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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 829-849
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Departmental Reviews
 Header Item Departmental Communications
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Victim Support Services
 Header Item Commissions of Investigation
 Header Item Stardust Fire
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme
 Header Item Medical Cards
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Assisted Human Reproduction

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 136 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 829-849

Garda Stations

 829. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy Information on Francis Noel Duffy Zoom on Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee  if an assessment will be carried out on the need for the provision of a new Garda station in Tallaght, Dublin 24; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17337/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As the Deputy will be aware the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides that the Garda Commissioner is the accounting officer for An Garda Síochána and is responsibile for the management and the administration of An Garda Síochána, including assessing the accommodation requirements of the Garda organisation. I as Minister have no role in these decisions.

  I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

  The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, which was announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works on 21 October 2015 does not include the development of a new Garda station in Tallaght.

  This programme includes the provision of a Divisional property store (PEMS) at Tallaght Garda Station, for which plans have been agreed with local management. The OPW are currently progressing the plans for this store in conjunction with local management.

  The determination of the need for the development of a new Garda Station in the Tallaght area, or at any other location, will be considered in the context of the overall accommodation requirements arising from the ongoing expansion of the Garda workforce, A Policing Service for Our Future and the implementation of the new Garda Operating Model, which will inform the accommodation priorities of An Garda Síochána over the years 2022-2030.

  The locations to be addressed by way of capital investment will be specified when the Garda Capital Investment Programme 2022-2030 has been finalised and approved.

Ministerial Meetings

 830. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if she will meet with persons (details supplied) to discuss the case of a person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17409/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee My thoughts, and the thoughts of the Government, are with the family and friends of the person concerned at this extremely distressing time, and as they contend with such a profound and tragic loss.

While matters relating to the interests of Irish citizens in other jurisdictions are more properly dealt with by my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I understand that this case is a matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and an investigation is underway. I also understand that a Coroner's investigation is also ongoing. As such, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.

Departmental Reviews

 831. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee when the independent specialist in-depth research study on familicide and domestic homicide reviews will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17414/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee Justice Plan 2021 commits to publishing the independent research study on Familicide and Domestic Homicide Reviews and to outlining the next steps. This work is an important part of our plan to build a justice system that works for everyone. I expect to receive the report of the study in the coming weeks and will subsequently publish it.

This independent study commissioned by my Department is looking at international best practice in the conduct of domestic homicide reviews with a view to making recommendations in relation to their application in this jurisdiction. The study will be a key facet in delivering on this commitment.

Ms Maura Butler, who is a solicitor and has been a member of the Study’s Advisory Group since its establishment, agreed to take responsibility for leading completion of the study, following the sad and untimely death of Norah Gibbons, who was previously responsible. I would emphasise the importance of recognising that the Advisory Group and their work is independent, and my Department is not involved in the work of the study nor is it a member of the Advisory Group.

I look forward to examining the report in detail and I will consider any recommendations made as a priority.

Departmental Communications

 832. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the way in which her Department and agencies under her remit are meeting obligations under the Irish Sign Language Act 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17431/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act 2017 recognises the right of members of the deaf community to use ISL as their native language and to use, develop and preserve it. My Department, which previously had responsibility for disability inclusion policy, was instrumental in the development of the Act and remains committed to its full implementation across all our relevant agencies.

At present, my Department endeavours at all times to provide the necessary access to services required, including ISL, when requested by an individual engaging with, or availing of services from, my Department. I am personally committed to working with officials in my Department and its agencies, in consultation with the NDA, to ensure that we continue to improve our performance in this regard to anticipate and remove any potential impediments or barriers experienced by people with disabilities in their interactions with the Department and across the wider justice sector.

I am informed that the National Disability Authority (NDA) is compiling a report on the operation of the 2017 Act for the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Officials in my Department and agencies are currently in the process of completing a survey in this regard, which I understand is due for return to the NDA this week. My officials have also engaged with colleagues in the agencies under the remit of my Department in relation to this survey, in order to ensure it receives due attention and is completed by all relevant bodies.

