123. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application to erect a new school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; when same will go to planning stage; the anticipated completion date of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48412/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is in Architectural planning. The School Authority attended a meeting with Department Officials last week to review the plans for the new school in advance of lodging a planning application to the Local Authority. The school was advised that the application is being finalised and is expected to be lodged in late December/ early January. 
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124. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application to erect a new school (details supplied) in County Westmeath which is currently at architectural planning stage; the anticipated completion date of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48413/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Schools Building Projects Status)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is in Architectural planning. The School Authority attended a meeting with Department Officials last week to review the plans for the new school in advance of lodging a planning application to the Local Authority. The school was advised that the application is being finalised and is expected to be lodged in late December/ early January. 
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384. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, in the context of a report (details supplied), his Department will provide emergency funding of €100,000 to an organisation (details supplied) in view of the fact it has committed to implement the recommendations of the report, including the preparation of a five year business plan and provision of appropriate governance procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48147/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Harness Racing Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department funded the Indecon Review of the Irish Harness Racing Sector, which was published on Wednesday 1st November 2017. This report provides the sport with a road map for its potential development and I will be supporting the recommendations within my Department’s remit from the outset. 
As part of this future support, I have already committed to continuing and expanding the pilot integration programme, which will be ...

493. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position in respect of an application for a carer’s allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48239/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I confirm that my department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person concerned on 4 August 2017.
The matter was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 13 November 2017 to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.
Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned...

494. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a social welfare appeal in respect of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48240/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Disability Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): I confirm that my department was notified by the Social Welfare Appeals Office on the 8 November 2017 that the appeal for this gentleman’s disability allowance claim was successful.
His case is currently with a deciding officer to implement the appeals officer’s decision and he will be notified in writing as soon as possible.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
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17. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress on his Department’s discussion with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in relation to the implementation of Labour Court recommendation, LRC 19293, regarding the rights of community employment scheme supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47334/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Labour Court Recommendations)

Deputy Dara Calleary: Just before the Halloween recess there was an all-party gathering on a Topical Issue concerning the issue I am raising in relation to community employment scheme supervisors. That was held in advance of what was a planned meeting of the forum that was established in the Department to address the pension issue. That meeting was postponed and I gather it will now happen later in November. I want to understand the reasons for the postponement and I would like to tease out w...

19. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the contingencies put in place to deal with increased water levels in rivers and waterways; the extra measures that have been established to deal with the upcoming winter months; the amount dedicated towards these contingencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47333/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Flood Prevention Measures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Responsibility for the overall management and co-ordination to local emergency issues, including flooding events, rests with the Local Authorities. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government leads the national co-ordination during a severe weather event. The OPW supports the National Emergency Co-ordination Group when the group is convened to address an extreme weather event.
The OPW c...

55. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if the mortgage interest relief scheme will be extended for a period of five years and would then be subject to review (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47447/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Mortgage Interest Relief Extension)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I announced in Budget 2018 that, in fulfilment of a Programme for Government commitment, mortgage interest relief for owner-occupiers would be extended on a tapered basis to end-2020 for the remaining recipients of the relief.
The process of phasing out Mortgage Interest Relief for homeowners has been under way since 2009. Relief has expired for qualifying mortgages taken out prior to 2004 and, with some limited exceptions, the relief ceased for new...

118. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take to ensure that the SUSI appeals body expedites an appeal by a person (details supplied) who has appealed against a refusal to grant them the third level tuition fees sought in respect of their university course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47220/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Student Grant Scheme Appeals)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that the correspondence referred to in this instance was not previously received by my Department.
I understand that the student to which the Deputy refers, recently appealed the decision of the Appeals Officer of the awarding authority (SUSI) to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board (SGAB). The appeal will be heard within the 60 day timeframe set out in the Student Support Act 2011. The decision of t...

126. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take to have correspondence (details supplied) processed; if this matter can be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47219/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Student Grant Scheme Appeals)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I wish to advise the Deputy that the correspondence referred to in this instance was not previously received by my Department.
I understand that the student to which the Deputy refers, recently appealed the decision of the Appeals Officer of the awarding authority (SUSI) to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board (SGAB). The appeal will be heard within the 60 day timeframe set out in the Student Support Act 2011. The decision of t...

128. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills to outline the steps he has taken to replace two prefabs by the construction of a new building in the context of the school numbers at a school (details supplied); if funding will be provided to construct an additional classroom at the school in which prefabs have been in place for almost 12 years at this stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47330/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - School Accommodation Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question recently submitted an application for additional accommodation. The application will be considered and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as the assessment process has been completed.
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194. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take to have basic payments and ANC payments due to a person (details supplied) issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47329/17 asked on 08 Nov 2017 - Basic Payment Scheme Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named submitted a 2017 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraint Schemes application on 10 May 2017. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases remote sensing (i.e. satellite) inspections, be completed before any payments issue.
The application of the person named was selected for a Remote Sensing eligibility inspec...

53. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has been furnished with a copy of the cost-benefit analysis prepared for the Citizens Information Board by a company (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there are concerns relating to same being expressed by the board which has resulted in the board not endorsing same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46922/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Departmental Agencies Reports)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: My question is self-explanatory. Did the Citizens Information Board unanimously sign off on the cost-benefit analysis of the restructuring of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS, and the Citizens Information service, CIS? I want to know if the Citizens Information Board unanimously signed off on the cost-benefit analysis on the restructuring of MABS and CIS.
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75. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department received correspondence (details supplied) in respect of the classification of PRSI of Coillte workers; the action she plans to take on foot of this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46550/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Social Insurance Rates)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Scope insurability section in my Department makes statutory decisions on insurability of employment under the Social Welfare Act. Employers, employees or the self-employed may apply to Scope for an investigation of an employment status and a determination of the correct class of PRSI. Decisions are based on all available evidence, including a report from a social welfare inspector where appropriate, and the case l...

219. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the impact of the application of section 87B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, as amended by section 18 of the Finance Act 2013, regarding debt release of land dealing and development (details supplied); if the legislation can now be amended to deal with this anomalous situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46351/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by Revenue that section 87B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA) provides that gains arising from the release of loans, used to purchase land or property held as trading stock by individuals, are to be treated as the receipt of trading income and taxed accordingly. The amount of the debt released is to be treated as a receipt of the trade in the tax year in which the release is effected. 
The purpose of the section is to ensure t...

821. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health the steps which will be taken to have a person (details supplied) admitted to the cardiac unit of St James’s Hospital for a procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46868/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

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...

1031. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking in respect of the implementation of statutory instrument number 413 of 2017 (details supplied) to amend the definition of commercial road haulage to exclude vehicles used for agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming and fishery purposes; if he will expand the exemptions contained therein to include vehicles used for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, farming and fishery purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46350/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Haulage Industry)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the deputy knows, I am absolutely committed to do everything I can as Minister to ensure road safety. That is why I am determined that Ireland complies with latest EU directives on testing vehicles for their roadworthiness – not just because of our obligations under EU law. However, it is important that we do that in a practical and enforceable way.
At my invitation, representative bodies from the agriculture and forestry sector...

1269. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the actions taken and progress made on each of the 14 recommendations in the University of Limerick study on the prevalence of zero-hour contracts; her plans to bring legislation on casual work to Cabinet; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46944/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Zero-hour Contracts)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I would point out that the Deputy is referring to a report which was commissioned by the previous Government. 
In May of this year the Government approved the drafting of legislation in response to the commitment in the current Programme for Government to address problems caused by the increased casualisation of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work. 
The proposed legislation will address a number o...

13. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will extend the slurry spreading closing date of 15 October for a further two weeks in view of the very challenging weather conditions of the past two months which has resulted in significant backlogs in getting slurry spread; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41650/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Nitrates Usage)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 53 together.
The European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2014, as amended, give legal effect in Ireland to the Nitrates Directive and to our Nitrates Action Programme (NAP). The Nitrates Directive requires all member states to define set periods when the land application of fertiliser, including slurry, is not allo...

76. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied) which was furnished to his Department; and if he will address the position as outlined therein. (Question 45599/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Vehicle Registration)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by Revenue that vehicles which are granted relief from VRT and VAT under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 must continue to be used primarily for the transportation of persons with a disability for a minimum period of required use that ranges from 2 to 6 years, depending on the level of adaptations of the vehicle and the corresponding amount of tax relief available. In the event that the veh...

141. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason a person (details supplied) who is the successor of the owner of a bog in a natural heritage area has not been paid their compensation which they are due as the owner of same; the steps she will take to have same addressed without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45565/17 asked on 26 Oct 2017 - Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has not been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. I understand that my Department is sending an application form to this individual for completion and return.
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298. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) has been refused the young farmer entitlements and benefits and additional entitlements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44932/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Young Farmers Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named submitted an application to my Department under the 2017 Young Farmers Scheme.  This scheme provides for a payment to successful applicants per eligible activated payment entitlement, subject to a maximum of 50 entitlements.  The person named did not submit an application under the 2017 National Reserve.  The National Reserve provides for an allocation of payment entitlement at national average value on land f...

434. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps his Department is taking to address significant pay issues arising in respect of Defence Forces personnel (details supplied); his views on the fact that many defence personnel have to rely upon family income supplement payments to make ends meet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44933/17 asked on 24 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Remuneration)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The circumstances surrounding an application for Family Income Supplement, or indeed any other scheme operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, is a private matter between the applicant and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Various factors can give rise to such claims. The rates of remuneration and conditions of employment in the Defence Forces are set by reference to re...

175. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter (details supplied) in view of the fact that a decision is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44412/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Teagasc is a non commercial State body, established in 1988, under the Agriculture (Research, Training and Advice) Act, chiefly to provide advisory, research and training services to the farming and agri-food sector. 
As the matter raised is an operational matter for Teagasc, I have arranged to forward the relevant information to the Director of Teagasc for his attention and direct reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.
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193. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that waste companies are unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of their waste collection system and scheme in circumstances (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44441/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Waste Disposal Charges)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The charges applied by waste management companies are matters for those companies and their customers, subject to compliance with all applicable environmental and other relevant legislation, including contract and consumer legislation.
Each household waste collector has been required through a condition in their waste collection permit from 1 July, 2015 to weigh a bin each time it is collected and to make that i...