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Wednesday, 29 Nov 2017

Written Answers Nos. 266-282

Prison Service Data

Questions (266, 267)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

266. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost per week of keeping a prisoner in jail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51094/17]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

267. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual cost of keeping a prisoner in jail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51095/17]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 266 and 267 together.

I wish to inform the Deputy that the average annual cost of an available staffed prison space for 2016, the latest year for which a figure is available, was €69,421. This equates to an average weekly cost of €1,335.02 per available staffed prison space.

Prisoner Data

Questions (268)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

268. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons incarcerated in the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51098/17]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the information requested by the Deputy is published daily on the Irish Prison Service website www.irishprisons.ie. The information can be found in the Information Centre – under Statistics and Information – Daily Prisoner Population.

Prison Service Data

Questions (269)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

269. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons incarcerated, by institution, in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51099/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that the number of persons committed by institution in each of the years 2011-2016 and to date in 2017 are set out in the tables below. Figures for 2017 are provisional. The number of committals per year is higher than the number of persons due to the fact that a person may be committed more than once in that year.

Year 2017

Year 2017

Year 2016

Year 2016

Year 2015

Year 2015

Year 2014

Year 2014

Committal Prison

Persons

Committals

Persons

Committals

Persons

Committals

Persons

Committals

Castlerea Prison

689

798

1,279

1,471

1,339

1,547

1,467

1,705

Cloverhill Remand Prison

1,800

2309

2,025

2,604

1,953

2,640

2,017

2,629

Cork Prison

835

986

1,787

2,148

2,224

2,788

2,167

2,654

Limerick Prison (Female)

288

325

1,047

1,175

1,270

1,486

1,130

1,315

Limerick Prison (Male)

655

799

1,431

1,770

1,546

1,911

1,382

1,732

Midlands Prison

569

648

1,477

1,756

1,540

1,815

1,197

1,398

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

711

879

1,499

1,762

1,648

1,925

1,555

1,776

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

1,032

1217

1,871

2,218

2,366

2,724

1,941

2,284

Portlaoise Prison

24

25

28

29

29

31

21

24

St. Patrick's Institution

32

36

104

134

169

238

218

317

Wheatfield Prison

8

9

31

32

98

101

313

321

Total

6,643

8,031

12,579

15,099

14,182

17,206

13,408

16,155

Year 2013

Year 2013

Year 2012

Year 2012

Year 2011

Year 2011

Committal Prison

Persons

Committals

Persons

Total

Persons

Committals

Castlerea Prison

1,290

1,462

1,297

1,514

1,339

1,580

Cloverhill Remand Prison

2,077

2,652

2,413

3,123

2,924

3,556

Cork Prison

2,229

2,787

2,185

2,798

2,032

2,600

Limerick Prison (Female)

957

1,152

788

959

606

730

Limerick Prison (Male)

1,380

1,703

1,331

1,681

1,395

1,797

Midlands Prison

878

1,017

975

1,101

876

1,046

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

1,369

1,575

1,363

1,601

1,296

1,508

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

1,395

1,583

1,863

2,158

1,926

2,394

Portlaoise Prison

32

37

23

27

21

22

St. Patrick's Institution

318

442

435

633

551

849

Wheatfield Prison

1,130

1,325

1,187

1,431

986

1,236

Total

13,055

15,735

13,860

17,026

13,952

17,318

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Questions (270, 271, 272)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

270. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda-controlled CCTV systems in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51101/17]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

271. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the initial cost of a Garda-controlled CCTV system; the annual running cost of one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51102/17]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

272. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average full cost of CCTV systems proposed by community groups seeking funding under the community-based scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51103/17]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 270 to 272, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested and when it is to hand I will inform the Deputy accordingly.

Court Judgments

Questions (273)

Mick Barry

Question:

273. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will direct the Chief State Solicitor's Office to make an appropriate payment in view of the conclusion of a High Court case (details supplied). [51114/17]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers.

