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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 156-170
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs Availability
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Disabilities Assessments
 Header Item Disabilities Assessments
 Header Item Health Services Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Medical Card Eligibility
 Header Item Primary Care Centres
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Health Services Staff Sick Leave
 Header Item Medical Card Data
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Bord na gCon Expenditure
 Header Item EU Meetings
 Header Item Common Agricultural Policy Reform
 Header Item Social Farming

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 988 No. 8

First Page Previous Page Page of 56 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 156-170

Medical Card Drugs Availability

 156. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45917/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the particular issue raised relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

 157. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the availability of a full medical card in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45955/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Disabilities Assessments

 158. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when an assessment in respect of dyslexia will be arranged in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45956/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disabilities Assessments

 159. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when an assessment of educational needs and support will be carried out in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45958/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services Staff Recruitment

 160. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when the psychologist post in Kilcock, County Kildare, is likely to be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45960/19]

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.

Medical Card Eligibility

 161. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding the availability of a full medical card in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45963/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Primary Care Centres

 162. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when approval will be given to a successful tender to alleviate parking problems at the primary care centre, Harbour Street, Mullingar, County Westmeath. [45974/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

Home Help Service Provision

 163. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris when additional home help hours will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45977/19]

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.

Health Services Staff Sick Leave

 164. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the position regarding section 39 payments relating to funding for cover for sick leave and maternity benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45979/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Data

 165. Deputy Stephen Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the details of figures he provided at his budget 2020 press conference for the cost in 2020 of the changes to the income limits for the over 70s medical card announced in the budget; and the estimated full-year cost of the measure. [46001/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris As announced in Budget 2020, medical card gross income limits for those over 70 will be increased to €550 per week for a single person aged over 70 (currently €500 per week) and to €1050 for a couple aged over 70 (currently €900 per week) and will apply from July 2020.

The cost of this measure will be dependent on a number of factors, including the number of additional applications made to the HSE, the timescale within which these are made and the number of applicants who are deemed eligible. Funding in respect of the measure has been provided for within the Budget 2020 package of family friendly measures, which amounts to €45m in total.

Beef Industry

 166. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the status of the provision of an independent sectoral regulator in the beef and retail sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45798/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Directive (EU) 2019/633 on Unfair Trading Practices in Business-to-Business Relationships in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain (UTP Directive), came into force on 30 April 2019. EU Law requires that the Directive must be transposed into national law by 1 May 2021 and will apply in national law no later than from 1 November 2021.

  The UTP Directive requires the establishment of an Enforcement Authority, which can be a new or existing authority, to discharge the duties of the UTP Directive.

  A working group established between officials from my Department and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) in April this year continues to work to explore the policy, resource and operational implications of transposing and enforcing the Directive.

  My Department has issued a public consultation on the transposition of the Directive, and I would urge all interested parties to make their views known before the consultation deadline of 13 December:

  https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/customerservice/publicconsultations/.

Bord na gCon Expenditure

 167. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when the new care fund of Bord na gCon was set up; the initiatives and programmes the new fund will cover; the amount spent on each initiative and programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45858/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon (BnG) is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  In August 2019, BnG announced the establishment of a separate Care Fund dedicated to funding a variety of initiatives for the care and welfare of the greyhound, including:

  - Various rehoming initiatives in conjunction with the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT), established and operated by BnG, which assisted in the rehoming of over 1,000 greyhounds in 2018, including:

  - An increase in financial support to private rehoming agencies for the rehoming of retired racing greyhounds in Ireland. Rehoming agencies will now be offered an additional €100 per retired greyhound rehomed in Ireland to encourage and further facilitate domestic rehomings. This support assists with the veterinary costs involved in preparing a retired greyhound for rehoming.

  - A partnership initiative is at an advanced stage of discussion between the IRGT and Greyhound Pets of America (GPA). It is expected that on successful conclusion of these negotiations, some 300 retired Irish greyhounds will be rehomed in the US in the first year of the arrangement alone. An initial transportation to Boston took place during September 2019, with the Atlanta branch of the GPA taking seven greyhounds during October 2019. Work is underway to build the initiative with further branches.

  - The provision and upkeep of ‘greyhound care centres’, which are intended to help the transition of racing greyhounds from the track to retirement. BnG is currently considering some 16 tender submissions.

  - The “Injuries at Tracks Recovery Scheme”, open to all owners and trainers who have incurred veterinary costs in the treatment of greyhounds to repair a career-ending orthopaedic (bone) injury sustained at a BnG licensed stadium.

  - A racing greyhound traceability system as provided for in the Greyhound Racing Act 2019. When implemented, it will allow the whereabouts of a racing greyhound to be monitored by BnG throughout its life stages. A tender process is expected to commence within the next two weeks.

  Funding for the Care Fund is accrued from the following sources:

  - 50% of all existing sponsorships. Bord na gCon has undertaken to continue to match existing prize money structures on existing sponsorships.

  - 10% of all admissions

  - 10% of all restaurant packages

  - 5% of net tote profits

  In preparing its budget for 2020, Bord na gCon has estimated that a sum of €750,000 will be generated for the Care Fund. This combined with the funding generated in the latter part of 2019 will ensure a dedicated fund in excess of €1 million for care and welfare initiatives.

