4. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will address concerns that Ireland’s neutrality is being compromised by participation in Permanent Structured Co-Operation, PESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19811/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Permanent Structured Co-operation)

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Will the Minister of State address serious concerns that Ireland’s neutrality is being compromised by participation in PESCO? People are genuinely concerned, including the families of Defence Forces personnel.
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215. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the progress of the new national children’s hospital; when it will become fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20635/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Hospitals Building Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The new children’s hospital capital project is progressing well. Excavation and other construction works on the main site such as piling, service diversions and building a utility tunnel for the campus are continuing. The temporary compound at Davitt Road is operational, the purpose of this compound is to store building materials and to allow for the controlled arrival of materials to the construction site, mitigating against potential traffic impacts....

216. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the anticipated number of medical personnel that will staff the new national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20636/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Hospital Staff Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As part of the planning and analysis to support the development of the new children’s hospital a Workforce Planning Strategy for two Paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Centres at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals and the new children’s hospital was commenced in 2015 by the Children’s Hospital Group. 
The workforce priority this year is to progress the consultant post recruitment process for the Paediatric OPD and Urgent Care Centres at Connolly and Tallaght H...

217. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the number of children that are waiting more than six months for scoliosis treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20637/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Hospital Waiting Lists Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I continue to support the HSE in its efforts to bring down the waiting times for and improve access to scoliosis services. The long-term strategy to develop sustainable scoliosis services from 2018 has been prioritised by the Department of Health and the HSE in the 2018 HSE National Service Plan.  
€9 million funding has been provided in 2018 to improve access to paediatric orthopaedic services including scoliosis. The 2018 HSE National Service Plan i...

218. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if twin to singleton reductions will be permitted under the provisions of the assisted human reproduction Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20638/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Assisted Human Reproduction)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the Deputy will be aware, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction and associated areas of research in October last year and the General Scheme is published on my Department’s website. 
The General Scheme does not include any provisions relating to foetal reduction.
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219. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if the practice of genome editing will be permitted under the provisions of the assisted human reproduction Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20639/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Assisted Human Reproduction)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the Deputy will be aware, the Government approved the drafting of a Bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research in October last year and the General Scheme is published on my Department’s website. Officials in my Department are engaging with the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the process of drafting this Bill. In addition, the Joint Committee on Health is currently conducting a review of the General Sche...

303. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the preparation and finalisation of a national protocol with regard to taking estates served by developer-provided infrastructure, DPI, in charge will be finalised in order that local authorities can proceed to take these estates in charge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20601/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Housing Estates)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The taking-in-charge of housing developments is a matter for the relevant local authority under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016 to trial new approaches and working methods in supporting and accelerating overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates, including esta...

30. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures her Department is taking to support pop-up Gaeltachts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19805/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Gaeltacht Policy)

Deputy Mattie McGrath: I will indeed be brief. Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. Ba mhaith liom a rá leis an Teachta Broughan, let the hare sit.
I want to ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures her Department is taking to support Pop-up Gaeltachts, and if she will make a statement on the matter. 
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72. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the training and development and incidental expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20261/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

73. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the travel and subsistence expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20262/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

74. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the breakdown of the consultancy services and value for money and policy review expenses incurred by his Department in the year ending 31 December 2017. (Question 20263/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Taoiseach (Deputy Leo Varadkar)(Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.
A breakdown of expenditure by my Department in 2017 in the categories of training and development and incidental expenses and travel and subsistence is set out in the following tables. There was no expenditure incurred by my Department on consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews in 2017. 
It should be noted that the figures provided for 2017 are based on prov...

243. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to revise the conditions of the sports capital programme for clubs that may not own their own property in order that they can apply for grant aid that may give them the opportunity to purchase and further develop their facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20305/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Sports Capital Programme Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment. The full terms and conditions of the most recent round of the SCP are published on my Department’s website (www.dttas.ie). The purchase of lands and buildings has always been outside the terms and conditions o...

52. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of social housing units he expects to come on stream in the next year in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19797/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I recently wrote to all local authorities, including Tipperary County Council, setting out their individual social housing targets across build, acquisition and leasing for 2018 and also for 2018-2021.
In the case of Tipperary County Council, they have a target to deliver 117 new social homes in 2018 through build, acquisition and long-term leasing initiatives, with a further 154 families or individuals to be housed thro...

69. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he is satisfied that local authorities are providing accurate data to his Department in relation to housing and homelessness figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19796/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 43, 61, 68, 69, 70 and 86 together.
My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS). The reports are collated on a regional basi...

124. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the operational costs of his Department in each of the years 2011 to 2017, excluding the HSE budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19169/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Please see the following table which sets out the operational costs for the Department of Health for the years 2011 to 2017.

 Year Operational Costs €m 2011 26.531 2012 27.265 2013 25.926 2014 25.345 2015 26.215 2016 27.314 2017 30.559 
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377. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children or young adults that Tusla is assisting with housing needs; the costs associated with same for each of the past four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18654/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): As these are operational matters, I have asked Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date information.
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442. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the housing insulation or energy efficiency grants his Department is supporting for social housing tenants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18760/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Housing Grant Payments)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Local authorities are currently undertaking an ambitious programme of insulation retrofitting, with the support of my Department, on the least energy efficient social homes. The aim of the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme is the improvement of energy efficiency and comfort levels in local authority homes, benefitting those at risk of fuel poverty and making a significant contribution to Ireland’s carbon emission...

447. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if local authorities are obliged to comply with the EPA guidelines for wastewater treatment when purchasing a one-off home in the open countryside for their tenants; if local authorities are obliged to ensure the wastewater treatment system of a one-off home in the open countryside is sufficient for the proposed occupancy of the home; the course of action available if the local authority knowingly breaches the EPA guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18661/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Wastewater Treatment)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Local authorities have a general responsibility for the monitoring, management and improvement of water quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the statutory body for investigating complaints of pollution and for the enforcement, both directly and through oversight of local authorities, of environmental legislation in Ireland.
The design and installation of wastewater treatment systems for single houses is...

473. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding provided to a centre (details supplied) for each of the past four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18627/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Arts Funding)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): My Department has provided funding directly to the centre referred to in the question for the presentation of Irish artists as part of its annual cultural programme over 2015 - 2018 as follows: 
- 2015 - €7,765
- 2016 - €8,308
- 2017 - €27,000
- 2018 - €50,000 
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175. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which a person is placed on a supplementary special needs panel (details supplied). (Question 17439/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Special Educational Needs Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions 175 and 176 together.
The supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were established on foot of proposals brought forward by the Labour Relations Commission when the Haddington Road Agreement was being agreed. These supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs continue to operate under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 - 2020, and both unions representing SNAs, name...

176. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which a special needs assistant who was made redundant in 2017 can apply to be placed on a supplementary panel. (Question 17440/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Special Educational Needs Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions 175 and 176 together.
The supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were established on foot of proposals brought forward by the Labour Relations Commission when the Haddington Road Agreement was being agreed. These supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs continue to operate under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 - 2020, and both unions representing SNAs, name...

177. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the 950 jobs for special needs assistants will become available. (Question 17441/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Special Educational Needs Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): 975 additional SNAs posts were made available for allocation to schools from September 2017 which was a 7.5% increase to meet the demands for the 2017/18 school year. This brought the total SNA posts available last September to 13,990.
Financial provision for some 1091 additional SNAs was made in Budget 2018. Of these 130 have been made available for allocation from January to June 2018.  The remaining posts will be required to meet qua...

359. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health the funding provided to a charity (details supplied) for each of the past seven years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17515/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Voluntary Sector Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): My Department has not provided any core funding in the past seven years to the organization referred to by the Deputy.
As the Deputy’s question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.
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119. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach the number of official State visits his Department has been involved with for each of the past four years; and the costs associated with same. (Question 15598/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - State Visits)

The Taoiseach: Since 2014 my Department has assisted with five State Visits to Ireland. 
The President of the Republic of Mozambique visited in June 2014, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany visited in July 2015, the President of Cyprus visited in October 2016, the President of the Republic of Croatia visited in April 2017 and President of the Italian Republic visited in February 2018.
The total expenditure in relation to the visits by my Department was €304.50 which was for the pu...

130. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of official State visits his Department has been involved with for each of the past four years; the costs associated with same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15600/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - State Visits)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): One of the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper for Defence is the provision of ceremonial support. The Defence Forces were required to provide ceremonial support for five official State visits in the past four years. 
There are no additional costs arising which would not otherwise be incurred by the Defence Forces in support of their role.
I am satisfied that the attendance of Defence Forces personnel at Stat...