255. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the National Transport Authority does not have a role with regard to the provision of car parking spaces at railway stations outside the greater Dublin area and the regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford; the body that has responsibility for funding and construction of additional car parking spaces at railway stations in areas outside of the NTA’s remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7854/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Railway Stations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure and services in the Greater Dublin Area and for public transport infrastructure and services on a non statutory basis in the Regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
Issues relating to the provision of car parking spaces at train stations on the heavy ...

84. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the solutions he and the agencies under his remit have in place to tackle unemployment in rural areas in view of further delays with the roll-out of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7258/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - National Broadband Plan Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year that number will rise to nearly 8 out of 1...

168. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the reason the plan for the new diabetes centre at Sligo University Hospital is not included in the capital development fund for 2018; if the HSE applied for capital funding for the project; if not, the reason the funding is being withheld; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7620/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Hospitals Capital Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of health care capital projects, my Department has requested the Health Service Executive to reply directly to you in relation to your questions regarding proposed capital developments at Sligo University Hospital.
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196. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that two permanent specialist consultant posts remain unfilled for diabetes services at Sligo University Hospital; if the posts of paediatric consultant and adult endocrinologist at Sligo University Hospital have been advertised; if not, the reason therefor; if the positions advertised are in line with the recommendations of the HSE-approved national model of care for paediatric health care services in Ireland in that the posts would allow 2.5 days per week allocated to the care of children and adolescents requiring diabetes and-or endocrinology support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7755/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Hospital Consultant Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.
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23. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the new diabetes centre at Sligo General Hospital; when works are due to commence; the proposed completion date of the building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6207/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Child Care Services Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The tender process for the Diabetes Day Centre is underway with short-listing of contractors due to be completed shortly. Once a contractor has been selected, funding approval will be required in order to progress with the appointment of the contractor. The project has a timescale of 9 months once building works commence.
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24. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the training in place for medical professionals to deal with persons diagnosed with Lyme disease or presenting with the symptoms of same; the comparisons between accuracy of tests carried out here and those carried out in the EU and the United Kingdom including tests carried out that have provided negative results and subsequently proved positive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6108/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 64, 65 and 181 together.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by bites from infected ticks infected. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. 
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination and can be a difficult diagnosis to make in cases which do not develop the characteristic rash. The infec...

232. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the facilities that will now be provided for Alzheimer’s patients in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6427/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - 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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522. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding available through his Department for small and medium businesses that wish to opt for recyclable packaging, for example, cardboard instead of foil and plastic (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6047/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Small and Medium Enterprises Supports)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The packaging chosen by businesses is a commercial decision and therefore it cannot be aided by State funds.  The EU Packaging Directive (Directive 94/62/EC) is transposed in Ireland by the European Union, (Packaging) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 282 of 2014).  In accordance with these regulations all packaging must be fit for purpose and once it meets the criteria of the Directive cannot be impeded in coming onto...

208. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the efforts being made to secure a second permanent consultant to fill a recently vacated second post in relation to dermatology services at Sligo University Hospital; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is only one permanent consultant covering the north west; the wait time for persons in the north west requiring an appointment with a consultant; the wait time for procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5121/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Hospital Consultant Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response 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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115. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he will introduce measures to allow families that do not have a minimum earned income of €15,000 per annum to purchase their homes under the tenant purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4339/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 115 together.
The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016.  The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of soc...

215. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the funding or grants available through his Department for early retirement groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4776/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Departmental Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): My Department administered a National Lottery Discretionary Fund up to and including 2016 from which once-off grants were paid to community and voluntary organisations providing a range of health related services. My Department no longer operates a National Lottery Fund. 
However, the HSE operates a similar scheme and continues to provide grants to health agencies and other organisations from National Lottery funds.
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252. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on reopening the early retirement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4774/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Farm Retirement Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Early Retirement Scheme was suspended in 2008. It was reopened briefly in September 2009, with limited additional funding, to accommodate farmers who had applications completed or close to completion at the time of suspension. I can confirm that as there is no funding available for a new Early Retirement Scheme at this time, I have no plans to re-open this scheme or introduce another similar scheme. 
In recent years the...

291. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the recent decision by the Citizens Information Board to cease funding the MABS national management forum, NMF, with immediate effect, which goes against the will of Dáil Éireann which voted for the restructuring process to be halted; if she will direct the Citizens Information Board to suspend the defunding of MABS NMF; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4789/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Money Advice and Budgeting Service Funding)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is a statutory body established by the Oireachtas. In addition to its own statutory responsibilities in relation to information and advocacy service provision, it has statutory responsibility for the countrywide networks of Citizens Information Services (CIS) and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). 
In February 2017, the Board of CIB decided to change its governance a...

335. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA site visits that have taken place in each county over the past five years; the confirmed visits to take place in each county in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4266/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - IDA Ireland Site Visits)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The table below outlines the total number of annual site visits to each county since 2012. The figures for 2017 are only for the first three quarters of that year. Final figures for the totality of 2017 will become available next month.
For reasons of commercial sensitivity and client confidentiality IDA Ireland cannot provide details on possible future site visits by potential investors. 
It should be remembered tha...

353. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if a review of a medical card application by a person (details supplied) will be undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3962/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Medical Card Reviews)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to ...

475. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if an additional emergency ambulance fleet will be allocated in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim; the extra funding that will be provided to the ambulance service in the north west in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4641/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Ambulance Service Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.
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651. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding available from her Department to local heritage festivals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3935/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Heritage Promotion)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): In 2017, my Department ran a Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools fund. Funding available under this scheme was capped at €5,000 per applicant. Full details of this scheme are available at
http://www.ahrrga.gov.ie/arts/culture/grants-and-funding/small-scale-local-festivals-summer-schools/.
It is currently envisaged that this funding scheme will run again in Q1 2018. In this context, it may be useful to monitor ...

126. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health his plans to investigate matters relating to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3715/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing ...

151. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the level of consultation with health care support assistants in establishing a new roster system; if he and the HSE will ensure continuity of care on the rosters with regard to the time needed to carry out duties required; the minimum number of persons on each roster and other issues including travel time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3871/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Health Care Professionals)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. 
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204. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the legislation that was in place in 1984 regarding married women signing for unemployment assistance; if the case of a person (details supplied) will be investigated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3735/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Social Insurance Fund)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of PRSI credited contributions (“credits”) is to secure the social welfare benefits and pensions of PRSI contributors by covering gaps in insurance on the occasions where they are not in a position to make contributions such as periods of unemployment, illness etc. 
The Social Welfare (Contributions) Regulations 1953 (S.I. No. 5 of 1953) (as amended) was the relevant Statutory Instrument governing PRSI con...

296. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the work to market counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Roscommon as jobs locations; the number of IDA site visits that have taken place in these counties in the past five years; the other initiatives that have taken place to contribute to highlighting the north west as a destination for new businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2971/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - IDA Ireland Site Visits)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): This Government is strongly committed to regional development and my Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are as evenly distributed as possible across the country. This includes in counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Roscommon, where there is currently a total of 50 IDA Ireland client companies collectively employing 7,590 people. While the IDA is de...

399. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health when a speech and language therapist will be appointed in St Patrick’s hospital, Carrick-on-Shannon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3216/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Speech and Language Therapy Staff)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
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368. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a person (details supplied) under the school transport scheme will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54911/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - School Transport Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently over 115,000 children, including almost 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
Under the terms of my Department’s Post Primary School...

731. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if the clinical lead consultant psychiatrist for CAMHS in counties Sligo and Leitrim is only available for the service one day per week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54647/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Mental Health Services Staff)

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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736. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the reason venesection and phlebotomy therapy is a free treatment in St James’s Hospital, Dublin for haemochromatosis patients and not a free treatment in all hospitals; his views on whether this is discriminatory based on location; his further views on whether there is no justification for persons to pay an €80 fee for a 15 minute outpatient procedure which prevents organ damage and saves lives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54658/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 736, 749, 751, 850, 864 and 968 together.
The Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides that all people ordinarily resident in the country are entitled, subject to certain charges, to public in-patient hospital services, including consultant services, and to public out-patient hospital services. Under the Health (In-Patients Charges) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, a person who has been referred to a hospital for an in-patien...