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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 591-608
 Header Item Health Services Expenditure
 Header Item Treatment Abroad Scheme
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Tourism Promotion
 Header Item Public Transport Provision
 Header Item Taxi Regulations
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Driving Tests
 Header Item Road Network
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Arts Funding
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Rail Network
 Header Item Arts Funding
 Header Item Arts Funding

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 795 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 591-608

Health Services Expenditure

 591. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of contractors employed by the Health Service Executive in receipt of fees of between €50,000 and €100,000, between €100,000 and €200,000, between €200,000 and €300,000, between €300,000 and €400,000; the number of contractors in receipt of fees of more than €400,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [11697/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE pays fees and allowances to certain health professionals with whom it holds contracts, including General Practitioners, Pharmacists, Dentists, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians. As the information requested by the Deputy is not routinely provided to the Department, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly in this matter.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

 592. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery is available under the treatment abroad scheme; if not, whether there any proposed plans to make it available under the treatment abroad scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [11706/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The HSE operates a Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS), for persons entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland under EU Regulation 1408/71, as per the procedures set out in EU Regulation 574/72, and in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines. Within these governing EU Regulations and the Department of Health and Children's Guidelines, the TAS provides for the cost of approved treatments in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland through the issue of form E112 (IE).

  The TAS allows for an Irish based consultant to refer a patient that is normally resident in Ireland for treatment in another EU member state or Switzerland, where the treatment in question meets the following criteria:

 (a) The application to refer a patient abroad has been assessed and a determination given before that patient goes abroad.

 (b) Following clinical assessment, the referring consultant certifies the following:

    - They recommend the patient be treated in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland;

    - The treatment is medically necessary and will meet the patient's needs;

    - The treatment is a proven form of medical treatment and is not experimental or test treatment;

    - The treatment is in a recognised hospital or other institution and is under the control of a registered medical practitioner;

    - The hospital outside the state will accept EU/EEA form E112 (IE).

  In recent past months the TAS has had a number of applications for the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure for which there is an emerging evidence base. The British National Health Service (NHS), which provides the treatment for patients that have received approval under the TAS, has published guidance for the provision of same. This guidance states:

  Current evidence on selective dorsal rhizotomy for spasticity in cerebral palsy shows that there is a risk of serious but well-recognised complications. The evidence on efficacy is adequate.....During the consent process parents or carers should be informed that selective dorsal rhizotomy....is irreversible...

  All applications to the TAS are independently assessed by the HSE Health Intelligence Unit. In consideration of the NHS guidelines for referral for this procedure, the HSE worked with leading paediatric consultants to establish an assessment procedure in Ireland for patients seeking referral for the procedure, prior to the patients' applications being submitted to the TAS to ensure the patient is a suitable candidate for the procedure and to ensure the parent(s) or carer fully understands the procedure and the implications of same.

  The HSE’s Treatment Abroad Scheme and Health Intelligence Unit met with relevant consultants in May 2012 to review the matter of referrals for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) and agreed on the need for a rigorous assessment procedure in Ireland and that patients seeking this treatment must attend the assessment team in order to have recourse to the TAS for the treatment. Subsequently, an assessment team was established in the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) and all applications for SDR are now independently reviewed by the CRC team who therefore act as the independent medical advisors to the TAS on SDR applications. The team follow strict assessment criteria for the approval or otherwise of applications for SDR procedures.

  The procedure abroad includes three weeks of inpatient physiotherapy and parents are trained in providing the subsequent required physio for the post op period in the home. Aftercare services in Ireland are provided in line with the clinical management of the patient by the referring consultant upon the patient's return to Ireland.

Taxi Regulations

 593. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will consider recommending changes to the National Transport Authority to the skills development programme for entry into the taxi industry; if he will consider changes to the second module relating to knowledge of the local area and routes from one place to another; and if he will consider implementing a more stringent test of this knowledge to benefit customers in the taxi sector. [11017/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry, including issues relating to suitability tests and the area knowledge test in particular, is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. I have referred your question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within 10 working days.

Road Network

 594. Deputy Tom Barry Information on Tom Barry Zoom on Tom Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will confirm that the proposed M20 motorway has been shelved indefinitely and that landowners affected by the proposed development will now be free to apply for planning permission, unrestricted; also, with industrial development of €150m in Mallow town, if he has made contingencies for the €25m required for a relief ring-road for the town.  [11182/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Tourism Promotion

 595. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total cost of Fáilte Ireland spending on promoting the English language sector in 2011 and 2012 and if he will provide a breakdown of that spending; the range of initiatives, including direct marketing campaigns, to raise awareness of Ireland as an education destination, they took in 2012 and will take in 2013.  [11205/13]

 596. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the education missions and events Fáilte Ireland took part in in 2012 and which they plan to attend in 2013; and if he will specify the work done with the relevant institutions/providers to increase their capability and potential to attract international students in 2012, and the plans for 2013.  [11206/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 595 and 596 together.

The issues raised are operational matters for Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's Questions to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days. The Deputy should also note that, whereas Fáilte Ireland  supports the promotion of English language-learning as a niche tourism product for Ireland (working with Tourism Ireland in specific overseas markets), Enterprise Ireland has overall responsibility for marketing and promotion of the “Education Ireland” brand overseas and leads in the promotion and marketing of international education services other than English language-learning.

