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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 238-252
 Header Item Misuse of Drugs
 Header Item Speech and Language Therapy
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Ministerial Correspondence
 Header Item Hospital Equipment
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 74 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 238-252

Misuse of Drugs

 238. Deputy Kathleen Funchion Information on Kathleen Funchion Zoom on Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the progress on the regulation of hemp stores in Ireland (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10628/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2016, and the various Regulations and Orders made thereunder, give effect in Ireland to the international conventions on narcotic and psychotropic substances, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. These include:

  - S.I. number 173 of 2017 - Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017

  - S.I. number 174 of 2017 - Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2017

  Cannabis and its derivatives are controlled by virtue of this framework. Under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, cannabis means any part of the plant of the genus cannabis but excludes the following after separation from the rest of the plant

  - the mature stalk and fibre produced from it

  - the seeds

  Any other part of the plant not explicitly excluded under the Act is cannabis for the purposes of the Act.

Speech and Language Therapy

 239. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the steps he will take to reinstate the speech and language therapy service at a facility (details supplied) following the loss of the service to the facility in March 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10650/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

  The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Covid-19 Pandemic

 240. 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 plans being put in place to prepare to allow a greater number of attendees at weddings by summer 2021 at the different levels of public health restrictions that may be in place at the time; and the advice for couples currently planning a summer wedding. [10684/21]

 245. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the time period by which weddings with a minimum of 25 persons in attendance will be allowed take place under the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. [10600/21]

 284. 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 if he expects the public health situation and Government preparations to cater for differing levels of restrictions to allow for an increase in the number of attendees at gatherings such as weddings by summer 2021. [10685/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 240, 245 and 284 together.

  As the Deputy is aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

On 23   February, 2021, the Government published COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/

  At Level 5, 6 guests may attend the wedding and wedding ceremony irrespective of venue. This does not include the persons getting married or persons attending in a professional capacity. The various limits at all levels in the Government's Plan are all designed to reduce the number of households mixing with each other and cut down the virus’s chances of spreading into more homes. It seeks to balance the risks of different types of gatherings against the desire to allow normal activities to proceed in so far as possible.

  As I'm sure the Deputy can appreciate, COVID-19 spreads when individuals and groups come into close contact with one another, enabling the virus to move from one person to another. COVID-19 is infectious in a person with no symptoms, or for the period of time before they develop symptoms. In certain settings, such as weddings, higher noise levels due to music, can force people into close proximity, requiring them to raise their voices or shout to communicate thus increasing the risk of spreading the virus to others. Under the current public health measures in place for Covid-19 live music is not permitted at weddings.

  It is not possible to say what public health measures will be in place in the future. The public health advice relating to Covid-19 is kept under continuing review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), by my Department and by the Government. The measures in place and the public health advice have been adapted to the changing circumstances and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

  Details of the public health measures currently in place for weddings can be found at:- https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#weddings

  You may also wish to note that Fáilte Ireland has provided guidelines for the hospitality industry which includes guidance on weddings and is available at: - https://failtecdn.azureedge.net/failteireland/Guidelines-for-Re-opening-Hotels-and-Guesthouses.pdf

Covid-19 Pandemic

 241. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy Information on Francis Noel Duffy Zoom on Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if passengers will need to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine if they are returning home permanently having worked in a country listed for mandatory hotel quarantine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10732/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Mandatory home quarantine requirements are currently provided for under SI No. 44/2021. Exemptions from these requirements are in place for categories of travellers including international transport workers, members of An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces travelling who have travelled in the course of their duties and persons who are travelling for unavoidable and time-sensitive medical reasons. It is intended that the Health (Amendment) Bill 2021 will give effect to the Government Decision on mandatory quarantine at designated facilities for persons who have travelled from specified higher risk countries.

The operationalisation of designated quarantine facilities, including the finalisation of primary legislation to underpin these facilities and the procurement of hotels and ancillary services, is being advanced on a cross-departmental basis as a matter of priority.

Ministerial Correspondence

 242. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will address the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10592/21]

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.

