309. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health if the 60% grant cut by the HSE to the early intervention therapy programmes for children with Down’s syndrome in counties Meath and Louth will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52841/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

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 ...

24. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if plans have been drawn up or considered to reinstate certain former borough and town councils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52276/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Local Government Reform)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy John Paul Phelan): The Programme for a Partnership Government sets out a number of requirements in relation to local government reform. This involves the submission of a report to Government and the Oireachtas on potential measures to boost local government leadership and accountability, and to ensure that local government funding, structures and responsibilities strengthen local democracy. 
The Programme also ...

37. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on expressions of concern by a group (details supplied) at a hearing of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on the underfunding of local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52277/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Local Authority Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy John Paul Phelan): The funding system that applies to local authorities is a complex one, as authorities derive their income from a variety of sources including commercial rates, charges for goods and services and funding from central Government. 
Income from local sources, such as commercial rates and goods and services, accounts for approximately 70% of the revenue (current) funding sources for local authorit...

124. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the minor works grant will be paid to a school (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52246/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Minor Works Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 104, 112, 117 to 119, inclusive, 121, 122, 124, 125 and 127.
I am pleased to advise that yesterday I announced the Minor Works Grant 2017/2018 for primary schools across the country and payment will issue next week.
The funding will allow minor works to be carried out on the physical infrastructure of schools or on the purchase of items of furniture and equipment.
 ...

125. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delay in schools receiving the minor works grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52247/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Minor Works Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 104, 112, 117 to 119, inclusive, 121, 122, 124, 125 and 127.
I am pleased to advise that yesterday I announced the Minor Works Grant 2017/2018 for primary schools across the country and payment will issue next week.
The funding will allow minor works to be carried out on the physical infrastructure of schools or on the purchase of items of furniture and equipment.
 ...

44. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in County Meath as of 1 November 2017; the number of community gardaí in the division; and the number of Garda Reserve members and new recruits assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 51660/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Deputy Shane Cassells: My question is in the same vein as that of Deputy Eugene Murphy, except that I am seeking data in regard to County Meath. I make no apologies for pressing the case for my county, because I see the pressure the division is under. This year, for example, the chief superintendent has had to pull the traffic corps from the north of the county and apply it in places like Ashbourne because of the increasing threat from gangland crime and the activities of persons operating in ...

391. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health if children in second level education awaiting psychological assessment can avail of the cross-Border directive to access such an assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51953/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Psychological Assessments)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
 ...

409. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to deal with the pending fodder crisis within the farming community; the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51622/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 409 and 410 together.
It is clear that weather conditions for much of the autumn and into early winter have been challenging for farmers, particularly in the Western and North-Western regions and on heavier land types. The poor weather resulted in cattle being housed earlier than normal in places, it also affected late cut silage making operations.
My Department in conjunction with Teagasc hav...

410. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department has carried out an analysis to identify the areas which will be most affected by the pending fodder crisis within the farming community; the areas identified to be at risk as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51623/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 409 and 410 together.
It is clear that weather conditions for much of the autumn and into early winter have been challenging for farmers, particularly in the Western and North-Western regions and on heavier land types. The poor weather resulted in cattle being housed earlier than normal in places, it also affected late cut silage making operations.
My Department in conjunction with Teagasc hav...

25. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to expand her Department’s efforts and resources in terms of creating investment and business in the north County Meath region which is the most deprived area of County Meath according to the 2016 Pobal HP deprivation index; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49611/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Industrial Development)

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I note the Deputy’s reference to the 2016 Pobal HP Deprivation Index, which considers affluence and disadvantage across the combined dimensions of demographics, social class composition and labour market situation at a detailed level of spatial analysis throughout Ireland. The outcome of the index for North Meath and for many other areas serves to underline the importance of maintaining a strong focus on ...

33. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the deficiencies in Ireland’s failed bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup which led to Ireland receiving eight votes during an organisation’s (details supplied) ballot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49196/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Rugby World Cup 2023)

Deputy Shane Cassells: First, what was said in the Seanad last Thursday about the Irish bid was disgraceful and wrong. It was an insult and disrespectful to the efforts of Kevin Potts, Philip Orr, Dick Spring, Brian O’Driscoll, Philip Browne, Páraic Duffy, the Minister, Deputy Ross and others.
Rather than dismiss the decision last week by World Rugby as an opportunity lost, there is merit in discussing it given the Government spend of over €1 million of taxpayers’ money. At the end of the day,...

94. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will liaise with Bus Éireann management regarding the ongoing disruption to bus services on the M3 corridor routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49220/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Bus Éireann Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 56, 62, 84, 90 and 94 together.
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport.
As the Deputies will be aware, in April last, following a 3 week strike, the Labour Court made a Recommendation in relation to Bus Éireann. This was accepted by b...

42. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to reform the funding model for public service broadcasting in view of the fact that there is an evasion rate of 14.5% of the television licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49087/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Television Licence Fee)

Deputy Shane Cassells: I ask this question in the context of the appearance before the Committee of Public Accounts of the Secretary General of the Department, Mr. Mark Griffin, two weeks ago to account for the Department’s accounts and expenditure. The largest item of expenditure, accounting for more than half of all departmental spending, was €241 million on broadcasting. In response to questions from me, Mr. Griffin acknowledged that the funding model for public service broadcasting was bro...

333. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health if kuvan,the only medical treatment available for phenylketonuria, will be made available to persons with this rare genetic disorder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48828/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Medicinal Products Reimbursement)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. 
In reaching a decision, the HSE examines all the evidence which may be relevant in its view for the decision and will take into account such expert opinions and recommendations which it may have sought, including, for example, advice from the National Centre for ...

308. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health if an earlier hospital appointment can be arranged for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47825/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - 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.
In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have ...

245. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason her Department and Tús do not inform employment support scheme participants of their entitlement to fuel allowance prior to entering such a scheme in view of the fact that, due to a technicality, persons are not given their fuel allowance entitlement if they apply for it after they have started on such a scheme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47383/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Fuel Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week from October to April, to some 376,000 low income households to assist them with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household. 
The fuel allowance scheme is widely advertised. To qualify for a fuel allowance, a jobseeker ...

588. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the pension entitlements for employees of the former Bord Na Leabhar Gaeilge (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46141/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): I am advised that the North South Ministerial Council in its meeting of 26 October 2007 approved the proposal to transfer the functions of Board na Leabhar Gaeilge to Foras na Gaeilge, from 1 January 2008. On becoming staff of Foras na Gaeilge the former Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge staff were admitted into the North South Pension Scheme.
At the time of transfer there was no superannuation scheme for Bord na...

114. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of non-voted expenditure allocated for elections in each of the years 2014 to 2017; the election postal charges under the Post and Telegraph Act 1983, per annum from 2014 to 2018; the expected allocation in 2018; the basis for such calculations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45017/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Election Expenditure)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The cost of each election, including postal costs for each of the years 2014 to 2016 under the Post and Telegraphs Act 1983 as amended by the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act 2011 are set out in the attached table. There was no election event in 2017.
The Government agreed an indicative timetable on 26 September 2017 for referendums to be held in 2018. These include a referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the C...

239. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health when therapy services will be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Meath; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44779/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Services for People with Disabilities)

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...

53. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to streamline Garda resources in the south County Meath area in which county boundaries and divisional boundaries are hindering efficient and effective policing in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44272/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Resources)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who 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 can say however ...

203. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be available to residents and businesses in the Piercetown area of Fordstown, County Meath. (Question 44523/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 to 205, inclusive, together.
The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get high speed broadb...

204. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be available to residents and businesses in the village of Fordstown, County Meath. (Question 44524/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 to 205, inclusive, together.
The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get high speed broadb...

205. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be available to residents and businesses in the Pluxtown, Grennanstown and Causestown areas of Athboy, County Meath. (Question 44525/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 to 205, inclusive, together.
The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get high speed broadb...

6. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will liaise with the stakeholders involved with Claremont stadium in Navan, County Meath, regarding its proposed sale in order for this national athletic facility to continue to serve Irish athletics and local communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42150/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Sport and Recreational Development)

Deputy Shane Cassells: I ask the Minister if he will liaise with the stakeholders involved with Claremont stadium athletics facility in Navan regarding the proposed sale in order to secure this national facility to serve athletics and local communities. I ask the Minister not to read the prepared email he sent during the summer. There are many decent athletics and sporting people listening this morning and I ask the Minister to consider the matter.
 ...

10. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of LEO business expansion grants given to businesses in County Meath in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42683/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Local Enterprise Offices Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, together.
 In 2016, the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Meath approved 25 grants – feasibility, priming and business expansion – in total for the year, to a value of €293,998. The allocation included three business expansion grants totalling €47,500 for its clients. This equates to an average grant amount of €15,833.
Details of business sectors covered...