Leave to Remain

Questions (104)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

104. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for leave to remain in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48729/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it received a request for permission to reside in this State from the person concerned on 7 August 2018.  INIS sought further information 17 August  from the person's legal representative, however, INIS has no record of a response to that request.  I understand that it remains open to the person to provide the information and the request will be considered further by INIS in light of a response.

The Deputy may be aware that I launched a new scheme on 15 October 2018 which allows certain non-EEA nationals, who came to Ireland to study between January 2005 and December 2010, to apply for permission to remain in the State.

Eligible applicants may apply for a permission to remain in the State, including the right to reside and work in the State, and will be subject to renewal after two years.  The Scheme is open for on-line applications until 20 January 2019.  The person concerned may wish to consult the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie for further information.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders

Questions (105)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

105. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a deportation order in the case of a person (details supplied) will be reconsidered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48730/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 01 October 2018. This Order requires the person concerned to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Orders are a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Administration

Questions (106)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

106. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a travel document will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48731/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a person who has been granted permission to remain in the State, and who does not possess or cannot obtain a national passport, may submit an application for a travel document, which will be examined on its merits. Unlike a refugee, a person with non-protection permission to remain does not have an entitlement to be issued with a travel document, and such a document would be issued solely on a discretionary basis. Applications are examined on a case by case basis.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Questions (107)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

107. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if and when stamp 4 will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48732/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned requested an extension of her permission to reside in this State. I am further informed that INIS wrote to the person concerned on 24 October 2018 and informed her that permission to reside on Stamp 3 conditions was granted for a period of one year.

 Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose.  This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process.  The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Brexit Supports

Questions (108)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

108. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the action she has taken to assist small and medium enterprises withstand the threat of Brexit including the Brexit loan scheme; if further initiatives are planned in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48740/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and its agencies are providing extensive supports to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. These supports aim to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming months.

For 2019, I have allocated an extra €8 million to the enterprise agencies and regulatory bodies under my Department, which work with firms to develop their supports for business. I have also allocated an additional €5 million to the local enterprise offices, LEOs, for 2019 to increase their Brexit supports to businesses in every county.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2019 as a Brexit support measure for Irish businesses.  The Scheme will make up to €300 million funding available to eligible Irish SMEs, including those in primary agriculture, to support them to strategically invest over the long-term.  It will provide low cost loans for terms of between 8-10 years, which is not readily available on the market. 

This will complement the Brexit Working Capital  Loan Scheme which was launched in March this year, making a fund of up to €300 million available in the form of low cost loans of up to 3 years for eligible businesses to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenge. So far, there have been 304 applications to the scheme, with 265 approved by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland. 

Local Enterprise Office funding has been increased by  22%, and this increase is being used to assist micro-enterprises in becoming more competitive and better able to cope with the changing environment in which they are operating. The suite of LEO Brexit supports includes tailored mentoring to address Brexit-related business challenges and targeted training on specific Brexit challenges.

Enterprise Ireland has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online "Brexit SME Scorecard" to help Irish businesses self-assess their exposure to Brexit and a "Be Prepared Grant" to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit.  It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK. 

InterTrade Ireland's Brexit advisory service was established in May 2017 to provide a focal point for SMEs working to navigate the changes in cross-Border trading relationships brought about by Brexit negotiations. To date, the Brexit advisory service has engaged directly with more than 2,350 SMEs in Ireland through the various elements of the service. I have allocated an additional €1 million to InterTrade Ireland for 2019 to increase the impact of its Brexit support for businesses.

As part of awareness-raising activities, EI has rolled out regional Brexit Advisory clinics throughout the year.  My Department and its agencies have also participated in the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready roadshow to inform businesses of supports available to them to prepare for Brexit.

Departmental Data

Questions (109)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

109. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of young persons aged between 15 and 29 years of age classified as not in employment, education, or training; the percentage as a proportion of the number of unemployed; the corresponding EU average rate in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48791/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The number of young persons aged between 15 and 29 years of age that are classified as ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) is measured in the OECD publication ‘Education at a Glance 2018’.  As demonstrated in the following table, 13.1% of young adults in Ireland in the 15-29 year old age bracket can be classified as NEET. The EU22 average for young adults in the same age bracket is slightly higher at 13.4%.

OECD Education at a Glance 2018

Not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Ireland (2017)

13.1%

EU22 average (2017)

13.4%

The Labour Force Survey measures the NEET classification for 15-24 year olds. Under this classification, 10.9% of young people in this age bracket can be classified as NEETs. The European average for this age bracket is also 10.9%. This is detailed in the following table. The Labour Force Survey also measures monthly unemployment for 15-24 year olds. In October 2018, this stood at 12.8%

Labour Force Survey

Not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Ireland (2017)

10.9%

EU average (2017)

10.9%

Brexit Issues

Questions (110)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

110. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the contingencies in place for trading enterprises in the transport and haulage sector in the event of a no deal Brexit; and if she has had discussions with the EU Commission and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding flexibility in relation to state aid thresholds for trading enterprises using port facilities to transport goods to continental Europe or via the UK land bridge in such an event. [48792/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I have been advised by my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, that pending the final outcome of the EU/UK negotiations, it is not possible at this stage to outline what regulatory regime will be in place for Irish licensed road transport operators in the various post-Brexit scenarios.  The Government remains focused on the finalisation of the withdrawal agreement to ensure an orderly UK exit, work is continuing to prepare for all contingencies.  