Irish Sign Language interpretation facilities are provided through Sign Language Interpretation Services as required for public consultations and events hosted by the Department. The Deputy may also wish to note that Deaf Awareness training has been provided in a number of our agencies and many of our public-facing bodies are engaged in exploring ways to ensure increased access for the deaf community, including remote Irish Sign Language interpretation.

In accordance with Section 26(2) of the Disability Act, the Department has an Access Officer who is responsible for providing, arranging or co-ordinating assistance to people with disabilities who wish to access services provided by the Department of Justice.

Commencement of Legislation

 833. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the details of the Acts falling under her Department which have been signed into law but not commenced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17449/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I wish to advise the Deputy that details of Acts falling under my Department which have been signed into law but have not been commenced yet, for the timeframe of 2015 to-date, are provided in the following table.

Relevant Act Details
Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 Section 177, which amends Section 2 of the Adoptive Leave Act 1995, has not been commenced and will be repealed by the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021.
Civil Debt (Procedures) Act 2015 Whole Act not yet commenced.
Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 Section 32 not yet commenced.
Criminal Justice Act 2017 Sections 2, 4, 7, 11 and 12 are not yet commenced.
Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018 Section 32 is not yet commenced.
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 Section 36 other than insofar as it inserts. Section 14C in the Criminal Evidence Act 1992.

Section 38 not yet commenced.

Section 52 not yet commenced.
Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 Section 30(b)(ii) other than for the Central Criminal Court, the Circuit Court, the Dublin Metropolitan District of the District Court and the District Courts sitting in Districts 1-3, 5-10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 22-25.

Section 30(d) other than for the Central Criminal Court, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and the Dublin Metropolitan District of the District Court.
Data Protection Act 2018 Section 30 is not yet commenced.
Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 Part 9 of the Act falls to be commenced by the Minister for Justice.
Judicial Council Act 2019 In addition to Sections 98 and 99, provisions relating to conduct are also not commenced –

Sections 3, 42, 50, 51, 53-64 incl., 67-84 incl., 86, 88 will be commenced when the conduct guidelines are adopted by the Council (deadline for adoption is 30 June 2022).
Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 The sections of the Act which are partially commenced are: 46, 47, 103 and 201.

The sections of the Act which are not yet commenced are: 100 to 102, 104 to 117, 121, 178 to 180, 196, 199, 217 and 219 to 221.
Parole Act 2019 Whole Act not yet commenced.


  Should the Deputy seek further information any specific Act, please contact my office directly.

  Question No. 834 answered with Question No. 772.

Garda Recruitment

 835. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if changes will be made to the current age limit to enter An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17530/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I can inform the Deputy that an Expert Review Group has been established to examine the issue of Garda Recruitment, Entry Pathways and Recruit Education. This review is a commitment under A Policing Service for our Future, the Government’s Implementation Plan for the recommendations in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Group will examine a variety of matters including the age of recruitment to An Garda Síochána. The Group operates in an advisory capacity and will submit a report to the Garda Commissioner within 12 months.

Victim Support Services

 836. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the status of the mapping exercise which aims to identify the nature, spread and level of services that may be encompassed by the Supporting a Victim's Journey plan, identifying existing gaps and the way to ameliorate them, as outlined by objective 133 in the 2021 Justice action plan; the timeline for the mapping exercise to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17531/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As the Deputy is aware, as part of the recently launched Justice Plan 2021, we have committed to ‘Strengthening community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic sexual and gender based violence’. It commits to placing victims at the centre of our criminal justice system and working to remove the fear that many victims have of coming forward to report what happened to them.

  The Justice Plan 2021 has a number of actions to advance this goal, including the one the Deputy mentions, through the implementation of Supporting a Victims Journey. Supporting a Victims Journey is a detailed roadmap, which, when implemented, will ensure we have a more victim-centred system that supports and empowers victims and gives them the confidence to engage with all services knowing they will be supported, informed and treated with respect and dignity at every point and by every person they come into contact with.

