Road Traffic Offences Data

Questions (287)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

287. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 293 of 17 September 2019, if the report is now to hand in view of the fact An Garda Síochána has confirmed it was answered on 14 October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51709/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to the Parliamentary Question No. 293 of 17 September 2019 and the information requested by the Deputy therein in relation to drivers arrested for driving while disqualified. The information was not available for answer on that date but I can now advise as follows.

Section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act 2014 amends the Road Traffic Act 1961 in a number of respects.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they do not compile statistics in such a way as to identify specific number of arrests which occur using the powers provided under section 6(b) and (c) of the 2014 Act. I am advised that to collate this information would necessitate a manual trawl of all relevant incidents recorded on PULSE, and such an undertaking would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources.

However I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the following table shows the number of proceedings taken in relation to persons driving without a driving licence from 2011- 2019 (as of September 2019).

Driving without a Driving Licence

2011

28,406

2012

25,116

2013

21,609

2014

20,811

2015

20,071

2016

21,749

2017

23,086

2018

21,928

2019 (to September)

12,142

It should be noted that An Garda Síochána have confirmed that all figures provided are provisional, operational and subject to change.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Questions (288)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

288. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Courts Service will provide direct data on disqualified drivers in court to the national vehicle drivers file electronically in view of the fact that the new handheld devices have been rolled out to An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51710/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Road Traffic Acts fall within the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD.

I am informed by the Courts Service that a project is underway to provide for electronic transfer of disqualification orders to the relevant agency once the time period to lodge an appeal has passed, and no appeal has been lodged. I am further informed that this project is being progressed under the oversight of the Circuit and District Courts Operations Directorate. I understand that the first phase of the project will commence testing early in the new year and will be rolled-out more generally when the testing is complete.

I am further informed that the second phase of the project will focus on the transfer of disqualification orders after appeal. I am informed that it is expected that phase 2 design work will commence during Q1 2020.

I understand that this project is being pursued by the Courts Service independently of the work ongoing in An Garda Síochána to progress the mobility project.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels over recent years, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, which will increase to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.

'A Policing Service for the Future', the implementation plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, includes a specific action for An Garda Síochána to acquire and commence the deployment of mobile devices for frontline policing, which will provide for a more timely, consistent and targeted approach to roadside enforcement. Implementation of this project is ongoing.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision

Questions (289)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

289. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the criteria for installation and the process to follow for community groups that are anxious regarding anti-social behaviour black spots in their locality to apply for community safety CCTV cameras in a certain area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51739/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Community-based CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006. This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006. The option to establish a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. To date, 22 applications have been approved under the scheme, involving approved grants totalling more than €560,000. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.

As the Deputy may be aware, earlier this year I expanded the grant aid scheme to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants can now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

I am also pleased to announce that I have recently approved extension of the CCTV grant aid scheme for a further year in 2020.

I must emphasise that grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements for CCTV, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address fundsadmin-comm-based-cctv@justice.ie

Missing Children

Questions (290)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

290. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children reported missing in each of the past three years to date in 2019; the number found; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51835/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy. I will write to the Deputy directly once I receive it.

Human Trafficking

Questions (291)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

291. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of incidents of suspected child trafficking brought to the attention of his Department in each of the past three year to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51842/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The identification and protection of victims of human trafficking, and especially child victims of trafficking, is a key priority of my Department's anti-trafficking strategy and of efforts by An Garda Síochána to combat trafficking and crimes against children.

In response to the Deputy's question on the number of incidences of suspected child trafficking brought to the attention of my Department, I can say as follows:

- In 2019 (as of 31 October), I am informed by the Garda authorities that there were six human trafficking incidents where the victim was identified as a child.

- In 2018, I am informed by the Garda authorities that there were five suspected human trafficking incidents where the victim was identified as a child (these victims were identified in five separate incidents).

- In 2017, I am informed by the Garda authorities that there were four suspected human trafficking victims. I am unable to confirm the number of incidents involved in relation to these victims.

The Deputy may also wish to note that it is important to distinguish between human trafficking involving children, and offences under section 3(2) of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 (as amended by the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008), which criminalises the sexual exploitation of a child. Historically, the overwhelming majority of child victims of offences under trafficking legislation included in Irish statistics are Irish child victims of sexual exploitation, usually carried out for personal gratification rather than commercial gain, and often by someone known to the child. Since 2017 these crimes have been excluded from Ireland's reporting on human trafficking, since they fall outside the internationally agreed definition of trafficking. These crimes continue to be a priority for investigation and prosecution.

