140. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will address the fact that the Arts Council will significantly cut the amount of funding provided to regularly funded organisations in 2017 compared to 2016. (Question 44517/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Arts Council Grants)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Under the Arts Act 2003, primary responsibility for the promotion and support of the arts, including arts participation, throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council. Under the Arts Act the Arts Council is independent in relation to its funding decisions.
I understand from the Arts Council however, that there has been an overall increase in funding to regularly funded organisations in 2017 over 2016.
In Budget...

42. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if there will be a particular emphasis on the Border region due to Brexit in the Army recruitment campaign. (Question 44070/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As part of a whole of Government approach, the Department of Defence is engaged in forward planning for the UK exit from the EU. While the full implications for the border will emerge during the course of the negotiations, it is this Government’s stated goal to try to ensure that the current on-island border arrangements are maintained to the greatest extent possible. From the defence perspective, the fact of a UK exit from th...

49. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the position regarding the new Army recruitment campaign; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44069/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Recruitment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 217 together. 
The Government is committed to maintaining the establishment of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service, as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence. 
The manpower requirements of the Permanent Defence Force are monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of the three ...

86. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the 6% stamp duty rate on farmland sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44197/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 89 together.
In my Budget 2018 statement I announced an increase in the stamp duty rate for all non-residential property transactions, including agricultural land, from 2% to 6%. On the recommendation of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine I also extended consanguinity relief for another 3 years and provided that the stamp duty rate applying under that scheme will be fixed at 1%. Consanguinity ...

124. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if applications to a scheme (details supplied) cannot be processed until a new Garda Commissioner is appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44183/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that the Community-based CCTV grant-aid Scheme was launched by my Department in April 2017 to assist community groups in the establishment of CCTV systems in their local areas.
A key requirement of the Scheme is that the proposal must have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner in accordance with Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
The Deputy will also be aware that, in accordance with the provision...

137. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied); the position of the person on the waiting list for the two rehabilitation units outlined; if the appointment will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44130/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Disability 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 ...

210. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the implications for the Defence Forces of a hard border post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44088/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As part of a whole of Government approach, the Department of Defence is engaged in forward planning for the UK exit from the EU. While the implications for the border will emerge during the course of the negotiations, it is this Government’s stated goal to try to ensure that the current on-island border arrangements are maintained to the greatest extent possible. The fact of a UK exit from the EU does not of itself give rise t...

40. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of her proposal to provide sectoral payscales for those working in community childcare settings. (Question 43465/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Early Years Sector)

Deputy Katherine Zappone: I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 51 together.
Child care workers play a critical role in delivering high quality child care services and they deserve to be recognised, valued and respected for this. My Department acknowledges that pay and conditions are major issues facing the sector and can lead to difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. 
My Department is somewhat constrained in what it can do in this regard as it is not an employer of child care worker...

48. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the shortages in ECCE places particularly for the second free pre-school year in rural Ireland; and the steps she is taking to address this matter. (Question 43464/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Early Childhood Care and Education Programmes)

Deputy Niamh Smyth: The shortage of ECCE places is particularly a problem in rural areas and is one of great importance to people in my constituency of Cavan-Monaghan. We must always be concerned that rural parts of the country are looked after as well as urban areas.
 ...

179. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the impact of multiple examination components on the performance of leaving certificate art students as compared with other subjects that have fewer components; the detail of the distribution of marks and grades in each of the four different components; and if his attention has been drawn to concerns that there is grade deflation within the leaving certificate arts examination system. (Question 43489/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - State Examinations)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations.
In view of this I have forwarded the Deputy’s query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.
 ...

185. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) with special needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43582/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), which is an independent statutory agency, is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.  The NCSE operates within my Department’s criteria in alloca...

202. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of works on a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44027/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A major school building project to provide new accommodation for the school referred to by the Deputy has recently been authorised by my Department to proceed to tender for the appointment of a Building Contractor.  Assuming no significant issues arise during the tender process, my Department expects that the project will progress to site early in 2018
 ...

244. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps she is taking to increase the access for disabled persons to the arts; the amount of funding she has allocated to these programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43393/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disability Services Provision)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Under the Arts Act 2003, primary responsibility for the promotion and support of the arts, including arts participation, throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council. 
The strategic context for the Arts Council’s support of arts participation and all other art forms and areas of arts practice is set out in Making Great Art Work: Arts Council Strategy (2016 –2025).  This strategy describes how the Council will ...

245. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the lack of spaces for younger and non-professional artists to participate in musical, artistic or other creative activities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43394/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am aware of the issue regarding the provision of affordable studio space, particularly as a result of the changing property market.  My Department has had discussions with the Arts Council, the Office of Public Works and some local authorities to consider possible short-term and longer-term approaches to the issue, both in relation to specific issues in Dublin and to wider national approaches.  
This year I announced ...

246. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there are regular meetings of regional arts offices with each other. (Question 43395/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Arts Plan)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I assume the Deputy is referring to Local Authority Arts Offices which are primarily an operational matter for the local authorities. However, I understand that there are opportunities for Arts Officers to engage with each other, for example, under the auspices of the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers.
The Arts Council, which is funded by my Department, provides support to local authorities directly for arts...

247. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there is designated funding made available to Youthreach services for the provision of arts subjects. (Question 43396/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Arts Funding)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Youthreach programme is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills and any funding under the Programme would be provided under the Department of Education and Skills.
 ...

273. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if his Department has an input into the provision of dental services for primary school-going children (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43643/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Dental Services Provision)

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. 
 ...

291. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he will review a matter (details supplied) and address the concerns of parents; his plans to enhance facilities or relocate these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43493/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disability 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 ...

305. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if an appointment for a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43512/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disability 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 ...

306. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of a knee operation for a person (details supplied); if this appointment will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43521/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Hospital Appointments Status)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to whic...

315. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the supports available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43580/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Medical Aids and Appliances Provision)

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. 
 ...

316. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the assistance which can be provided to an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43585/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Non-Acute and Community Agencies Funding)

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. 
 ...

319. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the measures he will take to address the concerns of a person (details supplied) about funding for basic standards of stroke care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43596/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Stroke Care)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The National Clinical Programme for Stroke (NCPS) has been in place since early 2010. The vision of the programme is to design standardised models of integrated care pathways for the delivery of clinical care to ensure sustained quality clinical operational management. Overall, the NCPS aims to improve quality, access and cost-effectiveness of stroke services in Ireland. 
Some of the achievements of this programme in improving access to services to da...

336. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) cannot be added to a hip operation waiting list while they lose weight; if there is a specific weight criterion for this procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43616/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
 The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managin...

341. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of a home care package for a person (details supplied); the detail of this home care package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43687/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Home Care Packages Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): As the Deputy’s question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...