Officials from my Department are part of a Technical Working Group on State aid which also comprises representatives from DG Competition, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  The objective of the Group is to scope and design schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit in line with State Aid rules.

Should Brexit related  issues arise that require an approach that does not fit within the existing State Aid rules, this will be raised as part of the Technical Working Group discussions.

Work Permits Data

Questions (111)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date in the determination of an application for trusted partner status in the case of a company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48686/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that the above named company was granted Trusted Partner status on 14 November 2018.  A letter issued to the company on this date notifying it of this decision.

Workplace Relations Commission

Questions (112)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

112. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason a reply has not issued from the Workplace Relations Commission to a person (details supplied) in response to a complaint raised regarding their previous employment with an organisation; when a reply will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48779/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Workplace Relations Act 2015, provides that amongst other functions, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has a quasi-judicial power to investigate and adjudicate on complaints at first instance under a wide range of employment rights, equality and industrial relations legislation.

The WRC is independent in the exercise of its quasi-judicial function and this Department has no direct involvement in its day to day operations.  However, I understand that a decision issued in this case on 2 August 2016 and that it was open to either of the parties involved to make an appeal to the Labour Court in writing not later than 42 days from the date of the recommendation. 

I understand the WRC has replied to the complainant’s follow up queries on this case on three occasions in 2018.

Brexit Issues

Questions (113)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

113. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the meetings she has held with accountancy bodies regarding Brexit and its potential impact on audit and accountancy; and the number of such meetings to date. [48794/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Since my appointment as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation I have had two engagements with the accountancy profession which included Brexit in the agenda.

On 17 April 2018 I met with the President of Chartered Accountants Ireland and on 24 October 2018 I gave the opening address to the IAASA Brexit Business Briefing.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (114)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

114. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Health the transport services being provided for both adults and young persons with additional needs that have recently completed their studies and wish to attend a day service; and his plans to improve access for those persons to day services, particularly for those living in rural areas that have great difficulty in accessing and availing of day services due to a lack of transport provided. [48654/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

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

Commencement of Legislation

Questions (115)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

115. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when Part 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 will be commenced. [48665/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018 was enacted on 24 July 2018. This Act was introduced to correct typographical and technical errors in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which will facilitate the subsequent commencement of Parts 2 & 3 of the Act. Parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 contain provisions relating to the regulation of donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedures carried out in the State, including dealing with the rights of children born as a result of those procedures. There are important administrative and operational arrangements to be put in place to facilitate the implementation of Parts 2 & 3, including the establishment of the National Donor-Conceived Person Register and the appointment of authorised persons under the Act. It is my intention that Parts 2 & 3 of the Act will be commenced as soon as possible.

Addiction Treatment Services

Questions (116)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

116. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if funding will be made available for drug addiction services in Drogheda in view of the crisis that has led to worrying events requiring a significant and costly Garda response; if an emergency meeting will be held to assess and plan an urgent outreach response to address the rise in drug addiction in the Drogheda area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48708/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the provision of addiction services I have asked it to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to an outreach response to address the rise in drug addiction in the Drogheda area.

The HSE's National Service Plan 2018 sets out the type and volume of health and social care services to be provided by the Health Service Executive in 2018, having regard to the funding allocated.

Implementing the health-led national drugs strategy continues to be a Government priority.  Within the envelope of resources available in Budget 2019 for health services, my intention is to  prioritise funding for community drug and alcohol projects in Task Force areas of greatest need, additional drug and alcohol midwives working with vulnerable mothers-to-be and enhanced treatment services to address existing and emerging needs.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (117)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

117. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the status of discussions he has had with his colleague in the Department of Health regarding changes to be introduced relating to the fair deal nursing home support scheme; if a date has been agreed; and when this will be introduced. [48830/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions from farm assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department is working on the development of draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation. 

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period. Subject to legal advice, I expect to bring Heads of Bill to Government in the next session before this year end.

The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (118)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

118. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 371 of 23 October 2018, when a reply will issue. [48652/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have been informed by the HSE that a response to Parliamentary Question Order Number 371 (PQ 43242/18) has now been issued to the Deputy.

