303. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Defence the reason for the delay in obtaining security clearance for applicants to the 27th infantry battalion reserve (details supplied); if the delay is caused by Garda Síochána or military processes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42736/15 asked on 01 Dec 2015 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): A large number of applicants have been medically examined, fitness tested and interviewed over 12 months ago. Applicants to the Reserve Defence Force are vetted by the Garda Central Vetting Unit as part of the recruitment process. Processing times for vetting of applications in this regard on average take up to 10 to 12 weeks. However, in some individual cases, additional enquiries may be necessary and this may result in processing times in excess o...

767. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health if it is possible to reimburse a multiple sclerosis patient for the drug Fampyra, which he has paid for on the drugs refund scheme, prior to its going onto the list of medication covered by the medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37977/15 asked on 03 Nov 2015 - Drugs Payment Scheme Coverage)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): The Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed that Fampridine (brand name Fampyra®) is being reimbursed under the Long Term Illness Scheme from 1st October 2015. It is not possible to reimburse patients retrospectively for any medicine purchased before that medicine is added to the HSE’s List of Reimbursable Items.
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1370. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce a system whereby a car owner can pay their motor tax on either a weekly or monthly basis via direct debit (details supplied) (Question 30639/15 asked on 22 Sep 2015 - Motor Tax Collection)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I have no plans currently to introduce a system of direct debit payments for motor tax. 
Any such proposal would require to be underpinned by robust legislation to ensure that there is a system in place to recoup income lost to the taxpayer where there are insufficient funds in personal accounts to meet the payment or where a direct debit or standing order option is cancelled by the account holder once a disc is...

455. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a decision has been made on a claim for compensation by a person (details supplied), as a result of a head-on collision in a patrol car. (Question 28639/15 asked on 14 Jul 2015 - Garda Compensation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Garda Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945 provide for compensation for malicious injury or death inflicted upon members of An Garda Síochána while they are on duty or related to their service as such members. An application for the Garda mentioned was recently authorised so that an application can be made to the High Court for such compensation in accordance with the said Acts. The legal advisors of the Garda have been furnished wi...

171. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the reason the family income supplement payment must stay the same for 12 months even if there is a change in the family’s income; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3474/15 asked on 27 Mar 2015 - Family Income Supplement)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. FIS is designed to prevent child and family poverty and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment as compared to social welfare payments.
Expenditure on FIS for 2014 is estimated to be of the order of €281 million and it is currently paid to some 50,306 families in respect of almost 111,...

512. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding the illegal diesel laundering waste into the Fane River, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3475/15 asked on 27 Mar 2015 - Illegal Dumping)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 507, 512 and 537 together. 
I share the Deputies’ concerns regarding the media reports about an alleged pollution discharge to Lough Ross in Co. Armagh entering the River Fane system which is the source of the drinking water supply for Dundalk.  
It is the responsibility of Irish Water to assess the risk of contamination to public water drinking sources and to monitor any such risks...

403. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Health the reason cancer patients who attend public hospitals for treatment have their intravenous treatment undertaken free of charge whereas patients who are on the same treatment in tablet form must pay the pharmacy for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7703/15 asked on 24 Feb 2015 - Medicinal Products Prices)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides that all persons ordinarily resident in the country are entitled, subject to certain charges, to all in-patient public hospital services in public wards including consultant services and out-patient pubic hospital services including consultants services. For persons availing of public in-patient services, such as the treatment described, the current public hospital statutory in-patient charge is €75 per night, ...

76. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on the works to King John’s Castle in Carlingford, County Louth; when the works will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7454/15 asked on 19 Feb 2015 - National Monuments)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris) (Deputy Simon Harris): Carlingford is an historic town with a number of fine structures including two National Monuments in State care; the historic Mint building and Carlingford Castle, known popularly as King John’s Castle, named after Richard the Lionheart’s brother.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has embarked on a programme of safety and access works at King John’s Castle and the first phase, a pedes...

521. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to upgrade the internet connection in areas (details supplied) in County Louth, as the service provided, to date, is causing this area major problems, and is affecting the local primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7012/15 asked on 17 Feb 2015 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.
The commercial telecommunications sector is currently investing approximately €2.5 billion in netwo...

522. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to upgrade the internet connection in an area (details supplied) in County Louth, as the service provided, to date, is causing this area major problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7020/15 asked on 17 Feb 2015 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White): The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.
The commercial telecommunications sector is currently investing approximately €2.5 billion in netwo...

536. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to improve the quality of service of the driving licence centre in Drogheda, County Louth by either extending the opening hours on Saturday or opening one or two late evenings to facilitate those who work full-time and cannot avail of the service during the week (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6814/15 asked on 17 Feb 2015 - National Driver Licensing Service)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.
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882. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm that the new policy on wind farm turbines (details supplied) will have no impact on the Rockmarshall Mountains in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49487/14 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Wind Energy Guidelines)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Paudie Coffey): It is a matter for planning authorities to ensure that decisions on planning applications are taken having regard to the policies set out in their respective development plans and local area plans. Furthermore, all planning authorities - including An Bord Pleanála - must have regard to the provisions of section 28 guidelines issued by the Minister in exercising their planning functions...