Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 4 to 66, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 67 to 74, inclusive, answered orally.

Infectious Diseases.

Alan Shatter

Question:

75 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if 68 patients contracted C. difficile in Beaumont Hospital in the period 1 July 2008 to 31 October 2008; the number of persons who died solely as a consequence of contracting C. difficile; the number of persons who died as a consequence of their condition being complicated by C. difficile; the reason no public warning was issued to prospective patients regarding the extent of the outbreak; the action taken by the hospital to address this problem; if the hospital poses a risk to patients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42176/08]

Every outbreak of a serious infection such as Clostridium difficile is a cause of concern and I would like to express my sympathy to any patient and/or family who has been affected by the outbreak. Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) continue to be a challenge for healthcare systems worldwide. Ireland is not unique in this regard and tackling HCAIs here, including C. difficile, continues to be a priority for the government and for the Health Service Executive (HSE).

I have been informed that, in the period referred to, there were 68 cases of C. difficile in Beaumont Hospital. It is known to have been the primary cause of 3 deaths. Of the 68 patients who tested positive, there were 19 deaths from a variety of causes, not necessarily C. difficile. Of these patients 7 had C. difficile recorded on the death certificate as a contributory cause. In a number of cases the cause of death, including the possible contribution of C. difficile infection, is a matter yet to be determined by the Coroner's Court. It is not possible, therefore to say at this time what role C. difficile played in those deaths.

Effective measures were taken by the hospital and the outbreak was brought under control as quickly as possible. The outbreak control team monitored the situation. The Public Health Section of the HSE was kept fully informed of the incident and the outbreak was managed by Beaumont with strict adherence to the Infection Control Guidelines. All C. difficile symptomatic patients in Beaumont Hospital were isolated and their relatives informed of the infection and advised of suitable precautions to prevent its spread. There has also been a programme of intensive cleaning of wards and restrictions on the use of certain antibiotics that may predispose to the 027 strain of C. difficile.

Beaumont Hospital issued a public statement by way of a widely circulated press release on 16th September in which it gave detailed information on the outbreak. While accepting that not all HCAIs are preventable, I am satisfied that significant steps are being taken to reduce the rates of HCAIs generally and to treat them promptly when they occur. I have every confidence in the Infection Control team working at Beaumont Hospital and in the management of that hospital.

Hospital Services.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

76 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the fact that 756 beds in acute hospitals are inappropriately occupied by patients awaiting post-acute step-down, rehabilitative or long-term care; if one of the main reasons these patients are inappropriately placed is due to home care packages being frozen in certain parts of the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42506/08]

The HSE will provide about 4,600 home care packages in 2008, benefiting some 11,500 people. About 8,700 people are in receipt of home care packages at any one time. Home care packages are a relatively new and innovative development and the number of packages has increased very substantially since 2005. Despite this, the demand for home care packages can still exceed the number of packages that can be provided. As with other services, the HSE has to manage the provision of home care packages within the resources available and other competing service demands. A recent HSE analysis of the delays in patients being discharged from acute hospitals showed that 8 patients were on a waiting list for a home care package and a further 35 patients were having their application for a home care package processed.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

77 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on proposals by a group (details supplied) to treat this illness more effectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42458/08]

Michael Noonan

Question:

88 Deputy Michael Noonan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on recent media reporting of the findings of the COPD report, which state that medical care for people with chronic respiratory disease is haphazard, with inconsistent access to essential services in both the community and in hospitals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42542/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 88 together.

I met with the Asthma Society of Ireland recently to hear their proposals for the development of an asthma management programme in Ireland. The proposals included details of successful international initiatives and how they might be applied in this country. My Department has arranged a meeting to include the HSE and the Asthma Society of Ireland to develop the Society's proposals further.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is currently developing a strategy on Respiratory Disease, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. Work is well advanced on developing a model of care which should reduce the impact of respiratory disease on individuals, their carers and the health system. Currently, there is variation across the country as to how respiratory disease services are provided. The proposed strategy will provide a framework for the delivery of services in line with best international practice to all with respiratory disease regardless of diagnosis or geographic location. The majority of patients with respiratory disease can be managed in primary care, especially if diagnosed early, and the HSE has indicated that the roll-out of Primary Care teams throughout the country will support early diagnosis within the community and primary care setting.

There are a number of examples of effective COPD programmes in Ireland that reflect the management of patients within primary care, hospital care and rehabilitation settings and that emphasise self care and responsibility. Examples of such programmes are to be found at St. James's and Beaumont Hospitals in Dublin, at Cork University Hospital and at Mullingar General Hospital where patients with COPD sustain a better quality of life while reducing hospital admissions. The proposed strategy will build on these initiatives.

Medical Cards.

Joan Burton

Question:

78 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children when she will publish legislation to remove medical cards from over 70 year olds as a matter of right; the position of those who will have a valid card but who are above the income threshold; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42428/08]

I intend to publish legislation to withdraw automatic entitlement to a medical card from persons aged 70 or over as soon as possible and to have it enacted during this Dáil session. The vast majority of people aged 70 or over will still qualify for a medical card. All those with gross incomes of €700 a week in the case of a single person or €1,400 a week in the case of a couple will qualify for a medical card. People whose gross income is above these limits may, depending on their personal circumstances, still qualify for a medical card or a GP visit card under the standard means-testing arrangements. All matters relating to this will be dealt with in the legislation.

Vaccination Programme.

Joe McHugh

Question:

79 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will proceed with the introduction of the cervical cancer vaccination programme in view of the fact that it was recommended by the national immunisation advisory board and the Health Information and Quality Authority, who estimate that 52 deaths per annum could be averted by its use; the reason she is no longer confident that the Health Service Executive could procure this vaccine on a cost effective basis; the reason the figure of €100 per vaccine is costed by HIQA yet newspaper reports indicate a cost of €39 per dose in Portugal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42536/08]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

128 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children when she will introduce the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer for 12 year old girls in a school-based programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42437/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

273 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the opinion of a number of eminent consultants and general practitioners that her recent proposal to defer the cervical cancer vaccination programme for 12 year olds is a retrograde step with serious health implications at a time when great emphasis is placed on early detection and prevention; that a combination of screening and vaccination is essential in a properly co-ordinated programme; that the proposed saving of €10 million is likely to be eroded by more expensive remedial measures in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42783/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

274 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether the best interests of the taxpayer and medical care are best served by meeting restrictive financial targets or dealing with health requirements in the first instance with particular reference to her recent decision to save €10 million by deferring the cervical cancer vaccination programme which will require increased corrective expenditure in due course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42784/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79, 128, 273 and 274 together.

As I have already indicated, I accept fully the expert advice provided to me in support of the introduction of a cervical cancer vaccination programme. However, I also have a responsibility as Minister to consider this and many other competing priorities within the overall resources available to the health services. My immediate responsibility in relation to cervical cancer is to women who have already been exposed to HPV and who may already have precancerous changes or undetected cervical cancer. Vaccination is a long term investment which will deliver improved health outcomes and treatment savings in 15 to 30 years. All of the clinical advice available to me indicates that the national roll-out of a cervical screening programme should be my number one priority. The National Cervical Screening Programme, CervicalCheck, is being implemented with effect from September of this year. The full year cost of this programme is €35m.

In relation to the cost of the vaccine, it is a matter for the Health Service Executive to go through the normal procurement procedures to select an appropriate supplier who can make the vaccine available at the most advantageous price. In its assessment HIQA quoted an estimated figure of €390 per person for the provision of the three-course vaccination programme. The HSE in its report to me estimated the cost at €16m in a full year, assuming purchase cost of the vaccine of €11m and the balance being pay and other administrative costs. The actual purchase price in Ireland can only be established when the HSE has completed the procurement process. I am fully committed to keeping the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme under active review as we proceed to implement the National Cancer Programme.

Hospital Services.

James Bannon

Question:

80 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will request the Health Information and Quality Authority to investigate cancer misdiagnoses in Louth and Meath in view of the fact that information is missing from the report of the review of chest X-rays and CT scans (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42473/08]

James Reilly

Question:

207 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will request the Health Information and Quality Authority to investigate cancer misdiagnoses in Louth and Meath in view of the fact that information is missing from the report of the review of chest X-rays and CT scans (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42895/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 207 together.

I will not be requesting a further investigation into this matter, as I am satisfied that the review just completed was thorough and comprehensive. It is not correct to say that significant pieces of information are missing from the report. The review took the form of a clinical look-back. It was carried out to identify any possible ongoing patient safety issues and to provide reassurance to those patients whose chest X-rays and CT scans were assessed by the consultant concerned. The aim was to identify any ongoing harm or disadvantage to patients and ensure delivery of any additional care or treatment required. It is important to note that all of the patients whose diagnosis was delayed had already been diagnosed with cancer before the review began. No further cases of delayed diagnosis were identified as a result of the review.

The reasons for the delay in carrying out the review are set out in the report. An audit of this nature had never been undertaken in these hospitals, and it took time to identify the appropriate approach and deal with the logistics of what would be required. The issue of missing x-rays is dealt with in the report. The report notes that despite extensive searches 29 out of almost 6,000 X-rays and CT scans could not be found. It outlines how these patients were followed up. In some cases, a subsequent similar radiograph was examined. In the remaining cases, patients were offered new examinations. One person who was not an Irish resident could not be traced from the contact details held by the hospital.

In relation to the 23 barium studies that were reviewed, four were deemed ‘‘incomplete studies'' by the expert reviewing Radiologists. I understand that these patients' tests are now almost concluded and they are receiving the appropriate follow up care as recommended by the external Consultant Gastroenterologist. At the time of publication, the report noted that this work was ongoing. Rather than delay publication of the review, the report indicates that it will be the subject of an addendum publication as soon as possible.

Departmental Bodies.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

81 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details on her decision to dismantle the structure of the Health Service Executive into nine regional health authorities; the advice she has taken on the matter; the reasons for making this change; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42517/08]

The HSE was set up to manage and deliver health and personal social services. One of the core objectives of the health reform programme was to provide clear lines of accountability and to simplify structures. I have made it clear on many occasions that I want to see health and personal care provided to patients on an integrated basis. I have also made it clear to the HSE that there needs to be accountability for performance throughout the system from the ground up. Reform on this scale is a dynamic process. There must be accountability throughout the system to deliver on national policies and standards. This will not happen unless there is real delegation of authority and accountability to regional and local level.

The HSE has informed the Government that it is proposing to put in place a regional model, within the national structure, to drive operational performance and accountability on the ground. It has not yet finalised its proposals for such a model. This is as much about good governance and consistent delivery as structures. It does not mean a dismantling of the existing structure; on the contrary it is about building on the progress to date in reforming the old health board delivery system. It means that, within a national structure, authority for operational performance is delegated to regional level. It means that people at regional level will be accountable for the resources provided and the services delivered at that level. It means better clinical leadership at national and local level. I believe that people working within the system must know what is expected of them and also have the authority to do their jobs properly.

I hope it is clear from what I have said that there will not be any regional authorities or any other autonomous structure within or instead of the HSE. There is ongoing discussion between my Department and the HSE about the planned structural changes. I want to be satisfied that the changes improve operational performance and accountability and that they are compatible with the configuration of other public services at local level.

Health Service Staff.

Joe Carey

Question:

82 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the proposed voluntary retirement scheme for staff of the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42485/08]

Last July the Government decided that a targeted voluntary early retirement/redundancy scheme would be introduced for the HSE. This decision was reaffirmed by the Minister for Finance in his Budget speech on 14 October. The scheme will initially be concentrated on surplus management and administrative staff. This will be extended to other staff. It will apply to staff at corporate HSE and also to staff at hospital and community level. Discussions are currently underway on the development of such a scheme.

The HSE announced plans in July to modify its structures, including merging the existing hospital and community pillars at national and regional level. The purpose of this is to have clear lines of authority and accountability for delivering services to patients from national to local level, and between hospital and community services. Initiatives which will lead to improved efficiencies and the reduction of administrative duplication at all levels of the HSE will be part of the scheme. One such example is a plan to create single unified organisation structures between a number of hospitals. The aim of this model is to ensure that health service delivery is planned and organised on the basis of a single entity thus optimising the use of resources, streamlining decision making, harvesting the benefits of critical mass and avoiding wasteful duplication.

It makes sense that if two hospitals are going to operate as a unified entity then they do not need duplication of payroll, personnel, IT offices and many other backroom services. This will lead to efficiencies of between 10% — 20% in administration costs. Similar initiatives at community level will also lead to equivalent efficiencies. As we continue to bring together services through primary care teams, this provides an opportunity to reduce levels of administration and to facilitate more clinician to clinician engagement regarding the care of patients. I support the rationale for this model of shared services and believe it is very much in line with the Health Reform Programme.

Hospital Services.

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

83 Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the concerns raised by the Irish Cancer Society that average waiting times for colonoscopies could be seven to nine months and that more recent media reporting shows that more than 240 patients are waiting longer than a year for a colonoscopy test; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42498/08]

Joan Burton

Question:

101 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to address the long waiting times for public patients to have colonoscopies in various hospitals around the country; if she will treat this issue as a matter of priority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42427/08]

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

206 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans she has to address the long waiting times for public patients to have colonoscopies in various hospitals around the country; if she will treat this issue as a matter of priority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42596/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83, 101 and 206 together.

Patients who require colonoscopies are prioritised on the basis of information about their symptoms provided by their GP. Those where cancer is suspected are dealt with on an urgent basis. Accordingly, longer waiting times apply only to patients in which an urgent clinical need has not been identified by their GP. Waiting times for colonoscopies have improved in the last 12 months but I accept there is need for further improvement. In the year to November 2008, there has been a reduction of two thirds in the number of patients waiting for longer than 12 months, and a 31% reduction in the overall number of patients waiting longer than 3 months. The pattern of lengthy waiting times is confined to a small number of hospitals.

I have discussed this with the CEO of the HSE who last week instructed all hospitals where patients are waiting over 3 months for a colonoscopy to refer these patients to the National Treatment Purchase Fund. The NTPF has said that it will quickly arrange colonoscopies for patients who are referred to them. I expect to see a substantial improvement over a short period of time.

Mental Health Services.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

84 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has reconsidered the decision to move the Central Mental Hospital to Thornton Hall in view of the opposition to such a move; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42457/08]

In May 2006 the Government approved the development of a new national forensic mental health facility at Thornton Hall, Co. Dublin. The decision was taken in light of the recommendation of the Project Team, that the hospital be relocated to a new purpose built facility in the greater Dublin area, and with regard to the lack of appropriate alternative sites in the Dublin area. The Project Team to progress the re-development of the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) was established in 2003 by the then Minister for Health and Children, and comprised a broad range of stakeholders including the Department of Health and Children, the Health Boards, the National Development Finance Agency, the Irish Prison Service, the Clinical Director and other staff of the CMH, and was chaired by the then East Coast Area Health Board.

While I am aware that concerns have now arisen regarding the proximity of the hospital to the prison, the position is that the redevelopment of the CMH will constitute a separate capital development project, independent of the prison complex to replace Mountjoy, and will be owned and managed by the Health Service Executive. The new hospital will be built on its own campus and will retain its identity as a distinct therapeutic health facility with a separate entrance and address to the prison complex. The new hospital facility will provide a therapeutic, forensic psychiatric service to the highest international standards, in a modern, purpose built building.

The decision to relocate the hospital is consistent with "A Vision for Change" — the report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, which recommends that the CMH should be replaced or remodelled to allow it to provide care and treatment in a modern, up-to-date humane setting and that capacity should be maximised. In the circumstances there are no proposals to revisit the Government Decision of May 2006.

Medical Cards.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

85 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the projected annual administration costs for the new medical card system in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42167/08]

The Health Service Executive has advised my Department that it does not envisage any significant additional annual administration costs for the revised arrangements for eligibility to a medical card for persons aged 70 and over.

Care of the Elderly.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

86 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the way she expects the resource capping of the new nursing home scheme, currently under consideration in the Houses of Oireachtas, will be applied; the position of those who qualify for the scheme but for whom there are no resources; if their rights under the Health Act 1970 will prevail in such circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42453/08]

The existing requirement on the HSE, under the 1970 Health Act as amended, to make available long-term residential care is subject to the overall resources available to the HSE. The new Scheme will also incorporate a resource limit. However, establishing a dedicated and transparent funding stream for the new Scheme will have a number of benefits. The Government will have the opportunity each year to allocate whatever resources it considers appropriate to meet the needs of applicants under the Scheme. It will ensure there is an incentive to seek value for the taxpayer when agreeing prices for nursing home places in both public and private nursing homes. It will highlight the need to avoid inappropriate admissions to long-term care and the importance in that context of continuing to develop and fund alternative community- based support services. It will also allow us to plan better for the long-term care demographic costs facing us as a society.

The resource limit could give rise to waiting lists in a given year but this is also the case with the existing system. The HSE is establishing a central Nursing Home Support Scheme Unit to manage funding for the Scheme and to maintain a national waiting list, if and as necessary. Individuals may also have to wait for a nursing home place for other reasons, for example because they want a particular nursing home or need a particular level or type of care and a suitable bed is not immediately available. The new Nursing Homes Support Scheme will, for the first time, make the arrangements governing financial support for people who need long-term care clear, comprehensive and coherent.

Hospital Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

87 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received a report from the Health Service Executive on contingency plans for the removal of all acute inpatient services from Monaghan General Hospital as confirmed to a meeting of staff on 23 October 2008; if she will intervene to reverse this plan which will remove this health facility for the people of County Monaghan and place pressure on staff and patients at Cavan General Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42459/08]

I am aware of the initiatives being taken by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to reconfigure hospital services across the Cavan/Monaghan Hospital Group and in the North East Region generally in order to improve safety and standards of care for patients. I understand that as part of the implementation process senior HSE management briefed staff at Monaghan Hospital along with union and staff representative bodies on the intended changes on 23rd and 24th October last.

The HSE has previously indicated that it plans to transfer acute in-patient services from Monaghan to Cavan and to develop additional services at Monaghan. It is working to ensure that the changes planned are introduced in a structured manner. This requires that specific measures are put in place and bedded down prior to, or in parallel with, the planned transfer of acute care to Cavan General Hospital. In particular it is necessary to establish a Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Cavan to help manage an anticipated increase in activity arising from the transfer of acute care. Enhancements in pre-hospital care in the Cavan/Monaghan area are also required, including the development of an enhanced ambulance and pre-hospital thrombolysis service. Alternatives to acute inpatient care are required through the provision of additional packages of care in the Cavan/Monaghan community care area.

A proposed date of 30th November 2008 for the transfer of acute medical care from Monaghan was subject to a number of these dependencies being in place, in particular the establishment of an MAU at Cavan and the development of an enhanced ambulance and pre-hospital thrombolysis service. The HSE now expects these developments to be in place in December 2008 and on that basis it now intends the change-over to take place two months after the Medical Assessment Unit opens. This will remain under review and the transfer will be announced in due course once these key elements have been delivered.

The existing Medical Wards at Monaghan General Hospital will in the future provide rehabilitation and step down services. There will be 26 such beds including 13 for rehabilitation and 13 beds for step down care. This will be in addition to day surgery, outpatient and minor injury services.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 77.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

89 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the regional orthopaedic unit for the north east is to close; the duration for which it will close; the number of patient procedures that will be affected by the withdrawal of this service; the number of these patients who will end up on National Treatment Purchase Fund treatment lists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42502/08]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

103 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the closure of wards and services, such as the orthopaedic services in Navan, due to budget shortages; her views on transferring funds from the National Treatment Purchase Fund in order to allow such services to continue where staff are already in place and being paid rather than have the same procedures carried out elsewhere at a higher unit cost; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42447/08]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

121 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will intervene to restore services at the north-east regional orthopaedic unit at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42461/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 103 and 121 together.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) indicated earlier this year that it was reviewing the need for cost containment measures to year end to ensure that expenditure across the Louth/Meath Hospital group, including Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, is managed within the approved budget. The HSE indicated that savings would need to be achieved in a number of areas including overtime, on call, agency and locum costs and that it may be necessary to reduce elective activity.

The HSE has been working to maintain elective orthopaedic services as far as possible and funding was reprioritised in this context. Hospital staff were advised by the HSE that with effect from week commencing 6th October 2008 the orthopaedic theatres in the Hospital would not be in use on Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, as in previous years the Orthopaedic Department was due to close from 12th December 2008 to 31st December 2008. The HSE considered that the revised budget was sufficient to treat those patients already listed for the current year and to allow for additional priority cases to be treated.

Approximately 250 patients had procedures completed in the Orthopaedic Unit between September and 14th November. This level of activity was higher than anticipated and accordingly the HSE has decided that the Unit should close until the 5th of January. Those patients who remain on the treatment schedule will be advised of new treatment dates. The HSE's main focus is to protect emergency work at the Hospital and to ensure that the quality of emergency and other services that are provided is not compromised. Consultants have the opportunity during this period to address outpatient department waiting lists. The HSE has advised that it is not expected that the waiting lists for adult elective in-patient orthopaedic procedures in the North East will breach the national target limit of 6 months.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is funded from the Vote for my Department. The Fund receives an annual allocation from which it arranges a quantum of in-patient treatments and out-patient appointments for the year, in line with an agreed service plan. The Fund is obliged to adhere to a direction from me to source at least 90% of the treatments it arranges in the private hospital system. The NTPF may purchase a maximum of 10% of its overall capacity from the public hospital system where this does not adversely affect core services. The purchasing of such capacity is necessary in order not to exclude patients whose surgical needs are best met within the public hospital system. There is no provision for the NTPF to transfer funds to the HSE on any other basis.

It has been possible to increase the allocation to the NTPF every year since its inception in 2002 and the numbers of persons who have benefited from the Fund have also risen. From an allocation of €5m in 2002, to €100 million in 2008, the total to date now amounts to €413 million. In 2002, the Fund treated less than 2000 patients. Early in 2008, it reached the milestone of its 100,000th client. This figure represented a combination of approximately 78,000 in-patients and 22,000 out-patients. In 2008, it is planned that 37,000 public patients will benefit under the Fund.

The NTPF has assured my Department that one of its core principles is to secure value for money. The prices paid by the Fund are influenced by factors such as prevailing insurance prices, capacity availability, complexity requirements and geographic considerations. The NTPF negotiates overall prices for procedures with individual private hospitals which includes pre and post operative consults, consultant fees and hospital costs, etc. Reference points used by the NTPF in compiling prices are public hospital casemix costs, estimated insurers' prices, consultant fees and prices proposed by peer hospitals.

Denis Naughten

Question:

90 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps being taken to implement the decision of 26 July 2008 on the reconfiguration of services at Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42172/08]

Denis Naughten

Question:

130 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans for the development of services at Portiuncula Hospital, County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42170/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 130 together.

The Government is committed to ensuring the delivery of the best quality health services possible, in an effective and efficient way. Ensuring patient safety is of paramount importance, so that people can have confidence in the services and that the best possible patient outcomes can be achieved. It is essential that we prioritise patient safety and quality and that we organise and manage services accordingly. The priority is to provide safe services as close as possible to where people live.

In the past, Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe have operated independently, with two consultant general surgeons in each hospital. The difficulties faced by Roscommon and Portiuncula in maintaining surgical services independently, and the need for closer co-operation between them, were highlighted by the former Comhairle na nOspidéal in March 2006. Advances in clinical care and ever-increasing levels of specialisation mean that the present model of care faces important practical difficulties, which must be addressed. In the light of these factors, the best way of retaining and developing services at Roscommon and Portiuncula hospitals is for these hospitals to work closely together.

The Health Service Executive has advised that it is proceeding with the proposal for a Joint Department of Surgery and Anaesthesia at Roscommon County Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the detailed information sought provided directly to theDeputy.

Departmental Bodies.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

91 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce regional structures and integration of acute and PCCC care in these regions; the timeframe for same; the addition or reduction of managerial staff that will result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42449/08]

The HSE was set up to manage and deliver health and personal social services. One of the core objectives of the health reform programme was to be provide clear lines of accountability and to simplify structures. I have made it clear on many occasions that I want to see health and personal care provided to patients on an integrated basis. I have also made it clear to the HSE that there needs to be accountability for performance throughout the system from the ground up. Reform on this scale is a dynamic process. There must be accountability throughout the system to deliver on national policies and standards. This will not happen unless there is real delegation of authority and accountability to regional and local level.

The HSE has informed the Government that it is proposing to put in place a regional model, within the national structure, to drive operational performance and accountability on the ground. It has not yet finalised its proposals for such a model. This is as much about good governance and consistent delivery as structures. It means that, within a national structure, authority for operational performance is delegated to regional level. It means that people at regional level will be accountable for the resources provided and the services delivered at that level. It means better clinical leadership at national and local level. I believe that people working within the system must know what is expected of them and also have the authority to do their jobs properly.

The internal structural changes proposed for the HSE will be considered by the Government when they are finalised and submitted to me by the Board of the Executive. The Government will want to be satisfied that the proposed changes will improve operational performance and accountability, and that they will sit comfortably with the configuration of other public services at local level.

The purpose of the structural changes is to optimise operational capability and to have clear lines of authority and accountability for delivering services to patients from national to local level. The new structure in the HSE will be leaner and there will be a focus on de-layering and more efficient working at all levels. I firmly believe, and I have said this before, that a managed voluntary early retirement/redundancy scheme will have an important role to play in helping to streamline management within the HSE and, as a result, in improving the delivery of health and personal social services to patients and other users of our public system. The HSE is working on a value for money assessment of the case for/impact of such a scheme along with an indication of its expected scale and timing.

Health Services.

Andrew Doyle

Question:

92 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if the pilot programme to include the services of a dietitian in the regional health centres of three north-west counties, namely, Donegal, Sligo and Roscommon, will be extended to all other counties; and the strategy for the provision of dietitian’s services in the community health centres nationwide. [33357/08]

The Health Strategy 2001 sets out a new direction for primary care as the central focus of the delivery of health and personal social services in Ireland. It promotes a team-based approach to service provision which will help to build capacity in primary care and contribute to sustainable health and social development.

The re-configured Primary Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) services will deliver health and social care services that are population based. The model will comprise multi-disciplinary Primary Care Teams (PCTs) providing needs assessed services, both existing and enhanced, to local communities of approximately 8000 people. The PCTs will be supported by Health and Social Care Networks (HSCNs) serving 30 — 50,000 people and will deliver the required services to the client. Both PCTs and HSCNs will have important functions with regard to health promotion, population health and early intervention. These functions will be linked to specific disease and health promotion strategies, with a particular focus on chronic disease management.

The aim of the Community Nutrition & Dietetic Service is to improve the nutritional status of the population belonging to the primary care teams and networks and reduce the incidence of nutrition-related disorders through all life stages. This service is uniquely equipped to achieve a balance between health promotion, population health and primary care services in chronic disease prevention and management.

It is envisaged that dietitians will work at HSCN level and be aligned to specialist teams. It is important for the future that dietitians are fully integrated in the provision of services and are not ‘stand alone' or in hospitals. They will be part of multi-disciplinary teams undertaking specific targeted objectives, disease programmes etc. In this regard it may be that the local health needs assessment will indicate a particularly targeted intervention programme in a specific geographic area and dietitians will be assigned over a number of PCTs. A detailed national mapping exercise was carried out which identified the future Primary Care Teams and Health and Social Care Networks. In addition, each PCT will carry out a local health needs assessment to determine the services required in each team population.