Public Transport Provision

 597. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the public transport systems that have been put in place to replace the Rosslare Europort Waterford railway line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11237/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for the relevant public transport providers in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Taxi Regulations

 598. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide a response to his objection to the changes to the driver and rental notifications for small public service vehicles, insofar as they discriminate against taxis operating in rural areas and also act against the interest of disabled persons living in rural areas with no broadband or smartphone coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11303/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Alan Kelly): Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The transport requirements of people with disability and others living in rural areas was an important consideration of the Review Group responsible for the Taxi Regulation Review, which included representatives from rural areas and representative groups for consumers and people with disabilities. The view of the Review Group, giving rise to Action 40 of the Review Report, is that it is necessary to have a system that links SPSV licenced drivers to specific small public service vehicle (SPSV) licensed vehicles so that the identification of the authorised driver of an SPSV vehicle is available in real time. This is in the general interest of consumers who use taxis and for enforcement officers regulating the taxi industry. 

From the end of January 2013 it became a requirement that all SPSV operators notify the National Transport Authority (NTA) about the vehicles they are operating at any time. This is a once-off notification in the case of SPSV drivers who own their own vehicle. Any changes such as with respect to rental agreements or change of vehicle will also need to be notified.

I understand that the NTA has made available free IT tools to facilitate the notification process - the "Taxi Industry Portal" smartphone application can be downloaded onto both Apple and Android smartphones. In addition, SPSV operators can use any PC or laptop to access the Taxi Portal over the Internet. A call centre also operates all-day every-day to take notifications by telephone.

The Taxi Review Report envisages that more work is required to facilitate transport for people with disabilities including those in rural areas. For example Action 19 of the Taxi Regulation Review recommends that the NTA, in conjunction with the National Disability Authority, produce a website and smartphone application that facilitates self-ordering of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). The development of a simple database of SPSV operators of WAVs with telephone contact details on a geographical basis is in planning phase.

The regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry is a matter for the NTA under the Taxi Regulation Act, 2003. The NTA is responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report. I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA in this regard.

Road Network

 599. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on his commitment to the development of the N2 A5 link between the north-west and Dublin. [11319/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar At the NSMC Plenary meeting on 8th November 2011 Ministers noted that the provision of further funding by the Irish Government for the A5 road was being deferred but that the Irish Government will provide £25m per annum in 2015 and 2016 towards the project.  The Irish Government indicated that it remains committed to the completion of the co-funded A5 project which is of strategic importance to the North West Region and the island as a whole but  that the Government is not in a position to make funding commitments for the period post-2016 in advance of its consideration of the next capital review framework.  This remains the Government's position.

The implementation of the A5 project is a matter for the Northern Ireland authorities and a decision was made in 2012 to proceed with the construction of two sections between Derry to Strabane and Omagh to Ballygawley. That decision is currently the subject of a judicial review and therefore cannot proceed at present. Funding beyond that already committed will be considered in 2015 in the context of preparing a new capital plan for 2017 onwards.

Driving Tests

 600. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide, in tabular form, the cost of driving test fees from 2000 to 2012.  [11354/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The fees for driving tests are set in regulations, which are in the public domain. The regulations in question are:

  - Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 352 of 1999);

  - Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 516 of 2001)

  - Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 537 of 2006)

  - Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 130 of 2009)

  - Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. 35 of 2011).

These can be viewed at the Irish Statute Book website.

Road Network

 601. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the N3 Belturbet bypass/N22 Tralee bypass will open to vehicular traffic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11363/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Rail Network

 602. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will contact the Chief Executive Officer of Iarnród Éireann and request that he undertake works (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11364/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Arts Funding

 603. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the funding or grants available for drama festivals here and in particular for staging an all-Ireland event; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [11435/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland.  I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply.  The Deputy should contact my private office if a reply is not received with ten working days.

Appointments to State Boards

 604. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of appointments he has made from March 2011 to January 2013 to State boards; in the case of each appointment, the number of appointments that were made to members of the general public who submitted a curriculum vitae for the appointment; the number of direct appointments he made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11483/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Full details of the appointments that I have made to State Boards are available on my Department's website. I refer the Deputy to the composite reply to Dáil questions No 754,755, and 756 on the 19th February 2013. The position remains unchanged. However, I am currently in the process of making further appointments and these will be updated to the website when made.

Rail Network

 605. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to a report into the embedded block system failure in the LUAS; the works that were required and carried out; if any further works are required and planned; and if a fund is in place to pay for same. [11499/13]

 606. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if any risk assessment has been carried out to establish potential for danger to users of the LUAS due to embedded block system failure which has been identified. [11500/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 605 and 606 together.

  The issue raised is an operational matter for the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's questions to the company for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Arts Funding

 607. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of applications made under the Per Cent for Art Scheme from each local authority or the National Roads Authority in each of the past five years, together with the details of the schemes approved or refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [11577/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The commissioning of artistic features on road projects under the Per Cent for Art scheme is a matter for the local authority concerned. The National Roads Authority does not commission such works. The overall responsibility for the Per Cent for Art scheme rests with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

  In relation to regional and local roads, there were two applications for funding under the Per Cent for Art Scheme which are outlined as follows.

  - Kildare County Council – Naas Southern Ring Road

  - Kilkenny County Council – Graiguenmanagh Relief Road

Both of these applications were refused as these projects were EU funded and the European Commission indicated in July, 1997 that the Percent for Art Scheme should not apply to EU Co-Financed projects.

Arts Funding

 608. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar his plans for assisting a choir (details supplied) in respect of an international festival in Dublin 18; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11704/13]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The issue raised is a matter for Dublin Bus and Fáilte Ireland and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to both for direct reply.  The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.


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