47. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection why a school (details supplied) in County Donegal did not qualify for the full grant applied for under the school meal (local projects) scheme for 2015-2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45741/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - School Meals Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food services to some 1,700 schools and organisations which benefits approximately 217,000 children at a total cost of €39 million. An additional €3 million was allocated to the programme as part of Budget 2016, bringing the total allocation to €42 million in 2016.
There are two schemes operated under the school meals programme. The first schem...

48. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the appeal process under the school meal (local projects) scheme for 2015-2016. (Question 45742/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - School Meals Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food services to some 1,700 schools and organisations which benefits approximately 217,000 children at a total cost of €39 million. An additional €3 million was allocated to the programme as part of Budget 2016, bringing the total allocation to €42 million in 2016. 
There are two schemes operated under the school meals programme. The first sche...

54. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans to increase current funding levels awarded to service providers under the community services programme as a result of the increases to the minimum wage, which is to come into effect from 1 January 2016; if she is aware of the need for additional funding to be made available under the programme in order for service providers to cover the cost of this increase in staff wages; if a failure to increase funding in line with increased staff payments will place additional financial pressures on already struggling service providers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45898/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Community Services Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): The Department of Social Protection supports service provision through a number of programmes and schemes. The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community companies that operate on a community business or social enterprise model. Companies supported by the CSP generate and use income from the services they provide to pay staff, meet overhead costs and to contribute to future development. The CSP provi...

60. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the status of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, including the number of participants; the number of these who have received employment through the guarantee; and the amount spent implementing the Guarantee to date. (Question 46006/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Youth Guarantee)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): The Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth and the availability of productive employment for young people. 
The Government recognises that as the recovery takes hold, there is a need for additional measures to ensure that as many as possible of...

61. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the cost of introducing a derogation from the habitual residency clause for returning emigrants. (Question 46011/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 61 and 62 together.
My Department does not maintain data on the number of returning emigrants who claim a Social Welfare payment to which the statutory Habitual Residence Condition applies. Therefore it is not possible to estimate a cost of amending the provision as suggested by the Deputy.
 ...

62. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the cost of altering the habitual residence test for social protection eligibility for those returning to care for elderly relatives, by applying the habitual residence test to the elderly relative as opposed to the returning emigrant. (Question 46012/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 61 and 62 together.
My Department does not maintain data on the number of returning emigrants who claim a Social Welfare payment to which the statutory Habitual Residence Condition applies. Therefore it is not possible to estimate a cost of amending the provision as suggested by the Deputy.
 ...

111. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the gross local property tax receipts with respect to properties in County Donegal for each of the years from 2013 to date, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45720/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Property Tax Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that statistics relating to Local Property Tax (LPT) can be found on the statistics webpage of the Revenue website at http://www.revenue.ie/en/about/statistics/index.html. Specifically, the most recently available LPT information, including LPT collected by each Local Authority area, is available at http://www.revenue.ie/en/about/statistics/lpt-compliance.html. 
I am further advised that while gross receipts...

238. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 120 of 19 November 2015, if he has successfully raised the issue of strict new limits imposed on cadmium levels for live crab intended for export to China with the authorities in China; the level of dialogue which has taken place with the Chinese authorities; if the Chinese authorities have indicated that these new measures will be withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45723/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Live Exports)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Further to my reply to the Deputy’s question on 19 November 2015, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) issued a formal response to the communication from the Chinese authorities on Friday 27 November and circulated a copy of the response to representatives of the Irish live crab export industry. The SFPA response, inter alia, puts forward Ireland’s views on the suitability of the European testing requirements for liv...

418. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgical procedures which have been cancelled and-or postponed in each of the individual hospitals across the Saolta University Health Care Group in each month in 2014 and 2015, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45721/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Hospital Admissions)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): In relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.
 ...

434. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 195 of 19 November 2015, the criteria which were not met by a person (details supplied) in County Cavan to enable the person to receive home help hours, and the issues that were taken into account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45900/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Home Help Service Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): As this is a service matter, it has again been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.
 ...

441. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if and the first date on which a position for a paediatric palliative care nurse specialist to serve County Donegal, to be based at Letterkenny University Hospital, was advertised; the number of applicants for this post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46008/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Palliative Care for Children)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow up the matter with them.
 ...

442. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the cost of broadening the scheme for women living abroad who suffered in the Magdalen laundries, who are now entitled to free general practitioner services, prescribed drugs, surgical appliances, nursing and home help services, dental, ophthalmic and aural services, counselling, chiropody and physiotherapy, upon their return to Ireland, to include all returning Irish emigrants over 65 years of age. (Question 46013/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Magdalen Laundries Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): The Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015, inter alia, provided for a range of primary and community health services to be made available without charge from 1st July 2015 to a woman who was resident in a specified institution and who has accepted a formal offer made to her by the Minister for Justice and Equality under the ex-gratia payments scheme.
Only participants in the scheme who reside outside Ire...

521. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent of communication and correspondence between his Department and authorities in the United States of America, as part of efforts to resolve the ongoing plight and difficulties of undocumented Irish citizens living there; the progress in regularising their status and in introducing a dedicated visa waiver programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46009/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 521 and 522 together.
Achieving relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the US and agreement on a facility for future legal migration between Ireland and the US is a priority in the Government’s relationship with the United States. 
Our Embassy in Washington and Consulates elsewhere in the US are active in advocating immigration reform and the issue is also the subject of high level political con...

522. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the authorities in the United States of America have made a specific request for a visa waiver programme for undocumented Irish citizens living there; if he is aware of the success of the efforts of the Mexican Government to negotiate such a programme with the United States of America on behalf of its citizens living illegally there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46010/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 521 and 522 together.
Achieving relief for undocumented Irish migrants in the US and agreement on a facility for future legal migration between Ireland and the US is a priority in the Government’s relationship with the United States. 
Our Embassy in Washington and Consulates elsewhere in the US are active in advocating immigration reform and the issue is also the subject of high level political con...

537. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will amend the current rules under the school transport scheme whereby in determining eligibility for school transport, applicants must meet the relevant distance criteria and must attend their nearest school; having regard to ethos and language, if school-goers would enjoy greater freedom to choose which school they would attend if a certain degree of flexibility was exercised with regard to the enforcement of this requirement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45725/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - School Staffing)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Damien English): The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Schemes is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.
Children who are not eligible for school transport, under the terms of the schemes, may apply to Bus Éireann for transport on a concessionary basis subject to a number of conditions including the availability of spar...

560. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be made for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and the documentation that is required by Student Universal Support Ireland for this decision to be made. (Question 46015/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Student Grant Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive the information they need, a dedicated email and phone line service is provided by SUSI for Oireachtas members. This was established to meet an identified need for applicants who choose to engage the assistance of their public representatives i...

598. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the gross motor tax receipts for County Donegal, for each of the years from 2013 to date, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45718/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Motor Tax Yield)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): The information requested is set out in the following table.
 Year Gross Motor Tax Receipts (€) 2013 37,668,079 2014 37,569,748 2015 (to end November) 33,711,959 
 ...

599. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the funding he provided directly to Donegal County Council, in each of the years 2013 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45719/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): My Department has a wide and diverse business agenda, including protecting the environment, providing necessary housing supports and fostering community and rural development in partnership with local government and other local development bodies. In order to deliver on this broad business agenda, my Department allocates significant resources to a wide range of organisations, including local authorities. The total ...

600. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has received correspondence from the European Commission as part of formal infringement procedures relating to the delays in introducing a dedicated wastewater treatment collection network for the Gaoth Dobhair agglomeration and the subsequent failure to comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC; if he accepts the findings of the Commission that this failure represents non-compliance with the aforementioned legal act as communicated in this correspondence; his plans to reply to the Commission in respect of this charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45722/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Wastewater Treatment)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) generally requires that all agglomerations greater than 2,000 population equivalent are provided with collecting systems for urban waste water and that collected waste water receives the appropriate level of treatment before discharge.
The Directive also provides that where the establishment of a collecting system is not justified either because it would produc...

601. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will publish the revised wind energy development guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45724/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Wind Energy Guidelines)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): In December 2013, my Department published proposed “draft” revisions to the noise, setback distance and shadow flicker aspects of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.
These draft revisions proposed:
- the setting of a more stringent day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments,
- a mandatory minimum setback distance of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest dwe...

715. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding package for improving the condition of rural roads for 2016. (Question 46014/15 asked on 17 Dec 2015 - Road Improvement Schemes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): ​The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities’ own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
The Department’s 2016 current al...

78. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Taoiseach the ground rents payable by his Department or agencies under his remit, by named property, by name of landlord and by amount payable, in 2015 and in 2016, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45061/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Departmental Properties)

The Taoiseach: The properties occupied by my Department and the National Economic and Social Development Office are provided and managed by the Office of Public Works.
 ...

110. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the ground rents payable by her Department or agencies under her remit, by named property, by name of landlord, by amount payable, in 2015 and in 2016, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45060/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Departmental Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Department of Social Protection is not aware of any ground rents payable for any property either under our remit or payable by an Agency under our remit.
 ...

149. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of vacancies that exist in his Department, by post, the time frame for each vacancy that has been unfilled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44960/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Departmental Staff Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I wish to inform the Deputy that my Department is committed to the Civil Service Workforce Planning process, has a robust Recruitment and Selection policy which feeds into an ongoing Resource Review conducted and directed by the Executive Board. This process identifies on a case by case basis, both current and upcoming resource requirements in my Department. 
As part of the workforce planning my Department is currently running internal competitions f...

150. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of vacancies that exist in the Central Bank of Ireland by post, the time frame for each vacancy that has been unfilled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44961/15 asked on 15 Dec 2015 - Central Bank of Ireland Staff)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Central Bank has provided me with the below information about 56 vacancies that exist in the organisation. This would translate into an overall vacancy rate at the Bank of approximately 3% of its total staff complement.
 Directorate Competition Name Campaign Open Since: No. of Roles: Time Open (weeks): Credit Institutions Supervision Senior Supervisor 03/11/2015 1 5.3 Head of Banking Supervision: Analysis 03/11/2015 1 5.3 Ba...