While there have been cases of commercial sexual exploitation involving children, both EEA and non-EEA nationals, these cases are rare. As with all crimes, members of An Garda Síochána are vigilant in their efforts to combat the crime of human trafficking and especially the trafficking of children.

The Deputy may wish to note that An Garda Síochána has committed significant resources to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking in Ireland. A specialised Garda Unit, the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit, has been has been in place since 2009 to conduct investigations into human trafficking and provide advice, support and where necessary, operational assistance to investigations at district level. An Garda Síochána is also active in relation to trafficking gangs through work targeting organised crime - targeting their finances, their use of the internet and by working closely with other jurisdictions.

The Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking was launched in 2016. The Action Plan involves a victim-centred and human rights based approach with the ultimate aims of preventing human trafficking, ensuring an effective criminal justice response and delivery of supports to victims.

The Deputy may also wish to note that action is also being taken to raise public awareness in Ireland and help members of the public identify the signs of human trafficking. More information is available on the “Blue Blindfold” website http://www.blueblindfold.gov.ie, which is maintained by my Department.

Work Permits Eligibility

Questions (292)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

292. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to place barbers and hairdressers on the list of eligible staff for work permits; if she has carried out an audit of the number of persons here with the necessary skills and the demand in the industry; and her plans with regard to training in the sector. [51178/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the State and other EEA states. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.

The system is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills Occupations List and the Ineligible Occupations List for the purposes of granting an employment permit. The Lists are subject to twice-yearly review which is predicated on a formalised and evidence-based process and involves consideration of the research undertaken by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas), the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Council, and input by relevant Government Departments in addition to the public consultation phase. Submissions to the review process are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by my Department

Barbers and hairdressers are currently on the Ineligible Occupations List and in order to have an occupation removed from the ineligible list, there needs to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages across the EEA and not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions.

The sector itself needs to detail the strategies that are in place for training/upskilling/career development within the industry and to demonstrate that it is engaging systematically with the employment services of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Organisations in the sector need to provide the necessary evidence to substantiate their claims.

A review of the occupational lists is almost finalised. Submissions received, including those for the role of barber and hairdresser are currently under consideration. I expect to receive recommendations, based on available evidence, in relation to possible changes to the lists before the end of the year.

Training and Education in the industry is a matter for the sector and the Minister for Education and Skills.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Questions (293)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

293. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the efforts she is making to improve the management skills within Irish SMEs with reference to Enterprise Ireland and other State-led mechanisms. [51374/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Possessing strong management skills, and putting them into practice, is key to the success of any firm. Management skills have been linked to improving productivity, firm growth and firm survival. A recent OECD report identifies management skills as one of the key ways to improve SME productivity in Ireland. Data from the World Management Survey – based on a study conducted in 2009 – show Irish managerial skills are weak when compared with other countries surveyed. Future Jobs Ireland 2019 makes 'Improving SME Productivity' one of its five key pillars and identifies the Ambition to 'Improve leadership and management skills in SMEs'.

A new study is now underway, on which details are provided below, to assess SME management skills in 2019. The State already provides a wide range of supports for SME managers who wish to up-skill, and a number of these are also set out below. The question is not simply one of providing supports; SMEs must also identify management training as a priority and take up the supports that are available. There must be a demand for management training as well as a supply of relevant courses. This supply can be met by the private sector, the university sector, or by public bodies such as Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs as well as by initiatives such as Skillnet Ireland.

My Department is now undertaking a study of management skills and practices in Ireland with a view to: (a) understanding how Irish SME managers stand when compared both internationally and to 2009, (b) identifying what the obstacles to improving the current situation may be, (c) assessing the demand for management training from SMEs and their managers and owners, and (d) detailing the supply of relevant training courses available.

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs initiated the study, which is being supported by the European Commission under its Structural Reform Support Programme. TU Dublin are carrying out the work, which is due to be completed in Q2 2020. The research aims to understand how SME management practices now stand, in comparison to ten years ago – when a similar, but much larger, study was conducted by the Management Development Council – and internationally, as well as to identify any obstacles to improvement; both supply and demand issues will be covered. The project will make recommendations on how matters may be improved, where necessary, and will have a clear focus on how these recommendations should be implemented.

A number of the available State supports for managers wishing to up-skill are detailed below:

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland supports companies in urban and rural areas to start, innovate and remain competitive in international markets, now and into the future. Enterprise Ireland helps to address the capability needs of client companies through a suite of tailored leadership and management development programmes.

