56. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the impact a club (details supplied) has had on local young persons interested in animal and equine care; if she will work with her colleagues in other Departments to introduce similar programmes in disadvantaged areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43528/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Youth Services Provision)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 64 together.
The Clondalkin/Ballyowen Equine facility is an initiative which was financed by the Department of Agriculture in collaboration with South Dublin County Council. The facility provides a base for young people from the area who can’t afford a private stable to care for their animals. It also provides an opportunity for young people to develop good animal welfare practice and eq...

64. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will visit a club (details supplied) to examine the positive results of young persons coming together to identify their own areas of interest with community development workers; her plans to use this model in working with young persons interested in animal and equine care in other disadvantaged areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43529/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Youth Services Provision)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 64 together.
The Clondalkin/Ballyowen Equine facility is an initiative which was financed by the Department of Agriculture in collaboration with South Dublin County Council. The facility provides a base for young people from the area who can’t afford a private stable to care for their animals. It also provides an opportunity for young people to develop good animal welfare practice and eq...

34. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the NTA’s decision to tender out 10% of Dublin Bus routes to a company (details supplied) will improve bus services in view of the fact that in a written reply to a question the agency cited studies that are over ten and 16 years old to support their case for competitive tendering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42138/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Bus Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I refer the Deputy to my reply to question number 9 which I answered earlier.
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40. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the future of Bus Éireann following the recent crisis and closure of several routes is best served by a policy of competitive tendering for 10% of its existing network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42139/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Bus Éireann Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I was pleased that both the Company and the Trade Unions accepted the recommendation issued by the Labour Court last April.  The implementation of the Recommendation is a matter for the Company and the trade unions. I believe implementation of that recommendation can provide for a successful and sustainable future for Bus Éireann.
Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 it is a statutory function of the NTA to determine the app...

92. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact that, on average, primary school classes here have four to five more pupils than those throughout the EU; if provision will be made in budget 2018 to resume work on reducing class sizes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42472/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Pupil-Teacher Ratio)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 147 together.
Budget 2016 provided for an improvement in the staffing schedule in primary schools by 1 point, from 1 teacher for every 28 pupils to 1 teacher for every 27 pupils for the 2016/17 school year and it should be noted that the current staffing schedule of 27:1 for primary schools has restored it to the position it was at prior to the fiscal crisis.
Budget 2017 set out the resources avail...

93. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the loss of 5,000 middle management posts in primary education; his plans to expedite the restoration of these posts by ensuring that provision is made in budget 2018 to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42473/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - School Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Budget 2017 provided for a new package of support for school leadership, including middle management posts for primary and post primary schools. 
My department recently issued circular 0063/2017 Leadership and Management in Primary schools which sets out a framework for posts in recognised primary schools.
The commencement of restoration of middle management posts as part of an agreed distributed leadership model means that the rigidity...

94. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact that school grants were cut by 15% in the recession and that fundraising initiatives have to be taken on by schools to cover basic needs; if funding will be increased in budget 2018 to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42474/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - School Funding)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for primary and post-primary schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years.
The Action Plan for Education aimed at making the Irish education and training service the best in Europe by 2026 outlines hundreds of actions to be implemented over the 3 year period 2016 to 2019 which include restoring capitation funding as resources permit.
The process is under ...

95. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to maintain the resourcing of DEIS schools, restore support services and attain a 15:1 maximum class size in DEIS band 1 junior classes by making suitable provision in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42475/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - DEIS Expenditure)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): DEIS, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools is the main policy initiative of my Department to address educational disadvantage which was updated earlier this year with the publication of DEIS Plan 2017. 
I wish to point out that the resourcing of DEIS schools has and will continue to be maintained. In fact, for the first time in ten years I extended the DEIS programme of supports to 79 new schools as well as providing additiona...

96. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore the supply panels of primary school teachers by making suitable provision in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42476/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - School Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A value for money review of the Supply Teacher Scheme was published in July 2006. The review found that only approx. 60% of supply teachers’ time was used to cover sick leave absences. This reflects the unpredictable nature of sick leave absences. 
While there are benefits for schools in having these teachers it is considered more cost effective to use the normal substitution arrangements that apply to all other schools to cover sick lea...

97. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the impact that FEMPI has had on the livelihood and morale of school teachers; his plans to restore pay equality as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42477/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Sector Pay)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As a consequence of the financial crisis, there was a need to enact a number of measures to reduce public expenditure so as to stabilise the country’s public finances. A previous Government reduced the salaries and allowances payable to all new entrants to public service recruitment grades by 10% with effect from 1 January 2011. This decision also required that such new entrants would start on the first point of the applicable salary sca...

98. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the hardship that the withdrawal of Government subsidies towards mandatory Gaeltacht courses for student primary teachers has caused; if these subsidies will be reinstated in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42483/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Education Grants)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 91, 98, 102, 108, 109, 111 and 130 together.
The decision to stop the Gaeltacht placement grants was taken during the economic crisis when, unfortunately, very difficult decisions had to be made to stabilise the nation’s finances. Priority was given to protecting resources for front line education services as far as possible, which remains particularly challenging with rising numbers of school-going chil...

687. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the terms and conditions regarding eligibility for community employment; if a person can be removed from the scheme while on maternity leave as a result of their spouse commencing employment during their leave (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42948/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Community Employment Schemes Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Community Employment, (CE) schemes are designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people with an opportunity to engage in part-time work and training within their communities on a temporary, fixed-term basis. CE scheme participants are obliged to notify their employer immediately of any change in their family circumstances. This change could relate directly to the scheme participant or...

29. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will be attending the Bonn COP conference in November 2017; if he will be able to give a commitment that the State will meet its obligations under the Paris treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41844/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Climate Change Negotiations)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Speaking of Ardnacrusha, that was a moment when the State made a radical decision which worked to build a hydro-electric energy station.
3 o’clockWill the Minister be attending the Bonn climate conference and will he have to admit there that on the critical question of climate change, the Government is failing to take the kind of radical action necessary to avoid massive fines for the State’s failure to meet emission targets, and to take seriously the move to transit...

406. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health his plans to make the FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system available to persons with type 1 diabetes in view of the fact it is now available to UK NHS patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41617/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Medical Aids and Appliances Provision)

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.
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59. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the circumstances in which the drug, Vimizin, a treatment for those that suffer from the rare disease Morquio, has been refused funding by the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40922/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.
The HSE issued a Notice of Proposal not to support reimbursement of Elosulfase alfa (Vimizim) to the manufacturer BioMarin in June 2017.
The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 allows suppliers at least 28 days in wh...

106. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the amount of VAT collected from the sale of women’s sanitary products (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36988/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - VAT Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): VAT is guided by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. In Ireland sanitary towels and tampons are charged to VAT at the zero rate.  As such, no VAT is collected on the sale of these sanitary products.
 ...

810. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the estimated yearly cost of providing free sanitary products (details supplied) to women with medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36989/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Medical Card Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy. 
 ...

106. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Finance his views on and his plans to implement the ruling of the European Court of Justice (details supplied) which appears to indicate that Irish citizens have a right under EU law to drive a car they own which is registered in another member state in Ireland if it is intended essentially for use in another member state; the timeframe for the legislation to implement the EU ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35112/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Vehicle Registration)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Ruling C-420/15 of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerns the circumstances in which an obligation to register a motor vehicle in a Member State would constitute an obstacle to freedom of movement for workers. 
National legislation provides that Irish citizens have the right to drive a car in Ireland that is registered in another Member State for a period of thirty days before it must be registered in Ireland. This provision ensures th...

353. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount it would cost to remove fees for those engaged in part-time third-level education and to allow part-time third-level students access to SUSI grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36393/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Third Level Costs)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): Fees for part-time courses are a matter for the relevant institutions. However, based on enrolment data for part-time students provided by the HEA the estimated cost of extending the maintenance grant to Higher Education students would be €32m per year. 
The Deputy will be aware that tax relief is available for certain fees paid in respect of part time courses. Full details of this relief are available...

1086. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the amount it would cost to provide individualised budgets to persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36394/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Disability Services Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): In line with a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, I established a Task Force last year to consider the issue of personalised budgets for people with disabilities. The Task Force includes officials from the relevant Government Departments and agencies, HSE, academic and policy experts, stakeholder organisations and a wide range of people with lived experience of disability and disability services (both ...

1087. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the amount it would cost to reinstate all the downgraded and closed accident and emergency departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36398/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Accident and Emergency Services Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The establishment of Irish acute hospitals into a small number of Hospital Groups aims to provide an optimum configuration for hospital services to deliver high-quality, safe patient care in a cost effective manner, and to allow integration and improve patient flow across the continuum of care.
Hospital Groups are making significant progress in working together to progress from being disparate individual hospitals to integrated groups with a more coordi...

1263. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level and type of lobbying that the waste industry has carried out in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34968/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Waste Disposal)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 provides that the Standards in Public Office Commission, an independent body, is the Registrar of Lobbying. The Act is designed to provide information to the public about who is lobbying whom about what and provides for establishing and maintaining a register of persons who carry on lobbying activities and for a code of conduct relating to carrying on lobbying activities. Th...

1408. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount the conversion to automated stations including all ancillary works on the DART line will cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36395/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Rail Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): ​The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area. This would include the automation of stations and works on the DART line.
Noting the NTA’s responsibility in the matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days
 ...

1560. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the amount it would cost to restore the full Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36396/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1475, 1521, 1522, 1523 and 1560 together.
The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, to over 390,000 low income households. This payment assists these households with the higher energy costs that arise in that period. It is a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per hous...

1681. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the amount it would cost to restore funding to the community development programme to 2008 levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36392/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Local and Community Development Programme Expenditure)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): In 2008, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs allocated funding of €83,450,000 under its Local and Community Development Programmes, specifically the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) and the Community Development Programme.  Also in that year, that Department asked the Centre for Effective Services (CES) - an independent centre set up in a partnership between the Governm...