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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 72-85
 Header Item National Treatment Purchase Fund
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Hospital Mortality Rates
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Drug Treatment Programmes Funding
 Header Item Youth Services Provision
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision
 Header Item Foreign Conflicts
 Header Item Humanitarian Aid
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 79 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 72-85

National Treatment Purchase Fund

 72. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason the National Purchase Treatment Fund scheme to remove faulty PIP implants has not been implemented; the reason the Harley Medical Group has not fulfilled their obligations to provide an appropriate care package to the women affected therefore increasing the threat of cancer and serious health problems [56893/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly Discussions and planning between the Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE) and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) are ongoing concerning PIP breast implants and in particular those patients treated through the Harley Medical Group. The aim is to ensure that anyone with a concern about their breast implants will have the option of discussing those matters in the first instance with their general practitioner or surgeon. If the outcome of this discussion between the patient and their doctor is that an individual requires further follow up and treatment (up to and including removal of the implants) then this will be facilitated through public hospitals. Owing to competing budgetary priorities it was not possible to commence this service in 2012. The NTPF is currently finalising the details of its funding for 2013 with my Department before proceeding.

In relation to the reference to an increased threat of cancer and serious health problems for those recipients of PIP implants, the scientific evidence from Europe and internationally has consistently found no increased risk of cancer or health risks for women with PIP implants and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) remain consistent in this regard. Any clients who remain concerned should seek clinical advice from their GP/surgeon

Hospital Services

 73. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will require the Health Service Executive to deliver on its agreed commitment to extend the capacity of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis facility to 34 beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57013/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly St Vincent's University Hospital (SVUH) is the designated National Adult Referral Centre for patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The new Nutley Wing at the hospital, built at a cost of just under €29m and opened this summer, is designed to provide a state of the art clinical building which includes up to date isolation facilities with accommodation for people with cystic fibrosis. In the new unit 20 beds are set aside for patients with cystic fibrosis. Each bed is in a separate room with its own toilet and washing facilities. The 20 beds include 4 complete isolation rooms. The unit also provides a dedicated CF Day Unit, containing offices, treatment rooms, together with 10 single day treatment rooms, each with en-suite sanitary facilities for treating patients with cystic fibrosis.

Under a protocol for the treatment of CF patients at SVUH, signed off in July 2012 with the hospital, the HSE, Department of Health and CFA, up to 34 isolation beds will be available in the new wing.and the 10-bed day unit will be used effectively to help ensure that patients are treated in the optimum setting. Except in certain circumstances, the additional 14 single inpatient rooms when required will be located in the Nutley Wing and these rooms will be grouped together as far as possible. 1-2 inpatient rooms in the Nutley Wing will be kept available at all times for emergency admissions. In circumstances where the emergency admission rooms have already been utilised and all the other inpatient rooms in the Nutley Wing are occupied, patients with CF will be accommodated elsewhere in clinically appropriate single rooms until such time as a room becomes available in the Nutley Wing and then the patient will be transferred there as a priority.

The position with regard to the facilities in St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin for patients with Cystic Fibrosis is being continuously monitored and the hospital, the HSE and the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland continue to engage constructively to ensure that the needs of patients with Cystic Fibrosis who are acutely ill and require admission to the hospital are met.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 74. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the extent to which waiting periods for various surgical or medical procedures have fluctuated over the past five years to date with particular reference to cardiovascular surgery, hip replacements and ophthalmics; if he will set out the current average waiting times for such procedures; if particular efforts continue to be made to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56974/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The management of in-patient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first).

  In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Mortality Rates

 75. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when he will publish his Departments report on mortality rates at acute hospitals; if he will accept that his failure to acknowledge the inaccuracy of the figures at Roscommon County Hospital has damaged the reputation of the hospital and its staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56888/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Chief Medical Officer of my Department is finalising a report examining the potential of hospital discharge data in measuring the quality of health care. This includes the measure of recorded 30 day in-hospital mortality rates following heart attack. It is expected that the report will be finalised and published in the near future.

  Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 37.

Proposed Legislation

 77. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he has read the pastoral letter The Right to Life that was read at all Catholic masses on 9 December 2012 that states the State is not obliged to legislate for abortion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56526/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I have read this pastoral letter and share many of the principles outlined therein. However, I am obliged to point out that its interpretation of the State's obligation in relation to the implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland is incorrect. The State is under a legal obligation to implement the judgment and therefore to put in place an accessible and effective procedure in law to establish whether a woman who claims that her pregnancy gives rise to a real and substantial risk to her life which can only be averted by terminating the pregnancy, is entitled to an abortion, having regard to Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution and the judgment of the Supreme Court in the X case; and remove the uncertainty arising from the fact that ss. 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act, 1861, which have been producing a ‘chilling effect’ whereby the exercise of clinical judgment has the potential to give rise to criminal prosecution.