Enterprise Ireland’s offers include strategic programmes that create transformational business change to flexible short programmes addressing short term business issues. These programmes are aligned to the six pillars of business growth: Strategy, People and Management, Sales and Marketing, Finance, Innovation and Operations and are further supported by customised advisory, financial and online supports.

Enterprise Ireland has a range of programmes designed to equip CEOs and senior management with the strategic tools to transform their businesses which are outlined below:

Leadership 4 Growth

Enterprise Ireland’s flagship programme, Leadership 4 Growth helps CEOs develop their own personal leadership, strategic capability, ambition and confidence. Delivered by world-class experts from IESE Business School, Barcelona, CEOs are given the tools to transform their business globally via a strategic growth plan while receiving ongoing support from a strategic business advisor.

Innovation 4 Growth

Innovation 4 Growth helps CEOs and their senior teams embed innovative thinking that stimulates business growth via new or improved business models, products, services or processes. Delivered in partnership with the Irish Management Institute and MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston, the programme also offers access to business advisors who support participants at every step.

Go Global 4 Growth

Delivered in partnership with Dublin City University, Go Global 4 Growth, a strategy implementation programme, facilitates the creation of international growth action plans by CEOs and their senior teams. Within the programme, expert business advisors mentor participating CEOs and their teams.

International Selling Programme

Aimed at CEOs and their Sales Directors, the International Selling Programme helps Irish businesses develop practical skills to optimise export sales strategies, skills and processes. Accredited by Technological University Dublin, participants create and implement an International Sales Growth Plan with the help of business advisors to transform their sales performance.

HPSU Founders Forum

Delivered in partnership with Select Strategies, the HPSU Founders Forum is a peer network of CEO founders who challenge and support each other to scale globally. Founders meet regularly in facilitated groups to share invaluable insights and tackle their toughest problems using startup best practices. The Forum also provides access to topic based clinics on Product-Market Fit, Building International Sales, Leadership & Team and Funding and Finance.

IPOready Programme

Delivered in partnership with Euronext, operators of Dublin’s stock exchange, this programme is designed for Irish companies aiming to raise strategic finance and obtain a stock market listing within five years. Senior teams learn how to engage effectively with investors, understand strategic finance options and the fund raising process and are also mentored by corporate finance experts.

Enter the Eurozone

Delivered by the European School of Management and Technology ESMT GmbH, Enter the Eurozone programme helps Irish businesses not currently exporting into the Eurozone to develop a market entry plan. CEOs and one senior colleague address their chosen market’s critical challenges and target a first significant Eurozone contract to win.

New Frontiers

A national entrepreneurial development programme delivered by Institutes of Technology nationwide, New Frontiers offers startup businesses training and mentoring through a comprehensive set of development supports. Participants also receive office space and a €15,000 tax-free participation scholarship.

In addition, Enterprise Ireland also provides a range of short programmes offering business leaders easy-to-implement ideas to address specific issues and challenges they face as they expand their business. These programmes include:

- High Potential Start-Up SPRINT Programme

- Excel @ Market Intelligence

- Spotlight on Skills

- Attracting & Retaining Talent

- Agile Business Planning

- Investor-Ready

- Innovation Short Programmes

- Excel @ Customer Value Proposition

- Excel @ Sales Pipeline Management

IDA Ireland

IDA Ireland’s Training Grant Scheme is primarily focused on assisting companies already located in Ireland to facilitate a significant upgrading of the skills base in the context of improving the company’s long-term competitiveness and transformation by:

- Raising value added.

- Allowing the operation to produce more sophisticated products or services.

- Facilitating the setting up of new ‘higher order’ functions.

- Putting in place major new management processes e.g. Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma.

- Helping to alleviate skills deficits that might threaten the development of an operation, by supporting strategic up-skilling.

In addition to training grants, IDA Ireland’s Product Development and Transformation Department has developed a number of Leadership and Management Development products aimed at working with all IDA Ireland client companies including SMEs. The programmes are aimed at supporting senior leadership teams in Ireland’s foreign multinationals to become more strategic in terms of their influence and impact, leveraging the strengths of their Irish divisions with a show of capabilities and efficiencies that cannot be easily replicated elsewhere

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs)

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), located in the Local Authorities nationwide are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for anyone intending to start or grow a business. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

For Start-ups or expanding businesses, the LEOs may be able to offer ‘soft’ support in the form of training or provide a mentor to work with the business proposer including courses such as:

- The Accelerate Management Development programme provides the owner/manager with the management, leadership, business skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability and growth in their business. This integrated learning and mentor programme is designed to make an impact on the owner manager and their business.

