165. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health his plans for an independent review of the use of mesh implants; his further plans to hold a formal investigation into the concerns attributed to the use of surgical mesh implants in view of reports (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49805/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Hospital Procedures)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 to 167, inclusive, together.
As I recently told the Dáil, it is important that the clinical facts and evidence determine what further response I give to these and other issues raised in relation to mesh implants. I have therefore asked the Chief Medical Officer to provide me with a report on the issues. He informs me that the engagements he will require with national and international bodies, the professional colle...

166. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who have had a vaginal mesh implant surgery in each of the past ten years; the number of persons requiring repeated operations to resolve issues in respect of the implant surgery; the number of implants that have been removed; the steps he is taking to assist those affected by complications relating to the implants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49806/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Hospital Procedures)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 to 167, inclusive, together.
As I recently told the Dáil, it is important that the clinical facts and evidence determine what further response I give to these and other issues raised in relation to mesh implants. I have therefore asked the Chief Medical Officer to provide me with a report on the issues. He informs me that the engagements he will require with national and international bodies, the professional colle...

167. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the number of complaints received regarding transvaginal mesh implants in each of the past ten years; the number of persons pursuing legal action over complications they suffered as a result of receiving implants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49807/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Hospital Procedures)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 to 167, inclusive, together.
As I recently told the Dáil, it is important that the clinical facts and evidence determine what further response I give to these and other issues raised in relation to mesh implants. I have therefore asked the Chief Medical Officer to provide me with a report on the issues. He informs me that the engagements he will require with national and international bodies, the professional colle...

32. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the provision of a light rail system for Galway in view of climate change mitigation commitments; the key objectives of the national planning framework; the cost-benefit analysis undertaken in respect of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49466/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Transport Infrastructure Provision)

Deputy Catherine Connolly: I would like to take reassurance that not only has the Minister plans, but that he has seriously ambitious and imaginative plans in respect of public transport and to take cars off the road. In that context I ask the Minister about this matter.
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74. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the transport sector emissions targets that have been set by his Department; the actions that have been taken to meet these targets to date; the proposed steps that are agreed to be taken to meet these targets; the expected emissions from the transport sector for 2020, 2030 and 2050; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49347/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The responsibility for emissions reduction is a collective one and Ireland’s emission reduction targets are national and not sectoral in nature.  Our national objective, as set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015 is to ensure transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. A reduction in carbon emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 has be...

82. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the nature of the roll-out contract for the public bike scheme in Galway city; the tender process; the name of the company awarded the contract; the details of the substitution company; if so, the tender process involved; the duration of the contract; the cost of same; the nature of the maintenance contract, including the tender process; the name of the company awarded the maintenance contract; the details of the substitution company; if so, the tender process involved; the duration of the maintenance contract; the cost of same; if the scheme has been effective; the user volume and trip volumes in comparison to other similar public bike schemes here; the cost-benefit analysis that has been undertaken on the scheme; the value of the sponsorship contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49348/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Public Bike Schemes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport, but I am not involved in the operation or contract arrangements for particular initiatives such as the public bikes scheme.  The National Transport Authority (NTA) is the State bodies with responsibility for the development and implementation of the public bike schemes, so I have referred your question to...

132. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of family reunification applications under the Refugee Act 1996 granted and refused by month to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49479/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Family Reunification Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As a refugee may include a number of family members in his or her application for family reunification there can be multiple outcomes to any particular application, with some family members approved and some refused following an examination of the application. Statistics are therefore maintained on the number of decisions made on the subjects of an application rather than on the number of applications per se. 
The table provides the n...

63. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps being taken to effect the removal of subsidies on peat extraction in view of the State’s emissions reduction targets and the recent vote of the Citizen’s Assembly whereby 97% of assembly members voted in favour of the removal of Government subsidies on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49052/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - National Mitigation Plan Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 65, 81 and 84 together.  
I refer to the reply to Question No. 49 on today’s Order Paper.
The  contributions by the members of the Citizens’ Assembly to this critical and urgent issue, which included consideration of a range of detailed presentations by technical experts in meetings over the course of two full weekends, have been welcomed by me and by the Government as a whol...

71. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the cost-benefit analysis that has been conducted with regard to the cost to the State of not meeting its emissions reduction targets as against the cost of achieving same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49053/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 71, 77 and 90 together.
The 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below their level in 2005. This will be Ireland’s contribution to the overall EU objective to reduce its emissions b...

214. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some applicants for the redress scheme governed by Caranua have had children born after the cessation of the Education (Former Residents of Certain Institutions for Children) Finance Board and therefore could not benefit from said fund; if he has given consideration to allowing applications on behalf of these children in the Department’s review of the applications procedure for Caranua; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49058/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Residential Institutions Statutory Fund)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 provides that only those former residents who received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards or settlements are eligible to apply to Caranua.  The decision to confine eligibility to former residents was taken having regard to the maximum funds available of €110 million and a potential pool of some 15,000 applicants.  As the Deputy will be awa...

276. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps being take to provide mandatory training on gender-based and domestic violence for gardaí and other law enforcement officials, social workers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges and other public officials dealing with victims of gender-based, including domestic and sexual, violence as recommended by the committee against torture at its meetings (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49030/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Domestic Violence)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government recognises the importance of the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) and the recommendations arising from the engagement process that occurred earlier this year with that committee.
The second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021 was published in January 2016. The publication of the strategy was welcomed by UNCAT in its concluding observations on the second periodic repo...

538. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when the report of the expert technical group dealing with the site of the former mother and baby home at Tuam, County Galway, will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48925/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): In June of this year I appointed a multi disciplinary team of technical experts to ensure that decisions on the future of the site of the former Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway would be informed by international best practice. Their initial report was published on my Department’s website at www.dcya.gov.ie. 
I have received the Expert Technical Group’s final report and have sought the advices of the Attorney General on...

622. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will provide a copy of the screening reports for the environmental impact assessment for planning applications (details supplied); the names of the persons involved in the screening assessment for the applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48981/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): In respect of the Marine Institute (MI) foreshore licence application for an underwater fibre optic cable at Spiddal, Co. Galway ( FS005751), the  Appropriate Assessment (AA) Screening Report and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Report can be viewed on my Department’s website under the Determination subfolder by selecting the following application link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/...

623. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will provide a copy of the foreshore licence planning application and the subsequent foreshore licence granted pertaining specifically to the cameras and cable end equipment currently in use and attached to a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48982/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): The cable, including the cable end equipment, constitutes the facilities under the first schedule of the licence for the Galway Bay Cable Project.  This is a stand-alone project governed by the rights and obligations under the licence.
The licence application and subsequent licence granted is available on my Department’s web-site at http://www.housing.gov.ie/planning/foreshore/applications/mari...

50. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 467 of 20 September 2017, the opening date of the new unit in view of the fact that the planned operational date for the new 50 bed mental health unit at Galway University Hospital is Q4 2017; the complement of staff necessary to run this unit; if this number has been recruited; if the assignment of staff will mean a reduction in staff for other services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48089/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services 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.
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81. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the position regarding staffing and facilities at the maternity ultrasound department at Galway University Hospital; the complement of staff necessary to provide the services; the vacancies which exist and the recruitment process underway; if women are not receiving scans as a result of staffing issues; if so, the number of women affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48092/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - National Maternity Strategy)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The National Maternity Strategy is very clear that all women must have equal access to standardised ultrasound services, including anomaly scans. The Strategy will be implemented on a phased basis over the coming years and this work will be led by the HSE National Women & Infants Health Programme. Last month, I was pleased to launch the Programme’s detailed Implementation Plan for the Strategy. 
I am advised that anomaly scans are available in each ho...

84. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the full complement of beds in St Finbar’s ward at Galway University Hospital; the number of beds that were closed; the duration for which they were closed; the reason they were closed; if all of the beds are now in use; the circumstances which enabled the return to use of these beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48093/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Hospital Beds Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
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85. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the progress that has been made in relation to the provision of temporary modular orthopaedic theatres at Merlin Park Hospital, Galway to replace the two damaged theatres; if planning permission is required; when the theatres will be erected; the complement of beds in St Finbar’s ward; if all of these are now in use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48090/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Hospitals Building Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
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89. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 195 of 7 July 2017, the immediate action that is to be taken (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48091/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Ambulance Service)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
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152. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the admission rate at the acute psychiatric unit at Galway University Hospital; the number of beds currently available; the waiting time for admission; the full complement of staff required; the number of staff vacancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48328/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Hospital Admissions)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to contact you with regard to the project.
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166. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the steps that have been taken for the provision of a proper and adequate ambulance service for a region (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48362/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Ambulance Service Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
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207. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funds or funding streams that are available for after school homework clubs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48356/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - After-School Support Services)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The School Completion Programme (SCP) is a core element of the Educational Welfare Service of Tusla the Child and Family Agency. 
SCP work focuses on targeting and providing supports to young people identified to be most at risk of early school leaving. This work includes the identification and support of children at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system because of poor attendance, participation and ret...

208. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the family and community services resource centre programme; the number of applications received; the funding being made available; when decisions will be made in respect of those applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48357/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Family Resource Centres)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): There are 109 Family Resource Centres currently in receipt of funding from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Tusla provides funding to the centres under an annual agreement. This funding is provided by way of a contribution towards the running costs of the centres. The financial allocation to support this programme amounts to €13.51m in 2017. I was pleased to announce recently that additional funding of approximately €5.0m is...

54. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the dates and locations of each national famine memorial day since 2008; the proposed date and location for 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47909/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Commemorative Events)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The National Famine Commemoration was announced by the then Minister of State for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in 2008 at an official reception to complement a community event held in Dublin that day. The inaugural meeting of the National Famine Commemoration Committee was subsequently held in July of that year. Its main tasks were to consider the most appropriate arrangements for future national commemoration...

66. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the human resources processes that are in place in agencies funded by the Arts Council; the details of the independent resource appointed to deal with allegations of misconduct at a theatre (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47908/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Arts Council)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): All employers, including organisations funded by the Arts Council, are subject to employment legislation and their boards have a duty to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and that their staff can work in a safe and respectful environment.
Arising from the allegations and reports of misconduct in the workplace, last week I announced a suite of measures on sexual harassment and abuse of power in the workplace ...