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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 656-676
 Header Item Expert Group on the A, B and C v. Ireland Judgment
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Expert Group on the A, B and C v. Ireland Judgment
 Header Item Cancer Screening Programmes
 Header Item Health Services Staff Issues
 Header Item Medical Card Applications
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Sports Capital Programme Applications
 Header Item Search and Rescue Service
 Header Item Air Services Provision
 Header Item Departmental Contracts

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 656-676

Expert Group on the A, B and C v. Ireland Judgment

 656. 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 received a copy of the Expert Group Report following the ABC judgements by the ECHR as confirmed by the Tánaiste; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52230/12]

 657. 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 his views on whether the Expert Group Report on the ABC judgements by the EHCR should be published as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52236/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 656 and 657 together.

  The Deputy will be pleased to hear that the Expert Group on the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland submitted its report to me on 13th November and the Government approved its publication following the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 27th November.

Ministerial Meetings

 658. 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 met the Chief Medical Officer recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52233/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Chief Medical Officer and I meet on a regular basis. The most recent meeting took place on Thursday, 13th December 2012 at a MIN/MAC meeting.

Ministerial Meetings

 659. 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 met the Chief Executive Officer of the Health Service Executive recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53797/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I keep in frequent contact with Mr. Tony O'Brien, Director General designate of the HSE and meet with him on a regular basis most recently in the context of a Cabinet Committee on Health meeting held yesterday

Expert Group on the A, B and C v. Ireland Judgment

 660. 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 will meet representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss the Expert Group Report on the ABC versus Ireland European Court of Human Rights judgement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55448/12]

 661. 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 intends to meet any group to discuss the expert group on the ABC versus Ireland European Court of Human Rights judgement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55449/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 660 and 661 together.

  The Government today approved the implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case by way of legislation with regulations, within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case. A wide consultation with relevant stakeholders on this issue will now follow. This process will commence as soon as is practical early in 2013.

Cancer Screening Programmes

 662. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the basis on which a decision has been made to stop the breast check programme for those aged 64 years of age and over; if he will explain the reason this is not being made available to women of this age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56970/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The BreastCheck Programme became available in all counties at the end of 2009. The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), in its report "The evaluation of the use of resources in the national population-based cancer screening programmes and associated services" in 2009, noted that, based on a literature review, the age range and screening interval adopted by the BreastCheck Programme in Ireland appeared to be consistent with the international evidence base. However, in keeping with the recommendations of the EU Advisory Committee on Cancer Prevention, HIQA also noted that it would be appropriate to extend the age range to 69 years. The Programme for Government includes the extension of BreastCheck to women in the 65-69 age group, in keeping with these recommendations.

The main priority for the HSE's National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) at present is to maximise national uptake in the 50-64 year age cohort. The extension of the BreastCheck programme has been listed as a priority in the HSE's 3 year Corporate Plan (2012 -2015). The HSE's National Cancer Control Programme is examining how it can extend the programme to 65-69 year olds. A review of the BreastCheck screening process, commissioned this year by my Department from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC and the Centre for Health Policy and Management in Trinity College, has just been submitted to my officials. This review will help to inform how greater efficiencies may be achieved within the Programme in order to extend the age range at the earliest date. The Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service estimates that this will be in 2014.

In the meantime women of any age who have concerns about breast cancer should seek the advice of their GP who will, if appropriate, refer them to the symptomatic breast services in one of the eight designated specialist cancer centres.

Health Services Staff Issues

 663. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if a report given to the Health Service Executive almost ten months ago relative to the care of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will be acted on; the reason it is taking so long to get appointments with the autism nurse and other professionals; if he will insist on a programme of supports being put in place as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56979/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly 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.

