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 Header Item Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017
 Header Item Vote 24 — Justice and Equality (Further Revised)
 Header Item Vote 32 — Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Further Revised)
 Header Item Vote 33 — Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Further Revised)
 Header Item Vote 37 — Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Further Revised)
 Header Item Vote 42 — Rural and Community Development (Further Revised)
 Header Item Vote 5 — Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 12 — Superannuation and Retired Allowances (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 17 — Public Appointments Service (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 20 — Garda Síochána (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 26 — Education and Skills (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 30 — Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 31 — Transport, Tourism and Sport (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 32 — Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 34 — Housing, Planning and Local Government (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 35 — Army Pensions (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 37 — Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Supplementary)
 Header Item Vote 38 — Health (Supplementary)
 Header Item Permanent Structured Cooperation: Motion

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 962 No. 8

First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page

  1 o’clock

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster I have a question on the programme for Government relating to care and delivery of services for our elderly. I will address it to the Minister for Health if I can since he is present. Is the Minister aware that a parliamentary question was submitted on 21 September which was chased up with his Department on at least four occasions but which still has not been responded to?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That is not relevant to promised legislation.

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster It is the only place I can raise it. It is about the care and delivery of services for our elderly. It is in the programme for Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl If the Deputy has a problem with a parliamentary question, I would be more than happy to assist her, but this-----

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster I would like to raise this with the Minister because it is the only avenue I have-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl It is not appropriate for Questions on Promised Legislation.

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster The question was asked 11 weeks ago and related to the number and costs of fair deal beds, the number of contracted beds in private nursing homes in County Louth and on a county by county basis. It also asked for a breakdown of additional costs for contracted beds, county by county. Is it information that the Department does not want to put in the public domain, is it just sheer gross incompetence or does the Minister have another explanation as to why an elected Member of this House has waited for 11 weeks for a response from the Minister's Department and is still waiting? What does the Minister propose to do?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy's time is up.

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster Has the Minister lost control of his own Department and-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy's time is up.

Deputy Imelda Munster: Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster It is not responding to elected Members.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Deputy, please.

Deputy Simon Harris: Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The HSE responds to elected Members on a regular basis but if the Deputy is having a particular difficulty, I will ask the HSE since the question would have been referred to it to respond to the Deputy directly. I thought the Deputy was standing up to welcome the new emergency department in Drogheda which I recently visited.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The programme for Government includes specific recommendations and promises related to education, specifically primary school education. Rumours have circulated in recent days that the minor works grant scheme for schools will not go ahead in 2018. I am glad the Minister is here. I am working with three school principals. They contacted me yesterday evening and this morning to say that if this happens in 2018, it will create serious difficulties for them. Will the Minister confirm or deny if the scheme will go ahead in 2018? I am representing those schools and know that many other schools around the country are in the same predicament.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The minor works grant scheme is a discretionary scheme that is paid most years. It is paid for the school year, between September and June each year. As I confirmed this week, the payment for 2017 to 2018 will go ahead. I indicated that the payment for the 2018 to 2019 year will be conditional on availability of money, as it always is, and there is a possibility that it will not be paid within the calendar year of 2018 but would still be provided, as always, within the school year of 2018 to 2019.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank the Minister. That concludes Questions on Promised Legislation. Ten Deputies were heard. I apologise to the six who were not reached. We must now move to Further Revised Estimates for Public Services.

Business of Dáil

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders and provided that the debate on Second Stage of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017 does not conclude tomorrow, that the Dáil shall sit at 12 noon on Tuesday, 12 December 2017, to take the resumed Second Stage debate of the Bill and should it conclude before 2 p.m., the House shall suspend until 2 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed.

Estimates for Public Services 2017

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I move the following Estimates:

Vote 24 — Justice and Equality (Further Revised)

That a sum not exceeding €378,964,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Probation Service staff and of certain other services including payments under cash-limited schemes administered by that Office, and payment of certain grants.

Vote 32 — Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Further Revised)

That a sum not exceeding €806,541,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, including certain services administered by that Office for the payment of certain subsidies and grants and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes.

Vote 33 — Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Further Revised)

That a sum not exceeding €284,435,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain subsidies and grants.

Vote 37 — Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Further Revised)

That a sum not exceeding €10,780,739,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, for certain services administered by that Office, for payments to the Social Insurance Fund and for certain grants.

Vote 42 — Rural and Community Development (Further Revised)

That a sum not exceeding €146,742,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Rural and Community Development, including certain services administered by that Office and for the payment of grants.

  Votes put and agreed to.

