Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (225)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

225. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Dublin receives a replacement wheelchair as a matter of urgency. [45301/13]

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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.

Health Services Staff Issues

Questions (226)

Brian Walsh

Question:

226. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health if the pension schemes of consultant hospital doctors employed by the Health Service Executive are varied where they transition from a type B contract to a type C contract or if terms and entitlements are varied under the new contractual arrangements. [45306/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the issue raised is a matter for the Health Service Executive, I have referred the question to the Executive for direct reply.

Health Services Staff Issues

Questions (227)

Brian Walsh

Question:

227. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce changes to the contract arrangements pertaining to consultant doctors in order to facilitate practice in the private sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45307/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have no plans to pursue changes to the consultant contract in order to facilitate practice in the private sector.

Consultant Contract 2008 introduced a series of measures designed to improve equity for public patients, including limits on private practice. This Contract included specified upper limits to private practice activity of 20% for newly-appointed consultants on a Type B or C contract and 30% for consultants who held a contract prior to 2008. Consultants holding a Type A contract are limited to public practice. Under the Public Service Agreement, following negotiations at the LRC in September 2012, health service employers and the two consultant representative bodies agreed a range of measures to support improved patient care, including consultant compliance with the limits on private practice activity.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

Questions (228, 230)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

228. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the decision of the Government to include provision for a new round of sports capital funding in the 2014 Estimates, the likely timeframe for any new scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44909/13]

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Brendan Griffin

Question:

230. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the expected timeframe for the new sports capital grant scheme; the amount that will be involved; if there will be different criteria from the previous round; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45279/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 and 230 together.

I welcome the decision of the Government to provide funding for a new round of the Sports Capital Programme. I believe that it demonstrates this Government's understanding of the value of sport from both an economic and health perspective. My officials are presently working on the details of the new Programme and I hope to be in a position to make an announcement before end year.

My Department has developed a new portal on the Department's website which must be used by organisations to register their interest in the Sports Capital Programme, to apply for funding (when the Programme is open for applications) and to manage the drawdown of any new grants allocated after 2013. The portal also has a growing knowledge base of information on all aspects of the SCP. Registered users can also ask questions and get answers about the SCP. Any interested organisation should register on www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie.

Tourism Promotion

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 228.

Questions (229)

John Lyons

Question:

229. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to increase the number of visits by Chinese nationals; if he has a dedicated Chinese tourism strategy; if strategies are employed to raise awareness of Ireland as a tourism destination in China; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45170/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The matter raised is an operational one for Tourism Ireland Limited as the body responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a visitor destination overseas. I have referred the Deputy's Question to Tourism Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Question No. 230 answered with Question No. 228.

Driving Licence Renewals

Questions (231)

Willie Penrose

Question:

231. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the precise nature of new regulations which have been introduced regarding licensing requirements for persons who are driving vehicles which have trailers attached; the reason the position pertains whereby persons have to obtain a class B on their licence and that same is restricted to those who have secured a licence prior to 13 November 1989, as many persons, particularly farmers during the 1990s, have gained significant competency in driving vehicles with trailers attached and are now being forced under this new regulation to resit their test to achieve the required class on their driver's licence; if same will be reviewed in a reasonable way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45330/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Before 1989, there was one category of driving licence for driving a car or a car with a trailer.  In the 1989 Regulations this was changed to provide for two separate categories, one for cars alone and one for cars with trailers.  People who previously had a licence for cars could apply for both when renewing their licences.  It would appear that some people did not realise this at the time of renewing their licences, and therefore unintentionally lost their trailer entitlement.  

There have been several changes to Regulations since that time.  The categories under which we operate at present are set in EU law.  The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 483 of 2011) represents the transposition of Directive 2006/126/EC into Irish law, and came into effect on 19 January 2013.  Under these Regulations, Category B covers a car plus trailer up to 750kg, B with code 106 is a car plus trailer which can be over 750kg provided the combination of car plus trailer is not over 4250kg, and BE is car plus trailer not exceeding 3500kg.  

Earlier this year, I received representations from farming organisations suggesting that many farmers who had a car licence before the 1989 Regulations came into effect, had unintentionally lost their trailer entitlement by not ticking the appropriate box on the form when applying for renewal.  I agreed to make an exceptional allowance for people in this position - whether farmers or not - to reclaim the trailer entitlement, where they could prove that they had previously held it.  The RSA has made arrangements to accommodate drivers in this position for a limited period.