Medical Card Applications

 664. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if an application for a medical card will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny [56980/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Alex White): Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Home Help Service Provision

 665. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason home help hours have been cut by 50% in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if the hours will be restored; and if he will expedite a response. [56986/12]

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

Home Help Service Provision

 666. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if the home help service will be reviewed and restored in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56987/12]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

 667. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who has been refused their appeal relative to their application for the fair deal scheme because they are unable to pay the balance of €164; if the exceptional circumstances around the care of their spouse will be re-examined in order that they can be placed in full time care without delay; his views on whether the Health Service Executive may be negligent in their duty of care by not responding positively to the appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56989/12]

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

Home Help Service Provision

 668. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will request an urgent review of the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny whose home help has been discontinued; and if he will expedite a response [56990/12]

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

Departmental Funding

 669. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will direct the Health Service Executive not to inflate the 0.3% cut already announced with regard to organisations (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57000/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch The funding situation for the disability sector in 2013 is not yet available pending the finalisation of the HSE's National Service Plan for 2013. Savings required globally from the Health Budget will have an impact on all services, including disability services, and it is expected that these will be outlined when the Minister for Health approves the National Service Plan in the near future.

Departmental Funding

 670. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount of money he has allocated to women’s refuges during each of the past ten years; his plans to ensure that women’s refuges are resourced according to need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54471/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly In 2010 the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence was published. It aims to provide a framework for sustainable intervention to prevent and effectively respond to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and is lead by Cosc which is the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

The HSE subsequently published its own Policy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. The principal actions are in line with the National Strategy. The HSE’s policy states that a health-focused analysis of violence is crucial, not only because the consequences of such violence require a significant amount of healthcare system resources, but most importantly because the health care system is often the first route through which victims seek to access supports.

Services to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence – including 20 crisis refuges, 27 domestic violence support services and 16 rape crisis centres received €19.182 Million in 2011.

The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However I have asked the Health Service Executive to supply this information to me and I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 671. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the total amount of funding available to the National Transport Authority in each of the past seven years to date; the basis on which such funds were spent; the locations; the extent to which the advice of the local authorities was sought prior to expenditure; if the advice of such local authorities was taken into account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56230/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Transport Authority (NTA) was established on 1st December 2009.  In accordance with the Dublin Transport Authority (DTA) Act 2008, the functions of the NTA include securing the provision of public transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA.

  The following is the capital funding allocated  by  the NTA in the GDA since its establishment:

  2010:  €359.7m

  2011:  €211m

  2012:  €129m as per the Revised Estimates. The actual outturn will not be available until early 2013.

  This  funding is allocated and prioritised in line with the priorities identified in Government approved capital plans, currently the "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016, Medium Term Exchequer Framework". 

  There are  4 separate  broad funding headings - heavy rail, light rail, bus projects and integration /traffic management. Under the latter heading the NTA operates a programme of grant assistance to the 7 GDA Local Authorities  to support the development of sustainable  transport  measures such as projects which increase  the use of public transport,  cycling and walking.

  I understand the NTA cordinates  with the GDA local authorities to agree  work programmes  and  is currently coordinating closely in relation to the 2013 work  programmes  in order to ensure the optimum use of the available funding.

  Further information on the capital funding provided by the NTA to local authorities in the GDA and regional cities is available on their website http://www.nationaltransport.ie/projects-schemes/transport-projects/.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

 672. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason a football club (details supplied) in County Galway was not successful in its recent application for a sports capital grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56279/12]

 673. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason a football club (details supplied) in County Galway were not successful in their recent application for a sports capital grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56280/12]

 689. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when funding from the capital sports grant will be allocated to a school (details provided) in County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56663/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 672, 673 and 689 together.

  Details of the successful applicants to the 2012 Sports Capital Programme have been published on the Department's website. My Department will be writing to all applicants in the coming weeks.  Successful applicants will be informed of the steps required to draw down the grant and unsuccessful applicants will be provided with details of the initial assessment of their application.  The reasons why applications were deemed invalid will be outlined to the relevant applicants.  I think that it would be appropriate that the designated club contact would be informed first of the reasons why an application may have been deemed invalid.

