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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 618-632
 Header Item Insurance Costs
 Header Item Personal Injury Claims
 Header Item Social Media Regulation
 Header Item Social Media Regulation
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Youth Diversion Projects
 Header Item Student Visas
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Occupational Therapy
 Header Item Protected Disclosures
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Commissions of Investigation
 Header Item Income Inequality
 Header Item Health Products Regulatory Authority

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 618-632

Insurance Costs

 618. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee her plans to revise legislation on the duty of care or negligence in the context of the ongoing insurance crisis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28852/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Programme for Government contains a commitment to consider changes to the Occupiers' Liability Act and the Civil Liability Act (duty of care) to strengthen waivers and notices to increase protections for consumers, businesses, sporting clubs and community groups. As an initial step in the process, my Department is examining international practice in the area of occupiers’ liability with a view to presenting possible options by the end of this year.

Insurance reform is a key priority for this Government as evidenced by the commitments on the issue contained in the Programme for Government. A Sub Group of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment has been established specifically to address insurance issues and this group held its first meeting on 30 September 2020.

Personal Injury Claims

 619. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee her plans to implement the findings of the Law Reform Commission report Capping Damages in Personal Injuries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28853/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Law Reform Commission Report on Capping Damages in Personal Injuries which was published last Wednesday (30 September), considers whether it would be constitutionally permissible to legislate for capping general damages in personal injuries cases. It concludes that two possible legislative models – the current Judicial Council Act 2019 model and another based on Australian and English legislation – could be constitutionally permissible. The Deputy will appreciate that this is a complex area of law and my Department is currently assessing the LRC Report with a view to presenting options for progress to the Government by the end of the year.

Insurance reform is a key priority for this Government. A Sub Group of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment has been established specifically to address insurance issues; this group held its first meeting on 30 September 2020.

Social Media Regulation

 620. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee her plans to make social media companies accountable in Irish law for false, misleading and defamatory publications on social media platforms; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28854/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee In relation to defamatory publications, my Department is currently completing a review of the Defamation Act 2009. This review is included in the Programme for Government, which contains a commitment (p. 122) to ‘review and reform defamation laws to ensure a balanced approach to the right to freedom of expression, the right to protection of good name and reputation, and the right of access to justice’.

I expect to receive the report of the review, with options for change, in the coming weeks, with a view to bringing proposals for legislative change to Government for approval before the end of the year. The Defamation (Amendment) Bill is included in the Government’s Legislation Programme, which was published on 15 September.

The Review is addressing the wide range of issues raised in submissions made to it, including how to tackle effectively the new and specific problems raised by online defamation.

The objective set for the defamation review from the outset was to ensure that our defamation law strikes the correct balance between rights which are protected by our Constitution and by the European Convention on Human Rights – the individual’s right to their good name and privacy, and the right to freedom of expression, taking account of the vital role played by a free and independent press in our democracy.

It is a priority for me and for my Department to get the reform of defamation law right, and to bring forward the required legislation at the earliest opportunity.

My Department does not have a role in relation to the regulation of false and misleading information more generally on social media platforms.

Social Media Regulation

 621. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee her plans to provide greater powers to gardaí to access information in relation to false, misleading and defamatory publications on social media platforms and prosecute if and when the need arises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28855/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I can inform the Deputy that the new Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to reviewing and reforming defamation laws, to ensure a balanced approach to the right to freedom of expression, the right to protection of good name and reputation, and the right of access to justice.

  In relation to defamatory publications, my Department is currently completing a review of the Defamation Act 2009. I expect to receive the report of the review in the coming weeks, with a view to bringing further proposals for legislative change to Government for approval before the end of the year.

  The Review is addressing the wide range of issues raised in submissions made to it, including how to address the new and specific problems raised by online defamation.

  The objective set for the defamation review from the outset was to ensure that our defamation law strikes the correct balance between rights which are protected by our Constitution and by the European Convention on Human Rights – the individual’s right to their good name and privacy, and the right to freedom of expression, taking account of the vital role played by a free and independent press in our democracy.

