Home Help Service Redundancies

Questions (223)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

223. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the way the Health Service Executive can justify offering redundancy of only €2,000 to persons who have provided 20 years of service providing home help, €1,500 for persons with 15 years of service and €500 for persons with 10 years of service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29610/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE recognises the importance of home help and home care in supporting older persons to live in their own homes and communities, in accordance with Government policy. The 2013 National Service Plan includes the provision of 10.3 million hours of home help service, the same level as planned for in 2012.

On 29 June 2012, the Labour Court recommended that the HSE and SIPTU should engage in relation to matters concerning the contracts of home helps. Subsequently, on 16th October 2012, it identified issues to be addressed including exit mechanisms. At a further hearing on 12th December 2012, it noted that management proposals to deal with these issues would be encompassed in a comprehensive delivery model for home help services.

The parties subsequently met on a number of occasions under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, most recently on 30th April. While significant progress was made on a range of contractual matters, the Commission is referring a number of outstanding issues, including voluntary exit mechanisms as provided for within the terms of the PSA, back to the Labour Court.

Smoking Ban

Questions (224)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

224. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health when the legislation regarding banning smoking in cars transporting children under 18 years will be enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29627/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is recognised that smoking in cars exposes all the occupants to harmful environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). ETS is a carcinogen and contains the same cancer causing substances and toxic agents that are inhaled by the smoker. There is no safe level of exposure to ETS.

Exposure to cigarette smoke is particularly dangerous in enclosed spaces, such as cars, and parents and others with responsibility for the welfare of children have a particular responsibility to ensure that such exposure does not take place.

The Government gave approval to the drafting of amendments to a Private Member's Bill entitled "Protection of Children's Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012". The purpose of the Bill is to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present. As I indicated in the Seanad a number of amendments are required to ensure that the Bill operates as an effective piece of legislation. A number of meetings have been held with my Department, the Senators involved in the Bill, officials from the Department of Justice and Equality and representatives of an Garda Síochána in order to agree proposed amendments. The Department of Health is now working with the Office of the Attorney General to draft the necessary amendments to the Bill to provide for the enactment of this legislation.

Post-Polio Support Group

Questions (225)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

225. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if any evaluation has been undertaken on the total amount of persons suffering from the after effects of polio; if he has received any submissions from such sufferers; if an examination has been done into the extent of any recurring effects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29633/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I wish to inform the Deputy that I have met with the Post-Polio Support Group at which I welcomed their report " Social Support Groups - Beacons for the Future". I am very aware of the late effects of polio on polio survivors and the valuable contribution which the Post-Polio Support Group provide to their members who number in the region of 900 people. The organisation provides support to polio survivors and their families on behalf of the Health Service Executive (HSE) for which they received funding in 2012 of €383,000.

It is open to people represented by the Post Polio Support Group to avail of the wide range of health and personal social services and specialist disability services, if required, provided by the HSE. The Government also provides other supports including income supports through the Department of Social Protection, tax reliefs through the Revenue Commissioners, housing supports through local authorities etc.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (226)

Finian McGrath

Question:

226. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will advise a person (details supplied) regarding cyclists. [29496/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Article 13 of S.I. No. 182/1997: Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997, as amended, provides for the offence of cycling on a footway. The offence is currently dealt with by way of summons to court and following conviction, offenders are liable to a maximum fine of €1,000 for a first offence.

Liability for damages following a road traffic collision, be it between a cyclist and a mechanically propelled vehicle or otherwise, is a matter for the parties concerned to decide, or failing that, for determination in a court of law.

Roads Maintenance Issues

Questions (227)

Dara Murphy

Question:

227. Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the current regulations, if any, in force for the reinstatement of damaged road surfaces by county and city councils; if there is a minimum standard set down by his Department for reinstatement; if there are any penalties in place for county and city councils who do not adhere to current best practise; if he will put in place regulations to direct local authorities to not temporarily patch roads except in emergency situations, if they do not already exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29533/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993.  The carrying out of works on these roads is a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The selection and prioritisation of road works is also a matter for the local authority.

A number of best practice guidelines have issued to local authorities in relation to the reinstatement of roads. In particular a document entitled "Guidelines for the Opening, Backfilling and Reinstatement of Trenches in Public Roads" outlines the legal framework in respect of road openings and it prescribes standards which should be attained in respect of such works. In addition my Department has been working with local authorities to implement a pavement management system to link pavement distress to treatment options.  I have been encouraging local authorities as the bodies responsible for the maintenance and repair of roads to utilise this system to its full capabilities. 

Driving Licence Issues

Questions (228)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

228. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline in tabular form the number of learner drivers unaccompanied by a qualified driver that were involved in road traffic accidents since mid 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29583/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority has responsibility for the compilation and analysis of road safety collision statistics. 

I have referred the Deputy's question to the Road Safety Authority for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Search and Rescue Service

Questions (229)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

229. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline the current status of the contract provided to an external body, CHC, to carry out the Irish Coast Guard helicopter operations; when the current contract was signed and when it expires; if he will update Dáil Éireann on the current rotation and upgrade of aircraft taking place within the Irish Coast Guard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29593/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The current contract for helicopter search and rescue services was signed by the then Minister for Transport in July 2010. The contract came into effect on the 1st July 2012, the Services Start Date, and will be in place for 10 years. There is an option to extend the contract for a period, or periods, of up to an additional 3 years for each or all bases.

Under the new contract the first S92A Sikorsky aircraft came into service at the Shannon base on 1st July 2012. The next two S92s arrived in the country this month from Scotland. The transition of the Sligo base is due to be completed next month subject to a successful audit while the Waterford base transition is due to be completed by October. The final base at Dublin is planned to transition by next December.