48. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the EU counterparts he has met formally in the past six months to discuss Brexit related issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20537/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The outcome of the vote of 23 June 2016 in the UK will have implications across all aspects of the business of the European Union. While the vote does not give rise to fundamental strategic issues for Defence Forces operations or for Ireland’s continuing engagement within the EU in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), it is expected that Brexit will have an impact on future developments in the Defence sphere. 
In my ro...

66. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to meet formally with the Polish Foreign Minister, Mr. Jacek Czaputowicz, to discuss the Middle East peace process, Brexit and EU relations with South Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20540/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Ministerial Meetings)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I had a useful bilateral meeting with my Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 19th March last. We discussed a number of issues including bilateral relations and Brexit. I continue to have regular engagements with my Foreign Ministerial colleagues from other EU Member States including at the monthly Foreign Affairs Council meetings, but I don...

75. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the bookmakers’ excise licence increased from €500 to €635; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20541/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Tax Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
In regard to Question 20541/18, Revenue has advised me that 328 Bookmakers Licences were issued for the 2015 to 2017 licensing period, which ended on 30 November 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €164,000 (€500 x 328).  If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €635 for the two year period, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €208,...

76. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the licence for an amusement licence for a period not exceeding three months increased from €38 to €55; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20542/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Tax Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
In regard to Question 20541/18, Revenue has advised me that 328 Bookmakers Licences were issued for the 2015 to 2017 licensing period, which ended on 30 November 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €164,000 (€500 x 328).  If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €635 for the two year period, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €208,...

77. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the estimated additional revenue that would be generated if the licence for an amusement machine for 12 months increased from €125 to €170; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20543/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Tax Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 to 77, inclusive, together.
In regard to Question 20541/18, Revenue has advised me that 328 Bookmakers Licences were issued for the 2015 to 2017 licensing period, which ended on 30 November 2017. The total Excise Licence Duty payable for these licences was €164,000 (€500 x 328).  If the Excise Licence Duty fee had been €635 for the two year period, the total Excise Licence Duty payable would have amounted to €208,...

118. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the announcement he made on 3 October 2017 in relation to the entry requirements into primary teacher training programmes; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this can disadvantage students who sat the leaving certificate in 2017 and are now on undergraduate degree courses in the four teacher training colleges in view of the fact that they will have to resit some leaving certificate examinations in order to apply for a master’s degree in three years time; if the case of a student (details supplied) which has brought to the attention of his Department will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20709/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Teacher Training Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. The background to this case is that in October 2017, I announced changes to the minimum entry requirements into primary teacher training programmes, as follows:
Entry 2018 - Irish: H5, English: H7/O5, Maths: H7/O6
Entry 2019 and entry 2020 - Irish: H4, English: H7/O4, Maths: H7/O4
The changes that I introduced took account of advice to me provided by the Teaching Council, which had engage...

123. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of sergeants and inspectors in the Dublin North Garda division; the locations of the stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20538/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Garda Strength)

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.
I am informed by the Commiss...

124. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that undertook each category of Garda driving training course in each of the years 2016 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the frequency with which each category of driving test are held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20539/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Garda Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As you will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána including by arranging for the training of the members and civilian staff of An Garda Síochána and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I have requested the specific information sought by the Deputy from the Commissioner and I will write to him ...

156. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she is satisfied that there are adequate measures in place to control noise levels in concert halls and cinemas; if these measures are being enforced by local authorities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20349/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Noise Pollution)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): It is my understanding that enforcement measures by the Local Authorities to ensure adequate measures are in place to control noise levels in concert halls and cinemas in relation to noise pollution and to protect the general public is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 provides local authorities with powe...

227. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the price-monitoring group is monitoring recent price increases by waste management companies in the Dublin area, having regard to the movement towards a pay-by-weight system; if adequate notice of these new charges was given to householders by a company (details supplied) in particular; if standing charges will be phased out completely; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20272/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Waste Management)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I established a Household Waste Collection Price Monitoring Group (PMG) last year to monitor the rates charged by household waste collectors during the phasing out of flat rate fees. The PMG has met each month since September 2017 and has considered seven months of pricing data trends.  The PMG has indicated that, in the vast majority of cases to date, prices have remained stable. The Competition and Consumer ...

234. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is satisfied there are adequate measures in place to control noise levels in concert halls and cinemas; if these measures are being enforced by local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20350/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Noise Pollution)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Whenever a person considers a noise to be so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times that it gives reasonable cause for annoyance, he or she can initiate action to deal with it, for example, by engaging with the individual or entity causing the noise to come to some mutually acceptable understanding, or by contacting their local authority.  Local authorities may ini...

322. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health if he will engage with an organisation (details supplied) and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that new medicines are made available to persons with MS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19939/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act sets out criteria for decisions on reimbursement. As Minister for Health, I do not have any statutory power or function in relation to the reimbursement of medicines.
In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed through the community drug schemes, ...

499. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the review of derogations from the EU Birds Directive will be complete having regard to the declarations in place; if methods to control seagull species can be put in place for the Howth and Sutton areas in Dublin; if an actual cull of seagulls can be considered; the way in which public consultation on this matter operates in practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19938/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): The EU Birds Directive allows Member States to make derogations from its protective measures in respect of certain wild bird species in certain circumstances - for example, where they are causing damage to crops, livestock and fauna or represent a threat to public health or safety or to air safety. The Declarations to implement these derogations are renewed annually and an annual review of the Declarations is undertaken p...

87. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance the status of an application by a person (details supplied) under the help-to-buy incentive; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person could lose a house the person plans to buy if there is an unnecessary delay in determining the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18215/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Help-To-Buy Scheme Administration)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In regard to the case in question, Revenue has confirmed that there was no unnecessary delay in processing the application. Revenue did however make direct contact with the person’s co-purchaser in relation to a matter in respect of the claim.  The matter was subsequently resolved by the co-purchaser and the HTB application was immediately approved and processed.
 ...

154. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the schedule to fully restore the pensions of retired public servants having regard to previous deductions under FEMPI legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17917/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Sector Pensions Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): On 1 January 2018, public service pensions impacted by the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) qualified for an effective increase by way of a lessening or amelioration of PSPR, as required under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015. I understand that such increases have, in general, been implemented through pension payrolls across the various public service sectors.  
In addition to this, the Pu...

211. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the closure of a school (details supplied) has been sanctioned; the reason for this decision; his views on whether this will have a detrimental effect on existing students and Traveller education generally; if the decision will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17595/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - School Closures)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Education provision on an inclusive basis is a fundamental principle of our education and training system. Ensuring every child is supported and given the opportunity to reach their full potential is a key priority for this Government and my Department is committed to improving educational outcomes for members of the Traveller and Roma communities.  
The details supplied by the Deputy relate to a school with Special School designation d...

547. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason funding is being withheld from an organisation (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to concerns of local scout units that this will lead to the cessation of scouting activities in the near future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17892/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Voluntary Sector Funding)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Arising from media coverage I became aware that an alleged perpetrator of a sexual assault was reinstated by Scouting Ireland without any further Garda vetting and was subsequently promoted within the volunteer ranks of Scouting Ireland.
Funding provided by my Department to youth organisations is contingent on organisations meeting with a range of governance standards, including commitment to and compliance with the legal requir...

611. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will sanction the appropriate measures to allow citizens who are abroad on holidays to vote in the forthcoming referendum on the eighth amendment and subsequent elections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17891/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Postal Voting)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy John Paul Phelan): Postal voting is provided for in electoral law in respect of a number of categories of electors - whole-time members of the Defence Forces, members of An Garda Síochána, Irish diplomats serving abroad and their spouses/civil partners, electors living at home who are unable to vote because of a physical illness or a physical disability, electors whose occupation, service or employment makes it...

86. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health when the proposed new cystic fibrosis unit in Beaumont Hospital will be operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17107/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Programme for Partnership Government contains a Government commitment regarding the development of a dedicated Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Unit in Beaumont Hospital, to be progressed in the context of a CF Model of Care.
This CF Unit capital project will thus be underpinned by the “Model of Care for People with Cystic Fibrosis in Ireland” which is being developed by the National Clinical Programme for Cystic Fibrosis (NCPCF). The Model of Care will set out...

93. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health the reason 519 persons over 75 years of age waited more than 24 hours in the emergency departments of Beaumont and the Mater Hospitals during the first two months of 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17106/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Emergency Departments Waiting Times)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Against a background of growing demand for unscheduled care and high acute hospital occupancy rates, Government provided €30 million in 2017 and a further €40 million in 2018 for measures to increase acute hospital capacity and alleviate overcrowding in Emergency Departments (EDs). Almost 50% of this funding was used to deliver home support packages and transitional care beds to reduce the incidence of delayed discharges. Furthermore, over 200 beds ha...

202. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether the provisions in relation to the display of tax certificates, insurance certificates and NCT certificates need to be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16951/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Road Traffic Legislation)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Motor tax, insurance and NCT discs are required to be displayed on a vehicle being used in a public place.  Use includes leaving a vehicle stationary. There are no plans to review these requirements.
The Cost of Insurance Working Group, chaired by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., in his former role as Minister of State at the Department of Finance, published a Report on the cost of mo...

10. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on 20 March 2018 in Berlin; and if he discussed corporate tax rates and the European Commission proposal for a digital tax with the chancellor. (Question 13797/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Taoiseach’s Meetings and Engagements)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 to 17, inclusive, together.
I travelled to Berlin on 20 March for a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of my strategic engagement with our European partners. We discussed preparations for the March European Council, including Brexit, trade, Economic and Monetary Union, EMU, and the tax challenges of digitalisation. I also took the opportunity to congratulate the Chancellor on her recent re-election for the fourth time. 
O...

192. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action he plans to take regarding a complaint this Deputy made to him on behalf a person (details supplied) who was prevented from travelling from one EU state to another EU state; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15908/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Ministerial Correspondence)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department has been in direct contact with the family of the individual involved and has advised that he should make direct contact with the US authorities and with the airline in order to ascertain the reasons he was prevented from travelling. 
I note from correspondence received by my office that the Deputy has also raised the matter directly with the US authorities. 
I will be responding directly to the Deputy’s l...

193. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action he plans to take regarding the suppression by Israel of the recent peaceful protest by Palestinians in Gaza; if he will condemn these actions by Israel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15909/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Middle East Issues)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 179, 182, 183, 185, 190, 193 and 194 together.
I have been greatly concerned by the events in Gaza over recent weeks, and especially by the appalling number of serious injuries and deaths to people engaged in demonstrations.
Every country is entitled to defend its border, but the use of force, and particularly deadly force, must only be used as a last resort and should be proportionate to...

254. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Finance if he will intervene with the Central Bank to ensure that the bank’s print works in Sandyford, County Dublin, are retained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15906/18 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...