  The mapping exercise that that Deputy refers to, objective 133 in the 2021 Justice Action Plan, is indicative of our commitment to working in partnership with organisations that support victims of crime to ensure the victim’s perspective and voice is at the heart of what we do. Crucially important physical and emotional supports and services are provided by NGOs and the reform and development of these services is being progressed in a spirit of co-design between the State as funder and the voluntary sector as provider.

  We have reviewed our grant schemes for organisations working with victims of crime. We asked each NGO to identify the precise categories of victims they work with, the services they provide and the geographical areas they work in. The funding available increased from some €2m in 2020 to some €4m this year. We have allocated most of the 2021 grant monies, but are still analysing the data to see where gaps remain so we can work to fill those. We are also offering multi-annual funding commitments to those NGOs we work most closely with and where the funding covers staff salaries – in the interest of promoting more sustainable service delivery and planning. These grants cover court accompaniment, accompaniment to Garda interviews and to sexual assault treatment units, emotional support, counselling and referral to other services.

  We are also working with our NGO partners and others to map the journey faced by individual victims to identify issues and support needs not met. The working group leading on this task has met and the NGOs have presented us with a considerable amount of data, which is currently being analysed. When this analysis is complete, the group will reconvene to identify and agree actions to be taken to meet those needs.

  In regard to the Deputy’s question regarding the timeline for this work, it will be published as soon as practicable but I can confirm it is on target to be completed by the end of Q2 2021, as stated in Justice Plan 2021. I am deeply committed to implementing in full all of the recommendations set out in Supporting a Victims Journey and am chairing an Implementation Oversight Group comprising all relevant Departments and Agencies responsible for driving the implementation of the agreed actions.

Commissions of Investigation

 837. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee further to Parliamentary Question No. 673 of 3 March 2021, if she will provide a reply. [17542/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Deputy has requested a tabular breakdown of correspondence received from the Hickson Commission of Investigation.

  My Department is in contact with the Hickson Commission of Investigation on an ongoing basis regarding various administrative supports and requirements such as payment requests, as well as other ad-hoc issues that may arise for the Commission.

  As the Deputy will appreciate, to compile the information in the manner requested would be an extremely resource intensive exercise given the regularity and ongoing nature of communication between my Department and the Commission.

  If the Deputy could indicate the nature of any particular correspondence which is of interest, my Department would be happy to consider such a request.

Stardust Fire

 838. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee when legal aid regulations will be introduced to facilitate the commencement of the Stardust inquiry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17543/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Government is committed to ensuring that the Stardust inquests will proceed as soon as it is safe to do so, having regard to public health guidelines.

Extensive work has already been undertaken towards this end. Government funding of up to €8m has been allocated for the new inquests to cover a number of areas including legal aid for families. A bespoke courtroom has been built for the purpose of the inquest at the RDS and IT facilities developed to ensure that family members will also be able to follow the events remotely when not in the courtroom.

The Legal Aid Board notified my Department very recently that some of the Stardust victims’ families would not qualify for legal aid as they exceed the income limits currently in force by the Legal Aid Board, as required by the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995. Having been made aware of the issue of eligibility, I instructed my officials to commence work on an exceptional solution for the Stardust families, whereby the initial fee will be waived and appropriate legal support will be provided regardless of the means of the families involved.

The new regulations under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995, will be finalised shortly and the Legal Aid Board will review the applications that have been certified by the Coroner immediately. I encourage all of the families to engage with the Legal Aid Board should they wish to receive legal support as soon as possible.

It is the my sincere hope that the inquests will meet the needs of the families involved and it is my expectation that all concerned will play their part in ensuring that the inquests can progress without delay.

  Question No. 839 answered with Question No. 797.

