111. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a teacher fee refund for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44227/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Teacher Fee Refund Scheme)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The Refund of Fees scheme is administered on behalf of my Department by Marino Institute of Education.  
Officials in my Department have checked with Marino Institute and I can confirm that the teacher in question applied under the 2015/16 Refund of Fees scheme and their application was approved for payment.  They received payment in August 2017.
As the Refund of Fees scheme is retrospective, the funding paid in 2017 relates to study und...

134. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a wheelchair which has been approved. (Question 44101/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Medical Aids and Appliances Provision)

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

33. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way in which the additional financial resources apportioned to Tusla announced in budget 2018 will be deployed. (Question 43904/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Child and Family Agency Funding)

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: As storm Ophelia was, unfortunately, quite hard on east Cork, Deputy Sean Sherlock is not able to be here. The question is very much related to the previous ones. It concerns the general way in which the additional financial resources apportioned to Tusla will be deployed.
 ...

180. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) will be correctly assessed by his Department’s salaries division and not subjected to emergency tax. (Question 43500/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Teachers’ Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): An official from my Department has been in contact with the teacher referred to and outlined the current position to her.  The Tax Certificate details have been updated on the payroll system.  The appropriate deductions will take effect from her next pay issue and if any arrears are due they will be paid at that point. 
 ...

223. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) will be informed on the outcome of their appeal which has been delayed for many months. (Question 43501/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Residency Permits)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person mentioned by the Deputy was refused permission to remain in the State on the basis of their marriage to an Irish National.
I understand that the person concerned has appealed the decision and that the appeal is currently being considered.  A decision in relation to the appeal will issue shortly.
Queries in relation to the status of ...

293. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the analysis which has been made by HSE north lee, south lee and north Cork of the numbers of those awaiting assessment under the assessment of need provisions of the Disability Act 2005; the assessment officer staffing capacity processes; and if outstanding assessments of need will be expedited before the end of the fourth quarter of 2017. (Question 43495/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disabilities Assessments)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 to 295, inclusive, together.
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 Pa...

294. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the proposals he has considered from an organisation (details supplied) as service providers for disability services in its attempts to resolve the matter of growing waiting lists for assessment of need requests under the Disability Act 2005. (Question 43496/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disabilities Assessments)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 to 295, inclusive, together.
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 Pa...

295. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if he has been advised by an organisation (details supplied) as to its incapacity to carry out assessments of need and of legal and statutory obligations on the part of the HSE in respect of delays in carrying out such assessments under the Disability Act 2005; and if so, the measures which will be taken to alleviate this issue. (Question 43497/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Disabilities Assessments)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 to 295, inclusive, together.
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 Pa...

296. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health if general practitioner cover will be provided for Fermoy Community Hospital, County Cork. (Question 43498/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - General Practitioner 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.
 ...

297. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the number of persons both inpatient and outpatient, that present with Parkinson’s disease here. (Question 43499/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Patient Data)

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

346. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the nature of discussions between his Department or agencies under his remit with an organisation (details supplied) regarding the nursing home support scheme particularly regarding the NTPF. (Question 43705/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Nursing Homes Support Scheme)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): The Department of Health has met regularly with various stakeholders, including Nursing Homes Ireland. Meetings with NHI have discussed a wide range of issues including the review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, funding of Long Term Care, residential care standards, recruitment and workforce planning. NHI was also represented on previous Working Groups chaired by the Department which considered the Care and Welfare Regulati...

347. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 760 of 21 March 2017, the progress made on the recruitment of an additional 4.5 whole-time equivalent sonographers at CUMH. (Question 43707/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Hospital Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

100. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the reason a certain product (details supplied) is no longer supplied under the medical card scheme for those that experience extreme pain through arthritis. (Question 43213/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Medicinal Products Availability)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): 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 Arrangement – is forecast at just over €1.7 billion in 2017. 
To ensur...

165. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an illness benefit payment for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. (Question 43207/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Illness Benefit Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): I confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance from this gentleman on 18 August 2017. On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspects of the claim a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome. 
The processing time for individual disability allowance claims may vary in accordance with their relative comple...

174. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the funding Cork County Council has applied for across all available funding lines within his Department; and the amounts that have been drawn down. (Question 43086/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Departmental Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): I assume the Deputy is referring to my Department’s funding allocations for 2017 under the range of programmes and supports my Department funds.
Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)
The SICAP allocation to Cork County Council for 2017 is €1,867,129, of which some €1,865,721 has been drawn down to date.
Communities Facilities Scheme  
The Local Community Development Committees and Municipal District, under ...

20. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the regulations in place for pricing algorithms in the tourism and hospitality sector. (Question 42370/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Competition and Consumer Protection Commission)

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Dynamic pricing algorithms have been implemented, for instance, by airlines, hotel booking services and transportation network companies to efficiently adjust supply to periods of lower or higher demand, resulting in procompetitive effects. However, competition concerns might arise if companies start sharing the same dynamic pricing algorithm, which may be programmed not to compete against other firms, but...

89. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the discussions and meetings he has had with the local authority in Cork city regarding extra funding for the event centre; and if other Ministers have discussed it with him. (Question 42371/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Arts Funding)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Issues related to the Cork Event Centre are a matter for the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the first instance. I have not had discussions or meetings with Cork City Council in relation to the project.  
 
 
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183. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason inconsistent overtime payments are taken into consideration by SUSI when determining applications in view of the fact that these overtime payments are usually achieved by parents of students preparing to send children to third level. (Question 42369/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Student Grant Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Student grant applications are means tested on gross income from all sources earned inside and outside the State within a specified reference period. The means test arrangements of the Student Grant Scheme are applied nationally. The assessment of income from the same starting point is deemed to be fair and reasonable because this approach eliminates any distortion which might arise from different spending decisions in different househ...

267. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the representations she has received from business organisations in regard to the funding of an event centre in Cork city; and when they were received. (Question 42372/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Arts Funding)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I can confirm that I received a representation on Cork Event Centre from a business organisation in August 2017. As Cork Event Centre is a project that is being developed and managed by Cork City Council, the correspondence was passed to the Council for consideration and direct response.
 ...

449. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the number of occupational therapists that would be needed to clear the waiting lists of children awaiting assessment of needs and long term plans, by CHO and LHO, in tabular form; and the amount it would cost over the next five years. (Question 42368/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Occupational Therapy Staff)

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 ...

25. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether the national broadband plan will deliver actual broadband; the number of times he or his officials have met with tender companies for the project; the dates on which those meetings took place; and the reason one competitor dropped out of the tender process. (Question 42026/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - National Broadband Plan)

Deputy Brian Stanley: My question relates to the national broadband plan.
2 o’clockI want to raise with the Minister the fact that we have no timeframe for its completion, or even a tender date for the completion process. Does the Minister feel that he has sufficient control over the tender process, given developments in recent weeks? Will the cost to the State be excessive? I am very concerned about this.
 ...

33. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of times he has met with the mobile broadband taskforce since June 2017. (Question 41961/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Rural Broadband Scheme)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos 30, 33, 48 and 65 together.
Recognising the frustration experienced across Ireland where telecommunications networks are not always delivering the services people expect, I specifically included in the Programme for Government a commitment to a Mobile Phone and Broadband Task force.
I established the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce (the ‘Taskforce’) in July 2016, arising from...

42. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of times he has met with the officials of a company (details supplied) since the signing of the agreement to provide 300,000 homes with broadband outside of the scope of the national broadband plan; the dates he met with the company; the officials which were present; and the nature of discussions. (Question 41960/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): In April, eir signed a agreement with me committing it to follow through on its commercial plans to provide new high speed broadband infrastructure to 300,000 premises in rural areas.  eir has committed to doing this work over a 90 week period.  A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie. Quarterly updates on progress of the eir 300k rollout are published on my D...

44. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason phone and mobile broadband signals in city suburbs of counties Waterford, Cork, Galway and Dublin are non-existent in certain areas; and the measures he is taking to force companies to increase their work capabilities. (Question 41963/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Telecommunications Services Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions  Nos. 44, 59 and 75 together.
The provision of telecommunications services, including mobile phone and broadband services, is a matter for the service providers concerned which operate in a fully liberalised market regulated by the independent Regulator of the telecommunications sector, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). I do not have a statutory authority to requi...

72. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the engagement he has held with his counterpart in the United Kingdom since June 2017 on the issue of cross-Border co-operation to ensure all island broadband capability. (Question 41964/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): There have been no meetings between officials from my Department and our Northern Ireland counterparts in relation to an all island broadband network. Achieving universal access to high speed broadband is a key target under the EU Digital Agenda for Europe which requires, inter alia, all Members States to publish National Broadband Plans to facilitate the achievement of high speed broadband access of at least 30...