5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the discussions her Department has had with a company (details supplied) regarding the future development of the proposed data centre in Athenry. (Question 49764/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Job Creation)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: What contact has the Department had with Apple? We know the Taoiseach met the company in California about the potential loss of the Athenry data centre. Was the Tánaiste informed when the company decided to go ahead with the second Danish plant, which had not been expected, in July this year? When does she expect it might make a decision on whether it will, in the end, proceed with an Irish plant? From where does she think it will get the 100% renewable power? Do we have ...

87. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the partners from the commercial sector of the economy that are involved with the Office of Public Works in the plans for the development of the children’s science museum exploration station proposed for the Earlsfort Terrace, the National Concert Hall and the Iveagh Gardens site. (Question 49680/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 to 89, inclusive, together.
The information sought by the Deputy is currently being addressed. A detailed response will issue to the Deputy directly.
 ...

88. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the process by which the Earlsfort Terrace, the National Concert Hall and the Iveagh Gardens site was selected by the OPW as the most suitable for the development of the children’s science museum exploration station; if the OPW received representations from third parties regarding the choice of site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49681/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 to 89, inclusive, together.
The information sought by the Deputy is currently being addressed. A detailed response will issue to the Deputy directly.
 ...

89. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will publish a schedule of those philanthropic donors, foundations and corporations which have to date committed to supporting the OPW’s proposed national children’s science centre exploration station to be developed at Earlsfort Terrace, the National Concert Hall and the Iveagh Gardens. (Question 49683/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 to 89, inclusive, together.
The information sought by the Deputy is currently being addressed. A detailed response will issue to the Deputy directly.
 ...

113. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the concerns articulated by the IDA regarding the effect that the interception of postal packets and telecommunications messages amendment Bill could have on the development of the digital technology industry here (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49763/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Legislative Programme)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Government last year approved proposals to draft a number of amendments to the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications (Regulation) Act 1993 and other associated legislation. 
My Department has been working to develop those proposals, in what is a complex and sensitive area of the law, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.  As part of the process of developing those propo...

9. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meetings in Silicon Valley. (Question 47612/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 15, inclusive, together.
I had a three day visit to Seattle, Silicon Valley and San Francisco from Wednesday, 1 November, to Friday, 3 November. The primary focus of the visit was growing trade, investment and tourism opportunities between Ireland and the US and highlighting Ireland’s priorities in the context of Brexit and other international developments.
In Seattle, I spoke at an event attended by approximately 250 people from Seattle’s bu...

59. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the scale of offshore wind energy he expects could be developed in the Irish Sea by 2030; and the role his Department has in co-ordinating such developments. (Question 49093/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Wind Energy Generation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan 2014 (OREDP) sets out the Government’s plan for the sustainable development of our abundant offshore renewable energy resources.  The Strategic Environmental Assessment carried out for the OREDP found that it would be environmentally sustainable for 4,500 MW of offshore wind and 1,500MW of wave and tidal devices to be developed in Irish waters in the period to 2030....

66. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department must approve the proposed purchase of a wood pellet plant in the US state of Georgia by Bord na Móna (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49092/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Bord na Móna)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Pursuant to section 2 of the Turf Development Act 1983, my approval as Minister, given with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, is required for Bord na Móna to enter into capital commitments such as the proposed purchase referenced by the Deputy. At this juncture, there has been no formal request for Ministerial consent in respect of this project. 
 ...

467. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the role his Department has in the implementation of the sustainable development goals. (Question 43768/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Sustainable Development Goals)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have lead responsibility for promoting and overseeing the coherent implementation of  the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a whole-of-Government basis, and for the establishment of a robust SDG implementation and reporting framework. I will also present Ireland’s first Voluntary National Review to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Susta...

470. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the calls for higher European renewable energy targets and higher efficiency targets in the new clean energy package being negotiated in the EU. (Question 49173/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Renewable Energy Generation Targets)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Last July I published Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan. This Plan lays the foundations for transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy and includes actions being taken in the electricity sector to achieve a low carbon energy sector by 2050. This Plan follows on from the December 2015 publication of Ireland’s latest Energy White Paper.
The a...

27. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions he has had with President Juncker regarding the development of the future of Europe strategy. (Question 40446/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 30 together. 
In March the European Commission published a White Paper on the Future of Europe, and followed up with a series of reflection papers covering a number of key issues including European Defence, EMU and Globalisation. We welcomed the White Paper and the Reflection Papers as important contributions to the evolving debate on the Future of Europe. 
In September the President of the Co...

5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the carbon price that applies to the cost benefit analysis assessments for capital projects; and the reforms he is considering in regard to this price and mechanism. (Question 47497/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Spending Code)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: At the meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly at the weekend there was a real sense of dismay at the lack of political leadership in tackling climate change in this country. Among the various criticisms which Professor John FitzGerald, the head of the Climate Change Advisory Council, made was that the Minister’s Department does not have an appropriate mechanism for measuring, valuing and pricing carbon in respect of investment decisions. What price are we using? What reforms doe...

69. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will publish a draft version of the capital plan in advance of the plan being considered by the Cabinet. (Question 47498/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme Publication)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In Budget 2018, I announced the Government’s capital spending plans for the next four years. I also set out the intention, as already announced, that the Government will publish a new 10-year capital plan alongside the proposed new National Planning Framework (NPF) for spatial policy detailed in the Ireland 2040 Plan.
As the Deputy will be aware, Government has allocated a significant and well-planned, increase in public capit...

272. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the increase to the vacant site levy from 3% to 7% announced on 10 October 2017 as part of the budget statement 2018 will be introduced; if the levy is a general increase from 3% to 7%; and if a 3% levy remains for the first year and the announced 7% increase will only be applied on the second and subsequent years a site remains vacant. (Question 47545/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Vacant Sites Levy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced a new measure, the vacant site levy, which is aimed at incentivising the development of vacant, under-utilised sites in urban areas. Under the Act, planning authorities are required to establish a register of vacant sites in their areas, beginning on 1 January 2017, and to issue annual notices to owners of vacant sites by 1 June 2018 in respect of vacant sites on th...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meetings at the European Council. (Question 45033/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, together.
I attended my second meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 19 and 20 October. The agenda included migration; Digital Europe; security and defence; and external relations. The future of Europe was also discussed over breakfast on Friday, followed by a meeting of the European Council in Article 50 format - without the UK - to discuss progress in the Brexit negotiations.
In advance of the meeting, I was invited...

14. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach the details of his recent phone call with the British Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May. (Question 45034/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Taoiseach’s Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 16 together.
I had phone calls with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May on October 16 and on November 1.
In our conversation on October 16, we discussed the latest developments in Northern Ireland at that time and urged a rapid resumption of talks, with a view to restoration of the Northern Ireland institutions urgently in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland. We also discussed Brexit, including the unique circumstances regarding t...

7. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach the outcome of his meeting with Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. (Question 43766/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 11, inclusive, together.
I met with Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on 5 October in Government Buildings. We held a very useful discussion on a range of shared challenges and priorities such as education, housing, health care, unemployment, economic management and the budget. Our conversation also touched on Brexit from our respective positions.
The First Minister set out her preference that the UK remains in the Single Market and ...

46. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that offer the international baccalaureate; and his views on more schools offering the qualification. (Question 45032/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Private Schools)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Is the Minister considering increasing the number of schools that offer the international baccalaureate? There is a call for that in some instances because, with new foreign investment here and international offices being set up, people may be looking for an international school. There is one such school in train, as I understand, and a second school is seeking a site in order to be able to provide a secondary school option. I am keen to get the Minister’s views on this mat...

58. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made on and timeline for the implementation of junior certificate reforms. (Question 45031/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Junior Cycle Reform)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The new Framework for Junior Cycle gives students the opportunity to develop a wider range of knowledge and skills to equip them for further learning, for work, for responsible and active citizenship and for healthy living. It gives students better learning opportunities and recognises non academic achievement. Implementation of the new Framework for Junior Cycle is now fully proceeding and a number of new subject specifications – Englis...

8. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered the reintroduction of a tax on super-normal profits - in the context of profits generated by the rezoning of land - as a mechanism for reducing the price of land, which is increasing as a result of ongoing speculation. (Question 33188/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Tax Collection)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: In the Green Party’s period in government we helped to introduce a tax on super-normal profits relating to speculation in land. This is an essential measure to try to avoid a return to the housing bubble conditions and to bring down the cost of building. It is interesting that the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland said earlier today that the cost of building in Dublin is incredibly high, largely due to high land prices. Will the Department of Finance consider reintrodu...

228. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health the reason funding was recently cut from an organisation (details supplied); the measures he is taking to tackle low breastfeeding rates here compared to the US, UK and Australia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44646/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Health Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive are totally committed to increasing breast feeding rates in Ireland.
National health policy, including the Healthy Ireland Framework, the National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026, the National Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025 and the recently published National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 all emphasise the importance of supporting mothers who breastfeed as well as ...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees expected to arrive here by the end of 2017 in accordance with the EU relocation programme developed in response to the Syrian refugee crisis; the locations of those who have already arrived; and his plans to settle these refugees around the country. (Question 44534/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Questions were taken more quickly than I thought they would be, but I appreciate being able to ask this one. It arises from a concern I have about Syrian refugees based in Greece who have looked to be assigned in Ireland and who have been told that they cannot come here because we do not have accommodation. I know that refugees here are in welcoming centres, but they have been in them for too long and need to be located in the community. I ask the Minister for an update on ...

103. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the planned changes to direct provision; and the timeframe for their implementation. (Question 44535/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Direct Provision System)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that the majority of the recommendations contained in the McMahon report are either implemented or are being implemented.  Full details of the status of these recommendations are available on the website of the Department at  http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/3rd_WG_Progress_Report_-_July_2017.pdf/Files/3rd_WG_Progress_Report_-_July_2017.pdf
While I do not propose to go through any of the recommendations in detail ...

16. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive, of 4 October 2017, the outcome of his meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the margins of the European digital summit. (Question 43767/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - EU Summits)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 to 16, inclusive, together.
The digital summit in Tallinn was an important opportunity for EU leaders to discuss the evolution of digital technologies and their wide-ranging implications in a less formal setting than regular European Council business. The Estonian Presidency prepared a very useful, forward-looking agenda to stimulate discussion on how Europe can develop its competitive advantages in a fast-changing digital world which is re-sha...

43. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she will take to address the shortage in foster carers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43789/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Foster Care Provision)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): We need a regular supply of foster carers to provide a quality service for children. A small number of areas have problems in recruiting enough local foster carers. Other areas have good availability, but not all foster carers will have the skills needed for children with more complex needs. 
Foster carers are acknowledged as the backbone of our child care services, looking after 92% of children in care. This compares with 74...