I wish to advise that 14.5 dietetic posts were identified for recruitment as part of the 2006 development posts of which 12.5 posts have been filled. In addition, 13.5 dietetic posts have been identified for recruitment for primary care in 2009. These posts will complement the reconfigured dietetic posts to provide an essential service to Primary Care Teams and Networks.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 74.

Hospital Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

94 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she has taken or proposes to take to prevent the recurrence of misdiagnosis in respect of cancer patients, including misreading of reports, X-rays and scans; if provisions have been made to deal with these issues thereby restoring public confidence in a most sensitive area of the health service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42468/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

280 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she has taken to address the ongoing issue of early diagnosis and thorough examination of X-rays, scans or other tests with a view to improving cancer and/or other services generally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42790/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 280 together.

An accurate initial medical diagnosis is the foundation upon which all subsequent healthcare decisions are based. Unfortunately, research studies and experience have demonstrated the extent to which misdiagnois in cancer cases occurs. It is important to note that radiology and other diagnostic procedures used to identify the presence of cancer are not precise, error-free scientific techniques. International studies suggest that the incidence of discrepancies and errors in general radiology practice lies between 2% and 20%. This range of errors is a worldwide phenomenon and includes all radiology departments.

The health service is taking very seriously all cases of misdiagnosis and is implementing measures to minimise their recurrence. Clinical governance within healthcare systems reduces the likelihood of errors occurring and increases the likelihood of detecting those errors which do occur. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is fully committed to driving change and, in partnership with its clinical staff, doing all it can to enhance patient safety at all levels. It will recruit a new National Director of Clinical Care in 2009 to oversee this process.

A number of other actions are underway drawing on the experience of previous reviews. These include assuring compliance of service providers with key performance indicators, especially in the area of breast cancer, for which there are national quality assurance standards. The HSE put in place national guidelines in May this year regarding the level and recruitment of locums. These guidelines will continue to be reviewed and monitored. While errors in radiology cannot be eliminated, the HSE will monitor radiology practice to ensure that appropriate standards of practice are in place and the risk of misdiagnosis is minimised.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

95 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Health and Children when BreastCheck will be rolled out in the remaining counties in the south and west that do not have the screening programme. [42436/08]

The Deputy's specific question in relation to the roll out of BreastCheck to the remaining counties in the South and the West is the responsibility of the National Cancer Screening Service. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Chief Executive Officer of the Service to respond directly to the Deputy in this regard.

Accident and Emergency Services.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

96 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Health and Children if a culture of acceptance of trolley waits in hospital accident and emergency departments exists within her Department; the reason hospitals have not met trolley waiting time targets as set out in the ED task force report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42557/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

116 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she has taken or proposes to take to relieve the overcrowding at hospital accident and emergency departments and admissions during the winter months; if it is intended to augment front line staff in these areas; if she has in mind proposals to provide extra beds in line with seasonal requirements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42467/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

278 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she has taken to ensure the availability of sufficient bed accommodation and accident and emergency facilities at all hospitals throughout the country with particular reference to increased requirements of the winter months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42788/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96, 116 and 278 together.

I do not agree that a culture of acceptance of trolley waits exists. We have made considerable improvements since 2005 in improving the delivery of services in Emergency Departments. For example, the average daily number of patients awaiting admission at 2 pm fell from 179 in 2005 to 92 in 2007. The figures over the first ten months of 2008 show an increase to 103 in the numbers awaiting admission. Patient waits of longer than 24 hours, following a decision to admit, have been totally eliminated in the case of 21 of the 34 hospitals, while a further 8 have infrequent waits of that duration. In addition, the vast majority of hospitals (25) are fully or substantially compliant with the revised 12 hour target introduced in October last year.

The main problems are confined to a small number of hospitals and the HSE continues to work closely with those hospitals to address the underlying issues and to effect improvements. Hospitals need to improve their admission and discharge processes, to ensure that people are appropriately admitted and that their care is efficiently managed, both during their hospital stay and their follow up care in the community. Steps are being taken to ensure that patients have an expected date of discharge within 24 hours of admission, that patients can be discharged in a more proactive manner at weekends and that communication between the hospital system and primary care services is improved. Implementation of a new Code of Practice on Discharge Planning has commenced. This should help to deliver further improvements in overall bed utilisation.

As part of the Winter Initiative, Hospital Managers have been asked to develop an action plan to reduce the average length of stay in hospital of patients, based on the findings of the Bed Utilisation Study and to increase the rate of Day Surgery in line with best international practice. The HSE is also working to increase long-stay capacity and to free up beds in acute hospitals over the Winter period. This is being matched by an intensive focus on improved processes and efficiency.

I believe that setting clear targets for improvement and measuring performance against these targets helps to drive further improvements in services. My Department has asked the HSE to set a revised maximum waiting time target of no more than 6 hours from registration to admission or discharge in 2009 for all patients attending Emergency Departments. The HSE has also been asked to introduce a measurement system in 2009 to record the total waiting time for all such patients. My Department has asked the Executive's Parliamentary Affairs Division to reply directly to the Deputies on the additional issues raised.

Medical Cards.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

97 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the projected net annual cost of the new medical card system for over 70 year olds; the net budgetary savings introduced by the new system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42168/08]

The Government's proposal, to be effected in legislation, is that, with effect from 1st January 2009, the income thresholds for entitlement to a medical card for those aged 70 and over will be €700 (gross) per week for a single person and €1,400 (gross) per week for a couple. It is expected that 95% (or 19 out of 20) of those aged 70 or over will continue to hold a medical card under the new arrangements announced by the Government. It is estimated that this will result in a saving of approximately €20 million in 2009, taking account of GP capitation fees, drug costs, superannuation costs, etc.

In relation to the introduction of a single GP capitation rate, the Government appointed Mr. Eddie Sullivan to make recommendations on a new single annual capitation fee to be paid to general practitioners in respect of medical card holders aged 70 and over in the community. Mr. Sullivan recommended a single capitation fee of €290, which would come into effect, subject to the proposed legislative changes, from 1st January 2009. Mr. Sullivan's recommendations were accepted by Government on 29th October 2008. Mr. Sullivan estimated that this would generate savings of the order of €16 million in 2009.

The Government believe that there is potential for significant savings of at least €64 million in drug costs, without compromising on patient care. Accordingly, it has decided to establish a process under the chairmanship of Dr. Michael Barry, to develop recommendations for good practice which will secure safe and effective prescribing for patients, while maximising the potential for economy in the use of public funds. The initial report from Dr. Barry will be prepared by 1st December 2008. The most recent figures provided to my Department by the Health Service Executive show 351,203 persons aged 70 and over with a medical card as at 31st October, 2008. The current estimated average cost of a medical card for a person aged 70 or over is approximately €2,360 per annum.

National Drugs Strategy.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

98 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the growing number of people here who are dependent on methadone programmes; if she has plans to provide more alternatives for those who are addicted to illegal drugs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42443/08]

A methadone protocol was introduced in Ireland in 1998 to address the problem of opiate addiction, particularly addiction to heroin. Methadone maintenance is internationally recognised as a valid and successful part of an integrated response to the drug problem. At the end of September 2008 there were 8,670 opiate users on the Central Treatment List (CTL) for methadone substitution treatment compared to 8,398 clients in September 2007.

The HSE has been working to increase the number of places available for treatment, in order to reduce the waiting time for those seeking treatment in line with a recommendation in the Mid Term Review of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008. For example, the HSE has been seeking to increase the number of general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists involved in the methadone treatment protocol in order to provide a locally based client centred service. Currently, there are 255 GPs and 456 pharmacists involved in the delivery of services under the methadone treatment protocol compared to 242 GPs and 425 pharmacists involved in September 2007.

The drugs Subutex and Suboxone, which contain buprenorphine, can be used as alternatives to methadone for the treatment of opiate dependency. A feasibility study on the prescribing and dispensing of these drugs in certain specialist addiction clinics and in a selected number of community settings will commence shortly. Prescribing and dispensing at the study sites will be evaluated before a decision is made on whether to extend the use of these drugs to the entire community.

In line with recommendations in the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation published by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the HSE is in the process of appointing a national rehabilitation co-ordinator who will chair the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee which is being established. These developments will facilitate the roll-out of further actions in the Rehabilitation Strategy to support drug users along their care pathway towards re-integration into their community.

Departmental Staff.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

99 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has plans to reduce the number of staff within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42456/08]

The Administrative Budget for my Department in 2009 has been set at €43.10m which represents a reduction of 8% (€3.8m) over the original allocation for 2008. This reduction consists of a 4% cut in payroll costs, a 24% cut across general administrative budget areas such as office premises expenses and training and a 50% cut in Departmental consultancy costs for 2009. Management of this budget will require control of all costs associated with running a Department and there are a number of options available to achieve payroll and other administrative savings. In the staffing area, this may include intentionally delaying the filling of vacancies, the non-filling of certain vacancies, reviewing all temporary contract and seconded staff agreements and reviewing the internal organisation of work processes to ensure the best allocation of existing resources.

Proposed Legislation.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

100 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce legislation to regulate stem cell research; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42439/08]

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): At present there is no legislation in Ireland governing the intervention in the natural process of creating human life; instead, medical practice is governed by guidelines issued by the Medical Council. My Department is developing an appropriate regulatory framework for the area of Assisted Human Reproduction, which will also encompass the area of human embryonic stem cell research. This work involves, inter alia, examining the approaches to regulation in other jurisdictions and considering the ethical and legal issues that arise. It will also take into account the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on this area — when completed — and any judgment of the Supreme Court in the RvR (frozen embryo) case.
Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 83.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

102 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 248 of 21 October 2008, when the national rehabilitation strategy group will hold the public consultation on the policy framework for rehabilitation and the provision of rehabilitation services; the average waiting time for accessing rehabilitation services provided in the National Rehabilitation Hospital; the number of people in acute hospital beds across the country who are awaiting admission to the National Rehabilitation Hospital and the length of time they have been waiting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42470/08]

Public contribution from individuals, organisations and professional bodies to the policy and strategy development process will be invited through the media in the coming month. Information regarding average waiting times for accessing rehabilitation services and the number of people in acute hospital beds around the country relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004.

I have been advised by the Health Service Executive that the average waiting time for accessing rehabilitation services provided in the National Rehabilitation Hospital is 70 days. This figure relates to people discharged from inpatient services at the hospital during the first three quarters of 2008. The Health Service Executive also reports that there are currently 153 people on the waiting list for admission to the National Rehabilitation Hospital. These are people who have been referred, assessed and deemed ready for admission by a consultant. The waiting list does not distinguish between patients referred from the acute hospital setting, home or nursing homes.

Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 89.

Hospital Services.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

104 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals that have been brought to her attention to transfer maternity hospitals in Dublin to the campuses of acute general hospitals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42433/08]

I take it that the Deputy is referring to the findings of the independent review of maternity services in the Greater Dublin Area, undertaken for the Health Service Executive, by KPMG. That review was completed recently and the findings have been presented to the Joint Standing Committee of the three Dublin Maternity Hospitals. The report indicates that optimal patient outcomes can best be achieved by locating maternity services with adult acute services. The Report also supports the location on the one site of adult, paediatric and maternity services to give better access to on-site paediatric services when fetal, neonatal surgery and other interventions are required.

The study concluded that services at the Rotunda Hospital should move to the Mater Hospital campus, services at the Coombe should move to Tallaght and services at the National Maternity Hospital should move to St Vincent's University Hospital. The National Hospitals Office recently met with the Chief Executive Officers of the relevant Dublin Academic Teaching Hospitals (Mater, St Vincent's and Tallaght) to discuss the implications of the report for their sites.

The Report will now be presented to the Boards of these three hospitals. A presentation of the findings of the report is also scheduled for next month for a wider group of stakeholders that engaged with KPMG during the review, including the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and consumer groups. The HSE intends, following further feedback sessions, to publish the report on its website.

General Practitioner Services.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

105 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of general practitioners per head of population here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42465/08]

The number of General Practitioners (GPs) who are in active practice is about 2,500. This equates to approximately 0.5 GPs per 1000 of the population, a ratio that is low by comparison with other EU and OECD countries. I recognise there is a need to increase the number of GPs to take account of the projected growth in population, the ageing of the population and the ageing of the GP workforce.

The Government has taken a number of initiatives to address this. In February 2006 we announced that the number of medical school places for EU students would be more than doubled from 305 to 725. The number of 305 places had been in place since 1978 through successive governments. There is now a new graduate entry stream providing an additional 240 places and increasing the number of EU undergraduate places by 180. A total of 265 extra medical school places have been provided between 2006 and 2008 for Irish/EU students in the existing undergraduate courses and in the new graduate entry programme.

In 2004, it was agreed with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) that the number of GP vocational training places should be increased from 84 to 150 on a phased basis over three years. I am informed by the HSE that to date, 36 of the additional 66 places have been provided, bringing the total number of training places annually to 120. The further increase to 150 places is being kept under review by the HSE in the light of the current budgetarysituation.

There are currently 12 GP vocational training programmes in the State and these programmes are accredited by the ICGP. In July 2008, the number of trainees participating in these programmes increased from 376 to 449. The HSE has indicated that there have been capacity issues within these training programmes and that this is the principal reason that it has not been possible to increase the number of training places as quickly as had been hoped. The HSE continues to work with the ICGP with a view to addressing these issues.

A joint Department of Health and Children / HSE working group on workforce planning was established in June 2006. It also includes representatives of the Departments of Finance and Education and Science, and the Higher Education Authority. Research is currently being undertaken by FÁS on behalf of the joint working group. This research will analyse the labour market for 12 healthcare grades and professions, including GPs, and will help determine future GP training needs. FÁS is expected to complete its work in February 2009 when it will report its findings to the joint working group.

Hospital Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

106 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the hospital services which have been curtailed or suspended due to end of year cutbacks or budget over-runs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42462/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall Vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to theDeputy.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

107 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has emergency plans to provide step-down beds in order to enable acute hospitals to discharge the estimated 756 patients who are ready for discharge but have no suitable place to go; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42438/08]

Over the past number of years, my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, has been working on a number of initiatives to enhance long-stay capacity and, by extension, to facilitate the timely discharge of patients from the acute sector. Firstly, the long-term residential care fast-track initiative, which commenced in 2007 and is continuing until 2010, aims to provide 860 new intermediate and long-term residential care beds. The latest information received from the Health Service Executive indicates that 188 beds were provided in 2007 and that 233 and 422 are to be provided in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The final 17 beds will be provided in 2010. Of the 860 beds, 75 are in the HSE West, 316 are in the HSE South, 242 are in the HSE Dublin North East and 227 are in the HSE Mid-Leinster.

Secondly, the Minister is committed to introducing a new system of financial support for those in need of long-term residential care. The new Nursing Homes Support Scheme will ensure that nursing home care is affordable for those who need it regardless of whether they enter a public or private nursing home. This is significant as information provided by the acute sector indicates that the single biggest reason for delayed discharges from acute settings relates to a patient or their family requesting a publicly-funded bed. The new scheme should ensure that private nursing home care will be affordable and accessible for such patients and their families. The Minister is currently bringing the legislation to provide for the new scheme through the Houses of the Oireachtas with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009. These initiatives are in addition to significant investment since 2006 in community-based long-term care supports.

With regard to the immediate position, the HSE is working to increase long-stay capacity to free up beds in acute hospitals over the winter period. However, the increase will be limited and is being matched by an intensive focus on improved processes and efficiency. Hospitals need to improve their admission and discharge processes, to ensure that people are appropriately admitted and that their care is efficiently managed, both during their hospital stay and their follow up care in the community. Steps are being taken to ensure that patients have an expected date of discharge within 24 hours of admission, that patients can be discharged in a more proactive manner at weekends and that communication between the hospital system and primary care services is improved. Implementation of a new Code of Practice on Discharge Planning has commenced. This should help to deliver further improvements in overall bed utilisation.

Proposed Legislation.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

108 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to amend the Competition Act 2002 in order to be able to engage more effectively with groups (details supplied) and other such representative bodies; her proposals to amend the Act in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42452/08]

On 21st October 2008, the Government announced its intention to pursue appropriate amendments to Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 to enable the representative body of GPs, the Irish Medical Organisation, to represent its members in negotiations with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health and Children in respect of the services provided to the public health service in a manner consistent with the public interest. The legal provision to be made will be subject to consistency with EU competition rules.

The case of adopting a similar approach to other professional representative bodies would need to be examined in the light of public interest considerations, if any, arising for other professional groups and the scope to adopt such an approach within the confines of EU competition law. Work is underway between my Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the issue of amending Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002, in a manner consistent with EU competition law and national policy.

Medical Cards.

Joe Costello

Question:

109 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children the costings that have been done on the proposal for a common capitation fee to general practitioners in respect of all medical card patients who are over 70 years old; the way that this differs from the overall cost for such patients prior to the changes proposed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42431/08]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

122 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the outcome of discussions with representatives of general practitioners on proposals to agree a fee for all over 70 year old patients instead of the current arrangement whereby they are paid a higher capitation payment for those who qualified through automatic right than for those who qualified through a means test; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42430/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 122 together.

A capitation rate of €640 per annum is currently paid to GPs for the provision of service under the GMS contract for each person who qualifies for a medical card for the first time, on the basis of being aged 70 years and over in the community. In respect of persons aged 70 years and over in the community who had at some time previously held a medical card, the GP is paid a rate varying between €139.59 and €244.64 depending on the cardholder's gender and distance from the GP's surgery.

Following the Government decision to withdraw automatic entitlement to a medical card from persons aged 70 and over with effect from 1st January 2009 and to raise the income thresholds for persons in that age cohort, the Government appointed Mr. Eddie Sullivan to make recommendations on a new single annual capitation fee to be paid to general practitioners in respect of medical card holders aged 70 and over in the community, which would come into effect on 1st January 2009. Having considered in excess of seventy submissions from interested parties, including the Irish Medical Organisation, and taking into account the existing fees and cost structure, Mr. Sullivan recommended a single capitation fee of €290, which he estimated would generate savings of the order of €16 million in 2009. Mr. Sullivan's recommendations were accepted by Government on 29th October 2008 and his report has been published.

Medicinal Products.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

110 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has plans to address the growing problem of addiction to legal drugs here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42444/08]

The Medical Products (Control of Placing on the Market) Regulations, 2007 (SI No. 540 of 2007) requires that all medicinal products (drugs) must be authorised by the Irish Medicines Board prior to being placed on the market in Ireland. During the assessment of a medicinal product, the IMB determines the appropriate classification and route of sale. Medicinal products that, if used incorrectly, are likely to present a substantial risk of abuse or to lead to addiction are confined to prescription control.

In addition, the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations 2003 (SI No. 540 of 2003, and amendments) regulate the prescription and dispensing of medicinal products. Under these Regulations, the product information (summary of product characteristics [SPC] and package leaflet [PL]) for medicinal products must contain detailed information, including relevant warnings and precautions relating to the use of the product. For example, the benzodiazepine class of drugs including Valium (diazepam) are subject to prescription and the PL states that prolonged use may lead to tolerance. The PL also states that Valium is intended for short term treatment (2-4 weeks) and that it is not suitable for long term use. Using the drug in this way reduces the risk of dependence.

In relation to medicinal products that are available without a prescription i.e. over the counter, (OTC) medicines, these also include detailed information regarding their use and relevant warnings and precautions in the PL provided with the product. In the case of OTC medicines which can carry a risk of dependence, the PL must include explicit warning statements regarding the risk of physical and psychological dependence (addiction). The IMB has highlighted the importance of doctors and pharmacists discussing the use of all medications, including non-prescribed medicinal products, with patients/consumers, including the need to strictly adhere to the recommended dosage and duration of use and to avoid prolonged use, which is associated with dependence.

The Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 and the Regulations made thereunder regulate the prescription and dispensing of controlled drugs. Following concerns about over prescribing of a category of controlled drugs, the Benzodiazepine Working Group reported in 2002. Good Practice Guidelines for GPs on the prescribing of benzodiazepines were circulated and GPs can now monitor their own prescription of benzodiazepines against prescription by their peers. In addition the Irish College of General Practitioners has a training module on the prescribing of benzodiazepines in place.

Care of the Elderly.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

111 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she plans to allow a full debate on the legislation for the proposed fair deal scheme for funding nursing home care; when it is planned to do same; when the scheme will be implemented in view of the fact that the uncertainty surrounding the scheme is causing anxiety to elderly people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33024/08]

Both my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, and I intend to allow a full debate on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008. The Minister introduced the Second Stage of the Bill in the Dáil on 13 November and it is her intention to progress the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009. As the introduction of the scheme is contingent upon the successful passage through the Houses, and enactment of the legislation, it is not possible to be more specific at this stage. Finally, it should be noted that, following enactment of the legislation, the National Treatment Purchase Fund will have to agree prices with private nursing home providers prior to the full implementation of the scheme.

Hospital Staff.

Liz McManus

Question:

112 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans there are to increase the number of paediatric surgeons here in view of the small number currently employed in comparison to similar countries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42442/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Long-Term Illness Scheme.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

113 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress that has been made in the review of the long-term illness scheme; her views on including other suitable illnesses within the terms of the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42434/08]

Under the 1970 Health Act, the Health Service Executive may arrange for the supply, without charge, of medicines and medical and surgical appliances to people with specified conditions, for the treatment of that condition, through the Long Term Illness Scheme (LTI). The LTI does not cover GP fees or hospital co-payments. The conditions are: mental handicap, mental illness (for people under 16 only), phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, haemophilia, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophies, parkinsonism, conditions arising from thalidomide and acute leukaemia. There are currently no plans to extend the list of eligible conditions.

Food Labelling.

Michael Creed

Question:

114 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the development of national food labelling legislation; the action being taken to create common nutrition guideline labelling across the food industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37494/08]

At present general EU food labelling legislation is harmonised by Council Directive 2000/13/EC, while nutrition labelling is covered by Directive 40/96. Both have been transposed into Irish law. The former requires that the labelling of pre-packaged foodstuffs must be clear and must not mislead the consumer. The nutrition labelling legislation makes allowance for nutrition labelling on a voluntary basis only, although it becomes compulsory when a nutrition or health claim is made in the labelling, presentation or advertising of a foodstuff or when vitamins or minerals are voluntarily added to foods.

In January 2008, the European Commission presented its proposals on the updating and harmonising of labelling legislation. The draft proposal consolidates and updates general food and nutrition labelling. The main points of the proposal are mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling (for energy value, amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates with specific reference to sugars and salt), allergen labelling, alcohol labelling (excluding wine, beer and spirits, which are being dealt with separately), text size, allowance for use of GDAs or Traffic Lights labelling, Country of Origin labelling and a provision for National Schemes.

Ireland submitted its position paper on the proposal to the European Commission on 5th November 2008. This paper took into account the views of key stakeholders including the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, consumers, industry and health professionals. The paper outlined the Irish position on key issues. With regard to the nutrition labelling section of the proposal, Ireland

supported the use of "per portion" expression alone in certain cases;

did not support the proposal for a minimum font size of 3mm for display of mandatory particulars; and

supported the inclusion of trans fats, fibre, folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamin D in the mandatory nutrition declaration.

A European Union Working Group on Foodstuffs has held a number of meetings since March 2008, to discuss the proposal. Irish representatives will continue to attend meetings of this Group to ensure that Ireland's position on this proposal is taken into account.

While no formal timeframe has been set for this work, it is expected that the formulation of a Regulation will not be finalised during 2008.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

115 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children if there has been a value for money audit carried out on the National Treatment Purchase Fund; the outcome of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42448/08]

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has assured me of its commitment to ensuring value for money so that as many patients as possible are treated from the funding allocated to it. To this end the NTPF compares the prices which it pays with treatment costs in public hospitals and, where known, the prices being paid by health insurers to private hospitals.

The financial statements of the NTPF are subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C & AG) on an annual basis. The Dáil Committee of Public Accounts, in its Third Interim Report on the 2006 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, noted that the C & AG has access to information (which cannot be disclosed publicly because it is commercially sensitive) about the prices paid by the NTPF for procedures undertaken in private hospitals. The Committee noted also that the C & AG has agreed to carry out a review of these areas as part of his ongoing audit of the NTPF's expenditure. In the circumstances I have no plans to undertake a separate value-for-money exercise in respect of the NTPF.

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 96.

Mental Health Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

117 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the timeframe for implementing the recommendations in A Vision for Change; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42426/08]

The Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, ‘A Vision for Change', provides a framework for action to develop modern, high quality mental health services over a seven to ten year period. Implementation of ‘A Vision for Change' is primarily the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Earlier this year, the HSE approved an Implementation Plan which sets out six key priorities for 2008 and 2009. They include:

Catchment Area Definition and Clarification

Modernisation of the Mental Health Infrastructure

Community Based Mental Health Teams

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams

Mental Health Services for People with Intellectual Disability

Mental Health Information Systems

A more detailed implementation plan for the period 2009 and beyond is being developed by the HSE and will be submitted to me before the end of this year.

In January 2008, the Office for Disability and Mental Health was established. The Office will bring a new impetus to the implementation of the Report through working in partnership with the HSE and other stakeholders to achieve implementation of agreed targets.

Alan Shatter

Question:

118 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a survey commissioned by a support group (details supplied) ascertained that parents of children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder wait an average of four years before securing a diagnosis for their child and that as a consequence there is a substantial delay in providing appropriate services for such children; and the steps she will take to ensure that such assessments and diagnoses are more speedily undertaken and essential services provided. [42173/08]

I am not aware of the particular survey referred to by the Deputy. As the rest of the question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have the matter investigated and a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

119 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Teamwork report on hospitals in the mid-west will be published; the reason it has not been published; if it has been approved by the board of the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42425/08]

The Health Service Executive commissioned Horwath Consultants in association with Teamwork Management Services in February 2007 to examine the arrangements for the provision of acute hospital services in the Mid West with a view to identifying the best configuration of such services in the region including arrangements for A&E, critical care, acute medicine and surgery, together with diagnostic services so that the highest quality of care can be delivered to the population of the region.

The work of the consultants will act as one of the inputs to decisions on how best to reconfigure acute services in the Mid West region. The Government and the Executive are committed to ensuring that the approach to re-organisation of services is carried out in consultation with the key stakeholders and that each element is progressed incrementally. I believe that it is important to work with health professionals and other interested parties to secure an increasing set of improvements over time. This approach will, I am confident, produce the best outcome for patients. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to provide the detailed information sought directly to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

120 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if the planned new child and adolescent psychiatric beds will be in place by the end of 2008; the plans in place for 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42451/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 89.
Question No. 122 answered with Question No. 109.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Willie Penrose

Question:

123 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children the timeframe for a new major acute hospital for the north east; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42446/08]

The report of a consultancy firm, commissioned by the HSE to carry out an independent study on a possible location for a new Regional Hospital in the North East, was considered by the Board of the HSE last April. The contents of the report were noted by the Board. No decision has been taken to date by the Government or by the HSE on the location of the new hospital. The HSE has advised that the resource implications of a new Regional Hospital are under consideration.

Health Services.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

124 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress that has been made on commitments given on the provision of dedicated beds and other care services for people with cystic fibrosis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42450/08]

In 2006 and 2007, additional revenue funding of €6.78 million (€4.78m in 2006, €2m in 2007) was provided to the Health Service Executive (HSE) to develop services for people with cystic fibrosis. The Department is advised that 44 additional staff dealing with cystic fibrosis have been appointed to date across a number of hospitals, including St Vincent's, Beaumont, Temple Street, Crumlin, Tallaght, Cork University Hospital, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The necessary funding was provided to facilitate the recruitment of a further 37 staff nationally.