Drug Treatment Programmes Funding

 78. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will allocate €100,000 to the mother and child facility at Coolmine Therapeutic Community, Dublin, in order that 20 young women, who have overcome their addiction and urgently need therapeutic care, can enter the residential therapy with their babies; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that if they cannot get the therapy the majority of them will relapse; his views on whether this will cost the health and prison services three times the budget for delivering therapy to these addicts later in their lives and that statistics show that those who relapse are at serious risk of dying; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56532/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Coolmine Therapeutic Community receives funding from my Department and the HSE to provide a range of services, including a specific residential programme targeting women, many of whom are mothers. Reflecting the Government's ongoing commitment to the National Drugs Strategy, I have recently approved an additional €100,000 in funding to enable the facility to provide a creche service. This will allow mothers to keep their children with them during residential treatment and remove potential barriers for women who wish to access this service.

Youth Services Provision

 79. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the reason his Department and Irish Aid terminated the strategic partnership with the National Youth Council of Ireland for the national Youth Development Education Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57184/12]

 80. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the way his Department and Irish Aid plan to implement objective three in their Strategic Plan 2007-2015, promoting public engagement for development to engage in a strategic way with voluntary youth work and achieve the results outlined in their recently published Performance Measurement Framework when they have terminated the funding to the National Youth Council of Ireland Development Education Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57185/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 80 together.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through Irish Aid, has provided significant funding to the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) for the implementation of the National Youth Development Education Programme, a partnership between Irish Aid and the NYCI established in 2004 to promote a deeper understanding of global development issues among young people in Ireland.This funding has been provided under Irish Aid’s Development Education Strategy.Since 2004, Irish Aid has provided a total of €2.14 million in funding for the Programme.Funding for 2012 amounted to €180,000.

In 2011, Irish Aid carried out a major review of its Development Education Strategy, which recommended a refocusing of the Irish Aid partnership with the youth sector.As a result, earlier this year, an invitation was issued to four partners in key priority sectors for Irish Aid to submit a concept note for a multi-annual programme of activities. The NYCI, as Irish Aid’s key partner in the youth sector, was invited to submit a concept note for a programme of development education in the youth sector. The concept note was appraised against Irish Aid's standard programme appraisal criteria, but was found to lack clarity on what was to be achieved by the proposed multi-annual programme and on the NYCI’s core competency in this regard. This was communicated to the NYCI in writing and in a meeting with Irish Aid officials.

The youth sector remains a priority for Irish Aid’s development education activities, and Irish Aid is continuing to work with the youth and development education sectors over the coming year on how it can best support partners to deliver quality development education programmes with young people.

I expect that a call for proposals for the 2013 annual grants for development education will be published before the end of the year. It will be open to the NYCI to apply for funding under this call

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 81. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the total amount of funding for development education from his Department in 2010, 2011, 2012 and proposed for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57186/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello The Irish Aid programme reflects the values and experience of the Irish people and depends on their continued support. An important element of the programme, funded under Vote 27 of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is support for development education in Ireland. Irish Aid’s development education budget provides funding for the activities of education institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations to build a stronger understanding of global development issues and the role of the Ireland’s development programme. It aims to promote a stronger sense of global solidarity and responsibility and to strengthen public awareness of the reality of the issues involved in our commitment to development cooperation.

Expenditure under the Development Education budget amounted to €4,639,895 in 2010 and €3,236,423 in 2011. The estimated expenditure for 2012 is just over €3,209,000. Additionally, development Non-Governmental Organisations were invited in 2012 to incorporate development education and public engagement initiatives in Ireland as part of their proposals under Irish Aid’s new round of overseas programme funding. This element of the programme funding will amount to some €1,482,000 for 2012. Prior to the 2012 programme funding round, a smaller number of development Non-Governmental Organisations received Irish Aid funding for similar activities which amounted to some €239,700 in 2010 and €210,800 in 2011. The allocation for development education budget for 2013 has yet to be finalised as part of the decisions taken in the context of the annual budgetary process.

Foreign Conflicts

 82. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will ensure that a resolution of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains a key objective of Ireland's Presidency of the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57269/12]

 83. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will raise at the UN Human Rights Council the ongoing violations of human rights within the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57270/12]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

I share the widespread concerns about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The European Union is working actively to support efforts to bring peace and stability to the country, and this will remain an important foreign policy priority for the EU during Ireland’s forthcoming Presidency of the European Council in the first half of 2013.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by a long series of violent conflicts. Millions of innocent civilians have been killed, injured or displaced from their homes and there have been systematic abuses of human rights, extremely high levels of sexual violence, and widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers. The latest upsurge in violence, since the early summer, has been driven by the so-called M23 group which has been responsible for a campaign of violence which has caused many deaths and significant displacement and trauma. The EU has repeatedly called on the M23 to end its campaign of violence and we have also condemned and called for an end to external support for the group.

