Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

Questions (209)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

209. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will reconsider exploring the potential of a wine industry here, following Scotland's recent activity in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15676/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There are currently no plans for my Department to undertake an assessment of the potential for vine growing and wine production in Ireland. The primary focus of public policy in the agri food area is on sectors identified in the Food Harvest 2020 Report as having potential to deliver substantial growth in this decade.

Child Care Services Regulation

Questions (210, 211, 212)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

210. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to set out her views on amending the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 and the Child Care Act 1991 in order that all paid childminders would be subject to registration, regulation, and inspection. [15534/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

211. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to set out her views on requiring Garda vetting for paid childminders and the members of the childminder's household. [15535/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

212. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to set out her views on whether there should be a review of the preschool regulations and inspection processes proportionate and appropriate to the home environment in which childminders work. [15536/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 to 212, inclusive, together.

Pre-school services are subject to the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No. 2) Regulations 2006, as provided for under Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991. The enactment, through the Child and Family Agency Act 2013, of amendments to the Child Care Act 1991 underpins a number of key reforms being introduced as part of the Pre-School Quality Agenda. To provide for the implementation of the changes to the Act it will be necessary to amend or make additions to the current Regulations in a number of areas, and these are currently being considered. Following the introduction of the Child and Family Agency Act 2014 the inspection of pre-schools and the enforcement of the Regulations are now the responsibility of the new Child and Family Agency.

Section 58 of the Child Care Act 1991 provides for exemptions to the requirements of Part VII of the said Act, including childminders taking care of not more than three pre-school children from different families, who are not subject to the Child Care (Pre-School Services) (No. 2) Regulations 2006. This exemption recognises parental choice to place children with friends and neighbours, and the challenges of the over-regulation of the more informal arrangements chosen by parents. Such childminders are encouraged to voluntarily register their service with their local City or County Childcare Committee. Both registered and voluntarily registered childminders can avail of the Childminders Tax Exemption which exempts childminding earnings of up to €15,000 from income tax. My Department will continue to actively promote the voluntary registration of childminding services and the participation of childminders in quality and training programmes. However, the Department is not in a position to prevent parents from entering into informal arrangements with childminders who are outside the scope of the Regulations.

Childcare services subject to the Regulations are required to obtain Garda vetting for all childcare workers. Work on the development of Ireland's first Early Years Strategy for children aged up to 6 years is underway in my Department. The issue of how best to regulate the childminding sector is being considered as part of this process. It is expected that the Strategy will be finalised later this year.

National Children's Hospital

Questions (213)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

213. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health if a unit (details supplied) will be provided at the satellite children's hospital to be built at Connolly Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15445/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In November 2012 I announced the Government's decision that the new children's hospital would be co-located with St James's Hospital at the St James's campus in Dublin 8. Following this decision, a review was carried out of the previous plan for a paediatric ambulatory and urgent care centre on the campus of Tallaght Hospital, and following that review, I announced in January this year that satellite centres of the main hospital would be built on the campuses of Tallaght and Connolly hospitals. These satellite centres will be an integral part of, and come under the governance of, the new children's hospital. The centres will provide services and environments of the same quality as those delivered in the new children's hospital and staff working in the satellite centres will rotate through the main hospital. In advance of the opening of the new children's hospital, the satellite centres will be managed as part of the Children's Hospital Group.

The decision to develop the hub-and-spoke model of a main hospital with satellite centres is based on the need to provide high quality, safe, accessible acute and secondary general care to the children of the Greater Dublin Area. These two satellite centres will each provide urgent care, to be established well in advance of the main hospital opening. Each centre will also provide secondary outpatient services including rapid access general paediatric clinics. This configuration improves geographic access to urgent care for a significant number in the Greater Dublin Area, supports primary and community care paediatrics and significantly reduces Emergency Department and outpatient attendance on the main site. All other services will be provided on the main site at the St James's campus including all in-patient care.

The satellite centres are expected to be built by mid-2016, enabling them to become operational well in advance of the transition of services to the main hospital on the St James's campus, which is expected to commence at the end of 2018.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (214)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

214. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health to detail when a decision will be made on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in making a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15452/14]

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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.

Drug Treatment Programmes Availability

Questions (215)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

215. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive is putting a methadone clinic in St. Otteran's Hospital, Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15476/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE provides opioid substitution (mainly methadone) in a number of treatment settings to meet the needs of individual drug users. These settings include:

- primary care through GPs and community pharmacies;

- satellite clinics that facilitate opioid substitution provision through community pharmacies;

- treatment centres where opioid substitution treatment is dispensed on site; and

- residential rehabilitation facilities. 

As the issue raised by the Deputy is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.