Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (479)

Michael Ring

Question:

479. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo has not received their single farm payment despite being informed on 21 January 2014 that funds would issue shortly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15437/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As advised previously, the appeal of the person named having been largely successful, with over 90% of the area which initially appeared ineligible being confirmed eligible on review, a payment is due to the person named to reflect this. While the payment has not yet issued, due to timing issues relating to older Schemes, urgent arrangements are now being made to issue the payment in question.

Family Resource Centres

Questions (480)

James Bannon

Question:

480. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide an update on a funding allocation towards Bridgeways Family Resource Centre, Ballymahon, County Longford, to fund its green learning programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15212/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I have requested the information from the Child and Family Agency and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (481)

David Stanton

Question:

481. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the arrangements in place on behalf of her Department, or the Health Service Executive under the aegis of her Department, with regard to an organisation (details supplied); the plans for further development of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14792/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The organisation that the Deputy refers to is registered to provide Children's Residential Services on behalf of the Child and Family Agency. It is monitored by the relevant Agency personnel in this regard to ensure they continue to provide services of the highest quality appropriate to the needs of children placed in their care. The Agency has advised that the Service Level Agreement with the organisation will be completed in the coming weeks to replace that which was previously signed with the Health Service Executive. This Agreement will encompass all services provided to the Agency, including those recently awarded under contract to the organisation following a procurement process in 2013. The organisation currently provides services to twenty young people who have been placed in their care by the Agency. Services are provided from seven centres in the Dublin Mid-Leinster and South Regions.

Departmental Funding

Questions (482)

John O'Mahony

Question:

482. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount of funding allocated by her Department in County Mayo, and the list of projects that benefited in 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14890/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I can inform the Deputy that my Department has supported projects in County Mayo under a range of categories that include funding for Youth Organisations and Services, National Lottery Funding, Childcare Programmes, Youth Projects and Facilities, Comhairle na nÓg, capital grants to improve playground equipment and specific supports for the National Play Day and National Recreation Week. My Department is currently finalising the information sought by the Deputy and I will write to the Deputy separately to provide the full details of the hundreds of recipients of funds from my Department in County Mayo over the period in question since the establishment of my Department in June 2011.

Departmental Funding

Questions (483)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

483. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 590 of 4 February 2014, if she will furnish a copy of the 2013 national survey into Health Service Executive-funded agencies providing child and family services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15020/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

In 2013, HSE Children and Family Services began a review of all agencies funded to deliver services on its behalf. Initial reviews focused on larger organisations, their project outcomes and administration costs. Regional reviews were undertaken for smaller organisations. This work is being built on as the Child and Family Agency develops a strategy for the commissioning of services and as services are reviewed with regard to the particular requirements of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013. The Agency has advised that a completed report will not be available until nearer the end of 2014 when it will have completed its review and developed a strategy for the ongoing delivery of services to children and families. I am not therefore in a position to furnish the Deputy with a copy of the survey at this time.

Over 800 organisations are in receipt of combined grants of over €100m annually from the Agency for the provision of services. The Agency is committed to ensuring that this money is directed where it can most impact on the lives of children and families both at early intervention, prevention and crisis points and also through individual family support and community development inputs.

Child Care Services Provision

Questions (484)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

484. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that an organisation (details supplied) in County Leitrim has been seeking a suitable building for its preschool and after-school services for many years; and if she will engage with the Department of Education and Science regarding the possibility of these child care services moving to one of the school buildings that have been vacated following the recent opening of the new secondary school in Ballinamore. [15070/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The use of school buildings is a matter for the Boards of Management or the Department of Education and Skills and does not come under the remit of my Department. However, the City and County Childcare Committees assist my Department in supporting the development of child care locally, and offer information and guidance on a wide variety of issues including advice on establishing a new child care business. I understand that Leitrim County Childcare Committee has engaged with the group in question in relation to this proposed development and will offer further guidance and assistance where appropriate.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Questions (485)

Robert Troy

Question:

485. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will instruct the Adoption Authority of Ireland to send the adoption application pack belonging to persons (details supplied) in Dublin 3 to the Indian adoption authority, CARA, immediately so that their application for an inter-country adoption can be registered by the Indian authorities now and the process can at least commence in India, rather than being further delayed until the Helping Hands Agency is operational, in view of the fact that the couple are approaching the upper age limit for adopting from India. [15207/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The responsibility for facilitating intercountry adoption applications lies with the Adoption Authority, in its capacity as an independent, quasi judicial body established under the Adoption Act 2010. As such it is not open to me to intervene in individual cases. The Republic of India has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, as such it is not necessary to have a bilateral agreement with India. As a contracting state under the Hague Convention, the Adoption Act 2010 provides that adoptions by Irish prospective adoptive parents may be made subject to Irish and Indian requirements being satisfied in line with relevant laws and the provisions of the Hague Convention. It is a matter for contacting states whether they wish to impose restrictions on whether and how intercountry adoptions of citizens of that State may be effected.

