142. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health when he plans to introduce the new transport support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44300/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Transport Support Scheme)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the proposed Health (Transport Support) Bill with the Joint Committee on Public Petitions on Wednesday 11th October. The Deputy will be familiar with the background to the closure of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant schemes in February 2013. Since the closure of the Mobility Allowance, the Government has directed that the Health Service Executive shou...

35. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the progress of the trading online voucher scheme, which is part of the national digital strategy; the take up of the scheme; and his plans to expand or further develop the scheme. (Question 41789/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): My Department’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme is specifically designed to support small and micro enterprises to trade online. Through training and mentoring, coupled with financial support of up to €2,500, subject to matched funding, the scheme is helping small businesses to grow and diversify their markets.  
This is a demand-led scheme, funded by my Department and delivered on a nationwide basis by the Lo...

55. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of applications for and the number of businesses taking part in the trading online voucher scheme which is part of the national digital strategy in County Offaly, by year since its introduction. (Question 41788/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Digital Strategy)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Trading Online Voucher Scheme, designed and funded by my Department, is delivered on a nationwide basis by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO).  Applications are received directly by individual LEOs who award vouchers of up to €2,500 matched- funding to qualifying businesses on a competitive basis, following evaluation by an expert panel. Successful applicants are expected to complete their trading online pro...

424. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) will not be considered under the HSE treatment abroad scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41784/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Treatment Abroad Scheme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Health Service Executive operates the Treatment Abroad Scheme, for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland under EU Regulation 883/04, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 987/09, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. 
The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.
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328. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the detail of all capital expenditure such as extensions, new builds and additional accommodation for all primary schools in County Offaly since January 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37210/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Schools Building Projects Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The capital funding expended on new schools, school extensions, additional accommodation, emergency works and the summer works scheme for primary schools in Offaly in the period 2011 - August 2017 follows. 
Details of all school capital works that have been funded by my Department may be viewed on my Department’s website www.education.ie and this is updated regularly.
 YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR YEAR SCHOOL NA...

1278. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health if he will provide information on the midlands public health dental service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38966/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Dental Services Provision)

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.
 ...

1630. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to reach agreement with the USA to include it on the recognised countries list for the purposes of driver licence exchange; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 38959/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issue of whether driving licence exchange with the USA would be possible has been examined and is, regrettably, not being pursued at this time given the complexities involved.
Driver licensing law is grounded on the principle that people must meet certain defined standards. Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law, which sets common standards for driver testing across all Member States. On this basis, al...

314. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the detail of capital expenditure, extensions, new builds and additional accommodation for all post-primary schools in County Offaly since January 2011 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35781/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Schools Building Projects Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The table details the capital expenditure on new school buildings and additional accommodation projects for all post-primary schools in County Offaly since January 2011. No large-scale extensions were funded during the period in question.
 Schools Accommodation 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total COLAISTE CHOILM TULLAMORE New School €5,960,980.39 €422,392.53 €224,400.41 €61,936.65 €669,650.00 €74,074.28 €0...

324. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason an original decision giving approval for additional accommodation was overturned at a school (details supplied); if he will review this application for additional accommodation in view of the significant increase in enrolments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35896/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - School Accommodation)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department received a number of applications in recent years, from the school referred, for additional accommodation. In that regard, my Department approved funding for the provision of a room for Special Education Teaching in April 2015. The project has been delivered and the additional accommodation has greatly improved the facilities in the school.
An application to provide an additional classroom...

206. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason students enrolled in third level courses that are dependent on their parents for financial support may only have income earned during holiday periods disallowed for assessment of total family income under SUSI grant applications; the reason income earned by students during term time is disallowed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32164/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Student Grant Scheme Administration)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): The assessment of means under my Department’s student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources, with certain social welfare and health service executive payments being exempt.
In the assessment of means, a deduction can be made for holiday earnings made by the applicant from employment outside of term time but within the reference period. I increased the value of this income disregard from ...

279. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify the ownership of a building (details supplied). (Question 32165/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Courts Service)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions. 
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that Birr Courthouse is owned by the Courts Service and h...

622. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if owners or management companies of apartment blocks are required to provide full waste disposal and recycling services including glass to owners or tenants of the apartments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32425/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Waste Management)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Under waste management legislation, collectors of household waste are required to provide receptacles for the collection of residual, recyclable and food waste, in line with the requirements of their waste collection permit issued under the Waste Management Act 1996 (No. 10 of 1996), the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007, (S.I. 820 of 2007) as amended, and the European Union (Household Food W...

101. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the lease of a premises (details supplied) for use as a public office for the Department of Social Protection will be open; if tenders have been invited to fit out the building for the Department of Social Protection; when departmental staff will occupy this building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31632/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Office of Public Works Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The lease for the new Department of Employment and Social Protection office in Birr has been agreed by the Commissioners of Public Works and will be signed shortly. The Commissioners will immediately proceed to procure the works required to fit the building out for occupation once the lease has been completed.
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110. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the July provision programme includes an arts programme to facilitate children with a severe or profound general learning disability and whose strengths lie in music and the arts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31629/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): It is the policy of my Department that all children with Special Educational Needs, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. 
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support o...

246. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) did not receive credited contributions for 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31598/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Social Insurance)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): PRSI credited contributions (“credits”) are an integral part of the social insurance system. For the most part they are linked to having an underlying entitlement to a social welfare payment while temporarily detached from the labour force or having entitlement to statutory leave e.g. parental or maternity leave. The primary purpose of PRSI credits is to secure social welfare benefits and pensions of employees by covering gaps in insuranc...

377. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health if the agreed home care package can be appealed for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31069/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Home Care Packages)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.
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177. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health when heart surgery will be rescheduled for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30518/17 asked on 29 Jun 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

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...

329. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the funding allocation to a group (details supplied); her plans to increase the level of funding awarded to the group (Question 30101/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Irish Language)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Joe McHugh): Foras na Gaeilge, an agency of the North South Language Body, is the agency charged with promotion of the Irish language on an all-island basis. In carrying out its legislative mandate, Foras na Gaeilge provides support, advice and financial assistance to many groups who promote the language, including provision of courses and activities to help people improve or learn the language....

454. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of on-farm inspections that have been carried out by Department staff in the past 24 months, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30097/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Farm Inspections)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): EU Regulations governing the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes requires my Department to carry out on-the-spot inspections annually to ensure compliance with eligibility requirements, including land eligibility and compliance with Cross Compliance requirements, as set down in EU legislation, and the standards for Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC), in the areas of the environment, climate chan...

76. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if emergency funding will be provided to carry out repairs on a roof in a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29285/17 asked on 22 Jun 2017 - Emergency Works Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The school to which the Deputy refers recently submitted an application to my Department for funding under the Emergency Works Scheme to carry out roof repairs.  As the scope of the works are outside the terms of the scheme, the application was refused.  The school may use its minor works grant to carry out the repairs.
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579. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the additional extra funding required will be provided to fund a central activities space and staff toilets as part of the development of a new autism unit at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28292/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, my Department has approved significant funding to the school in question to provide an extension comprising two mainstream classrooms and a two class ASD Unit. This additional permanent accommodation will significantly enhance the school’s accommodation. 
My Department considers that the accommodation already approved is sufficient to cater for the school’s accommodation needs and is not in a position to consider ...

2238. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding vehicle payload classification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28293/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Roadworthiness Testing)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Regarding the vehicle in question, while it appears that two differing weights have been recorded on the National Vehicle and Driver File in respect of the technically permissible laden mass of the vehicle, following roadworthiness testing, there is a single motor caravan motor tax rate of €102 annually, regardless of the weight of the vehicle. Vehicle testing is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. 
 ...

494. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason his Department decided to change the eligibility criteria to the national reserve; if it was compelled to do so by the EU Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22680/17 asked on 16 May 2017 - Young Farmers Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): In accordance with EU Regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme, Member States may define additional eligibility criteria as regards appropriate skills, experience or education. To ensure that the benefits of the ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant’ categories are targeted at those who have a genuine interest in farming as a career, Ireland included agricultural education at FETAC level ...

524. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection if the 22 years spent working in the public sector by a person (details supplied) can be weighted to pension entitlement following commencement of employment with a new State agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19306/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I understand the question may refer to the insertion of Section 59H in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 which gives trustees the power to amend the scheme rules in certain circumstances in order to deal with issues around integration of occupational pensions with the State pension and bridging pensions.
My Department has no involvement in the matter enquired of by the Minister. However, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform...

1160. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when recruitment of staff to the veterinary laboratories will commence; and his plans to return staff numbers to previous levels. (Question 19371/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Departmental Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Recruitment to the Department’s Veterinary Laboratories is an ongoing process. For example, appointments have most recently been made at Research Officer (veterinarian), Laboratory Analyst and Serological Assistant grades, and a confined competition is underway to establish a panel for Laboratory Analyst positions in Cork. Resource requirements are considered in light of the overall needs of the Department, in line with guid...