19. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to increase the number of audible announcements on public transport. (Question 41976/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Public Transport)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) 2017-2021 launched by my colleague, Minister of State for Disability, Finian McGrath T.D., in July last contains a number of transport actions, including one committing to the implementation of consistent and reliable on-board audio and visual announcements on all public transport vehicles.
While the issue raised by the Deputy is a matter for the public transport operators, I understa...

100. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works obtained recent updated valuations for the closed Garda stations it has responsibility for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42003/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Office of Public Works Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The Office of Public Works (OPW) has not obtained recent valuations for the Garda stations, which closed as part of the Rationalisation Programme 2012-2013.
Should the OPW decide to dispose of any closed Garda stations, current market valuations will be obtained at that juncture.
 ...

371. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of centre-based respite nights provided to persons with disabilities to date in 2017; the way in which this compares against target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41488/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The provision of respite services has come under additional pressure in the past number of years. More children and adults are now seeking access to respite and the “changing needs” of people with a disability are also having an impact, as they, along with the rest of the population, live longer lives. The Programme for Partnership Government recognises the need for respite services to be developed further and I am committe...

28. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the HSE’s engagement with the introduction of a new in-school speech and language service. (Question 40944/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Speech and Language Therapy Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Programme for a Partnership Government commits that a new in-school speech and language service will be established to support young children as part of a more integrated support system. 
The Health Service Executive undertook an extensive review of existing Speech and Language therapy provision earlier this year and the findings and recommendations of that review, which is based on best international practice will infor...

32. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the in depth review of the variation in waiting lists for early intervention and prevention services for children. (Question 40945/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - HSE Reviews)

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 ...

219. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of children awaiting a first assessment from the HSE under the Disability Act 2005 at the end of June 2017 or latest day available in each LHO in tabular form. (Question 41221/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Disabilities Data)

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 ...

220. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the speech and language therapy assessment waiting list in each LHA in tabular form; and the number waiting less than four months, four to 12 months and more than 12 months. (Question 41222/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Speech and Language Therapy Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 221 together.
As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for them to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

221. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the speech and language therapy treatment waiting list in each LHA in tabular form; and the number waiting less than four months, four to 12 months and more than 12 months. (Question 41223/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Speech and Language Therapy Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 221 together.
As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for them to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

222. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the occupational therapy first time assessment waiting list in each LHA area in tabular form; the number waiting less than four months, four to 12 months and more than 12 months; and the number waiting aged zero to four years, five to 17 years, 18 to 64 years and aged 65 years plus. (Question 41224/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Occupational Therapy Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 and 223 together.
As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for them to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

223. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the occupational therapy treatment waiting list in each LHA in tabular form; the number waiting less than four months, four to 12 months and more than 12 months; and the number in each that are aged zero to four years, five to 17 years, 18 to 64 years and aged 65 years plus. (Question 41225/17 asked on 28 Sep 2017 - Occupational Therapy Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 and 223 together.
As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for them to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

367. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the national landscape strategy for Ireland with regard to the hiring of landscape architects by local authorities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39492/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - National Landscape Strategy)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Arising from Ireland’s ratification of the European Landscape Convention, I launched the National Landscape Strategy for Ireland 2015-2025 in May 2015. Copies are available on my Department’s website.   
The Strategy is being implemented in two phases. The key action in Phase one, as set out in the Implementation Programme, is the preparation of a National Landscape Character Assessment (NLCA). My Department is curre...

620. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for the reopening of Ballinspittle Garda station in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37859/17 asked on 11 Sep 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 and I, as Minister, have no role in the matter. This includes responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations, taking into account crime trends and policing priorities, so as to ensure that the best possible use is mad...

23. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Taoiseach the rate of unemployment for those not at work due to an illness or a disability; and the way this compares with the European and OECD averages. (Question 34635/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Unemployment Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available.
The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is the official source of estimates of unemployment (ILO) in the State. 
Respondents to the QNHS are asked whether they have at least one long-lasting condition or difficulty and the most recent figures available are for Q1 2017.
Table 1 shows the number of persons aged 15 years and over classified by their ILO ec...

24. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Taoiseach if his Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34986/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Disability Support Services Provision)

The Taoiseach: My Department supports the implementation of national policies and strategies designed to advance the lives of people with disabilities including the recently published National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021.
As Taoiseach and Head of Government, I encourage and endorse every effort to improve the services and supports for people with disabilities. 
I want everyone to reach their full potential by ensuring that everyone gets a fair chance.
The Government has already take...

245. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has introduced, as committed to in the programme for Government, a provision whereby taxi companies that wish to bid for State procurement contracts must ensure that a minimum of 10% of their fleet is wheelchair accessible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36500/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Procurement Contracts)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The National Transport Authority (NTA) figures released in ‘Statistical Bulletin Number: 01/ 2017 April 2017’ show that 6% of the national taxi fleet is now wheelchair accessible, up from 4.2% in 2013.
Based on consultations with the market prior to establishing a framework contract for the provision of taxi services in the Greater Dublin Area in April 2015, the market response was that there are no large unitary fleet operator...

1420. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the percentage of Bus Éireann buses that are wheelchair accessible; the percentage of Dublin Bus buses that are wheelchair accessible; the percentage of Irish Rail trains that are wheelchair accessible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36674/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Transport Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1420 to 1422, inclusive, together.
Accessibility features are built into all new public transport infrastructure projects and vehicles from the design stage and new systems such as the Luas are fully accessible. In addition, 100% of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann city fleets are wheelchair accessible, as well as approximately 80% of the Bus Éireann coach fleet.
With regard to existing infrastructure,...

1421. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the percentage of train stations that are fully wheelchair accessible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36675/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Transport Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1420 to 1422, inclusive, together.
Accessibility features are built into all new public transport infrastructure projects and vehicles from the design stage and new systems such as the Luas are fully accessible. In addition, 100% of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann city fleets are wheelchair accessible, as well as approximately 80% of the Bus Éireann coach fleet.
With regard to existing infrastructure,...

1422. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps that have been taken since he took office to improve the wheelchair accessibility of bus stops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36676/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Transport Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1420 to 1422, inclusive, together.
Accessibility features are built into all new public transport infrastructure projects and vehicles from the design stage and new systems such as the Luas are fully accessible. In addition, 100% of the Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann city fleets are wheelchair accessible, as well as approximately 80% of the Bus Éireann coach fleet.
With regard to existing infrastructure,...

1423. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the notice required by Irish Rail if a person is a wheelchair user and wishes to travel by train; his plans to reduce this notice period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36677/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Rail Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): ​The issue raised is a matter for Irish Rail and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if a response has not been received within 10 working days.
 ...

73. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the way her Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34035/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The mission of my Department is to lead on the creation and maintenance of high quality and sustainable full employment by championing enterprise across government.  While my Department does not have a direct role on the formulation of policy on the provision of employment or other supports or services specifically for people with disabilities, it did participate in the development of the Comprehensive Employm...

161. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the way his Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34032/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Department is aware of it’s obligations as set out in the Disability Act of 2005. In line with the legislation a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) and Access Officers are in place within the Department.   The contact details for these officers are available of the Department’s website. 
http://www.finance.gov.ie/who-we-are/acess-officers-department/access-officers-department#overlay-context =
The Department works closely with the National Disabi...

246. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way his Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34037/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005 sets out the legal obligations of public service bodies to include promoting and supporting the employment of people with disabilities and complying with any statutory Code of Practice.
The National Disability Authority (NDA) reports annually on compliance within each public service body with a target of  3% of employees with disabilities. In its latest published report for the calendar year 2...

287. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way his Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34030/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Funding for special education provision in 2017 will amount to some €1.68 billion, which is equivalent to approximately 19% of the gross overall current allocation for education and training and represents an increase in spending in this area of 12% over the last two years.
Funding in 2017 includes:
- Over 13,400 Special Education Teaching posts in mainstream primary and post primary schools for the 2017/2018 school year, to provide add...

289. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress over the past 14 months by his Department to accelerate early assessment and intervention for children with special needs. (Question 34047/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - National Educational Psychological Service)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychology service to all primary and post primary schools through an assigned NEPS psychologist and in some cases through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA), full details of which are on the Department’s website. Under this scheme schools can have an assessment carried out by a member of the pan...

368. Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way his Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities during 2017. (Question 34033/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is improving services and increasing supports for persons with disabilities.During 2017 a project to modify and upgrade a Departmental building to better meet the access and internal mobility requirements of all staff and visitors with a disability was initiated. The Department continues to work to improve conditions for staff with disabilities and provide appropriate support including t...