Commencement of Legislation

Questions (118)

Peter Burke

Question:

118. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when the Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 will be commenced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38118/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 was enacted in April 2019. The purpose of the short two section Act is to amend section 343 of the Companies Act 2014 with respect to the time periods allowed for filing a company’s annual return and associated financial information. The Act amends section 343(2) and 343(3) of the Companies Act 2014 to provide companies with a one-step 56 day period to complete the process of filing an annual return. 

The Companies Registration Office is engaged in an ICT systems upgrade. It is expected that the required ICT support for the change to the legislation will be in place by mid-2020. The commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 will coincide with the go live of the ICT systems upgrade.

Advertising Regulation

Questions (119)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

119. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the position with regard to online influencers as advertisers; if sponsored content falls under the criteria of advertising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38127/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Advertising directed at consumers by traders is regulated by the provisions of Part 3 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 on unfair, misleading and prohibited commercial practices that give effect to Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices. These provisions apply to the activities of online influencers who advertise, endorse or review goods or services in return for payment or other consideration. The following provisions of the 2007 Act are of particular relevance to the activities of online influencers:

- section 55(x) of the Act which prohibits a trader from ‘making a representation or creating an impression that the trader

(i) is not acting for purposes related to the trader’s trade, business or profession, when the trader is so acting, or

(ii) is acting as a consumer when the trader is not;

- section 43(3)(e) and (h) of the Act which provide respectively that matters relating to the ‘existence, extent or nature of any approval or sponsorship (direct or indirect) of the product by others’ and ‘the trader’s motives for the commercial practice’ may be the subject of false, misleading or deceptive information under sections 43(1) or (2) of the Act;

- section 46(2) of the Act which provides that a commercial practice is misleading under the provisions of section 46 on the omission or concealment of material information if the trader fails to identify the commercial intent of a commercial practice and the practice would be likely to cause the average consumer to make a transactional decision that he or she would not otherwise make. 

These provisions are relevant also to sponsored content.  In addition, section 55(q) of the Act provides that the following is a prohibited commercial practice:

using editorial content in the media to promote a product (if a trader has paid for that promotion) if it is not made clear that the promotion is a paid promotion, whether in the content itself or in any oral, written, visual or descriptive representation in the promotion.

In considering the application of the provisions of the 2007 Act to online influencers, it is relevant also to note that the definition of 'trader' at section 2(1) of the Act includes anyone acting on behalf of a trader.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (120, 121)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

120. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of civil servants who have left and or retired from her Department in the past ten years who were bound by a cooling-off period in respect of taking up new employment in the private sector by grade, year and sector the staff moved on to; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38145/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

121. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of civil servants who have left and or retired from her Department in the past ten years who were not bound by a cooling-off period in respect of taking up new employment in the private sector by grade, year, and sector the staff moved on to; the reason for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38161/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 and 121 together.

The Regulation of Lobbying Act provides restrictions and conditions on the taking up of certain employments by certain designated public officials (DPO) for a specified period of time where a possible conflict of interest arises.

In my Department the positions of Secretary General, Assistant Secretary, and grades equivalent to Deputy Secretary and Director are prescribed as designated officials for the purposes of the Act.

Additionally, the cooling-off period applies to Ministers of the Government and Ministers of State and Special Advisors appointed under Section 11 of the Public Services Management Act 1997

Section 22 of the Act provides that designated officials are subject to a one-year cooling off period after leaving the Civil Service, during which they cannot engage in lobbying activities or take up employment with a person who carries on lobbying activities as set out in the Act.  The purpose of this is to manage conflicts of interest between the public and private sectors.

The cooling-off period is a statutory requirement and applies for the full one-year term unless the relevant DPO applies to the Standards Commission for consent to waive or reduce their cooling-off period. 

It is the responsibility of the relevant DPO to seek consent prior to taking up an offer of employment (or to provide services).   Statistics on the number of applications for consent under section 22 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 are included in the annual Regulation of Lobbying report published by the Standards in Public Office Commission.

All Civil Servants in my Department are also required to read and note the contents of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour on appointment.  This provides further guidance on the acceptance of an appointment of employment or particular consultancy project after retirement or resignation, where the nature and terms of such an appointment could lead to a conflict of interest or the perception of such and their obligations on obtaining approval for such an appointment.

Under the Code of Standards and Behaviour, civil servants who intend to engage with or be connected with any outside body that has potential conflicts of interest must declare their intention and apply to the Secretary General before accepting any position.