  The Deputy may also be aware that with respect to the regulation of false and misleading information more generally on social media platforms, my colleague, the Minister for Media, Catherine Martin TD, will be bringing forward the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill. The General Scheme of the proposed Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill was approved by Government on 9 January 2020 and subsequently published. Among other things, the proposed Bill provides for the creation of a regulatory framework for online safety, which will be overseen by an Online Safety Commissioner as part of a wider Media Commission.

Garda Deployment

 622. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the breakdown of population numbers to each Garda for every county here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28856/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is, by law, responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and decisions on the deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

  The allocation and transfer of Garda Personnel is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, including welfare issues. When allocations are taking place, comprehensive consultation is carried out with Local Management during which all factors are taken into consideration. Where a deficiency in resources is identified the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.

  The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2020 of €1.88 billion. This level of investment is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff and as a result, An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. There are now over 14,600 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 3,000 Garda staff. Taken together, this increase in the number of Garda members and staff is delivering a significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide.

  I am advised by the Garda authorities that the resourcing of each Garda region and division is fully considered within the overall context of the needs and requirements of Garda regions throughout the country. Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

  The following table, furnished to me by the Garda authorities, shows the ratio of total Gardaí per population in all Divisions.

- Garda Strength 31/08/2020 Ratio - 1 member per Population CSO 2016 figures
CAVAN/ MONAGHAN 389 354 137,562
CLARE 312 381 118,817
CORK TOTAL (City, North, West) 1384 392 542,868
DMR Total (North, N Central, South, S Central, East, West) 4059 332 1,347,359
DONEGAL 464 343 159,192
GALWAY 625 413 258,058
KERRY 351 421 147,707
KILDARE 418 532 222,504
KILKENNY/ CARLOW 344 454 156,164
LAOIS/ OFFALY 387 420 162,658
LIMERICK 599 325 194,899
LOUTH 389 331 128,884
MAYO 342 382 130,507
MEATH 336 580 195,044
ROSCOMMON/ LONGFORD 319 330 105,417
SLIGO/ LEITRIM 309 316 97,579
TIPPERARY 406 393 159,553
WATERFORD 373 311 116,176
WESTMEATH 275 323 88,770
WEXFORD 335 447 149,722
WICKLOW 315 452 142,425
Total Operational Divisions Strength 12731 374 4,761,865
Headquarters, College & National/Specialist units 1897 2510 4,761,865
TOTAL STRENGTH 14628 326 4,761,865

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

 623. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the funding provided under the Garda youth diversion scheme in the past two years; the amount provided to each project during the period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28867/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I am very conscious of how the impact of anti-social behaviour affects the quality of life for local communities. Preventing children getting involved in criminality and diverting children away from it when they have already become involved is a key priority for me as Minister for Justice and the Programme for Government contains a number of commitments with regard to tackling anti-social behaviour.

  I am informed that currently there are 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects. The intention is to further develop this service so that it is available to every child in the State who could benefit from it, through an ongoing expansion of existing services and the foundation of new projects where necessary.

  I am further informed that the projects are being developed to provide family support to the parents of young people participating in the projects, and are undertaking early intervention and preventative work. The role of the projects in relation to harder-to-engage young people is being enhanced and extended as part of the evolving Youth Justice system.

  The Department is supporting the ongoing development of practice in Garda Youth Diversion Projects through the Action Research Project led by the University of Limerick. The Action Research Project works directly with front-line Youth Justice Workers from local projects to develop interventions and best practice. Based on initial outcomes from the Action Research Project, and evaluations of a number of pilot projects, it is intended to develop proposals to expand the existing services. This would ensure national coverage and a stronger focus on difficult issues such as the hard-to-reach cohort.

  These issues are addressed in the draft Youth Justice Strategy 2020-2026, which is due to be published in Q4 2020.

  Details of the funding allocations sought for the Garda Youth Diversion Projects are set out in the following table.

