School Completion Programme

Questions (228)

Joan Collins

Question:

228. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the proposals put forward by the co-ordinator of the Dominican Campus school completion programme with the support of the three primary schools (details supplied); if she has considered the proposals; and if she will respond to same. [33690/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department has not received a proposal from the co-ordinator of the Dominican Campus school completion programme. Following receipt of the Deputy’s question, my officials have established that the programme is seeking funding of €35,044.88 to create a new post of Traveller Education Support Worker to serve the primary schools in the project. I am also aware that this proposal was submitted to my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, for his consideration. The National Educational Welfare Board, which operates under the remit of my Department, is responsible for the operational management of the School Completion Programme and the Home School Community Liaison Scheme. In delivering on this role, the board works closely with management committees, schools and local Home School Community Liaison Scheme and School Completion Programme co-ordinators to ensure student supports and interventions are tailored to meet local needs. As the services of the National Educational Welfare Board are central to this proposal, I will ask it to engage directly with the schools and the Department of Education and Skills to facilitate consideration of the proposal in the appropriate context.

It should be recognised that the Dominican Campus School Completion Programme operates under the direction of a Local Management Committee. This Committee assesses local needs to devise a programme of student supports and interventions, known as the Retention Plan, to support identified young people at risk of educational disadvantage in their school, home and community life. Funding is provided by my Department following approval of annual plans by the National Educational Welfare Board. The Deputy may wish to note that the Dominican Campus School Completion Programme received funding of €193,754 in the current academic year. The project model approach enables creative and innovative local strategies to be developed. Therefore, it is open to the Dominican Campus School Completion Programme to consider its priority requirements, including the present proposal, within the existing planning and funding cycle. Furthermore, within its targeting process, the schools involved should identify and prioritise at-risk children, including those from within the Traveller community, for available supports.

In planning its programme of supports, the Local Management Committee must have regard to the full extent of DEIS resources provided to its schools. Given the need to achieve saving in the School Completion Programme in 2013 and 2014, a coherent approach in the use of all school resources will ensure available funds are committed to those services which provide the greatest contribution to children's educational outcomes. Projects are finalising proposals for the next academic year. The National Educational Welfare Board will work with the Local Management Committee to examine this proposal in the context of its suite of supports and interventions.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Questions (229)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

229. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health his policy in relation on the labelling of GMO ingredients in foods. [33681/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Ireland adopts a “positive but precautionary” stance on GMO food and feed matters, considers the advice of EFSA with regard to authorisations, and votes with the European Commission once assured of the safety of the product. The only GM food ingredients that are authorised in the EU and that may, as a consequence, be marketed in Ireland are soya bean, maize, oilseed rape, cotton, sugar beet and starch potato. Under current EU legislation, if more than 0.9% of a food or a food ingredient is derived from a GM source, then it must be labelled accordingly. Even if the GM ingredient is present in a food but below the 0.9% threshold level, operators must be in a position to demonstrate that they tried to obtain the food or ingredient from a non-GM source and that its presence is due to cross contamination. Non-authorised GMOs are not allowed at any level.

Care of the Elderly

Questions (230)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

230. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his policy in relation to supporting older people and those with care needs to remain at home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33607/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Government policy is to support older people to live in dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and to support access to quality long-term residential care where this is appropriate. The Health Service Executive has responsibility for the delivery of services such as mainstream home help, enhanced home care packages, meals-on-wheels and day or respite care. The budget for these community services for older people in 2013 is €392 million. The HSE has committed to maintaining community supports at the levels planned for in 2012. This means that 10,870 people will be in receipt of home care packages, and that 10.3 million hours of home help service will be provided with 50,000 people receiving this service.

Following on from the special allocation of €35 million for mental health in Budget 2012, a further €35 million was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of community mental health teams for, inter alia, older persons and for mental health intellectual disability. In addition, funding is being provided to further advance suicide prevention initiatives and forensic services. Approximately 900 additional staff are being recruited to implement these measures. The vision for the Disability Services Programme set out in the Value for Money and Policy Review is to contribute to the realisation of a society where people with disabilities are supported as far as possible to live in the community, to participate to their full potential in the economic and social life of the community and to have access to a range of quality personal social supports and services to enhance their quality of life and well-being. In this context, support for community living means providing the range and type of individualised supports needed to enable each person to live in the home of their choice and be included in their community. The range of individualised supports provided by the health services to enable people with a disability to live in their own homes covers a diverse area, such as the provision of care, therapeutic supports and training.

Primary Care Strategy

Questions (231)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

231. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the primary health strategy's commitment to have 400 to 600 fully functioning primary care teams by the end of 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33608/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The implementation of the Primary Care Strategy is a priority for this Government. The objective is to develop services in the community which will give people direct access to integrated multi-disciplinary teams of general practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others. At the end of May 2013, some 418 primary care teams were in operation, holding clinical team meetings involving general practitioners and HSE staff. The 418 teams provide services for almost 4 million of the population with 2,472 HSE staff members and over 1,567 general practitioners participating. The HSE's 2013 National Service Plan commits to having 484 operational teams in place by the end of this year.

Community Care Issues

Questions (232)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

232. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans to publish eligibility criteria for home help and home care packages to provide for greater transparency in the allocation of community care services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33610/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Respite Care Services

Questions (233)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

233. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans to undertake an audit of residential, in-home and emergency respite services to identify gaps in existing service levels and to assess current and future need for these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33611/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (234)

John McGuinness

Question:

234. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health if a medical card issued to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny is still listed as valid up to March 2014. [33621/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for Members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas Members.