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I move the following Estimates:

Vote 5 — Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €418,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Vote 12 — Superannuation and Retired Allowances (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €6,500,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for pensions, superannuation, occupational injuries, and additional and other allowances and gratuities under the Superannuation Acts 1834 to 2004 and sundry other statutes; extra-statutory pensions, allowances and gratuities awarded by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, fees to medical referees and occasional fees to doctors; compensation and other payments in respect of personal injuries; fees to Pensions Authority and other professional fees, miscellaneous payments, etc.

Vote 17 — Public Appointments Service (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €664,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Public Appointments Service.

Vote 20 — Garda Síochána (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €44,200,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Garda Síochána, including pensions, etc.; for the payment of certain witnesses’ expenses, and for payment of certain grants.

Vote 26 — Education and Skills (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €124,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Education and Skills, for certain services administered by that Office, and for the payments of certain grants.

Vote 30 — Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, including certain services administered by that Office, and of the Irish Land Commission and for payment of certain grants and subsidies and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes and the remediation of Haulbowline Island.

Vote 31 — Transport, Tourism and Sport (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, including certain services administered by that Office, for payment of certain grants and certain other services.

Vote 32 — Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, including certain services administered by that Office, for the payment of certain subsidies and grants and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes.

Vote 34 — Housing, Planning and Local Government (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €100,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, including grants to Local Authorities, grants and other expenses in connection with housing, water services, miscellaneous schemes, subsidies and grants.

Vote 35 — Army Pensions (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €10,700,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for retired pay, pensions, compensation, allowances and gratuities payable under sundry statutes to or in respect of members of the Defence Forces and certain other Military Organisations, etc., and for sundry contributions and expenses in connection therewith; for certain extra-statutory children’s allowances and other payments and for sundry grants.

Vote 37 — Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €10,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, for certain services administered by that Office, for payment to the Social Insurance Fund and for certain grants.”

Vote 38 — Health (Supplementary)

That a supplementary sum not exceeding €195,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2017, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Health and certain other services administered by that Office, including grants to the Health Service Executive and miscellaneous grants.

  Votes put and agreed to.

Permanent Structured Cooperation: Motion

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move:

That Dáil Éireann approves Ireland’s participation in Permanent Structured Cooperation, pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of the Defence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009.

In commending the motion, I firstly wish to confirm that the Government is fully satisfied that Ireland's participation in PESCO will enhance the capability of UN-mandated missions engaged in peacekeeping, conflict prevention or the strengthening of international security. This is in accordance with the principles specified in the charter of the United Nations, as required by section 3(2) of the 2009 Act. Yesterday, the Minister of State with responsibility for defence made a presentation and answered questions from members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence at which he set out the position on Ireland's intended participation in PESCO, subject to the approval of this House. It is also worth noting that the matter of Ireland's intention to participate in PESCO has been the subject of further extensive discussions. It has been the subject of European Council-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Sorry to interrupt but will copies of the speech be circulated to Deputies?

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I understand they will be. My apologies. If not, if my office is listening, it should get them here.

It is also worth noting that the matter of Ireland's intention to participate in PESCO has been the subject of further extensive discussions. It has been the subject of European Council and Foreign Affairs Council conclusions which have been debated and discussed in this House and its committees. It has also been considered through parliamentary questions, a Seanad Éireann Commencement matter and a Dáil Éireann Topical Issue debate.

The wider context is that the European Union and its immediate neighbourhood face new and ever more complex challenges. These threats to international peace and security are multidimensional and transnational in nature. No country or member state acting on its own can address such challenges - it requires collective co-operation. The European Union's global strategy makes clear, in the face of these new and emerging threats and challenges, that the Union and its member states must take more responsibility for their own security and that of their citizens. The United Nations has also relied on regional organisations to act on its behalf in their own neighbourhoods. Therefore debate on this topic has to be seen in the context of the current international security environment and the ever-changing complex and intertwined nature of threats to our citizens, individual states and to international peace and security. In this regard, PESCO is a crucial mechanism which provides a treaty-based framework designed to improve the means by which EU member states can participate jointly in projects. This is designed to develop capabilities that will enhance crisis management and peacekeeping operations under the common security and defence policy, CSDP.

CSDP is intended to provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets which may be used on missions outside the Union for peacekeeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. Up to now, however, the European Union's capacity to mount crisis management operations has been hampered by the absence of essential capabilities and the political will from member states to commit the required capabilities for CSDP operations. This House will be aware that Ireland has always strongly supported the development of the CSDP and of EU capacity to respond to international crises in support of the UN and has participated in all aspects of CSDP since it was established. Ireland is one of the leading contributors to common security and defence policy operations deployed under UN mandates or with the support of the UN. Ireland has 13 civilian experts serving in eight of the ten civilian CSDP missions, including Palestine, Somalia, Niger, Mali, Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo.


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