54. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to increase the funding for youth work projects in County Laois. (Question 43656/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Youth Work Projects Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 59 together.
In 2017, €57.4 m was allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services, an increase of €5.5m on 2016. I have enhanced this by a further €1.5m in 2018. Laois Youth Services received €86,803 funding in 2017 under the Special Projects for Youth scheme.
Earlier this year, I approved funding of €800,000 for the establishment of new youth projects and for the...

59. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason funding for Youth Work Ireland in County Laois is lower than the national average. (Question 43655/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Youth Work Projects Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 59 together.
In 2017, €57.4 m was allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services, an increase of €5.5m on 2016. I have enhanced this by a further €1.5m in 2018. Laois Youth Services received €86,803 funding in 2017 under the Special Projects for Youth scheme.
Earlier this year, I approved funding of €800,000 for the establishment of new youth projects and for the...

553. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will review the position of those social welfare recipients who attend a training course with the national learning network or similar bodies and on returning to a jobseeker’s allowance payment are not entitled to receive the Christmas bonus. (Question 43391/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I was pleased to announce on Budget Day that an 85% Christmas Bonus will be paid this year to over 1.2 million long-term social welfare recipients, such as pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, lone parents and long-term jobseekers at a cost of €219 million.
Recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) must be in receipt of the payment for a minimum of 15 months (391 days) in order to be eligible for the bonus. L...

109. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health if funding is allocated for capital works on the day care centre in Monasterevin within the capital budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43242/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - HSE Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of health care infrastructure projects, the Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in relation to the day care centre in Monasterevin.
 ...

110. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health when the recommendations of the report on the future of services at Portlaoise hospital will be made available to the Houses of the Oireachtas. (Question 43243/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has been working for some time on a draft plan for a new model of clinical service delivery at Portlaoise Hospital which takes account of the need to develop services at Portlaoise in the context of developing the model of service provision for the entire Hospital Group. The draft plan has been submitted to my Department and it is being reviewed in detail. Once there is an agreed position on the draft plan, there will ...

120. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the number of patients outsourced at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2013 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43276/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

121. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the number of emergency department attendances at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2013 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43277/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

122. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the outpatient waiting times at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017, by speciality and wait time band (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43278/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

123. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on trollies at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each month of 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43279/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

124. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on trollies at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each month of 2015 and 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43280/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

125. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the operating budget for Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2009 to 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43281/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

126. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the capital budget or total capital spend at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2009 to 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43282/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Expenditure)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the HSE is responsible for the delivery of health care infrastructure projects, the Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in relation to the capital spend at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise for each of the years 2009 to 2016.
 ...

127. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the agency spend at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise in each of the years 2013 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43283/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 to 125, inclusive, and 127 together.
In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

33. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding available for the completion of the Portlaoise orbital route; and if this project will be included in capital funding going forward. (Question 41978/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Road Projects)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Portlaoise Southern Circular route is among the schemes included in the Capital Plan 2016-2021 subject to achieving the necessary project approvals including approval from An Bord Pleanála for the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and compliance with the requirements of this Department’s Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF). The Department has allocated €1m to Laois County Council for this scheme in 2017.
The Council submitted its Project...

70. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will prioritise funding to relieve the major traffic bottleneck on the N80 in County Laois to improve connectivity from the west and the midlands to the south east. (Question 42065/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Road Projects)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 
Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual project...

334. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the steps which will be taken to replace eight front-line hospital and community based nurses in counties Laois and Offaly who are due to go on maternity leave over the coming months. (Question 42651/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Nursing Staff Provision)

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.
 ...

335. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health the steps being taken to fill a post (details supplied) in community health services in County Laois. (Question 42652/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - HSE Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter.
 ...

607. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if additional funding for an organisation (details supplied) will be approved. (Question 42650/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Youth Services Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. The funding schemes support national and local youth work involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in youth services and communities throughout the country. 
In 2017, €57.4 m has been allocated in current funding to sup...

23. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether he has sufficient control of the tender process of the national broadband plan to ensure that each household will have high speed broadband; if the date for completion will not be excessively delayed; if the cost to the State will not be excessive; and his views on whether there will be potential legal difficulties. (Question 42025/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Broadband Plan)

Deputy Brian Stanley: My question relates to the national broadband plan.
2 o’clockI want to raise with the Minister the fact that we have no timeframe for its completion, or even a tender date for the completion process. Does the Minister feel that he has sufficient control over the tender process, given developments in recent weeks? Will the cost to the State be excessive? I am very concerned about this.
 ...

54. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to increases in charges for household waste collection in recent weeks; and if his Department has considered in recent years an alternative permitting charging structure for household waste collection. (Question 41832/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): A Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group has been established and the first meeting of the Group was held on 13 September, 2017. A company has also begun the process of monitoring the rates charged by household waste collectors.  They will report back to the Group on a monthly basis and the results will be published. The results will be monitored and analysed, and they will provide an evidence base re...

62. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on changes with An Post, both retail and mail businesses; and the steps he plans to take in the coming months to ensure that services are protected. (Question 41833/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 81 together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational matters relating...

67. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the analyses that have been undertaken by his Department on Irish energy prices which are one of the highest compared to other EU member states. (Question 41835/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Energy Prices)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Responsibility for the regulation and monitoring of electricity markets is a matter for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) which is the independent energy regulator. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), is the lead organisation for the submission of Irish data on electricity and gas prices to Eurostat, and also publishes reports and analysis of these statistics twice yearly. The N...

70. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the interactions his Department has had with other Government Departments to encourage the growth of indigenous biomass further to the recent launch of Bioenergy Ireland. (Question 41836/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Renewable Heat Incentive)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As the Deputy has indicated, there are a wide range of Government departments, agencies and State bodies that are critical enablers for biomass development by virtue of their responsibility for areas such as energy, forestry, agriculture, waste, research funding and business development. The interdepartmental Bioenergy Steering Group, chaired by my Department, is in the process of finalising a Bioenergy Plan f...

74. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the actions his Department will be taking concerning breaches in view of the decision of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee recommendations concerning environmental impact assessment on the Hinkley Point nuclear reactors in Britain. (Question 41834/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - EU Conventions)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I refer the reply to Question No 1468 of 11 September 2017 on the issue of the Aarhus Convention.  
In relation to the development of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power plant, I can advise the Deputy that my Department has taken a keen interest in the project since it was initially proposed. It formed part of a study by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, now merged with the Environmental Prot...

583. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the social welfare inspector who retired in Portlaoise some months ago will be replaced in view of the fact that the shortage of staff is causing long delays in processing claims for welfare benefits. (Question 41614/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Departmental Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department, like all Government Departments and agencies, is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget.
Within these constraints, my Department is focusing on prioritising the filling of critical posts. The staffing needs for all offices of my Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the competing demands ...