The HSE was asked to place a particular focus on the development of services at the National Adult Tertiary Referral Centre at St. Vincent's Hospital. A number of capital projects have recently been completed at the hospital and have helped to improve facilities. These include a new ambulatory care centre, the refurbishment of St. Camillus Ward, and a new Accident and Emergency Department which includes single room accommodation. The refurbishment of accommodation to provide eight single en-suite rooms for patients with cystic fibrosis has also been completed and the beds are now operational. In the longer term, a new ward block is to be built and will include 120 replacement beds in single en-suite accommodation. The new facility will accommodate cystic fibrosis patients and will include appropriate isolation facilities.

Beaumont Hospital operates as a regional centre in providing services to adults with cystic fibrosis. In the 2008 Budget, a special allocation of €2.5m capital funding was provided to enable Beaumont hospital to provide out patient facilities for cystic fibrosis patients. The HSE advise that this facility is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2009. Patients with cystic fibrosis will also benefit from additional single room capacity in the new Medical Admissions Unit at Beaumont Hospital which is due for completion shortly.

Specialist paediatric services for children with cystic fibrosis are provided at the National Tertiary Centre at Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin. Temple Street Hospital, which provides additional services in this area, is currently developing a dedicated respiratory unit for the ambulant care of cystic fibrosis and respiratory patients. It will include a new respiratory laboratory, treatment room, consulting rooms and walk in access to clinical nurse specialists. The unit is due to open in early 2009.

Paediatric services for persons with cystic fibrosis are also provided at other centres e.g. Tallaght, and on a regional basis at centres including Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Drogheda. The majority of paediatric cystic fibrosis care is delivered on an ambulatory care basis. I expect that there will be further improvements in services for people with cystic fibrosis in 2009.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

125 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on statements contained in the Comptroller and Auditor General Annual Report 2007 that disability and mental health areas contributed €53 million to budget overruns in the hospital sector of the Health Service Executive; the efforts she is making to ensure that all funding allocations in respect of disability related services under the multi-annual investment programme are used for these services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42469/08]

I understand that the HSE have replied directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Departmental Capital Projects.

Willie Penrose

Question:

126 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children the capital projects being planned within her Department for commencement within the next five years; if she has had discussions within her Department or with the Health Service Executive on the possible postponement of planned capital projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42445/08]

The revised health sector capital funding provision for the remainder of the National Development Plan 2007-2013 was indicated in the 2009 Estimates for Public Services and Summary Public Capital Programme which was published in October. The process of reviewing and agreeing plans for capital expenditure over this period, including all necessary communication between officials of my Department and the health agencies, is currently progressing. Details regarding the projects to be progressed by the Health Service Executive will be made available when this process is complete.

Nursing Education.

Liz McManus

Question:

127 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will engage with the Department of Education and Science on the proposed reduction in places in higher education nursing courses to find ways in which these places can be retained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42441/08]

The O.E.C.D. Public Management Reviews: IRELAND — Towards an Integrated Public Service (2008) in its case study: Reconfiguration of the Health Services notes—

"One statistical characteristic of Ireland is its very large number of practising nurses (15.2 per 1,000), which is twice the OECD average, just below Norway (15.4) but much higher than UK (9.1) or France (7.7). The number of nurses graduating every year is also high (14.4), above Norway (10.1), UK (8.6) or France (5.9). This contradicts the universal perception of a "shortage" of nurses, held by health actors in Ireland who were interviewed by the OECD. Partial explanations come from the fact that some 40% of nurses in Ireland work part-time (as compared for example with 26% in France for nurses working in hospitals)."

In outlining the detail of the 2009 Estimates for the health services, I announced that the H.S.E. is to deliver economy savings of €115m as part of Budget 2008. Among other matters, this includes a reduction in nurse training expenditure in 2009. The total cost of nurse education to the health services, both undergraduate and post-registration, is currently in excess of €117 million per annum.

The number of places on the undergraduate nursing degree programmes will be reduced by 310 places from next year. This reduction was finalised following consultation between my Department and the Department of Education and Science. From next year we will be providing 1,570 undergraduate places in the following courses:

Number of Places

General Nursing

860 places

Intellectual Disability Nursing

180 places

Psychiatric Nursing

290 places

Midwifery

140 places (no reduction)

Children’s and General Nursing Integrated

100 places (no reduction)

Total

1,570

The reduction in places, which will result in savings of €1.65 million approximately in 2009 and €3.3 million from 2010 onwards, will be effected mainly in those areas that are not experiencing nurse shortages.

Nurses trained under the apprenticeship and diploma models undertaking part-time degree courses have been able to apply to their employer to have their course fees paid in return for a service commitment to the public health service. This initiative has been in operation since 2001 and was due for completion before now. It will be no longer be available for new entrants from 1 January 2009, resulting in a saving of €2m next year and about €3.8m per annum from 2010 onwards. Further savings of €1.35m in 2009 will be achieved by reducing places on the various post-registration courses in specialist clinical practice. These three cost saving measures will produce savings of €5m in 2009 and €8.45m in future years, and I have no plans to alter this decision.

The investment in the undergraduate nursing degree programmes is a substantial and significant element of health service expenditure. My Department in cooperation with the HSE is initiating a study to review the clinical, educational, contractual and financial arrangements in place for the general, psychiatric and intellectual disability pre-registration nursing programmes established in 2002. (The undergraduate midwifery and integrated children's and general nursing programmes are outside the terms of the review as they are relatively new programmes.)

The review will assess the VFM achieved from monies allocated and utilised in the degree programme and will inform the scope for alternative approaches to nurse education. The review will also provide a systematic analysis of what is actually being achieved by expenditure under both capital and revenue headings and will provide sound evidence and a critical analysis of the preparation of nurses for practice. The findings will provide a basis to inform decision makers on the future direction of pre-registration nursing education programmes in Ireland. The review will be carried out in the context of nursing recruitment and retention patterns, future workforce projections and the overarching health service reform agenda.

Question No. 128 answered with Question No. 79.

National Drugs Strategy.

Michael Ring

Question:

129 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the recruitment of a senior rehabilitation co-ordinator and the establishment of the national drugs rehabilitation implementation committee; the estimated time scale for the delivery of both; the priorities of both the co-ordinator and the committee upon establishment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33555/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 130 answered with Question No. 90.

Medical Cards.

Martin Ferris

Question:

131 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children the administrative and other arrangements that have been put in place to implement the changes to the over 70 year olds medical card entitlement announced in budget 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42463/08]

Deirdre Clune

Question:

210 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children when she will introduce the changes she proposes to medical card eligibility for those over 70 years; if she will contact all those who hold a medical card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42124/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 210 together.

The Government's proposal, to be effected in legislation, is that automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons aged 70 and over will end on 31st December 2008, and with effect from 1st January 2009, the income thresholds for entitlement to a medical card for those aged 70 and over will be €700 (gross) per week for a single person and €1,400 (gross) per week for a couple. I intend to publish legislation to withdraw automatic entitlement to a medical card from persons aged 70 or over as soon as possible and to have it enacted during this Dáil session. My Department is in consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE) with regard to the provision of appropriate information to persons aged 70 and over. It is intended that the HSE will write to all concerned shortly after the publication of the Bill.

Infectious Diseases.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

132 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the new products that have been developed that would help in the control of hospital-borne infections such as C. difficile and MRSA; if her Department has carried out research into the efficacy of such products; if there is consideration of the use of such products here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42435/08]

The monitoring and control of Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) is and continues to be a priority for this Government and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services is provided in its annual vote. Therefore the particular questions raised by the Deputy are a matter for the HSE and my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

General Medical Services Scheme.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

133 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children her intentions with regard to reducing the cost of drugs to medical card patients to save some of the €100 million targeted under this heading in budget 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42440/08]

The cost of supplying prescribed medicines under the GMS Scheme (ingredient costs, pharmacy fees and VAT) was €1,048 million in 2007, an increase of 11.5% from 2006. The number of items prescribed under the GMS scheme increased from 40.5 million in 2006 to 44.4 million in 2007 (an increase of 9%). The average cost per item increased from €20.80 in 2006 to €23.27 in 2007 (an increase of2%). The Government is of the view that the cost of pharmacy services under the GMS and other community drugs schemes is not sustainable and must be reduced to a more reasonable level.

My Department and the Health Service Executive (HSE) have been reviewing the pharmaceutical supply chain with a view to seeking value for money in the cost of drugs and medicines to the State, consistent with patient safety and continuity of supply. Since September 2006, new agreements with pharmaceutical manufacturers are providing increased value for money for the State and the consumer through a reduction in the price of off-patent drugs and medicines and through the use of a wider basket of countries for pricing new drugs and medicines under the schemes.

It has been decided to introduce a range of further measures in 2009 to slow the rate of increase in these schemes and generate savings of €175m. These measures include increasing the threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme from €90 to €100 a month; new guidelines on the prescribing of nutritional supplements; and other measures to reduce drug costs. Other savings required by the 2009 budgetary framework will be achieved through the ending of automatic entitlement to a medical card for those with incomes in excess of the new threshold and through economies in drug usage.

In this regard, I have also established a group under the chairmanship of Dr Michael Barry, National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, to consider efficient and cost-effective prescribing in the GMS and community drugs schemes. The group has been asked to recommend efficiencies and savings through more rational and cost-effective prescribing at GP level or otherwise; advise on the information and educational or training initiatives, or standards and protocols, that might be used to support more efficient and cost effective prescribing; identify areas where inappropriate use of certain drugs could be reduced; and consider the capacity for increased generic prescribing by GPs. The initial report from Dr Barry will be prepared by 1st December.

Hospital Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

134 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she proposes to take to address the situation at Cavan General Hospital due to inadequate bed numbers, resulting in a record 45 people waiting on trolleys for bed allocation on 17 November 2008, a situation set to worsen with the threatened ending of acute inpatient services in Monaghan General Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42460/08]

Cavan General Hospital experienced a significant rise in the level of medical attendances at the Emergency Department over the weekend commencing 14th November, with an increase of over 40% in the admission rate. This resulted in 45 patients awaiting admission by Monday 17th November. A contingency plan was activated to ensure that all patients were managed and treated.

As part of the reconfiguration of acute services across the Cavan/Monaghan Hospital Group a new Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Cavan is scheduled to open in December. It will be staffed by 19 people including an additional consultant physician, an additional consultant radiologist, nurses, radiography and support staff. It will open 12 hours per day 7 days per week. The MAU is expected to reduce the demand for admission by providing full assessment and initiation of treatment without the need to admit all patients. In addition, a new observation ward is due to open in December 2008, which is hoped will also reduce the need for some patients to be admitted to beds on the wards.

National Cancer Control Programme.

Martin Ferris

Question:

135 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a breakdown of the budget 2009 allocation for cancer care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42464/08]

Additional funding of €15 million has been allocated to the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Cancer Control Programme for 2009. During 2009 the Programme will continue with the centralisation of cancer services in the eight designated cancer centres. This will include further transfer of breast cancer services to the eight cancer centres. The Programme also intends to focus on a range of other service areas in 2009 including lung, prostate and pancreatic cancers. The breakdown of the allocation will be outlined in the HSE National Service Plan for 2009. This Plan has recently been adopted by the Board of the HSE and has been submitted for my approval as required under the Health Act 2004. This additional funding builds on the €21.9 million already available to the Programme in 2008 and around €50 million available to the National Cancer Screening Service for the implementation of the BreastCheck and CervicalCheck Programmes.

Health Reports.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

136 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received a copy of the all-Ireland study on health inequality published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and the Combat Poverty Agency in August 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42466/08]

The report to which the Deputy refers is the joint Institute of Public Health/Combat Poverty Agency publication "Tackling Health Inequalities: An-All Ireland Approach to Social Determinants" which was published on 28 August 2008. The report examines the influence of social, economic and environmental factors on health, such as poor housing, nutrition and education, across the island of Ireland and advocates a whole-of-Government approach across a range of policies to address and tackle inequalities in health among low income groups. It draws on a range of national and international research — including research published in 2002 by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland.

Addressing health inequalities is a common challenge for health systems across the world. As with many other countries, the Irish health sector is strongly committed to implementing a range of measures aimed at tackling and reducing health inequalities. Measures taken include the establishment, in late 2005 as part of the health reform process, of a dedicated Social Inclusion Unit in the Department of Health and Children to co-ordinate the Department's work on health inequalities and policies in relation to vulnerable groups.

An important element of the work of this Unit is to develop policy and services aimed at addressing the specific health needs of vulnerable groups such as Travellers, the homeless, drug users, prisoners and asylum seekers. An additional, and equally important, element of the Unit's work, is to co-ordinate measures across other health policy areas that seek to promote greater social inclusion and equity in health generally. Actions are being pursued in conjunction with a range of stakeholders both within and outside the health services and with local communities. In addition, social inclusion-relevant aspects of existing health strategies and plans feature in the social partnership agreement, Towards 2016, published in June 2006 and in Ireland's National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, Building an Inclusive Society 2007-2016 (NAPinclusion), published in February 2007 which details a number of health commitments aimed at tackling and reducing health inequalities and improving the health status of the more vulnerable members of our society.

The health sector also strongly supports the social determinants approach to tackling health inequalities. One way in which it seeks to advance a more integrated approach to policy on key cross-cutting social issues is through the Department of Health and Children's participation in the Senior Officials Group on Social Inclusion which operates under the aegis of the Department of the Taoiseach.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

137 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to review the proposals for co-located hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals in view of the deteriorating finances of the State and the high amount of tax that will be foregone by the Exchequer in the context of these proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42429/08]

The aim of the acute hospital co-location initiative is to make available additional public acute hospital beds for public patients by transferring private activity, with some limited exceptions, from public acute hospitals to co-located private hospitals. Each co-location project is required to demonstrate value for money for the State, taking into account its comprehensive benefits, as well as the cost of tax allowances and private bed revenue currently accruing to public hospitals.

I do not accept that, relative to its value, a high proportion of tax will be forgone by the Exchequer in respect of co-location projects. The scheme of tax allowances under the Finance Act 2001 means that, for each €100 million of qualifying capital expenditure, the cost of tax relief to investors (assuming a marginal tax rate of 41% for those investors) will be some €41 million in gross terms, spread over 7 years. Additional revenues would accrue to the Exchequer from the extra activity generated by the construction of the hospitals, the employment arising and the related services provided on which taxes will be paid.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to carry out an independent review of the co location initiative following completion of the current programme of developments. In accordance with this commitment, my Department will make the necessary arrangements to commission a review in due course.

Question No. 138 answered with Question No. 72.

Departmental Bodies.

Joe Costello

Question:

139 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Taoiseach the number and names of organisations or agencies under his auspices which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to budgetary measures; the estimated savings in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42226/08]

There are no organisations or agencies under the remit of my Department which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to recent budgetary measures.

Consultancy Contracts.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

140 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach the amount of expenditure on consultancy by his Department in 2006 and 2007; the numbers of consultants engaged by his Department in those years; the names of the consultancy companies awarded contracts; the steps which have been taken to reduce the expenditure on consultancy and the reliance on consultants by his Department in these years and for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42583/08]

Details of the amount of expenditure on consultancy by my Department in the years 2006 and 2007, the numbers of consultants engaged and the names of the consultancy companies is set out below. In 2007, my Department and the Bodies under the aegis of my Department, engaged 19 consultants at a cost of €570,258. The breakdown is as follows.

Body

Total Expenditure

Consultants Engaged

Department

278,248

Goodbody Economic Consultants

Grant Thornton

Indecon

PA Consulting Group

Marie Halpin and Associates

PA Consulting Group

Fitzpatrick Associates

QTS Limited

National Forum on Europe

166,435

Caroline Erskine

Fitzpatrick Associates

Taskforce on Active Citizenship

6,050

Caroline Erskine

All Party Committee on the Constitution

33,030

Gail Nohilly

Jim O’Donnell

Change Management Fund, Department of Finance

86,495

RA Consulting

ESRI

Fitzpatrick Associates

Goodbody Economic Consultant

Ipsos Mori

Isolde Goggin and Gillian Lauder

In 2006, my Department engaged 17 consultants at a cost of €387,383. The names of the consultants are as follows:

Body

Total Expenditure

Consultants Engaged

Department

45,109

Fitzpatrick Associates

Watson Wyatt

Change Management Fund, Department of Finance

212,368

Etain Doyle

Economic and Social Research Institute

Fitzpatrick Associates

Goodbody Economic Consultation

Institute of Public Administration

Ipsos Mori Ireland

HCM Consultants & Acturaries

John Sweeney

National Forum on Europe

55,780

Caroline Erskine

Brendan Lynch

Taskforce on Active Citizenship

66,685

Olivia McEvoy

Caroline Erskine

Mary Higgins

NESDO

7,441

Xperidox

Achilles Procurement

Spend by my Department on Consultancy services is minimal. However, where it is necessary to engage consultants in order to avail of their particular expertise or experience, the procurement of consultancy services is subject to Public Procurement Guidelines and, where applicable, EU procurement rules and guidelines, with selection criteria geared to select the most economically advantageous tender. It is also our policy that skills-transfer from consultants to Departmental staff takes place as an integral part of all consultancy engagements. The purpose of this is to increase the knowledge and expertise of Departmental staff and to reduce and, if possible, eliminate further dependance on consultants in the areas concerned.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

141 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Taoiseach the estimated spend on mileage allowances for his Department in 2007; the number of claimants in respect of categories (details supplied) under which mileage is paid; the total number of claimants; and the total spend on same. [42630/08]

The total spend on mileage allowances for my Department in 2007 was €46,756. A breakdown of each of the categories is detailed in the table below.

Category Details

Number of Claimants in each category

Amount spent on each category

Vehicles up to 1,200cc up to 4,000 miles

4 Claimants

€1,042

Vehicles between 1,201cc and 1,500cc up to 4,000 miles

14 Claimants

€10,866

Vehicles above 1,500cc up to 4,000 miles

30 Claimants

€32,699

Vehicles up to 1,200cc exceeding 4,000 miles

0 Claimants

€0.00

Vehicles between 1,201cc and 1,500cc exceeding 4,000 miles

0 Claimants

€0.00

Vehicles above 1,500cc exceeding 4,000 miles

2 Claimants

€2,149

Totals

50 Claimants

€46,756

Departmental Bodies.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

142 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Taoiseach the names, affiliations and addresses of the census advisory group; its term of office; the name of the chairperson; the procedure that was used for their appointment; if any organisations or institutions within the State were asked for nominations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42727/08]

The Census Advisory Group consists of the following members.

2011 Census Consultation — Census Advisory Group

Organisation

Representative

Designation

Department of An Taoiseach

Mr. Aedan Hall

Assistant Principal, Economic & Social Policy

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Ms. Susan Scally

Principal, Corporate Co-ordination Division

Department of Education and Science

Ms. Nicola Tickner

Statistician

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Mr. Fergus Doyle

HEO, Planning Unit

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Mr. Frank Donohoe

Assistant Principal, Housing Policy Unit

Department of Finance

Ms. Anne Donegan

Assistant Principal, Budget, Economic & Pensions Division

Department of Health and Children

Mr. Hugh Magee

Senior Statistician

Department of Social and Family Affairs

Mr. Paul Morrin

Senior Statistician

Department of Transport

Mr. Ken Jordan

Statistician

Dublin Transportation Office

Mr. Frank McCabe

Technical Director — Research and Analysis

Economic and Social Research Institute

Dr. Dorothy Watson

Senior Research Officer

Equality Authority

Mr. Laurence Bond

Head of Research

Irish Business and Employers Confederation

Mr. Fergal O’Brien

Senior Economist

Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Mr. Conor Farrell

Research Officer — Social Affairs

Local Government Management Services Board

Mr. David O’Connor

County Manager, Fingal County Council

National Disability Authority

Ms. Mary Van Lieshout

Head of Research & Standards Development

Regional Authorities Directors’ Association

Mr. John Byrne

Secretary (Director — Mid-East Regional Authority)

UCD

Prof. Tony Fahey

Professor of Social Policy

NUI Maynooth

Prof. Rob Kitchin

Director — National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Gerry Brady

Senior Statistician — Social Statistics Integration

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Dermot Corcoran

Statistician — Census

Central Statistics Office

Ms. Deirdre Cullen

Senior Statistician — Census

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Brian King

Statistician — Census

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Shaun McLaughlin

Statistician — Census

Central Statistics Office

Ms. Catriona Power (Secretary)

HEO — Census

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Aidan Punch (Chair)

Director — Census

Central Statistics Office

Mr. Declan Smyth

Statistician — Census

Nominations were received from the 17 organisations indicated above who were invited to participate in the work of the group. The two university representatives were approached directly. The group has now concluded the first phase of its work in recommending the questions to be included in a pilot study to be carried out in April 2009. The group will reconvene in September 2009 and assist the CSO in making its recommendation to Government in relation to the proposed content of the 2011 census form and the outputs to be produced.

Ministerial Staff.

John O'Mahony

Question:

143 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Taoiseach the number of persons employed in his private office; the annual amount paid in respect of salaries and expenses in regard to each person; the expenses paid to persons in his constituency office in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42909/08]

A total of 11 staff are employed in my Private Office in Government Buildings. A total of 8 staff are employed between my Constituency Offices in Government Buildings and my Tullamore Office.

*2008 Salaries

Expenses (1/1/08 31/10/08)

Constituency Office

355,147.00

Private Office

590,647.00

1,378.00

*1/09/08 pay scales.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael McGrath

Question:

144 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Taoiseach the costs involved in off-site rental storage of his departmental documents in designated document storage centres (details supplied). [43227/08]

My Department is paying a monthly rate of 39c per box (inclusive of VAT) for the off site storage of 318 Bankers Boxes.

Employment Rights.

Joe Costello

Question:

145 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she proposes to introduce legislation to implement the temporary agency workers’ directive; if she has proposals for amending the posting of workers directive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42204/08]

I have no proposals to seek amendment of the Posting of Workers Directive, nor am I aware of any proposals to introduce amendments to the Directive which, in any case, is a matter for consideration by Ministers of the EU-27 at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in conjunction with the European Parliament and the European Commission. The European Parliament by way of its legislative Resolution, of 22nd October 2008, have approved the Council common position for adopting a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on temporary agency work. I welcome the fact that the Parliament, in Plenary, accepted the Council common position without amendment. This matter will now be scheduled for the next meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, on 17th. December, when consideration of this dossier will be concluded. This will conclude the final element in the process of its adoption, and publication in the Official Journal.

Under the terms of the agreement reached by EU Ministers and approved by Parliament, there will be a three year period in which Member States will be required to transpose the Directive, following its adoption, into national legislation. The Deputy will recall that following the welcome developments in the European Parliament, I invited the Social Partners to discussions with my Department. These discussions will aim at agreeing a framework within which agency workers in Ireland would achieve equal treatment within an agreed timeframe having regard also to the need for flexibility in enterprises. The proposed Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009 concluded by the Social Partners contains a commitment to developing such a framework.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

146 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the maximum amount of time that an employer is permitted to keep a person on a three day a week before they are offered full-time work again or redundancy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42705/08]

A person may be put on reduced working hours by their employer e.g. a three day week or a 4 day week, where there is a reduction in the amount of work available. If an employee temporarily accepts a substantial reduction in his remuneration or his/her hours of work and such reduction is not less than half his/her normal working hours or remuneration (e.g. a 3 day week, or a 4 day week) such temporary acceptance for a period not exceeding 52 weeks shall not be taken to be an acceptance by him/her of an offer of suitable employment.

Similarly, if the employee never accepted the reduced working hours as his/her "normal" hours and was constantly seeking to be put back on full time working, he/she could then be deemed not to have accepted his/her reduced hours as normal. In such circumstances, an employee could request a statutory redundancy payment from his/her employer as the hours worked are not regarded as suitable or normal employment. It is up to the employer concerned in the first instance to determine whether or not there is in fact a redundancy situation. Disputes in this regard can be referred to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) for adjudication.

Where a person is put on reduced working hours by their employer e.g. a three day week or a 4 day week, the redundancy entitlement is calculated on the basis of a full week, provided the employee was put on reduced hours within one year (52 weeks) before being made redundant. If made redundant after the first year of reduced working hours and if it is clear that the employee fully accepted the reduced working hours as being his/her normal working week, never requesting a return to a full time week, the employee is deemed to have accepted the reduced hours as his/her normal week. In this situation, the gross pay for redundancy purposes is based on the reduced working hours. Where an employee, for his/her own reasons, requests to be placed on reduced working hours and the employer agrees, the redundancy entitlement is based on the reduced hours.

Job Protection.

Martin Ferris

Question:

147 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will make a statement on the threat to jobs at a plant (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if her Department is involved in efforts to save the 800 jobs at the plant. [42140/08]

I am informed by IDA Ireland that Kostal Ireland GmbH plan a reduction in job numbers in Mallow and a change to working arrangements at their Mallow and Abbeyfeale plants. These steps are deemed necessary by the company to offset a drop in sales demand. Kostal will be terminating the employment of 29 temporary employees in Mallow, closing both the Limerick and Mallow plants for three working days in November and closing both plants for three full weeks at Christmas. I understand that the company will also move to short time working during 2009.

In general the automotive industry has seen a dramatic fall off in demand in recent months and in early October many of the leading automotive companies, adjusting to the fall in demand, announced temporary plant shut-downs, short-term working and lay-offs. In October, overall U.S. auto sales fell by 32 percent to their lowest level since February 1983 and the European market is also suffering with industry wide sales falling some 20% on the corresponding period last year. This has necessitated immediate corrective action by automotive supply companies to ensure that production matches the automakers' production schedules. Automotive supply companies in Ireland are not insulated from these effects and steps are being taken to prepare for reduced volumes and intensified economic and competitive pressure in the coming months.

I understand that an internal company consultation process has just commenced at Kostal. Following completion of this process FÁS employment Services Management will meet with Kostal management and staff representatives to formulate a plan of action to deliver FÁS services and supports to all 29 staff being made redundant as well as to all staff being out on short time in 2009. Such services and supports will include: on-site presentations on FÁS services and supports; one to one registration and guidance interviews, setting-up a resource centre to facilitate staff in the career guidance needs and job search activities, and provision of a range of pre-redundancy and post-redundancy training courses to assist all staff in achieving relevant skills updating.

Work Permits.

Joan Burton

Question:

148 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of work permits issued each year for each of the years 1997 to 2007, and for each month to date in 2008. [42208/08]

Set out below are the figures as requested by the Deputy.

Employment Permits Issued from 1997-2008 (up to 21/11/2008)

Year

Month

New

Renewals

Group

Total

2008

7,902

4,831

0

12,733

Jan

1,080

1,096

0

2,176

Feb

785

821

0

1,606

Mar

620

503

0

1,123

Apr

760

443

0

1,203

May

705

385

0

1,090

Jun

759

324

0

1,083

Jul

962

266

0

1,228

Aug

701

294

0

995

Sep

560

263

0

823

Oct

572

250

0

822

Nov

398

186

0

584

2007

10,103

13,420

13

23,536

2006

7,309

16,583

958

24,850

2005

7,632

19,517

816

27,965

2004

10,418

23,348

801

34,567

2003

22,329

25,111

560

48,000

2002

23,306

16,547

431

40,284

2001

29,542

6,475

357

36,374

2000

15,329

22,46

298

17,873

1999

4,323

1,652

269

6,244

1998

3,589

1,886

239

5,714

1997

2,668

1,617

259

4,544

Departmental Bodies.