Ambulance Service Staff

Questions (119)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

119. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health if he will provide information (details supplied) in relation to the position of director of the National Ambulance Service. [48668/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Hospital Accommodation Provision

Questions (120)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

120. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if the HSE will develop a second X-ray room to support the expanded emergency department at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; when the second room will become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48670/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

Health Promotion

Questions (121, 122, 124)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

121. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if the results of the Healthy Ireland Survey 2018, which show that 41% of persons that successfully quit smoking in the past 12 months used e-cigarettes, will inform a revision of the Tobacco Free Ireland strategy aimed at including e-cigarettes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48671/18]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

122. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he is considering the inclusion of e-cigarettes among the alternatives presented to smokers which contact the HSE smoking cessation services, including quit.ie, in view of recently published results of a survey (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48672/18]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

124. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health his plans to commission further comprehensive research on e-cigarettes in view of recently published Healthy Ireland Survey 2018 results (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48674/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121, 122 and 124 together.

The recently published Healthy Ireland 2018 survey found that the prevalence of smoking in Ireland has declined from 22% in 2017 to 20% in 2018 which is to be welcomed.

The Tobacco Free Ireland (2013) policy document contains a number of recommendations to assist smokers in quitting tobacco use. One of those recommendations is to examine the evidence regarding the outcomes of the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy ('NRT') and other approaches.

My Department requested HIQA to undertake a Health Technology Assessment ('HTA') of the clinical and cost effectiveness of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical smoking cessation products and services. The HTA was published in 2017 and found that all the pharmacological interventions were effective compared to no treatment and that a prescription only drug called varenicline was the most effective drug on its own. However, the HTA also found that using a combination of varenicline and NRT was the most effective pharmacological intervention and that people using this combination were over three and a half times more likely to quit than those who were in a control group and did not receive this treatment.

Group behavioural therapy, individual counselling, intensive advice and telephone support were all found to be effective behavioural interventions with group therapy found to be the most effective of these interventions. The addition of a behavioural intervention to a pharmacological intervention improved the effectiveness of the intervention.

The HTA recommended that smoking cessation services should seek to increase the uptake of varenicline, either alone or in combination with NRT, for smokers who want to use a pharmacological support.

In relation to e-cigarettes and vaping, although the HTA found that results for e-cigarettes are promising, there is currently a lack of evidence to recommend their use as a smoking cessation aid and at present no e-cigarette product is licensed as a medicinal product in Ireland. The safety of e-cigarettes is an evolving area of research; while potentially safer than smoking, evidence on its long-term safety has yet to be established. In the absence of additional evidence confirming the effectiveness of e-cigarettes, the HTA recommended that the HSE smoking cessation services should seek to increase the uptake of combination NRT treatment among those for whom varenicline is contraindicated, not tolerated or not preferred.

The results of the HTA are informing the development by the HSE, in conjunction with the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee, of national clinical guidelines.

The Department of Health is aware of, and actively monitoring, publications by authoritative bodies internationally on the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. Analysis of emerging research on all products, and the findings of Healthy Ireland 2018 in relation to e-cigarette usage in Ireland, will continue to inform decisions around any future additional regulation in this area.

Health Promotion

Questions (123)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

123. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if he is considering changing the approach to smoking cessation policies here in view of a review (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48673/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The recently published Healthy Ireland 2018 survey found that the prevalence of smoking in Ireland has declined from 22% in 2017 to 20% in 2018 which is to be welcomed.

The Tobacco Free Ireland (2013) policy document contains a number of recommendations to assist smokers in quitting tobacco use.  One of those recommendations is to examine the evidence regarding the outcomes of the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy ('NRT') and other approaches. 

My Department requested HIQA to undertake a Health Technology Assessment ('HTA') of the clinical and cost effectiveness of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical smoking cessation products and services. The HTA was published in 2017 and found that all the pharmacological interventions were effective compared to no treatment and that a prescription only drug called varenicline was the most effective drug on its own. However, the HTA also found that using a combination of varenicline and NRT was the most effective pharmacological intervention and that people using this combination were over three and a half times more likely to quit than those who were in a control group and did not receive this treatment.

Group behavioural therapy, individual counselling, intensive advice and telephone support were all found to be effective behavioural interventions with group therapy found to be the most effective of these interventions. The addition of a behavioural intervention to a pharmacological intervention improved the effectiveness of the intervention.

The HTA recommended that smoking cessation services should seek to increase the uptake of varenicline, either alone or in combination with NRT, for smokers who want to use a pharmacological support.

In relation to e-cigarettes and vaping, although the HTA found that results for e-cigarettes are promising, there is currently a lack of evidence to recommend their use as a smoking cessation aid and at present no e-cigarette product is licensed as a medicinal product in Ireland. The safety of e-cigarettes is an evolving area of research; while potentially safer than smoking, evidence on its long-term safety has yet to be established. In the absence of additional evidence confirming the effectiveness of e-cigarettes, the HTA recommended that the HSE smoking cessation services should seek to increase the uptake of combination NRT treatment among those for whom varenicline is contraindicated, not tolerated or not preferred. 

The results of the HTA are informing the development by the HSE, in conjunction with the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee, of national clinical guidelines.