2. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has met with the Department of Justice or An Gárda Siochána to discuss the enforcement of taxi regulations and to aid in the crackdown on illegal drivers, cloned licences and other such offences. (Question 57239/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Regulations)

(Deputy Alan Kelly): I met with the Garda Commissioner as recently as last month on the matter of enforcement. To enforce the taxi regulations, including pursuit of the offences mentioned in the Deputy’s question, the role of the Garda Síochána is critical to support the work of the enforcement officers of the National Transport Authority, NTA, who have responsibility for nationwide enforcement in this regard.
Action 24 of the taxi regulation review report proposes strengthening the collaborati...

40. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the work he is doing to ensure the best integration of taxis into the Dublin transport network in advance of the development of the LUAS BXD project, including ensuring sufficient ranks are provided especially during construction stages. (Question 57242/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Taxi Ranks)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) on 1st December 2009, the provision of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such as Luas Broombridge, now comes under the remit of the NTA.
The construction of the Luas Broombridge project (also referred to as the Luas BXD Project) was approved by An Bord Pleanála in August of this year and advance works will commence next year.
Every effort ...

45. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health if he will rule out call-out charges for ambulance services in view of the imposition of a call-out charge for the fire service by Dublin city Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57010/12 asked on 19 Dec 2012 - Ambulance Service Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Dublin Fire Brigade provides an ambulance service on behalf of the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS). There is no charge for 999 ambulance call outs. However, it is understood that Dublin Fire Brigade charges for fire engine call outs. 
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53. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health the Health Service Executive funding or other resources allocated to or paid for services to a nursing home (details supplied) in County Wicklow in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57011/12 asked on 19 Dec 2012 - Nursing Home Services)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.
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436. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there are any planned cuts to the RAPID scheme emanating from Budget 2013 or any cuts planned in the future. (Question 56480/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - RAPID Programme)

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): A reduction of €2 million in administration costs in RAPID current funding for 2013 is one of a number of measures which will be necessary to adhere to my Department’s current expenditure ceiling for the coming year. I will, however, be providing for capital expenditure of €2 million for RAPID projects in 2013.
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588. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health his plans to reduce the registration charge for social workers in view of its very high rate when compared with other professionals. (Question 56606/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Social Workers Register)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Under the provisions of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, there is a two-year transitional period from the date on which the register of the members of that profession is established, during which existing practitioners may apply for registration. 
The Health and Social care Professionals Council (the Council) is an independent statutory body and is responsible for setting the level of fees.
The Council has set the following fee structu...

640. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 has not had an urgent operation (Question 56829/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Hospital Services)

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I have been advised by the Health Service Executive that this patient was added to the waiting list in Beaumont hospital on 5 November 2012. I have been advised that the patient must have his medication adjusted prior to surgery and therefore his surgery date will be planned some weeks in advance. If the patient is concerned, or if there has been a change in his symptoms, he should contact his General Practitioner, who can discuss his case with the hos...

143. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to make cuts to the funding for the Ballymun regeneration project, Dublin and any other cuts he plans for other regeneration projects. (Question 55779/12 asked on 12 Dec 2012 - Regeneration Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): Earlier this year I announced capital funding of € 51 million over the 3-year period 2012-2014 for the substantial completion of Ballymun regeneration project. I have no proposals to reduce the allocation for Ballymun. 
In the case of the other projects being advanced under the National Regeneration Programme, capital allocations for 2013 will be determined on the basis of the fundin...

146. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who lost their council house to fire on the 30 November 2012, the council has failed to offer accommodation which is suitable to the person’s age and health and is refusing to find them alternative accommodation, making the the person homeless. (Question 55843/12 asked on 12 Dec 2012 - Local Authority Housing Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): Local Authorities are directly responsible for addressing housing need within their administrative areas and do so using a range of supply options including permanent social housing, long-term leased units, units leased under the Rental Accommodation Scheme and voluntary and co-operative housing units. It is a matter for each authority, in this case Dublin City Council, to take decisio...

57. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation to recognise Traveller ethnicity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54485/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Traveller Community)

Deputy Alan Shatter: I have no immediate plans to introduce such legislation, although, as I have indicated in the past, serious consideration is being given to the issue. I am aware of the long-standing wish of many Travellers that such status be granted, but there are some divergent views. I am also aware that the previous Government was of the view that Travellers were not an ethnic minority. Dialogue between staff of my Department and representatives of Traveller organisations has taken p...

66. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce comprehensive family law reforms that will provide for children being parented by lesbian or gay couples. (Question 54486/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Programme for Government includes a commitment to amend the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 to address any anomalies or omissions, including those relating to children. In this regard, the Law Reform Commission has made detailed recommendations in its Report on the Legal Aspects of Family Relationships. In particular, the Commission recommends that legislative provisions be introduced to fac...

221. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount former Minister Roisín Shortall TD was paid in severance when she stood down as Minister. (Question 55629/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Ministerial Remuneration)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Deputy Shortall is due severance payments totalling €6,526.95 for year of assessment 2012. Deputy Shortall has kindly indicated that she is gifting this payment to the Minister for Finance. The Deputy may wish to note that in the context of Budget 2013 I announced that legislation will be brought in to abolish these severance payments in the future.
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549. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update in the motorway maintenance and renewals contract put out to tender by the National Roads Authority in April 2012; when the successful companies will be announced; the number of companies that will be given contracts under the tender; if successful companies employ sub contractors to carry out works; if companies erect tolls on roads they are maintaining; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 55529/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Road Projects Contracts)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the roads programme. The implementation of individual national road projects, including maintenance, is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Act, 1993 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise...

551. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the time frame for the roll out of the Dublin bike scheme in the Dublin 11 and Dublin 9 areas and the details of the scheme in those areas. (Question 55566/12 asked on 11 Dec 2012 - Public Bike Schemes)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Building on the success of the existing  Dublin Bikes Scheme, my Department  has been working with the National Transport Authority and has made significant progress on the expansion of the Dublin Bikes  Scheme.  
Currently, the National Transport Authority is working with Dublin City Council  to enable the first phase of this expansion to progress.  I am informed that this phase is focussed on expanding the...

59. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the actions he is now putting in place as a result of his meetings with the construction industry insurance, quarries and banks with a view to levying these industries as was recommended by the pyrite panel; and if he was successful in his discussions with these groups and has agreement been reached or will he now look to impose a solution. (Question 54547/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Pyrite Remediation Programme)

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 59 together.
HomeBond is a private limited company providing structural guarantees for new houses and, since November 2008, the HomeBond insurance scheme has been underwritten by Allianz Insurance. As in the case of any private company , its operations, including how it deals with the management of funds, inspections or claims, are matters for its management and board of directors. In that regard, HomeBond Insurance Services Limited...

105. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to evacuate residents of an estate (details supplied) in County Longford while works are being carried out; if he is seeking to source any more funds to help with necessary works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54240/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Unfinished Housing Developments)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): While the Government has made significant progress in this area by reducing the number of unfinished housing developments by 37% since 2010, the issues faced by the residents of the Gleann Riada development are a particularly severe example of the problems caused by unfinished housing developments across the country. An explosion occurred within a private house in this development in ...

300. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to continue to provide free travel to those currently eligible into the future and to implement measures to better ascertain usage of this service such as a swipe card. (Question 52666/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Free Travel Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 300 and 301 together. 
The free travel scheme is available to all people living in the State aged 66 years or over, to carers and to people who are in receipt of certain disability type payments. There are currently in excess of 745,000 customers eligible for free travel and when spousal and companion passes are taken into account, there are over 1.1 million customers with some free travel eligibility. The sc...

301. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to work with her counterparts in the Stormont Assembly to have free travel passes recognised on a cross border basis in view of the fact that currently a person eligible for free travel going to Belfast from Dublin would need to buy a ticket crossing the border and vice versa for someone travelling from Belfast. (Question 52667/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Free Travel Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 300 and 301 together. 
The free travel scheme is available to all people living in the State aged 66 years or over, to carers and to people who are in receipt of certain disability type payments. There are currently in excess of 745,000 customers eligible for free travel and when spousal and companion passes are taken into account, there are over 1.1 million customers with some free travel eligibility. The sc...

385. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the money for works to be carried out on an estate (details supplied) in County Longford are earmarked for particular works on the site; what those works are; and the way these decisions were made. (Question 54049/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Unfinished Housing Developments)

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): In August 2012, my Department approved funding totalling €91,753.40 to cover the cost of addressing immediate public safety concerns in respect of this development. It is now clear that, building on existing analysis, a comprehensive assessment and plan is required, and is being evolved by the local authority, to determine the cause or causes of the difficulties with this development ...

456. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount a person (details supplied) was being paid in sick leave since June 2011 until their recent resignation (Question 54092/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Judicial Pay)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 456 and 457 together.
The Deputy may wish to note that my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for the pay and pensions of the judiciary. Under Article 35.5 of the Constitution, a judge’s salary may not be reduced except in the specific circumstances approved in last year’s Referendum on Judges’ Pay. There is, therefore, no legal provision to withhold a judge’s pay while...

457. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount a person (details supplied) may expect as a lump sum and annual pension payment following their recent retirment. (Question 54093/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Judicial Pay)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I propose to take Questions Nos. 456 and 457 together.
The Deputy may wish to note that my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for the pay and pensions of the judiciary. Under Article 35.5 of the Constitution, a judge’s salary may not be reduced except in the specific circumstances approved in last year’s Referendum on Judges’ Pay. There is, therefore, no legal provision to withhold a judge’s pay while...

673. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide in tabular form all payments made to board members of the National Transport Authority including payments, salaries, expenses, mileage, and other allowances and so on since the 1 of January 2012. (Question 53705/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Departmental Agencies)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have referred 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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674. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if board members of the National Transport Authority are required to provide receipts when claiming expenses; the number of board members of the National Transport Authority who make regular use of public transport such as Dublin Bus, Luas and/or DART; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53706/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Departmental Agencies)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have referred 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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691. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding plans to build a bridge across the rail line at a location (details supplied) in Dublin 7. (Question 54393/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Road Network)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.  Following the establishment of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in December 2009, the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), such that referred to by the Deputy, comes under the remit of the NTA.  I have therefore referred the question to the N...

692. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of manually operated railway crossings here and his plans to update same. (Question 54394/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Rail Network)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The query raised by the Deputy relates to an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have therefore referred the question to Iarnrod Eireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.
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