34. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the details of the CLÁR Programme 2018; the way in which it will benefit rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19013/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): CLÁR is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation. The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010. I re-opened the programme in 2016 and, since then, 900 projects have been approved for funding under CLÁR.
I launched the 2018 CLÁR programme on 15th March, with an indicative allocation of €5 million for qualify...

47. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of projects that were approved for safety measures outside schools under the CLÁR programme; his plans for the programme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19014/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - CLÁR Programme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): CLÁR is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation. The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010. I re-opened the scheme in 2016 to support the development of these, frequently remote and significantly depopulated, rural areas through small-scale capital projects involving collaboration between Local Authorit...

125. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19173/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - 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 National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing ...

133. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health if an earlier date for a procedure for a person (details supplied) will be facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19229/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Hospital Appointments Status)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.
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6. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the efforts he is making in terms of market access to third countries for Irish meat; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18237/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Beef Exports)

Deputy Pat Deering: In view of the fact that Brexit is coming down the line at 100 mph and the ongoing difficulties and struggle in the beef sector, what efforts is the Minister making to access third country markets from the meat sector and how soon can they become available?
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52. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the efforts he is making to seek new markets in the context of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18238/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Food Marketing Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is of course an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agri-food sector, as evidenced by its placement right at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming decade. Indeed, this is all the more relevant after the UK’s decision to leave the EU, which presents significant new challenges for t...

56. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the greenway strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17758/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Greenways Development)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I expect to be in a position to publish the National Greenways Strategy before the end of Q2 2018.  
The Strategy will provide a framework for the development of Ireland’s greenways ensuring the best possible return for State investment.  Furthermore, the Strategy will determine the type of project that will be funded over the coming decade by my Department and will set out guidance and options for project promoters in relation to th...

82. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of invalid applications in the 2017 sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17759/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Sports Capital Programme Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): A number of measures were introduced for the 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme with the aim of reducing the level of invalid applications. These measures included a shortened application form, the organisation of a series of regional seminars for potential applicants and more online validation to prevent applicants submitting incomplete applications. These measures were largely successful and t...

178. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the preparation allowance is only paid to persons who held this entitlement prior to February 2012, that is, the school-based July provision (details supplied); his views on whether this decision is fair; his plans to review this anomaly; and the number of schools affected by same. (Question 17459/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - School Staff)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Arising from the Public Service Wide Review of Allowances and Premium Payments which commenced in 2012, the Preparation Allowance of €1401 previously paid under the school based July Programme was withdrawn in 2013 for anyone who did not hold it prior to 1 February 2012. 
Any post holder who held the allowance before 1 February 2012 can continue to receive this allowance if they are still in the same job role and continue to carry out th...

330. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health his plans to extend general practitioner cards to all carers in receipt of the respite care support grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17871/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - General Practitioner Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In December 2017, the Government announced that additional funding would be provided to enable all carers in  receipt of Carer’s Allowance to qualify for a GP visit card.  Government approval was given earlier this month to provide GP services without fees to persons in receipt of either full or half rate Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit and to draft the Heads of Bill to legislate for this provision.  It is intended that this measure will be impleme...

576. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for an exemption or a reduction in the household charge for family carers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17870/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Property Tax Exemptions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Policy with regard to the household charge is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 
In 2012, a Household Charge of €100 was charged on residential property in order to fund local services. This charge was an interim measure. It was separate from, and in addition to, the Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge. 
The Local Property Tax (LPT) was introduced in 20...

577. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of the respite care grant and carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17872/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Respite Care Grant Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): At the end of March there were 76,097 persons in receipt of a carer’s allowance payment.
The carer’s support grant (formerly the respite care grant) is paid annually on the first Tuesday in June. Some 113,500 such payments were made in 2017.
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28. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken by IDA Ireland to support job creation in the regions, particularly in County Carlow and the south-east region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16185/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Action Plan for Jobs)

Deputy Pat Deering: What steps are the Minister and IDA Ireland taking to support job creation, particularly in the south-east region and, more specifically still, County Carlow? There is potential for a technological university for the south east and a long-standing promise to provide an advanced facility. When will the facility go ahead? I have asked a number of questions about it in the last period, but the date has been pushed out time and again. If we could get a definite answer and fin...

39. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress that has been made in the south east under the regional action plan for jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16184/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Regional Action Plan for Jobs)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have made jobs and enterprise in the regions my top priority.
The Regional Action Plan for Jobs initiative is a central pillar of the Government’s ambition to create 200,000 new jobs by 2020, 135,000 of which are outside of Dublin. A key objective of each of the 8 regional plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with ...

238. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the way in which the criteria for the position of senior staff officer in the finance department in Carlow County Council is established; the way in which an applicant (details supplied) who is employed in the Central Bank would not make the initial qualifying criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16921/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Local Authority Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorities for which he or she is responsible.  
The qualifications outlined in the advertisement for the post concerned are the declared qualifications as agreed by my Department in consultation with representatives of the Local Go...

224. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce tax relief on union subscriptions (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15183/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Tax Reliefs Availability)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 and 225 together.
A review of the appropriate treatment for tax purposes of trade union subscriptions and professional body fees was carried out by my Department in 2016 and included in the 2016 report on tax expenditures published on budget day 2016. The review may be found at the following link: (http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2017/Documents/Tax_Expenditures_Report%202016_final.pdf)
The review concluded that
...

420. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there will be a summer works scheme in 2018; when the details will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16062/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Summer Works Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Summer Works Scheme is designed to allow schools to carry out small and medium sized building works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings.
The current Summer Works Scheme 2016 -2017 was applied on a multi-annual basis. The Deputy will be aware that nearly 50% of schools have applied for inclusion under the scheme which reflects a very high demand.  
Almost €80 million has been approved to date under the Summer Work...

1029. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health his plans to implement a similar practice to that in Germany for the detection and treatment of Lyme disease; his plans to improve follow up care for persons following diagnosis; his views on whether current training for doctors is adequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16760/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Disease Management)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 981, 986 and 1029 together.
Lyme disease (also known as Lyme borreliosis) is an infection caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans by bites from ticks infected with the bacteria. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination. T...

12. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the financial supports available from his Department and or the Higher Education Authority to encourage the formation and development of technological university consortia; the measures by which such supports will be considered successful; the anticipated impacts of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14364/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Technological Universities Data)

Deputy Pat Deering: What financial supports will be available from the Department to encourage the formation and development of technological university consortia? The Technological Universities Bill 2015 was signed into law by the President in the past number of weeks, which is good news. I compliment the Minister of State and the Minister on the work they have done to bring it to this stage. What financial incentives will be available to move it to the next stage?
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52. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take to increase the uptake of STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics; if schools will be supported to modernise their science labs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14365/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) within our education system is a key priority for my Department and is reflected in the Action Plan for Education, which has the overall aim to make the Irish Education and training system the best in Europe.
Most recently, in November 2017 I launched the STEM Education Policy Statement and Implementation Plan, whose aim is that Ireland will be internationally recog...

255. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of hardcopies of primary language curriculum handbooks for English-medium schools still available from his Department; if same will be reprinted for schools to provide a copy for each teacher; if there will be a charge for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13755/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - School Curriculum)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Primary Language Curriculum for Junior Infants to 2nd Class was introduced in September 2016. All schools were provided with hard copies of the curriculum, one for each teacher, in the spring of 2016. Copies were also made available to Teacher Training Colleges to provide trainee teachers with copies. My Department currently has less than 100 copies remaining and currently there are no plans to reprint it. The curriculum along wi...

241. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the issue of a threefold increase in commercial rates for wind turbines by local authorities and the disincentive that this will be with regard to renewables targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13266/18 asked on 22 Mar 2018 - Commercial Rates)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Responsibility in relation to commercial rates is a matter for the relevant rating authorities.  I have been informed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government that Local authorities are under statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes, in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under t...

275. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applicants under the knowledge transfer scheme; the payments to date; the timeframe for certain payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13124/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Knowledge Transfer Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Knowledge Transfer is one of a suite of measures included under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and involves the formation of knowledge transfer groups across the beef, dairy, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors.
Out of approximately 20,200 applicants almost 19,100 farmers were approved and have actively participated in Year One of the Programme attending a range of Knowledge Transfer Group Meetings, Knowledge...

306. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide a list of acting peace commissioners and notaries public in County Carlow. (Question 11919/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Peace Commissioners Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to advise the Deputy that Peace Commissioner records are appointment based and they do not always reflect the actual situation on the ground because the Department is reliant on the Peace Commissioners themselves and other interested parties, to advise of changes which may occur subsequent to appointment e.g. death, retirement, inactivity or relocation. 
While every effort is made to maintain an accurate record of active Peace C...

588. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health if the assessment process to include a device (details supplied) for testing blood glucose levels for listing under reimbursable items for persons with diabetes who intensively use insulin is completed, in view of the fact that the application was acknowledged by the primary care reimbursement service of the Health Service Executive on 6 February 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12518/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Medical Aids and Appliances Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
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