86. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on solicitors’ fees, barristers’ fees, guardians ad litem and settlements in personal injury, property damage and clinical negligence claims dealt with by the State Claims Agency in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20761/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - State Claims Agency Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The State Claims Agency (SCA) have supplied the information contained in the following table in response to the Deputy’s question. This table shows the transactional expenditure against Clinical and General claims which have been delegated to the State Claims Agency across all 146 delegated state authorities since inception in 2001. This information contained in the report is correct as of 9 May 2018.
Table on Total Expenditure by Payment Type:
 ...

232. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his views on the finding of a recent report into the standard of care at Portiuncula Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20754/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I welcome the completion of Professor Walker’s Report and would again like to convey my sympathies to the families involved in this process.
I am advised that Portiuncula University Hospital and Saolta University Health Care Group have reviewed the findings and recommendations in Professor Walker’s Report and an Implementation Team is already in place to progress the recommendations.
I particularly welcome the fact that the team includes input from some...

233. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the amount spent by the HSE on solicitors’ fees, barristers’ fees, guardians ad litem and settlements in cases related to personal injury and medical negligence for each of the past ten years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20760/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Medical Negligence Claims)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The management of clinical indemnity and general insurance claims has been designated to the State Claims Agency under Section 9 of the National Treasury Management (Amendment) Act 2000.  The State Claims Agency has a statutory mandate to investigate and manage these claims to completion. 
The State Claims Agency has provided the following information in respect of the past 10 years.  
The following table shows the expenditure breakdown for clinical and...

291. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the processing time for applications for each social welfare payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20755/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Social Welfare Payments Administration)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information requested (where available) by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement.
Tabular statement
Average time to Award for principal DEASP schemes, March 2018
 Schemes Average time to award (weeks) Jobseeker’s Benefit 1 Jobseeker’s Allowance 2 One-Parent Family Payment 5 State Pension Contributory 4 Widow, Widower’s and Surviving Civil Partners Contributory Pension 4 Wid...

292. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the processing time for appeals for each social welfare payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20756/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Social Welfare Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements. 
All claim decisions taken by the Department’s deciding officers are appealable to the Chief Appeals Officer. In any year about 85% of all claims are awarded and just 1% are...

293. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the percentage of decisions overturned on appeals for each social welfare payment by written and oral appeals in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20757/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Social Welfare Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements. 
I understand the Deputy’s question relates to outcomes of appeals dealt with by Appeals Officers by reference to whether the appeal was dealt with summarily or by way of an ...

294. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the wait time for case files to be forwarded to the appeals office for each social welfare payment section, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20758/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements. 
Article 10 of the Social Welfare (Appeals) Regulations 1998, provides that the Minister shall furnish to the Chief Appeals Officer a statement from the Deciding Officer, or ...

295. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason for the delay in issuing the files of a person (details supplied) on foot of a request from the appeals office; when she expects these files will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20759/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Social Welfare Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned appealed the decision to refuse her claim for Carer’s Support Grant. Unfortunately, the notice of appeal was sent to the wrong office of my Department. It has now been received by the Deciding Officer who refused the claim. Talking account of all details of the claim, including the issues raised by the person concerned in her letter of appeal, the Deciding Officer has now requested a report from a...

151. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 189 of 1 May 2018, if he will direct officials in his Department who are engaged with the cross-agency group to meet with representatives of organisations (details supplied) in order that they may contribute their local expertise to finding a solution to the issue. (Question 20508/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Garda Operations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, officials in my Department intend to consult with local authorities in the context of the positive engagement fostered by local authorities with local communities, examples of which include community and youth-centred projects. The experiences of local authorities involved in these and other projects will be very informative to my Department in terms of assessing the contribution that such approaches can m...

160. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when his attention was drawn to a request to appoint the director general of the HSE to the board of a private company; and if he expressed a view on that appointment. (Question 20507/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - HSE Governance)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 214 together.
In May 2017, Mr. Tony O’Brien sought my consent within the terms of his contract of employment as Director General of the HSE to accept an appointment as a non-Executive Director of a commercial business. The Director General advised that the business was based outside the State, concerned with research and development and was not engaged in business with the HSE. He advised that the functions woul...

214. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the rationale for allowing the director general of the HSE to be appointed to the board of a private company; the date on which that request was made to him; the date on which he granted the request; the manner in which the request was made to him; the steps he has taken to ascertain if a conflict of interest may arise out of the appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20506/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - HSE Governance)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 214 together.
In May 2017, Mr. Tony O’Brien sought my consent within the terms of his contract of employment as Director General of the HSE to accept an appointment as a non-Executive Director of a commercial business. The Director General advised that the business was based outside the State, concerned with research and development and was not engaged in business with the HSE. He advised that the functions woul...

142. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the arrangements which will be made to accommodate a child (details supplied) in Dublin 9 with a place in an autism specific unit in a mainstream school in their locality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19640/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Special Educational Needs Service Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): It is the policy of my Department that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. 
Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional...

185. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda youth diversion projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19638/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Youth Justice Strategy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 185 and 186 together.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department is obliged to carry out a call for proposals process during 2018 in relation to the provision of Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) services, to fully comply with requirements related to the co-funding of projects by the European Social Fund Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.
To ensure State-wide coverage of GY...

186. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda youth diversion projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19639/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Youth Justice Strategy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 185 and 186 together.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department is obliged to carry out a call for proposals process during 2018 in relation to the provision of Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) services, to fully comply with requirements related to the co-funding of projects by the European Social Fund Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.
To ensure State-wide coverage of GY...

196. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the waiting times for citizenship ceremonies; and the reason for the long delays. (Question 19752/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Citizenship Ceremonies)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements, not only within the State but also at European Union as well as international level.  It is therefore important that appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that the integrity of the regime for granting Irish citizenship through the naturalisation process is held in hi...

251. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health further to the announcement on 9 June 2017 regarding the recruitment of 114 assistant psychologists, the number of the 114 who are newly recruited front-line staff as opposed to staff who were previously working unpaid and were subsequently awarded pay with the creation of the graded assistant psychologist post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19644/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Health Services Staff Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

252. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of unpaid assistant psychologists working in the HSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19645/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Health Services Staff Data)

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.
 ...

464. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the estimated value of a site (details supplied) in Dublin 9; the way in which it is proposed that Dublin City Council will realise the full value of this site in a transaction to develop housing at the location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19642/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Local Authority Housing Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The site at Oscar Traynor Road is one of three significant sites being brought forward by Dublin City Council under its Housing Land Initiative (HLI), the aim of which is to ensure the delivery of mixed-tenure homes in the City Council functional area. All three sites under the HLI are identified as Strategic Development and Regeneration Areas (SDRA) within the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022.
Mixed-tenure develop...

465. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason for the high cost of the compulsory mortgage protection insurance for Rebuilding Ireland home loan applicants; the reason applicants are debarred from sourcing their own more competitively priced mortgage protection insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19643/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Mortgage Insurance)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 and 465 together.
It is a statutory requirement that mortgage protection insurance (MPI) is taken out in respect of all local authority housing loans.
The Local Authority Mortgage Protection Insurance scheme is a group scheme, overseen by the Mortgage Protection Insurance Committee. This is a sub-committee of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) with representatives from t...

201. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health his views on recent reports that the values and vision of Mary Aikenhead will underpin the new St. Vincent’s company; his further views on whether this is compatible with ensuring the clinical independence of the national maternity hospital and the previous assurances that were given in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19470/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - National Maternity Hospital Administration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 202, inclusive, together.
Work continues on the preparation of the draft legal framework which will ensure that the State’s significant investment in the new maternity hospital will be protected. This framework will also further underpin the operational and clinical independence of the hospital. 
In the course of this work there has been extensive engagement with the HSE, the HSE legal advisers and the Chief Sta...

202. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the status of the negotiations of the legal framework to protect the independence of the new National Maternity Hospital and the State’s investment in it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19471/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - National Maternity Hospital Administration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 202, inclusive, together.
Work continues on the preparation of the draft legal framework which will ensure that the State’s significant investment in the new maternity hospital will be protected. This framework will also further underpin the operational and clinical independence of the hospital. 
In the course of this work there has been extensive engagement with the HSE, the HSE legal advisers and the Chief Sta...

203. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the timeline surrounding the failure of the national cervical cancer screening programme to notify women of incorrect results; the date on which the attention of the screening programme was drawn to the incorrect results in relation to a person (details supplied); if its attention was drawn to other cases before that date; if so, the number; the steps it took to review results once the person’s case was brought to its attention; the date his Department was informed of the person’s case and the wider issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19472/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Cancer Screening Programmes)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): My Department was notified that a patient had taken a legal case against MedLab/Clinical Pathology Laboratories Ltd, the company providing cytopathology for CervicalCheck, and the HSE on 6 April.
My Department received further information on issues related to the communication of the outcome of the CervicalCheck clinical audit process to women in the period since that date.
As the Deputy will be aware, I received a briefing note on the 16th April which ...

273. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a council (details supplied) is refusing to consider a family for a Rebuilding Ireland loan on the basis of a historical bad debt, in spite of the fact that a bank had approved the same family for a loan which was insufficient to meet their housing needs despite knowing of the bad debt; the rules and regulations relating to historical bad debts and the Rebuilding Ireland loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19473/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Home Loan Scheme)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is designed to enable credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range. The scheme is targeted at first-time buyers who have access to an adequate deposit and have the capacity to repay a mortgage, but who are unable to access a mortgage sufficient for them to purchase their first home.
The final...

66. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 11 of 20 March 2018, the steps he is taking to respond to the matter of pay and conditions for the Defence Forces; the challenges in the Defence Forces that the Public Service Pay Commission has been tasked with; if the management of the Defence Forces has made its submission to the commission as requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19243/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Rates of pay and conditions of employment in the Defence Forces have traditionally been set by, inter alia, reference to relative levels of pay across the various sectors of the Irish public sector. 
 Defence Forces pay is increasing in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay. 
 Members of the Defence Forces received increases in pay in 2017 under th...

67. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if members of the Reserve Defence Forces have legal protection regarding the safeguarding of their positions in their regular employment if they are absent due to RDF missions abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19244/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Defence Forces Reserve)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Terms and Conditions for members of the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve are outlined in Defence Force Regulations R5 and Administrative Instruction R5.
Members of the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve are not employed or engaged under a contract of employment and are not employees per se . A contract of employment stipulates the hours of work, hours of attendance or other related matters normally associ...