4. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health the specific services that will be provided under the new schedule with particular reference to the day hospital, diagnostics, community care and minor injuries units further to his commitment to fully reopen Our Lady’s hospital, Cashel; and the timeframe involved in bringing the accommodation and facilities at the hospital back into full use. (Question 6472/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Hospital Services)

Deputy Michael Lowry: I appreciated the Minister’s commitment on a visit to Cashel to reopen Our Lady’s County and Surgical Hospital.
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219. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills when instructions will be finalised and issued to ETBI and ETBs regarding the proposed BTEI conversion process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4044/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Education and Training Boards)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): The BTEI conversion process is the subject of ongoing discussions between my Department, Education & Training Boards Ireland and the Teachers Union of Ireland.  Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to comment any further at this stage.
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931. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to representations submitted on behalf of a person (details supplied); the reason a response has not issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1005/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. 
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1412. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of persons on waiting lists for a driving test in County Tipperary for each category in each County Tipperary test centre, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1006/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Driver Test Waiting Lists)

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.
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1413. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the waiting time persons in County Tipperary are expected to wait before a driving test date is issued for each category and in each County Tipperary test centre, in tabular form; if driving test waiting times in County Tipperary are in line with the national average of ten weeks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1007/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Driver Test)

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.
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1414. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an earlier date can be offered for a driving test for category B for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1008/18 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Driver Test)

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.
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517. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce a statutory time limit on the length the time for all applications to An Bord Pleanála and specifically projects involving substantial investment in the economy in circumstances in which undue delay may be detrimental to the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51534/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Planning Issues)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Under section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, An Bord Pleanála has a statutory objective to determine normal planning appeals within 18 weeks of receipt of the appeal. Furthermore, under Section 37J of the Act, the Board has an objective to make a decision on applications for strategic infrastructure development within a period of 18 weeks, beginning on the last day for making submissions or ob...

13. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Finance the potential effects of President Trump’s threatened big border tax on Irish companies in the United States if they expand manufacturing facilities abroad for products to be sold in the United States; the potential implications for jobs here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48519/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - US Tax Reform)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The international aspects of the US tax code are of course very relevant to Ireland and to any US business with operations here and those many Irish businesses that trade with the US.   The full implications of US tax reform for Ireland, and the rest of the world, will depend on the exact nature of any changes which are ultimately agreed by both Houses of Congress and President Trump.
The House and Senate have proposed different new anti-avoidance m...

299. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health if he will request the HSE to provide generators to persons in their homes who need continuous access to electricity for their medical supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50849/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Health Services)

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.
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372. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will request dairy co-operators to organise a scheme for the purchase of generators by dairy farmers; his plans to provide low interest loans for such a scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50850/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Dairy Sector)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Following a challenging period, the dairy sector has experienced positive trends this year in terms of raw milk and specific commodity prices, particularly for butter. I am confident that, as market demand for safe, sustainable, high quality dairy products in expanding global markets increases, the Irish dairy sector, from the farm gate to the further reaches of the supply chain, will continue to grow and prosper.
I am very a...

540. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he will announce details of the new affordable housing scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50851/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Social and Affordable Housing)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 611, 627 and 629 of 21 November 2017 which sets out the position in relation to this matter.
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4. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the efforts being made by State agencies, in particular the IDA, to attract jobs and investment to towns in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49765/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Job Creation)

Deputy Michael Lowry: I ask the Tánaiste, in her capacity as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the efforts being made by State agencies, notably the IDA, to attract jobs and investment to towns across County Tipperary which continue to suffer from the lack of economic progress and are increasingly left behind in the economic upturn.
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119. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible to claim relief on the MED 2 form for dental treatment (details supplied). (Question 41765/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that Section 469 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for relief at the standard rate of income tax (currently 20%) on certain health expenses incurred in the provision of health care. 
For the purposes of the section “Health Care” is defined as the prevention, diagnosis, alleviation or treatment of an ailment, injury, infirmity, defect or disability but excluding routine ophthalmic treatment, routine dental treatment...

4. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the current crisis in the greyhound industry which is administered by the Irish Greyhound Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21384/17 asked on 04 May 2017 - Greyhound Industry)

Deputy Michael Lowry: I ask the Minister to outline his views and provide a comprehensive statement on the current crisis at the Irish Greyhound Board. For those of us who live in rural Ireland and who are familiar with what has happened, it is very sad to see the level of disunity and rancour that exists. The industry is tearing itself apart and there are no winners in this situation. Everybody loses, in particular the owners and trainers of greyhounds who cannot run them at the high end of ...

286. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20984/17 asked on 03 May 2017 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of the 1 January 2016.
During the 2016 prepayment checking process an over-declaration of wild bird cover area was identified resulting in the application of a penalty. Department officials are actively working to process this case.
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4. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details and costs of the refurbishment works already completed or currently under way at the Garda College, Templemore, for the purpose of improving existing accommodation and providing additional accommodation and facilities; if funding is in place to construct a new administrative block; the expected timeframe for completion; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there are eight official Garda houses which have been vacant for some considerable time and have fallen into disrepair (details supplied); the way it is intended to address the accommodation and facility needs of the college in view of the increased demand arising from the accelerated recruitment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15903/17 asked on 30 Mar 2017 - Garda College)

Deputy Michael Lowry: I ask the Tánaiste for the details of the costs of the refurbishment works at the Garda College, Templemore, over the past year. The works were carried out for the purpose of improving existing accommodation and providing additional accommodation and facilities at the college. How it is intended to address the accommodation and facility needs of the college in view of increased demand arising from accelerated recruitment?
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244. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will investigate the case of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who is waiting on a decision for a school transport grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37653/16 asked on 29 Nov 2016 - School Transport Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
Currently over 114,000 children, including some 10,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in approximately 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually. 
The child referred to by the Deputy is eligibl...

28. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in regard to the refurbishment of the Garda College in Templemore; the status of recruitment and proposals to extend and expand accommodation and facilities to cater for the additional demand at the Garda College; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34894/16 asked on 15 Nov 2016 - Garda College)

Deputy Michael Lowry: At present there are 450 students in the Garda College. Another 200 students will start next week, on 20 November, and next year, from February to November, there will be 800 new recruits. While that expansion and development is to be welcomed, and in particular the recruitment, it creates practical and logistical problems at the college. I would like to hear what plans the Minister has to address these issues.
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393. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing issue of commonages claims throughout County Tipperary due to a lack of a chairperson for the commonage implementation committee; when the appointment of a replacement chairperson for this committee will be envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32862/16 asked on 02 Nov 2016 - Commonage Land Use)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I am aware of issues which have arisen on a small number of commonages in County Tipperary that have been referred to the Commonage Implementation Committee.  Proposals for the appointment of a new independent chairperson have been submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and I expect to appoint a new chairperson shortly.
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126. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the situation in north Tipperary where children do not have access to physiotherapy services under the early intervention programme and that currently cover is not being provided for planned absences (details supplied); when it is envisaged that full access to these physiotherapy services will be restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30173/16 asked on 13 Oct 2016 - Services for People with Disabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath) (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 t...

232. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the high level of road traffic accidents and incidents on the M8 motorway between Cashel and Mitchelstown junctions 8 to 12 both north and southbound; the number of reported traffic accidents and incidents for the past 24 months on this section of motorway in tabular form; if these traffic accidents and incidents are above the national average; if there is a proposal to put a resolution in place to resolve these high levels of traffic accidents and incidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28913/16 asked on 05 Oct 2016 - Road Traffic Accidents Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): ​As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and operation of individual road projects and programmes is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) (formerly known as the NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.
Noting this position, I have referred your ...

335. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of conservation works at a chapel (details supplied); when these works will be completed; when the scaffolding around the chapel will be removed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28087/16 asked on 04 Oct 2016 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Seán Canney): The conservation works to Cormac’s Chapel at the Rock of Cashel have been underway for a number of years and are now completed. The work has involved the consolidation and repair of the roof, repointing of wall elements to eliminate a significant water penetration problem, the gradual drying out of the building and the eradication of micro biological growth from the internal wall paintings.
Dismantling of...

240. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to expedite the broadband roll-out plan; the current status planned for certain locations (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27658/16 asked on 28 Sep 2016 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to deliver high speed services to every city, town, village and individual premises in Ireland. The Programme for Government commits to the delivery of the NBP as a matter of priority.  This is being achieved through private investment by commercial telecommunications companies and through a State intervention in areas where commercial investment is not forthcoming. The f...

551. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the current status of au pairs here; their responsibilities associated with this work; the full suite of employment legislation including minimum wage legislation that applies; the duties and responsibilities of families who hire au pairs; her plans for future development and protection; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16797/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Employment Rights)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor): There is no separate legal definition of the term “au pair” in Irish legislation, and individuals described as “au pairs”, “nannies” or “child-minders” are not exempted or treated as separate categories of workers under Irish employment law. Ireland’s body of employment rights legislation protects all employees who are legally employed on an employer-employee basis, regardless of what title is given to them. Therefor...

179. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of autistic spectrum disorder units attached to primary and secondary schools in the Clonmel catchment area of County Tipperary; if there are sufficient units to meet the needs of children in this area; his plans to increase the number of primary and secondary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14180/16 asked on 02 Jun 2016 - Special Educational Needs Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department’s policies focus on ensuring that all children can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.
A range of placement options for pupils with special educational needs is provided, in order to ensure that all pupils can receive a school placement. Many pupils with special educational needs will be able to attend a local mainstream ...