3. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on plans in his Department to conduct market research. (Question 42741/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

5. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on changes to his Department’s website; and if changes are planned in respect of the website of the Government Information Service, merrionstreet.ie. (Question 43823/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

8. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee A (Economy) last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again. (Question 42742/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
Cabinet Committee A held its first meeting on 12 September. Its focus is on economic issues, including implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 and preparation of a new, more focused, action plan for next year; labour market policies, including implementation of Pathways to Work and responding to emerging skills pressures; competitiveness and productivity challenges for businesses, including pressures from rece...

11. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his attendance at the EU digital summit in Tallinn, Estonia, on 29 September 2017. (Question 41635/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - EU Summits)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 to 16, inclusive, together.
The digital summit in Tallinn was an important opportunity for EU leaders to discuss the evolution of digital technologies and their wide-ranging implications in a less formal setting than regular European Council business. The Estonian Presidency prepared a very useful, forward-looking agenda to stimulate discussion on how Europe can develop its competitive advantages in a fast-changing digital world which is re-sha...

2. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the reorganisation of the Cabinet committee system. (Question 41637/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committees)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.
I have reorganised the Cabinet committee structure to streamline political oversight and to focus the work through a smaller number of Cabinet sub-committees which are convened as necessary. 
The Government has established the following six Cabinet committees, all of which I chair: 
Cabinet committee A, dealing with the economy; Cabinet committee B, dealing with social policy and public services; Cabinet committee C, on the Europ...

5. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach for details on the political staff and advisors employed by him in his Department; and the name, title, function, salary, terms of employment and location of each. (Question 41636/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Departmental Staff)

The Taoiseach: I look forward to the proponent explaining what a great idea it all is.
 ...

15. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the status of the implementation group on Seanad reform. (Question 42740/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Seanad Reform)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 3 and 15 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, in A Programme for a Partnership Government, the Government stated its commitment to pursuing the implementation of the report of the working group on Seanad reform, also known as the Manning report. That report was published in 2015 and it is available on my Department’s website. One of the recommendations of the report was the establishment of an implementation group to oversee implementation of t...

68. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance his plans to publish an internal report by the Revenue Commissioners which outlines physical and economic impacts that Brexit will likely impose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43270/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Revenue Commissioners Reports)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 68 together.
I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the report is now available on their website at www.revenue.ie.
 ...

117. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if 81 doctors are working as public hospital consultants, yet do not have full specialist training; the hospitals each of these consultants are posted at; the specialist training they each lack; if this situation impacts on their ability to fulfil the posts to which they were appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43269/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Hospital Consultant Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy concerning the specific details sought. I would like to outline steps the HSE has taken to ensure that consultants employed in the public services are on the specialist register of the Medical Council and that where this is not the case appropriate clinical supervision is in place.
In March 2008 the HSE amended the qualifications specified for Consultant posts to require membership of the specialis...

284. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the status for funding in respect of a drug (details supplied) used in the treatment of phenylketonuria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42487/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 284, 295 and 322 together.
The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.
In reaching its decision, the HSE examines all the evidence which may be relevant in its view for the decision and will take into account such expert opinions and recommendations which may hav...

513. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has met with an organisation (details supplied) and An Post in view of media reports that some 400 rural post offices could be set to close. (Question 42576/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Post Office Closures)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 513 and 514 together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post.  Operational matters relating to the company’s retail business, including the post office network, are matters for the Board and management of An Post.
An Post is carrying out a fundamental review of the company to ident...

514. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has seen the reported An Post blueprint which sets out plans for post office closures; if he will request An Post to publish these plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42577/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Post Office Closures)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 513 and 514 together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post.  Operational matters relating to the company’s retail business, including the post office network, are matters for the Board and management of An Post.
An Post is carrying out a fundamental review of the company to ident...

8. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the delegation orders he has made in respect of Ministers of State assigned to his Department. (Question 40533/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Ministerial Responsibilities)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 9 together.
On 14 June 2017 the Government appointed Deputy Joe Mcl-lugh as Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at my Department and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with special responsibility for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the islands and Deputy Paul Kehoe as Minister of State at my Department and the Department of Defence with special responsibility for defence. On 20 June the Government appointed Deputy Pat B...

10. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his conversation with the President of Egypt, Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on 28 August 2017. (Question 40534/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Irish Prisoners Abroad)

The Taoiseach: I spoke with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by telephone on Monday 28 August. The call was instigated at my request to discuss the case of an Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa. I emphasised the importance that the Irish Government places on this consular case and received assurances from the president that he would intervene, if necessary, following the announcement of a verdict, to ensure Ibrahim was returned home as soon as possible.
I wholeheartedly welcome the announce...

5. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee C, European Union, including Brexit, last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again. (Question 41491/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 5 together.
As outlined to the House in July, the Government agreed a new streamlined Cabinet committee structure and approved the establishment of six new committees, one of which is Cabinet Committee C. This Cabinet committee will cover issues relating to the European Union and will assist the Government in its ongoing consideration of Brexit. Cabinet Committee C will also support the Taoiseach’s participation as a member of the European C...

7. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025 plan which intends to double the number of Government agency staff worldwide by 2025. (Question 41493/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, together.
While in Canada recently I announced a plan to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025.
Work is now under way, involving relevant Departments and agencies, to develop a fully worked-through plan for consideration by the Government later this year. The plan, which will take a strategic approach, will identify locations or areas that should be an immediate focus, as well as those which should be part of our medium-term...

11. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his engagement with the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr Justin Trudeau on 20 August 2017. (Question 41492/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Overseas Visits)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 to 13, inclusive, together. At the invitation of the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, I visited Canada between 19 and 23 August. The visit was an excellent opportunity to further deepen the very important economic and cultural links that exist between our two countries. My visit commenced in Montréal with an official welcoming ceremony and a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister, during which we discussed the provisional implementa...

282. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if his Department is considering a proposal from a private provider (details supplied) in respect of the provision of respite services for persons with disabilities in County Louth and surrounding areas; when a decision will be reached in respect of this proposal; the number of respite places it would provide; the associated cost of this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41231/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Health Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 to 284, inclusive, together.
The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability. 
Budget 2017 includes an increased allocation to the Disability Services Programme to address a number of key priorities in the Programme for Partnership Government. Funding of €1.69 billion...

283. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding which was allocated to County Louth in each of the years 2011 to 2016, inclusive, and to date in 2017 in respect of disability capital funding; the agency or agencies this funding was allocated to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41232/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Health Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 to 284, inclusive, together.
The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability. 
Budget 2017 includes an increased allocation to the Disability Services Programme to address a number of key priorities in the Programme for Partnership Government. Funding of €1.69 billion...

284. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health the amount of funding which was allocated to each of the CHO areas in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017 in respect of disability capital funding; the agencies this funding was allocated to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41233/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Health Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 to 284, inclusive, together.
The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability. 
Budget 2017 includes an increased allocation to the Disability Services Programme to address a number of key priorities in the Programme for Partnership Government. Funding of €1.69 billion...

300. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if he is considering a proposal from a private provider (details supplied) in respect of the provision of respite services for persons with disabilities in County Louth and the surrounding areas; when a decision will be reached in respect of this proposal; the associated cost of this proposal; the number of respite places it would provide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41290/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Respite Care Services)

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 of...

509. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a renewed driving licence in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth now displays a change to data in respect of country of birth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41234/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Driver Licence Renewals)

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.
 ...

242. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the environmental protection measures undertaken during the exploration further to the exploration licence granted by his Department for the Porcupine Basin off the south west coast; the ongoing audit or review process undertaken by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41166/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Environmental Protection Enforcement)

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Seán Kyne): Ireland’s transition to a low carbon energy future will involve progressively moving to lower emission fuels, e.g., moving initially from peat and coal to natural gas, and ultimately towards an even greater reliance on renewable energy. In that regard, the Government has introduced a range of policy measures and schemes to incentivise the use of renewable energy and deliver energy efficiency....

3. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet committee E, health, last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again. (Question 40412/17 asked on 27 Sep 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.
Cabinet committee E met on 12 September. A date for the next meeting is not yet confirmed. Cabinet committee E covers issues relating to the health service. As well as addressing current issues and challenges faced by the health service, the Cabinet committee will oversee the development of the Government’s response to the Sláintecare report.
As I have previously stated, the Government agrees with the broad principle...

4. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when the strategic communications unit in his Department will be established; the number of staff that will be assigned to the unit; and the cost associated with its establishment. (Question 39624/17 asked on 27 Sep 2017 - Government Information Service)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
Communications is an essential part of effectiveness of any modern organisation. That is particularly true of Departments and public service bodies in all countries, given the impact of their activities on the lives of citizens. That is why communications should be treated as a strategic, whole-of-government activity which should be conducted to the same level of professionalism as any other activity, such as human re...