5. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if Cabinet committee E (health) met in April 2018. (Question 16806/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 5, inclusive, together.
Cabinet committee E covers issues relating to the health service, including health system reforms. Cabinet committee E last met on 11 April. The next meeting has yet to be scheduled.
In addition to meetings of the full Cabinet and of the Cabinet committees I meet with Ministers on a bilateral basis as required to focus on particular issues. In this regard I meet regularly, most recently last Monday, with the Minister...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet committee F, national security, last met. (Question 16495/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

Deputy Brendan Howlin: I would prefer to hear the answer first.
 ...

98. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if officials in his Department are on the interdepartmental group set up to examine third level education funding. (Question 16805/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Interdepartmental Working Groups)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The programme for Government provided that the Cassells report would be referred to the Oireachtas Education Committee, who would review its recommendations and outline a proposed funding plan for this sector, as part of the process for building political consensus around the most appropriate means of ensuring a sustainable funding model for the future.
While I have awaited the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee in relation to a...

11. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Chancellor Merkel; and the issues that were discussed. (Question 13927/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 to 17, inclusive, together.
I travelled to Berlin on 20 March for a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of my strategic engagement with our European partners. We discussed preparations for the March European Council, including Brexit, trade, Economic and Monetary Union, EMU, and the tax challenges of digitalisation. I also took the opportunity to congratulate the Chancellor on her recent re-election for the fourth time. 
O...

111. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he or his officials have received media training on using social media. (Question 15074/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Departmental Staff Training)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 and 111 together.
No training has been delivered in my Department on the use of social media and no media training on the use of social media has been provided to me or officials in my Department. My Department did, however, recently run a training session on Mobile Journalism which was attended by officials from other Government Departments.
 Company Details Amount Glen Mulcahy T/A Titanium Media Mobile Journalism Training (January...

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet committee F (National Security) last met. (Question 15075/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: Cabinet Committee F last met on 8 February and was attended by Ministers and Senior Officials from the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Justice and Equality; Health; Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Transport, Tourism and Sport; Housing, Planning and Local Government; and Defence. 
Also in attendance were key personnel from the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána.
The role of cabinet Committee F is “to keep the S...

164. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his officials were contacted by the Russian ambassador. (Question 15077/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 136, reference No. 14154-18, of 28 March 2018. Since then, on 2 April 2018, the Russian Ambassador contacted the Secretary General of my Department to advise him of Russia’s decision to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. The meeting took place on 4 April 2018.
On ...

451. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the new school building for a school (details supplied) will be progressed in view of the fact that there has been no movement on the building since the agreed schedule of accommodation with his Department in September 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16358/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department’s Capital Programme.
The formulation of the accommodation brief for the project is being finalised which will in due course allow my Department to liaise with the school in the context of initiating the architectural planning process for the project.
 ...

485. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he or his officials have concerns regarding the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017; and if he has met or spoken with the Taoiseach on same. (Question 15078/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Judicial Appointments)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): A significant number of amendments originating from opposition parties were made to the Bill as passed by the Select Committee on Justice and Equality.  Many of the changes made at Committee Stage are a matter of concern because the Bill as amended has a large number of inconsistencies and anomalous provisions which make it unworkable from a practical point of view or unacceptable from a legal/constitutional point of view.   One partic...

498. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has recently met persons (details supplied) in regard to the tragic death of their son. (Question 16809/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In answer to the Deputy’s question, I have not recently met the persons referred to in his question but I have met them in the past. I have immense sympathy for the family in this tragic case. 
As the Deputy is aware, a number of complaints made to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission by members of the family are the subject of investigation by GSOC. 
I can inform the Deputy that GSOC has now completed its criminal investigation in...

604. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the Collins report on the practices and procedures employed in his Department published on 27 March 2018. (Question 16496/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Departmental Reviews)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 486 and 604 together.
The report of the Independent Review of the response of the Department of Justice and Equality to requests for documents from the Disclosures Tribunal was published by the Taoiseach on 27 March 2018.  
I want to again thank Michael Collins SC for undertaking this task, and for the comprehensive, efficient and professional way in which he carried out his review.
I welcome Mr. Collin...

1603. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to set out the number of applications that have been processed and approved under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme since it was launched; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16347/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1603, 1604 and 1623 together.
Following a review of the two existing local authority home loan schemes, the House Purchase Loan and the Home Choice Loan, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, was introduced on 1 February 2018.
As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a local authority product and loan applicati...

1604. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to set out in tabular form by county the number of applications received and approved under the Rebuilding Ireland scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16348/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Social and Affordable Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1603, 1604 and 1623 together.
Following a review of the two existing local authority home loan schemes, the House Purchase Loan and the Home Choice Loan, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, was introduced on 1 February 2018.
As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a local authority product and loan applicati...

