245. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce gender quotas for the boards of publicly listed companies here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54154/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Gender Equality)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 contains the following actions:
“4.1 Commission an independent review of the situation of women in the governance and senior management of companies in Ireland and of measures to promote and to increase women’s representation, such as targets for business.
4.2 Informed by the recommendations of the independent review (at action 4.1), develop and implement a pack...

68. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the age profile of former members of the Defence Forces for each of the past five years that have had to avail of supports provided by an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52729/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (O.N.E.) is an organisation dedicated to looking after the welfare of ex-service personnel of the Irish Defence Forces. It provides accommodation to homeless, elderly or disabled members in need of such domestic accommodation and shelter as well as other assistance and advice as required. O.N.E. has accommodation in Smithfield, Dublin (Brú na bhFiann with 30 places), Athlone (7...

72. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the services and supports available to former members of the Defence Forces that find themselves homeless or in financial difficulty; if these supports are overly dependent on fundraising (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52728/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): At the outset, let me state that housing and homelessness remains the Government’s number one priority. The issue of housing and homelessness is a matter in the first instance for the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. My colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government, confirmed last week (6 December 2017) that the Government has approved an extra €100 million for social housi...

407. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when Carbury, County Kildare, will have access to fibre broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52604/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

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 so that today over 67% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. This is set to increase to 77% (1.8m premises) by the end of 2018 and...

411. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will be supplied with fibre broadband. (Question 52748/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

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 so that today over 67% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. This is set to increase to 77% (1.8m premises) by the end of 2018 and...

423. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the assistance available for persons with learning difficulties who are sitting their driving theory test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52603/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Driver Test Regulations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.
 ...

312. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) who has been waiting almost six months for a scan in St James’s Hospital. (Question 51480/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Hospital Appointments Delays)

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.
 In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have...

509. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the appeals process in place for a person who wishes to appeal a back-to-education allowance decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51940/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Back to Education Allowance Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Back to Education Allowance is one of a number of non-statutory schemes operated by my Department. Decisions made by officers of the Department are based on published guidelines (available on the Department’s website www.welfare.ie) setting out the conditions of entitlement. Decisions that are made on non-statutory schemes cannot be appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. However, if a person is dissati...

286. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of residential care for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50780/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - 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 ...

416. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of delays for driving tests by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50779/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Driver Test Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The average waiting times for driving tests at all centres are available on the Road Safety Authority (RSA) website at www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Learner-Drivers/The-Driving-Test/Test-Waiting-Times. The average waiting time is an average of current waiting times for applicants at each Test Centre.  Applicants will have waiting times both longer and shorter than the average.
The RSA is currently undertaking initiatives in order to increase ca...

155. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grounds on which a waiver for non-EU fees for a course of study can be provided to an Irish resident returning after five years working in the medical area abroad. (Question 50482/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Third Level Fees)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The position is that to qualify for funding towards tuition fees, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. These rules apply to all students from all EU/EEA/Swiss states. Students undertaking a second undergraduate qualifica...

156. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a compulsory purchase order is not available for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49860/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Compulsory Purchase Orders)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy may be aware, my Department does not have statutory compulsory purchase order powers but Local Authorities have, on a small number of occasions, used their powers to assist in the acquisition of land for educational use. This generally occurs where a landowner is unwilling to sell a site which has been zoned for educational use.  
While the CPO process has been used previously for school site acquisitions with the assistanc...

199. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an Irish resident who has been working as a physiotherapist abroad for more than five years is required to pay non-EU fees to study medicine on his or her return. (Question 50481/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Third Level Fees)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The position is that to qualify for funding towards tuition fees, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. These rules apply to all students from all EU/EEA/Swiss states. Students undertaking a second undergraduate qualifi...

200. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) can use funding under the summer works scheme for repairs to his roof. (Question 50483/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Summer Works Scheme Administration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has been engaging with the school’s patron relating to the matter in question. My Department has indicated to the patron that the request was approved in principle subject to the patron providing full information relating to the proposal. This information is awaited and will be considered further when received.
 ...

201. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) who has not been able to secure a place in a second level school for the past two years. (Question 50484/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - School Enrolments)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. 
Where a parent seeks to enrol their child in a school and that school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Only where an appeal under Section 2...

256. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to reallocate resources to Ballymore Eustace Garda station in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49917/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Garda Stations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations. As Minister, I have no role in the matter.
Indeed, this was the basis on which the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was developed and imp...

257. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of Garda numbers by station in County Kildare. (Question 49919/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Garda Strength)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 257 and 258 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the op...

258. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of Garda numbers by station in County Laois. (Question 49920/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Garda Strength)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 257 and 258 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the op...

259. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of Garda numbers by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49921/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Garda Strength)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. I am informed by ...

527. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the timeframe for the announcement of sports capital grants. (Question 49859/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Sports Capital Programme Administration)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on the 24th February. By the closing date, a record number of 2,320 applications seeking €155 million in grants were received. 
When the programme was launched, it was envisaged that €30m would be available which would have made the allocation of grants particularly challenging. Following the conclusion of the budget discussions and in order to allow as many wor...

537. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when a meeting with this Deputy will be scheduled (details supplied). (Question 49981/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Due to the volume of diary requests in recent months it has not yet been possible to meet this particular request.
However, the Deputy can be assured that I will request officials to consider the matter urgently.
 ...

538. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if funding will be considered for Coughlanstown Road, Ballymore Eustace in view of the fact that it has been closed for 15 months due to part collapsing into the river. (Question 49982/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Road Improvement Schemes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of local authorities, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from a local authority’s own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
Kildare County Council was allocated gra...

106. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a permanent building for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49793/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The school to which the Deputy refers is currently located on the Notre Dame campus, Upper Churchtown Road, Dublin 14 pending completion of the permanent accommodation for the school at the St. Tiernan’s Community School site in Balally. 
Outline planning permission for a new primary school at the site in Balally was submitted to the relevant local authority in December 2012 but was refused on the grounds of site access.  This was appeal...

161. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to meet the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities as they get older; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49794/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Disability Services Provision)

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 ...

195. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the persons entitled to a disabled person’s parking permit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49759/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Parking Regulations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 to 197, inclusive, together.
The Disabled Parking Permit is available to people living in Ireland who have a permanent condition or disability that severely restricts his or her ability to walk. Under the Disabled Parking Permit scheme, people who are Primary Medical Certificate holders or registered blind are automatically eligible to avail of the scheme. People who are not holders of the Prima...