81. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health his plans for the provision of a modular cath laboratory which would allow for the performance of PCI in addition to or to replace the mobile diagnostic unit at University Hospital Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17014/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Following an independent review of the need for a second cath lab in University Hospital Waterford (UHW), the Herity report concluded that the needs of the effective catchment population for Waterford University Hospital could be accommodated within a single cath lab. Funding has been provided to support extension of the existing cath lab operating hours to 12 weekly sessions per week, or by 20%, as recommended in the Herity Report. Recruitment efforts ...

95. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health the status of respite care service provision by HSE disability services in County Wexford; if he is satisfied that the needs of vulnerable families are being met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17013/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Respite Care Services Provision)

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 of...

35. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of export licenses issued to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with regard to the export of military and dual use items and with further regard to the latest figures in 2016 and 2017; if she has had consultations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding the export of military and dual use products to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates due to their role in the ongoing civil war in Yemen; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16789/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Military Exports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): My Department is responsible for controls on the export of military and dual-use items from Ireland. 
All export licence applications, whether for Dual-Use or Military Goods are subject to rigorous scrutiny, and are considered having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No. 428/2009, the 2008 EU Common Position on Arms Exports and EU sanctions regimes.
My officials are in regular contact with the Department of Foreign Affa...

36. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans for trade mission visits to the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia in 2018 and 2019; her further plans to highlight human rights issues at these trade missions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16788/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Trade Missions)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Enterprise Ireland is the state agency under my aegis with responsibility for helping Irish companies to internationalise and scale. The manufacturing and internationally traded services companies that Enterprise Ireland works with are a critical source of existing employment and job creation in every county in Ireland and are spread across a wide range of sectors. 
Enterprise Ireland’s Trade Missions and Events promote...

37. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the prisoner transfer system; the number of prisoners seeking a transfer; his plans to bring forth legislation to deal with the Supreme Court ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16533/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Prisoner Transfers)

Deputy Mick Wallace: I understand the reason for the suspension of the transfer of sentenced persons, which is due to the High Court and Supreme Court judgments of the past few years, but I do not understand the reason for such a prolonged delay in resolving the matter. I appreciate that this is complex and legislative or administrative changes may be necessary. The problem is now several years old and both the prisoners and their families do not see an end in sight right now. Will the Minist...

49. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the fact that there may be potential security risks for the State in the near future due to the ongoing presence of Russian diplomats working here; if he has had discussions with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16537/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can assure the Deputy that the Government affords the highest priority to the State’s security.
As he will be aware, An Garda Síochána carries out a range of functions in safeguarding our national security, including actions to counter terrorist threats, to support international security and to protect the State and its vital interests, where necessary, from espionage and unlawful acts of foreign interference.
In this regard the Gard...

50. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the current management and conditions of direct provision centres here; his plans to initiate a review into the use of direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16536/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Direct Provision System)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As the Deputy may be aware, the Direct Provision system encompasses the range of State services including accommodation, food, health and education directly provided to international protection applicants through all the relevant Government Departments and Agencies.  It is a whole-of-government support system for those seeking international protection in Ireland, although the term is more often used to describe t...

53. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the level of contact that took place between his Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and An Garda Síochána with regard to the recent expulsion of a Russian diplomat; if he is satisfied that all due process was followed with regard to the role of his Department and An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16535/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the formal relations between states in respect of diplomatic representation are governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, which Ireland ratified in 1967. These two international treaties codify what is perhaps one of the oldest and most accepted fields of international law, namely the formal relations between states and their officia...

66. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the role his Department plays in An Garda Síochána’s ICT governance board; the person that represents his Department on this board; the number of meetings they attend on an annual basis; if he is updated on the work of the board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16534/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Garda Information and Communications Technology)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that there is regular, detailed and structured engagement between my Department and An Garda Síochána in relation to governance and the Garda reform programme generally, including ICT matters.
I am advised that the Garda Information and Communications Technology Governance Board was established in November 2016, building on a recommendation of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate. I am further advised that the Board...

639. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the large discrepancies in fees payable to the HSE and private nursing homes under the fair deal scheme in County Wexford; when the findings of the review of the pricing system for long-term residential care facilities will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14953/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Nursing Homes Support Scheme)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropria...

1397. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 544 of 8 March 2018 and 972 of 20 March 2018, the way in which customers with passports who collect their payments on a weekly basis in the post office authenticate identity to SAFE 2 standard for the purposes of enabling the collection of PSI data by post; and the location in which the existing photos utilised to complete the SAFE 2 process are obtained. (Question 15068/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department has operated a number of methods to SAFE register a person. One of these was via post where the customer had already successfully applied for and held a passport. 
In the case of the Passport Office data, the photograph is verified in a face-to-face interaction at the passport application stage. 
The postal method of registration was offered in the following circumstances
1. The customer was in receip...

1432. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an adoption certificate is still required for all public services card applications in view of recent media reports of a person who was awarded a public services card without an adoption certificate; if short form birth certificates are now acceptable for all applications; the impact of this on her Department’s SAFE 2 authentication process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15695/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The media reports about this case are incorrect. The certificate presented by the person concerned was, in fact, their adoption certificate, following which the SAFE registration was successfully completed.
A Public Services Card (PSC) may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted peop...

1535. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 666 of 13 February 2018, the number of applications made to An Bord Pleanála to date under the fast track planning system; the number of these applications that have been declared invalid; the number of applications that have been refused and that were successful, respectively; and the average processing times for pre-planning decision and a final decision, respectively in tabular form. (Question 15446/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Planning Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 provides for new streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments, of 100 housing units or more or student accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála (the Board) for determination.
From the time that the new arrangements came into operation in July 2017 up...

