266. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) who has made a claim against the HSE due to negligence has lost their medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10886/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Medical Card Administration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, I have referred this query to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

346. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health if funding is available for a person (details supplied) who has to take their child privately to be assessed for autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11244/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Autism Support 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...

111. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to re-establish equal pay for equal work (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10396/18 asked on 28 Feb 2018 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start.  I negotiated together with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, a 15-22% pay increase for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale.
As a result of the changes I negoti...

489. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health the services, facilities and specialists available to children under 16 years of age suffering with EDS (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9957/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Health Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

32. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development to set out the financial allocations in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018 for the seniors alert scheme; the take-up in respect of the scheme since 2016; the changes made to the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8504/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Seniors Alert Scheme)

Deputy Martin Heydon: My question has been grouped with a question tabled by Deputy Fitzpatrick. The seniors alert scheme is good and popular scheme, especially among those living in rural areas and people living alone or in isolation. Can the Minister outline the details of the new seniors alert scheme coming into play?
 ...

83. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Finance if a matter (details supplied) will be addressed regarding claiming back VAT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8931/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - VAT Rebates)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Irish VAT law does not provide for VAT input deductibility by VAT registered persons in respect of petrol.
VAT registered persons that make supplies are entitled to claim the cost of VAT on the purchase of diesel used in the course of their business, as is the case with most business costs. However, section 60 of the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 prohibits VAT deductibility by businesses on certain goods and services for anti-avoidance reasons. Expendi...

44. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the uptake to date of treatment benefits which were recently extended to the self-employed; her plans to extend additional benefits to the self-employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8402/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Social Welfare Code Reform)

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: I am delighted to get an opportunity to ask a question of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty. Can she give me an update on the treatment benefits, which she recently extended to the self-employed? Can she indicate what additional benefits she plans to extend to the self-employed? As a former self-employed person, I believe the self-employed were neglected in recent years and am delighted to see a Minister who will do some...

104. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the schools that will benefit from the budget 2018 measure to increase school meals funding to include newly designated DEIS schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8401/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - School Meals Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Funding towards school meals is being provided in over 1,550 schools and other organisations, supporting up to 247,000 children at a cost of some €54 million in 2018, representing an increase of €6.5 million over the previous year. The Department was a member of the Inter-Departmental Advisory Group for the Review of the DEIS Programme undertaken by the Department of Education and Skills, following which DEIS Plan 201...

281. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health his plans to make versatis medicated patches available to persons with medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8073/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Medicinal Products Availability)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 277, 280 and 281 together.
Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key objective of the health service. However, the challenge is to do this in an affordable and sustainable manner. The medicines bill for the community drugs schemes – primarily the GMS, Long Term Illness and Drugs Payment schemes and the High Tech Arrangemen...

544. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a pension application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8331/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned has been awarded state pension (contributory) with effect from the 14 of May 2014.
The decision has been made based on the current available social insurance record of the person concerned, comprising 1,404 reckonable paid and credited contributions. This results in a reduced rate pension entitlement based on a yearly average of 31 contributions covering the period January 1969 to the end of Dece...

48. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of plans for the roll-out of the strategy on the future development of greenways and rural cycling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7519/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Greenways Development)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Strategy for the future development of Greenways will assist and expedite the strategic development of Greenways in key locations around Ireland.  The strategy will also ensure that Greenways are constructed to an appropriately high standard in order to provide a quality experience for all users. The Strategy will focus on Greenways rather than cycling infrastructure in the wider sense. 
Following publication of the Strategy my D...

51. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the 2018 sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7518/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Sports Capital Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) closed for applications on the 24th February. By the closing date, a record number of 2,320 applications seeking €155 million in grants were received. In November and December last, Minister Ross and I announced €60m in allocations to a record 1,800 projects under the 2017 round of the SCP. Full details of all these allocations are available on my D...

104. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Finance the steps being taken by his Department and the Revenue Commissioners, including consultations with the EU Commission and UK government, to ensure that there is no disruption to cross-Border movements of excisable goods under duty suspension between here and Northern Ireland post-Brexit once the UK leaves the excise movement control system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7720/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The future arrangements that will apply to cross border movements of excisable goods will depend on the outcome of discussion on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. In accordance with EU rules, it will technically be the case that if such an agreement does not provide for UK participation in the EU excise movement control system, importers of excisable goods will still have the facility to import such goods from the UK with payment o...

154. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the top 100 premises that the State is renting or leasing in 2016 and 2017; the amount of rent paid for each premises per annum; the landlord of the premises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6730/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - State Properties Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The following table schedules the top 100 premises that the Commissioners of Public Works leased on behalf of the State in 2016 & 2017. The Commissioners can only provide data on properties that are under their management. Other State bodies may have agreements in place that are outside of the Commissioners remit.
Top 100 leased properties listed in order of the highest rent downwards - the highlig...

33. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health his main achievements in 2017 regarding the funding provided in recent years for mental health; and his service priorities for 2018. (Question 6202/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Mental Health Services Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In 2017, we achieved much in relation to the provision of mental health services, helped in no small part by the substantial increase in mental funding over the last few years. Since 2012, the Government has increased the Mental Health Budget by almost €200 million, or 28%, to over €910 million today.
Budget 2018 made allowance for an additional €57.5 million for Mental Health Services for 2018. This includes pay-related costs of €22.5 million and €20...

100. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health the measures being taken to improve CAMHS, for example, access, age appropriate placements, waiting lists and standardised operating procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6208/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Mental Health Services Provision)

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.
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278. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to provide illness benefit to persons who are in full-time employment and in receipt of a contributory widows pension (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6551/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Illness Benefit Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): The person concerned made a claim to Illness Benefit and this claim was registered in my Department on 26 January 2018. 
The person concerned is in full time employment and there is no limit on the amount they are permitted to earn while also receiving a full rate Contributory Widows Pension. 
Both Illness Benefit and Contributory Widows Pension are not payable together. The person concerne...

47. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress that has been made in County Louth under the regional action plan for jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5976/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Regional Action Plan for Jobs)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The North-East/North-West Regional Action Plan for Jobs is a key policy response for supporting employment growth in the Border region, including Co. Louth.
The Plan is stimulating job creation across the region, by facilitating collaborative initiatives between the public and private sector, and through the provision of new competitive funds, awarded through Enterprise Ireland to support regional enterprise projects. 
...

62. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the supports available to SMEs in County Louth to help them prepare for Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5979/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Brexit Supports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in the border regions are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. 
An extra €4 million in funding for the 31 LEOs in 2017 was allocated to fund a range of initiatives including Brexit supports across the country. These supports are aimed at strengthening the capacity of micro and small businesses to cope with the changing ext...

56. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in the family law Bill coming before Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5653/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Family Law Cases)

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: Last week during questions on promised legislation I asked the Minister to update the House on the family law Bill. I stated that fathers and mothers fight over the possibility of having their children removed from their custody. Courts deal with personal and sensitive matters including divorce, custody issues, children in State care, child maintenance and domestic violence. These courts are operating up and down the country, in every small town and city in Ireland. ...

74. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to increase the number of civilians in An Garda Síochána to more than 500 to address the capacity and critical skills gap across the organisation; and his further plans over the next number of years to address this skills gap. (Question 5684/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Garda Civilian Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware in accordance with section 26(1)(b) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has statutory responsibility for the recruitment of civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no role in the matter. Section 19 of the Act governs the sanctioning of additional civilian staff for An Garda Síochána and requires the approval of the Policing Authority subject to my consent and that of the Minist...

257. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the Garda resources he plans to use to tackle rural crime; the position regarding Operation Thor; the way in which it is lowering rural crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5662/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Rural Crime)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I want to assure the Deputy that I am very much aware of the impact of crime on rural communities, including the serious damage done by organised gangs who target rural areas to engage in burglary and other property-related crime. Such incidents cannot be tolerated in our society and this Government will continue to support An Garda Síochána in tackling the gangs, including mobile criminal gangs, who target rural areas. 
The Deputy wi...

260. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to increase the number of new Garda recruits in An Garda Síochána to more than 800 per year over the next number of years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5715/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Garda Recruitment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. 
As the Deputy will be awar...

310. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a medical appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5312/18 asked on 06 Feb 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...

370. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5537/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Medical Card Applications)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. 
The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to...