Joe Costello

Question:

149 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number and names of organisations or agencies under her auspices which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to budgetary measures; the estimated savings in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42219/08]

Insofar as my Department is concerned, Budget 2009 announcements included the merging of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority. As both bodies were established under statute, it will be necessary to give effect to the newly merged body by way of primary legislation. Whilst I am committed to introducing this legislation as soon as possible, it is not possible at this early stage to give a precise date as to when the necessary legislation will be published. Similarly, whilst it is expected that the synergies arising from the merger of the two bodies will result in savings to the exchequer, particularly in areas such as shared services, it is not possible to precisely quantify the amount of savings involved at this stage.

Departmental Grants.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

150 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of grants provided by her Department, or agencies of her Department, which are available to redundant construction workers in relation to sustainable energy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42278/08]

There are no specific grants available from my Department in relation to sustainable energy. Financial and non-financial assistance may be available through Country Enterprise Boards (CEB) to projects meeting the standard requirements, though such assistance is more generally provided to projects in the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors. However, any viable business proposal coming forward for the establishment of a commercial enterprise will be assessed against the Boards' normal range of evaluation criteria.

All of the CEB operate to the same criteria in relation to the assistance which they can offer i.e. they can support the establishment and/or the development of enterprises provided that the projects, which should generally be in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector, have the capacity to achieve commercial viability and which over time may develop into strong exporting entities. In addition, the CEB deliver a range of non-financial supports to improve management capability development within micro-enterprises designed to help new and existing enterprises to operate effectively and efficiently so as to last and grow.

Support available for redundant construction workers in relation to sustainable energy is mainly provided in the form of training/retraining through FÁS. FÁS are providing retraining opportunities for construction workers regarding energy efficiency and other similar areas. Specifically they provide training programmes in the installation and maintenance of sustainable energy systems (eg solar, biomass, geo-thermal heating). FÁS will also provide retraining opportunities for redundant construction workers in emerging areas within the construction sector, including environmental activity and compliance and regulatory work.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

151 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of courses available for redundant construction workers, excluding apprentices, being provided free of cost by FÁS; the number of places on these courses; the training centres at which they are taking place; the number of places that are envisaged for these courses in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42279/08]

FÁS currently offers three courses specifically aimed at redundant craft workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the downturn in the construction sector. These courses are all related to training in the field of sustainable energy and are at present available at FÁS centres in Dublin and Cork. Each course is for one week's duration and is designed to accommodate 12 students at a time. In addition to this, a new building energy rating assessor programme, also designed to target redundant construction craft workers, is being finalised at the FÁS training centre in Cabra and is due for roll out in December 2008. A number of other courses, currently in development, are due for roll out in 2009. As discussions involving budgetary allocations for each FÁS labour market programme are currently taking place it is not possible at this stage to give an accurate estimate on the number of training places envisaged for 2009.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

152 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her Department or agencies of her Department are offering upskilling courses by night for construction workers; if she will provide details of the courses; the number of places on each; if they will be available in 2009; if any will be introduced in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42280/08]

My Department's two main training providers with responsibility for the provision of training courses to upskill those in the work force are FÁS and Skillnets. FÁS training centres offer a wide range of evening class programmes for employed persons that allow them to enhance their skills and prepare for progression to higher level roles and occupations. A full list of course titles is appended below. While not all on that list would be of direct interest to construction workers, such workers are entitled to apply for all courses on that list.

As an immediate opportunity to upgrade their skills and certification levels for re-entry to the jobs markets, such courses will be expanded and offered free of charge to those who have recently been made redundant. An additional 16,000 such places will be made available in 2009. Each region will be allocated places in accordance with local demand. This demand will be identified by reference to the outcome of guidance interviews with redundant construction workers that are administered by the FÁS Employment Services at regional and local levels. There will be flexibility in capacity to vary the FÁS course schedule in accordance with demand for particular courses.

Skillnets for their part operate the Training Networks Programme and under this programme the Construction Industry Training Alliance (CITA) Skillnet and the Western Homebuilders Skillnet provide up-skilling courses for construction workers by night. In 2008, the CITA Skillnet is providing evening courses in ECDL and Building Energy Ratings to 96 participants, while the Western Homebuilders Skillnet has delivered evening courses to 123 participants in Accounting/Financial Skills and in technical processes for Building Energy Ratings, Renewable Energy Installation, and Access for the Disabled. As all Skillnets networks are currently revising training plans for next year, details for 2009 are not yet available. However, training programmes in 2009 are likely to be broadly similar to those provided in 2008.

Evening Courses on Enquiry and Development Database

Course Code

Course Title

1

XXQ24

Introduction to Computers — Evenings

2

XXQ23

ECDL Ver 4 — Evenings

3

XXQ42

Clerical/Receptionist Skills — Evenings

4

XXQ21

Computerised Accounts — Evenings

5

XXQ25

Start your Own Business — Evenings

6

XXQ01

Safety Health & Welfare at Work — Evenings

7

XXQ04

Web Page Design (Intro) — Evenings

8

XXQ58

AutoCad (Introduction) — Evenings

9

XXQ68

Arc Welding (Basic) — Evenings

10

XXQ71

Occupational First Aid — Evenings

11

XXQ74

Manual Accounts & Payroll — Evenings

12

XXQ09

Interior Design — Evenings

13

XXQ64

Digital Imaging Using Photoshop — Evenings

14

XXQ101

Manual Handling — Evenings

15

XXQ19

ILM Cert in Mgt. (Intro) — Evenings

16

XXQ59

Programmable Logic Controllers — Evenings

17

XXQ65

Welding — Evenings

18

XXQ87

Preparation for ECDL — Evenings

19

XXQ93

Computerised Accounts Level 2 — Evenings

20

XXQ26

MS Office Specialist (Word Core) — Evenings

21

XXQ27

MS Office Specialist (EXCEL Core) — Evenings

22

XXQ29

ILM Cert in Management — Evenings

23

XXQ56

PC Maintenance & Repair — Evenings

24

XXQ70

Sales Rep. & Customer Care — Evenings

25

XXQ82

Introd. to Internet/E-mail — Evenings

26

XXQ98

Rigid Truck Driving — Evenings

27

XXQ06

Oil Burner Servicing — Evenings

28

XXQ103

MS Office Specialist (Excel Expert) — Evenings

29

XXQ121

Roofing Techniques — Evenings

30

XXQ123

Bus Driving D Licence — Evenings

31

XXQ124

Welding Intermediate — Evening Course

32

XXQ125

Welding Advanced — Evening Course

33

XXQ142

Introduction to Basic Car Care — Evenings

34

XXQ17

Electronics (Basic) — Evenings

35

XXQ28

MS Office Specialist (ACCESS Core) — Evenings

36

XXQ43

Plumbing (Basic) — Evenings

37

XXQ48

Hairdressing (Basic) — Evenings

38

XXQ52

Gas Welding — Evening Course

39

XXQ83

Roofing — Cutting & Calculating — Evenings

40

XXQ86

Machine Tool Operating — Evenings

41

XXQ88

Gas Welding Basic — Evenings

42

XXQ96

Gas Installation — Safety — Evenings

43

XXQ10

Programming in Java (Intro) — Evenings

44

XXQ102

The Digital Darkroom Retouch Tech — Evenings

45

XXQ104

SBA Electrician P2 T1 Revision — Evenings

46

XXQ105

SBA Electrician P2 T2 Revision — Evenings

47

XXQ109

ILM Introduction in Teamleading — Evenings

48

XXQ11

2 Dimensional C.A.D — Evenings

49

XXQ110

ACCA Paper 1 CAT — Evenings

50

XXQ111

ACCA Paper 2 CAT — Evenings

51

XXQ112

ACCA Paper 3 CAT — Evenings

52

XXQ113

ACCA Paper 4 CAT — Evenings

53

XXQ114

Bookkeeping Module A — Evenings

54

XXQ115

Bookkeeping Module B — Evenings

55

XXQ116

Principles & Practice 2D CAD Level 1 — Evenings

56

XXQ117

Principles & Practice 2D CAD Level 2 — Evenings

57

XXQ118

Principles & Practice 2D CAD Level 3 — Evenings

58

XXQ119

ACCA Paper 5 CAT — Evenings

59

XXQ120

ACCA Paper 6 CAT — Evenings

60

XXQ122

Artic Driving EC Licence — Evenings

61

XXQ126

ECDL Part 1 — Evenings

62

XXQ127

ECDL Part 2 — Evenings

63

XXQ130

ECDL PART 3 — EVENINGS

64

XXQ132

Small Business Accounts

65

XXQ140

ACCA Paper 7 CAT- Evening

66

XXQ141

ACCA Paper 10 — CAT Evenings

67

XXQ15

Mini Bus Driving — Evening Course

68

XXQ18

MS Office Specialist (PowerPoint Core) — Evenings

69

XXQ32

ECDL Word Processing Advanced — Evenings

70

XXQ33

ECDL Spreadsheet Advanced — Evenings

71

XXQ36

TIG Welding (Basic) — Evenings

72

XXQ40

MS Office Specialist (Word Expert) — Evenings

73

XXQ51

Photoshop (Advanced) — Evenings

74

XXQ53

Electrical (Basics) — Evenings

75

XXQ55

Car Maintenance (Basic) — Evening Course

76

XXQ57

Hydraulics/Pneumatics — Evenings

77

XXQ67

Supervisory Management — Evenings

78

XXQ69

Mig Welding — Evenings

79

XXQ76

Jewellery Stone Setting — Evenings

80

XXQ84

SAGE Accounts and Payroll — Evenings

81

XXQ85

Computer Appreciation — Evenings

82

XXQ89

Web Design — Evenings

83

XXQ92

Woodturning Level 1 — Evenings

84

XXQ97

Safepass — Evenings

85

XXQ02

Mechanical Drawing (Basic) — Evenings

86

XXQ07

Lift (Counter Balance) — Evenings

87

XXQ08

Office Skills — Evenings

88

XXQ100

Introduction to Computer Network Evenings

89

XXQ106

Best Practice Procurement — Evenings

90

XXQ107

Introduction to Public Relations-Evening

91

XXQ108

Adv Digital Imaging — Photoshop CS — Evenings

92

XXQ12

Desktop Publishing Level 2 — Evenings

93

XXQ128

3D Computer Aided Design Level 4 — Evening

94

XXQ129

3D Computer Aided Design Level 5 — Evening

95

XXQ13

Wood Turning Level 2 — Evenings

96

XXQ131

Rigid Truck Driving with Theory — Evenings

97

XXQ133

IPass Foundtion Course in Payroll — Evenings

98

XXQ134

PLC Part II Advanced — Evenings

99

XXQ135

Multi Media Basics — Evenings

100

XXQ136

Childminding Professional Practice — Evenings

101

XXQ137

Play and Early Education — Evenings

102

XXQ138

After-School Care — Evenings

103

XXQ139

Children With Additional Needs — Evenings

104

XXQ14

Craft Calculations — Evenings

105

XXQ143

ACCA Paper 8 Evening Course

106

XXQ144

First Aid, Patient Handling & Hygiene for Carers — Evening

107

XXQ145

Care Practice — Evening Course

108

XXQ146

Project Management — Evenings

109

XXQ147

Career Planning — Evenings

110

XXQ148

Legal Accounts — Evenings

111

XXQ149

Advanced Web Design — Evenings

112

XXQ150

Telesales — Evenings

113

XXQ151

Dictaphone Typing — Evenings

114

XXQ16

Teacher’s Dip in I T (JEB)- Evenings

115

XXQ20

Macromedia Flash (Intro) — Evenings

116

XXQ22

Desktop Publishing Level 1 — Evenings

117

XXQ30

Communication Skills — Evenings

118

XXQ31

Electronic Servicing Part 1 — Evenings

119

XXQ34

IC3 Internet Comp Core Cert — Evenings

120

XXQ35

CNC Basic — Evenings

121

XXQ37

Centre Lathe Operating — Evenings

122

XXQ38

Vehicle Spray Painting (Basic) — Evenings

123

XXQ39

Vertical Milling Machine Ops — Evenings

124

XXQ41

MS Office Specialist (OUTLOOK) — Evenings

125

XXQ44

Computerised Payroll — Evenings

126

XXQ45

CV and Interview Preparation — Evenings

127

XXQ46

Joinery (Basic) — Evenings

128

XXQ47

Cabinet Making (Basic) — Evenings

129

XXQ49

Tiling (Introduction) — Evenings

130

XXQ50

Business Applications Using MS Office — Evenings

131

XXQ54

Electrical Level 2 — Evenings

132

XXQ60

Mathematics For Apprentices — Evenings

133

XXQ61

Leadership Coaching for Results — Evenings

134

XXQ62

Computer Aided Design (Basic) — Evenings

135

XXQ63

Drawing for Apprentices — Evenings

136

XXQ66

Cert in Training&Development — Evenings

137

XXQ72

Warehouse Management — Evenings

138

XXQ73

Introduction to Stores Management — Evenings

139

XXQ75

Photography — Evenings

140

XXQ77

Building Technology 1 — Evenings

141

XXQ78

Powerpoint, Email & Internet — Evenings

142

XXQ79

Word Processing Advanced — Evenings

143

XXQ80

ECDL Database Advanced

144

XXQ81

Stainless Steel TIG Welding — Evenings

145

XXQ90

ECDL Presentation Advanced — Evenings

146

XXQ91

Computers for Beginners — Evenings

147

XXQ94

Improver Welder — Evenings

148

XXQ95

3Phase Motor Ctrl — Elec&Fitter — Evenings

149

XXQ99

Extensible Markup Language (XML) Evenings

Polasaí Fiontair.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

153 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Tánaiste agus Aire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta cad iad na forbairtí ó thaobh polasaithe iomaíochta agus nuálaíochta de a bhfuil an Roinn Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta ag tabhairt fúthu chun an Ghaeilge, agus nithe sainiúla cultúrtha nach iad atá in Éirinn, a chur chun cinn agus a fhorbairt mar dhíol spéise sainiúil na hÉireann (nó Ireland’s unique selling point) chun fiontraíochta agus gnó a mhealladh chun na hÉireann i bhfianaise thuairim an Ollaimh Fionnbarra Ó Brolcháin go mbraitheann Buntáiste Iomaíoch Inbhuanaithe, BII, na hÉireann ar an bpobal a bheith difriúil agus uathúil agus go bhfuil ár dteanga dhúchais ina dlúthchuid den bhuntáiste sin; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [42324/08]

Tá sí mar aidhm ag Straitéis Fiontair an Rialtais forbairt gheilleagair eolas-bhunaithe a chur chun cinn ionas gur féidir leis an tír dul in iomaíocht go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta araon d'infheistíocht dhíreach iasachta agus d'fhorbairt comhlachtaí áitiúla. Tá sé mar chroílár na straitéise seo infheistiú inár ndaoine agus a chinntiú go bhfuil na scileanna acu atá riachtanach chun maireachtáil agus obair sa gheilleagar eolas-bhunaithe domhanda.

Tá an Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta i bhfeighil ar dhul chun cinn éifeachtach na Gaeilge agus trí Údarás na Gaeltachta, forbairt fiontair laistigh de limistéir na Gaeltachta. Faoi réir ranna eile an Rialtais, tacaím leis na hiarrachtaí sin agus aithním gur féidir le sainiúlacht chultúrtha, i roinnt cásanna, ról a bheith aici chun infheistíocht a mhealladh mar aon le fiontar a chruthú.

Tá tacaíochtaí fiontair i limistéir na Gaeltachta á soláthar ag Údarás na Gaeltachta a thagann faoi choimirce mo chomhghleacaithe, an tAire Ó Cuív, Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta. Seasann oibríochtaí gheilleagair de chuid an Údaráis do bhrainse na Straitéise Fiontair iomláine, agus mar sin tá siad á dtreorú ag a gcuid prionsabal. Ar bhonn straitéiseach náisiúnta déanann Fiontraíocht Éireann comhordú le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta trí mheán cruinnithe pleanála idirghníomhaireachta rialta agus trí Údarás na Gaeltachta a chur san áireamh ar roinnt coistí, mar shampla an Coiste Taighde & Forbartha a dhéanann Deontais R&D a fhaomhadh. Is féidir le comhlachtaí lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht atá dírithe ar phoist mharthanacha a fhorbairt i margaí iasachta leas a bhaint as na seirbhísí á dtairiscint ag líonra oifige iasachta de chuid Fiontraíochta Éireann agus páirt a ghlacadh in imeachtaí ghrúpa spreagtha atá eagraithe ag Fiontar Éireann.

Tá sé de dhíth ar Éire mar gheilleagar oscailte beag a bheith in ann freagairt go tapa d'athruithe i dtimpeallacht eacnamaíochta agus teicneolaíochta níos domhandaithe. Tá sé tábhachtach go dtógaimid foinsí nua de bhuntáiste iomaíoch bunaithe ar ár gcuid eolais agus saineolais. Is é ceann de phríomh-thascanna mo Roinne, ná a chinntiú go bhfanann Éire mar áit mhealltach chun gnó a dhéanamh inti, agus chun tacaíocht a thabhairt d'fhorbairt inniúlachtaí eacnamaíochta níos airde suas an slabhra luacha. Chuige seo, leanaimid ar aghaidh ag obair chun ár gcoinníollacha iomaíocha creatlaí a choinneáil agus a leasú, agus chun réimsí nua de bhuntáiste iomaíoch a chur ar aghaidh trí ár mbonn R&D a fhorbairt, trí infheistiú i mbonneagair fhisiciúla agus cumarsáide criticiúla, agus oideachas treasach agus foghlaim fadsaoil a chur chun cinn, de réir an Phlean Forbartha Náisiúnta agus Cláir an Rialtais.

Tá iomaíocht, d'infheistíocht agus do tháirgí agus seirbhísí sa timpeallacht eacnamaíochta domhanda ina fheidhmíonn gnó Éireannach, níos géire ná riamh. Le linn na haeráide eacnamaíochta neamhchinnte reatha, tá sé níos tábhachtaí ná riamh go nglacaimid le pé bearta atá oiriúnach chun a chinntiú go bhfanaimid iomaíoch agus mealltach mar shuíomh chun gnó a dhéanamh ann.

Work Permits.

Michael Creed

Question:

154 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of work permits granted by her Department in 2008; if she will tabulate the nationalities of the workers in receipt of these work permits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42359/08]

The Employment Permits Section informs me that a total of 12,733 employment permits have been issued up to the 21st November 2008. 7,902 of these are new permits and 4,831 are renewals. Set out in the table are the figures broken down by Nationality, as requested by the Deputy.

Employment Permits granted in 2008 by Nationality

Nationality

New Permits

Renewals

Issued

India

2,164

953

3,117

Philippines

955

1,130

2,085

United States of America

678

126

804

South Africa

397

286

683

China

383

235

618

Brazil

357

226

583

Malaysia

350

153

503

Ukraine

203

241

444

Australia

285

98

383

Pakistan

200

152

352

Bangladesh

119

147

266

Thailand

102

127

229

New Zealand

154

58

212

Canada

159

43

202

Moldova

77

120

197

Russian Federation

84

75

159

Nigeria

90

56

146

Belarus

38

92

130

Romania

116

6

122

Turkey

70

33

103

Zimbabwe

65

37

102

Israel

90

8

98

Sri Lanka

51

29

80

Egypt

35

40

75

Japan

42

19

61

Mauritius

42

10

52

Morocco

34

17

51

Croatia

28

22

50

Korea (Republic of (South))

32

9

41

Nepal

29

9

38

Vietnam

24

11

35

Argentina

27

7

34

Algeria

12

21

33

Indonesia

10

18

28

Mexico

20

8

28

Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of)

12

16

28

Hong Kong

15

11

26

Singapore

22

2

24

Botswana

18

5

23

Bulgaria

21

0

21

Iran

11

10

21

Jordan

15

6

21

Albania

2

18

20

Bosnia Herzegovina

3

17

20

Myanmar (Formerly Burma)

10

7

17

Tunisia

10

7

17

Kenya

13

2

15

Serbia

12

2

14

Kosovo

2

11

13

United Arab Emirates

12

1

13

Latvia (Alien)

1

11

12

Trinidad & Tobago

11

1

12

Bahrain

10

1

11

Syria

8

3

11

Chile

6

4

10

Colombia

10

0

10

Latvia

5

5

10

Lebanon

6

4

10

Kazakhstan

6

3

9

Venezuela

5

4

9

Iraq

5

3

8

Malawi

7

1

8

Samoa (USA)

6

2

8

Zambia

7

1

8

Cuba

4

2

6

Georgia

4

2

6

Ghana

5

1

6

Kyrgyz Republic

5

1

6

Mongolia

2

4

6

Tonga

6

0

6

Uruguay

3

3

6

Armenia

4

1

5

Kuwait

5

0

5

Sudan

4

1

5

Uzbekistan

1

4

5

Cameroon

1

3

4

Ethiopia

2

2

4

Fiji

3

1

4

Jamaica

1

3

4

Oman

3

1

4

Uganda

3

1

4

Azerbaijan

3

0

3

Barbados

2

1

3

El Salvador

3

0

3

Macedonia (FYR)

3

0

3

Mauritania

2

1

3

Nicaragua

3

0

3

Palestine

3

0

3

Peru

0

3

3

St Vincent and the Grenadines

3

0

3

Taiwan

2

1

3

Bhutan (Kingdom of)

1

1

2

Congo (Democratic Republic of)

1

1

2

Costa Rica

2

0

2

Ecuador

1

1

2

Grenada

2

0

2

Guatemala

0

2

2

Honduras

0

2

2

Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of (South))

1

1

2

Libya

1

1

2

Tibet

2

0

2

Western Samoa

1

1

2

Yemen

2

0

2

Belize

1

0

1

Brunei

1

0

1

Burma

1

0

1

Cape Verde

0

1

1

Congo Republic of

1

0

1

Guyana

1

0

1

Haiti

0

1

1

Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of (North))

1

0

1

Maldives

0

1

1

Namibia

1

0

1

Niger

1

0

1

Paraquay

1

0

1

San Marino

1

0

1

Senegal

0

1

1

Sierra Leone

1

0

1

Taiwan (Republic of China)

1

0

1

Tanzania

0

1

1

Timor East

1

0

1

Turkmenistan

1

0

1

West Indies

1

0

1

Benin

0

0

0

Cambodia (Kampuchea)

0

0

0

Cyprus

0

0

0

Guinea

0

0

0

Ivory Coast

0

0

0

Macau

0

0

0

Panama

0

0

0

Saudi Arabia

0

0

0

Solomon Islands

0

0

0

Swaziland

0

0

0

The Republic of Togo

0

0

0

Totals 2008

7,902

4,831

12,733

Note: Figures up to the 21st November 2008.

Consultancy Contracts.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

155 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the amount of expenditure on consultancy by her Department in 2006 and 2007; the numbers of consultants engaged by her Department in those years; the names of the consultancy companies awarded contracts; the steps which have been taken to reduce the expenditure on consultancy and the reliance on consultants by her Department in these years and for the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42582/08]

The information requested by the Deputy in so far as my Department is concerned is set out in the table. My Department operates to detailed guidelines when commissioning outside expertise from our consultancy or research budgets. In that regard, the figures provided relate to consultancies as defined in the Department of Finance December 2006 "Guidelines for the Engagement of Consultants and Other External Support by the Civil Service".

The guidelines state, inter alia, that "the requirements for external consultancies and/or research projects should arise only where appropriate skills, knowledge or expertise are not available within the Department, where a particular need arises that cannot be addressed within the resources available, and/or where expertise available in other Government Departments and Offices, e.g., obtaining legal advice from the Chief State Solicitors Office in preference to engaging external consultants, cannot be used". Furthermore, in order to maximise the effectiveness of the consultancy and research budgets, all proposals for funding must present a strong business case to my Department's Management Board for consideration and approval.

In evaluating each business case my Department examines: whether the project is designed to tackle a problem of sufficient importance to the Department relative to the costs, both in terms of financial and staff resources involved; whether the business case has been properly identified, prepared and is convincing, and the links to the Department's Strategy Statement. The Guidelines also set out the specific information required in each application for funding which includes an evaluation of possibilities other than engaging external consultants to carry out the project.

2006

Name of Consultant

Purpose of Expenditure

Total

Brindley

Advertising production for increase in the National Minimum Wage

23,635

Q4 Public Relations

Media and communications advisor in respect of Interim NCA

108,900

Farrell Grant Sparks

Ex-ante evaluation of the Human Capital Investment OPt

41,050

Deloitte & Touche

Professional Fees for a periodic review/update of the financial returns spreadsheet of the Productive sector OP

4,110

Kilroy Solicitors

Legal Advice

54,496

Indecon International Economic Consultants

Study of efficiency and effectiveness of vocational Training Services

45,779

Nathan Reilly

Legal Analysis

22,208

John Hennessey BL (Legal Advice)

Investigations under Section 19 of the Companies Act 1990

10,527

Matthias Kelly QC (Legal Advice)

Investigations under Section 19 of the Companies Act 1990

143,399

Carr Communications

Effective communications with CRO clients

33,123

Lansdowne Market Research

Market Research

20,450

Brian Murray

Legal Advice

7,720

Caroline Costello

Legal Advice

1,513

Conor Bourke

Legal Advice

3,025

Declan Murphy

Legal Advice

7,381

Eileen Barrington

Legal Advice

363

Eoghan Fitzsimons

Legal Advice

43,146

Epsilon Consulting

Legal Advice

605

John McCarroll

Legal Advice

454

Michael M Collins

Legal Advice

605

Milward Brown

Market Research

30,650

Michael Cush

Legal Advice

424

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Company Investigations

151,250

Tom Walsh

Production of revised Health and Safety legislation

77,160

Indecon

Economic Impact Assessment on the impact of health and safety legislation on competitiveness and the economy.

39,688

ESRI

National Survey on Workplace Bullying

190,138

ESRI

Assessment of recommended min. wage increases

15,000

Language

Design of Posters for WLB day 2006

11,416

Mayson, Hayes and Curran

Table of derivations for Companies Acts

49,263

Fredericka Sheppard

Evaluation of pilot teleworking scheme

16,154

Envirotrain

Presentation to Management Board on Strategic Environmental Assessment

650

O’ Mara, Geragthy, McCourt

Provision of legal services/advice

85,114

Cathy Maguire

Legal Services/advice

5243

Elizabeth Cogan

Legal Services/advice

10,963

Erwan Mill-Arden S.C

Legal Services/advice

4,235

Gerald Meaney

Legal Services/advice

2,662

James W Houlihan

Legal Services/advice

1503

Kathryn E. Keane

Legal Services/advice

1365

Rory Hayden

Legal Services/advice

1029

Mairéad Carey B.L.

Legal Services in connection with functions of the Labour Court

6,000

2007

Name of Consultants

Purpose

Amount Earned

Leo Burnett

Advertising increase in National Minimum Wage

50,163

Corporate Risk Strategies Ltd (CRS)

The Consultants were engaged to prepare a Health and Safety report on each of the Department’s buildings together with the appropriate Safety Statements.

