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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 565-583
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Freedom of Information Requests
 Header Item Cattle Theft
 Header Item Pest Control Programmes
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Data
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Health Reports
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Remit
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Health Services Provision

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 827 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 85 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 565-583

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions

 565. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide details of the recently announced green low carbon agri-environmental scheme; the expected duration of the scheme; the expected numbers per annum; and the expected spend per annum over the duration of the scheme. [2709/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I recently announced funding for a substantial new agri-environment scheme GLAS (Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme) under the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020. The scheme provides for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers, and a further payment of up to €2,000 for a limited number of farmers who take on particularly challenging environmental actions. The proposed minimum contract is five years. The outline of the GLAS Scheme, details of which have been published in the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 -2020 Draft Consultation Programme, is now subject to further consultation with various stakeholders. Following that process, formal proposals will be drafted for submission to the European Commission. It is my intention to prioritise this work in order to gain EU approval at the earliest possible date to facilitate roll out of the scheme.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 566. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the anticipated numbers per annum who will avail of the new protein crop payment; the spend per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2710/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The detailed provisions for the proposed aid payment on protein crops, which I announced as part of the implementation of the CAP Reform Package in Ireland, are currently under review by my Department. The review process involves discussions with the various relevant stakeholders and on conclusion of the review details of the aid scheme will be announced.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 567. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has not been paid their 2013 headage-disadvantaged area payment; if an appeal has been registered with the Department appeals office; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2748/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, eligible applicants are required to have met a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units for a retention period of seven consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year. While the holding of the person named was confirmed as having satisfied the twelve-month average, it did not satisfy the seven month minimum requirement. Therefore, unfortunately, no payment is due to the person named under the 2013 Scheme. In the first instance the person named is obliged to appeal this decision to officials in my Department, however, there is no record of such an appeal having being submitted.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 568. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will review a decision made to refuse a grant for sow housing welfare scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2749/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme closed for the receipt of applications on 3 May 2013 and farmers were required to submit applications, with full planning permission where this was required, by that date in order to be eligible for grant-aid. The person named submitted an application for grant aid under the scheme on 8th  April 2013 and was subject to a pre- approval on farm inspection. The requirement to have received full planning permission by the closing date of the scheme was the responsibility of the applicant and was clearly laid down in the Terms and Conditions of the scheme which accompanied the application form.

  As full planning permission was not in place by the closing date in this case, approval could not be issued to the applicant to commence the relevant investment works under the Scheme.   

  As the TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme formed part of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme, I am not in a position to reopen the Scheme at this stage. The EU Regulations governing the Scheme do not provide for the application of force majeure  or exceptional circumstances in such cases.

Freedom of Information Requests

 569. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department in 2011; the number of requests for which a search and retrieval fee was sought; the maximum fee sought by his Department in respect of a request received; the number of requests not proceeded following the non-payment of the search and retrieval fee sought; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2763/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The information requested in relation to Freedom of Information requests received in my Department during 2011 is set out in the following table:

YearRequests ReceivedRequests for which Search & Retrieval fees soughtMaximum Search & Retrieval fee SoughtNot proceeded with due to non payment
20112438€299.981

Cattle Theft

 570. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has raised the increase in the number of incidences of cattle rustling throughout the country with the Department of Justice; if his Department has examined any measures that would reduce the illegal practice of cattle rustling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2773/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The theft of any property, including cattle, is a criminal offence and should be reported to the Garda Síochána which is the appropriate authority to investigate and pursue such criminality. Officers of my Department assist the Gardaí with their investigations into such reported events. There is also close liaison with the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland such that the issue of stolen animals is being addressed on an all-island basis. Stolen cattle cannot be traded legally in the State as all bovines must bear official ear tags, be properly registered and be associated with the herd of the individual moving or selling the animal on the Department’s Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) database. When cattle are reported as stolen to my Department, they are marked on the AIM database as being stolen on foot of a Garda report. If these animals are presented anywhere in the State for sale, slaughter or export they are checked against the database and will be rejected at these outlets and an investigation initiated.

