33. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the exceptional circumstances under which a coursing club may apply to hold a second day’s trial; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19895/18 asked on 09 May 2018 - Hare Coursing Regulation)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976 says that an individual coursing club may hold no more than one trial session, but that in exceptional circumstances it may apply to hold a second day’s trial. What are those exceptional circumstances? I am aware that in February Clonmel coursing club was given permission to hold a second day’s trial. What were the exceptional circumstances pertaining to that? I have been asking a series of questions about strengthening the Natio...

8. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2018-2021; if she will report on the achievements of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2015-2017; the areas which require further resources and improvements in the context of poverty proofing budget 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18666/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Poverty Impact Assessment)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Last year was the 20th anniversary of our first national poverty strategy, introduced by the Minister’s predecessor, Proinsias de Rossa, when he was Minister for Social Welfare. The Minister has had a consultation on the new plan for 2018 to 2021. How does she evaluate the updated National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2015-2017, and what does she expect to feature in the new plan, given that 750,000 people are still living in consistent poverty?
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10. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of his deliberations on the Welfare of Greyhounds (Amendment) Bill 2017; the way in which he will improve the welfare of greyhounds being exported in the interim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16267/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Greyhound Industry)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The Minister and Minister of State are hoping to introduce the greyhound industry (amendment) Bill shortly. It has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny and so forth, but there are rumours within the animal welfare community, including among the ISPCA, Dogs Trust and other organisations, that there will not be a white list of countries with low welfare standards to which the export of greyhounds will be forbidden.
As the Minister and Minister of State know, I introduced ...

22. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the national policy of his Department regarding solar arrays, solar power and the contribution such power may make to sustainable energy generation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16263/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Renewable Energy Generation)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: We have all noticed over the past year or two a major number of planning applications for solar power arrays, particularly in counties Wicklow and Limerick and in Fingal in north County Dublin. What is the current level of proposed solar array power generation? How does the Minister see it fitting into the renewable energy strategy? He announced photovoltaic, PV, grants for households in respect of solar microgeneration on rooftops and so on a couple of months ago. ...

9. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health when additional funding will be provided to the HSE and section 39 organisations to enable them meet pay restoration commitments as per the Labour Court recommendation of 20 November 2017; the amount of funding to be provided; the timeframe for the provision of these additional funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2124/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Industrial Disputes)

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Question No. 6 in the name of Deputy Mick Barry is grouped with Question No. 9 in the name of Deputy Broughan. The procedure is that double time is allocated when two questions are taken together. Deputy Barry will introduce the question, the Minister will reply and then the two Deputies can make their contributions, and if time permits Deputy O’Reilly would also like to make a short contribution.
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33. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the measures she is taking to promote co-operatives here; if there are specialist supports for co-operatives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6084/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Startup Funding)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: As the Minister knows, almost 20% of the world’s population are members of co-operatives of one kind or another in an economic sphere with perhaps 300 million workers. We have our own tradition with the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society and the credit union movement in particular. I recently asked a series of questions about the kind of supports we give co-operatives and whether the 31 local enterprise offices, Enterprise Ireland and other organisations could d...

80. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his plans with regard to a proposed revaluation of the local property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3945/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Property Tax)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: To paraphrase Marx, a spectre is haunting Fine Gael - the spectre of the unfair property tax.
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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...

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-----
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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.
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52. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he is taking to address the personnel gaps in the Defence Forces; the areas in which these gaps are most acute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52732/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Defence Forces Strength)

Deputy Paul Kehoe: From the most recent figures available, the strength of the Permanent Defence Force is currently 9,219 personnel, or 97% of the establishment of 9,500 personnel. To return to and maintain the agreed strength levels, significant targeted recruitment has taken place in 2017 which resulted to date in 702 personnel being inducted, comprising general service recruits, cadets and specialists for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service. Similar recruitment campaigns are being planned...

10. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the weekly actions he undertakes to put an end to child homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49916/17 asked on 07 Dec 2017 - Homelessness Strategy)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: It is approximately two and a half years since I made a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children, Mr. Niall Muldoon, about the conditions in which children were living in hotel rooms, guesthouses and emergency accommodation. I have also asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Katherine Zappone, what work is being done to address the longer term physical and mental health impacts of homelessness on children. The Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, told me...

47. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her Department is conducting an examination into the physical and mental health impacts on children experiencing homelessness; if not, her plans to do so; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49915/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Homeless Persons Supports)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: As the Minister is aware, there are now more than 3,200 children living in hotel rooms, family hubs, bed and breakfast accommodation, domestic violence refuges and other unsuitable and cramped accommodation. The Minister and her Government committed to ending the use of hotel rooms and that type of accommodation for accommodating families who are homeless by 1 July 2017. That deadline was missed. Although some families were moved into hubs, I believe 690 families ar...

25. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the status of the HSE’s approval process for the health technology assessment report from the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, NCPE, on the drug Kuvan, which is used to treat persons with phenylketonuria; when he expects the drug to be approved for treatment of these persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48283/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Medicinal Products Supply)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The Minister is very familiar with the rare genetic disease phenylketonuria where patients have difficulty processing the amino acid phenylalanine and therefore must live on very restricted, low-protein diet. We have had the report of the NCPE, which the HSE was considering. We have had two recommendations against sapropterin dihydrochloride, Kuvan, in the past nine years. A meeting was scheduled with the relevant drug company before Storm Ophelia occurred. Has a m...

78. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the budget 2012 changes to pension contribution bands will be reverted back to four bands as per pre-2012; when repayments will be made to those persons adversely affected by these changes since September 2012 and to date in 2017 in view of the recent passing of a Fianna Fáil motion on correcting pension inequities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46542/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - State Pensions)

Deputy John Brady: As the Minister may be aware, last December Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to address pension inequality for more than 35,000 older people, 68% of whom are women. What specific actions have been taken since then to address the inequality in the pension system?
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6. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of microfinance and loan guarantees under her Department’s indigenous enterprise development division which were granted in 2015, 2016, and to date in 2017; the value of this finance and loans in each of these years; the areas and sectors receiving this support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42767/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Small and Medium Enterprises Data)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: When the Minister and the Minister of State are rambling around the country, they always say that access to working capital is the key issue for SMEs. How are Microfinance Ireland and credit schemes for indigenous companies performing, in particular the credit guarantee scheme, CGS, 2017? The counter guarantee scheme still awaits the publication of a statutory instrument.
The Government announced a new €300 million Brexit fund. How will that operate in particular to...

5. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the section of the Road Traffic Act 2016 will be commenced which makes vehicle owners liable if they allow an unaccompanied learner to drive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42236/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Road Safety)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Last week was road safety week but up to a few days ago 118 citizens had, tragically, died on the roads. Before last Christmas we passed the Road Traffic Act. Section 35A specifically said it shall be an offence for the owner of a vehicle to allow it to be driven by a learner driver driving unaccompanied. In the past ten months the Minister has done absolutely nothing to commence the section. As he is aware, the provision came forward in response to calls from the ...

34. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he is conducting a review of his Department’s strategy to combat energy poverty 2016 to 2019; the way in which he plans to further reduce energy poverty in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41700/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Energy Policy)

Deputy Denis Naughten: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The strategy to combat energy poverty published in 2016 sets out the actions that will be taken between 2016 and 2019 to alleviate the burden of energy poverty on the most vulnerable in society. It focuses on a small number of high impact actions that will make a real difference to the lives of those living in energy poverty. In 2019 my Department will undertake a public consultation process to review the strategy. This consul...

43. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the process that takes place when a racing greyhound tests positive for banned substances; if he is reviewing that process in view of recent test results in the racing industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41227/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Greyhound Industry)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Many people were shocked during the summer when the champion greyhound Clonbrien Hero tested positive for benzoylecgonine. It seems the only sanction for the owner is a significant withdrawal of prize money and the fact the dog will not be allowed to race again until it has passed further tests. What is the process when a racing greyhound tests positive for banned substances? How is the process being monitored and enforced? Are we doing enough testing?
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22. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has contacted Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and the Government of Myanmar to protest at the treatment of the Rohingya people of Myanmar; if he will request an immediate cessation of the attacks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39699/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Human Rights)

Deputy Joan Collins: Will the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade condemn the violence and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar? What action does he plan to take to hold the Government of Myanmar to account and stop this humanitarian crisis? What are his views on a call for the freedom of Dublin city to be stripped from Aung San Suu Kyi?
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9. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the feasibility study his officials are reportedly undertaking on the possible introduction of income-contingent loans for third level students; his views on income-contingent loans and the general funding of higher education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31575/17 asked on 06 Jul 2017 - Third Level Funding)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: A few weeks ago, Deputies, including myself, received a very good briefing from the Union of Students in Ireland and specifically from Mr. Kevin Keane, Ms Eleanor Nyhan and Mr. Kieron Pierson. They remain very opposed to the concept of income-contingent loans, which is the third option in the last year’s report. The Minister told me he was preparing a technical evaluation of that option in response to previous questions and I also asked the former Taoiseach, Deputy K...

12. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation her priorities for budget 2018; the amount of increased funding she expects to access; projects or areas for such; if increased resources are being sought for her Department’s agencies for Brexit work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30229/17 asked on 29 Jun 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I also wish the Minister well in her new portfolio. I am sure she will miss the Department of Justice and Equality and the lengthy questions both I and other Deputies used to submit to her. I also wish the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, well in the portfolio he has retained.
Budget 2018 will be vital. I do not agree with removing any part of the Department and transferring it to another Department. In what appears to be a reflection of the hard right ideology ...

57. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for the post office network; if he has sought a report from the chief executive officer of An Post on the future of the post office network across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29936/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Deputy Brian Stanley: My question relates to the uncertainty around the survival of our post office network and the mail distribution network, comprising four mail centres. What are the options for the survival of the post office network and the mail centres? We have had the Kerr and the McKinsey reports. What has happened to the former report? Two years or more were spent on that but we are in the dark in terms of what is happening with it. Those who work in the industry and the public are...

7. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his officials are liaising with animal welfare charities regarding reports of greyhounds being exported to China and Pakistan; the measures he is implementing to halt these exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27969/17 asked on 22 Jun 2017 - Live Exports)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I also wish to be associated with the good wishes expressed towards Deputy Doyle on his reappointment. It is well merited.
Some months ago, his colleague, the Minister, Deputy Creed, told me that three greyhounds were exported to Argentina in 2013, 33 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and 7 in 2016, even though greyhound racing has ceased in Argentina. He also said that no greyhounds are exported direct from Ireland to Pakistan during 2016. There are persistent rumours that those...

55. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the EU-Canada comprehensive econimic and trade agreement; the status of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership negotiations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22956/17 asked on 16 May 2017 - Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement)

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan: Deputies Thomas P. Broughan, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mick Wallace will also be speaking. I have asked the Minister the question before. Will she facilitate a Dáil debate on the CETA before the summer recess? Why has a debate not been held to date? Does she believe the investment court system is compliant with the Constitution? Does she believe we will have to have a referendum on the issue?
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