7. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when persons who have been adversely affected by the contribution band changes for the State pension in budget 2012 are to have their payments reinstated and reimbursed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1848/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I know the Minister spoke at length on this issue earlier. This morning a group of civic society bodies, including Age Action, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, Fórsa, SIPTU, Active Retirement Ireland and Pensioners for Equality are all demanding that the Minister take urgent action. Unfortunately, the Minister was not present for Report Stage when I got an opportunity to try to amend the recent Social Welfare Bill so that...

32. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason for the directive given from her Department that the circumstances surrounding the need for an exceptional needs payment must be unforeseen as well as exceptional; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1847/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Exceptional Needs Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 32, 38, 217 and 229 together. 
Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, my Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. 
An urgent needs payment (UNP) is a once-off payment made to persons who may not normally qualify for SWA ...

13. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the Civil Service People Strategy 2017-2020 and on the way in which this is being delivered to create a high-performing Civil Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53255/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Civil Service Reform)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Obviously, we have all been reading Our Public Service 2020-----
 ...

29. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the proposed outcomes under the third progress report on the implementation of the Civil Service renewal plan and, in particular, on the way in which the 25 specific actions in four key areas will improve the performance of Departments of State which have been the subject of recent public criticism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53253/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Civil Service Renewal Plan)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Civil Service Renewal Plan was published on 30 October 2014. The plan forms part of the Government’s wider public service reform programme. The Plan sets out a vision and 3 year action plan to achieve it. It outlines 25 practical actions that will create a more unified, professional, responsive, open and accountable Civil Service that can provide a world-class service to the State and the people of Ireland. The actions in...

31. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the key actions to improve public services under the our public service 2020 plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53254/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Sector Reform Review)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, a new phase for public service reform was set out in Our Public Service 2020, which was published earlier this week. 
 Our Public Service 2020 aims to deliver better outcomes for the public, to support innovation and collaboration and to build public service organisations that are resilient and agile. There are 18 actions in the framework which is built on three key pillars as follows:
Delivering...

129. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recent reduced income tax receipts to November 2017; the way in which these tally with recent gains in employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53905/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Tax Yield)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The position is that at end-November 2017, cumulative income tax receipts of €18,283 million were marginally down 1.4 per cent or €251 million against profile.  This represents strong annual growth of 4.2 per cent or €738 million. Furthermore, it is also worth pointing out that there were significant one-off income tax payments in the comparable period last year, amounting to c. €300 million.   Excluding, these the underlying income tax position is ...

130. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance when he expects the escrow account for the tax liability of a company (details supplied) to be in operation; when the full payment will be received; the likely timeframe on the case in the General Court of the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53906/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - State Aid Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): While the Government has never accepted the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State aid decision, we have always been clear that we are fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the alleged State aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring that this is achieved as quickly as possible.  
Significant progress has been made on this complex issue and the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all re...

203. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking to ensure that there will be accountability for the estimated two million fake breath tests; if he will publish the statistics of these tests for each district of An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53898/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Garda Disciplinary Proceedings)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, I have previously put on record my deep concern at the serious failures of the Garda organisation in relation to mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints (MATs) and fixed charge notices.
In relation to the particular issue of whether disciplinary action should be taken against individual members of An Garda Síochána arising from the mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints issues, this is solely a matter for the ...

329. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the additional resources which are being provided in 2018 for homecare and respite services in view of deficiencies revealed by a recent RTÉ investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53576/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Disability Services Provision)

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 of...

446. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health when a full restoration of salaries to health workers in section 39 organisations will take place in view of a recent Labour Court ruling on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53907/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Voluntary Sector Remuneration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Deputy is aware of the Government position in relation to the status of employees of section 39 organisations, having raised the issue in previous Parliamentary Questions. I can advise that I am currently engaging on the issue with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
 ...

624. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking to develop a vision zero policy toward road traffic fatalities and serious injuries and to meet the target reductions in these casualties proposed by 2020 at the recent World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53908/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Road Safety)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): After the joint safest year on record, 2015, when 162 deaths were recorded, there was a sharp rise in road fatalities last year.  I tasked all stakeholders to make every effort to reverse this trend during 2017 including through increased frequency of meetings of the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety to once every second months instead of twice yearly.  Thankfully, as a result of the increased efforts by all, road deaths have decr...

723. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the net cost to Ervia and Irish Water from administering domestic water charges including the recent administration cost of refunds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53904/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Irish Water Administration)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The costs to support the administration of domestic water charges across printing, postage, billing and the contact centre for the period April 2015 to February 2016 were €31.65m. Advertising costs of €2.85m were also incurred, including in relation to Registration, the Water Conservation Grant and the First-Fix scheme, up to 31 December 2015.
The Water Services Act 2017 (No. 29 of 2017), which was enacted on 17 November...

733. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the legislation, statutory instruments or departmental guidelines that permitted the use of rooms in hotels, guest houses and hostels for emergency accommodation for families and children in the period since 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53899/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Homeless Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Under the Housing Act 1988, housing authorities are empowered to provide assistance to persons that they regard as homeless; Section 2 of the Act sets out the requirements for a person to be regarded as homeless by a housing authority for the purposes of the Act, while Section 10 sets out additional provisions, including that any person regarded as homeless may be placed into temporary emergency accommodation, which the ...

734. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of families and children housed in emergency accommodation in rooms at hotels, guest houses and hostels in each of the years 2009 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53900/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Homeless Persons Data)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): The Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS) was implemented nationally in 2014, as a national information and management system for homeless services that are overseen by housing authorities.  My Department collates PASS data from lead housing authorities on a monthly basis and these monthly homeless reports are published on my Department’s website and can be accessed using the following link: http://www.housing....

735. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the cost of the use of hotels and guest houses for emergency accommodation in each of the years 2009 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53901/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Homeless Accommodation Funding)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. Therefore, my Department does not fund any servi...

34. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report to Dáil Éireann on the situation in Kurdistan; the steps Ireland is taking to ensure that the national integrity of Kurdistan is supported by the EU and international community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53040/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Foreign Conflicts)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I ask the Minister for a brief update on any supportive actions Ireland has taken relating to the Kurdish nation which is located within the Turkish, State, Syria, Iraq and Iran. His predecessor, the Minister, Deputy Charles Flanagan, told me last year that the conflict resolution unit in the Department was attempting to assist the Kurdish people in Turkey and I wondered if that was ongoing or if anything has happened at the Foreign Affairs Council.
 ...

55. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report to Dáil Éireann on the backlog of passport applications to be processed; the number of persons with dual UK and Irish citizenship applying for an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53039/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Passport Applications Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Between 1 January and December 7 this year, the Passport Service received 781,716 passport applications, which represents a 12.4% increase over the same period last year. There are currently 29,652 applications in progress. These are applications that are going through the normal checking process rather than a backlog.
While the volume of applications in progress remains high, the turnaround time for applications submi...

115. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 138 of 21 March 2017, 469 of 26 July 2017 and 556 of 7 November 2017, if the report is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53323/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Road Traffic Offences Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The position in relation to conviction statistics has already been clarified to the Deputy in the responses to Parliamentary Question Nos. 138 of 21 March 2017, 469 of 26 July 2017 and 556 of 7 November 2017; namely that the Courts Service is not in a position to match the prosecutions specified in the Deputy’s question to court results. It follows that it is similarly not possible to ascertain the number of driver licence numbers rec...

116. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 86 and 87 of 17 May 2017, 528 of 26 July 2017 and 559 of 7 November 2017, the number of those summonses not served in 2015 and 2016 that were reissued; further to the statement that a summons struck out not served can be reissued at the request of An Garda Síochána, the details of same; if this is normal practice; the policies in place to enable a Garda to decide to have a summons reissued or not; if that report is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53324/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Road Traffic Offences Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have again requested a Garda report on the matters referred to in the Deputy’s questions and will contact the Deputy directly on receipt of a Garda report.
 ...

117. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 555 of 7 November 2017, if the An Garda Síochána report is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53325/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Road Traffic Offences Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the table details the number of FCNs issued in respect of persons detected for driving while holding a mobile phone; the total number of unpaid FCNs which have been forwarded to the Courts Service for summons; and additional FCN statistical breakdowns, for the period 2015, 2016 and to 31 October 2017. 
 Number of FCNs issued in respect of persons detected for driving while holding a mo...

118. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 713 of 20 June 2017, 548 of 26 July 2017 and 562 of 7 November 2017, if the report is now available; when a number (details supplied) will be included on the C(T)68 form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53326/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Road Traffic Offences)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the enforcement of road traffic legislation is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána, in which I have no direct role. 
I am informed that the collision report form C(T) 68 currently has a field within it to note the number of drivers breathalysed at the scene of a collision.  I understand that a change request has been made by the Assistant Commissioner Roads Policing and Major Event/Emergency Managem...

119. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 577 of 26 July 2017 and 567 of 7 November 2017, if the report is now available on the number of persons that were charged for copies of Garda abstracts and statements since 1 January 2017; the amount of these charges in view of the fact that the Policing Authority has provided these figures to a road safety group; the number of persons that have been reimbursed to date; if the information requested from An Garda Síochána is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53327/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Garda Reports)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and is responsible for setting the level of fees applicable in relation to certain services. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
I am informed by the Garda Authorities that persons involved in road traffic collisions, their legal advisers or insurers or other interested parties may, on written request, be supplied with an ab...

120. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 346, 347, 348 and 349 of 20 September 2017 and 570 of 7 November 2017, if the report is now to available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53328/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Garda Reports)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have again requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the following matters outlined in Parliamentary Question Nos. 346, 347, 348 and 349 of 20 September 2017 and your subsequent question number 570 of 7 November 2017:
- 346 - “the number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions for careless driving and or anti-social driving by each district in 2015, 2016 and to date in 2017”;
- 347 - “the number of arrests, prosecutio...

121. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 246 of 12 July 2017, 113, 114, 115 and 116 of 28 September 2017 and 571 of 7 November 2017, if the report is now available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53329/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Garda Reports)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Garda authorities that the number of ‘test purchasers’ used in any given test purchasing operation is not centrally recorded on PULSE.  Parental/Guardian consent and agreement forms are required for each operation and are retained locally at each District.  Consequently, An Garda Síochána is not in a position to provide the information requested as it would require a disproportionate amount of Garda time and resourc...

122. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 56 of 1 June 2017, if the change indicated has been completed; if the Courts Service has started issuing summonses containing the updated requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53330/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Road Traffic Offences)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system. 
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that the change to the wording on the summonses following ...