24,200

ESRI

National Survey on Workplace Bullying

84,232

Tom Walsh

To provide advice to the Department on the development of occupational health and safety policy and legislation

81,493

Arup Consulting Engineers

To support the Department in its review of Review of Dangerous Substances legislation

28,814.40

Indecon Economic Consultants

To prepare a report on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

30,000

Indecon Consultants

Prepare a Report — Value for Money Review of Science Foundation Ireland

111,244

The Media Group

To devise, implement and manage a national promotion and advertising campaign across a range of media for the ICT Audits Programme for Small Business in Ireland

135,000

Noel J. Travers BL

Drafted a legal instrument

8,440

RITS

To prepare a series of reports. (IT Security)

118,928

Version 1

To prepare a report on the Insolvency BPR

7,187

Work Research Co-operative Social & Economic Consultants

Acquired Disability andJob retention report

26,632

Goodbody Economic Consultants

Review of Wage SubsidyScheme

23,595

Farrell Grant Sparks

Ex-ante evaluation of the Human Capital Investment OP 2007-2013

66,671

Indecon Economic Consultants

Study of efficiency andEffectiveness ofVocational TrainingServices

5,087

DHR Communications

Dissemination of EQUAL programme (public relations)

28,305

Tom Ferris

To carry out six case studies investigating the administrative burdens arising due to regulation and to prepare a report

2,997

Dan Flinter

To facilitate two business workshops, examining the burdens of regulation on business, and make recommendations

8,643

Nathan Reilly

Review of consumer legislation

7,053

Keating and Associates

Communications Strategy for ODCE

32,670

Millward Brown IMS

Market Research for ODCE

44,790

Cyril O’Neill

Legal Costs Assessment for ODCE

13,273

Connolly Lowe

Legal Costs Assessment for ODCE

2,588

Carr Communications

Carry out work (Effective communications wit CRO clients

45,372

Millward Browne

Carry out work (Market Research)

27,062

Grant Thornton

Carry out work (Consultancy on Public Procurement and Business Solutions)

57,521

O’ Mara, Geragthy, McCourt

Provision of legal services and advices

35,086

Q41

Public relations services/advice

18,150

Owens DDB1

Advice on advertising and placing of same in various media

128,566

DKM Economic Consultants

Research on multi-unit developments

1,210

RPS Consultants

Research on energy policy

9,575

Vision Consulting Ltd

Consultants were engaged to carry out a review of the operation of NERA Information Services and to make recommendations on the structures, processes and systems that should operate in the Unit in order to achieve the highest possible standard of excellence in terms of meeting customer needs.

95,711

Keating and Associates

To provide NERA with PR Consultancy Services in the development of a new communications strategy.

46,462

Mason Hayes & Curran

NERA (Legal)

16,611

Ellard Browne

NERA (MIF)

7,550

Price Waterhouse Coopers

NERA (Management)

30,189

Vision Consulting

NERA (Communications)

186,334

Cawley Nea Ltd

NERA (Advertising Media)

181,335

Design Tactics

NERA (Advertising Media)

6,285

McCann Fitzgerald

Provision of legal advice under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts (CRO)

18,184

Millward Browne

Market Research for CRO

42,144

DNM Technology

VMWare advice on the use of software to run virtual PCs

4,840

S.F.Hughes & Co

Legal Services/advice

938

James W. Houlihan

Legal Services/advice

1,210

James Dwyer

Legal Services/advice

1,815

John Hennessy BL

Legal advice — investigations under Section 19 of the Companies Act 1990

126,324

Matthias Kelly QC

Legal advice — investigations under Section 19 of the Companies Act 1990

162,742

Form Creative Ltd

Advertising campaign for WLB day 2007

52,398

Form Creative Ltd

Advertising for Panel of Consultants 2007

8,673

Helm Corporation Ltd

Consultancy Service Oracle Review –Finance Unit

8,146

European Commission

Engagement of consultants to carry out National Evaluation of the impact of the European Employment Strategy in Ireland

4,973

Mazars

Engagement of a consultant to undertake 2 audits from the Department’s 2006 Audit Plan (Finance Unit and Personnel Unit) (continued from 2006)

10,482

Mairéad Carey B.L.

Legal Services in connection with functions of the Labour Court

6,050

John Gleeson S.C.

Legal Services in connection with functions of the Labour Court

960

Departmental Expenditure.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

156 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the estimated spend on mileage allowances for her Department in 2007; the number of claimants in respect of categories (details supplied) under which mileage is paid; the total number of claimants; and the total spend on same. [42623/08]

It is not possible, from my Department's computerised travel records, to provide details of mileage allowances in the categories specified by the Deputy. Moreover, two different sets of mileage allowances applied in the course of 2007 — one set of allowances applied from 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2007, and a second set applied from 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2007. However, details are provided in the table regarding my Department's total expenditure on mileage in 2007, the total number of miles claimed, the total number of claimants and the number who claimed in excess of 4,000 miles.

It should be noted that the total expenditure provided includes an element of cost on bus and rail travel and some other travel-related expenses which are aggregated with mileage allowances on my Department's accounts system. It is not feasible to identify these costs separately, as this exercise would require every expenses claim processed by my Department in 2007 to be reviewed. No claims were paid by my Department in respect of a bicycle allowance in 2007.

Total mileage expenditure in 20071

Total car miles claimed

Total number of car miles claimants

Number of claimants who exceeded 4,000 miles in 2007

€851,994.48

827,043 miles

460

73

Note: 1Includes an element of bus and rail costs and some other travel-related expenses.

Community Employment Schemes.

Bernard Allen

Question:

157 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if community employment participants aged 60 years are having their appointments terminated; if this is in line with her Department’s policy in relation to the review of people over 55 years and duration of community employment schemes; when that review will be finalised; if persons aged 55 years or over should be retained until such time as that review has taken place; and if there is a seven year duration limit on community employment placements. [42653/08]

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis. CE helps unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to a work routine and to assist them to enhance/develop both their technical and personal skills.

In April 2000 the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment introduced capped limits on the amount of time that a person could participate on CE (3 years total time on CE from 3rd April, 2000 — participation on CE before this date is disregarded). CE capping was introduced to facilitate the movement of participants through the programme, allowing new participants who may not otherwise have such an opportunity, avail of the programme. To cater for older workers in particular, in November 2004 Minister Micheál Martin revised the 3-year CE capping to allow those of 55 years of age and over to avail of a 6-year overall period on CE (based on participation since 3rd April 2000). This was in recognition of the fact that older participants may find it more difficult to progress into employment. Community Employment participants aged 60 years are not having their participation on CE terminated, except where they have completed their eligibility to participate on the programme.

The aim of CE still remains as an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment. There is a wide range of client groups which need access to CE — lone parents, persons with disabilities, stabilised substance abusers and unemployed persons. FÁS at all times is obliged to accommodate the needs of all these groups in terms of participation on Community Employment. The programme is managed within this context, with consideration to the availability of resources and the needs of participants and the community. In conclusion then, I would say that this Government will continue to support into the future the positive role of CE in meeting the needs of long-term unemployed persons while at the same time providing essential services to communities. In this regard, we are keeping the operation of the Scheme under constant review.

Work Permits.

Phil Hogan

Question:

158 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason a work permit was refused for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42696/08]

The Employment Permits Section informs me that it has no record of a work permit being refused in this case and that a work permit issued in respect of the above named on the 21st November 2008.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

159 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of work permits issued to date in 2008; the number of work permits that have been renewed in 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42713/08]

A total of 12,733 employment permits have been issued up to the 21st November 2008. 7,902 of these are new permits and 4,831 are renewals.

Consumer Protection.

Mary Upton

Question:

160 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason the National Consumer Agency does not address the issue of the serious anomalies between sterling prices and euro prices for goods available in shops here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42724/08]

Concerns in relation to the differential in the prices charged for some goods in this jurisdiction as against the prices charged in Northern Ireland and the UK have been expressed by a number of commentators, not least the National Consumer Agency. These concerns have focused on the recent significant increase in value by the Euro against sterling and the belief that the benefits of this appreciation are not being passed on to consumers. The National Consumer Agency, for its part, earlier this year conducted a survey of the price of a range of branded and own-brand goods charged by a number of prominent retailers operating both north and south of the Border. The survey found that customers in the Republic were being charged up to 31% more than customers in Northern Ireland in respect of certain branded products and up to 17% more in respect of own brand items.

Given these concerns I initiated an engagement with the retail sector as to the reasons why the benefits of the Euro's appreciation were not being passed on to consumers. In my discussions and contacts with the retail sector, retailers responded to the effect that while the retail price of goods imported from the UK had lagged exchange rate movements due to factors such as the forward purchase of goods and currency, there had already been reductions in the price of some goods and further reductions were in the pipeline. Retailers also advised that one of the main reasons for the price differential was that the cost of doing business in Ireland was significantly higher than that in the UK. In the light of these responses, I requested Forfás to carry out an analysis of the relative cost of doing business in a number of locations in the Republic, Northern Ireland and the UK.

It is my firm view that where retailers are charging significantly different prices for goods to their customers in this jurisdiction when compared with prices charged to their customers in other jurisdictions such as Northern Ireland and the UK, those retailers have a duty to their customers and to the economy to explain why they are charging such price differentials. I expect to receive Forfás' analysis of the situation shortly following which I intend to pursue this matter with the retail sector.

Job Creation.

John O'Mahony

Question:

161 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs created by the Industrial Development Authority in Mayo for the years 2006, 2007 and to date in 2008; the location of these jobs in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42737/08]

The Forfás Annual Employment Survey reports on job gains and losses in companies that are clients of the industrial development agencies. Information is aggregated on an annualized basis at county level. The information is provided by companies on a confidential basis for statistical purposes only. It is not possible to provide information for individual locations throughout the country. Figures for 2008 will not be available until early 2009.

The numbers of new jobs created by IDA supported companies in Co. Mayo in 2006 and 2007 are shown on the tabular statement.

Year

2006

2007

Number of Jobs Created

37

114

Figures for 2008 will not be available until early 2009.

Ministerial Staff.

John O'Mahony

Question:

162 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of persons employed in her private office and her constituency offices; the annual amount paid in respect of salaries and expenses in regard to each such office in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42902/08]

The following tables show the number of staff employed in my private office and constituency offices. The tables also show: (a) the total of the annual salaries payable to the staff in question, based on their current salary points; (b) the amounts paid in travel and subsistence costs since I took up office as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 7 May 2008; (c) miscellaneous expenses paid in respect of my offices since 7 May 2008.

Private Office:

No. of staff employed

Total annual salary costs based on current salary points

Travel & Subsistence cost paid from 7 May 2008 to 21 Nov. 20081

Miscellaneous expenses

11

€589,654.44

€18,648.82

€1,540.49

Constituency Offices:

No. of staff employed

Total annual salary costs based on current salary points

Travel & Subsistence cost paid from 7 May 2008 to 21 Nov. 20081

Miscellaneous expenses

6.8

€261,043.03

€2,471.27

0

Notes:

1 Figures are based on travel and subsistence costs paid by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment since 7 May 2008, including air travel costs paid in respect of the Tanaiste and staff of her offices. The figures also include some payments in respect of charges incurred prior to 7 May in respect of the offices of the previous Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. It is not feasible, in the time available, to identify these costs separately.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael McGrath

Question:

163 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the costs involved in off-site rental storage of her departmental documents in designated document storage centres (details supplied). [43234/08]

My Department uses off site rental storage facilities for storing Department documents in a number of designated document storage centres. The cost to date in 2008 (up to the end of October) amounts to €229,007 and this includes the costs associated with collection, coding and retrieval services as well as storage costs. The current cost per "banker box" varies from a rate of €0.36 per month to €0.48 per month.

Tax Code.

Finian McGrath

Question:

164 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the €200 levy on parking spaces will be payable by those who start work at 7 a.m. and therefore have no access to public transport at that time of the morning. [42604/08]

The amount of the levy is reduced in the case of shift workers. Anyone starting or finishing work after 9 o'clock in the evening or before 7 o'clock in the morning will have the part of the year during which they are on shift work disregarded for the purposes of calculating the levy. For example, someone doing such shift work for 3 months of the year would be liable to pay €150 (i.e. €200 less ¼ excluded because of shift work).

I would also remind the Deputy that I have already indicated that the levy will only apply to employer-provided parking facilities in the major urban centres of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The specific areas in which the levy will apply will be designated by Ministerial Order following consultation with the five city councils.

Tax Collection.

Jack Wall

Question:

165 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the delays in supplying P21 statements to families seeking such forms for education grant application purposes; and his plans to address the problem. [42131/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not aware of any delays in the supplying of P21 balancing statements where the applicant has supplied all the necessary information for it to be issued. I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the instructions they issue to their staff for dealing with these types of requests include an explicit reference to the effect that "Revenue Districts should ensure that requests from grant applicants for P21s or Notices of Assessment should be dealt with as quickly as possible to enable parents with limited means to have greater certainty as to eligibility under these schemes."

Over the last couple of years the Revenue Commissioners have liaised with the Department of Education and Science, the Local Authorities and the VECs to provide information and to encourage grant applicants to request their P21 via the dedicated on-line facility for PAYE taxpayers, — PAYE Anytime — which is accessible via the Revenue website www.revenue.ie. Using the online facility results in a quicker turnaround time for P21 applications. There has been a good take-up of this facility over the last year and Revenue will continue to advise customers about this quick and easy option.

Jack Wall

Question:

166 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance the records of an application for a P21 by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42133/08]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person's Income Tax Return for the year 2007 was received on 30 September 2008. As the return was not complete a request for additional information was issued on 20 October 2008. A corrected return was received by Revenue on 30 October 2008. A Notice of Assessment for 2007 will issue to the person next week. (As the person is registered for income tax the appropriate statement is a Notice of Assessment rather than a P21). All returns received by Revenue where a taxpayer has indicated that a Notice of Assessment is required urgently are processed on receipt, where possible. In this case the person did not notify Revenue of the urgency of the matter.

National Partnership Agreement.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

167 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if the State may avail of the inability to pay clause of the national pay agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42139/08]

The specific provision of the Agreement for dealing with a claim of inability to pay relates to the private sector only. Where inability to pay is claimed, the onus is on the employer to convince the union of the case. If the parties still disagree, the matter is referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). At LRC stage, assessors may be appointed to examine the economic, commercial and employment circumstances of the employment involved. In the event of no agreement being reached at the LRC, the matter is referred to the Labour Court and the onus is on the employer to convince the Court of their case.

It is a matter for the Court to determine whether the employer can or cannot pay the terms of the Agreement and the parties are bound to comply with the findings. I do not consider that an arrangement along these lines would be appropriate in the case of the public finances, where Government alone has an obligation to prioritise spending across a range of policy areas, from within available resources, on the basis of provisions voted by the Dáil.

As the Deputy will be aware, the agreement already provides for a pay pause of 11 months in the public service from the expiry of the last agreement on 30 September 2008. This compares to a pause of 3 months in the private sector. Therefore, no increase will arise in the public service until 1 September 2009. I am, of course, keeping public service pay under ongoing review.

Tax Yield.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

168 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will give an estimate of additional taxes collected, for the relevant years concerned on a year by year basis, which accrued to the Exchequer following the Committee of Public Accounts deposit interest retention tax inquiry and report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42152/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available relates to the additional yield of Deposit Interest Retention Tax which resulted from the look-back audits of financial institutions by the Commissioners, and the additional yield from income and other taxes arising from their follow-up investigations of bogus non-resident deposit accounts. The yield to the Exchequer from these projects in each year from 1999 onwards is set out in the table. For completeness the yield for the 10 months to the end of October 2008 is also included.

Yield to the Exchequer

Heading

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008 (to 31 October

Total

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

DIRT — Audits of Financial Institutions

4.0

216.0

1.0

1.0

3.0

225.0

Bogus Non- ResidentAccounts

227.2

112.0

138.8

84.2

47.0

15.5

10.1

3.3

638.1

Totals

4.0

216.0

227.2

113.0

139.8

87.2

47.0

15.5

10.1

3.3

863.1

It is not possible to estimate the precise impact of these enquiries on the subsequent yield from other specific enquiries, or general tax revenue. The information gathered in addressing the DIRT and bogus non-resident issues provided helpful evidence and the basis of a suitable approach to take in pursuit of individuals who used offshore assets and insurance policies as a means of concealing tax liability. In addition, these activities provided a clear purpose for extending Revenue's investigative powers so as to facilitate the best general approach to be taken in the pursuit and investigation of tax default generally.

Tax Code.

Richard Bruton

Question:

169 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if tax relief can be claimed on fees charged at third level which are due to having to repeat the year at college. [42185/08]

Section 473A Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides, subject to certain conditions, for tax relief at the standard rate of income tax for tuition fees up to a maximum of €5,000 paid by an individual in respect of a third level education course including a postgraduate course. Section 473A TCA 1997 does not contain any specific prohibition as regards to tax relief claimed on fees charged at third level that are due to an individual having to repeat an academic year at college.

Richard Bruton

Question:

170 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if customers on whom deposit interest accrues twice yearly will be given the benefit of a lower rate of DIRT tax on the interest which was in effect earned prior to 1 January 2009. [42187/08]

The increased rate of Deposit Interest Retention Tax will apply to interest paid or credited on or after 1 January 2009. Any interest paid or credited before this date will be chargeable at the lower rate.

Richard Bruton

Question:

171 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the mileage allowances granted on vehicles used by public servants on official business; and the way this compares with comparable arrangements in the private sector. [42188/08]

The travel rates, payable per kilometre, in the civil service to reimburse officers for the expenses incurred when they are required to use their own car on official business are as follows:

Rates per kilometre effective from 1 July 2008

Official Motor Travel in a calendar year

Engine Capacity up to 1200cc

Engine Capacity 1201cc to 1500cc

Engine Capacity 1501cc and over

Up to 6437 km

52.16 cent

61.67 cent

78.76 cent

6438 km & over

28.29 cent

31.49 cent

37.94 cent

The civil service travel and subsistence rates are published on the Department of Finance's website. The rates are reviewed annually on a basis agreed between the Department and the staff unions under the auspices of the Civil Service Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme. The expenses that are incorporated into the formula can be divided into two types of costs. Firstly, there are the running costs which include petrol, oil, tyres, maintenance and servicing and secondly there are the overhead costs which include replacement costs, insurance, road tax and licence. Arrangements similar to those in the civil service apply in other areas of the public service although some elements of other schemes may differ from those in the civil service scheme.

I understand that there are varying arrangements in the private sector. This could include the provision of cars, annual allowances and mileage rates. However, the Revenue Commissioners accept that the civil service schedule of rates no more than reimburse actual costs incurred and, accordingly, may be paid free of tax. Amounts up to these rates may also be paid free of tax by employers in the private sector.

Departmental Bodies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

172 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the Parliamentary Draftsman’s office should have its own Accounting Officer in view of the fact that its work is separate in nature from the advisory role of the Attorney General’s office and requires financial independence to allow it to be innovative and achieve best value for money. [42189/08]

By virtue of Article 30.1 of the Constitution and section 6 of the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 and the ninth part of the schedule to that Act, the Attorney General has control and responsibility for the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government. The function of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is to draft Government Bills and Government Orders. The Office also drafts many but not all Statutory Instruments on behalf of Ministers of the Government, Ministers of State and certain State Authorities. The Office is an integral part of the Office of the Attorney General. Accordingly, I see no need to alter the current arrangements for accountability.

Tax Collection.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

173 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the delay in processing the P21 for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42196/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that Form P21 for the year 2007 will issue to the Taxpayer within 7 working days. The Revenue Commissioners have no record of any previous requests from this taxpayer.

Departmental Bodies.

Joe Costello

Question:

174 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Finance the number and names of organisations or agencies under his auspices which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to budgetary measures; the estimated savings in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42221/08]

In response to the Deputy's question there are no organisations or agencies under the remit of my Department which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to recent budgetary measures.

Departmental Offices.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

175 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Finance if the VRT office (details supplied) is being closed; if so, the reasons for this closure; the implications it will have on travel and distance for those who will have twice the journey to make; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42229/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that Revenue's Border Midlands West Region has the largest geographical spread of all Revenue regions. The number of small offices located in this region is a legacy of the prior existence of Customs and Excise stations which, since 1993, are no longer needed in the context of the Single Market. Generally, only limited services are delivered from these small offices.

The functions carried out in the Lifford office have been reviewed and it has been established that there is an overriding business case to integrate these functions into other nearby Revenue locations in Co. Donegal. This position is made more urgent by the condition of the building in Lifford. The structure has serious health and safety issues and would, in any event, require total rebuilding in a different location. The decision has therefore been taken that the reasonable option is to close Lifford and to move the functions elsewhere. The Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) functions are moving from Lifford to Donegal Town. Revenue's on-line facilities (ROS) have greatly reduced the demand for service at their Vehicle Registration Offices. All new vehicles can be registered using ROS. Indeed, each of the main dealers in Co. Donegal currently uses ROS for this purpose. No attendance at a Vehicle Registration Office (VRO) is necessary.

In addition, a valuation enquiry facility is available on the Revenue website, allowing all customers to obtain VRT quotations for second-hand vehicles on-line. The registration process for second-hand vehicles has been simplified and it is no longer necessary to physically examine all such vehicles as had been the case previously. There is also a facility for Customers to register vehicles by post without the need to bring their vehicles to a Revenue office. These initiatives have greatly assisted the successful consolidation of vehicle registration services into the larger Revenue centres.

In order to register a vehicle on-line, the VRT must be paid at the time of registration. A deferred payment or FACT (Flexible Accounting of Cash Transactions) facility is available to dealers for this purpose. The deferred payment account is maintained by the dealers in their own bank. The FACT account is a payment account maintained with Revenue. Amounts due in respect of VRT are debited automatically from those accounts at the time of vehicle registration. Lodgements can be made by dealers to their FACT accounts by cheques presented in person or received by post at the VRO. Electronic funds transfer is another method by which dealers can lodge money to their FACT accounts. Staff at the VRO are available to assist members of the motor trade in arranging the payment method best suited to their business requirements.

Based on service demands, the alternatives available and the need for Revenue to make effective use of resources, the consolidation of vehicle registration services into Donegal town is reasonable and will not cause undue difficulty for Customers in the county.

Flood Relief.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

176 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a project (details supplied) in County Cork. [42299/08]

The Minister for Finance has now formally confirmed the Munster Blackwater (Fermoy North) Drainage Scheme as required by the Arterial Drainage Acts. Following a direction from the Department of Finance, the Office of Public Works is in the process of re-tendering for a Civil Engineering Contractor for the Scheme works under the new (fixed-price) Government conditions of contract for construction works. OPW hopes to appoint a contractor early in 2009, with construction works to commence shortly after that appointment.

Tax Code.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

177 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance the proposals he has to address the concerns of a group (details supplied) in regard to the changes announced in budget 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42313/08]

A response has issued from my Department, in relation to correspondence received, to the group referred to by the Deputy. The response addresses the issues raised in the correspondence and refers the group in question to the relevant provisions as set out in the Finance Bill.

Tax Yield.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

178 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of public servants earning amounts (details supplied); if he will provide an estimate of the average PAYE and PRSI take for each band; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42344/08]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

179 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of individuals earning amounts (details supplied); if he will provide the average PAYE and PRSI take for each income band; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42345/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 179 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant sector-based information available on employees taxed under the PAYE system is derived from income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2005 and representing about 96 per cent of all returns expected at the time the data were compiled for analytical purposes. On this basis the information requested by the Deputy is set out as follows.

Income Tax Year 2005

Public Sector Employees

All Employees

Range of Gross income

Total Number

Average Liability

Total Number

Average Liability

€0 – €10,000

52,466

3

414,814

2

€10,001 – €20,000

60,709

168

375,237

227

€20,001 – €30,000

66,801

1,442

333,581

1,534

€30,001 – €40,000

66,967

4,050

223,035

3,870

€40,001 – €50,000

43,671

7,386

133,755

6,882

€50,001 – €75,000

51,747

11,797

154,087

11,278

€75,001 – €100,000

17,226

19,103

49,335

19,576

€100,001 – €150,000

8,732

30,639

24,416

31,938

€150,001 – €300,000

855

56,062

4,961

60,297

Over €300,000

14

159,465

332

204,264

Totals

369,188

5,302

1,713,553

3,637

Notes:

The figures for average tax liability were obtained by dividing the total tax liability for each income range by the corresponding total numbers in each range.

The sector identifier used on the tax records is based on the 4 digit NACE code (Rev. 1) which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system.

The information provided in relation to public sector employees is based on activities which are classified in the NACE code system as Public administration and defence; compulsory social security, Education and Health and Social work but excluding the categories of Driving School Activities, Dental Practice Activities and Veterinary Activities as being more appropriate to the private sector.

A married couple which has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

The source of the information provided in relation to numbers and tax is the P35 end year returns filed by employers in respect of their employees but does not include the corresponding figures relating to PAYE taxpayers who are required to return an income tax return form 11 where non-PAYE income is greater than €3,174.

The Revenue Commissioners do not have any information on the income distribution of PRSI liability which is a matter for the Minister for Social and Family Affairs.

Tax Code.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

180 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties created for public transport operators, particularly in rural areas, with the ending of the excise fuel rebate in recent weeks; his plans to replace this rebate; the assistance he intends giving these companies to enable them to continue providing bus services, particularly for rural and peripheral areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42364/08]

Willie Penrose

Question:

197 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance the steps that have been taken by his Department to put in place an internal mechanism for transport operators to replace the excise duty refund for public transport services, which terminated on 31 October 2008 and in view of assurances given if same has now been attended to and a scheme worked out with the relevant Departments to put in place an appropriate alternative refund mechanism, which would comply with EU legislation and which is operated with other EU member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42720/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 and 197 together.

As the Deputies are aware, the fuel duty rebate was withdrawn with effect from 1 November 2008 following the ending of a special derogation under the EU Energy Tax Directive 2003. A similar situation affects all Member States who had derogations under the Directive. The Department of Transport and other relevant Departments, in conjunction with my Department, examined and considered alternative options at length. In the end, it was not found feasible to introduce an alternative non-tax scheme on a cost-neutral basis and within EU rules.

However, in general recognition of the pressures being experienced by public transport providers and road hauliers it was decided not to increase excise on diesel fuel, for the fifth consecutive Budget. In addition, despite our present difficult Budgetary conditions, I have been able to continue to provide very considerable resources to the Minister for Transport for public bus services throughout the country.

School Services Staff.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

181 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the progress made on establishing a forum to determine the terms and conditions on which school secretaries and caretakers operate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42371/08]

As the new Partnership Agreement has now been ratified by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, arrangements to establish the forum are now in train. All relevant parties have been invited to attend an initial meeting scheduled for early December.

Urban Renewal Schemes.

Simon Coveney

Question:

182 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Finance if he received approval from the European Commission for the new tax incentive scheme announced to facilitate the relocation of facilities (details supplied) as part of budget 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42378/08]

In my Budget speech on 14th October, I announced the introduction of a new tax incentive scheme to facilitate the removal and relocation of Seveso-listed industrial facilities which hinder the residential and commercial regeneration of Docklands in urban areas. The EU Seveso Directive seeks to protect public safety by placing land-use restrictions on new residential and commercial development near locations where potentially dangerous activities are undertaken. The Deputy will also be aware that I indicated in my speech that this scheme will be subject to clearance by the European Commission from a State Aids perspective.