The EU is playing a constructive and significant role in ongoing efforts to deal with the crisis. Developments in the DRC are regularly discussed by EU Foreign Ministers. We adopted strong formal Conclusions on the situation in the DRC at the Foreign Affairs Council in November and again more recently on 10 December. We are supporting the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region which are taking the lead on efforts to end the conflict in the eastern DRC. The EU is also providing a programme of support for the DRC authorities aimed at strengthening their capacities to promote better governance and the rule of law. This programme focuses on institutional reform and democracy, physical infrastructure and security sector reform, including within the Congolese Armed Forces.

Historically, Ireland has played its part in working for peace and justice in the DRC. In recent years, we have focused in particular on providing support for the humanitarian response to the conflict. So far this year, Ireland has provided some €8.23 million in humanitarian support, including €3.5 million allocated this month to the Common Humanitarian Fund, a UN-administered fund which is allocated to projects by the resident UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC. In addition, Irish Aid has also provided funds to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for its work to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance across the country. Further funding has been made available to NGO partners such as Concern, Christian Aid and Oxfam. Earlier this month, these three NGOs also benefitted from an emergency airlift of humanitarian supplies in response to the serious situation in North Kivu in the eastern DRC, with 18,000 blankets, 600 tarpaulins and 500 tents dispatched from Irish Aid’s pre-positioned stocks in Dubai to help those displaced by the recent fighting.

A very strong focus of our concern and attention in the DRC is, and will remain, on the human rights situation. The DRC is a country which has commanded significant attention from the UN Human Rights Council and from the Human Rights Commission which preceded the establishment of the Council. As well as regular reviews of the overall country situation, there has been a very specific focus on mapping human rights violations during conflict and on the phenomenon of sexual violence and its impact on victims. The Government is committed to working with other members of the Human Rights Council, and with the DRC authorities, during our membership term to highlight human rights issues in the DRC and to support efforts to ensure respect for and protection of human rights in the country.

Humanitarian Aid

 84. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will allocate additional overseas development aid to assist the humanitarian relief efforts in Syria and in surrounding countries in view of the fact that the crisis in Syria has intensified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57271/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello The appalling suffering of the Syrian civilian population over the last twenty one months is of deep concern to Ireland. Since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011 an estimated 40,000 people have been killed in the violence. Over 2.5 million people inside Syria are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, with 1.2 million people displaced inside the country. The number of registered refugees from Syria in the region has now passed half a million. This has placed enormous pressure on Syria’s neighbours, who have made commendable efforts to host the refugee population and respond proactively and generously to their needs.

Ireland too has responded swiftly to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and in neighbouring countries. As early as March 2012 we provided €500,000 in emergency funding for the ICRC, UNHCR and the World Food Programme. In August I visited Jordan and witnessed firsthand the huge strain that the refugee population is placing on the host countries, both in relation to the refugee camps and also the host communities. Since then Ireland has provided additional support of €1,750,000 to UN agencies and NGO partners who are providing life saving medical assistance to Syrians both in Syria and neighbouring countries. Irish assistance also included supplies of non-food items from our stocks in Dubai. A contribution of €200,000 to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees caught up in the conflict brings Ireland’s total response to the crisis to €2,450,000.

Ireland also understands that while this is a humanitarian crisis, it is driven by politics and will only be solved with a political solution. From the beginning, Ireland has recognised this, striving to respond to the humanitarian needs of the populations affected by the violence whilst working simultaneously for a sustainable political solution, based on accommodating the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. Ireland has worked for a unified international response and has particularly encouraged the members of the UN Security Council to live up to its responsibilities and show leadership in relation to the crisis, primarily through adoption of a new, strong Security Council Resolution.

We continue to strongly support the efforts of the UN/Arab League Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, to promote a political settlement. An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D. was very pleased to meet with Mr. Brahimi during the recent OSCE ministerial meeting in Dublin where he also met with Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov. Ireland has also participated actively within the framework of the Friends of Syria Group, which includes my own attendance at the most recent meeting of the group last week in Marrakesh.

Ireland has provided significant support to those in need as a result of this crisis. Into the future we will continue to monitor the situation so that we can assess when we may be able to further contribute, within our means, to the humanitarian needs within the region.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 85. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will specify all sources of funding towards the total overseas development programme of €623 million for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57272/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello Some €498 million of this total was allocated to Vote 27 – International Cooperation which is administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. A further estimated €125 million will be provided through payments by other Government Departments, and by Ireland’s allocation of the EU Development Cooperation Budget 2013.   ODA eligible contributions from other Government Departments consist primarily of:

Payments by the Department of Finance to the World Bank’s International Development Association and voluntary contributions to the Asian Development Bank;

Payments by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to the UN’s World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation and,

Tax rebates from the Revenue Commissioners to Irish development NGOs.

While the 2013 budget is a modest reduction on the 2012 level, €623 million remains a significant level of funding and represents a genuine investment by the people of Ireland in assisting some of the world’s poorest communities and is a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to the aid programme.

  The Government is ambitious for the programme and we are committed to ensuring that it remains one of the best in the world in terms of its quality and improving the lives of some of the poorest people in the developing world.


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