Pest Control Programmes

 571. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to require pest control companies to institute guidelines for the handling of feral cats in view of the Animal Health and Welfare Act. [2791/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under the new Animal Health and Welfare Act causing cruelty or causing unnecessary suffering to any animal, including feral cats, is prohibited. Pest control companies will be required to operate within the legislative framework of the Act. On a related note, owners who abandon their animals, including cats, will be guilty of an offence under the new Act. I would urge any company engaged in the lawful control of feral cats to consider the use of trap-neuter-return in the first instance unless there are compelling welfare or disease reasons for a solution that involves humane killing.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 572. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) will receive payment of their AEOS scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2836/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st  September 2010 and full payments have issued in respect of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Scheme years. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. During the checking process in respect of the 2013 Scheme year an over claim was identified on the Species Rich Grassland and Traditional Hay Meadow actions which resulted in a reduction in payment. The 75% payment in respect of the 2013 Scheme year issued on the 17th  January 2014 and the balancing 25% payment will issue shortly.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 573. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when AEOS payment wil issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2849/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1st  September 2011 and full payment has issued in respect of 2011. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. The person named was selected for an on-farm inspection which took place on 5th  November 2012. During this inspection, issues of non compliance with the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme were noted in relation to the Traditional Stonewall Maintenance, Alternative Water Source for Bovines, Tree Planting and Coppicing of Hedgerow actions which resulted in a penalty being imposed. The Department are now processing the application of the person named on the basis of the inspection findings with the intention of issuing payment for the 2012 Scheme year as soon as possible. Following payment for 2012, the 2013 payment will be processed as soon as possible.

Agriculture Scheme Data

 574. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his attention has been drawn to the frustration that the spy in the sky is causing to progressive farmers who improved their lands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2902/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Payments under the Single Payment Scheme, Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and other area-based schemes may be made only in respect of eligible   land and applicants are obliged annually to declare the land parcels available to them; details of the eligible area of the land parcels are recorded on my Department’s Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS). Details of the use and area claimed for each of some one million parcels on the LPIS system are registered and continually monitored by my Department.

  It is the responsibility of all applicants to ensure that the details in each year’s application are accurate. Therefore, applicants are advised of the need to confirm their right to declare such parcels and to make the appropriate deductions (e.g. in respect of houses, farm buildings, roadways, scrub, etc.) to the area of eligible parcels, as necessary. Applicants under either/both the Single Payment Scheme and/or the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme are obliged to maintain the land declared in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition for the period 1 January to 31 December of the year of application.

  In the context of delivering the Single Payment Scheme, Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme and other area based schemes, my Department is required to carry out an annual round of inspections covering both the eligibility of the land declared to draw down payments and also cross compliance aspects, to ensure compliance with EU regulatory requirements in the areas of public health, animal and plant health, environment and animal welfare.

  Land eligibility checks must be carried out on at least 5% of applicants. These checks are carried out to verify that the actual area claimed in the application form corresponds to the area farmed and to ensure that any ineligible land or features are not included for aid purposes. Currently, around two-thirds of these inspections are carried out in the first instance without the need for a farm visit, as the information needed is acquired using the technique of remote sensing via satellite. Ground verification checks are included as part of the inspection process as required.

  Farmers who have improved their lands by removing ineligible features and updating their land parcel details will increase their levels of compliance from an eligibility checks perspective regardless of whether these checks are undertaken on the ground or by satellite imagery.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 575. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2930/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Advance and balancing payments under the Single Payment Scheme issued on the 16th October and 2nd  December respectively. However, a review of the land declared by the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme revealed that ineligible features were included on some of the land parcels. Accordingly the amount of the balancing payment that issued on 2nd  December was reduced. A letter has issued to the person named advising him of the position.

  Meanwhile an official from my Department will carry out a land verification check to determine the eligibility issues.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

 576. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding a farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2953/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted upon by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011, and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard. The person named subsequently appealed unsuccessfully to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee and was advised of his right to pursue the matter with the Office of the Ombudsman. The person named then appealed to the Office of the Ombudsman whom are currently reviewing the file and will notify the person named directly in writing of the outcome.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Applications

 577. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will ensure that an error which has been identified by his Department in relation to a claim for REPS by a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath is corrected; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2970/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 4 in June 2009 and received payments for the first four years of their contract. REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. In order to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme, each participant is required to have all their lands farmed declared on the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) and include all IACS/Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) numbers and land areas in the REPS Agri-environmental Plan. The person named failed to make an IACS declaration in relation to 2011 and 2012 which rendered their participation in REPS ineligible for the years in question and was informed of this situation. The person named sought a review of this decision and this appeal was unsuccessful. He was afforded the opportunity to appeal the case to the Agriculture Appeal’s Office. To-date no appeal has been received. In the absence of a valid IACS application for the specified years my Department is not in a position to make a payment under REPS.

