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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 159-178
 Header Item General Practitioner Data
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Hospital Appointments Status
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Organ Donation
 Header Item Addiction Treatment Services
 Header Item Home Help Service Data
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
 Header Item GLAS Payments
 Header Item Tuberculosis Eradication Programme
 Header Item GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
 Header Item Heritage Promotion
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
 Header Item Road Projects Status
 Header Item Insurance Industry Regulation
 Header Item Budget 2018
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 959 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 159-178

General Practitioner Data

 159. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of general practitioners required based on the population of a town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40907/17]

 160. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of general practitioners in each town in County Kildare; the population of each town in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40908/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 159 and 160 together.

  As these questions relate to service matters, I have arranged for the questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Disability Services Provision

 161. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the progress in responding to a number of issues relating to delays in providing services for children with disabilities as outlined by a service provider (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40913/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Deputy may wish to note that I have been in contact with the Health Service Executive concerning the issues raised and as the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have also arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy..

Hospital Appointments Status

 162. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40935/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The scheduling of appointments for patients is a matter for the hospital to which the patient has been referred. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he or she should take the matter up with the consultant and the hospital involved. In relation to the specific case raised, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. .

Hospital Waiting Lists

 163. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the length of public waiting lists for non-essential surgeries (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40984/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families.

Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities. Consequently, Budget 2017 allocated €20 million to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018.

Over recent years activity in acute hospitals has increased, with the total number of discharges of inpatients and daycases rising around 34% between 2006 and 2015. Last year alone there was a 4% increase in inpatient and daycase activity over 2015, and in 2016 1.69 million patients received inpatient or daycase treatment in our hospitals, an increase of almost 40,000 on the previous year.

Clinical need will determine that some patients require care more urgently than others and it is appropriate that patients are prioritised on this basis. However, in order to provide a fair and equitable service, it is also essential that waiting times are reduced by addressing the needs of those patients longest waiting through effective chronological scheduling.

In order to reduce the numbers of long-waiting patients, I asked the HSE to develop Waiting List Action Plans for 2017 in the areas of Inpatient/Daycase, Scoliosis and Outpatient Services. The Inpatient/Daycase Action Plan is being delivered through a combination of normal hospital activity, as well as insourcing and outsourcing initiatives utilising NTPF funding. Under the Inpatient/Daycase Plan, since early February, over 23,800 patients have come off the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List.

The NTPF has advised that to date 5,901 patients have been authorised for treatment in private hospitals under its initiatives, 2,235 patients have accepted an offer of treatment in a private hospital and that 1,112 patients have received their procedure. The NTPF has also indicated that 2,841 patients have been authorised for treatment in public hospitals under the Plan’s insourcing initiatives, 910 offers of treatment have been accepted and 285 patients have been treated.

Under the Oupatient Plan, since early February, more than 84,200 patients have come off the Outpatient Waiting List..

Organ Donation

 164. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on the situation regarding the implementation of a soft opt-out organ donation system; his further views on whether it is a matter of urgency in view of the death rates on organ transplant waiting lists; and if the public consultation process on same as committed to can be expedited [40985/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris In July 2017 the Government approved the preparation of a General Scheme and Heads of a Human Tissue Bill. The General Scheme will include provisions for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation. Under this system, consent will be deemed unless the person has, while alive, registered his/her wish not to become an organ donor after death. However, the next-of-kin will always be consulted prior to removing any organ.

  One of the aims of the legislation is to make organ donation the norm in Ireland when people pass away in circumstances in which donation is a possibility. The introduction of an opt-out system of consent for organ donation will be accompanied by a publicity campaign aimed at raising awareness of organ donation and encouraging discussion among families of the intentions of family members in relation to organ donation.

  A public consultation on the proposed Human Tissue Bill commenced on 28 August 2017. The consultation questionnaire is available online at http://health.gov.ie/consultations and the closing date for submissions is 9 October 2017.

Addiction Treatment Services

 165. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his views on Naltrexone implants as a possible treatment for those persons that suffer from opiate addiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40986/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne I assume the Deputy is referring to Naltrexone implants which block the effects of opiate drugs. Naltrexone implants are not currently licensed in this country.

The HSE has informed the Department of Health that its current Clinical Guidelines for Opioid Substitution acknowledge that Naltrexone may be a useful adjunct to psychosocial treatment for suitably motivated patients, but is not generally recommended where psychological support cannot be secured..

Home Help Service Data

 166. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons that have been approved home help or a home support package but that are on a waiting list to receive either due to a lack of available staff in County Meath. [41003/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Funding

 167. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if an increased budget will be made available to support the volunteering infrastructure; if in this context additional funding will be made available in 2018 for the volunteer centres in counties Longford and Westmeath that have a significant increase in activity in 2017 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41004/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The Department of Health does not directly fund volunteering organisations. Any funding provided would be by the Health Service Executive in the context of Budget 2018 and in the HSE National Service Plan..

Ministerial Responsibilities

 168. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of Ministers of State attached to his Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by him and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40791/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed There is one Minister of State attached to my Department.  Minister Andrew Doyle was appointed on 20 June 2017, with special responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture and has been working in my Department since that date. Minister Doyle’s responsibilities include: the implementation of the 2014-2020 Forestry Programme, delivering on the horticulture actions identified in Food Wise 2025, including capital investment for developments in the sector, support for the Organic sector including the delivery of new capital investment for this sector as part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS II) under the Rural Development Programme.  Other responsibilities include the implementation of the Indecon Report recommendations for the Greyhound sector and exploring the potential for energy crops.

