Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 355-366
 Header Item Medical Card Administration
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item An Fhoireann Rannach
 Header Item Medicinal Products Availability
 Header Item National Dementia Strategy Publication
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Emigrant Support Services
 Header Item EU Issues
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item An Fhoireann Rannach

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 355-366

Medical Card Administration

 355. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if medical cards will issue in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare whose medical cards were approved recently but who have not received their cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47254/14]

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

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

If the Deputy has not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days, please contact my Private Office who will follow up the matter with them.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 356. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the position regarding a hospital appointment and operation in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47267/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the Health Service Executive, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

  In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up with them.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 357. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Sláinte Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974.  [47288/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tá seachtar ball foirne i mo Roinn, nó beagnach 2% den líon iomlán fostaithe sa Roinn, in ann a gcuid dualgas a chur i gcrích sa Ghaeilge agus sa Bhéarla araon. Níl aon staitisticí inchomparáide agam do na blianta 2004, 1994, 1984 ná 1974.

Tugtar freagra sa Ghaeilge ar an gcomhfhreagras ar fad a sheoltar don Roinn sa Ghaeilge agus cuirtear aon cheisteanna teileafóin as Gaeilge ar aghaidh chuig duine de na baill foirne atá inniúil sa Ghaeilge. Ós rud é nach gcuireann an Roinn seirbhísí sláinte ar fáil go díreach don phobal, táim sásta go bhfuil dóthain ball foirne sa Roinn atá inniúil sa Ghaeilge. Níl sé ar intinn agam an líon sin a mhéadú ag an am seo, cé go dtugtar deis ar bhonn leanúnach do bhaill foirne reatha feabhas a chur ar a gcuid scileanna sa Ghaeilge.

Medicinal Products Availability

 358. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason there is a shortage of Eltroxin, which is used to treat thyroid conditions; the steps the Health Service Executive is taking to resolve this problem; if the Health Service Executive is using an unlicensed alternative medicine, as occurred during previous shortages; the cost of this alternative relative to the cost of Eltroxin; the reason the HSE has allowed the situation to arise where there is only a single supplier of Eltroxin in the Irish market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47305/14]

 362. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if Eltroxin, a medication used to treat thyroid conditions, is subject to parallel exporting, that is being imported into Ireland and then re-exported to other EU states; the reasons this occurs; his views on whether this is contributing to the extreme shortage of its availability; if the Health Service Executives plans to introduce competition and alternative suppliers into this market to ensure continuity of supply for patients into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47357/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 358 and 362 together.

Eltroxin, which contains the active substance levothyroxine, is a long-established medicine that is used to control hypothyroidism, congenital hypothyroidism and juvenile myxoedema. It is marketed in tablets containing 25, 50 and 100 micrograms and is the subject of a marketing authorisation in Ireland.

Before anyone is allowed to market a medicine in Ireland they are required to apply for a marketing authorisation from either the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The HPRA and EMA examine the safety, quality and efficacy of medicines. The Marketing Authorisation Holder (MAH) for Eltroxin is Amdipharm Mercury Company Ltd. (AMCo)) and it is the only supplier of the brand Eltroxin in Ireland.

On 19 November 2014, the Health Service Executive (HSE) received a query from a pharmacy in relation to the availability of Eltroxin 50 mcg. At that time, the supplier AMCo had not notified the HSE of any issue with the supply. The HSE immediately contacted the company with regard to the supply of Eltroxin.

The HSE has implemented emergency reimbursement arrangements to deal with this shortage. If pharmacists are unable to access Irish market authorised packs of Eltroxin the HSE is reimbursing imported alternatives (subject to the alternatives being reasonably priced) under existing protocols. The HSE has also been in discussion with other suppliers and expects on the basis of current feedback from suppliers that imported stocks would be available at the same price as the Eltroxin price if the shortage were to continue long term. It should be noted that the HSE cannot obligate any generic supplier to enter the market. Additionally the HSE has been working closely with AMCo and has required it to provide weekly reports of stock availability of all strengths of Eltroxin Tabs until supply is re-established to an acceptable level.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) became aware of a shortage of Eltroxin 50mcg tablets during the week of 1 December 2014. It understands that the shortage was due to a regulatory non-compliance by the manufacturer. The non-compliance was that a registered in-process test was not being applied during manufacture of current batches of Eltroxin. A regulatory request from the MAH was approved by HPRA on 5 December 2014 to allow the release of four batches of Eltroxin 50mcg tablets to the market to resume supply of this medicine. The four batches were at the distributor in Ireland at the time of approval of the variation and are expected to supply the market for 3-4 months. It is expected that a similar regulatory request will be made by the MAH to the HPRA during the week of 8 December 2014 to ensure continued supply of Eltroxin 100mcg tablets. In the meantime, prescriptions for Eltroxin 100mcg can be met with the Eltroxin 50mcg tablet product.

