162. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that assessment of needs policy has changed in County Mayo; if children must now have a pre-diagnosis before being accepted for assessment of needs appointments; if the policy has changed; if this policy has changed nationwide; if it is restricted to County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8960/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality ...

93. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the staffing make-up of the strategic communications unit within his Department as at 31 January 2018; the amount spent on the unit since June 2017; and the details of all moneys spent to date. (Question 6739/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Strategic Communications Unit)

The Taoiseach: As at 31 January 2018, there were fifteen staff working in the Strategic Communications Unit, the breakdown of which is set out in the following table.
 Grade Number Director 1 Principal Officer 1 Assistant Principal 4 Higher Executive Officer 1 Higher Executive Officer equivalent (Acting) 1 Administrative Officer 3 Communications & Media Assistant 3 Clerical Officer 1 

The salaries of the staff in the Strategic Communications Unit are met from my Depart...

94. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; and the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form, since 1 January 2016. (Question 6755/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

The Taoiseach: The following tables detail expenditure by my Department on photography, public relations and communications advice, for the years 2016, 2017 and to the end of January, 2018.
2016 - PHOTOGRAPHY
 Company Detail Amount Maxwell Photography Supply of Jpeg Images of Ceann Comhairle with Queen, taken during her visit to Ireland in 2011 - January 2016 €17.22 Maxwell Photography Photography for Flag-Raising Ceremony 1 January 2016 €120.52 Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd Photos from...

97. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form, since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6745/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The total expenditure by the Department of Defence for photography for the period 1 January 2016 to date is outlined in the following table. There was no expenditure on public relations or communications advice by the Department of Defence in this period.
 Amount 2017 Photography services Maxwell Photography €590.40 

The total relevant expenditure for the Defence Forces for the period in question is as outli...

108. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form, since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6749/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Photography - 2016 to date
My Department only avails of the services of external photographic agencies where it is warranted, in particular for major events and State occasions. This is a service which my Department provides so that the media can easily and freely avail of photography where their own staff photographers cannot be fully accommodated. Events such as the visit of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall...

114. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the independent economic evidence and analysis that concludes that Ireland’s income tax regime and rates are prohibitive in terms of job creation or attracting foreign direct investment. (Question 6651/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The average tax wedge is used by the OECD to measure the extent to which taxes on labour income discourage employment. The tax wedge is defined as the ratio between the amount of taxes paid by an average single worker without children (i.e. a worker on 100% of average earnings) and the corresponding total labour costs for the employer including employer social insurance costs. 
Ireland historically has one the lowest tax wedge levels both within th...

122. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, the public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department, by agency and month in tabular form, since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6748/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The costs incurred by my Department on photography are set out in the following table.
Please note that; Of the seventeen bodies under the aegis of my Department, The Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal (DDMBA) is the only one that is fully funded by my Department. Since 1 January 2016 the DDMBA have not incurred any expenditure on photography, public relations or communications advice. 
 Year Month Supplier Amount Description ...

125. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the cost of the tax relief on private rented accommodation in each of the years from 2000 to 2017, in tabular form. (Question 6867/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Tax Reliefs Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.
I assume the Deputy is referring to the Rent Tax Credit, which was a credit available to those paying for private rented accommodation. This included rent paid for flats, apartments or houses. It did not include rent paid to local authorities. The credit has been phasing out for a number of years and remained available only to persons who were renting on 7 December 2010. The credit ceased to be...

126. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who benefitted from the tax relief on private rented accommodation in each of the years from 2000 to 2017, in tabular form. (Question 6868/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Tax Reliefs Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.
I assume the Deputy is referring to the Rent Tax Credit, which was a credit available to those paying for private rented accommodation. This included rent paid for flats, apartments or houses. It did not include rent paid to local authorities. The credit has been phasing out for a number of years and remained available only to persons who were renting on 7 December 2010. The credit ceased to be...

157. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of the €155 billion quoted in the media for the national development plan that will be direct Government expenditure; the amount that will be from the State enterprise sector; the amount that will be from PPPs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7020/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am not aware of the provenance of the figure referred to in the Deputy’s question.  
As the Deputy is aware, my Department is currently finalising a 10-year capital plan for the period 2018 to 2027.  The fundamental objective of the capital plan is to support the implementation of the objectives detailed in the forthcoming National Planning Framework (NPF).  In this context, the capital plan will, when published, set out the ...

158. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has been consulted by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in regard to the pension issues facing CIÉ; if a request for further funding from the Exchequer has been made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7021/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has not been consulted by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in relation to pensions issues facing CIE and no request for funding from the Exchequer has been made.
 ...

174. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6746/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The tabular statement contains details of expenditure at my Department on photography and associated matters since 2016 as requested by the Deputy. 
Details of such expenditure in connection with bodies under the aegis of the Department are not collated centrally. Therefore, I have requested officials at my Department to request the information from the bodies concerned and I will forward this to the Deputy when it is to hand.
 ...

246. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent by his Department on photography by photographer and or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6752/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Press and Communications Office of my Department procured photography and design software in November 2016. Since this date, that Office has provided photography and design services throughout the Department both at events and in the production of multi-media content. This has greatly reduced the need for my Department to engage the services of external photographers.
The following is the amount spent by my Department on photograph...

255. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process for applying for an extension to a CCTV scheme; the funding available for a community seeking the installation of a camera to counter anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6822/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Closed-Circuit Television Systems)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that, in April 2017, in pursuance of a Programme for Government commitment, a Community-based CCTV grant-aid Scheme was launched by my Department to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas. 
Under the Scheme, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon ap...

300. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of an IDA property (details supplied); the plans of the IDA to invest in the property; the amount that was spent on purchasing the property; the amount that has been invested in it in each of the years since it was purchased, in tabular form; the number of clients or potential clients that have visited the property since it was purchased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6737/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - IDA Ireland Portfolio)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Given the operational nature of the information requested, I have asked IDA Ireland to provide the information directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
 ...

301. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business; Enterprise and Innovation the sequence of events surrounding the surrendering of a lease (details supplied); the costs of surrendering the lease; the details of all costs inclusive of costs paid to the landlord and the legal costs; the efforts made to reduce the penalties involved; the efforts made to commercially dispose of the lease to another party; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6738/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - State Properties)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The lease on Carrisbrook House was assigned to IDA Ireland in September 2013, prior to the dissolution of Forfás. Previous to this, the lease had passed through number of State agencies since a 65-year lease was first taken out by An Chomhairle Oiliúna in 1969.
Carrisbrook House was 85% vacant for a number of years, despite having been actively marketed by Forfás and the IDA. The building was difficult to sublet, part...

302. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount spent by her Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of her Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by her Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6741/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): My Department uses external service providers having regard to its business needs for such services.  In engaging such providers, the Department is mindful of the need to secure value for money and, accordingly, strives to keep costs to the minimum.
The hiring of external service providers by the agencies under the aegis of my Department is a day-to-day operational matter for the agencies concerned.  I have, however, as...

341. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health the amount spent by his Department on photography by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6750/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Details in relation to photography and public relations/communications expenditure by the Department of Health for 2016 and 2017 are set out in the following tables.
I have referred the question to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy in relation to its expenditure. Details for other bodies under the aegis of the Department are operational matters for the bodies concerned and the Deputy should contact the relevant Director/CEO/Registrar directly.
Tabl...

458. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6740/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department generally does not employ external public relations firms and did not employ any external public relations firms in the year 2016. Public relations advice is provided by my Department’s Press Office.  
In April of 2017, the services of “All Good Tales”, a public relations company, were used to provide training for staff members for the National Animal Surveillance Programme. The cost of this training was €5,965....

523. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6743/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department’s remit includes complex policy areas, oversight of State regulation and service provision across key strategic services such as energy and public broadcasting, and regulation of sectors such as mining and hydrocarbon exploration. Given the technical complexity, economic significance and community interest in these areas, there is a requirement to disseminate information and to address specific is...

560. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6756/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The information requested by the Deputy in relation to photography costs is available on the Department’s website at the following link http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/photography-costs.
The information requested by the Deputy in relation to public relations or communications costs is available on the Department’s website at the following link
 http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/expenditure-external-services.
With regard to ...

600. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount spent by her Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of her Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by her Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6742/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Details of the costs incurred on photography, public relations and communications advice by my Department since January 2016 are set out in the following tables. The overall objective is to keep costs of this nature to a minimum and these services are only used when deemed necessary in the course of Departmental activity.
Photography
 Month / Year   Company Cost November 2016 Maxwell Photography Ltd. €528....

607. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development to set out in tabular form the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer or agency; the amount spent on public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department, by agency and month, since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6754/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19 July 2017. Any information relating to the functions transferred to this Department, for the requested period prior to that date, will be reported on by the relevant previous parent Departments, in their responses. The information in the following tables is from the date of establishment of the Department.
Four state bodies fall under the remit of my Depart...

617. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out in tabular form the amount spent by her Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency; the amount spent on public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of her Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by her Department, by agency and month, since 1 January 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6747/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The amount spent by my Department on photography, external public relations and communications advice since 1 January 2016, by date and company engaged, in tabular form is as follows:
2016: Photography
 Date Details Supplier Cost (inc VAT) 16/02/16 Launch of Clondalkin Intreo Centre Robbie Reynolds Photography €553.50 24/02/16 Pathways to Work Maxwell Photography €645.75 22/11/2016 Launch of NCI Accr...

663. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent by his Department on photography by photographer and or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6751/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department did not incur any expenditure on external agency, public relations or communications advice since 1 January 2016. The engagement of external expertise is generally only considered where the issues involved require expert skills or capabilities that are not readily available within my Department. Press and Public Relations are undertaken by my Department’s Press Office.
In addition, my Department’s Press Of...