I will shortly be bringing a memo to Government regarding the Delegation of Ministerial Functions to Minister Doyle..

GLAS Payments

 169. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when persons (details supplied) will receive a payment in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40835/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016.

  During the 2016 checking process an issue presented on the computerised crosscheck of Department databases.  Department officials are actively working to resolve this issue with a view to further processing the application for the 2016 payment as soon as possible.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

 170. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed further to Parliamentary Question No. 7 of 30 November 2016, the progress on the development and roll-out of a tuberculosis vaccination programme for badgers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40870/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed As I mentioned in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 7 of 30 November 2016, it is my Department's intention to deploy a full badger vaccination strategy as soon as robust scientific evidence becomes available to demonstrate that such a programme is practicable and will deliver an outcome equivalent to the existing wildlife programme. 

A number of field trials have been taking place throughout the country, involving the vaccination of badgers by intramuscular injection with  the human BCG vaccine. The field trials are now coming to a conclusion and the  preliminary results are currently being evaluated. Based on those results I expect to be in a position to make an announcement on the future role of a badger vaccination programme before the end of the year..

GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme

 171. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the criteria, deadline and other information in respect of the 2017 GLAS farm outbuildings scheme. [40906/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The second tranche of the GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme closed for applications on 18 November 2016.  Grant offers issued to over 80 successful applicants in May 2017 for works to be undertaken this year.

I plan to open a further tranche of this very successful scheme later this year for works to be undertaken in 2018.  The Scheme is administered by the Heritage Council on behalf of my Department and all further information, such as that sought, will be available once the new Tranche has been opened..

Ministerial Responsibilities

 172. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the number of Ministers of State attached to his Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by him and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40794/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten There is one Minister of State attached to my Department.  I have assigned designated powers to Minister of State, Seán Kyne T.D. under Statutory  Instrument No. 314 of 2017, Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order 2017. The designated functions in question relate to:

  - the Natural Resources area including Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Production and Mining,

  - Inland Fisheries and

  - the Geological Survey of Ireland.

  Other responsibilities relating to Digital Development are also being assigned to Minister of State Kyne but they will not involve any statutory functions.

This order was approved by Government on 11 July 2017. A copy of this Statutory Instrument has been forwarded to the Deputy. It can be found at: www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/314/made/en/print.

Heritage Promotion

 173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the degree to which he encourages the creation of historical or heritage journeys in respect of various heritage sites throughout the country in a way similar to the development of the Wild Atlantic Way and other similar initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40932/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin My Department's role in relation to tourism lies in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in the management or development of individual tourism projects, including the development of Experience Brands such as the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East.  These are operational matters for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further information on this matter and for direct reply to the Deputy.  Please contact my private office if a reply has not been received within ten days..

Ministerial Responsibilities

 174. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of Ministers of State attached to his Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by him and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40807/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross There has been no statutory delegation of functions to Minister of State Brendan Griffin.  The Minister of State's functions were assigned on an administrative basis. He was allocated general responsibility for sport, with a focus on:

  - the Sports Capital Programme;

  - the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme;

  - engagement with Sport Ireland, National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships in relation to

  - promoting participation in sport, recreation and physical activity and

  - the promotion of high performance sport;

  - oversight of the National Sports Campus; and

  - engagement with the institutions of the European Union on sport matters, including attendance at the Council of Ministers when significant sports issues are to be discussed and attendance by a Minister is required.

  Minister of State Brendan Griffin also has general responsibility for domestic tourism, with a particular focus on:

  - development of tourism product;

  - domestic tourism marketing;

  - Tourism generating events including festivals, sports, business, and cultural tourism.

  In addition to the allocated responsibilities, Minister of State Brendan Griffin will support the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross, TD, in relation to:

  - Oireachtas business;

  - international commitments;

  - attendance at public events; and

  - other matters as may be required.

Road Projects Status

 175. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if safety proposals for Wards Cross in addition to a traffic survey have been presented to Transport Infrastructure Ireland. [40813/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days..

Insurance Industry Regulation

 176. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the reason there is no legislation forcing insurance companies to disclose claims statistics to show transparency and justify rising costs. [40820/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross This matter falls under the remit of the Minister for Finance as it relates to the collection of claims statistics arising from insurance claims and the legislation governing insurance generally, rather than the specific legislative requirements governing the obligation for motorists to have insurance arising from domestic and international law..

Budget 2018

 177. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he has given consideration to the proposals of an organisation (details supplied) in respect of budget 2018 in view of the critical importance of this sector to the economy and in further view of the adverse impacts of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40889/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I am very aware of the important role of the haulage sector in our economy and I recognise the difficulties it faces in the current climate. My Department has worked with haulage industry representative organisations to assist the industry and we will continue to examine how it may be supported and how the effects of Brexit on the sector may be mitigated. I have met with industry representative organisations and I will be available in the coming months for further meetings. My officials and I are mindful of the budget proposals submitted by the Irish Road Haulage Association; however, it should be pointed out that any such budgetary provisions are ultimately a matter for the Minister for Finance..

Ministerial Responsibilities

 178. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of Ministers of State attached to her Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by her and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40793/17]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone There are no Ministers of State assigned to my Department.


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