22. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the ability of arts and culture projects to question social and political matters without a risk to funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20207/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Arts Funding)

Deputy Paul Murphy: Is the Minister concerned about the significant restriction on artistic expression which, in my opinion, amounted to censorship in two recent cases? The cases in question relate to the removal of the Maser mural from the Project Arts Centre under threat of the centre losing charitable status from the Charities Regulator and the withdrawal of an event entitled “The Question of the Eighth” from the International Literature Festival in Dublin under threat of the withdrawal of f...

43. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the latest homeless figures; the councils that have discrepancies in their figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19781/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 43, 61, 68, 69, 70 and 86 together.
My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS). The reports are collated on a regional basi...

156. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide funding to allow for the full utilisation of newly refurbished facilities at a location (details supplied) which are vital for the provision of respite care; when the funding will be provided; the status of discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19352/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Respite Care 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 of...

83. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his Department is undertaking a review of the vehicle registration tax following recent European Court of Justice rulings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19228/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Vehicle Registration)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I believe the Deputy is referring to the CJEU judgment on Case C-552/15, Commission v Ireland (VRT on Cross-Border Leased Vehicles). Officials from my Department and Revenue are currently developing a proposal to implement the ruling of the Court, which is only concerned with the method of applying VRT charging in respect of leased or hired vehicles, imported from a Member State of the EU, and which are intended to be in the State for a limited and...

136. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans to commence Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19282/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Commencement of Legislation)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): A number of technical drafting issues have come to light in relation to Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. The implications of these issues are being explored by officials in my Department and the Office of the Attorney General, and as these discussions are ongoing, I do not wish to pre-empt the outcome by citing specific details. I would be happy to arrange a briefing for the Deputy on the substantive issues in due course....

137. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the disparity in services (details supplied); his plans to allocate more resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19283/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Services for People with Disabilities)

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...

161. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress on the building of a permanent school structure at a school (details supplied); the reason the timeframes indicated to parents have not been kept to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18918/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has finalised the project brief for the development of a permanent school building for the school in question and the school has been advised accordingly. The Department will be in further contact with the school shortly relating to the next steps to advance the project through the architectural planning process. The school has also been provided with a point of contact within my Department ...

272. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Schengen visa waiver for Ukrainians will be extended to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17547/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Schengen Agreement)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The matter to which the Deputy refers is contained in Regulation (EU) 2017/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 which amended a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council Regulation (EC) No. 539/2001. The regulation constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland does not take part in accordance with the Council Decision 2002/192/EC of 28 February, 2002.
Reg...

60. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); his views in relation to their treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16530/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Health Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
 ...

67. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health his plans for the appointment of a full time consultant for the sleep clinic in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8; when this appointment can be expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17005/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Hospital Consultant Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Work is under way on setting up a centre of excellence for narcolepsy, based in St. James’s Hospital, for treating all forms of narcolepsy in adults and also in children transitioning from the paediatric services, as was committed to in the HSE 2018 National Service Plan. 
In relation to the service matter raised I have asked the HSE to reply directly to you as soon as possible.
 ...

82. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) will be permitted to enter the State if travelling with their Irish spouse and child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16531/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Immigration Policy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is required to present on arrival to an immigration officer for permission to enter the State. In terms of travel document requirements, the person should be in possession of a valid passport or other equivalent document, issued by or on behalf of an authority recognised by the Government, which establishes his or her ide...

91. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the work of the integration centres in Tallaght and Clondalkin; the reason his Department has withdrawn funding for the centres which has resulted in their closure; the measures he will take to ensure that these services are reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16529/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Departmental Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI), an Office of my Department, allocates public funding for migrant integration projects on the basis of competitive selection processes carried out in a fair, open and transparent way.  This gives a wide range of community and voluntary organisations the opportunity to bid for government funding for projects to support the integration of migrants in our co...

229. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to prevent the closure of the Central Bank’s print works in Sandyford in order to protect jobs and due to its strategic importance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15236/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217, 229, 239 and 254 together.
Firstly, I wish to make clear that decisions on the Central Bank’s print works and the fulfilment of its Eurosystem obligations for provision of its quota of banknotes are a matter for the Central Bank, which is statutorily independent under national legislation and EU treaties.
I am advised by the Central Bank that the Commission has accepted a management recommendation that, in the a...

1287. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the decision to reduce the trams on the Luas Red line (details supplied); his further views on the impact on the frequency of Luas trams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15732/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Transport)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Transdev and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days
 ...

