has entered the final stage of processing and I intend to grant citizenship. A letter issued to the person referred to by the Deputy asking him to submit the prescribed fee and other documents, which have been received.
The person concerned will be invited to attend the next available citizenship ceremony at which he will make a declaration of fidelity to the Irish Nation and loyalty to th...

593. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number persons within direct provision; of those the number who made their application for protection more than five years ago; the number that have family members with outstanding or completed applications for protection; and the number of individual family units within direct provision. (Question 33551/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Direct Provision Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Direct Provision system is managed by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department. For the most part, this represents a cashless system with the State assuming responsibility for providing suitable accommodation for asylum seekers on a full board basis. RIA currently provides full board accommodation and ancillary services to just over 4,300 persons in 34 centres across the State. It should be noted that the numbe...

914. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce the drug fampyra in the near future under any Health Service Executive drug payment or reimbursement scheme for people suffering from multiple sclerosis; if not, if he will outline the reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33465/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch) (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): I propose to take Questions Nos. 914, 937, 965, 966, 979, 982 and 1032 together.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicinal products under the community drug schemes in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.
The HSE received an application for the inclusion of Fampridine in...

1187. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open an embassy or mission in Algeria, North Africa in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33464/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Consular Services Provision)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Any decision to adjust the State’s external representation is made by the Government based on national priorities, including our political, economic and trade priorities and the needs of Irish communities abroad. The availability of resources is also an important factor in any decision. The Government has this year approved an expansion of the network to provide for eight small-scale new missions in locations across Europe, South ...

1639. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to a lack of fibre optic broadband provision in an area (details supplied) in County Dublin; if there are any plans to roll out fibre optic broadband to the rural regions of County Dublin in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33700/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Broadband Service Speeds)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): The Government’s Statement of Priorities for the period 2014 to 2016 reaffirms our commitment to delivering a State-led broadband intervention in rural areas. The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed broadband is available to all citizens and businesses. This is being achieved through measures designed to accelerate commercia...

67. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if the rate of VAT applicable to traders from outside the State who do not have registered establishments inside the State and who trade in the supply, installation and monitoring of emergency alarm systems is the same as that for domestic traders; if he will confirm that the applicable VAT rate is included in all tenders for alarm contracts with statutory bodies; and if this is a requirement of public sector tendering process for foreign companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31967/14 asked on 16 Jul 2014 - VAT Rate Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that under Irish and EU VAT law the place of supply for VAT on services connected to buildings is the Member State in which the building is located. Therefore, the rate of VAT applicable to traders from outside the State that trade in the supply, installation and monitoring of emergency alarm systems, is the same as the VAT rate for domestic traders.  There is no registration threshold for foreign traders s...