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has been drawn to the work of the integration centres in Tallaght and Clondalkin; the reason his Department has withdrawn funding for the centres which has resulted in their closure; the measures he will take to ensure that these services are reinstated; and if he will make a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...

114. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the contacts he has had with senior management of the main banks in relation to the potential sale of loan books to vulture funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13662/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Mortgage Book Sales)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 116 and 194 together.
As part of their regular engagement with the banks in which the State has a shareholding, officials in my Department discuss a wide range of topics, including loan sales. For example, in the case of Project Glas, the recently announced project announced by PTSB to sell a portfolio of NPLs, officials were first briefed by the bank on the timing of the sale, and potential composition of the p...

267. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health if routine blood tests are covered by the medical card following media reports indicating many general practitioners are charging medical card patients for blood tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13226/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - General Practitioner Services)

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...

302. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures his Department is taking to resolve the fault in the swimming pool in a centre (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13228/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Swimming Pool Programme Administration)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): My Department provided funding of €3.8m towards the original construction cost of the swimming pool in question. A further grant of €136,800 was provided in 2011 under the Energy Efficiency Upgrade and Enhanced Disabled Access initiative.
My Department has not provided funding for any repair work and does not operate a scheme for such expenditure. The management and maintenance of Local Authority swim...

356. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on calls by the Traveller community for a cultural centre to highlight and celebrate Traveller culture; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13227/18 asked on 21 Mar 2018 - Traveller Culture)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): As I advised in my reply to Parliamentary Questions Numbers 267 of 6 December, 102 of 23 January and 24 of 28 February, my Department is fully committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in its policies and operations and in those bodies under it aegis.
The National Planning Framework and National Development Plan - Ireland 2040 launched on 16 February 2018 by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., recognises the value and...

117. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if he has discussed bribery allegations against a Latvian ECB board member with his EU colleagues or with the ECB; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12971/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - European Central Bank)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware I meet regularly my European colleagues to discuss a wide range of issues, particularly at Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings. With regard to the allegations the Deputy refers to, I have not discussed this with my colleagues.
 ...

30. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will review legislation relating to dog breeding establishments in view of recent cases of welfare issues in some large establishments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7154/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Dog Breeding Industry)

Deputy Paul Murphy: To its shame, Ireland is the puppy farming capital of Europe. Some estimates put it at 100,000 puppies a year. The breeding conditions often operate on an industrial scale in battery conditions similar to battery pigs or battery chickens.
11 o’clockIt is really horrific. Huge profits are being made from horrific animal cruelty, which was exposed in a “Panorama” programme almost two years ago. What action will the Government take to clamp down on this cruelty and stop this...

48. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will report on plans to extend high speed broadband to all rural areas in the south Dublin County Council area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8742/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, almost 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. This will increase to nearly 8 out of 10 premises by the end of this year ...

58. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on the resources for inspections of dog breeding establishments; his further views on whether legislative change is required in relation to inspections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7155/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Dog Breeding Industry)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010, local authorities are responsible for the registration, inspection and regulation of Dog Breeding Establishments.  Further, under the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for his or her own staffing and organisational arrangements, including for the inspection of dog breeding establishments.  
My Department has overall policy responsibility for the Dog Br...