5. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the future of the proposed underground rail interconnector linking Heuston Station and Spencer Dock; if this interconnector will be included in the new national capital plan; and, if not, the way in which he plans to increase the capacity of the rail network. (Question 7883/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Rail Network Expansion)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: In 1972 the report on the transportation in Dublin study carried out by An Foras Forbartha stated we should build an underground rail connection between Heuston Station and Pearse Street and Connolly Station. In 1975 the report on the Dublin rapid rail transportation study stated the same and that it should be the second phase after the introduction of the Howth to Bray DART line. In 2001 the plan A Platform for Change stated the project was more important than anything else...

154. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the tendering process for the forthcoming Kerry GYDP scheme; the process for selection; when the information will be available on all projects; if they will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7931/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Garda Youth Diversion Projects)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I take it that the Deputy is referring primarily to the upcoming call for proposals process for the provision of Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) services throughout the country.
I can inform the Deputy that my Department is obliged to carry out a call for proposals process in relation to GYDP services in 2018, to comply fully with requirements related with the co-funding of projects by the European Social Fund Programme for Employ...

250. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the planned timeframe for delivering the East Wall-Sandycove walking and cycling infrastructure greenway. (Question 7884/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Greenways Development)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). My Department provides funding to the NTA for the seven local authorities in the GDA for the implementation of sustainable transport projects including cycling and walking infrastructure. 
The East Coast Trail, including the Sutton to Sandycove sch...

95. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of soldiers billeted by the Army; the locations of same; and his views on same. (Question 7793/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Defence Forces Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The number of bed places currently available for use by military personnel at each of the permanently occupied military locations is shown in the table. This accommodation is generally referred to as Single Living In accommodation and the overall provision of such accommodation is based on military operational requirements. The number of personnel actually billeted at any one time varies according to such operational requireme...

106. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Iveagh Gardens are a protected structure. (Question 7792/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Office of Public Works Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The Iveagh Gardens are a protected structure. Their reference in Dublin City Council’s Record of Protected Structures in Dublin City is 7791. The description for this listing is as follows: “Iveagh House (Department of Foreign Affairs) and Iveagh Gardens, including stone garden folly.”
 ...

35. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health the reason the typical flu shot available here is a trivalent vaccine in view of the fact that increasingly common Yanmagata B strain is not protected against by this vaccine; and if he or the HSE plan to move to a quadrivalent vaccine before the 2018 flu season. (Question 6383/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 39, 46 and 81 together.
In Ireland the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) an independent committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland which comprises experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics, and public health makes recommendation on vaccination policy in Ireland. Their recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and inte...

81. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health the additional steps other than increased spending on public information and awareness campaigns taken by his Department and the HSE to counteract an expected particularly bad flu season. (Question 6382/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 39, 46 and 81 together.
In Ireland the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) an independent committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland which comprises experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics, and public health makes recommendation on vaccination policy in Ireland. Their recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and inte...

318. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if during maternity leave, there are protections for self-employed women; and the mechanisms in place for them to make earnings during this period. (Question 5006/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Maternity Leave)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Department of Justice and Equality has responsibility for maternity leave which is provided for in the 1994 and 2004 Maternity Protection Acts (as amended). The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has responsibility for the associated social welfare payment of maternity benefit as provided for in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended).
Maternity benefit is a payment made for 26 ...

29. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach his Department’s priorities for 2018. (Question 3448/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Departmental Priorities)

The Taoiseach: My Department has just published its revised Statement of Strategy reflecting the priorities for the period ahead as well as the changes that have taken place following my appointment as Taoiseach. This includes the establishment of a new configuration of Cabinet Committees which encompasses the Government’s national priorities for the coming years.
The Strategy Statement is aligned to the Government’s key priorities and policies, and sets out the following six strategic prioriti...

33. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his address and discussions at the Future of Europe meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. (Question 3092/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Taoiseach’s Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 31, 33, 39 and 40 together.
I was honoured to be the first EU leader to be invited to take part in the European Parliament debate series on the Future of Europe. My speech to the European Parliament took place in Strasbourg on 17 January.
In my intervention, I spoke about the achievements of the European Union, the benefits for Ireland of EU membership, and my thoughts about how best the Union should evolve for the future. I also spoke in some deta...

130. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has made recent diplomatic representations to the Saudi Arabian State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nizar bin Obaid Madani, regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen; and the status of the proceedings of the core group established at the Human Rights Council in September 2017 set up to establish the facts of violations of human rights on the ground. (Question 4922/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Foreign Conflicts)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am extremely concerned about the current situation in Yemen, which is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The war has now been ongoing for over one thousand days, and has had devastating consequences for civilians, with allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and significant loss of life.
I have not met with any Saudi Ministerial counterparts since taking up my role as Minist...

222. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health if his Department or the HSE collect data regarding average and total hours spent by persons on trolleys in public hospitals rather than only the total number using trolleys at one time; and if such information is publicly available (Question 4826/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Emergency Departments Waiting Times)

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 the Deputy directly.
 ...

223. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health if the recommended 24 hour limit on trolleys for patients 75 years of age and above is being adhered to; and if there is an internal HSE alert system that ensures patients do not exceed HIQA recommended maximum durations on trolleys. (Question 4827/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Emergency Departments Waiting Times)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 223, 225 and 242 together.
In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.
 ...

224. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health the number of hospitals operating at full operational protocol; and the length of time each has being doing so. (Question 4828/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Hospitals 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 the Deputy directly.
 ...

225. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Health the specific maximum durations on trolleys recommended for patients who are 75 years of age and over; and the way in which these are enforced. (Question 4829/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Emergency Departments Waiting Times)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 223, 225 and 242 together.
In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.
 ...

264. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the management and maintenance of the electric vehicle charging network. (Question 4915/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Electric Vehicles)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The ESB, through its eCars programme, has rolled out both publicly accessible charging infrastructure and domestic charge points for electric vehicles (EVs).  There are approximately 900 EV charge points in Ireland of which circa 70 are rapid chargers.  The maintenance and management of these charge points is an operational matter for the ESB. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities, following a public consu...

282. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the financial codes that his Department uses to monitor expenditure. (Question 4917/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Public Spending Code is the set of rules and procedures that apply to ensure that these standards are upheld across the Irish public service. The Code brings together in one place all of the elements of the value-for-money framework that has been in force up to now, updated and reformed in some respects. The Code is maintained under the management of the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure ...

342. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the proposal that developers would only be granted planning permission if houses have electric car charging points inserted from the outset. (Question 4916/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Planning Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I am aware of proposals by the European Commission to amend Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, on which discussions are ongoing at EU level.  Under the draft amendments to the Directive, it is proposed to introduce requirements for the installation of vehicular charging points on new and existing non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation, and  also incorpor...

343. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the definition of affordability that the Rebuilding Ireland home loan, the affordable purchase scheme and the affordable rental scheme are based on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4918/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Housing Policy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): While there is no universally agreed price or rent to income ratio, or minimum residual income requirement, there is general agreement that lower-income households in particular should not be paying more than one third of their disposable income on rent or mortgage repayments.
Affordability of housing is also influenced by factors including the ability to secure mortgage finance, the availability of properties to buy and...

344. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the significant differences between the Rebuilding Ireland affordable rental scheme announced on 22 January 2018 and the differential rents scheme currently provided by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4919/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Rental Sector Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): On 22 January, I announced a package of initiatives to help alleviate affordability pressures faced by households, particularly in areas of high housing demand and high accommodation costs. This includes a new affordable rental scheme, to be based on a cost rental model. Further details on the suite of initiatives announced on 22 January can be found at
http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/min-murphys-statement-on-affordable...

345. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the timeframe for which an affordable rental scheme will be brought from concept to commencement on site; the length of time local authorities should have to wait before they can start building once they have a concept; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4920/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Rental Sector Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 307 to 309, inclusive, 311, 312 and 345 together.
I refer to the reply to Question No. 83 on today’s Order Paper, which outlines the position with regard to the development of an affordable rental scheme, to be based on a cost rental model.
In addition, the policy aim in relation to affordable rental is to enable local authorities, in urban areas of high demand, to facilitate long-term af...

346. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department has conducted an independent audit of the previous affordable homes purchase scheme provided from 2002 to 2011 under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2002 before his announcement of the Rebuilding Ireland affordable homes initiative on 22 January 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4921/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In 2007, the Affordable Homes Partnership commissioned a report, Increasing Affordable Housing Supply, to consider how the range of affordable housing mechanisms might be improved or expanded by new initiatives to increase the supply and accelerate the delivery of affordable housing. The work was guided by a Steering Group, chaired by my Department and comprising representatives from local authorities, the Departments o...

21. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his visits to Hungary and Bulgaria. (Question 3094/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 to 21, inclusive, together.
I travelled to Budapest on 4 January for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and onwards to Sofia on 5 January to meet Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. I was accompanied on both visits by the Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs, Deputy Helen McEntee. The meeting with Prime Minister Borisov was an opportunity, in particular, to have detailed discussions about plans and priorities ...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to outline the steps he will take to support a peaceful settlement in Palestine. (Question 3849/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Middle East Peace Process)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Following his recent visit to the Middle East, I am keen to hear the Minister’s latest thinking on what Ireland can do to support the peace process in Palestine and the resolution of what is an intolerable situation. The peace process has effectively stalled. If anything, it is in reverse, particularly with the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. There is no sign that the process that had been engaged in for the past 25 years is working any longer. How do we help to break ...

49. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to the UK Secretary of State for the Exiting of the European Union’s comments in December 2017 that the agreement between Ireland and the UK was a statement of intent and not legally enforceable, his views on these comments; and his further views on whether the commitments agreed to are legally enforceable. (Question 3850/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I welcome the decision of the European Council on 15 December that sufficient progress had been made in phase 1 of the negotiations and that the negotiations can now move to phase 2, as well as the adoption of additional negotiating Guidelines on the same day.The decision by the European Council that sufficient progress had been achieved was taken on the basis of a recommendation from the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barn...