I understand that there were some initial discussions with the EU Commission on the possible use of tax incentives to assist the regeneration of the Cork Docklands, but that these were undertaken by officials from a number of Departments represented on the Cork Docklands Development Forum and involved matters relating to the work of that Body. However, they did include the possibility of incentivising the removal and relocation of Seveso-listed industrial facilities, but this was only discussed in a general manner and did not cover specific proposals to secure their removal and relocation.

Discussions have not taken place on the incentive announced in my Budget speech and detailed in the Finance Bill which was published on 20th November. It is expected that officials from my Department will engage shortly with the EU Commission on the provisions contained in the Finance Bill. It should be noted that these provisions are of general applicability and are, therefore, wider than the narrower focus of the earlier, preliminary, discussions which focussed on Cork only.

Tax Yield.

Joe McHugh

Question:

183 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue Government gains from increasing the taxi fare introduced by the regulator, based on the current number of taxis available. [42384/08]

In accordance with the Taxi Regulation Act 2003, the setting of fares is a matter for the Commissioner for Taxi Regulation, who is appointed by my colleague the Minister for Transport. Transport charges, including taxi fares, are exempt from value added tax. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that it is not possible to estimate the proportion of certain price increases on individual items (such as taxi fares) that would convert into tax revenue.

Interest Rates.

Áine Brady

Question:

184 Deputy Áine Brady asked the Minister for Finance the positive effects of the recent drop in interest rates on the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42400/08]

As part of a coordinated move with other central banks, the European Central Bank reduced its policy interest rates by 50 basis points on 8th October 2008. The ECB cut rates by another 50 basis points at its Governing Council meeting on 6th November. These interest rate cuts should have a positive impact upon the Irish economy if fully passed on at the retail level. The main channel is through a reduction in the repayment burden for the servicing of existing debt by households and businesses, thereby boosting real disposable incomes.

Oil Prices.

Áine Brady

Question:

185 Deputy Áine Brady asked the Minister for Finance the positive effects of the recent drop in crude oil prices for the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42401/08]

Oil prices have eased recently on global commodity markets. This is primarily due to a fall in demand arising from a weakening in the international economic outlook. This development will have a number of positive impacts upon the Irish economy. Measured in euros, the wholesale price of oil has fallen by over 40 percent from its peak reached during July. This decline has led to a fall in the price of transport fuel and home heating oil in Ireland in recent months and has placed downward pressure on overall inflation thereby supporting real disposable incomes.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Joan Burton

Question:

186 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the itemised and ancillary and administrative costs, including consultancy and advisory costs, with respect to the bank guarantee scheme; if these costs are to be absorbed by the State or if they are to be passed on to the covered institutions; the way they are to be allocated between the covered institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42404/08]

As regards the cost incurred by my Department, all internal work associated with the Scheme is being carried out by the reallocation of existing staff so that any associated costs are being met from within the Department's allocated administrative budget. In addition, legal advice has been obtained from both the Attorney General's Office, within their existing allocation, and from a private sector law firm. Costs of the latter are not yet to hand. Furthermore, the Deputy will be aware that a particular company has been retained for an initial fee of €2 million to exclusively assist the Government by providing general, strategic and specific technical advice on the Irish banking sector over the two year period of the contract.

This fee, and other costs, should be considered in the context, not only of the potentially serious situation being dealt with, but also of covered institutions paying fees of €1 billion over the period of the guarantee. The thinking behind the Charging Model is set out in some detail in the Annexe to the Scheme. Paragraph 16 of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008 comprehensively sets out the charge that is to be paid by each covered institution that benefits from the Guarantee, including any administrative costs incurred by the State in the process of the Guarantee. This is amplified in the Guarantee Acceptance Deed executed by each covered institution, which provides that covered institutions shall reimburse certain legal and other costs incurred in the process of the Guarantee. While the detailed costs are not determined at this stage, these will be recouped from the covered institutions in due course.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael McGrath

Question:

187 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the costs involved in off-site rental storage of departmental documents in designated document storage centres (details supplied). [42419/08]

The cost of storage in designated document storage centres may vary on a monthly basis depending on the number of boxes in storage. In the case of my own Department there are some 11,516 held in rented storage for the month of November 2008. The storage cost per box stored varies depending on the cubic capacity of the box in question. The cost per cubic meter for storage in the month of November amounted to €.0.3570 per cubic meter of space occupied. The cubic quantity of space occupied amounted to 14,498.23 which resulted in a cost of storage for November 2008 of € 5,175.87 exclusive of 21% VAT. The Office of Public Works manage arrangements for the off site storage of documents for a number of Government departments. I have been informed that they will respond directly to Deputy McGrath on this matter.

Tax Collection.

Jack Wall

Question:

188 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has received all of their entitlements in relation to tax rebates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42563/08]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, on the basis of the information available, all tax rebates due have been made to the person.

James Reilly

Question:

189 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown by both age and income tax band of the numbers of people claiming tax relief at source on private health insurance payments. [42564/08]

James Reilly

Question:

190 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the number of people aged over 50, 60, 70 and 80 years respectively paying income tax at the standard 20% rate who are availing of tax relief at source on private health insurance payments. [42565/08]

James Reilly

Question:

191 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the number of people aged over 50, 60, 70 and 80 years respectively paying income tax at the marginal 41% rate who are availing of tax relief at source on private health insurance payments. [42566/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that information on the ages or the marginal income tax rates of individual claimants is not required or captured for the purpose of administering tax relief for medical insurance premia in the Tax Relief at Source (TRS) System. There is, therefore, no statistical basis on which the information requested by the Deputy could be provided.

Consultancy Contracts.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

192 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the amount of expenditure on consultancy by his Department in 2006 and 2007; the numbers of consultants engaged by his Department in those years; the names of the consultancy companies awarded contracts; the steps which have been taken to reduce the expenditure on consultancy and the reliance on consultants by his Department in these years and for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42576/08]

In 2006 my Department issued the Guidelines on the Engagement of Consultants and Other External Support in the Civil Service. These guidelines require that external support is procured only where it is necessary and that value for money is obtained. My department requires that each office and department confirms regularly that these guidelines are applied.

In addition, all Departments and Offices have been instructed that they must halve expenditure on consultancies and provision for such services has been similarly curtailed in the 2009 estimates. The following tables set out details of expenditure on consultants, the numbers and names of consultants engaged by my Department and the offices under its aegis (with the exception of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners) in the years 2006 and 2007.

2006

Office

No. of Consultants

Amount Paid

€,000

2006

Commission for Public Service Appointments

11

173

2006

Comptroller & Auditor General

10

297

2006

Department of Finance

8

1,249

2006

Office of Public Works

9

142

2006

Ombudsman

7

38

2006

Public Appointments Service

26

389

2006

State Lab

4

44

2006

Valuation Office

5

74

2007

Office

No. of Consultants

Amount Paid

€,000

2007

Commission for Public Service Appointments

8

227

2007

Comptroller & Auditor General

6

170

2007

Department of Finance

20

1,657

2007

Office of Public Works

10

258

2007

Ombudsman

5

47

2007

Public Appointments Service

15

231

2007

State Lab

3

70

2007

Valuation Office

5

68

Non-Revenue Contractors 2006-2007

Accuvest Investment Advisors (Department of Finance)

Advanced Organisation & Management Development Ltd (PAS)

Agtel the media element (PAS)

Amarach Consulting (Valuation Office)

Animo (PAS)

Anne Butler (OPW)

Artemis Consulting Ltd (PAS)

Brian O’Cleirigh (CPSA)

Brooker Consulting (OPW)

Brookhill Ltd (G&AG)

Calyx Software Ltd (formerly Mentec Int Ltd) (PAS)

Cara Data Processing Ltd (PAS)

Cassin Scott Associates Ltd (CPSA)

Cassin-Scott Associates (PAS)

Catalysto Limited (PAS)

Clare O’Meara (State Lab)

Communiqué International (PAS)

Complete Network Technology (OPW)

Cornamona Health and Safety (Department of Finance)

Cornwell Management Consultants (G&AG)

Crowleys DFK (Ombudsman)

Crowleys DFK (PAS)

Curley Smith (Valuation Office)

DalRiada (PAS)

Dell Computer (Ireland) (PAS)

Delve Research (Ombudsman)

Diarmaid Mc Guinness SC (PAS)

DLA Piper Rudnick (Department of Finance)

DRS Data Services Ltd (PAS)

Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) (Department of Finance)

Eirtrade Services Ltd (PAS)

Empower Solutions (PAS)

Epsilon Consulting (G&AG)

Ernst & Young (Department of Finance)

Ernst & Young (G&AG)

Escat (OPW)

Europus (CPSA)

Fujitsu Services (OPW)

Golden & Associates (G&AG)

Goodbody Economic Consultants (Department of Finance)

Goodbody Economic Consultants (Department of Finance)

Grant Thornton (OPW)

Graphics IT (PAS)

Graphics IT (PAS)

Halley and Associates (Valuation Office)

Hay Group Ireland (Department of Finance)

Hays IT (Valuation Office)

Helm Corporation Limited (OPW)

Horwath Consulting Ireland Ltd (Department of Finance)

Indecon (Ireland) (Department of Finance)

Indecon International Economic Consultants (Department of Finance)

Ingrebourne Limited (PAS)

Institute for Employment Studies (PAS)

Institute of Public Administration (CPSA)

Institute of Public Administration (G&AG)

Institute of Public Administration (Valuation Office)

IPMA-HR (PAS)

IT Force Ltd (PAS)

Ita Mangan (Ombudsman)

Jennifer Armstrong (CPSA)

Jenny Smyth & Associates (Department of Finance)

Jenny Smyth & Associates (Department of Finance)

JLS Technology (PAS)

Lan Communications (OPW)

Lansdowne Market Research Ltd (PAS)

Life Strategies Ltd. (Department of Finance)

Lisney Limited (G&AG)

Liz Early (CPSA)

Major C B Holden (PAS)

Mary Southwell Byrne (CPSA)

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (CPSA)

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (G&AG)

Maureen Caufield (OPW)

McGarry Ni Eanaigh (OPW)

Media Group (Valuation Office)

Mentec (CPSA)

Mentec (State Lab)

Mercer Consulting (Department of Finance)

Most Consultants (Valuation Office)

Nifast (Department of Finance)

Nifast (Ombudsman)

Nifast (PAS)

Nifast (State Lab)

Noel Ryan & Associates (CPSA)

Norcontel (G&AG)

Pat Firth (State Lab)

Paul Allen & Associates (PAS)

Petrus Consulting (Department of Finance)

Petrus Consulting (G&AG)

Polaris (State Lab)

Price Waterhouse Coopers (Department of Finance)

Price Waterhouse Coopers (Valuation Office)

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PAS)

Prof. J. Heywood (PAS)

Professional Solutions Ltd. (OPW)

Prospectus (Ombudsman)

Redacteurs (Valuation Office)

RITS (OPW)

Russell Brennan Keane (Ombudsman)

Safety Solutions Limited (Department of Finance)

SHL (Ireland) Ltd (PAS)

Social & Market Research (Ombudsman)

Sogeti (OPW)

Sureskills.Com (PAS)

Symbiant Consultancy Services Ltd (CPSA)

Terminal 4 (OPW)

TerminalFour Solutions (Ombudsman)

The Performance Partnership (PAS)

The Reward Partnership (Department of Finance)

Tierney & Associates (PAS)

Unit 4 Agresso Security Solutions (PAS)

University of Glasgow (G&AG)

Valerie Judge (CPSA)

Version 1 (OPW)

Visibility Europe (OPW)

Willis Risk (State Lab)

Wilson Hartnell Public Relations (Ombudsman)

XML Workshop Ltd (Ombudsman)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

193 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the amount of expenditure on consultancy by the Revenue Commissioners in 2006 and 2007; the numbers of consultants engaged by Revenue Commissioners in those years; the names of the consultancy companies awarded contracts; the steps which have been taken to reduce the expenditure on consultancy and the reliance on consultants by the Revenue Commissioners in these years and for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42589/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the number of consultants engaged by them in 2006 and 2007 were 38 and 31 respectively. The names of these consultants are set below.

Consultants engaged by Revenue 2006 and 2007

20:20 Vision

Accenture,

Achilles Procurement Serv.

Actons Solicitors

Alchemy Films ltd

AMAS Ltd

Arthur Nowlan

Ballycotton Marine Services.

Bearing Point

Bennis Design

Bull Inform. Systems Irl.

C. Moore & Associates

Carlisle Advisory Services

Catalysto Ltd.

Cedardata Software Ltd

Ciaran Feighery,

Computer Associates

Conlon Crotty Murray & Co

Copper Reed Studio Ltd.

Costello Commercial

Creative A.D.

Culturewise

DeBurca Rare Books

Deloitte consultants.

DeVeres

Devlin Editing

Douglas Bennet

Dublin university

Enterprise Ireland

Frontend

Gamma Ltd,

Gartner Group Irl. Ltd.

Gerard O’Leary

Gerry McMahon

Goodbody Economic Consultants

H.M. Revenue & Customs

Innovative Systems Incorp

Interactive Innovation Ltd.

IQ Content Ltd.

James Adam, Fine Art Auctions

James Nash

Liam O’hAodha

Luminary Solutions

Mealys

Media Market,

Michael McGrath BCL

Migration Solutions,

Ms. Marie Armah Kwantreng

Niamh Brodie

Polaris HR Ltd.

Psychological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Rational Commerce

Royal Irish Academy

Sean Mc Cormack,

SHRC Ltd

Sysnet Ltd, Knocklyon,

Tony Fitzpatrick

Trutz Haase,

Whyte & Sons Auctioneers

Expenditure on consultants in 2006 amounted to €27.678m and in 2007 amounted to €0.317m.

Up to and including 2006, Information Technology Expenditure in relation to outsourced software development was funded from Subhead A7 — Consultancy Services. Since 2007 this expenditure is captured as IT External Service Provision under Subhead A5- (Office Machinery and other Office Supplies and Related Services). This expenditure is incurred in developing and providing support for critical Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects, as well as the maintenance and enhancement of underlying application frameworks — their back-office Integrated Taxation Services and the public-facing Revenue On-Line Services. These external resources are not consultants who ‘advise and recommend', but who help develop tangible assets, in the form of software, which are recognised by the C&AG in the annual appropriation accounts. Expenditure on IT External Services Provision in 2007 amounted to € 25.975m.

In December 2007 an independent Value For Money Review was completed into the Revenue Commissioners' expenditure on external resources in 2006. The overall conclusion of the review was that expenditure on ICT external resources was well managed and delivered value for money. The report also described the measures that Revenue was taking and is continuing to take to reduce the expenditure on external resources. These measures, which are incorporated into Revenue's current ICT Strategy, include:

Adopting a formal multi-sourcing strategy as regards external resources to maximise value;

Growing back internal ICT capacity by recruitment of ICT staff at Administrative Officer and Executive Officer levels;

Exploiting a judicious blend of in-house resources and multiple external sources to deliver results;

Setting up a specialized procurement and vendor management unit to drive out value for money.

Revenue strictly follows the Department of Finance's Guidelines on the Engagement of Consultants and Other External Support in the Civil Service. These guidelines require that external support is procured only where it is necessary and that value for money is obtained. As for all Departments and Offices, Revenue has been instructed to halve expenditure on consultancy in 2009.

Departmental Properties.

Chris Andrews

Question:

194 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Finance if the regulations governing Iveagh Gardens could be reviewed in view of a number of recent incidents of local children being ejected from the park for playing football in the recessed area which was originally formally laid out for tennis and bowling courts. [42592/08]

The Iveagh Gardens were laid out as exhibition gardens during the 19th century, with many unusual and unique garden features such as the Maze, Rosarium, Cascade, the Grottoes and the Sunken Archery Grounds. On account of its designation as a National Historic Park, its small size and the fact that its features are designed primarily for passive recreation, it is not proposed to facilitate any active sporting activities in the Iveagh Gardens. I am also advised that because of the high water table its continuous use for active sports would cause serious damage to the ground surface.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

195 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Finance the estimated spend on mileage allowances for his Department in 2007; the number of claimants in respect of categories (details supplied) under which mileage is paid; the total number of claimants; and the total spend on same. [42625/08]

In 2007 my Department spent €160,916.32 on mileage allowances. The total number of kilometres for which mileage allowance was claimed was 224,159. The total number of trips taken in the year amounted to 1,176 and the number of claimants for the year was 212. A detailed breakdown of the figures by engine size is contained in the following table:

Engine Size

Summary Details

Totals

0cc to 1200cc

Claim Value

€2,199.06

Kilometres

4,238

No. of Trips Taken

32

Number of Claimants

12

1201cc to 1500cc

Claim Value

€45.692.12

Kilometres

74,166

No. of Trips Taken

381

Number of Claimants

76

1501cc and above

Claim Value

€113,025.14

Kilometres

145,755

No. of Trips Taken

763

Number of Claimants

124

Garda Stations.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

196 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the plans for the future use of an old Garda station (details supplied) in Dublin 11 which will shortly become vacant. [42680/08]

It is anticipated that the new Garda station facility at Finglas will be ready for occupation in Spring 2009. Accordingly, plans for the use or disposal of the existing station building are still under consideration.

Question No. 197 answered with Question No. 180.

Ministerial Staff.

John O'Mahony

Question:

198 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons employed in his private office and his constituency offices; the annual amount paid in respect of salaries and expenses in regard to each such office in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42904/08]

The staffing of my private and constituency office is set out as follows:

Private Office

Title

Number

Annual Salary Range

Administrative Officer

1

€45,510 – €64,296

Executive Officer

2

€30,566 – €50,510

Staff Officer

1

€34,941 – €46,655

Clerical Officer*

5

€23,174 – €40,417

*Including 1 work sharing.

Constituency Office

Title

Number

Annual Salary Range

Executive Officer (on Higher Executive Officer duties)

1

€46,558 – €59,097 plus allowance retained from former duties

Clerical Officer

2

€23,174 – €40,417

Personal Assistant

1

€46,558 – €55,030

Personal Secretary

1

€23,181 – €44,726

To date in 2008, salary and related allowance payments in my office amounted to €511,697. Overtime for the same period is €43,135. The amount paid in expenses for foreign and domestic travel (including attendance by the Minister and officials at monthly ECOFIN meetings), official entertainment and miscellaneous for the same period was €51,861. This expenditure covers costs incurred on behalf of staff in the offices and by the two Ministers who have had charge of the Office during that period. The financial reporting system currently in use in my Department does not differentiate between costs incurred in the Private and Constituency Offices.

Food Safety.

Pat Breen

Question:

199 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she is taking to ensure that all bottled water sold in the Irish market is tested to ensure compliance with either legal or EU guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42150/08]

Packaged water, including bottled water, is tested in accordance with the following regulatory provisions; The European Communities (Hygiene of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 369 of 2006), the European Communities (Natural Mineral Waters, Spring Waters and Other Waters in Bottles or Containers) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 225 of 2007) and the European Communities (General Food Law) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 747 of 2007).

The above regulations include microbiological and chemical parameters for bottled water. There is ongoing testing of all bottled water facilities and the frequency of testing increases in line with production volumes. Bottled water plants are inspected by Environmental Health Officers from the Health Service Executive operating under a Service Contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and are visited regularly. Samples are taken and tested generally as part of routine inspections. The primary responsibility for ensuring that only safe food is placed on the market rests with the food business operator, who is also responsible for ensuring that food (including bottled water), satisfies the requirements of food law.

Grant Payments.

Phil Hogan

Question:

200 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in the final phase of payment from the dormant accounts funds in respect of a project (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42194/08]

POBAL is the body tasked with administering the Dormant Accounts funds on behalf of the Department of Health and Children. POBAL pays grants to approved beneficiaries out of advance funds received from the HSE, on the approval of my Department and the Department of Finance. I understand that the named centre was approved for a grant of €86,878. To date, €78,190 has been paid leaving a balance of €8,688. Under the terms of the Dormant Accounts Funds, the final 10% is withheld pending confirmation of completion of the project. POBAL have confirmed that once the Centre have reported that 100% has been spent and that the project is completed, it will be in a position to seek reimbursement of the balance due.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

201 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a person (details supplied). [42234/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this case investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Grant Payments.

Pat Breen

Question:

202 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 136 of 1 October 2008, if funding will continue for an organisation (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42244/08]

POBAL is the body tasked with administering the Dormant Accounts Funds on behalf of the Department of Health and Children. POBAL pays grants to approved beneficiaries out of advance funds received from the HSE, on the approval of my Department and the Department of Finance. I understand that the named Centre was approved for a total grant of €50,000. To date €29,300 has been paid to the Centre. The Centre recently applied for a further instalment of €7,777 from the Dormant Accounts Fund. I understand that POBAL paid €3,800 (49%) of that amount on the 5 November, 2008. It is anticipated that the balance of that instalment will be processed in due course.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

203 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [42272/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medicinal Products.

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

204 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Health and Children when legislation will be brought to Dáil Éireann to deal with shops selling herbal pills and party pills (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42389/08]

I am aware that a range of substances often referred to by the generic term ‘legal highs', which mimic or cause effects similar to illicit substances, are available in so-called ‘head shops' and are currently not scheduled under Misuse of Drugs legislation. These substances include ‘herbal pills' and ‘party pills'. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and regulations made thereunder regulate and control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland's obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland, which could merit the criminalisation of their sale and use.

The list of scheduled substances is kept under review on an ongoing basis. In particular my Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health. For example, in 2006 psychotropic ('magic') mushrooms, which were on sale in ‘head shops', were brought under control and their possession and sale is now an offence. Furthermore, following the European Council of Ministers' decision in March 2008 to bring Benzylpiperazine (BZP) under control, which was deemed to pose an excessive risk as a ‘party pill', my Department will be introducing regulations to make the possession and sale of BZP illegal. I expect that the legislation necessary to introduce control measures will be in place before the deadline of March 2009.

Food Safety.

Andrew Doyle

Question:

205 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied with the policy for establishment and maintenance of standards in production of bottled water here; if she will review bottled water labelling to identify three types of source on every bottle for consumers; if not, the reason for same; if a water bottling company must have a pre-approved testing system to comply with Food Safety Authority of Ireland quality control standards; if the bottling company is obliged to conduct daily tests for compliance with these standards; and the frequency of quality control checks by the FSAI on water bottling companies. [42660/08]

Packaged water, including bottled water, is subject to several sets of regulations in Ireland and I am satisfied that there is an appropriate legal framework in place for the establishment and maintenance of standards in production of bottled water. The regulations covering the production of bottled water include the European Communities (Hygiene of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 369 of 2006), the European Communities (Natural Mineral Waters, Spring Waters and Other Waters in Bottles or Containers) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No 225 of 2007) and the European Communities (General Food Law) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No 747 of 2007).

The bottling plants come within the definition of food business operators under EU legislation and, as such, must meet the requirements set down in EC Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs which was transposed into national law in 2006. Consequently the operators of water production/bottling plants must ensure that they meet high food safety standards set out in the legislation. In addition there must be in place a food safety management system based on the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and staff must have appropriate training. All bottled water plants must register with the Health Service Executive which is the competent authority in this regard.

In addition to general hygiene requirements applicable to the processing plants, there are separate requirements in relation to water. These are set down in the European Communities (Natural Mineral Waters, Spring Waters and Other Waters in Bottles or Containers) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No 225 of 2007). These requirements include microbiological, chemical and labelling parameters, including sale descriptions. There is ongoing testing of all bottled water facilities and the frequency of testing increases in line with production volumes. There is no requirement for a pre-approved testing system but the business operator must put in place a safety management system which ensures the water is safe for consumption and meets all legal requirements.

There are three types of bottled water namely natural mineral water, spring water and other waters. The use of the designations "natural mineral water" and "spring water" is dealt with in S.I. No 225 of 2007. These designations can only be used when the waters meet defined conditions and consumers should be able to distinguish between the different types by reading the label. All bottled water, regardless of which category they fall into must be safe for human consumption.

Bottled water plants are inspected by Environmental Health Officers from the Health Service Executive operating under a Service Contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and are visited regularly. Samples are taken and tested generally as part of routine inspections.

Question No. 206 answered with Question No. 83.
Question No. 207 answered with Question No. 80.

Homeless Persons.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

208 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the breakdown of the Health Service Executive’s spending on youth homelessness for 2007 and 2008; and the expected spending for 2009. [42122/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

209 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if there was a difference in the estimated expenditure on homelessness as outlined in the annual Health Service Executive service plan and the actual amount spent in 2007 and 2008; if so, the amount of the difference; and the reason for the difference. [42123/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 210 answered with Question No. 131.

Health Service Allowances.

Jack Wall

Question:

211 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position of an application for domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in respect of their son; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42134/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this case investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

212 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of long stay beds for older people in Cherry Orchard Hospital; the number of these beds currently available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42135/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. The Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Michael McGrath

Question:

213 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the speech and language therapy resources that will be made available from January 2009 to meet the demand for services at a special needs school (details supplied) in County Cork. [42142/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Michael McGrath

Question:

214 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will receive speech therapy services. [42143/08]

Michael McGrath

Question:

249 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will receive speech therapy services. [42420/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 and 249 together.

The Deputy's questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have these matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Accident and Emergency Services.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

215 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide additional beds in the accident and emergency department of Beaumont Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42153/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall Vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

216 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of consultant ophthalmic surgeons attached to Beaumont Hospital; her plans to increase this number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42154/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall Vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Tom Hayes

Question:

217 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the wards currently in operation at Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel; the plans there are to provide additional services in the hospital; the number of full-time and part-time staff employed there; if all required staff for these services have been recruited; if any posts are outstanding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42179/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Homes.

Tom Hayes

Question:

218 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children if any complaints in the past 18 months in relation to nursing homes which have been upheld related to nursing homes in south Tipperary. [42206/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. The Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Bodies.

Joe Costello

Question:

219 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children the number and names of organisations or agencies under the auspices of her Department which have been amalgamated or eliminated due to budgetary measures; the estimated savings in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42223/08]

The programme of rationalisation in the health sector involves a total of fifteen agencies as follows:

3 agencies are to be amalgamated to form a new Public Health and Medicines Safety Authority

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Office of Tobacco Control

Irish Medicines Board

6 agencies are to be integrated into the Health Service Executive

National Cancer Screening Service — National Cancer Registry

Drug Treatment Centre Board

Crisis Pregnancy Agency

Post Graduate Medical and Dental Board

National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery

3 agencies to be integrated into the Health and Social Care Professionals Council

National Social Work Qualifications Board

Opticians Board

Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council.

My Department's measures for the rationalisation of agencies within the health sector have been prepared primarily in the context of the OECD's recommendations in relation to the need for a more integrated public service. While there is clearly a need to secure efficiencies from the rationalisation programme, the primary aim of these measures is to streamline service delivery, professional registration and policy making in a number of areas in the health sector, through the integration and/or amalgamation of function. Efficiencies will derive over time from economies of scale and the elimination of duplication in areas such as recruitment, procurement, payroll and ICT systems.

Hospital Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

220 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the circumstances of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; if her further attention has been further drawn to the pressures being placed on staff and resources in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42243/08]

I am aware that some concerns have been raised in relation to the demand for services at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. The Health Service Executive is working to increase the capacity of the hospital through a programme of investment, including the development of a new Accident and Emergency Department. I am not familiar with the circumstances surrounding the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to investigate the issues raised and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

221 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the assessments that have been made of the expected costs and savings that will result from the new consultants’ contracts; the expected change in the average cost to the public health services per consultant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42252/08]

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

222 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the value for money systems in place to ensure that hospital consultants’ work in relation to public patients is in accordance with their contract; if there is a recording of the number of procedures they perform, the number of such patients they see or other comparative measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42253/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 and 222 together.