My Department does not collect information relating to the prospective employment of staff retiring or resigning.

Work Permits Applications

Questions (122)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

122. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if consideration will be given to an application for a work permit in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38216/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that on 29th July 2019, an application for a General Employment Permit was received in respect of the named individual.

On 27 August 2019, this application was refused as the it did not satisfy the qualification criteria. The decision to refuse the application, along with the refusal reasons, issued to both parties in writing.  They were also informed that the applicant had 28 days to request a review of this decision. My officials inform me that to-date, no such review has been requested.

A refusal to grant an employment permit does not preclude an applicant from submitting another application for an employment permit.  Such an application should comply with all of the legislative requirements for the particular employment permit type.

National Children's Hospital Status

Questions (123)

Barry Cowen

Question:

123. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the stage the national children’s hospital higher education elements project is at; when the project will go out for tender; when construction will commence; when the project will be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38084/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The new children’s hospital and satellite centres will provide the setting for educating upcoming generations of paediatricians, paediatric-scientists, nurses and other paediatric healthcare professionals in Ireland. As the major centre for paediatric education and training in the Irish health service, the hospital and satellite centres will bring together existing paediatric education programmes into one academic health sciences network.  

The hospital will have associations with seven universities and will play a vital role in furthering professional education and this is reflected in the provision of dedicated education facilities. Education and training will include undergraduate and postgraduate campus training for medical, nursing and health and social care professional staff, continuous professional development of all clinical staff groups, acquisition and rehearsal of clinical skills, including simulated practice and delivery of educational programmes for students and visiting staff. There is also potential for international and cross-border education in, for example, certain disease areas where Ireland has particular expertise or high incidence, such as cystic fibrosis.

The Final Project Brief for the new children’s hospital includes the full cost of the third level education facilities as part of the Exchequer funding requirement. Education facilities will be located within the new children’s hospital and will be built as part of the core hospital build. The hospital school will be located in a central area within the hospital building with direct horizontal and vertical links to the inpatient units. Higher education space will be integral to the main building and will include lecture theatres, seminar rooms and tutorial rooms.

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy such as timelines etc as this is a operational matter, I have asked the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (124)

Robert Troy

Question:

124. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [37959/19]

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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.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (125)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

125. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) will be rescheduled for surgery without delay. [37970/19]

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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.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

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

Commencement of Legislation

Questions (126)

Willie Penrose

Question:

126. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health when section 14 of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014 will come into force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37978/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Officials from my Department recently completed an examination of the training requirements for sunbed businesses provided for in Section 14 of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014).  Following this examination, it has been decided not to commence Section 14.

It should be noted that HSE compliance investigations highlight whether staff have been properly trained with regard to compliance issues in the legislation.

Commencement of Legislation

Questions (127)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

127. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 that have yet to be commenced; and when they will be commenced in tabular form. [37983/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The information requested is contained in the following table.

Section number and name

Commencement

4 Applicant to provide written notice to Executive 

On the conclusion of current consultation with the Health Service Executive and the Courts Service

10 Repeals

On finalisation of the regulations under section 23 which, along with other provisions of the Act, replicate the measures to be repealed. The relevant regulations have been notified to the EU   Commission for assessment.

11 Minimum Price of alcohol products

On receipt of a revised Government Decision which will allow minimum pricing to be introduced without its simultaneous introduction in Northern Ireland

12 Labelling of alcohol products and notices in licensed premises

Following the finalisation of the necessary regulations under the section. The regulations are currently being developed and must be notified to the EU Commission for assessment.

13 Content of advertisements

Following the finalisation of the necessary regulations under the section. The regulations are currently being developed and must be notified to the EU Commission for assessment.

18 Advertisements in publications

After all advertising sections of the Act have come into operation.

19 Broadcast watershed

On the conclusion of current consultation with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.  

21 Review of operation of section 13 to 20

After all advertising sections of the Act have come into operation.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (128)

Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

128. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Health the number of patients waiting for elective surgery within the Saolta Hospital Group by county; the category of surgery for which they are waiting, that is, orthopaedic, ophthalmic and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37984/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

Budget 2019 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019. The joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published in March and sets out measures to improve access for patients waiting for scheduled care this year. The plan places a strong focus on ten high-volume Inpatient/Day Case procedures.

The NTPF advise that over recent months they have placed a particular focus on engaging with hospital groups and individual hospitals to identify waiting list proposals. The NTPF welcomes proposals from all acute hospitals for initiatives to improve access for patients on waiting lists.