1605. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme’s criteria to be altered or extended to allow applications from those that are not seen as first-time buyers due to having previously purchased a home, but due to separation or divorce have no entitlement to the first house and that have a housing need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16349/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1536 and 1605 together.
As with the previous local authority loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available to first-time buyers only. There is no change to this regard. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources.
Applicants who are separated or divorced may be treated as first-time buyers if they meet certain conditions, including:
- They are separate...

1606. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to outline his plans to review the income thresholds under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme for couples (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16350/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): It continues to be the case under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which was introduced on 1 February 2018, as with the previous local authority House Purchase Loan, that single applicants applying for the loan must not be earning more than €50,000 gross per annum and the combined income of joint applicants must not be greater than €75,000 gross per annum. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources. ...

1607. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to outline the steps being taken by his Department to ensure the opening of a facility (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16359/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Homelessness Strategy)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless services rests with individual housing authorities. My Department does not fund any service directly, but provides funding to housing autho...

282. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health his plans to decrease day cases across the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14766/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - National Treatment Purchase Fund Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) publishes the Inpatient/Day Case and Outpatient waiting list figures on its website each month. The publication includes Inpatient and Day Case Adult and Child Analysis. 
The most recent figures published by the NTPF for the end of February 2018 indicate that there is a total of 79,039 people on the Inpatient/Day case waiting list, of which 56,180 are waiting for a day case procedure. Of this figure, 59% are w...

8. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with President Trump and the issues that were discussed. (Question 12802/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 16, inclusive, together. The questions take up three pages.
 My St. Patrick’s Day programme ran from 11 to 17 March, during which time I visited Texas, Oklahoma, Washington DC and New York. I had courtesy calls with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, in both cases discussing the deepening of links between the US and their respective states and Ireland. I visited the Choctaw Nation in Durant, Oklahoma, to thank ...

12. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the responses he received when he discussed the undocumented Irish with President Trump and other politicians when he was in the USA for the St. Patrick’s week celebrations. (Question 13928/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 16, inclusive, together. The questions take up three pages.
 My St. Patrick’s Day programme ran from 11 to 17 March, during which time I visited Texas, Oklahoma, Washington DC and New York. I had courtesy calls with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, in both cases discussing the deepening of links between the US and their respective states and Ireland. I visited the Choctaw Nation in Durant, Oklahoma, to thank ...

13. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he had discussions with President Trump on Brexit. (Question 13929/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 16, inclusive, together. The questions take up three pages.
 My St. Patrick’s Day programme ran from 11 to 17 March, during which time I visited Texas, Oklahoma, Washington DC and New York. I had courtesy calls with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, in both cases discussing the deepening of links between the US and their respective states and Ireland. I visited the Choctaw Nation in Durant, Oklahoma, to thank ...

23. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussions and the contributions on digital tax made by him and other EU leaders at the March 2018 EU Council meeting. (Question 14155/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - European Council Meetings)

An Ceann Comhairle: We now move to questions Nos. 17 to 26.
 ...

24. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he had bilateral meetings at the March 2018 EU Council meeting. (Question 14159/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - European Council Meetings)

An Ceann Comhairle: We now move to questions Nos. 17 to 26.
 ...

136. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his officials have spoken to the Russian ambassador in Dublin. (Question 14154/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): At last week’s European Council meeting, EU leaders unanimously agreed with the UK government’s assessment that the Russian Federation is highly likely to have been responsible for the attack in Salisbury on 4 March 2018, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. They condemned the attack in the strongest possible manner and affirmed their unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this ...

183. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has met with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport or his own officials recently regarding the comments made by the European Commission on the Judicial Appointments Bill 2017 not being in line with European standards; and his views on these comments. (Question 14156/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy is referring to the comments of the European Commission in their ‘Country Report Ireland 2018’ published as part of the European Semester on 7 March last, which state the following: 
“The envisaged composition of a new body for proposing judicial appointments raises concerns regarding the level of participation of the judiciary in that body. The proposed composition of the Judicial Appointments Commission, which would compri...

10. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Mr. Tusk on 8 March 2018 and the issues that were discussed. (Question 12801/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 to 13, inclusive, together.
I was very pleased to welcome the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to Dublin on 8 March. Our discussions, which took place ahead of the March European Council, covered the Brexit negotiations, EU trade policy, economic and monetary union, taxation challenges posed in the digital era and a number of foreign policy matters.
On Brexit, we discussed progress in relation to the draft withdrawal agreement, in...