Garda Youth Diversion Project Community Based Organisation County Garda District Total Funding 2019 Total Funding 2020 Overall Total
ABLE Foróige Dublin Clondalkin €139,587.00 €141,110.00 €280,697.00
ACORN Midlands Regional Youth Service Offaly Tullamore €148,723.00 €146,582.00 €295,305.00
ALF Midlands Regional Youth Service Westmeath Athlone €119,550.00 €127,055.00 €246,605.00
APT Foróige Dublin Tallaght €104,966.00 €108,599.00 €213,565.00
ATHY Extern Ireland Kildare Kildare €117,643.00 €115,876.00 €233,519.00
BALL Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Waterford Waterford €124,240.00 €123,439.00 €247,679.00
BÁN Foróige Galway Mill St €140,740.00 €147,065.00 €287,805.00
BANDON YOUTH Foróige Cork Bandon €172,354.00 €172,612.00 €344,966.00
BAP Foróige Cork Gurranabraher €143,208.00 €144,646.00 €287,854.00
BEAT Foróige Dublin Blanchardstown €182,704.00 €152,930.00 €335,634.00
BLOCK Foróige Laois Portlaoise €227,146.00 €234,884.00 €462,030.00
BOOST Foróige Dublin Tallaght €112,707.00 €97,840.00 €210,547.00
BOYNE Louth Youth Service Louth Drogheda €122,280.00 €114,110.00 €236,390.00
BRIDGE Kildare Youth Service Kildare Leixlip €145,601.00 €149,638.00 €295,239.00
BRÚ BRU Ltd. Dublin Crumlin €173,236.00 €169,998.00 €343,234.00
BYB (BALLYMUN) Crosscare Dublin Ballymun €230,169.00 €244,038.00 €474,207.00
CABLE Foróige Louth Drogheda €194,192.00 €198,201.00 €392,393.00
CABRA STEP UP Cabra for Youth Dublin Blanchardstown/Fitzgibbon St €162,770.00 €209,952.00 €372,722.00
CASTLE Crosscare Dublin Dun Laoghaire €110,766.00 €115,471.00 €226,237.00
CAVAN 365 Foróige Cavan Cavan €210,781.00 €234,304.00 €445,085.00
CLAY CLAY Ltd Dublin Crumlin €120,425.00 €127,440.00 €247,865.00
CLOYNE MOBILE DIVERSION Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service Cork Mobile €220,643.00 €215,516.00 €436,159.00
CODY Cherry Orchard Equine Centre Dublin Clondalkin €131,066.00 €160,574.00 €291,640.00
COMPASS Ossory Youth Kilkenny Kilkenny €137,230.00 €147,484.00 €284,714.00
CURRAGH NEWBRIDGE Kildare Youth Service Kildare Kildare €124,256.00 €117,353.00 €241,609.00
CYAP North Connaught Youth and Community Service Mayo Castlebar €113,825.00 €114,450.00 €228,275.00
CYD Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Tipperary Clonmel €125,930.00 €123,875.00 €249,805.00
DAN Foróige Dublin Kevin St €103,744.00 €103,543.00 €207,287.00
DAY Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Waterford Dungarvan €108,196.00 €106,490.00 €214,686.00
DEN NENAGH Foróige Tipperary Nenagh €109,535.00 €104,313.00 €213,848.00
DONEGAL DIVISION Foróige Donegal Milford/Letterkenny €375,916.00 €399,717.00 €775,633.00
DONNYCARNEY Donnycarney Youth Project Dublin Santry €121,520.00 €122,500.00 €244,020.00
DOUGLAS WEST Foróige Cork Togher €128,575.00 €130,763.00 €259,338.00