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the Health Act 2004. My Department is in contact with the HSE on the matters raised by the Deputy and I will revert to the Deputy once the requisite information is to hand.

Pharmacy Services.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

223 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children the response of her Department to each individual recommendation in respect of the recommendations contained within the Consumer Strategy Group report directed to her Department; if the recommendations have as of today been implemented in full, in part, or not at all; if, of those recommendations which have not been implemented to date, she will implement them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42254/08]

The Consumer Strategy Group was established in March 2004 to advise and make recommendations for the development of national consumer policy. The Group's report and recommendations were published in May 2005. Following their publication, a High Level Inter-departmental Committee was established to examine the recommendations and advise on their implementation. The Committee published its final report in February 2006. The Consumer Strategy Group made five recommendations (recommendations 8 to 12 of the report) relating to pharmaceuticals for which my Department is responsible. Since the report was published significant progress has been made by both my Department and the HSE.

Recommendation 8: Change the current methodology for establishing manufacturers' prices of pharmaceuticals. Include a consumer impact assessment to ensure that all consumers are getting best value for money. Under new agreements reached between the HSE and pharmaceutical manufacturers in September 2006, the methodology for establishing manufacturers' prices of drugs and medicines has been changed to ensure greater value for money for both the State and consumers. The basket of countries used for the pricing of new drugs and medicines has been increased to include lower price European countries. Price cuts for off-patent drugs and medicines have been introduced and cost-effectiveness assessment is now possible for high cost items. These changes have resulted in downward pressure on Irish manufacturers' prices bringing them closer to the EU average.

Recommendation 9: Review the GMS/DPS schemes to redress the current imbalance in cross-subsidy of pharmacy incomes by DPS consumer payment. The remuneration of community pharmacists under the various drugs schemes will be reviewed as part of the ongoing review of the pharmaceutical supply chain which commenced with the manufacturers' agreements in 2006.

Recommendation 10: Strengthen and broaden the current optional incentive scheme for GPs to encourage generic prescribing. The Indicative Drugs Target Scheme, which was designed to encourage more rational and cost-effective prescribing under the General Medical Services Scheme, was suspended in 2006 as it was found, on expert advice, to be no longer viable in its present form, or meeting its stated objectives.

Recommendation 11: Display prices for branded and generic drugs in pharmacies at the point of purchase. The Consumer Strategy Group also recommended that prices be displayed for all drugs and medicines in pharmacies at point of purchase. There are logistical difficulties in doing this which are further complicated by current differences in retail prices under the various drug schemes. Following the review of pharmacist remuneration it may be possible to consider options in this area.

Recommendation 12: Allow pharmacists to provide generic substitution for branded products. The fifth recommendation of the Group concerned generic substitution by pharmacists. Although generic substitution may contribute towards cost control in the short term, the main driver of increased expenditure on drugs and medicines for both the State and consumers is the increasing volume of prescribed pharmaceuticals. While generic substitution exists in Ireland, the particular nature of the Irish pharmaceutical market does not lend itself to extended generic substitution. The option of off-patent price cuts, agreed under the 2006 pharmaceutical manufacturers' agreements, was pursued as it was considered, on expert advice, to yield greater savings in this area.

In addition, the ongoing review of the drugs supply chain will include consideration of rational and cost-effective prescribing. I have also recently established a group, under the chair of Dr Michael Barry of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, which will consider, among other things, the capacity for increased generic prescribing by GPs.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

224 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the administrators of the health repayment scheme do not state the reason a particular claim is being rejected, but rather give examples in which people might not qualify, without explaining the position in the particular case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42277/08]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has responsibility for administering the health repayment scheme in conjunction with the appointed scheme administrator K.P.M.G. and McCann Fitzgerald. The HSE has advised my Department that the scheme administrator provides in respect of each individual rejection an explanation as to the reason why the claim is being rejected. Where applicants require further explanation they can contact the helpline operated by the scheme administrator. (1890 886 886).

Hospital Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

225 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the fact that almost 400 symphysiotomy procedures were carried out on women in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, some taking place after childbirth, she will arrange for an external review to establish the reason for this number of procedures; the outcome of these procedures generally for the women involved; the need for clarity in these unusual circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42285/08]

My predecessor, Minister Martin, met with the Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) Group in late 2003 and agreed that a range of measures would be put in place to support the Group. I subsequently met with the Chairperson of the SOS Group in early 2007 who expressed satisfaction with regard to the progress made in this regard. My Department has asked the Health Service Executive to examine the specific issues raised regarding symphysiotomy practice at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Community Care.

Jack Wall

Question:

226 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the effect that the cutbacks on travel allowance by the Health Service Executive will have on community addiction outreach workers; her views on whether communities will suffer as a result of their distances from regional centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40948/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

National Drugs Strategy.

Jack Wall

Question:

227 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the newspaper reports regarding new figures obtained from the report from the national drugs related deaths index that indicate that drug related deaths are running at three times the officially recorded level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40921/08]

Jack Wall

Question:

230 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children her views in relation to contradictory newspaper reports which state that the actual deaths from drugs is three times greater than the national drug related index has determined; her further views on whether this reflects a wider demand for drugs than had previously been believed; the steps she is taking to reduce the demand for illicit drugs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33526/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 227 and 230 together.

In 2005, the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform jointly asked the Health Research Board (HRB) to establish a National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI). The NDRDI data base combines information from four sources — coroners' records; the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry scheme (HIPE); the Central Treatment List (CTL) and the General Mortality Register (GMR). The first report of the NDRDI, covering the 8 year period 1998-2005 was published by the HRB at the beginning of this month. As was to be expected, the number of deaths reported under the new system is greater than those previously reported. Taking the year 2005 as an example, the number of deaths previously reported is 131, while the total number found by the comprehensive data collection method used in the NDRDI is 400.

The high quality of the data available in the NDRDI means that for the first time we can examine the total burden of drug-related mortality in Ireland and strengthen our approach to reducing it. My Department will be working with the HSE in this regard. The HSE has in place a range of measures in the area of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and staff training which aim, among other things, to reduce the demand for drugs. The HSE carries out this work in partnership, where appropriate, with the voluntary and community sector and in the wider context of the National Drugs Strategy which is co-ordinated by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

In addition, following on from a recommendation in the Report on Drugs Rehabilitation, the HSE is in the process of appointing a national rehabilitation co-ordinator who will chair the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee which is being established. These developments will build on existing initiatives and facilitate the roll-out of further actions in the Rehabilitation Strategy to support drug users along their care pathway towards re-integration into their community.

Jack Wall

Question:

228 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the results of the research in relation to the cocaine public awareness campaign; if there was a reduction in demand in crime figures or in the number seeking health care as a result of the programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40918/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the funding, management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act, 2004. This includes the development and ongoing implementation of public awareness campaigns. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Jack Wall

Question:

229 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of known heroin addicts here; the geographical spread of the addiction; the action taken to reduce the level of addiction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40916/08]

At end September 2008 there were 8,670 opiate users on the central treatment list (CTL) for methadone treatment: their geographic spread among the HSE regions was as follows:

4,289 reside in Dublin Mid-Leinster (49.5%);

3,017 reside in Dublin North East (34.8%);

233 reside in the West and (2.7%);

163 reside in the South. (1.9%).

In addition 470 (5.4%) of those on the CTL at the end of September 2008 were being treated in prison. A further 498 people (5.7%) on the CTL were being treated at the Drug Treatment Centre Board in Pearse Street, Dublin. A number of opiate users in both these situations would be from outside the Dublin area. However, since clients move on and off the CTL, the number who would be on the list in a year, for example, is greater than the number who would be recorded in any given month.

Actions to reduce the level of addiction take place within the overall context of the National Drugs Strategy (NDS) 2001-2008 which is co-ordinated by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The HSE has a range of measures in place in the area of prevention, treatment and harm reduction which aim to reduce the level of addiction to heroin. Where appropriate, it pursues actions with partners in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. In addition, in line with recommendations in the Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation published by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the HSE is in the process of appointing a national rehabilitation co-ordinator who will chair the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee which is being established. These developments will help to build on existing initiatives and facilitate the roll-out of further actions in the Rehabilitation Strategy to support drug users along their care pathway towards re-integration into their community.

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 227.

Jack Wall

Question:

231 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the increase in the numbers involved in the methadone scheme as operated by the Health Service Executive; the action she proposes or has taken to deal with the matter; the areas involved; if there is a waiting list in relation to participants obtaining a general practitioner to process their application for inclusion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33516/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Jack Wall

Question:

232 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied with the number of pharmacists participating in the methadone scheme as operated by the Health Service Executive, in view of the areas involved; the number of methadone users; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33515/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

233 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the application for assistance by a person (details supplied) in County Offaly towards the cost of pre-school fees in respect of their son; the reason for the refusal of assistance to this person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42291/08]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) which has a total allocation of €575 million for the development of childcare services. As part of the NCIP, the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) was introduced in January of this year and supports community childcare services to enable them to provide reduced childcare fees to disadvantaged and low income parents. The Scheme has an allocation of €154.2 million over 2008 -2010 and is additional to the main supports available to all parents to assist them with the care of their children, that is Child Benefit and the Early Childcare Supplement.

Under the CCSS, community childcare services receive subvention to enable them to provide reduced childcare fees to parents who are in receipt of social security and social assistance payments or parents who are engaged in education, training or work experience programmes where an underlying entitlement to such a payment is established. Parents in receipt of low incomes and who hold a medical card or GP visit card or are otherwise disadvantaged can also qualify for subvention under the Scheme. Parents using a community childcare service are asked to complete a declaration form for inclusion in an annual return to my Office. Following verification of the information provided, my Office will advise each of the services participating in the Scheme of the level of subvention, if any, which individual parents qualify for.

While I am not in a position to comment on the particular circumstances of the case in question, I understand that three community childcare services in the Tullamore area are currently in receipt of funding under the CCSS. These are Ballycommon Community Playschool, the Tullamore Traveller After-School Care Programme and Pullough Community Pre-School. If the parent concerned is availing of a pre-school service in one of these facilities and considers that she is not benefiting from an appropriate reduction in her childcare fees, I would suggest that she contact the Childcare Directorate of my Office for further information.

Health Services.

John Perry

Question:

234 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will intercede and allow a respite care grant application lodged by a person (details supplied) in County Sligo to be sanctioned; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42295/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this case investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

General Medical Services Scheme.

Finian McGrath

Question:

235 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter in relation to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [42304/08]

Under the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme general practitioners hold one of two contract types, i.e. the Fee per Item contract (first introduced in 1972) or the Capitation contract (effective from 1989). These contracts reflect the agreed outcome of negotiations between my Department and the GP representative body, the Irish Medical Organisation. Both contract types contain provisions relating to retirement age. The Capitation contract provides that GPs who entered into contracts on the date of its commencement could hold the contract up to age 70 and that all subsequent GP contractors could hold the contract up to age 65. The Fee per Item contract terminates upon the GP reaching 70 years of age.

In the context of a review of the contractual arrangements for the provision of services under the GMS Scheme and other publicly funded schemes, I have asked my Department, in conjunction with the Health Service Executive (HSE), to examine provisions relating to the age at which GPs must cease to hold contracts. As the HSE has the operational and funding responsibility for the General Medical Services Scheme, it is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

236 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter in relation to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11. [42305/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. The Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

237 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will review the decision made with regard to subvention for nursing home care in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; the reason for a reduced payment especially in view of the impact that this will have on those supporting the nursing care for this person; and if she will halt changes in subvention pending the introduction of the fair deal scheme. [42353/08]

I presume the Deputy is asking whether individual subvention payments will be maintained at their current level until such time as the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal, is introduced. The Nursing Home Subvention Scheme is governed by the Health (Nursing Homes) (Amendment) Act 2007. Under the Act, the maximum amount for basic subvention is €300 per week. The Act also provides for enhanced subvention to be paid. However, there is no maximum amount set for enhanced subvention. The amount paid is at the discretion of the HSE and will vary depending on the following criteria:

the assessed means of the applicant,

the cost of care in the individual case compared to the level of fees in the locality,

the amount of basic subvention payable,

the amount of resources available for the scheme,

the need for the HSE to ensure that the available resources are distributed in a way that supports applicants as evenly as possible across the country.

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Michael Creed

Question:

238 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 268 of 29 October 2008 and the alleged conflicting evidence regarding the suitability of discharge of the patient involved, if she will organise a round table conference involving the appropriate medical staff at Crumlin Hospital and Cork University Hospital, the appropriate community and public health personnel and the parents of the patient involved in order that all the necessary information can be communicated clearly to the family; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42360/08]

My Department has made enquiries of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in this matter and has been informed that consultations are in progress between the HSE South and Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin with a view to agreeing a discharge plan to bring the sick baby in question back home to Cork in the coming weeks. I also understand from the HSE that a homecare package has been agreed which will put in place the necessary arrangements, including equipment and professional staff support, for the baby to be cared for in the family home. The HSE has also assured my Department that the parents concerned are fully involved in the arrangements being made to bring their daughter home and the formulation of the plan for her discharge and home care.

Michael McGrath

Question:

239 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children her commitment to the provision of a dedicated stroke unit in Cork. [42369/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the funding, management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

240 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will review the decision made with regard to subvention for nursing home care in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; the reason for a reduced payment in view of the impact that this will have on those supporting the specialised nursing care for this person; and if she will immediately halt any changes in subvention pending the introduction of the fair deal scheme. [42375/08]

I presume the Deputy is asking whether individual subvention payments will be maintained at their current level until such time as the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal, is introduced. The Nursing Home Subvention Scheme is governed by the Health (Nursing Homes) (Amendment) Act 2007. Under the Act, the maximum amount for basic subvention is €300 per week. The Act also provides for enhanced subvention to be paid. However, there is no maximum amount set for enhanced subvention. The amount paid is at the discretion of the HSE and will vary depending on the following criteria:

the assessed means of the applicant,

the cost of care in the individual case compared to the level of fees in the locality,

the amount of basic subvention payable,

the amount of resources available for the scheme,

the need for the HSE to ensure that the available resources are distributed in a way that supports applicants as evenly as possible across the country.

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Joe McHugh

Question:

241 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a full-time neurology service to County Donegal; if there is a critical number of neurological patients in the county; if there is a disproportionate number of neurological patients on the Inishowen peninsula; if a full-time neurology service in Letterkenny would be more useful to Inishowen and Donegal patients than the service in Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42386/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Joe McHugh

Question:

242 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason €38 million has been diverted from the disability budget since January 2007; the location this money was spent in other areas of the health service; the cutbacks that were made in the disability budget because of this €38 million diminution; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42387/08]

Joe McHugh

Question:

243 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if disabled people without personal assistance have been placed on a second waiting list due to the diversion of this €38 million. [42388/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 242 and 243 together.

My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive to arrange to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy in relation to Disability expenditure in 2007. In the 2008 Budget, €50m was provided to the Health Service Executive (HSE) to fund a range of additional services under the Multi Annual Investment Programme for Disability. Although the commencement of the planned developments in disability services this year had been delayed due to a financial review, I am pleased to inform you that the Executive has informed the Department of Health and Children that it is now in the process of rolling out the planned developments, including 200,000 additional personal assistant/home support hours. A total of 3.2 million hours of personal assistant/home support are provided each year by the HSE to people with a disability.

The HSE had indicated that due to the delayed start to some of these developments it expects to spend €33m of the €50m by the end of 2008. The resulting €17m time related savings were included in this Department's budgetary consolidation measures announced to the House in July 2008. In Budget 2009, an additional €10 million was allocated to the HSE for services in the area of disability and mental health. The funding for 2009 will provide for 125 additional therapy posts in the disability and mental health services area, targeted at children of school going age. The additional funding for 2009 will also provide for, once-off funding of €1.75m for suicide prevention initiatives and for mental health projects supporting service users and carers.

Hospital Services.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

244 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will confirm that it is still the intention of her Department and the Health Service Executive to transfer the functions of St. Luke’s Hospital, Rathgar, Dublin 6 to St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8; if in so doing she recognises the widespread opposition to this move by many current and former patients, as well as local residents; if she will confirm that it is the proposal of her Department and the HSE to sell off the valuable site at St. Luke’s to raise capital for her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42393/08]

The decision to transfer services from St. Luke's was taken by the Government in the context of its consideration of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology Services. The decision is based on expert advice and is designed to ensure that radiation oncology is integrated with all other aspects of cancer care, including surgery and medical oncology. This is in line with best international practice. I am convinced that this model will provide better patient centred treatment with improved quality of service and outcome for patients. The Board of St. Luke's Hospital and its Executive Management Team are fully committed to supporting the Government's decision in relation to the development of radiation oncology.

It is important to note that the transfer of services from St. Luke's Hospital to new facilities at St. James's Hospital is not due to take place for a number of years. In the meantime, two additional linear accelerators and two replacement linear accelerators were commissioned at St. Luke's earlier this year. These will provide much needed interim capacity pending the roll out of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology. No decisions have yet been taken in relation to the future use of the site and facilities at St. Luke's. However, I am anxious to ensure that these resources are utilised in the best interest of the health services.

Accident and Emergency Services.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

245 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide, in panel format, the number of people who have been treated by the accident and emergency departments in Cork University Hospital and The Mercy Hospital, Cork, respectively, in each of the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42396/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall Vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Joan Burton

Question:

246 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 192 of 18 November 2009, the timeline in respect of the tendering process for the establishment of the proposed co-located hospital on the site of Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown; when the tender under consideration was received by her Department; the company or organisations which submitted this tender; when she expects to award preferred bidding status; when she expects construction of the co-located hospital to begin; when she expects construction to be completed; when she expects the co-located hospital to open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42405/08]

Operational responsibility for the implementation of the acute hospital co-location initiative rests with the Health Service Executive. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the detailed matters raised by the Deputy investigated and a reply issued directly to her.

Departmental Reports.

Alan Shatter

Question:

247 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children when it is proposed to publish the Hynes report of the review of the circumstances surrounding the elapse of time in bringing to completion the Western Health Board inquiry into allegations of abuse in the Brothers of Charity Services, Galway which was received by her Department on 30 October 2008. [42408/08]

As the Deputy is aware from correspondence received from me, this matter is currently with my Department for consideration.

Child Abuse.

Alan Shatter

Question:

248 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that people permanently resident here who originate from countries that practice female genital mutilation take their children to their home countries to undergo the procedure and then return here; and her views on whether it is necessary to address loopholes in the provisions of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 which leave children unprotected from the practice of female genital mutilation while abroad. [40064/08]

Legal advice which I obtained in 2004 strongly indicated that Female Genital Mutilation would constitute an offence under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. In September 2006, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in its concluding observations on Ireland's second periodic report urged Ireland to continue its efforts to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation through, inter alia, prohibiting it by law. I am currently examining the possibility of introducing specific legislation to ban Female Genital Mutilation in the context of UNCRC’s recommendations.

Question No. 249 answered with Question No. 214.

Child Care Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

250 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for her refusal despite repeated requests to meet with groups (details supplied) regarding the community child care subvention scheme. [42422/08]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

251 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason she or her Minister of State will not, despite repeated requests to do so, meet with groups (details supplied) regarding the community child care subvention scheme. [42423/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP), which will invest €575 million over 5 years, with €358 million of this in capital grant aid for childcare services. I am aware of the recently published report commissioned by the Dublin Inner city Partnership and the Dublin Inner City Childcare Providers' Network regarding the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) which was introduced by my Office in January 2008. As acknowledged in the report, the initial findings of the research were made available to my Office and, to assist the groups in finalising the report, I understand that my officials provided various clarifications as well as updated data in regard to the scheme.

I have been active in meeting many childcare service providers, both from the community and commercial sectors. I am satisfied that the position in relation to the implementation of the CCSS has been fully communicated to the Group in question and that there is nothing further which can be added at this point in time. I am aware that concerns regarding the Scheme continue to be expressed by some community childcare services while at the same time many commercial providers who are outside the scope of the Scheme, and many parents who do not have access to a community based service, would like to see the CCSS extended across the sector. However, as a targeted scheme for disadvantaged and low income parents, the Scheme will continue to be confined to supporting community-based services.

The CCSS is a more transparent scheme than the support scheme previously in place for community-based childcare services and the support funding is linked more directly to qualifying parents. As a result, it is necessary for services participating in the Scheme to implement fees policies which reflect the various fee reductions available to qualifying parents, that is parents who are disadvantaged or on low incomes. In effect, grant funding is provided to a service to make up the difference, in the case of qualifying parents, between the cost of a childcare place and the fee which the service must charge to meet that cost.

In many cases, community services had not been charging the economic cost of their service. As a result, many parents who would not have been considered disadvantaged or low income for the purposes of the support funding would also have benefited significantly. In some cases, failure to charge the economic cost led to services operating at a deficit. The CCSS will assist services to operate on a clearer financial footing, balancing their expenditure with income. Given the substantial level of State funding which many are in receipt of, this would be an expected requirement.

Care of the Elderly.

David Stanton

Question:

252 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the role her Department has in the introduction of a community led pilot scheme to counter the social isolation of the elderly in rural Ireland as per the Agreed Programme for Government; if such a scheme has been introduced; the various other supports offered by her Department to assist elderly people to remain in their homes and participate in the community, in particular in rural areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40963/08]

The scheme referred to by the Deputy would not fall under the direct remit of my Department. However, the National Development Plan which gives effect to many of the commitments contained in ‘Towards 2016' recognised older people as one of the main groups at risk from social exclusion. The supports for minimising social exclusion among older people relates to a wide range of measures in the National Development Plan, including for example the Social Inclusion, Social Infrastructure and Human Capital Priorities.

The over-arching policy of my Department and the Health Service Executive is to support older people to live at home and in their communities through a range of quality community services. The key initiatives insofar as my Department is concerned relates to the Living at Home Sub Programme which provides for some €4.7 billion investment over the period of the Plan. In this regard, just over €200m new funding has been provided over the three years 2006-2008 inclusive, to develop community based initiatives nationally to enable older people to live at home and in their communities. This includes, for example,

€120m funding for Home Care Packages. The HSE will provide approximately 4,600 packages in 2008, benefiting over 11,000 people. Approximately 8,700 people are in receipt of packages at any one time. The HSE expects to provide over 4,700 packages in 2009.

€56m for expanded Home Help Services over the last three years. An estimated 54,000 clients will receive Home Help services in 2008. A revised Model of Service Delivery is also being implemented at present by the HSE throughout the country.

Some €16m additional funding has been made available for enhanced Day/Respite Care services. The total projected by the Executive provision in 2008 is around 21,000 places.

A sum of €5m between 2006-2008 for Meals on Wheels services has been allocated to complement previous levels of provision.

As the Deputy is aware operational responsibility for the management and delivery of these services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. The Executive is therefore the statutory body charged with pursuing these policies and services at regional and local level.

The new Office for Older People intends to progress the Strategy on Positive Ageing, which will include consideration of appropriate proposals relating to combating social or rural isolation. The new strategy will be developed on a cross departmental basis. This approach is key to delivering the Government's vision of improved integration of services, and thereby further supporting older people into the future.

Consultancy Contracts.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

253 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of expenditure on consultancy by her Department in each of the years 2000 to 2007; the numbers of consultants engaged by her Department in those years; the names of the consultancy companies awarded contracts and the steps which have been taken to reduce the expenditure on consultancy and the reliance on consultants by her Department in these years and for the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42579/08]

The information requested regarding consultancy expenditure from 2000 to 2007 is set out in the attached document, a copy of which has issued directly to the Deputy. On foot of a Government decision last July, Departments were required to deliver significant administrative efficiency savings in 2008 and 2009 on both the Administrative Budget area and across Programme spending more generally and to reduce expenditure on consultancy (including IT contractors and external service providers), advertising and public relations by at least 50% in 2009. Accordingly, the allocation of funding for consultancy in my Department has been halved in 2009. In addition, it should be noted that all consultancy projects receive my approval before being considered for funding.

2000

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Alpha Consulting

Review of the Organisational Structures of the ERHA

7,682.00

2

Anne Colgan and Associates

Consultation Process for the National Children’s Strategy

54,734.00

3

Astutec

Consultancy on best management practices for IT maintenance and support contracts

16,593.00

4

Carr Communications

Alcohol Awareness Campaign (2000-2003)

470,100.00

5

DCU and University of Leeds

Report Nurses’ and Midwives Understanding and Experiences of Empowerment in Ireland. Report Empowerment Narratives. Final Report of the Empowerment of Nurses and Midwives Steering Group: An Agenda for Change

23,320.00

6

Deloitte and Touche

Value for Money Audit of the Health Services

616,035.00

7

Department of Nursing Studies University College Cork — National University of Ireland Cork

National Study of Turnover in Nursing and Midwifery

70,000.00

8

Dillon Consultants

Sexual Health Awareness Campaign

165,000.00

9

Dr Mary Codd

Acute Hospital Bed Capacity Review

268,470.00

10

Dr Peter Bacon & Associates

Preparation of a report on the current and future supply and demand conditions in the labour market for physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists

38,092.00

11

ESRI

Critique of earlier Health Strategy “Shaping a Healthier Future”

21,469.00

12

Grayling Gilmore

PR services + project management on National Awareness Campaigns (2000-2002)

94,500.00

13

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

2,327.00

14

Institute of Public Administration

Consultancy assistance for work plan of newly established change management team

19,390.00

15

IPA/RCSI

Consumer Survey of Radiotherapy services in Ireland

21,707.00

16

Joint North South Project

All Ireland Public Health and Nursing Steering Group — A Nursing Vision of Public Health. From Vision to Action. Strengthening the Nursing Contribution to Public Health. Nursing for Public Health: Realising the Vision

27,027.00

17

Marsh Ireland Ltd

Review of Professor Bonner’s Report on Births in Portiuncula Hospital

1,921.00

18

Mercer Consultants

Development of a high level strategic HR policy for the Department.

11,350.00

19

Maureen Lynott

Review of the Organisation and Management of “An Board Uchtála”

20,895.00

20

National Nutrition Surveillance Centre

Providing DoHC with an independent source of data, information and advice relating to nutrition and health.

342,000.00

21

Prospectus

Introduction of Business Planning in DOHC

15,212.00

22

Public Communication Centre

Heart Health Awareness Raising Activities (2000)

70,000.00

23

QMP Publicis

Advertising services: National Awareness Campaign on Smoking (2000-2002)

735,438.00

24

RGC Technologies

Research and production of specification for delivery of NDP management computer software application.

24,242.00

25

Siobhan Parkinson

Writing of children’s version of the National Children’s Strategy

6,349.00

26

System Dynamics

Consultancy for the Information Management Unit to provide a strategy for data management

35,489.00

27

Walsh Public Relations

Launch and publicity for the National Children’s Strategy

16,110.00

28

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Feasibility Study relating to implementation of Case-Mix based Risk Equalisation.

173,456.00

29

Institute of Public Health

Report of the Working Group on National Anti-Poverty Strategy and Health (including research, extensive public consultation and publication)

190,000.00

Total

3,558,908.00

2001

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Arcline Ltd.

