71. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he received a report (details supplied); and if he will be scheduling a meeting with his Department regarding same. (Question 44299/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to confirm that my Department has received correspondence from the group referred to by the Deputy which includes a report as well as a request to meet with the group. A reply will issue shortly to the group in relation to this correspondence.
As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas. My Department u...

258. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding assistance to owners of houses that do not comply with fire safety standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44298/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Fire Safety Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014, primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, including Part B (Fire Safety), rests with the owners, designers and builders of buildings. Enforcement of the Building Regulations is a matter for the 31 local building control authorities who have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Acts....

158. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health his Department’s timeframe for the refurbishment to the HSE owned property on Drogheda Street, Monasterevin, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44281/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - HSE Properties)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 159 together.
I understand that the HSE issued a reply directly to you on 6th October 2017 regarding this property.
 ...

159. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the delays that prevented the completion of the refurbishment of the HSE owned property on Drogheda Street, Monasterevin, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44282/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - HSE Properties)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 159 together.
I understand that the HSE issued a reply directly to you on 6th October 2017 regarding this property.
 ...

160. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the progress on the primary care unit in Athy, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44283/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.
As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.
 ...

161. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the timeframe for the primary care unit in Athy, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44284/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Primary Care Centres Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.
As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.
 ...

162. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the supports in place for a centre (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44285/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Health Services)

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.
 ...

36. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the resources in place to deal with allegations of child abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43440/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Child Abuse)

Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin: I am conscious that there is some overlap between my question and some previous questions. Many deal with Tusla, which underlines its important role and how important it is that we provide it with the necessary resources. I want to acknowledge that the Minister secured extra funding in the budget.
I wish to ask the Minister about the resources which are in place to deal with allegations of abuse of children and make a statement on the matter, in particular in light of ...

220. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the mental health supports in place for serving gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43474/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Welfare)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 220, 221 and 222 together.
It is the role of the Coroner Service to investigate unnatural or sudden deaths including deaths that may have resulted from suicide, in order to establish the ‘who, when, where and how’ of an unexplained death.  Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to be specific about the number of members of An Garda Síochána who lost their lives through suicide as some cases of ...

221. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the cases of five serving gardaí who committed suicide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43475/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Welfare)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 220, 221 and 222 together.
It is the role of the Coroner Service to investigate unnatural or sudden deaths including deaths that may have resulted from suicide, in order to establish the ‘who, when, where and how’ of an unexplained death.  Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to be specific about the number of members of An Garda Síochána who lost their lives through suicide as some cases of ...

222. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if more supports will be rolled out to serving gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43476/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Welfare)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 220, 221 and 222 together.
It is the role of the Coroner Service to investigate unnatural or sudden deaths including deaths that may have resulted from suicide, in order to establish the ‘who, when, where and how’ of an unexplained death.  Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to be specific about the number of members of An Garda Síochána who lost their lives through suicide as some cases of ...

285. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding that has been allocated in budget 2018 for mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43477/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Budget 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Budget 2018 made allowance for an additional €59 million for Mental Health Services for 2018. €35 million is made up of the €20 million continuing cost in 2018 of developments initiated in 2017, combined with a further €15 million for further new developments. €24 million will fund pay-related costs. In addition, the Minister for Health has committed to a further €55 million to be made available for mental health services in 201...

286. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if the roll-out of IVF treatment will be widened from persons with medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43478/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Assisted Human Reproduction Services Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 280, 286, 354 and 401 together. 
On Tuesday 3 October 2017 the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research. Officials in my Department are engaging with the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the process of drafting this Bill. 
In relation to the issue of public funding and AHR treatment, I intend to revert to Government by the end of this...

567. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person can buy stamps to allow them receive full rate in their contributory pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43490/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - State Pension (Contributory))

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In order to qualify for a State pension (contributory), there are a number of conditions which must be met. A person should have paid social insurance contributions before the age of 56 and, for a person reaching state pension age after 6 April 2012, should have a minimum of 520 paid contributions.
To ensure that the individual can maximise their entitlement to a State pension, all contributions paid or credited over...

10. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the intervention he will take if Irish Rail workers decide to strike in October 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42147/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Rail Services Staff)

Deputy Joan Collins: I wish to ask the Minister his view on the potential pending strike by railway workers in Iarnród Éireann, who are currently balloting for strike action. I want the Minister’s view on this because it has been well-flagged that Iarnród Éireann has been under serious financial strain. Since 2014 the company has been down €160 million; last year there were problems again and it had to go looking for extra funding. The Minister has on his desk a report saying that Irish Rail ...

30. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the NTA’s plans to consider rail prices in County Kildare for 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42148/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Rail Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
 ...

110. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has received a report (details supplied); if he will arrange a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42695/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Schools Building Projects)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to confirm that my Department has received correspondence from the group referred to by the Deputy which includes a report as well as a request to meet with the group. A reply will issue shortly to the group in relation to this correspondence.
As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas. My Department u...

127. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children waiting for an educational assessment in primary and secondary schools, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42824/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - National Educational Psychological Service Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil ...

128. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of employing extra special needs assistants for every ten employed. (Question 42837/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Special Educational Needs Staff Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The initial cost of employing 10 additional Special Needs Assistants for one year would be approximately €323,000.  This is inclusive of the cost of employers PRSI.
Special need assistants are paid on an incremental salary scale and accordingly the cost of their employment would increase in subsequent years. 
An additional 975 SNA posts have been made available for allocation to schools from September 2017 which is a 7.5% increase to mee...

176. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of early years playschools in County Kildare for children with developmental difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42322/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I understand that the Deputy has clarified that she is referring to the number of early intervention classes for children with autism in County Kildare.
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is the body responsible for organising and planning provision for children with Special Educational Needs, including establishing ASD early intervention classes and special classes in mainstream primary and post primary schools.
There are...

313. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of an operation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42583/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Appointments Status)

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 scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to whic...

362. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waiting for a psychology appointment in primary care; and the number waiting more than a year. (Question 42823/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Psychological Services)

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.
 ...

363. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the progress regarding the commitments he made in respect of reducing surgery waiting times for children with scoliosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42825/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists Action Plans)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE is actively implementing the action plan they developed to ensure that no child will be waiting over 4 months by year end and are focussed on maximising all available capacity both internally and externally to achieve this target. 
Additional nurses are now in post in both Crumlin and Temple Street. An additional consultant orthopaedic surgeon commenced last month in Crumlin. So far in 2017, 272 scoliosis procedures have been carried out acros...

364. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on waiting lists who were due to receive scheduled treatment during October, November and December 2017 who have been notified that their procedure has been postponed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42826/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I fully acknowledge the distress and inconvenience for patients and their families when elective procedures are cancelled. 
Maintaining scheduled care access is a key priority for hospitals, and balancing this with emergency demand is challenging. However, all efforts are made to limit cancellations, particularly for clinically-urgent procedures. 
Cancellation of elective procedures can occur for a variety of reasons including because a bed or the clini...

365. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the vacancy rates for consultants, doctors, nurses and midwives in the HSE; and his plans to fill those vacancies while also retaining existing staff in the HSE. (Question 42827/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Health Services Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly concerning the vacancy rates requested. However, it should be noted that typically the HSE does not operate a ‘vacancy rate’, but rather records a staff turnover rate. The HSE estimates that for 2016, the adjusted turnover rate was 5.7%. This means that, each year, at any one time, people will be moving in and out of about 1 in 20 posts across the HSE. This can be for a range of reasons such as si...