- The Management Development Training Programme has been developed to uniquely facilitate the Business Owner Managers to firstly recognise the factual situation and then build their management capacity to address these issues. Most of these critical issues can be solved if “able managers” address them in time.

- LEAN for Micro is a targeted programme for Local Enterprise Office clients to help small businesses boost competitiveness, increase performance and profitability as well as building resilience within their companies.

Skillnet Ireland

In 2020 Skillnet Ireland are introducing a new SME upskilling scheme targeting 1,200 owners / managers to assist in responding to the productivity gap in the indigenous SME sector. This scheme aims to reach SMEs that are currently not serviced by the Skillnet Ireland training networks model, and that are not engaging in upskilling/ management development to any significant degree.

Corporate Governance

Questions (294)

Robert Troy

Question:

294. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date in tabular form regarding each of the action points made in the report Measures To Enhance Ireland’s Corporate, Economic And Regulatory Framework, published in November 2017, for which her Department had lead responsibility for implementation; if each such action point has been completed, not completed or is ongoing, respectively; and the revised deadlines for action points not delivered by original timelines committed. [51395/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The “Measures to Enhance Ireland’s Corporate, Economic and Regulatory Framework”, was published in November 2017. It laid out a comprehensive set of actions to ensure that the legal and regulatory environment in Ireland in the area of corporate, economic and regulatory crime is subject to regular scrutiny and review so that it is strengthened appropriately to meet emerging risks and challenges.

The attached table details the status of the four key action points for which my Department has lead responsibility for implementation.

Table: ORGANISATIONAL & PROCEDURAL REFORMS

Action 1: Establish a new independent Agency that it is better equipped to investigate increasingly complex breaches of company law

Action point

Status

1.1

Develop legislative framework following appropriate consultation with stakeholders

Priority drafting approved by Government 4 December 2018

1.2

Publish the General Scheme of Bill

Published 4 December 2018.

1.3

Pre-legislative scrutiny

Pre-legislative scrutiny is on-going

1.4

Publish Bill

Awaiting outcome of pre-legislative scrutiny

1.5

Enact Bill

Awaiting outcome of pre-legislative scrutiny

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Action 2: Examine the Company Law Review Group Report on Corporate Governance and bring forward proposals, including for legislative change, as appropriate

Action point

Status

2.1

CLRG to publish its Report on Corporate Governance

Published November 2018

2.2

DBEI to consider the CLRG Report and publish General Scheme of Bill as appropriate

On-going. A number of the CLRG’s recommendations are reflected in the Heads in Part 4 of the General Scheme of the Companies Corporate Enforcement Authority Bill 2018.

Action 3: Transpose the Shareholders Rights Directive

3.1

Initiate Public Consultation seeking views from

stakeholders to inform transposition of the Directive

Completed

3.2

Transpose Directive

Draft Regulations were sent to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel on 28 November 2018 for finalisation and settlement. Work is ongoing with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to finalise the Regulations to transpose the Directive and it is expected that this work will be concluded shortly.

Action 4: Enact the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill 2017

4.1

Publish the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill 2017

Completed

4.2

Enact Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill 2017

Completed

Personal Injuries Commission

Questions (295)

Robert Troy

Question:

295. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date for implementation of each of the 14 recommendations made by the Personal Injuries Commission that fall under her remit regarding personal injury awards; if each such recommendation has been completed, not completed or is ongoing, respectively; and the revised deadlines for recommendations to be fully completed in tabular form. [51401/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) under the remit of my Department was a recommendation from the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance approved by Government and published in January 2017. The first Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) Report was published in December 2017 and contained four recommendations, that report sets out suggested timelines for implementation of each of the four recommendations. The Second and Final Report made a further 10 recommendations. While they are not timebound, I would expect that they should be implemented as soon as possible by the relevant bodies.

Progress on implementation is monitored through the Cost of Insurance Working Group Quarterly Progress Reports published by my colleague Minister of State Michael D’Arcy. The following tables set out the status of recommendations from both PIC reports:

Recommendations of the first Personal Injuries Commission Report

Numbers

Recommendation

Status

Comments

1.1

Adoption of a standardised approach to examination of, and reporting on, soft tissue injuries. Suggested timeline for implementation: Mid 2018

Ongoing

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) has rolled a standardised template out to its independent medical panel. It is understood Insurance Ireland has distributed the medical reporting template to its members.

