19. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to establish a national co-ordinated helpline and clearly publicised nationwide professional supports for persons with mental health issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16234/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Mental Health Services Administration)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Improving access to mental health services is a key priority for this government. At present there are a number of voluntary and non-governmental organisations being supported by the HSE that are providing mental health support to the public via the telephone, internet or text message.
In December 2017, I published the recommendations of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health. These included recommendations to provide active...

101. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the status of the discussions regarding Kuvan; the timeframe for a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16243/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Medicinal Products)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines under the community drug schemes, in accordance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.
 ...

108. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on Serbia and Montenegro joining the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17141/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - EU Enlargement)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Enlargement remains an important policy for the future stability of the European Union and its neighbouring countries. Enhancing the European perspective of the Western Balkans is a key strategic priority for the Bulgarian Presidency. The Strategy for the Western Balkans was published by the European Commission on 6 February. It confirmed the European perspective of the region and set out an indicative accession date of ...

168. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on An Garda Síochána’s Operation Chain; the number of persons arrested and charged to date; the number of successful convictions obtained to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17138/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Garda Operations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources and the conduct of Operations. 
I have asked the Commissioner for a report on Operation Chain and will revert to the Deputy directly when the information is to hand. 
 ...

169. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on An Garda Síochána’s Operation Tugboat; the number of persons arrested and charged to date; the number of successful convictions obtained to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17139/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Garda Operations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources and the conduct of operations. 
I have asked the Commissioner for a report on Operation Tugboat and will revert to the Deputy directly when the information is to hand. 
 ...

170. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí attached to the Garda R and J Districts in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17140/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Garda Data)

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. 
The areas referre...

171. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the rational for amalgamating local youth justice projects into one youth justice programme which will encompass six areas of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17145/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Garda Youth Diversion Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As the Deputy is 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 GYDP services for young people, (which...

231. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the reason for excluding persons over 21 years of age with type 1 diabetes from accessing the FreeStyle Libre device; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17144/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Medical Aids and Appliances Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
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303. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact no buses serve Dublin Airport from Dublin 13; his plans to introduce new bus routes which will serve the Airport from Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17142/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Bus Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.   The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with the relevant transport operator and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
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340. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding will be provided for Dublin Fire Brigade to purchase new ladders that can reach up to 42 metres in height; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17143/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Fire Service)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): The provision of fire services in local authority areas, including the establishment and maintenance of fire brigades, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises, is a statutory function of the individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 and 2003. 
My Department supports the fire authorities through setting national policy, providing a ...

33. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake of the Brexit loan scheme for businesses in the first two weeks since its launch on 28 March 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16173/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Brexit Supports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are or will be Brexit impacted and meet the scheme criteria. The €23 million exchequer funding (€14 million from my Department and €9 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ire...

94. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he last met and will next meet the CEO of the Higher Education Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16961/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Higher Education Authority)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I meet the CEO of the HEA on an ongoing basis at various events and meetings.  The most recent meeting took place at the National Skills Council, which I chair and of which the CEO is a member, on 16 April 2018. 
The Minister of State for Higher Education in my Department is next due to meet with the Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Authority on Thursday 19 April. 
 ...

95. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the primary and post primary school population nationally for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16962/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Schools Data)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In the academic year 2015-16 there were 553,380 pupils in primary schools. There were 345,550 pupils enrolled in post-primary schools. Post-Leaving Certificate enrolments were 32,453.
In 2016-17, there were 558,314 primary pupils and 352,257 in post-primary schools, and 31,969 in PLC. 
 ...

103. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding will be provided for the updating of the equipment and resources available to Garda public order units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16959/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Garda Equipment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles and resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
I understand that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities,...

104. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the post of crime prevention officer for the Dublin North Garda Division will be filled in view of the fact that this post has been vacant since 31 December 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16960/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Crime Prevention Officers)

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...

165. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the amount spent per day by the HSE on taxis; the amount spent on accessible taxis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16947/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - HSE Expenditure)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): This matter has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.
 ...

166. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if his Department has undertaken a cost benefit analysis and plans to increase personal assistant hours for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16948/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Disability Support Services Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 and 167 together.
In the 2018 National Service Plan, the HSE’s priority is to provide 1.46 million hours of personal assistance to more than 2,000 people with disability, representing an increase of 60,000 hours over the 2017 target of 1.4 million hours. 
As the Deputy’s question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HS...

167. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the cost of increasing personal assistance hours by 500,000 hours; his plans to improve the personal assistance service for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16949/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Disability Support Services Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 and 167 together.
In the 2018 National Service Plan, the HSE’s priority is to provide 1.46 million hours of personal assistance to more than 2,000 people with disability, representing an increase of 60,000 hours over the 2017 target of 1.4 million hours. 
As the Deputy’s question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HS...

212. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of accessible taxis available here; his plans to increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16946/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Taxi Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. 
In order to support an increase in the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) in Ireland’s SPSV fleet, licences for new taxis or hackneys will only be granted in respect of WAVs.  This requirement was introduced in 2010. 
To supplement this measure, t...

239. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to ensure that at least 10% of all new builds will be wheelchair liveable; the steps he is taking to ensure that accessible and liveable accommodation is being constructed and made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16944/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Building Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English) (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 240 together.
My Department is in regular contact with disability advocates and my colleague Minister Murphy has met with them on the specific issue referenced by the Deputy.  
One of the key measures achieved in 2016 under the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability (NHSPWD), which has been extended to 2020, was th...

240. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he has met with disability advocates regarding increasing numbers of accommodation units that are wheelchair liveable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16945/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Building Regulations)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English) (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 240 together.
My Department is in regular contact with disability advocates and my colleague Minister Murphy has met with them on the specific issue referenced by the Deputy.  
One of the key measures achieved in 2016 under the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability (NHSPWD), which has been extended to 2020, was th...

243. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when she last met and will next neet a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16963/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): I have met the person concerned on a number of occasions since I was appointed as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and both myself and my officials maintain ongoing contact with Chairs and Directors of bodies under the aegis of my Department as appropriate.
 ...

87. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure for An Garda Síochána to validate the type of licence held by a driver involved in a fatal or serious collision in view of the fact that PULSE does not differentiate between full driver licences and learner permits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15281/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Road Traffic Offences)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by An Garda Síochána that the recording of all Road Traffic Collisions on PULSE requires the members to complete licence and insurance details for each driver. In relation to the licence details, PULSE provides for the recording of various licence types including Full; Learner (Accompanied); Learner (Unaccompanied) and Novice. Furthermore, the Driver Licence and Insurance Production (DLIP) facility also provides for the re...

88. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of measures being taken to curb the recent upsurge of joyriding and associated serious anti-social behaviour in some areas of north Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15282/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Anti-Social Behaviour)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I would like to assure the Deputy that I share his concern in relation to joyriding and anti-social behaviour. We all want to feel safe in our communities. We want our families, friends and neighbours to feel safe. Our community is an extension of our home. 
Joyriding and anti-social behaviour fly in the face of what we expect when we are at home in our community. The result of such behaviour can be tragic: the participants in such dan...

185. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised recent events in the Gaza Strip with the Government and Ambassador of Israel; his plans to pursue an international investigation into the deaths and violence which have occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15748/18 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...