I note that no actual award was made by the Supreme Court in the case. There was a suggestion that the State make an ex-gratia payment. No final decision has been made on how the matter will be resolved and I am informed that the Garda Síochána and the Chief State Solicitor's Office are still considering how to advance the issues.

Commemorative Events

Questions (274)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

274. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to invite a representative from the main Unionist and Alliance parties in the North to participate in the All Party Consultation Committee on Commemorations (details supplied). [50764/17]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I can advise the Deputy that I intend to write to the leaders of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Alliance Party to invite each of them to nominate a representative to join the All Party Consultation Committee on Commemorations.

Údarás na Gaeltachta Funding

Questions (275)

Niall Collins

Question:

275. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the budget allocations capital and current for Údarás na Gaeltachta in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50943/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The information sought by the Deputy is outlined in the table.

Year

Capital

€m

Current

(Admin)

€m

Current

(Programmes)

€m

Total

€m

2016

9.087*

8.823

3.0

20.910

2017

8.187**

8.958

3.250

20.395

2018

7.000

9.237

3.350

19.587

* An additional capital allocation of €2.4m, arising from savings elsewhere in the Department’s Vote was secured for an tÚdarás in 2016 and is included in the figure provided.

** An additional capital allocation of €1.5m, arising from savings elsewhere in the Department’s Vote has been secured for an tÚdarás to date, in 2017 and is included in the figure provided.

Foras na Gaeilge

Questions (276)

Niall Collins

Question:

276. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the budget allocations, capital and current, to Foras na Gaeilge in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50944/17]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I would like to remind the Deputy that, as an agency of An Foras Teanga, the North/South Language Body, funding is provided to Foras na Gaeilge from my Department (75%) and the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland (25%) in accordance with budgets approved by the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC). My Department also provides further ongoing funding to Foras na Gaeilge in respect of ringfenced activities relating to Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge and Colmcille. Budget allocations to Foras na Gaeilge are in respect of current expenditure only.

My Department provided overall current funding of €12.528m to Foras na Gaeilge in 2016, comprising the Department's share of the NSMC budget, ringfenced funding for Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge and Colmcille in addition to additional unmatched funding for one-off projects outside of the NSMC approved business plan.

In regard to 2017, as the Deputy will appreciate, it has not been possible to date to have Foras na Gaeilge’s business plan and budget formally approved by the NSMC. Therefore, as an interim measure, it was been agreed to proceed with an indicative budget based on the 2016 NSMC approved budget. In that context, I can inform the Deputy that an overall indicative provision of €13.989m was provided within my Department’s Vote for 2017 in respect of both agencies of An Foras Teanga, representing an increase of €0.788m over the Estimates provision in 2016. This increased funding was approved in the context of the significant cutbacks in recent years and to meet current challenges, in particular the one-off costs associated with Foras na Gaeilge's move to a new headquarters in 2017.

Similarly, the position regarding the NSMC 2018 budget for Foras na Gaeilge is not clear at this point in time. However, I can inform the Deputy that an overall indicative provision of €14.028m has been provided within my Department’s Vote for 2018 in respect of both agencies of An Foras Teanga. This increased funding includes a provision for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018.

Irish Language

Questions (277)

Niall Collins

Question:

277. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the budget allocations, capital and current, for the 20-year language strategy in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50945/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish language 2010-2030 is a cross governmental initiative not just limited to the programmes administered by my Department. It encompasses State interventions in many sectors including, but not limited to, education from early years to 3rd level, broadcasting, enterprise development, language technology and specific language legislation such as the Official Languages legislation and the Gaeltacht Act 2012.

Regarding my own Department's interventions, the 2016, 2017 and 2018 current budget allocations to specifically support the progression of the language planning process under the terms of the Gaeltacht Act 2012 as a key element of the Strategy are set out in the table.