Departmental Reports

 578. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide in tabular form the total amount spent since February 2011 on external reports commissioned by her Department including payments from Ministerial allowances, broken down by report; if she will provide the details of any consultants employed; the names of each report and their status as published or ongoing; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [2356/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald In order to deliver key commitments in relation to children and young people and to put in place a unified framework of policy, legislation and provision across Government in respect of children and young people, it is at times necessary to commission reports and utilise expertise from a range of expert individuals and bodies. My Department ensures that all reports commissioned are of direct relevance to the operational and policy commitments of my Department.

  I have set out below the full range of reports commissioned by my Department. Table 1 is in respect of reports produced by external consultants. Table 2 covers reports authored by individuals or groups not acting as consultants. Separate material is provided in respect of the Growing Up in Ireland study

  TABLE 1

Name of External ReportDate of CommissionDate/expected

date of Publication
Name of External ConsultantCost of Report
Audit of Children and Young people’s Participation in decision making in IrelandNovember 2009November 2011Cnag ar an Doras and Sandra Roe (joint contract)€19,890.42
National Consultation with Children Living in the Care of the StateNovember 2010July 2011Cnag ar an Doras €25,610.00
Body Image Survey ReportMarch 2011October 2011Anam Cara€6,800.00
Youth Work: A Systematic Map of the Research LiteratureSeptember 2011June 2013Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education,

University of (EPPI-Centre) London.
€67,000
Valuation reportNovember 2011Internal use onlyElliott Fitzgerald Ltd.€1,230.00
Needs Assessment for the Redevelopment of www.childrensdatabase.ie December 2011Internal use onlyCentre for Effective Services€18,400
Every Child a Home: A Review of the Implementation of the Youth Homelessness StrategyDecember 2011July 2013Centre for Effective Services

€6,000

   Penhouse Design€11,589.62
   Total€17,360
Comhairle na nÓg and Garda Síochána survey on the Attitudes of Gardaí to Young People.

Questionnaire for Gardaí and Young People
July 2012Publication date to be finalised Anam Cara€7,650
Public Knowledge and Attitudes Relating to Children’s Rights, Welfare, Protection and ServicesJuly 2012Publication date to be finalisedBehaviour and Attitudes

Qualitative Research – Group Facilitation

€42,864.98

   Quantitative Research – Interviews€59,040.00
   Barometer Research€1,107.00
   Total:€103,011.98
Ireland’s Consolidated 3rd and 4th Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the ChildJuly 2012July 2013Ms Carmel Corrigan – Drafting of Report€12,600

   Ms Carol Devaney – Editing, Formatting and Indexing €4,760
   Total:€17,360
Strategic Human ResourcesDecember 2012April 2013Mazars€20,602.50
Care Issues ReviewMarch 2013To be finalisedVictor McElfatrick€3,556.56
Report on Structural DamageMarch 2013Internal use onlyFrontier Engineering Group Ltd.€7,668.74
Staff Roster ReviewApril 2013Internal use onlyMcGuinness Killen Partnership€6,715.80
Role Review for Child & Family AgencyMay 2013November 2013Mazars€16,512.75
Care Issues ReviewSeptember 2013Internal use onlyConal Devine & Associates€13,636.21


  TABLE 2
Name of ReportDate of CommissionDate/expected

date of Publication
Name of Author of Report Cost of Report
Report of the Task Force for the Child and Family Support Agency July 2010June 2012Task Force€36,400
Report of the Independent Child Death Review Group2010 2012Dr Geoffrey Shannon€ 74,133.58
Annual Reports of Dr Geoffrey Shannon – Special Rapporteur on Child Protection (State Appointment) 2011

Dr Geoffrey Shannon€24,417.80

  2012 €19,987.50
  2013 €19,987.50
  Total €46,392.80
Improving the Lives of Children & Young People : Public ConsultationJanuary 2013Publication date to be finalisedUNESCO, Child & Family Research Centre (NUI Galway)€30,750
Right from the Start - Report of Expert Advisory Group on recommendations in the

development of new Early Years Strategy
June 2012Autumn 2013Expert Advisory Group chaired by Dr Eilis Hennessy UCD. €14,994


Growing Up in Ireland  In 2006 a Contract to carry out the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland was awarded by the Department of Health and Children (through the Office of the Minister For Children & Youth Affairs) to a consortium comprising of the ESRI and the Children’s Research Centre at TCD. Since then the Study has adopted the working title of 'Growing Up in Ireland'. As part of this overall contract the ESRI/TCD are required to prepare and publish reports from time to time. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs meets the costs of printing these reports and since this Department was established in June 2011 the total cost of printing was €20,926.45.

Departmental Expenditure

 579. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the amount her Department spends on an annual basis in payments to consultancy firms (details supplied). [2472/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald No payments have been made by my Department to the consultancy firms mentioned by the Deputy.