EDGE Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Tipperary Clonmel €163,581.00 €180,555.00 €344,136.00
EFFORT Crosscare Dublin Blanchardstown €123,356.00 €132,246.00 €255,602.00
ENNIS YOUTH Clare Youth Service Clare Ennis €164,988.00 €160,490.00 €325,478.00
EYE Midlands Regional Youth Service Westmeath Mullingar €119,750.00 €123,464.00 €243,214.00
FAN Crosscare Dublin Blanchardstown €255,009.00 €256,615.00 €511,624.00
FAYRE Foróige Cork Mayfield/Gurranabraher €111,260.00 €119,978.00 €231,238.00
FEABHAS Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service Cork Cobh €109,381.00 €109,616.00 €218,997.00
FUSION Midlands Regional Youth Service Offaly Tullamore €111,732.00 €110,305.00 €222,037.00
GAP Foróige Cork Mayfield €177,641.00 €185,503.00 €363,144.00
GRAFT Crosscare Dublin Lucan €121,747.00 €122,693.00 €244,440.00
HAY Foróige Dublin Fitzgibbon St €116,531.00 €278,653.00 €395,184.00
HERON Foróige Cork Togher €103,667.00 €107,959.00 €211,626.00
HIGH VOLTAGE Cox's Demesne Louth Dundalk €127,048.00 €129,475.00 €256,523.00
HUB Carlow Regional Youth Service Carlow Carlow €127,388.00 €125,424.00 €252,812.00
JAY Foróige Dublin Tallaght €180,749.00 €231,237.00 €411,986.00
JETS Crosscare Dublin Coolock €115,254.00 €119,436.00 €234,690.00
JUNCTION Youth Work Ireland Galway Galway Ballinasloe €118,626.00 €121,082.00 €239,708.00
KEEP (FORMERLY KILMORE WEST) Kilmore West Ltd. Dublin Coolock €210,487.00 €227,230.00 €437,717.00
KERRY KEY SERVICE (6 PROJECTS) KDYS Kerry Killarney €773,283.00 €767,000.38 €1,540,283.38
KEY (1+2) Foróige Dublin Tallaght €219,958.00 €206,416.00 €426,374.00
KILRUSH Clare Youth Service Clare Kilrush €118,152.00 €109,417.00 €227,569.00
KNOCKNAHEENY HOLYHILL Foróige LDTF Cork Gurranabraher €107,011.00 €110,985.00 €217,996.00
KRIB Foróige Dublin Kevin St €116,337.00 €117,353.00 €233,690.00
LAB Crosscare Dublin Dun Laoghaire €171,461.00 €175,678.00 €347,139.00
LAR Foróige Meath Ashbourne €116,556.00 €123,609.00 €240,165.00
LEAP Foróige Longford Longford €146,310.00 €246,041.00 €392,351.00
LIBERTIES CLUB SICCDA Dublin Kevin St €114,627.00 €116,974.00 €231,601.00
LIMERICK YOUTH SERVICE Limerick Youth Service Limerick Henry St €463,219.00 €524,061.00 €987,280.00
MALLOW Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service Cork Mallow €112,168.00 €108,377.00 €220,545.00
MAY Foróige Cork Anglesea St €103,729.00 €106,857.00 €210,586.00
MEAS Foróige Galway Mill St €133,709.00 €141,352.00 €275,061.00
MNYP Foróige Monaghan Monaghan €134,809.00 €134,631.00 €269,440.00
MOST Bradóg Youth Service Dublin Fitzgibbon St €188,742.00 €293,867.00 €482,609.00
MOYROSS/CCYDG Moyross Youth Development Company Limerick Henry St €200,000.00 €207,730.00 €407,730.00
NAAS Extern Ireland Kildare Naas €122,308.00 €121,315.00 €243,623.00