I recently facilitated a meeting between the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in order to provide prospective adopters up to date information on the status of adoptions from India. At this meeting the Adoption Authority advised that there remains a general moratorium by the Indian Central Authority (CARA) on India accepting adoption applications from other countries other than in special circumstances. The Authority has recently received an announcement from CARA that India is currently accepting packs from non-resident Indian prospective adoptive parents for the adoption of Indian children (“normal” category). This means that India remains closed to non-Indian prospective adoptive parents at this time in respect of what it terms “normal” categories of children. The Adoption Authority understands that CARA is accepting applications in respect of children which are termed "special needs", which includes children over five years of age and sibling groups. The Authority is currently attempting to establish from CARA a possible time frame for the acceptance of application packs in the “normal” category from non-Indian nationals.

The Adoption Authority has advised it is their position that it is necessary to have an Irish registered accredited body to facilitate intercountry adoptions from India in order to safeguard the process for the child and the adoptive parents. The Authority has recently decided to delegate its functions under Articles 15, 16 and 17 of the Hague Convention to Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency with regard to adoptions from India. Helping Hands is awaiting approval by CARA in order to proceed in this regard. I have arranged a follow-up meeting with the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in May in order to update the group on progress made.

Child Care Services Regulation

Questions (486, 487)

Robert Troy

Question:

486. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of new early childhood services that have been opened and registered under the new registration arrangements as outlined in Part 12 of the Child and Family Act 2014 by the Child and Family Agency since 1 January 2014. [15351/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

487. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the stage of implementation of the transitional registration process for existing child care services, as outlined in Part 12 of the Child and Family Act 2014, within the Child and Family Agency; and the target timeframe for re-registration. [15352/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 486 and 487 together.

As these are service matters, I have asked the Child and Family Agency to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date information.

Preschool Services

Questions (488)

Sean Conlan

Question:

488. Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide funding for a preschool (details supplied) in Corcaghan, County Monaghan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15362/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Capital funding in the region of €420 million was provided to community and commercial child care providers in the period 2000 to 2008 for the refurbishment and development of child care facilities under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) and the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP). Because of the economic difficulties it has not been possible to provide any substantial capital funding to support developments in the child care sector since 2009. I did secure capital funding totalling €6m in Budget 2012 to provide for the refurbishment of services in which substantial Government capital and support funding had already been invested. I was also successful in securing €2.75m in capital funding in Budget 2013 to support the ongoing improvement of established child care services participating in one or more of the child care support programmes implemented by my Department. While I hope to be in a position to allocate further capital funding to child care providers for the refurbishment of child care facilities, I do not expect that this funding will be sufficient to provide for any large scale developments.

Nursing Staff Provision

Questions (489, 559)

Dara Calleary

Question:

489. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that nursing positions in special needs schools have not yet been formally recognised by his Department or the Department of Children and Youth Affairs; if he agrees that this situation is utterly unsatisfactory and poses numerous issues and problems for the management, staff and, in particular, pupils of such schools; his views on whether his Department, in co-operation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, should introduce proper procedures for the employment of nurses in special needs schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15230/14]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

559. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that nursing positions in special needs schools have not yet been formally recognised by the Department of Education and Skills or the Department of Health; if he agrees that this situation is utterly unsatisfactory and poses numerous issues and problems for the management, staff and, in particular, pupils of such schools; his views on whether the Department of Education and Skills, in co-operation with his Department, should introduce proper procedures for the employment of nurses in special needs schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15162/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 and 559 together.

The provision of supports in special schools is an issue which involves both the health and education sectors. Special schools provide for those children with the most complex special educational needs who require specialised educational provision beyond that which can normally be provided for them in mainstream education. These schools are mainly attached to non-statutory disability service providers which are funded by the HSE. These services have been developed by individual local providers and reflect their experience and expertise. Special schools have support staff, including in some cases nurses, in place. Nurses in special schools would provide support to a small number of children who require high levels of support. The nurse's role, may include guidance in relation to the role carried out by Special Needs Assistants, which come under the Department of Education and Skills, in the area of care support.