1.2

Promotion of ‘best practice’ standardised training at CPD level for medical professionals completing personal injury medical reports. Suggested timeline for implementation: End 2018

Ongoing

PIAB have engaged with relevant providers on this. It is understood that the relevant training has commenced in the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) will continue to assess requirements with respect to the provision of any further relevant training for members.

1.3

Link future publications of the book of quantum to the newly standardised examination and reporting injury categories of the QTF WAD scale. Suggested timeline for implementation: 2019

Superseded by Judicial Council Act

This has been superseded by the PIC’s Second Report which recommends that a Judicial Council, when established, be requested by the Minister for Justice and Equality to compile judicial guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury.

1.4

Relevant injury data should be collated and published by appropriate bodies. Suggested timeline for implementation: End 2018

Partially completed

On 5 November 2018, PIAB published data on whiplash-related injury compensation awards resulting from road traffic accidents, in line with this recommendation.

Recommendations of the Second Personal Injuries Commission Report

2.1

The Judicial Council should, when established, be requested by the Minister for Justice and Equality to compile guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury.

Ongoing

The Judicial Council Act 2019 was signed into law on 23 July 2019. It is understood work is ongoing by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Office of Parliamentary Council with regard to commencing the remaining sections of the Act before year end.

2.2

The PIC recommends that the Judicial Council Bill 2017, establishing the Judicial Council, be progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas as a matter of urgency.

Completed

The Judicial Council Act 2019 was signed into law on 23 July 2019.

2.3

Law Reform Commission to be requested to undertake a detailed analysis of the possibility of developing constitutionally sound legislation to delimit or cap damages.

Completed

The Fifth Programme of Law Reform was approved by Government in March and subsequently published on 5 June 2019. The Programme includes the project to consider whether it would be constitutionally permissible and, if so, whether it would be desirable to legislate for statutory caps on general damages (damages for pain and suffering) in personal injury cases. It is understood that the LRC has already commenced work on this and that it is a priority for it. This recommendation is considered as having been completed. However, the CIWG will continue to monitor and report on any significant developments.

2.4

The PIC recommends the development and roll out, in all relevant locations, of best practice ‘standard treatment plans’ that focus on recovery, alongside awareness and promotion of best treatment practices.

Ongoing

The HSE’s Emergency Medicine Programme (EMP) advised that the model outlined in the PIC’s case study, whereby patients are referred early to a physiotherapist when treating soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, is both recommended and common practice in Emergency Departments (EDs) in Ireland. The EMP advised that it strongly endorses the implementation of the appropriate level of physiotherapy support in all EDs and Injury Units and agreed to survey the availability of these resources nationally.

2.5

In cases where an insurer deals directly with a claimant, no offer of settlement or payment of a personal injury claim to be made unless and until a detailed medical report has been obtained.

Completed

Insurance Ireland has advised that it is standard practice for insurers to base personal injury claims settlements on medical reports.

2.6

Requires claimants to give prompt notification of any potential injury so that a proper investigation may be undertaken.

Completed

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 (No. 3 of 2019) was commenced with effect from 3 April 2019. The purpose of the Act is to strengthen PIAB in terms of operational issues – such as non-attendance at medicals and failure to provide details of special damages or loss of earnings – to ensure greater compliance with the PIAB process and encourage more claims to be settled through the PIAB model.

2.7

The PIC recommends the establishment of an Irish Garda Fraud Investigation Bureau along the lines of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in the UK, without further delay.

Completed

The Garda Commissioner has decided that there should instead be a stronger focus by An Garda Síochána at Divisional level on insurance fraud. This approach, which is aligned with the divisional-focused Garda model will be aimed at tackling such fraud on the ground all over the country. It is the intention of the Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) will guide Divisions and provide training in support of their investigation of insurance fraud.

2.8

The PIC recommends that insurers step up their anti-fraud capacity through the recruitment of suitably trained personnel and the development of various technological means of combating fraud. Wherever possible, insurers should provide timely information in relation to suspected fraud to An Garda Síochána so that such cases can be investigated by An Garda Síochána and where appropriate be the subject of criminal prosecutions.

Ongoing

Government has published Guidelines for the Reporting of Allegations of Fraudulent Insurance Claims to An Garda Síochána. These Guidelines make it clear what insurance companies should do in the event that they suspect fraud in a personal injuries claim.