NEW DIRECTIONS Crosscare Wicklow Bray €113,105.00 €116,606.00 €229,711.00
NICKOL Belvedere Youth Club Dublin Store Street €47,092.58   €47,092.58
NORTH BAY Extern Ireland Dublin Balbrigan €114,713.00 €116,801.00 €231,514.00
NORTH FINGAL Foróige Dublin Balbrigan €162,368.00 €167,690.00 €330,058.00
NYDP Foróige Meath Navan €167,564.00 €170,300.00 €337,864.00
ORB Foróige Dublin Blanchardstown €108,813.00 €102,634.00 €211,447.00
PACT Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Waterford Waterford €116,730.00 €113,056.00 €229,786.00
PORT Foróige Laois Portlaoise €111,519.00 €113,788.00 €225,307.00
RAD Foróige Roscommon Roscommon €124,331.00 €121,729.00 €246,060.00
RATHKEALE Foróige Limerick Newcastlewest €149,416.00 €165,047.00 €314,463.00
RAY NTLP Tipperary Templemore €148,230.00 €166,193.00 €314,423.00
SAFE FAB CDP Wexford Wexford €121,736.00 €123,900.00 €245,636.00
SAY Crosscare Dublin Blackrock €123,546.00 €126,454.00 €250,000.00
SLANEY Ferns Diocesan Youth Service Wexford Enniscorty €124,740.00 €125,098.00 €249,838.00
SMART Crann Support Group Meath Trim €190,528.00 €199,883.00 €390,411.00
SOUTHSIDE YOUTH INITIATIVE Extern Ireland Limerick Henry St €207,789.00 €211,480.00 €419,269.00
SUB Foróige Offaly Birr €131,101.00 €136,572.00 €267,673.00
SWAN Swan Youth service Dublin Store Street €136,053.00 €137,632.00 €273,685.00
SWAY Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Waterford Waterford €109,090.00 €112,418.00 €221,508.00
SWIFT Crosscare Dublin Clondalkin €115,534.00 €120,985.00 €236,519.00
TACT Foróige Cork Togher €115,955.00 €119,221.00 €235,176.00
TAR Tipperary Regional Youth Service Tipperary Tipperary €106,678.00 €108,235.00 €214,913.00
TEAM Muirhevnamor CYS Louth Dundalk €154,263.00 €160,988.00 €315,251.00
TREO NUA Youth Work Ireland Galway Galway Tuam €110,552.00 €112,396.00 €222,948.00
TREÓIN Youth New Ross Wexford New Ross €103,801.00 €119,794.00 €223,595.00
TYRE Waterford and South Tipperary CYS Waterford Tramore €121,027.00 €114,516.00 €235,543.00
UCAN Crosscare Dublin Lucan €143,832.00 €157,421.00 €301,253.00
VALLEY Crosscare Dublin Lucan €104,366.00 €111,245.00 €215,611.00
WAY Foróige Wicklow Wicklow €133,324.00 €140,483.00 €273,807.00
WEB Foróige Dublin Blanchardstown €168,574.00 €170,945.00 €339,519.00
WEST LIMERICK Foróige Limerick Newcastlewest €108,776.00 €114,908.00 €223,684.00
WOODALE GYDP Sphere 17 RYS Dublin Coolock €140,459.00 €170,941.00 €311,400.00
YAB North Connaught Youth and Community Service Mayo Ballinasloe €120,016.00 €120,641.00 €240,657.00
YAPS North Connaught Youth and Community Service Sligo Sligo €162,050.00 €168,117.00 €330,167.00
YEW Foróige Dublin Tallaght €129,861.00 €133,002.00 €262,863.00
YOUGHAL Foróige Cork Midleton €122,321.00 €127,235.00 €249,556.00
TOTALS       €15,574,651.58 €16,374,346.38 €31,948,997.96