1404. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the measures taken by her Department to ensure that the attention of those on community employment schemes is drawn to their holiday pay entitlement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15167/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Community Employment Schemes Operation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): When Community Employment (CE) applicants are appointed, the Sponsor, as the employer, is fully responsible for all aspects concerning the management and welfare of participants. An employment contract and description of work tasks must be drawn up between the Sponsor and each participant.
A CE participant engaged for the full duration of a 52-week project is entitled to 81 hours holidays per project year (or on a pro...

8. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has assessed the need for a second level school for the City West and Saggart area in Dublin which takes into account the existing and future needs of the local community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14375/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas. My Department uses a Geographical Information System to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. This system uses data from a range of sources.  Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery ...

50. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeline for the completion of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14374/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy is aware, a building project to provide permanent accommodation for the school in question is included in my Department’s 6 Year Construction Programme. 
In this regard, the schedule of accommodation for the new school has been finalised. As agreed with the school authority, the schedule of accommodation issued to the school authority when finalised and this was furnished to the school on the 6th March.  The next stage invo...

1. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent visit to the United States of America and his meeting with President Trump. (Question 12786/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 16, inclusive, together. The questions take up three pages.
 My St. Patrick’s Day programme ran from 11 to 17 March, during which time I visited Texas, Oklahoma, Washington DC and New York. I had courtesy calls with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, in both cases discussing the deepening of links between the US and their respective states and Ireland. I visited the Choctaw Nation in Durant, Oklahoma, to thank ...

62. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised the disqualification of legislators in Hong Kong with his Chinese counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14201/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Foreign Policy)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 57, 62, 66, 75, 86 and 92 together.
The Government follows the political developments which are taking place in Hong Kong on an ongoing basis, including the by-elections which took place on 11 March. 
In the lead-up to my recent visit to China, and during my visit to Hong Kong on 12 March, I was briefed on the most recent developments by Ireland’s Consulate General and by the Embassy in ...

92. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the erosion of democratic rights in Hong Kong; the communications he has had with the Irish Consulate regarding the recent by-elections in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14202/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Foreign Policy)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 57, 62, 66, 75, 86 and 92 together.
The Government follows the political developments which are taking place in Hong Kong on an ongoing basis, including the by-elections which took place on 11 March. 
In the lead-up to my recent visit to China, and during my visit to Hong Kong on 12 March, I was briefed on the most recent developments by Ireland’s Consulate General and by the Embassy in ...

61. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the detail of his contacts with senior management of a bank (details supplied) in relation to the proposed sale of part of its loan book to vulture funds; his views on legislation to allow the Government block the sale of this loan book; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14114/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Loan Books Purchasers)

Deputy Paul Murphy: Permanent TSB came before the finance committee last week. The 75% State-owned bank indicated it intends to proceed with so-called Project Glas, which would have the consequence of about 18,000 families, including homeowners and renters, being thrown to the vultures whose only concern is short-term profit. Will the Minister use the formal consultation process to make it clear that the Government and Dáil is absolutely opposed to any sale to vulture funds?
 ...

81. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his views on the latest report of the Cost of Insurance Working Group; if the role of profit of the insurance industry in increasing premiums has been considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13660/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Insurance Costs)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation.  Neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, have the power to direct insurance companies on the pricing of insurance products.  Indeed, the EU framework for insurance expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance pro...

91. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the contacts he has had with the European Central Bank in relation to the regulation of the banks’ number of distressed mortgages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13663/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Banking Sector Regulation)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware Non-performing loans (NPL’s) remain at an elevated level across the European banking system and addressing this issue is one of the key priorities for the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The reduction of NPL’s is also being given high priority at EU level with the Commission announcing their “Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe” in July 2017. The action plan calls upon various institutions including the C...

92. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his views on mortgage write-downs for mortgage holders in view of the willingness of a bank (details supplied) to offer a discount on loans it transfers to vulture funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13664/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Mortgage Arrears Proposals)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware Non-performing loans (NPL’s) remain at an elevated level across the European banking system and addressing this issue is one of the key priorities for the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The reduction of NPL’s is also being given high priority at EU level with the Commission announcing their “Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe” in July 2017. The action plan calls upon various institutions including the C...

112. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on the credit union sector, in particular with regard to tiered regulation and a review of levies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13661/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Credit Unions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I welcome the Report of the Joint Committee which along with the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC) Report and its forerunner the Commission on Credit Unions Report, makes an important contribution to the debate on credit union reform.
I wrote to the Joint Committee on 19th December 2017 to thank them for their Report and to advise that my views on the recommendations, many of which are common to the CUAC Report, including tiered regulation, and...