Departmental Expenditure

 840. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the spend for her Department on public procurement disaggregated by spend on goods, services and capital works in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form. [17963/21]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee It has not been possible to collate the information requested by the Deputy within the time allowed. I will write to the Deputy to provide this information as soon as it is available.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 841. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of members of An Garda Síochána who have been infected with Covid-19 by month from March 2020 to 22 March 2021, in tabular form. [16448/21]

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

Vaccination Programme

 842. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if Ireland has explored entering into a vaccine development and production deal with Israel, similar to Denmark and Austria. [16556/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Ireland is taking part in a Procurement Exercise being operated by the European Commission (EC) on behalf of Member States to procure suitable, safe and effective vaccines, in sufficient quantities, to combat COVID-19. Ireland has signalled its solidarity with the EU approach and has, through its participation, gained access to a broad range of vaccines that it might not otherwise have access to, and at the cost agreed collectively by the EU.

The new European bio-defence preparedness plan against COVID-19 variants called “HERA Incubator” will work with researchers, biotech companies, manufacturers and public authorities in the EU and globally to detect new variants, provide incentives to develop new and adapted vaccines, speed up the approval process for these vaccines, and ensure scaling up of manufacturing capacities.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 843. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if kitchen staff in restaurants and takeaways are required to wear face masks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16946/21]

 1082. 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 if the wearing of masks by staff working in the kitchens of restaurants, takeaways and fast food outlets is mandatory; if not, the rationale for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17115/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 843 and 1082 together.

  The public health advice relating to COVID-19 is kept under continuous review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), by my Department and the Government. The NPHET reviews international developments as a component of their overall examination of the evolving epidemiology of Covid-19 and are informed by the international scientific evidence, and guidance by international bodies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). WHO and ECDC guidance is formulated in the context of considered appraisal of the international experience and accumulating scientific evidence in relation to COVID-19.

  Under the current public health measures, a person, without reasonable excuse, must wear a face covering when using public transport, in retail outlets, shops and shopping centres, in other indoor spaces such as libraries, cinemas and cinema complexes, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls, museums, businesses carrying out cosmetic nail care or nail styling, hair care or hair styling, tattoo and piercing services, travel agents and tour operators, laundries and dry cleaners, licensed bookmakers, post offices, credit unions and banks.

  It is mandatory for employees in customer facing roles in food and beverage premises (consumption on the premises) to wear a face covering.

  The use of face coverings by people is recommended in situations where physical distancing may not be possible, such as in crowded workplaces, places of worship and in busy or crowded outdoor spaces where there is significant congregation.

  I would like to draw your attention to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) ‘The Work Safely Protocol’ which incorporates the current public health measures needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community and workplaces. The Protocol is available on www.gov.ie. The HSA is the lead agency in overseeing compliance with the Protocol in the workplace. If employers or employees need further guidance on the Protocol, the HSA Helpline can be contacted at 1890 289 389 or wcu@hsa.ie.

  The relevant Regulations in relation to face coverings which remain in place until 9 June, 2021 can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/.

  The current advice in relation to face coverings is available at https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/face-masks-disposable-gloves.html and http://www.gov.ie/facecoverings/.

Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme

 844. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of the Covid-19 vaccine compensation scheme as announced in Dáil Éireann on 15 December 2020. [17294/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly In June 2018, the Government agreed to the establishment of an Expert Group to review the law of torts and the current systems for the management of clinical negligence claims chaired by High Court Justice Charles Meenan.

The Expert Group examined the system from the perspective of the person who has made the claim to explore if there is a better way to deal effectively yet more sensitively with certain cases. In this process the Group also looked at the impact of tort legislation on the overall patient safety culture and open disclosure. Judge Meenan submitted the final report of the Expert Group on the Reform of the Law of Torts and the Current System for Managing Clinical Negligence Claims to my myself and the Minister of Justice in January 2020, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government subsequently published the Meenan report in December 2020.

One of the report’s recommendations is that a compensation scheme be established to deal with certain vaccine damage claims.

On foot of a request from my Department, the Health Research Board (HRB) carried out an evidence review on vaccine injury redress programmes in other jurisdictions and this was completed in March 2019.