Parallel exporting is the exporting of medicines intended for use in one market to other countries in the EEA. EU law provides for the free movement of goods across borders within the EU so the practice of parallel import and parallel export of medicines is legal. Member States may restrict the free movement of goods only in exceptional cases, for example when there is a risk resulting from issues such as public health, environment, or consumer protection. In Sept 2011 the HPRA wrote to the majority of wholesalers regarding the public service obligations contained in the Medicinal Products (Control of Wholesale Distribution) Regulations, 2007. The HPRA is following up on the possibility of Eltroxin product being parallel exported from Ireland.

National Dementia Strategy Publication

 359. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when the dementia strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47306/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Arrangements are currently in train for the publication of the National Dementia Strategy, and it is hoped to publish it by the end of this month.

Hospital Services

 360. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of operations or procedures cancelled by hospitals during each of the past five years, with a breakdown of the numbers identifying the number of cancellations at each individual hospital. [47325/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow the matter up with them.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 361. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will provide an update on the plans for a new programme for managing hospital waiting lists to be piloted in 2015; if further consideration has been provided to piloting such a programme in the Saolta Hospital Group in the west in view of the fact that the concept of hospital groups was piloted in this region. [47343/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and they will follow the matter up with them.

  Question No. 362 answered with Question No. 358.

Emigrant Support Services

 363. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will raise with ministerial colleagues the issue of the loss of entitlements of returning Irish emigrants, for example the entitlement to free third level fees, if they have been out of the country for more than a certain number of years; if he will seek a relaxation of these rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47056/14]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan My Department is committed to supporting those Irish emigrants around the world who left Ireland and want to come home.

We are already aware of a number of barriers to return for those emigrants such as the recognition of driving licenses. My colleague, Minister of State Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Minister Deenihan T.D., recently convened an interdepartmental meeting to discuss these issues and seek solutions where possible.

While it may not be possible to fix all of the problems faced by returning emigrants, through the interdepartmental committee we now have a forum to work with other Departments and agencies to minimise the difficulties arising. This process will be ongoing.

I welcome the announcement by the then Minister for Education and Skills in March of this year that the children of Irish emigrants, who have spent 5 years in primary or post-primary school in Ireland, will qualify for EU level fees at Irish Universities and third level institutions for undergraduate courses.

EU Issues

 364. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will report on when the EU Georgia association agreement will be ratified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47149/14]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I plan to arrange for ratification of the EU Association Agreement with Georgia in the coming months, together with the Association Agreements with the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine respectively. My Department is currently completing the necessary internal preparatory procedures for this purpose.

  In accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution, the prior approval of this House is required for the terms of these Association Agreements before they can be ratified on behalf of the State.

  The Government has authorised me to move motions in this House seeking approval of the terms of these three Agreements and I hope to do so early next year. Subject to the approval of this House, my Department would take the subsequent technical steps to complete the ratification process for all three Agreements as soon as practicable thereafter.

Citizenship Applications

 365. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a person who was born in South Africa and who wishes to come here to work as a professional may apply for an Irish passport on the basis of an Irish great grandparent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47160/14]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Entitlement to Irish citizenship is based on the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 to 2004. Under the legislation, the basic requirement for obtaining citizenship by descent, through Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) is that one of the applicant’s parents was an Irish citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth.

  An application for Irish citizenship through FBR can be submitted by any person with a grandparent born in any part of Ireland or by any person whose parent received Irish citizenship or was deemed to be an Irish citizen prior to the birth of the applicant. The parent could have obtained Irish citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration, Naturalisation, Post-nuptial Citizenship or Adoption.

  However, if a person had a great grandparent born in Ireland and their parent through whom they wish to obtain citizenship had not themselves registered as an Irish citizen, then that person is not entitled to apply.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 366. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974.  [47287/14]

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Tacaíonn mo Roinn leis na céimeanna a d’fhaobh an Rialtas chun tacú le h-inniúlacht na Gaeilge sa státseirbhís, agus tá sí tiomanta do sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sholáthar agus freagraí a thabhairt ar comhfhreagairt trí Ghaeilge nuair atá sé de dhíth. Cuireadh iniúchadh scileanna i gcrích i 2012 a thaispeáin go bhfuil scileanna Gaeilge ar chaighdeán líofa nó ardleibhéal ag 55 oifigeach i mo Roinn, agus dhearbhaigh 160 oifigeach eile go bhfuil scileanna Gaeilge acu ar chaighdeán idirmheánach; is é seo timpeall ar 20% den fhoireann bhuan ag ceanncheathrú na Roinne.

Cuirtear ranganna Gaeilge ar fáil go rialta go h-inmheánach i mo Roinn agus, ó 2010 go 2014, chláraigh 200 oifigeach chun freastal ar na ranganna seo. Spreagtar oifigigh na Roinne chun a scileanna Gaeilge a fhorbairt ina n-am féin agus tá mo Roinn sásta chun tacú le agus maoiniú a thabhairt do na h-iarrachtaí seo.

Níl figiúirí comparáide ar fáil.


Last Updated: 24/04/2020 15:38:43 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page