Health Reports

 580. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the actions that will be taken to address the recommendations and findings of the Health Information and Quality Authority report entitled Inspection of a high support unit in the Health Service Executive Dublin North East published recently.  [2784/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspects High Support Units annually under Section 69 of the Child Care Act 1991. An unannounced inspection of a high support unit (HSU) in the Health Service Executive, Dublin North East (HSE DNE) was carried out on 1 - 2 October 2013. Of the eight recommendations made in the previous inspection, inspectors found that seven had either been completed or were ongoing and one recommendation, in relation to the development of a programme of works to ensure the structural and decorative order of the centre, had been partly completed. The inspection stated that there continued to be a good standard of care provided to children and that there was a committed management team and motivated staff group who were ensuring the delivery of a child centred service.

The report noted that the external door of the unit was locked from 8pm to 8am in an attempt to stop children leaving the unit at night. Inspectors found that children were at risk when in the community at night. The report also noted that the unit should not lock its external door as it was not a secure unit. Inspectors also had some concerns regarding fire drills and safety. The Report notes that the HSU staff team were providing a service to some children who required a different resource to meet their needs in terms of their high risk behaviours. Such children were found to be not suitably placed in an open residential setting at this time. The Child and Family Agency will continue to engage with other statutory services to address the needs of these children. This HIQA Inspection Report highlights the need to provide additional Special Care placements. There is a capital development programme already underway which will double our capacity to 34 beds in 2016. The HSU has outlined an Action Plan which is published within the Inspection Report. This plan reflects the ongoing monitoring of areas where practice and systems need further development and where actions are required to enhance compliance with all standards. The CFA has advised that these improvements have already commenced or are ongoing with key actions to implement a robust risk management system.

Child and Family Agency Remit

 581. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the specific actions that will be taken by the Child and Family Agency in 2014 to increase special care provision because of the reported waiting lists for children at risk who have met the criteria for admission to special care units but are unable to obtain a place in any special care unit. [2808/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Child and Family Agency (the Agency) seeks to provide the highest quality of Care at its Special Care Units in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Standards of Care provision are constantly under review by a designated Monitoring Officer specifically assigned to this role. Children are place in Special Care under the jurisdiction of the High Court and all cases are reviewed on a monthly basis by the High Court. These Units are inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) with the level of care being provided in the three Special Care Units having been endorsed by the most recent 2012 HIQA reports.

The Agency has informed me it is currently implementing a capital development programme for Special Care services in order to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the needs of children requiring this specialised type of Care. The first phase of the programme is underway with improvements to facilities in Dublin completed and the extensive refurbishment of the Unit in Limerick also complete. Planning is well underway for phase 2 of the programme which will double the capacity of the service to 34 beds in early 2016.

The need to provide Special Care placements outside the jurisdiction into the future cannot be avoided in a very small number of cases in order to ensure the best interests of some children with specialised additional needs. The referral of children abroad for specialised therapeutic interventions is an established feature within our health and social care system and decisions in each case are made in the best interests of the individual.

The Units in which the children are placed are inspected and regulated by their national authorities and the Agency is attentive to the standards of care delivered in these specialised Units. The level of requirement of these services for children is closely monitored by the Agency. Currently there are 17 children in placement in Special Care in HSE Units and 10 children are placed abroad on the basis of High Court Detention Orders.

ACTS (Assessment, Consultation, Therapeutic Services) is a new national specialised clinical service which is being developed by the Agency to provide multidisciplinary consultation, assessment and focused interventions to young people who have high risk behaviours associated with complex clinical needs. These therapeutic inputs are provided in a flexible, timely and responsive manner with a focus on improving outcomes for young people and their families.

ACTS also supports other professionals in their ongoing work with young people and their families. This includes on-site therapeutic services to the national high support, special care units and the children detention schools. It also provides assessment, consultation and focused intervention services in the community for children at risk of placement in high support, special care or detention.

ACTS is a multidisciplinary service which includes psychology, social work, speech and language therapy, counselling and social care. It is supported by contractual sessions from child and forensic psychiatry. ACTS is led by a management team consisting of the national manager and three heads of discipline whose central responsibility is the implementation of systems of clinical governance. This is done through effective planning, implementation and evaluation of treatment programmes and protocol driven interventions. It also involves the provision of high quality clinical supervision and monitoring of professional development needs of staff. ACTS is based in Dublin with regional clinics in Cork and Limerick.

Health Services

 582. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding a primary medical certificate in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Cork. [2602/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Provision

 583. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the necessary medical attention will be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2294/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.


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