The Expert Group’s report, in addition to the HRB's evidence review, and consultation with other Government Departments and relevant State agencies will inform the development of any proposals regarding the establishment of a compensation scheme, including the need for primary legislation. Work to advance policy development in this regard is underway in my Department.

Medical Cards

 845. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the estimated annual cost of providing discretionary medical cards to all cancer patients at the time of their diagnosis until their treatment has finished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17393/21]

 846. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the estimated annual cost of providing lifelong medical cards to all survivors of childhood or adolescent cancers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17394/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 845 and 846 together.

Under the Health Act 1970 (as amended), eligibility for a medical card is based primarily on means. The Act obliges the HSE to assess whether a person is unable, without undue hardship, to arrange general practitioner services for himself or herself and his or her family, having regard to his or her overall financial position and reasonable expenditure.

However, every effort is made by the HSE, within the framework of the legislation, to support applicants in applying for a medical card and, in particular, to take full account of the difficult circumstances in the case of applicants who may be in excess of the income guidelines. The HSE may exercise discretion and grant a medical card, even though an applicant exceeds the income threshold where they face difficult financial circumstances, such as extra costs arising from, the social and medical impacts of an illness.

The issue of granting medical cards based on having a particular disease or illness was previously examined in 2014 by the HSE Expert Panel on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility. The Group concluded that it was not feasible, desirable, nor ethically justifiable to list medical conditions in priority order for medical card eligibility. In following the Expert Group’s advice, a person’s means remains the main qualifier for a medical card.

However, I also recognise that patients require a responsive and compassionate health system to meet their medical needs, particularly in cases of terminal illness. I am therefore pleased to confirm that the Government recently agreed to introduce an administrative arrangement for up to 12 months on an interim basis, that will enable persons who have been certified by their treating Consultant as having a prognosis of 24 months or less, to be awarded a medical card. These applications will not require a means assessment nor will they be reassessed.

Furthermore, since 2015 medical cards are awarded without the need of a financial assessment to all children under 18 years of age with a diagnosis of cancer, for a period of five years.

With regard to the cost of providing a medical card in the manner sought, this information is not readily available at this time.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 847. 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 clarification will be provided on a matter regarding essential travel and quarantine for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17546/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Health Act 1947 as amended provides that all persons arriving in Ireland from a designated state, or having travelled through a designated state in the previous 14 days, are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility unless they are an exempted traveller under the Act. The full list of exempted travellers is available on gov.ie/quarantine.

The provisions of the Act also allows for travellers to request a review of decisions relating to their quarantine; however this can only be undertaken once quarantine has begun.

Neither I as Minister for Health nor my Department have a role in decisions relating to whether individual persons must enter mandatory quarantine or whether individual persons are exempted travellers. All such decisions are to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Assisted Human Reproduction

 848. 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 position on advancing legislation and policy on assisted human reproduction health matters; the estimated legislative timeline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17717/21]

 849. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when it is expected the assisted human reproduction Bill will be presented to Dáil Eireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16285/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 848 and 849 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, drafting of a bill on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated areas of research, based on the published General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, is ongoing by officials in my Department, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General. I can assure the Deputy that publication of this legislation is a priority for my Department and the Government, and a commitment to enact this legislation is included in the Programme for Government, “Our Shared Future”.

This comprehensive and far-reaching piece of legislation encompasses the regulation, for the first time in Ireland, of a wide range of practices, including: gamete (sperm or egg) and embryo donation for AHR and research; domestic surrogacy; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of embryos; posthumous assisted reproduction; and embryo and stem cell research. The General Scheme also provides for the establishment of an independent regulatory authority for AHR.

Overall, the provisions outlined within the Bill will ensure that AHR practices and related areas of research are conducted in a more consistent and standardised way and with the necessary oversight. The aim of the AHR legislation is to promote and ensure the health and safety of parents and others involved in the process while, most importantly, consideration of the welfare and best interests of children born as a result of AHR is the key principle underpinning all legislative measures in this area.


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