Hospital Equipment

 243. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the volume of faulty equipment purchased by the HSE in each of the years 2011 to 2019; the details of the type of equipment; the quantity that was faulty; the value of the faulty equipment; the person or body that supplied the faulty equipment; if they were the manufacturer or an intermediary; if any of the costs were recovered; and the locations that the equipment was destined for, for example, hospital, primary care centre, nursing home or other in tabular form. [10597/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the management of healthcare equipment, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

HSE Staff

 244. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the position regarding the provision of additional health specialist posts (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10599/21]

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.

  Question No. 245 answered with Question No. 240.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 246. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the policy for the communication of extension of Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10602/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly In line with best practice international advice and guidance provided by the WHO and the ECDC, communications has been a cornerstone of the Department of Health and wider Government’s response to COVID-19 from the outset of this pandemic.

While vaccines are being rolled out across the country, the most effective protection from COVID-19 remains the public health measures which asks us to stay and work at home where possible, social distancing, knowing the symptoms, cough/sneeze etiquette, wearing a face covering in shops and on public transport, and self-isolating and getting a test at the first sign of being unwell.

These safe behaviours are the bedrock of my Department and the HSE’s communications programmes. Over the last number of months, my Department and the HSE have, in close collaboration, developed numerous public health information campaigns that covering these behaviours in depth, for radio, TV, digital and print media.

In addition to this, the Department of Health has held press briefings from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure that experts in public health are to the fore when informing the public about the disease’s pattern and progression within Ireland and the restrictions required at any given time to prevent the spread of the disease. This gives journalists from a broad cross section of the media the opportunity to ask key figures such as the Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer questions on a regular and consistent basis, in order to counter the potential spread of misinformation.

In a media relations sense, representatives of the NPHET are also regularly available for media interview across all major media outlets such as RTE, Newstalk and Virgin Media News, to answer questions and provide responses to any concerns posed to them by media or the general public in relation to the pandemic and Ireland’s response to it.

In terms of online resources, each daily press release issued by the Department of Health, specific links are provided to the COVID-19 dashboard, where detailed information on the spread of COVID-19 and key indicators in the community are available. This includes information such as the number of hospitalisations, ICU figures, tests carried out, and information on case numbers given at LEA level.

Consistently, the Department of Health has directed followers on social media to official sources of information, such as the Government website, the COVID-19 Data Hub and the HSE’s website. The HSE also undertakes considerable social media advertising campaigns in order to promote public health guidelines and advice across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

All of this work is supported by regular opinion polling carried out by Amárach. This is published weekly on my Department’s website and shows the commitment to assessing how the general public are feeling, not only about the COVID-19 measures, but on a range of issues related to the pandemic.

Underpinning all of the above activity (in terms of advertising, media relations, digital communications, research and online resources) is the consistent yellow look and feel of the Department of Health and HSE public health advice. The distinctive yellow posters and public health logos were a strategic choice. This branding has become synonymous with trusted public health advice and has been consistently used across all of the above crucial communications work.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 247. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the consultation that was carried out with psychologists and other mental health professionals to develop a communications policy for Covid-19 and the delivery of Covid-19 restriction extensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10603/21]

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

Covid-19 Tests

 248. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if staff at meat factories are the subject of regular Covid-19 tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10609/21]

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.

Disability Services Data

 249. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with a disability nationally seeking HSE-funded residential placements in each of the past five years to date; and the average cost per placement in each of the past five years to date. [10612/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly 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.

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

Disability Services Data

 250. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with a disability in County Meath awaiting a HSE-funded residential placement; and the waiting times for same. [10613/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly 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.

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

Disability Services Data

 251. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with a disability in County Laois awaiting a HSE-funded residential placement; and the waiting times for same.  [10614/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly 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.

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

Disability Services Data

 252. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons with a disability in County Cork awaiting a HSE-funded residential placement; and the waiting times for same.  [10615/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly 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.

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


Last Updated: 26/03/2021 11:51:39 First Page Previous Page Page of 74 Next Page Last Page