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?
 ...

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.
 ...

589. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will have cancelled surgery in St. Vincent’s University Hospital rescheduled. (Question 12519/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - 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 managing ...

609. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the position regarding general practitioners charging a person (details supplied) for blood tests. (Question 12581/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - General Practitioner Contracts)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the terms of the current GMS contract, GPs are required to provide eligible patients with ‘’all proper and necessary treatment of a kind usually undertaken by a general practitioner and not requiring special skill or experience of a degree or kind which general practitioners cannot reasonably be expected to possess.” There is no provision under the GMS GP contract for persons who hold a medical card or GP visit card to be charged for routine phle...

1055. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce an incentive, tax or other, for persons to downsize their homes (details supplied). (Question 12662/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Tax Code)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The issue of the possible introduction of tax incentives is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Finance. 
My Department is committed to supporting older people to live in their own home with dignity and independence for as long as possible, as this has the best outcomes both for the individual and for society as a whole. Rebuilding Ireland aims to ensure that older people have a range of housing choices available ...

548. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) can expect a decision regarding their survivor’s pension appeal. (Question 10888/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Social Welfare Appeals Status)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned has been referred to an Appeals Officer who will consider the appeal in light of all the evidence submitted. It is expected that a decision will issue to the person concerned within the next week. 
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Dep...

678. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) has a right to apply for a disability allowance in their own right. (Question 9509/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Disability Allowance Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): This gentleman is a qualified adult dependant on Invalidity Pension (INVP) since 15 June 2017.
Disability Allowance (DA) is a weekly allowance paid to people with a specified disability who are aged 16 or over and under the age of 66. This disability must be expected to last for at least one year and the allowance is subject to a medical examination, a means test and habitual residency condi...

45. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Finance if HRI tax relief can be claimed for work carried out five years ago in circumstances in which the person was unemployed at the time and not paying income tax but has returned to work in 2017 and is paying tax again. (Question 9050/18 asked on 22 Feb 2018 - Tax Reliefs Eligibility)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) provides a tax relief by way of an income tax credit in respect of repair, renovation or improvements works on principal private residences or rental properties where the works are carried out by tax compliant contractors.  The repair, renovation or improvement works must have been carried out on or after 25 October 2013 and on or before 31 December 2018.  If works were in progress on ...

35. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to announce a new local improvement scheme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8514/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Local Improvement Scheme Funding)

Deputy Pat Deering: When does the Minister intend to introduce a new local improvement scheme for this year? He knows that last year, up to €17 million was allocated for what is one of the most important schemes in rural Ireland. We regularly hear about the demise of rural Ireland but the local improvement scheme is one of the most important initiatives that have been resurrected in the past number of years.
 ...

46. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount of underspent funds that were allocated to the towns and villages schemes; and if there will be a similar type of scheme in 2018. (Question 8513/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Town and Village Renewal Scheme)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Action Plan for Rural Development contains a number of measures which have the objective of rejuvenating Ireland’s rural towns and villages to make them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential. 
The 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme was launched in April last year, with a focus on projects which could stimulate and encourage economic activity in our rural towns and village...

302. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a psychology assessment. (Question 8146/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Psychological Services)

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 o...

303. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health the reason blister packs of tablets are now only provided by pharmacies for one week which has been reduced from four weeks; if his attention has been drawn to the hardship this causes elderly persons that have no transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8147/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Pharmacy Services)

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.
 ...

7. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the re-evaluation process of the applications for sport capital funding that were unsuccessful in 2017; and the timeframes involved. (Question 7506/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Sports Capital Programme Applications)

Deputy Pat Deering: At the outset, I apologise for my interruption earlier. It is no slight on the Acting Chairman.
 ...

72. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the transfer of surplus land on the Kilcullen to Waterford motorway (details supplied) has not been completed even though the project has been completed for ten years. (Question 7507/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Road Network)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects  is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.  
Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to TII for direct reply...