  Some of the reasons why Sports Capital Programme applications were deemed invalid include:

- Insufficient own funding or no evidence of own funding

- Work on project already commenced

- No evidence of freehold/leasehold/letter from landlord

- No quotations/estimates submitted

- No evidence of planning permission or application for same or letter from technical supervisor stating that planning permission is not needed.

Search and Rescue Service

 674. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the search and rescue contract is up for renewal; and the savings he intends to make on this. [54709/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The current Helicopter Search and Rescue Services contract, which came into operation on the 1st July 2012, will be up for renewal on the 30th June 2022 with a maximum extension date of the 30th June 2025 for all or any of the bases. The contract was signed in July 2010 and sets out the agreed rates applicable for the monthly standing charge, flight charges and ancillary charges. The monthly standing charge and the flight charges are subject to an annual adjustment which is linked to the Consumer Price Index provided by the Central Statistics Office.

  As part of the improvements of the service the Coast Guard is piloting an Aero-Medical Assistance Service to the HSE. This is an emergency service for the essential rapid transfer of patients between hospitals; the recovery to hospital of patients classed as Life or Death and the recovery of patients in remote access locations and includes the following:

- Air Transport of patients from offshore islands to mainland hospitals

- Recovery of patients from remote access locations; where recovery by vehicle is not reasonable

- Recovery of patients deemed 'Life or Death scenario where the patient is not in a place of safety

- Transportation of ambulance teams to Offshore or Inland Waterways Emergencies

- Transportation of Medical Ambulance personnel, including NAS Incident Response Teams to Major Emergencies or incidents, where the specialist skills of the IRT personnel are required

- Air Transport of Neonates requiring immediate medical intervention in Ireland

- Inter-Hospital Transfer of patients with serious injury and illness between hospitals

- Air Transport of patients requiring emergency organ transplant in the UK.

Air Services Provision

 675. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will request all airline companies to maintain competitive value for money air fares in 2013 in order to ensure that the maximum number of our diaspora visit the country and ensure that the Gathering is a success; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56307/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The market for air services in and out of Ireland is highly competitive with a very significant number of airlines operating.  The market for air services within the EU has been liberalised since the early 1990s and the market between the EU and the US was liberalised under the EU-US Open Skies   agreement in 2007.  It is not open to me or to other Governments to interfere in pricing in the market and airlines are completely free to set their own fares based on their own commercial judgements.

  In terms of the competitive value of these fares however, I have been very pleased by recent announcements by a number of the US airlines of additional services and routes into Ireland next year, for example, American Airlines’ new Dublin/New York service, United Airlines’ new Shannon/Chicago service and US Airways Shannon-Philadelphia service.  This  is very welcome in the context of 'The Gathering Ireland 2013'.

  Furthermore, Tourism Ireland, the agency with responsibility for the overseas promotion of Ireland as a tourist destination, continues to invest in cooperative marketing activity with airlines and ferry providers. This activity has a strong focus on ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and advertising campaigns are already underway with Aer Lingus, Ryanair, US Airways, Emirates, Etihad and others highlighting good value fares to Ireland from a number of markets and carrying “The Gathering Ireland” message. Tourism Ireland's cooperative activity with air and sea carriers will continue throughout 2013.

Departmental Contracts

 676. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if any concerns have been conveyed to him in relation to non-payment, underpayment or late payment for work done on projects funded by his Department since his appointment in March 2011. [56346/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Government Departments are required to pay suppliers within 15 days of receipt of a valid invoice. In March 2011, the Government agreed to extend this prompt payment rule to other public sector bodies, including the non-commercial State Agencies, from 1 July 2011.

  My Department publishes the prompt payment returns, and those of the 9 non-commercial agencies under its aegis, on the Department’s website on a quarterly basis http://www.dttas.ie/viewitem.asp?id=12153&lang=ENG&loc=1512  . Each Agency also publishes its individual return on its own website.

  I have no responsibility for payments made by contractors to any sub-contractors or tradesmen that they employ.  Any disputes about such payments are a matter between the relevant parties.


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