100. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the proposed special school for County Louth that will merge schools (details supplied); the details of the announced preferred site on the Cement Road, Drogheda; the date upon which the site was chosen; the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44515/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Schools Amalgamation)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, a project to provide permanent accommodation for the schools in question is included on my Department’s Capital Programme.
Officials in my Department continue to liaise with officials in the relevant local authority in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding in relation to the identification and acquisition of a suitable site for these school’s. A suitable site has been identified and all parties are worki...

280. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding will be made available through the LIHAF from budget 2018 to progress the port access northern cross route project in Drogheda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44526/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): A LIHAF call for proposals was issued to all local authorities in August 2016. It was open to all local authorities to apply for funding towards the capital cost of public infrastructure, which, when provided, would secure the early delivery of additional housing at considerable scale and more affordable price points, with developments in excess of 500 units in the Dublin area, or in excess of 200 units in areas outside ...

281. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the proposed housing developments in the Drogheda and environs area that his Department is in active discussions on; the number of social houses the developments hope to deliver; the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44527/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Housing Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Rebuilding Ireland has put in place the funding resources to accelerate the delivery of social housing for all local authorities. Critically, €5.35 billion in exchequer investment has been secured to support its implementation and to deliver 47,000 social housing units through build, refurbishment, acquisitions and leasing, over the period to 2021. This level of national funding to implement Rebuilding Ireland’s targets ...

138. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the funding that has been made available to address the respite crisis in County Louth further to the announcement of an extra €646 million in funding being made available in the health budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44132/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Respite Care Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): I am pleased to say that overall funding for services for older people will increase in 2018. We are in a position to further strengthen supports for our older people, particularly to facilitate speedier discharge from acute hospitals over the winter period. The quantum of service to be provided will be outlined in the Health Service Executive’s National Service Plan for 2018, which is currently being prepared by the Executive. ...

185. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if funding for the Ardee bypass will be allocated in view of the recent €1.2 billion in extra capital spend, following budget 2018, available to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44131/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Road Projects)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects  is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the relevant local authority.
We are currently working to finalise detailed allocations with Transport Infrastructure Ireland...

134. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter raised by a person (details supplied) regarding the tax appeals system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43690/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The objectives of the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015 are to reform the tax appeals system with a view to ensuring an enhanced and cost effective appeal mechanism for tax cases. The Act, which was commenced on 21st March 2016, inter alia provides for the establishment of the Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) which was established on the same date. A key feature of the legislation is that taxpayers now make their appeals against Revenue decisions directl...

366. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the laundry department in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; his short to medium-term plans for the department; if a commitment can be given to the laundry staff regarding their job security in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43842/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Health Services Executive have advised that Phase 2 of the development in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda is currently in the final stages of construction. This consists of an extension on the ground floor, three wards and a theatre suite comprising of five operating rooms. Any plans regarding the laundry services cannot fully be considered until this construction project is complete and brought on line.
In the context of last week’s Budget...

90. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Fergus O’Dowd den an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna freagra a thabhairt ar an gceist faoin gcostas an-mhór is gá d’ábhair múinteoirí a íoc chun freastal ar chúrsaí Gaeltachta (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. (Question 42582/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Cúrsaí Gaeilge)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Glacadh an cinneadh chun deireadh a chur le deontais chun tréimhse a chaitheamh sa Ghaeltacht le linn na géarchéime eacnamaíochta nuair a bhí cinntí an-deacra le déanamh, ar an drochuair, chun cúrsaí airgeadais an náisiúin a chobhsú. Tugadh tosaíocht do chosaint acmhainní le haghaidh seirbhísí tosaigh oideachais oiread agus ab fhéidir, agus is ábhar dúshlánach é seo fós agus líon na bpáistí in aois scoile ag méadú de shíor. Níl an maoi...

305. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health if the HSE plans to put a permanent ward in the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda for COPD patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42547/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Services)

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.
 ...

306. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the status of dedicated respiratory consultants for Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42548/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Consultant Contracts)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly.
 ...

307. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the number of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, patients admitted into the RCSI hospital group in the years 2015 and 2016 and to date in 2017, by location; the number of days COPD patients spent admitted as inpatients during the same time period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42549/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Admissions)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly.
 ...

338. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the waiting list for joint replacement operations in the Royal College of Surgeons hospital group, by individual hospital, for each of the past three years; the number of such replacement joint operations carried out in the hospitals; the locations in which they were carried out for the same period; if persons were sent to other hospitals outside this region during this period; if so, the locations to which they were sent; the cost of these operations; if a cap on the number of replacement operations per annum has been introduced; if so, the reason therefor; the date it was introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42676/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists 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.
 ...

391. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the waiting list for joint replacement operations in the Ireland East Hospital Group in each of the past three years, by hospital; the number of such replacement joint operations carried out in the hospitals; the location in which they were carried out for the same period; if persons were sent to other hospitals outside this region during this period; if so, the locations to which they were sent; the cost of these operations; if a cap on maximum joint replacement operations per annum has been imposed; if so, the reason therefore; the person or body that made the order; the date that it was introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42940/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service issues, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

418. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health if urgent and emergency funding for existing respite service proposals that are in the possession of the HSE will be provided in view of the respite crisis in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42248/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Respite Care Services Funding)

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.
 ...

420. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the status of the medical cannabis compassionate programme; the timeframe for this programme to become more widely used by medical professionals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42250/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Cannabis for Medicinal Use)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the Deputy will be aware, in March 2017, on foot of the conclusions from the Health Products Regulatory Authority’s report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’, I established an Expert Reference Group to advise on the development of a Cannabis for Medical Use Access Programme.
The Expert Group is chaired by Dr. Mairín Ryan, Director of Health Technology Assessment at the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), and comprises repre...

197. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the proposed Boyneside cycle way trail project for Drogheda and east County Meath (details supplied); if the necessary funds will be made available to progress the project to boost tourism and physical activity in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42092/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Cycling Facilities Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): My Department recently undertook a public consultation process to inform the development of a new Greenways Strategy. Meath County Council contributed to this process, highlighting the merit of progressing the project to which the Deputy refers. My officials are currently reviewing the many submissions received from both citizens and stakeholders, including the submission from Meath County Council.  My Department is aiming to have t...

94. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she has given consideration to the setting up of a local enterprise office in Drogheda (details supplied) as part of a collective response to Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41409/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Local Enterprise Offices Establishment)

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy may be aware, the Government Decision of April 2012 provided for the dissolution of the 35 County Enterprise Boards and the establishment of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) in each Local Authority area. On this basis the LEO Louth was established in the County Council Offices in Dundalk. My Department has no current plans to deviate from this model.
The role of the Local Enterprise Office...

129. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to reverse the decision to close off large areas of the local Oldbridge House grounds in Drogheda, County Meath, for the purpose of grazing sheep (details supplied); if the decision was a financial one; if so, the income it will provide; if this income can be found elsewhere in order to reverse the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41390/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Office of Public Works Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Land management at Oldbridge Estate (the site of the historic Battle of the Boyne) involves an ongoing cycle of tillage, silage/hay making, grazing and grass mowing. A priority is to facilitate public access and recreational use. Recent field boundary adjustments will accommodate all current sport and leisure activities. 
 ...

235. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedures in place when a member of the public is arrested and taken into Garda custody; and if a person in custody suffers from serious ill health and displays symptoms of same in custody, the protocol that to ensure duty of care. (Question 41536/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Garda Procedures)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The treatment of persons in custody in Garda stations is governed by the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Síochána Stations) Regulations, 1987. The objective of the Regulations is to ensure that members of the Garda Síochána act with due respect for the dignity and personal rights of persons in custody.  The Regulations include provision for the assignment of a member of the Garda Síochána in each Ga...

320. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the decision on the reintroduction of day case charges for haemochromatosis patients attending the Louth county venesection clinic; his plans to reverse day charges for this life saving treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41388/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Hospital Charges)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): 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-patient service, including that provided on a day case basis, will have to pay the ...

361. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the status of the proposed new 100-bed unit at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41462/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Nursing Home Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Capital Programme announced in January 2016 provides for the replacement and refurbishment of 90 public nursing homes across the country over the next five years, including St. Mary’s Hospital, Drogheda. Under this Programme it is proposed to deliver a new build community nursing home by 2020. This will replace existing beds where the physical environment requires substantial improvement. 
Significant work has been undertaken by the HSE in determi...

412. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health his plans to place the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system for the treatment of diabetes on the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41731/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Long-Term Illness Scheme Coverage)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

70. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a person’s (details supplied) concerns regarding retained fire fighters status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40250/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Fire Service Staff)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In light of the detail provided by the Deputy, Revenue will contact the person directly to discuss the matter further.  
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83. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position on a primary school (details supplied) in County Louth in which children attending the school have been withdrawn by their parents due to concerns that have been publicly expressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40068/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - School Management)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In the case of the school in question, I wish to advise that a Whole School Evaluation of the school was carried out earlier this year. A report including recommendations to address some of the issues raised was published thereafter.
Senior officials from my Department subsequently held a meeting with school management and the patron of the school in relation to the issues raised in the Whole School Evaluation Report and the Department w...

160. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the waiting list for joint replacement operations in the Royal College of Surgeons hospital group, by individual hospital, for each of the past three years; the number of such replacement joint operations carried out in the hospitals; the location in which they were carried out for the same period; if persons were sent to other hospitals outside this region during this period; if so, the locations to which they were sent to; the cost of these operations; if a cap of 440 joint replacement operations per annum has been introduced; if so, the reason therefore; the date that it was introduced; if a report in the media (details supplied) on 18 September 2017 that one hospital in the region has the capacity to do well in excess of 700 per annum is correct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40029/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families.
Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government’s key priorities. Consequently, Budget 2017 allocated €20 million to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018. 
In order to reduce the numbers of long-waiting patients, I asked the HSE to develop Waiting List Action Plans for 2017 i...