The data requested by the Deputy is outlined in the attached document contained in the link below.

Saolta IPDC

Hospital Staff Data

Questions (129)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

129. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of agency and staff nurses on duty on 13 September 2019 at Children's Health Ireland at Connolly Hospital, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Our Lady's Children's Hospital and Tallaght Hospital, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37985/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Children's Health Ireland to respond to you directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Staff Data

Questions (130)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

130. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the way in which staff and agency nurses are allocated and or assigned by children’s hospital in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37986/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Children's Health Ireland to respond to you directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Complaints Procedures

Questions (131)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

131. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to complaints regarding patient care and or patient conditions at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin to date in 2019; the nature of the issues brought to his attention regarding the hospital and patient care and or conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37987/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Children's Health Ireland to respond to you directly, as soon as possible.

Electronic Cigarettes

Questions (132)

Seán Haughey

Question:

132. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health if he will introduce legislation to ban the advertisement of vaping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37988/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

E-cigarettes are regulated under the European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 (S.I. 271/2016). These Regulations prohibit advertisements for e-cigarettes online and in printed publications except for those directed at persons in the e-cigarette industry or publications printed and published outside the EU and intended for markets outside the EU. In addition, advertisements for e-cigarettes are prohibited on television, on-demand television services and on radio. Finally, any form of contribution to an event, activity or person with the aim of promoting e-cigarettes and with a cross-border effect is also prohibited.

In addition to the EU regulations, my Department is currently developing a draft scheme for a Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill. The Bill will include provisions to prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes by and to persons under the age of 18 and introduce a new licensing system for the retail sale of nicotine-inhaling products such as e-cigarettes. 

Disability Services Funding

Questions (133)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

133. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37989/19]

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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.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Questions (134)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

134. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on a waiting list for CAMHS by CHO, LHO, age category and time waiting. [37998/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Staff

Questions (135)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

135. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of posts in whole-time equivalent terms employed by the HSE in the child and adolescent mental health services in each CHO and LHO. [37999/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospitals Capital Programme

Questions (136)

Barry Cowen

Question:

136. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the national forensic mental health service, Portrane, has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38031/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes the new National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital at Portrane, which is currently under construction and is expected to become operational next year.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (137)

Barry Cowen

Question:

137. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the National Rehabilitation Hospital redevelopment has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38032/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes the redevelopment of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, which is currently under construction and is expected to become operational next year.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (138)

Barry Cowen

Question:

138. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the Cork University Hospital radiation oncology unit has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38033/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes the new radiation oncology development at Cork University Hospital, which is currently being equipped and commissioned and is expected to become operational by the end of this year.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (139)

Barry Cowen

Question:

139. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the Waterford University Hospital ward block has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38034/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes a new ward block development at University Hospital Waterford, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (140)

Barry Cowen

Question:

140. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if phases 2 to 4 of the clinical decision unit (details supplied) at Our Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38035/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes a number of developments at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, which are expected to be completed and become operational by the end of this year.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (141)

Barry Cowen

Question:

141. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the Letterkenny University Hospital rebuild including radiology has been completed; if not, when it is expected to be completed; the estimated cost of the project; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38036/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive recently published its Capital Plan for 2019-2021 outlining 250 projects to be progressed over the three-year period.

The Capital Plan includes a number of projects at Letterkenny University Hospital, which are currently under construction, including the replacement radiology department.

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of public healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Public Private Partnerships

Questions (142)

Barry Cowen

Question:

142. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health if the primary care centres bundle public private project has been completed; the centres within the bundle that have been completed; the centres not completed to date; the cost of the entire bundle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38052/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme has delivered a bundle 14 Primary Care Centres (PCCs) at various locations across the country. All PCCs in the bundle have been completed and are now operational.

This Primary Care Centre project is being delivered as a design, build, finance, and operate model (DBFOM). The PPP Company is responsible for the design and build of the 14 PCCs (now completed) and is responsible for providing services, which include facilities management services, for the 25 year contract period during which the HSE will pay the consortium a total annual unitary charge payment of circa €17m per annum, in monthly instalments. At the end of this 25 year period the centres will be handed over to the HSE who will be responsible directly for the facility management services provided previously by PPP company.

The costs for the construction phase of the project are estimated at €140 million. Up to half the construction cost is funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's strategic infrastructure bank and funds both public and private sector projects that meet the key criteria of delivering a positive social impact. The other two funders are commercial lenders - the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFG (BTMU) and Talanx Asset Management.