Student Visas

 624. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if the decision taken on 25 September 2020 to limit all students on a stamp 2 will be reconsidered in view of the fact that it restricts students, including graduating students who have submitted dissertations but are awaiting results, to only 20 hours per week of work; if there is a method to permit graduating students permission to work full-time whilst awaiting to avail of the third-level graduate scheme, otherwise known as the 1G visa; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28898/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee In March 2020, as part of the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who hold Stamp 2 permissions and who attended colleges that had physically closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were allowed in those exceptional circumstances to work up to 40 hours a week. This was conditional on the student completing their course online if this service was provided by their college and represented a short term and temporary measure, which has now ended.

From 1 October 2020, the standard criteria applies again. Students holding a valid immigration Stamp 2 permission are permitted work up to 40 hours per week only during the holiday months of June, July, August and September and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. At all other times, students holding Stamp 2 permission are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. There are no current plans to revise this policy.   

  The extension of permissions I announced on 18 September 2020 applies to this group. It will ensure they will be able to remain lawfully in the State and be able to work up to 20 hours per week while awaiting their results.   As soon as colleges issue examination results (which is understood to be later this month in most cases) this will enable graduate students to make an application for a 1G Stamp.

Departmental Staff

 625. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of staff in her Department on sick leave between March and September by month in 2019 and to date 2020; the pay arrangements that exist for staff on sick leave for an extended period of time; the number of sick days accounted for by her Department over the period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28939/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The following table sets out the number of staff on sick leave, the number of sick leave instances and number of sick leave days by month from March to September 2019 and January to September 2020.

  In respect of the pay arrangements in place, in general the Sick Pay scheme provides the following:

  - Full pay for the first 92 days of certified sick leave based on full pay in a 1 year period

  - Followed by half pay for the addition certified sick leave for next 91 days subject to a maximum of 183 days in a rolling 4 year period.

  Further details can be found in Circular 05/2018, Arrangements for Paid Sick Leave.

Month Year No. of Staff on Sick Leave No. of Sick Leave Instances No. of Sick Leave Days
March 2019 192 206 1,265.46
April 2019 189 197 1,278.82
May 2019 194 216 1,392.38
June 2019 163 180 1,289.22
July 2019 183 195 1,464.30
August 2019 200 217 1,651.53
September 2019 210 235 1,507.83
January 2020 311 346 2,083.07
February 2020 264 293 2,007.68
March 2020 167 180 1,878.13
April 2020 53 54 1,056.56
May 2020 40 40 791.37
June 2020 53 56 808.75
July 2020 71 71 1,032.83
August 2020 81 83 1,153.91
September 2020 95 103 1,045.76

Health Services Staff

 626. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of disease control workplace inspectors in the employ of the HSPC; the estimated full year cost of their employment; and the percentage of businesses inspected by them in 2019 and to date in 2020. [28187/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Occupational Therapy

 627. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan Information on Christopher O'Sullivan Zoom on Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if it is necessary to redeploy occupational therapists to Covid-19 testing centres in view of the fact that there is already a waiting list of up to two years after referral for a child to be seen resulting in the child missing out at a crucial time of intervention. [28560/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Protected Disclosures

 628. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the way in which whistleblower accounts will be managed now that a service (details supplied) is to close; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28903/20]

 778. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the cost of the review of a service (details supplied) undertaken in 2019 by the HSE which last week was reported to stakeholders will not be completed beyond a draft report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28900/20]

 779. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the stage at which during the review of a centre (details supplied) the decision was made that the investigators had gone beyond the terms of reference; the reason this was not realised at the regular briefing meetings in view of the fact it was not a legal review; and the legal constraints that prevented the examiners going beyond the terms of reference if they deemed it necessary. [28901/20]

 780. Deputy Gary Gannon Information on Gary Gannon Zoom on Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the Tusla inspection report on a service (details supplied) published online on 14 July 2020 was a factor in the decision-making to close a centre; and the measures taken by the HSE when it was made aware of the findings of the Tusla inspection. [28902/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 and 778 to 780, inclusive, together.

  As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 629. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28080/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

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 National Waiting List Management Policy is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Commissions of Investigation

 630. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly further to Parliamentary Question No. 1171 of 8 September 2020, the status of the investigation; the date of publication of the report; if he will report on his meeting with the Farrelly Commission on 21 September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28081/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Two meetings have been held with the Commission of Investigation (certain matters relative to a disability service in the South East and related matters) on 21st September and 2nd October 2020 to discuss the Farrelly Commission's application for a further extension and the delivery of the Commission's final report. The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, T.D. and I are considering this matter.

I granted the Farrelly Commission an interim extension in July 2020 to allow it to continue its work while the application is being considered.

Income Inequality

 631. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if the inequality in income vis-à-vis a trainee, a child and educational psychologist and a clinical psychologist undertaking a doctorate who receive a starting salary of approximately €33,000 will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28091/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy on this operational matter.

Health Products Regulatory Authority

 632. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason for the delay in providing Spinraza to persons with spinal muscular atrophy type 3 such as a person (details supplied). [28102/20]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter relating to an individual case, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.


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