Professional accountability of nursing staff and their adherence to proper and standardised clinical procedures in special schools is relevant in this overall context. It should be noted that all nurses are legally required to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and are accountable to the public though the Board. They must adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and a Scope of Practice guidance document. The Scope of Practice sets out the range of roles, functions, responsibilities and activities which a registered nurse or registered midwife is educated, competent and has the authority to perform. This is the case for all nurses, regardless of their employment setting, from a hospital to a special-school.

The National Council for Special Education, in policy advice to the Minister for Education and Skills last year recommended a more consistent approach to accessing nursing support, for children with high medical needs in special schools through dedicated health service funding. This recommendation raises very complex and significant issues for the Health and Education sectors. The stakeholders involved including the HSE, the Departments of Education and Skills and Health, will need to examine this issue fully, including the financial and employment resource and overall policy implications involved.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (490, 570)

Finian McGrath

Question:

490. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if there is an early intervention team for the north of Dublin; if not, the reason there is no such service, especially as many families (details supplied) are required to complete a six-month statutory assessment of needs; the further reason a particular family is being ignored and left without this vital service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15239/14]

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Finian McGrath

Question:

570. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if there is an early intervention team for the north of Dublin and, if not, the reason there is no such service, particularly as many families (details supplied) are required to complete a six-month statutory assessment of needs; if he will clarify if this is a breach of the disability legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15225/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 490 and 570 together.

There has been a significant rise in overall activity in recent years in respect of the children encompassed under the process of assessment under Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005. This process provides for an assessment of the needs of eligible applicants, occasioned by their disability, to be commenced within three months of receipt of an application and completed within a further three months. Although the HSE recognises that it faces significant challenges in respect of meeting the statutory time-frames which apply to the assessment of need process given the number and complexity of cases, it is taking a number of measures to address the issue. While any delay in assessment or intervention for any child is not desirable, the assessment process under the Disability Act can take place in parallel with any intervention which is identified as necessary. The HSE has issued guidance to its staff that where there is a delay in the assessment process, this should not affect the delivery of necessary and appropriate interventions identified for a particular child. In addition, targeted action plans have been put in place since early 2011. Measures have included: prioritising assessments, holding additional clinics, contracting the private sector to conduct assessments and reconfiguring resources to target areas of greatest need.

Following the publication of a report commissioned from the National Disability Authority by the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive, a major emphasis is being placed on reconfiguring disability services for children into integrated multidisciplinary geographically-based early-intervention and school-aged teams as part of the implementation of the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme. This involves the roll-out of a new model of service, the objective of which is to bring about equity and consistency, with a clear pathway for children with disabilities and their families to services, regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their difficulty. The Programme is a key priority for the HSE in 2014 with an additional €4m allocated to assist in its implementation. My Department has asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the detailed operational issues that he has raised.

HSE Staff Promotions

Questions (491)

Willie Penrose

Question:

491. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm if his Department received correspondence (details supplied); if same will be examined with a view to ensuring that the post, which this person is eligible for, will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15379/14]

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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.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (492, 572)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

492. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the schedule for the introduction of Sativex or similar products; if it is envisaged that this product will be available for patients with multiple sclerosis and chronic pain; if he will outline the regulatory process of bringing such products to market and the standards which apply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15510/14]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

572. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on his plans for the use of cannabis for medical reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15235/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 492 and 572 together.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977, the manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of cannabis or cannabis-based medicinal products are unlawful except for the purposes of research. Under European and Irish legislation, before a medicine can be placed on the Irish market the manufacturer has to seek an authorisation from the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) or in the case of certain medicinal products, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A determination on an application for authorisation of a medicine is based on a rigorous scientific assessment of the application against legal and regulatory requirements.

My Department has been informed by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) that it is in receipt of a market authorisation request from a manufacturer under the EU Mutual Recognition Procedure for a medicinal product containing Cannabis extract. This product is indicated for the relief of symptoms of spasticity for people with multiple sclerosis. Draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations are being prepared to enable authorised cannabis-based medicinal products such as Sativex to be legally prescribed by medical practitioners and used by patients. It is anticipated that the draft Regulations will be introduced in mid-2014.

Hospital Appointments Status

Question No. 494 answered with Question No. 115.

Questions (493)

Robert Troy

Question:

493. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will expedite a hospital appointment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford. [14690/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular patient query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to him directly.

Question No. 494 answered with Question No. 115.