RMU: Records Management consultancy

13,440.00

2

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

Provision of consultancy support in relation to the appraisal of international health information/ICT framework strategies in the context of the development of the National Health Information Strategy

50,128.00

3

Carr Communications Ltd.

Promotion and launch of National Health Strategy

100,724.00

4

Centre for Social and Educational Research

Evaluation of the Teen Parents Support Initiative. Final Evaluation Report of the Teen Parents Support Initiative. Policy Paper 1: ‘The Invisible Student’ Young Parents in Education’. Policy Paper 2: ‘I Hadn’t A Penny’. A Review of State Income Supports Available to Young Parents. Cost of Consultancy on database for extracting files to aid research

43,126.00

5

Children’s Research Centre

The Educational and Social Support Experiences of Young People in Long-Term Foster Care

96,000.00

6

Circa Healthcare Consulting

Provision of medical indemnity advice, provision of Clinical Indemnity Scheme Helpline on behalf of State Claims Agency, STARS implementation, negotiations with MDU

952,439.00

7

Colgan & Associates

Designing, planning, implementing and reporting on the external consultation programme in the preparation of the 2001 Health Strategy

124,980.00

8

Community & Voluntary Pillar

Consultation on Health Strategy

8,740.00

9

Corporate Graphics

Design work for suite of Health Strategy documents and related materials

102,440.00

10

Davy Corporate Finance Ltd / William Fry Solicitors

Report on the Strategic Options for the Voluntary Health Insurance Board

553,493.00

11

Department of Public Health Medicine UCD

Consultancy support in relation to international approaches to the collection and analyses of health information in the context of the development of the National Health Information Strategy

25,192.00

12

European Health Management Association

Input to report on the Regulation of the Practitioners of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

6,095.00

13

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

2,286.00

14

Institute of Public Administration

Organisation of consultation for DoHC staff on National Health Strategy

8,126.00

15

Institute of Public Administration

Preparation of a report on the Regulation of the Practitioners of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

6,857.00

16

Irish Marketing Surveys Ltd

Market research for the Department on the public’s attitude to health matters

99,040.00

17

IT Force

Information Technology, e-Government Strategy for the Internal Systems and GRO Review

6,909.00

18

IT Force

Information Technology

93,965.00

19

James Doran & Associates Ltd

Consultation with chiropody bodies re membership of committee established to determine criteria to apply to chiropodists wishing to practise in the public health service

6,095.00

20

James Doran and Associates

Working Group on Patient Escorts

15,125.00

21

Jerry O’Dwyer

Preparation of a new Medical Practitioners Act

9,122.00

22

Jonathan Drennan, Med, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Report — National Evaluation of the Role of the Clinical Placement Co-ordinator.

25,359.00

23

Marsh Consulting

Enterprise Liability Project Professional Fees

679,977.00

24

Marsh Ireland Ltd

Review of Potential Liabilities of Portiuncula Hospital

28,188.00

25

Michael Bruton Professional Solutions

Review of Dáil na nÓg 2001

8,533.00

26

Miriam Owens

Forum on Fluoridation

66,928.00

27

Mr Gerry Donnellan

Preparation of the heads of the Health and Social Care Professionals Bill

4,448.00

28

Mr Paul Gardiner, Senior Counsel

Report on the steps open to the State to instigate an effective inquiry into the role of the international pharmaceutical companies into the infection with HIV and Hepatitis C of persons with haemophilia.

103,000.00

29

QMP D’Arcy

Forum on Fluoridation

93,829.00

30

Red Dog/Brunswick Press

Design and Printing of Progress report on implementation of the Strategy Statement 1998-2001

22,674.00

31

Seamus O’Hickey

Forum on Fluoridation

514.00

32

Social Information Systems Ltd.

Final Report on Options for System Development and Implementation

74,154.00

33

The Mazars Group

Implementation of new payroll system

102,046.00

34

Walsh Public Relations

PR and event management Dáil na nÓg 2001

19,401.00

Total

3,553,373.00

2002

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Anne Colgan

National Children’s Advisory Council — Facilitation for Young People and Report on Young People’s Participation on the Council

14,509.00

2

Bark

Forum on Fluoridation

4,247.00

3

Brid McGrath

Review of the Library and Information service in Department of Health and Children

9,375.00

4

Carr Communications

Advice on the Report of the Independent Review Panel to the Minister for Health and Children concerning the birth of Baby Bronagh Livingstone on 11 December 2002.

3,448.00

5

Carr Communications

Communications Consultancy in respect of BCG vaccine

5,445.00

6

Carr Communications

PR and event management for Dáil na nÓg 2002

23,255.00

7

Carr Communications

Public launch and communication of Forum on Fluoridation Report

16,973.00

8

Carr Communications Ltd.

Communications support in relation to (1) The organisation of the first annual National Consultative Forum in 2002 to report on progress in the implementation of the National Health Strategy, (2) The launch of the Health Service Reform Programme

24,405.00

9

Centre for HP Studies, NUI Galway

Develop and rollout NHLS (SLAN) Analysis and publication of data — Phase 2: 2004

860,000.00

10

Children’s Research Centre

Childline Review

45,000.00

11

David Hanly

Chairman — National Task Force on Medical Staffing

211,935.00

12

Dell Computer Corporation

Windows 2000 Upgrade Consultancy

31,006.00

13

Deloitte

The Evaluation of ‘Cancer Services in Ireland’: A National Strategy 1996

106,398.00

14

Deloitte

Review of Governance and Accountability in the General Medical Service

130,584.00

15

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University College Dublin

Standardised Framework for Domestic Adoption

28,314.00

16

Dr. Daniel O’Hare

Chairing of National Health Strategy Consultative Forum

2,269.00

17

ESRI and RCSI

Scoping Study for a Survey of Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours

20,000.00

18

Farrell — Grant- Sparks

Facilitate Management Advisory Committee in relation to the restructuring of the DOH&C

2,299.00

19

Hosca Consultants

Staff Attitudinal/Climate Survey

22,990.00

20

Indecon International Economic Consultants

Ex-ante Review of Proposed Regulatory Models for the Pharmacy Sector

83,902.00

21

Indecon International Economic Consultants

Ex-post Assessment of the 1996 Pharmacy Regulations

65,400.00

22

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

2,500.00

23

KPMG

Review of funding for sheltered workshops- this review arose from the commitment in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to undertake a review of funding of sheltered workshops.

106,840.00

24

Lynne Peyton

National Children’s Advisory Council-Report on the Implementation of Children First and Vetting

9,809.00

25

Madeline Clarke

Consultation on the Development of a Family Support Strategy. Preparatory work prior to the Review of Family Support Services

1,500.00

26

Marcus Geoghegan

Review of Active Directory installation and assistance with implementation of a high end data availability project

2,178.00

27

Marcus Geoghegan

Review of Active Directory installation and assistance with implementation of a high end data availability project

3,146.00

28

Maureen Lynott

Report to the Minister for Health and Children: Independent Examination related to the Medical Council and the South Eastern Health Board (Lynott Report — in relation to Dr John Harding-Price)

7,770.00

29

Maureen Lynott

Report of the Independent Review Panel to the Minister for Health and Children concerning the birth of Baby Bronagh Livingstone on 11 December 2002.

7,841.00

30

Mr George Birmingham

Preliminary Inquiry into Handling of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse relating to the Diocese of Ferns

195,133.00

31

Ms Helen Boyle

Preliminary Inquiry into Handling of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse relating to the Diocese of Ferns

124,704.00

32

Mr Kevin Bonner

Report of Mr. Kevin Bonner on Monaghan General Hospital

43,584.00

33

Ms Pauline McKeever Conference Organisers Ltd

Assistance with organisation of conference on “What Works Best with Troubled Children”

6,398.00

34

NYCI Marian Brattman

National Children’s Advisory Council — Report on the Voice of the Child

3,200.00

35

Ogilvy/Wilson Hartnell PR

National Drugs Awareness Campaign (2002-2005)

314,200.00

36

Professor Hugh McKenna, Sinead Keeney, and Felicity Hasson, University of Ulster

Evaluation of the Irish National Pilot Programme for the Education of Health Care Assistants.

76,000.00

37

Prospectus Strategy Consultants

Audit of Structures and Functions in the Health System to make recommendations which would ensure clear accountability and communication between each part of the health system, no overlap or duplication between organisations, and a proper alignment of the structure as a whole with the vision and objectives outlined in the National Health Strategy.

533,131.00

38

Research Team, UCD

Paediatric Palliative Care Needs Assessment — ‘A Needs Asessment for Children’

71,943.46

39

Slick Fish Design

Forum on Fluoridation

20,382.45

40

Social Information Systems Ltd.

Report on Social Work Workload Management

30,000.00

41

Western Health Board/NUI Galway Child and Family Research and Policy Unit

A Research Project on the identification, analysis and dissemination of examples of good practice in Child and Family Care Services in the Republic of Ireland resulting in the following publication “Working for Children and Families Exploring Good Practice”

35,186.00

Total

3,307,199.91

2003

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Carr Communications Ltd

Media advice and support for the launch of: (1) Report on the Evaluation of ‘Cancer Services in Ireland’: A National Cancer Strategy 1996. (2) The Report of the Expert Group on the Development of Radiation Oncology Services in Ireland

25,622.00

2

National Youth Council of Ireland

Organisation, Management and Follow-up of Dáil na nÓg 2003

114,884.00

3

Addiction Research Centre, TCD

Literature Review commissioned by the Working Group on treatment of under 18 year olds presenting to treatment services with serious drug problems.

10,249.00

4

Allwrite

Data Sources on Children

4,840.00

5

Anna Gunning

Facilitating Student Council Working Group

700.00

6

Anna Gunning

Management of project on involvement of children in the appointment of the Ombudsman for Children

9,000.00

7

BFHI National Co-ordinator

Contributions to drafting and proofing the Interim Report of the National Committee on Breastfeeding

3,000.00

8

Capita Consulting Ltd.

Review of the Guardian ad Litem Service

96,331.00

9

Carr Communications Ltd.

Consultancy services to provide information to the Public on the SARS alert

23,667.00

10

Corporate Graphics/ Brunswick Press/Lensmen/Mr Sean De Freine

Design, translation and printing of Statement of Strategy 2003 — 2005

17,254.00

11

Deloitte and Touche

Report — Rostered Year Replacement Ratio Project (Nursing Degree Students)

133,161.00

12

Deloitte and Touche

The engagement of professional business consultancy to provide assistance in respect of two project headings: Review of internal controls in the Department of Health and Children with a view to implementing the recommendations of the Mullarkey Report; and consultancy assistance with respect to the structure of the Management Information Framework (MIF) in the Department.

70,731.00

13

Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University College Dublin

Standardised Framework for Domestic Adoption

47,976.00

14

Dr Hannah McGee, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Survey and report on “Public Perceptions of Biomedical Research”

120,000.00

15

Dr J R Pinkerton, School of Social Work, Queens University, Belfast

The following piece of work was commissioned in order to provide a knowledge based working definition of family support to help in the work of the Review: Family Support in Ireland Definition and Strategic Intent — A Paper for the Department of Health and Children

7,074.00

16

Dr Ursula Kilkenny, Faculty of Law, U.C.C

Guide to the Children Act 2001

10,029.00

17

Gibney Communications

Public Relations- Hanly Report

39,840.00

18

Grayling Gilmore

PR services and project management on National Awareness Campaigns (2003-2005)

893,000.00

19

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

3,750.00

20

Institute of Public Administration

To report on regulation issues

10,000.00

21

Irish Heart Foundation

To provide assistance and advice to the Department of Health and Children on nutrition (2003-2006)

159,000.00

22

ISPCC/CRA

Organisation of involvement of children in the appointment of the Ombudsman for Children

33,690.00

23

Jim Halley Consultants

Adoption Legislation Consultation

26,661.00

24

Mr Geoffrey Shannon

Adoption Legislation Consultation

5,000.00

25

Kieran McKeown Ltd.

Men and Domestic Violence: What research tells us

66,000.00

26

Kieran McKeown et al

This work entailed a detailed review of Family Support Services and was carried out to help map out a national policy and plan for the future development of family support services by the HSE in line with Action 27 of the Health Strategy and is essential to the development of a Family Support Policy. The following research documents resulted from this Review: Promoting the Well-Being of Families and Children: A Study of Family Support Services in the Health Sector in Ireland; A Census of Family Support in Ireland: Results of a Census of Family Support Services which were funded by Health Boards in 2002.

207,869.00

27

Lynne Peyton

National Children’s Advisory Council — Report on Alcohol Use/Misuse by Young People

12,404.00

28

Maria Corbett

Observer/evaluator-Student Council Working Group

600.00

29

Ms Brid McGrath

Review of Library and Information service of DoHC

9,375.00

30

National University of Ireland

Children’s Understanding of Well — Being

16,625.00

31

Ovation

Organisation of Pompidou Group Ministerial Conference

5,240.00

32

PMI Software Limited

Project management of software development and cost of INSPIRE Brochure

233,911.00

33

QMP Publicis

Advertising services; National Awareness Campaigns (2003-2005)

1,286,761.00

34

RGC Technologies

Project management of software development and cost of INSPIRE Brochure

96,921.00

35

Siobhan Parkinson

To provide the text for the children’s version of the National Standards for Foster Care

3,300.00

36

Slickfish

Design of the report ‘Radiation Oncology Services in Ireland’

5,717.00

37

Slickfish

Design of the report ‘The Evaluation of Cancer Services in Ireland: A National Strategy 1996’

4,005.00

38

Tony Murphy

Observation/Evaluation of Student Council Working Group

20,873.00

39

Mercer Human Resource Consulting Ltd.

Provision of continuous expert advice and information in relation to the Irish Health Insurance Market, in particular to the maintenance of a community rated market.

348,082.00

Total

4,183,142.00

2004

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Jeremy Neathey

National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Commissioning Process — International Expertise

26,384.00

2

Anna Gunning

Establishment of Youth Forum and other youth participation projects for the National Children’s Office

49,809.00

3

Business 2 Enterprise

Clean up of HR data before transfer to new system and selection of an interim solution.

12,063.00

4

Capita

Evaluation of Coronary Heart Attack Ireland Register

64,100.00

5

Capita

Evaluation of Heartwatch

81,700.00

6

Carmel Corrigan

The Development and Implementation of Child Impact Statements

27,430.00

7

Carr Communications/Irish Advocacy Network

Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (cost of the public consultation process and the publication of two reports on that process)

152,542.00

8

Centre for Social and Educational Research

Play and Technology

49,367.00

9

Children’s Research Centre

The process of Youth Homelessness: A Qualitative Longitudinal Cohort Study

44,505.00

10

Children’s Research Centre TCD

Research on Second Level Student Councils

41,600.00

11

Children’s Research Centre, TCD

To review current practice and methods used to consult with children with disabilities

7,000.00

12

Children’s Rights Alliance

Work on “Young Voices — Guidelines on how to involve children and young people in your work”

17,498.00

13

Cork Institute of Technology

Young People’s Views about Opportunities, Barriers and Supports to Recreation and Leisure in Ireland. Component of the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland

45,325.00

14

David Cawte

Rostering for medical staff as part of preparations for the implementation of the European Working Time Directive

7,987.00

15

David Hanly

Chairman — Acute Hospital Review Group

40,580.00

16

Department of Social Studies (Trinity College)

Research project on integration of health and social services

6,050.00

17

Dr Fiona Keogh

Project worker for the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy

62,341.00

18

Dr. Satya Brink

National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Commissioning Process — International Expertise

24,775.00

19

Dublin City University

Giving Children a Voice

27,294.00

20

Eamon O’Shea, UCG

Consultancy work for the Working Group on the Review of the Nursing Home Subvention Scheme

1,300.00

21

First Impression

Design and printing of Departmental Annual Report 2003

20,700.00

22

Hay Group (Ireland Limited)

Consultancy Services re organisation and design of restructured department

49,247.00

23

Hay Group Ltd

Personnel Management — Workshop on Performance-Related Awards for CEOs of Health Boards — 22 January 2004

2,662.00

24

Mercer HR

Health Insurance Actuarial and Related Advice

88,118.49

25

Lynne Peyton

National Children’s Advisory Council — End of Term Report

3,713.00

26

McGrath Associates

Consultancy for Health Service Reform Programme National Steering Committee (including sub-group on devolution of functions)

30,885.00

27

Mr George Nixon, Nixon Consulting

To prepare and facilitate a workshop on clinical placements in OT, Physiotherapy and SLT

2,437.00

28

Mr John Travers

Report on DoHC and Long Stay Charges

93,150.00

29

Mr Michael Bruton, Professional Solutions Ltd

To produce a study on Clinical Placements in OT, Physiotherapy and SLT

4,719.00

30

Murray Consultants

Public Relations — Hanly Report

75,456.00

31

National Youth Council of Ireland

Organisation, Management and Follow up of Dáil na nÓg 2005

142,131.00

32

PMI Software Limited

Hosting of INSPIRE

9,438.00

33

Professor Ann Sanson

National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Commissioning Process — International Expertise

17,596.00

34

Programme of Action for Children

Kidscreen

49,215.00

35

Purchasing Solutions

National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Commissioning Process — Process Auditor

28,137.00

36

PWC

Specification of tender for due diligence examination of MDU

25,844.00

37

Quantum EMB

Provision of actuarial advice

226,537.00

38

RGC Technologies

Administration Contract to assess co-ordinate, assign and resolve help desk queries in relation to INSPIRE

3,630.00

39

Secta Consulting Ltd.

Development of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy for Primary Care. This work involved determining at a strategic level, the nature of the ICT systems which would be required in order to support and facilitate the delivery of integrated multi-disciplinary primary care.

44,287.00

40

Slattery Communications

Consultancy services in respect of the UN Day for Older People on 1st October 2004.

16,455.00

41

Social Information Systems Ltd.

Project management of social work workload pilots

90,127.00

42

Sopra, Newell& Budge formerly Celare

Security advice and assistance

40,177.00

43

Tillinghast Towers Perrin

Specification of tender for due diligence examination of MDU

15,488.00

44

Tony Murphy

Review of the Structures and support needs of Comhairle na nÓg and Dáil na nÓg

26,611.00

45

University College Cork

The Voice of the Child Within the Health Setting

49,118.00

46

University College Dublin

A feasibility Study of the Inclusion of Blood and Tissue Data as a Component of the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland

75,504.00

47

Waterford Institute of Technology

Investigating the Impact on Children of Witnessing Domestic Violence:Nature and Adequacy of Child-Centred Services

46,518.00

48

The Children’s Research Centre, University of Dublin, Trinity College

Inter-country Adoption Research Project

231,290.50

Total

2,298,840.99

2005

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Carr Communications

Media Advisor — [Launch of the Report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction]

5,515.00

2

Catalysto

Design and printing of Strategy Statement

18,310.00

3

Business 2 Enterprise

Clean up of HR data before transfer to new system and selection of an interim solution.

44,881.00

4

Curriculum Development Unit of City of Dublin VEC

Development of a teaching/learning resource on giving children and young people a voice

154,000.00

5

Dr Eilish Mc Auliffe

Facilitation of regional input workshops and the production of a feedback Report on the implementation of a Statutory Complaints Process under Part 9 of the Health Act, 2004.

16,750.00

6

Dr. John Bowman

Work in relation to the organisation (including the chairing) of the National Health Consultative Forum 2005

6,050.00

7

Eneclann Ltd

RMU: Evaluation of CRAFTS

2,856.00

8

First Impression

Design and printing of Departmental Annual Report 2004

22,480.00

9

First Impression

Design and printing of Quality Customer Service Action Plan 2005-2007

21,800.00

10

Hay Group Ltd

Personnel Management — Job sizing of post of CEO of HIQA

9,680.00

11

Indecon Economic Consultants

Economics Analysis of Childcare Policy Options

101,821.00

12

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

2,700.00

13

IPPA and Súgradh

Contract for the establishment and management of the National Play Resource Centre

62,500.00

14

Liz Harper

Evaluation of the work of the Children/Young People’s forum of the OMC

17,740.00

15

Lynne Peyton

National Children’s Advisory Council — Mid Term Review of the National Children’s Strategy

57,500.00

16

Mercer HR

Health Insurance Actuarial and Related Advice

83,025.15

17

McGrath Associates

Chair of transition steering group

16,335.00

18

Mr David Hanly

Consultancy for Health Service Reform Programme — sub group on devolution of functions

7,260.00

19

Mr David Hanly

Participation of Transition Steering Group

7,260.00

20

Ms. Suzanne Campbell

To undertake a research project to assist the work of the National Working Group on the Regulation of Complementary Therapists

19,100.00

21

National Youth Council of Ireland

Organisation, Management and Follow-up of Dáil na nÓg 2006-2008

219,484.00

22

Ovation

Organisation of Traveller Health Conference

4,810.00

23

PBAS

Review of catering facilities at Department’s headquarters

5,140.00

24

Pricewaterhouse

Implementation of a risk management programme

45,746.00

25

Prospectus

Consultancy to provide advice on the criteria and conditions relevant to the development of private hospitals on public hospital sites

29,403.00

26

Renaissance Contingency Services

Business Continuity — Technology Recovery Planning

31,702.00

27

S McGrory & H Newman, c/o Health Promotion, Training & Support Services

Review of existing Health Promotion Training and Identification of Future Needs

36,379.00

28

Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd

Chairing Sustaining Progress Working Group on Alcohol Misuse

9,075.00

29

Rita Burtenshaw & Associates

Report from the Evaluation of the National Health Promotion Information Project

13,600.00

30

Sandra Roe

Analysis of Responses to Public Consultation on the Development of a Recreation Policy for Young People in Ireland and to produce a report on the outcome of the Public Consultation

26,600.00

Total

1,099,502.15

2006

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Byrne Safety Services

To provide advice and assistance in the drafting of a Health and Safety Statement for the GRO

800.00

2

Business 2 Enterprise

Clean up of HR data for before transfer to new system and selection of an interim solution.

62,920.00

3

Catalysto

Design and printing of HR Handbook

18,704.00

4

Catalysto

Design and Translation of Annual Report 2005

16,507.00

5

Children’s Research Centre, TCD

Research commissioned on: A Follow up Study on the Educational and Social Support Experiences of Young People in Long Term Foster Care

14,250.00

6

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland

Keynote speaker for the National Health Consultative Forum 2006

31,142.00

7

Dr Helen Buckley

Advise on Child Welfare and Protection issues

5,400.00

8

Dr. John Bowman

Work in relation to the organisation (including the chairing) of the National Health Consultative Forum 2006

6,050.00

9

Dublin Institute of Technology

Research commissioned on: Services and Supports for Children on Remand in Ireland

29,787.00

10

Farrell Grant Sparks/Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College

National Children’s Advisory Council-Research Report on Youth Volunteering in Ireland

47,389.00

11

Fitzpatricks Associates Economic Consultants

Value for Money Review of the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006

45,665.40

12

Information Consultants Pty

FOI Training

2,700.00

13

Mercer HR

Health Insurance Actuarial and Related Advice

176,939.21

14

Maire Ní Shuilleabháin

Drafting of Fluoridation of Water Supplies Regulations

425.00

15

Máire Ní Shuilleabhain

Drafting of European Communities (Control of Drug Precursors) Regulations 2005

3,910.00

16

National Youth Council of Ireland

Consultation with young people on the issues to be considered by the Minister for Children when examining the age of consent for sexual activity

61,498.00

17

Prof John Pinkerton

To develop a National Children’s Policy for the OMC .

3,750.00

18

Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York

Evaluation by an international panel of experts of applications for funding under the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme for Children

3,637.00

19

Professor Marjorie Smith, University of London

Evaluation by an international panel of experts of applications for funding under the Prevention and Early Intervention Programme for Children

4,223.00

20

RCSI Consortium

National Health and Lifestyle Survey — Slán 06

847,568.00

21

School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin

Research Commissioned on: A Study of Parent-Child Agreements and Arrangements based on Court Records

9,268.00

22

Slickfish

Design of ‘A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland 2006’

3,165.00

23

The Centre for Bioethical Research and Analysis(COBRA), National University of Ireland, Galway

Research commissioned on:Ethics Committees and Ethics Approval for Children’s Research in Ireland

14,389.00

24

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin

Research Commissioned on: Child Protection Services in Ireland: An Evaluation

19,348.00

25

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin

Research commissioned on: Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline

6,800.00

26

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin

Research commissioned on:Public Library Services for Children and Young People in Ireland

22,746.00

27

Unique Group

Event management services for holding of National Health Consultative Forum

51,072.00

28

University College Cork

Attitudes towards Removable Partial Dentures — a comparative study of patients and dentists in the North and South of Ireland

48,400.00

29

William Fry Solicitors

To provide legal services to the Oversight Committee. (This Committee was appointed by the Tánaiste to provide an independent input into the repayments scheme for long stay charges)

50,802.00

Total

1,609,254.61

2007

Count

Consultant

Contract Details

Expenditure (incl VAT)

1

Childrens Research Centre, Trinity College

A Study of Intercountry Adoption Outcomes in Ireland.

188,194.00

2

Collier Broderick Management Consultation Ltd

Engaged to carry out analysis of staff survey 2007 and report on the findings.

10,000.00

3

Life Strategies Ltd

Provision of Financial and Legal Advice

203,250.00

4

Mercer HR

Health Insurance Actuarial and Related Advice

109,936.57

5

School of Public Health and Population Science, UCD

To conduct an All-Ireland Traveller Health Study.

349,000.00

6

Carr Communications

To develop and implement a communications strategy for the announcement of a new initiative on Long Term Care for Older People.

48,400 (incl. VAT)

7

Colm Rapple, Economist and financial journalist.

To facilitate a one-day round table meeting on the financial abuse of older people.

3,000.00

8

Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd

Chairing Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body

18,150.00

9

Peter Cassells Consultants Ltd.

Chairing Sustaining Progress Implementation Group on Alcohol Misuse

18,150.00

10

Dr Mark Morgan

To complete the Irish portion of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD)

48,400.00

11

SLAN 07 Consortium

To undertake National Health and Lifestyle Survey (SLAN 07)

755,233.00

12

NUI, Galway

To undertake Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study

91,299.50

13

Independent Review Group

Independent Clinical Review of Symptomatic Breast Care Services at Barrington’s Hospital, Limerick

137,474.48 between Sept 2007 and March 2008

14

Dublin Institute of Technology

Research commissioned on : The Physical Chastisement of Children by Parents

76,033.98

15

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College

Research commissioned on: A follow up study on the educational and Social Support experiences of Young People in Long Term Foster Care

19,000.00

16

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College

Research commissioned on: Public Library Services for Children and Young People in Ireland

34,118.40

17

The Centre for Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), National University of Ireland, Galway

Research commissioned on: Ethics Committees and Ethics Approval for Children’s Research in Ireland

21,583.80

18

School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College

Research commissioned on: A Study of Parent-Child Agreements and Arrangements based on Court Records

21,626.00

19

The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College

Research commissioned on: Child Protection Services in Ireland: An Evaluation

45,145.00

20

Dublin Institute of Technology

Research commissioned on: Services and Supports for Children on Remand in Ireland

29,986.67

21

The School of Psychology and The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College and The Dublin Institute of Technology

Research commissioned on : Children’s Perspectives on Parenting Styles and Discipline

10,200.00

22

Economic and Social Research Institute and Children’s Research Centre Trinity College

Research Commissioned on : National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland (NLSCI)

4,825,290.21

23

Dr. Satya Brink, Direc