1. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Taoiseach further to Regulation EC No 138/2004 of 5 December 2003, on the economic accounts for agriculture in the Community EEA, the EEA figures supplied by Ireland to the EU since the introduction of the regulation by the different agri sectors; and the details of the calculations in tabular form. (Question 35047/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Economic Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): The agricultural accounts compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) meet national and EU requirements and are part of the Economic Accounts of Agriculture (EAA) framework. The estimates are prepared under Regulation (EC) No 138/2004 of 5 December 2003, which sets the scope and main methodological approaches. They provide detailed estimates of major accounting items, such as output, input costs, gross and net value ad...

92. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if he was consulted on the withdrawal of the seafarers allowance for the workers of a company (details supplied) in 2013; the reason the seafarers allowance was taken away from the workers when it had previously been granted; the person who ultimately made the decision to withdraw the allowance; if it can be brought back for those workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35422/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Seafarers’ Allowance is granted to individuals who meet the qualifying conditions as set out in Section 472B of the Taxes Consolidation Acts 1997.  In order to qualify for the allowance, a taxpayer must be a “qualifying individual” who holds a “qualifying employment ….… the duties of which are performed wholly on board a sea-going ship on an international voyage”.  The applicant must be absent from the State on an international voyage (a voyag...

229. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the cuts to pensions of retired public servants under FEMPI can be restored before 2021 (details supplied); if he will reassure retired public servants that parity between retirees and serving public servants will be maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35237/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Sector Pensions)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The particular measure which has cut certain public service pensions under the financial emergency legislation is the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). Introduced in 2011 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010, PSPR reduces the value of those public service pensions which have pre-PSPR values above specified thresholds. It does so in a progressively structured way which has a proportiona...

1629. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the procedures followed in the assessment of foreshore lease applications; the progress made to date in the consideration of the application by an institute (details supplied) based on this process; when it is expected that a decision will be made on this application; the minister which will be making a decision in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35240/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1629 and 1643 together.
My Department has developed a standard set of procedures that are followed during the application for a lease or licence and the subsequent assessment of that application. 
1. Pre-application Stage
The first stage is called the pre-application stage. This is an informal stage during which officials of my Department will engage with the potential applica...

1630. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the Minister or Ministers with responsibility for appropriate assessment in compliance with the appropriate assessment EU directive relating to foreshore lease licence applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35241/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I, as Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, have responsibility for regulating the use of the foreshore in Ireland in accordance with both the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended, and any applicable European environmental legislation, including the EIA and Birds and Habitats Directives.
During the course of assessing an application for a foreshore lease or licence a technical evaluation is...

116. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the powers that the Workplace Relations Commission has to request attendance at one of their hearings (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33359/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Workplace Relations Commission)

Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent, statutory body which was established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC’s core services include the provision of early resolution, mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services, adjudication on employment and equality complaints, the monitoring of employment conditions to ensure the compliance and enforce...

138. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance if a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied) of 16 March 2017 in regard to exempt approval status of occupational pension schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33358/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): A reply to the correspondence concerned was issued on 3rd July 2017.
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162. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the nearest school rule under the school transport scheme in order to take into account the impact this rule has on students living in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33348/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - School Transport Eligibility)

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 almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme...

163. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Education and Skills the nearest school rule for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33349/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - School Transport Eligibility)

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 almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme...

164. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the school bus service from the Bunninadden Killavil area of County Sligo to a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33350/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - School Transport Eligibility)

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 almost 116,000 children, including some 12,000 children with special educational needs, are being transported in over 4,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.
The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme...

190. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to establish an embassy in Georgia with full services to enhance trade and other links between Ireland and Georgia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33352/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The configuration and scale of the State’s diplomatic network is kept under ongoing review by the Government. The Government is of course conscious of the political, economic, trade and other factors that might warrant the opening of a resident diplomatic mission in a number of countries. However, resource constraints do not allow us to have resident representation in all the locations that might objectively justify it having regar...

216. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the progress on the construction of a new Garda regional and divisional headquarters in Galway city; the date on which it will be operational; the timeframe between the first gardaí moving in and the building being fully operational; the cost of the new facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33354/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Garda Divisional Headquarters)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works, which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in these matters. 
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the construction of the new Regional and Division...

217. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that will be assigned to the new regional and divisional headquarters in Galway city, by rank and including civilian staff; the number of extra gardaí of all ranks that will be based in the city once the new headquarters and the existing station at Mill Street are operational. (Question 33355/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Garda Divisional Headquarters)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
As the Deputy will be aware the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. The Garda Commissioner has responsibility for the day to day operation of An Garda Síochána...

218. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the functions that will be carried out from the existing Mill Street station in Galway city once the new regional and divisional headquarters opens; the number of gardaí and other staff that will be based there; the future opening times of the existing station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33356/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Garda Divisional Headquarters)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
As the Deputy will be aware the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. The Garda Commissioner has responsibility for the day to day operation of An Garda Síochána...

258. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the process of assessment leading to the observations submitted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in its role as a named external consultee, advising the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in relation to the foreshore lease planning application on Galway Bay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33361/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 259 together.
I refer to Deputy to my response to Questions Nos. 489 and 490 of 28 February last.
The engagement of my Department in this issue is complete and it now is a statutory matter for the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. 
My position is unchanged from those earlier replies. 
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259. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she is satisfied that public concerns to date reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NPWS, concerning the NPWS’s submitted observation and concerns regarding the application and the protection of the surrounding networks of Natura 2000 sites in relation to a foreshore lease application (details supplied) on Galway Bay have been investigated by the NPWS; if the Minister of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has been informed and advised of resulting concerns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33362/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 259 together.
I refer to Deputy to my response to Questions Nos. 489 and 490 of 28 February last.
The engagement of my Department in this issue is complete and it now is a statutory matter for the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. 
My position is unchanged from those earlier replies. 
 ...

349. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the two ongoing reviews of fisheries policies in his Department on mackerel allocations and on fleet capacity, the date on which he will make a decision on the fleet capacity submissions in view of the fact that the mackerel consultation impacts only 2.5% of the entire fleet and the fleet capacity consultation impacts 100% of it; if he will ensure that the resourcing of the two review processes reflects the true impact of each review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33363/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Departmental Reviews)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): In relation to the Review of Replacement Capacity Requirements under Sea Fishing Boat Licensing Policy, under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003, the functions of sea-fishing boat licensing were transferred from the Minister to the Licensing Authority for Sea-fishing Boats, which operates on an independent basis subject to criteria set out in that Act and Ministerial Policy Directives. 
As Minister I have responsibility for p...

473. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if an exception can be made for a person whose only source of income is social welfare to purchase their house under the tenant incremental purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33351/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 473 and 487 together.
The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016.  The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme.  To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in re...

474. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the position regarding a foreshore lease application (details supplied) in respect of a Marine Institute renewable energy testing site off An Spidéal in Galway bay; when a final decision will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33353/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Foreshore Licence Applications)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The compilation of the Marine Licence Vetting Committee (MLVC) Report which is a key element of the foreshore decision-making process was completed on 6 July 2017. I expect the application in question to be submitted for a decision in the coming weeks.
 ...

475. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if a person who is on the rental accommodation scheme, RAS, can remain on the local authority housing waiting list or transfer list; if their years on the RAS can be recognised in view of the fact that they have no long term security of tenure while on the RAS scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33360/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Rental Accommodation Scheme Administration)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Housing Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2009, gives legislative recognition to rental accommodation availability agreements which underpin the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) as a form of social housing support. Consequently, since 1 April 2011, RAS  tenants are now considered to be in receipt of social housing support and should not generally remain on housing waiting lists for new applicants for social ho...

202. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the timeframe for the HSE to return, for use by the local community, land in Shantalla, Galway city, which it took over three years ago for use as a helipad on a temporary basis for six months and has since declined to say when it will be returned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30376/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - HSE Properties)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response 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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238. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans, in the interest of safety for helicopters and other small aircraft, to introduce regulations requiring warning lights to be installed at the top of all communications masts of a certain height; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30378/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Aviation Industry Regulations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has statutory responsibility for aviation safety regulation in Ireland, including the regulation of warning lights on communications masts, as provided for under the Irish Aviation Authority Act, 1993.
Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s questions to the IAA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
 
 ...

296. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if houses which are rented to a local authority under the RAS scheme are exempt from registration (details supplied) with the Residential Tenancies Board, in view of the fact that the guidelines for registration with the RTB state that a dwelling is exempt if it is let by or to a public authority; if a local authority is considered a public body under this exemption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30369/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Private Residential Tenancies Board)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Section 134 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 states that a landlord of a dwelling shall apply to the Residential Tenancies Board to register the tenancy of a dwelling.  A ‘landlord’ is defined in the Act as the person entitled to receive the rent paid in respect of a dwelling by the tenant. Under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), the local authority nominates a RAS recipient to the accommodation who ...

308. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if a review of the tenant incremental purchase scheme has been finalised; if the scheme has been revised to enable residents of Part V housing to purchase their houses from their local authority, especially in view of the fact that the income stream will help local authorities to fund additional housing stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30375/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Tenant Purchase Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. 
In line with the commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a review of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase scheme’s operation has been undertak...

363. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to change the mandatory retirement age in the public sector, in view of the fact that many persons wish to continue working beyond the age of 65; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26990/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 353, 355, 363, 364, 380 and 385 together.
On foot of one of the recommendations of the Report of the Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives, my Department, with Public Service employers, was tasked to review the current statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extended participation in the public service workforce up to and including the current and planned ag...