2.9

Insurers and other relevant parties to adopt the same internationally-recognised injury coding system (the world health organisation’s ICD-10 system).

Ongoing

Insurance Ireland has advised that the adoption of an internationally recognised injury coding system will be considered by insurers on an individual basis, subject to their internal business requirements and IT integration plans. The Central Bank are progressing this recommendation.

2.10

Insurance industry to establish a national medical research study on the prevention and management of soft tissue injuries.

Ongoing

Insurance Ireland has spoken to a number of parties in relation to conducting a national medical research study on behalf of industry on the prevention and management of soft tissue/whiplash injuries.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Questions (296)

Niall Collins

Question:

296. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the advertising campaigns, promotional events and launches planned by her Department for the first six months of 2020; the budgeted costs of these campaigns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51403/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of advertising campaigns, promotional events and launches planned by my Department for the first six months of 2020 are set out in the attached table. It is not possible at this stage to estimate the costs for certain campaigns as they are in the early stages of planning.

In line with this Government’s ongoing outreach programme of engagement with stakeholders on contingency measures in preparation for Brexit, the Department, its Offices and Agencies will continue in 2020 to participate in active engagement with our stakeholders. The timing, nature and content of any initiatives in this regard in the first six months of 2020 will be determined by the status of negotiations between the UK and the EU on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

2020 (January – end June)

Date (approx.)

Advertising Campaign/Event/Launch

Approximate Cost

6th - 13th January

LinkedIn Campaign to promote the supportingSMES.gov.ie website

€450

End January

Soft publication (online) of the Regional Enterprise Plans Year 1 Progress reports. No formal launch event planned at this time.

No assessment of costings yet.

End January (tbc)

Announcement of successful projects under Regional Enterprise Development Fund Call 3

Enterprise Ireland will manage and fund this event

8th - 11th January

Intellectual Property Office of Ireland at BT Young Scientist & Technology Expo, RDS 2020

€3,500

28th January

Intellectual Property Office of Ireland at Transition Year Show, Thomond Park

€500

February

Launch of Future Jobs Ireland 2020

No assessment of costings yet.

February

Launch of National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy

No assessment of costings yet.

12th February (tbc)

Launch of promotional campaign to highlight benefits of Free Trade Agreements for business, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

€8,500

25th March

Taking Care of Business Event, Dublin Castle. This event is targeted at people running a business or thinking of starting a business. It aims to provide information on regulations affecting business, to give access to experts from relevant public bodies and to provide information on advice and supports available from the public sector. Approximately 30 public and private sector organisations will be in attendance.

While staff of my Department will be involved in the organisation and management of this event, the budget is managed by the Health and Safety Authority

Q1 2020

Information campaign for the opening of Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Mid-West Office

€5,000

Q2 2020

Equal Status Information Campaign (WRC)

€5,000

End June (tbc)

Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) - CEO/Leaders Event and Launch of Progress Report on CSR National Plan

No assessment of costings yet.

Total estimated cost

22,950

Data Sharing Arrangements

Questions (297)

Jack Chambers

Question:

297. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the data sharing agreements her Department has in place with organisations that are not other Departments or State agencies; the purpose of these data sharing agreements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51420/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

On the basis of the clarifications that have been provided by the Deputy’s Office to my Department’s officials, I wish to confirm that my Department does not currently use cloud based commercial services for storing personal data in relation to members of the public.

In general, Government Departments, as Data Controllers, are required to have binding contracts in place with service providers who process personal data on their behalf. The content of these contracts are set out in Article 28 of the General Data Protection Regulation. My Department has a number of these contracts in place in with service providers in areas such as ICT support, market research and research consultancy. All new contracts with such data processors include provisions for data processing. Some older contracts are currently being updated to include these provisions.

Freedom of Information Data

Questions (298)

Jack Chambers

Question:

298. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of freedom of information requests in which her Department made a decision to deny; and the number in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [51454/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of the number of Freedom of Information requests in which the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and it’s offices, made a decision to fully deny and the number of requests in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 are outlined in the tables below.

Total FOI requests fully denied in 2016

Total FOI requests in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Department in 2016

29

0

Total FOI requests fully denied in 2017

Total FOI requests in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Department in 2017

44

0

Total FOI requests fully denied in 2018

Total FOI requests in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Department in 2018

30

0

Total FOI requests fully denied in 2019

Total FOI requests in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Department in 2019

33

0

Departmental Agencies Data

Questions (299)

James Browne

Question:

299. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the agencies or organisations under the remit of her Department; the number that have boards; the number of positions on each board; the number of vacant positions; and the agencies or organisations that have boards whose members have an obligation to appear before committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas. [51488/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Agencies and Organisations under the remit of my Department are listed below with the information requested by the Deputy in each case.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission does not have a Board.