EU Meetings

 168. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the status of discussions at the most recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting regarding CAP proposals post 2020, national strategic plans, environmental measures being considered, distribution of payments, transitional proposals being considered and discussions on EU MFF proposals. [45861/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed At the most recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council which took place in Luxembourg on 14-15 October 2019, the Finnish Presidency presented a ‘state-of-play’ on discussions of the CAP post-2020 reform package, where my Ministerial colleagues and I exchanged views on the key issues that are deemed to require further consideration.  

One such issue is the proposed new delivery model for Member States' CAP Strategic Plans. I have previously stated that I am open to working with the new delivery model, and I welcome the move to a more strategic, performance-based approach. However, this new framework must be based on a system which achieves simplification for all.

I also firmly support the principle that there must be a high level of environmental ambition in the CAP post-2020, and I believe that the economic development of the agri-food sector goes hand-in-hand with the need for environmental sustainability. However, it is essential that the proposed new environmental conditionality is implemented effectively, with common standards that are relevant and effective. It is also important that the overall level of the budget acknowledges the public goods being delivered by farmers.

Negotiations on the MFF proposals are running in parallel to the CAP post-2020 negotiations. Agreement requires unanimity at the EU Council and it is important to note that funding for the CAP is outside the remit of Agriculture Ministers. There are diverging views amongst Member States on the appropriate level for the budget, and further discussion is required before agreement can be achieved.

In this context, I have been working with my European counterparts to raise awareness and build consensus around maintaining a strong CAP budget post 2020:-

- In May 2018, I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid, calling for the CAP budget to be retained at current levels for the EU 27 post-2020. The memorandum has been supported by up to 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers.

- I have consistently called for an adequate CAP budget to meet the increasing demands being placed on farmers, particularly in achieving greater climate ambition. I have held multiple bilateral meetings with my European colleagues and have also raised the matter on several occasions with Commissioner Hogan.

- At the most recent Agri-fish Council in October, I joined with 16 Ministers from a number of EU Member States to reiterate the call for the CAP budget to be maintained post-2020, to meet the new challenges faced by European agriculture.

I also called for the urgent consideration of transitional measures as I consider that there is an obligation to provide a smooth path between the current CAP and the new CAP. I am pleased to see that the Commission has very recently published their proposals for transitional measures, and my Department officials are currently analysing the details with a view to feeding into upcoming discussions.

I will continue to work with my European counterparts to ensure the best possible outcome for Irish farmers from the CAP post-2020 negotiation process.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

 169. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if CAP transition measures (details supplied) proposed by the European Commission would result in cuts to direct payments in October 2020 and cuts in farm schemes under pillar 2 to farmers here; and the process involved for the decision to become final. [45862/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed On 31 October, the Commission presented two proposals to provide for transitional regulations to bridge the period between the current CAP programming period (2014-2020) and the CAP post-2020 (2021-2027). Such transitional measures are normal between programming periods where a gap arises due to a delay finalising the new EU Budget and CAP regulations.

The proposals provide for a one-year transition period in 2021. Funding arrangements for transition are based on the Commission’s proposals for the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework. My officials are currently examining the proposals, which will be discussed in Brussels in the coming months and are to be agreed with the European Parliament.

It is important to note that the existing rules and financial arrangements for CAP, including the EU Budget allocations for the period 2014-2020, will apply for 2020, as set out in the relevant CAP regulations for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2.

My key priority remains to continue to press for agreement on the CAP reform proposals and on the maintenance of the CAP budget as part of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework.

Since the launch of the proposals on the Multiannual Financial Framework, I have worked closely with other Agriculture Ministers to seek to maintain the level of CAP funding for the EU 27 and to reverse the cuts. From the start of this process, I joined with my colleagues in Madrid in May 2018 and together with France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Finland signed a Memorandum to call for the maintenance of the CAP budget. Work on this initiative has continued and, most recently, at the October Agrifish Council, I again joined with my colleagues across Europe when 17 Member States joined a declaration seeking to maintain CAP funding in the period post-2020. I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight for a strong CAP budget.

Social Farming

 170. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if he will report on social farming here; the funding breakdown between Exchequer and EU sources; and the 2019 and 2020 allocations. [45863/19]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Social farming is the practice of offering, on a voluntary basis, farming and horticultural participation in a farming environment as a choice to people who avail of a range of therapeutic day support services. A number of Social Farming initiatives are currently being implemented across the country and contracts for these have recently been extended for a further year with associated funding.

My Department provided an allocation of over €713,000 for Social Farming in 2019 under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund (RIDF). All of this funding is from the Exchequer and is distributed as follows:

- The extension of the Social Farming Network Project with associated funding of €350,000 will allow Leitrim Development Company to continue to develop the network of social farming in Ireland in conjunction with the regional hubs and to progress towards sustainable commissioning arrangements for the provision of Social Farming placements.

- Funding of €119,504 is being provided to Down Syndrome Ireland (Cork Branch) for the “Field of Dreams”, a horticulture centre for adults with Down Syndrome to enable them to participate in meaningful training and to provide “hands-on” horticulture work opportunities in a secure, caring and inspirational environment.

- Funding of €123,000 is being provided to South Kerry Development Partnership to continue to offer a choice to people with disabilities to engage with farm families and the community in meeting their personal development goals.

- Funding of €121,000 is being provided to Leitrim Development Company for the continuation of the delivery of evidence based learning, best practice and policy recommendations which should contribute to the promotion and development of social farming in Ireland.

The 2020 allocations under the Fund have not yet been finalised.


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