1536. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the eligibility conditions that apply for separated or divorced applicants for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme according to the credit policy 2018; and if the same credit policy applies across all local authorities. (Question 15448/18 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...

24. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the fact that 327 children who applied on time for his Department’s school transport scheme were not allocated seats; if all 327 children were facilitated by private transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14455/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - 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 116,000 children, including almost 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.
The pur...

63. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the five schools and college involved in the collapse of a company (details supplied); if tenders have been issued; the completion date for the schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14454/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Schools Building Contractors)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 63 together.
The Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF), representing the PPP Company responsible for delivery of Schools Bundle 5, is currently implementing a rectification plan to secure service commencement on the five school buildings and one further education college as soon as possible.  
DIF has indicated that a number of contractors/service providers have now been invited to quote for finishing th...

90. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to advocate at the EU Foreign Affairs Council for the need for EU members to work together with a view to working towards a resolution to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14203/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - European Council Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am extremely concerned about the current situation in Yemen, which is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The war is now ongoing for more than three years, and has had devastating consequences for civilians, with allegations of violations of human rights, international humanitarian law, and significant loss of life. Ireland has provided over €11 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen since 2015, and we are co...

97. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to advocate at the EU Foreign Affairs Council for the need for EU members to be proactive regarding the ongoing civil war in Syria with a view towards working for peace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14204/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Syrian Conflict)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 68, 85 and 97 together.
I am aware of the letter to which Deputy Kenny refers. The situation in Syria is indeed unconscionable, and I take this opportunity to reiterate my unreserved condemnation of the barbarous violence against civilians that has been the hallmark of this conflict to date. The brutal repression of dissent by the Assad regime, which has included use of chemical weapo...

62. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance his views on the NAMA policy, agreed in March 2015, of deleting emails of staff one year after they have left the agency; if he has had discussions with officials in his Department or with the NAMA board regarding this ongoing policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14033/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - NAMA Operations)

Deputy Mick Wallace: This question relates to NAMA’s email policy, which allows it to delete all emails of staff one year after they have left the agency. This policy was applied retrospectively and, coincidentally, came into effect one month before NAMA was to become subject to freedom of information. I wrote to the Minister about this matter on 8 February and his response was that he would look into it. I know the Minister is a busy man and has plenty to do but I hope he is not ignoring wha...

67. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce a tax on land, specifically vacant land, which could be used for residential purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13939/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Vacant Sites)

Deputy Mick Wallace: I was afraid Deputy Pearse Doherty was going to go again. This question relates to the introduction of a tax on vacant land. The vacant site register is not catching those who are landbanking due to the many holes in the vacant site levy. Will the Minister consider introducing a proper tax on land? Ever since the Kenny report, as far back as 1974, successive Governments have refused to do what is necessary and it has led to untold damage to the manner in which we supply ...

122. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance the status of the appointments to the Board of NAMA advertised in January 2018; if he has considered appointing persons with the requisite skill in construction and real estate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13940/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - NAMA Board)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Under the NAMA Act 2009, the NAMA Board is to consist of nine members - the NAMA Chairman, the CEO of NAMA (ex-officio), the CEO of the NTMA (ex-officio), and six ordinary members. There are currently seven members on the NAMA Board and there are two vacancies for ordinary members which have arisen as a result of departures from the board in December 2013 and January 2014. A full complement of Directors and committee members will ensure appropriate ...

596. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the exact date invitations to register for a public services card were first sent by her Department to persons who have been registered to SAFE 2 standard by the National Driver Licence Service; if the information used to identify persons who do not have a public services card but are SAFE authenticated and invite these persons to register for a card is obtained by her Department from the Road Safety Authority or the National Driver Licence Service; if a data sharing agreement exists between her Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Road Safety Authority or the National Driver Licence Service; and if so, the date of this agreement. (Question 14003/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) does not register its customers to SAFE 2 standard. However, it does authenticate customer identities in a face-to-face engagement, including the capture of a photograph.
In August 2017, my Department commenced inviting NDLS customers to complete SAFE 2 registration by post. Invites were only issued to customers whose Public Services Identity data, supplied to the NDLS, matc...

34. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the number of contracts awarded without competitive procurement as outlined in the latest annual 40/2002 circular; his plans to address this non-competitive procurement; if each Department and office has created a central register of all contracts which records key data including whether or not a competitive process was used as recommended by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11315/18 asked on 22 Mar 2018 - Public Procurement Regulations)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Public Procurement is governed by EU and National rules. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.   It is a basic principle of public procurement that competitive tendering should be used other than in justifiably exceptional circumstances.  
Under Department of Finance Circular 40/02, Accounting Officers of Government Departm...

40. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department will consider publishing on a yearly basis all submissions received under circular 40/2002 which requires Departments and certain State bodies to prepare and submit an annual statement regarding contracts awarded that exceed €25,000 in value, exclusive of VAT, without a competitive process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11314/18 asked on 22 Mar 2018 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Public Procurement is governed by EU and National rules. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.  It is a basic principle of public procurement that competitive tendering should be used other than in justifiably exceptional circumstances.   The current procurement rules recognise that there can be legitimate reasons for award...

35. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the details of the proposed participation of Defence Forces members in the German-led EU battle group; the rationale for same; the expected number of Defence Force participants in the battle group; if Army Rangers will be deployed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10382/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - EU Battle Groups)

Deputy Mick Wallace: Again, we are facing the prospect of Irish troops taking part in an EU battle group. It has been reported that the Army Rangers will be taking part in their first overseas deployment since the peacekeeping mission in Chad in 2008. Will the Minister of State outline the range of military equipment that our forces will be using? How does he consider that such training and activity is compliant with Ireland’s role as a neutral country?
 ...