Health and Safety Authority

The Health and Safety Authority operates with a 12 member Board. There are no vacant positions on the Board.

There is no obligation under the governing legislation of the Health and Safety Authority (the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005) on Board members to appear before Oireachtas Committees.

However, under the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by the Minister for appointment as Chairperson of the Board are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board in question.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland’s Board consists of 12 members. There are no board vacancies at present.

There is no obligation on Enterprise Ireland Board members to appear before Oireachtas Committees.

However, under the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by the Minister for appointment as Chairperson of the Board are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board.

IDA Ireland

IDA Ireland’s Board consists of 12 members. There is currently one vacancy.

There is no obligation on IDA Board members to appear before Oireachtas Committees.

However, under the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by the Minister for appointment as Chairperson of the Board are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board.

InterTradeIreland

The InterTradeIreland (ITI) Board consists of 12 members. There are currently four vacancies on the Board. InterTradeIreland (ITI) Board Appointments are approved by the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC). However, the NSMC has been unable to meet since the Northern Ireland Executive ceased to function in January 2017, and so it has not been possible to appoint new members to the Board at this time.

The Board reports directly to the NSMC, and under its defining legislation (the British–Irish Agreement Act, 1999) there is no obligation on Board members to appear before Oireachtas Committees.

The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) Board is made up of not more than nine directors, eight of whom are appointed by the Minister. There are currently no vacancies on the Board of IAASA.

Section 929 of the Companies Act 2014 sets out provisions in respect of accountability of IAASA to Dáil Éireann, which states that whenever required to do so by the Committee of Dáil Éireann, established under the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann to examine and report to Dáil Éireann on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Chief Executive Officer and the Chairperson of the board of the Supervisory Authority shall give evidence to that Committee in respect of a number of issues as set out in the Act.

National Standards Authority of Ireland

The Board of the National Standards Authority of Ireland, established under the National Standards Authority of Ireland Act 1996, is comprised of 13 members. Currently there is one vacant position on the NSAI Board.

There is no obligation under the NSAI Act 1996 for NSAI Board members to appear before Oireachtas Committees.

However, under the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by the Minister for appointment as Chairperson of the Board are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board.

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board, established under the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003, provides that the members including the Chairperson and the Chief Executive will not exceed 11 persons. Including the Chairperson, there are currently 10 persons appointed to the Board.

Following an open recruitment process undertaken by the Public Appointments Service a new Chief Executive Officer of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has been appointed and is due to take up the role in March 2020.

Section 65 of 2003 Act provides for the accountability of the Chief Executive to the Committee of Public Accounts. Section 66 of the Act provides for the accountability of the Chief Executive to other Oireachtas Committees to attend and give account for the general administration of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

Additionally, under the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards, persons being proposed by the Minister for appointment as Chairperson of the Board are required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board.

Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland’s board consists of 12 members. There is currently one vacancy which is in the process of being filled.

The Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2003 sets out that the Director General shall, whenever required to do so by the Committee of Dáil Éireann, established under the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann to examine and report to Dáil Éireann on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, give evidence to the Committee in respect of a number of issues as set out in the Act.

From time to time, and whenever so requested, the Director General shall also account for the performance by the Foundation of its functions to a Committee of one or both Houses of the Oireachtas and the Foundation shall have regard to any recommendations of such committee where the recommendations concern the functions of the Foundation.

Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established under the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and is an office under the aegis of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Section 22 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 provides that the WRC shall have a Board consisting of a Chairperson and eight ordinary members.

There is currently one vacancy for an ordinary member on the WRC board. Recruitment of a replacement to fill this vacancy is underway through a competition being conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

The WRC Board does not have an obligation to appear before committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas. However, the Director General of the WRC is required to attend before the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas, other than the Dáil Committee on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee on Members Interests of Dáil Éireann or Seanad Eireann.