2016

2017

2018

Allocation

€ 1m

€1.25m

€ 2.65m

In addition to this specific allocation for language planning, the annual budgetary allocation made to my Department in support of the Irish language is deployed on an ongoing basis in support of the Strategy's key objectives. In that regard, the table below sets out the funding provided (capital and current) in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in respect of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht:

2016

€m

2017

€m

2018

€m

Irish Language, Gaeltacht and Islands

51.206

46.613

48.567

Foras Teanga

13.201

13.989

14.028

Total

64.407

60.602

62.595

Health Services

Questions (278, 304)

John McGuinness

Question:

278. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 317 of 17 October 2017, if the matter regarding an organisation (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50888/17]

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John McGuinness

Question:

304. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 317 of 17 October 2017, if the matter regarding an organisation (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50889/17]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 278 and 304 together.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible in relation to the specific funding issue raised in this case.

General Practitioner Services

Questions (279)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

279. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the number of children who are eligible for general practitioner visit cards. [50983/17]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Medical Card Data

Questions (280)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

280. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the number of children who are eligible for medical cards. [50984/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (281)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

281. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a hip operation will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50737/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Medical Card Drugs Availability

Questions (282, 341)

Tom Neville

Question:

282. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health if Versatis patches have been removed from prescribed medications under the medical card scheme; if so, the reason therefor; the replacement for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50743/17]

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Noel Grealish

Question:

341. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health the reason the prescription patch Versatis, which was previously available under the medical card scheme for all persons prescribed this patch, is now only available under the medical card scheme for those being treated for shingles despite positive and essential results for other persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51167/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 and 341 together.

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key objective of the health service. However, the challenge is to do this in an affordable and sustainable manner. The medicines bill for the community drugs schemes – primarily the GMS, Long Term Illness and Drugs Payment schemes and the High Tech Arrangement – is forecast at just over €1.7 billion in 2017.

To ensure patients receive the highest quality care, resources invested in medicines must be used efficiently and effectively. This requires an integrated approach to secure best value for money for all treatments, greater efficiencies in the supply chain and the use of the most cost-effective treatments.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plaster (Versatis) is licensed for the symptomatic relief of neuropathic pain associated with previous herpes zoster (shingles) infection, known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), in adults. It was reimbursed in the community drugs schemes from 2010. The projected budget impact was low due to the specific licensed indication but total expenditure has increased significantly, from €9.4 million in 2012 to over €30 million in 2016, mainly from off-license use for pain not associated with shingles. Currently, over 25,000 patients receive this item.

An HSE Medicines Management Programme (MMP) review of Versatis highlighted that the clinical evidence for its use in PHN is limited due to lack of comparative data and its value is uncertain for all other types of pain. The National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics estimated that, in Ireland, between 5-10% of prescribing of this product is for the licensed indication of PHN.

Following the MMP review, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement system for Versatis from 1 September 2017. This process supports the appropriate use of Versatis, ensuring that PHN patients continue to receive this treatment. The HSE estimates that this protocol will reduce expenditure on this product by approximately 90%.

Under the protocol, all patients who receive antivirals for shingles are automatically approved for Versatis for three months. No action is required by GPs and the patient’s pharmacy is notified of his or her approval status.

All patients who currently use Versatis have been identified and automatically registered on the HSE-PCRS system for three months and will continue to receive the treatment from their pharmacy until 30 November 2017. However, from 1 December 2017, non-shingles patients will no longer get Versatis under the community drugs schemes. The HSE has produced information leaflets for patients and advised GPs on treatment alternatives.

In exceptional circumstances, the product may be approved for supply through the community schemes for unlicensed indications. GPs apply for reimbursement for unlicensed indications through the online system. The MMP reviews applications before a decision is made and communicated to the GP.

Full details of the Versatis review are available on the HSE website at: http://hse.ie/eng/about/Who/clinical/natclinprog/medicinemanagementprogramme/yourmedicines/lidocaine-plaster/lidocaine-medicated-plaster.html.

This decision is a matter for the HSE. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

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