Other Organisations under the Aegis of the Department

Microfinance Ireland (MFI), is a not-for-profit lender, established to deliver the Microenterprise Loan Fund. It has a Board of ten people and there are currently no vacant positions. There is no obligation on MFI members to appear before Oireachtas Committees. Both the Trade Mark Agent Registration Board and the Patents Agent Registration Board have five members each and no vacancies. Neither have an obligation to appear before committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (300)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

300. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the budget and number of staff working in her Department in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51559/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Deputy will find set out in the table below, the total gross budget allocation for my Department (as set out in the Revised Estimates Volume) for each of the years 2014 to 2019 and the numbers of staff working in my Department at the end of each of the years in question.

YEAR

TOTAL BUDGET*

€,000

Full Time Equivalent Staff**

TOTAL Staff**

Stats

2014

781,022

798.0719

854

Staff Stats as of last week in December for each year

2015

790,186

795.6719

848

Staff Stats as of last week in December for each year

2016

800,473

808.472

856

Staff Stats as of last week in December for each year

2017

858,424

826.8335

872

Staff Stats as of last week in December for each year

2018

870,960

861.1213

905

Staff Stats as of last week in December for each year

2019

950,237

876.5531

923

Staff Stats as of Week ending 22nd November

*Capital and Current Total Revised Estimates Volume allocation

**Figures includes Secretary General and Ministerial Staff, Staff of the Department and its Offices and do not include Staff of its Agencies.

It will be seen that the overall budget ceiling for my Department has increased by 22% between 2014 and 2019 while the total number of staff has increased by 8% (or 9.8% FTEs). The increase reflects the additional demands being placed on my Department and its offices, not least from the challenges arising from Brexit.

Employment Rights

Questions (301, 304)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

301. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to increase the monitoring of the atypical workers scheme as it relates to the fishing industry to ensure that the terms of a settlement agreement reached after High Court proceedings earlier in 2019 will be adhered to; if her attention has been drawn to the high volume of migrant workers in the fishing industry working more than 60 hours per week resulting in an hourly rate of pay as low as €2.82 per hour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51591/19]

View answer

Declan Breathnach

Question:

304. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to provide the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court with jurisdiction to hear complaints by workers on sea-fishing vessels of violations of the European Communities (Workers on Board Sea-going Fishing Vessels) (Organisation of Working Time) Regulations 2003 and to make awards in respect of such violations; if not, the reason complaints by such workers are excluded from the jurisdiction of the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51724/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 301 and 304 together.

Lead policy responsibility for the fishing sector resides with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine who also provide the administrative support for the Atypical Worker Permission Scheme's Oversight Committee. The Atypical Worker Permission Scheme is administered by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Irish National Immigration Service. Several Departments and State agencies are involved in the monitoring and enforcement of the atypical worker scheme. These include An Garda Síochána, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Marine Survey Office (MSO) of the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport (DTTAS), the Naval Service, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Revenue Commissioners, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

My Department has operational responsibility for the WRC which oversees the enforcement of employment legislation, including the national minimum wage legislation and the Organisation of Working Time Act.

The WRC already has an extensive inspection regime in place for the sector. From April 2016 to the end of June 2019, 390 port inspections of the 186 whitefish vessels that have participated in this Scheme since 2016 were undertaken by WRC inspectors.

Some 260 contraventions have been detected by WRC Inspectors in the period April 2016 to end June 2019:

- 26% of contraventions relate to the maintenance of records

- 19% of contraventions relate to leave, public holiday and associated entitlements

- 16% of contraventions relate to illegal workers

- 13% of contraventions are failures to issue payslips

- In 17% of cases, owners are not cooperating and/or complying with an Inspector's requirement

- 4% of contraventions related to pay rates.

Inspections and associated enquiries and follow up were completed by the WRC in respect of 149 vessels to the end of February 2019. In 54% of cases no contraventions were detected. In 89% of cases where a Contravention was detected, the matter was addressed following the issue of a Contravention Notice (i.e. without recourse to legal proceedings). Five successful prosecutions have been secured.

There are currently 171 vessels which come within the scope of the Atypical Working Scheme and the WRC inspection services have inspected 169 (over 99% of all vessels). Many vessels have been inspected more than twice over the past 4 years. It is noteworthy that the inspection rates are much more significant in relation to this Scheme than in any other employment sector.

Working time and rest break requirements for fishing vessels are provided for under The European Communities (Workers on Board sea-going Fishing Vessels) (Organisation of Working Time ) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 709 of 2003). Enforcement in this regard, including the inspection of statutory hours of work/rest records for fishing vessels, is a matter for Authorised officers of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. The WRC has secured an agreement with the DTTAS which provides that WRC inspectors who encounter potential contraventions of the hours of rest recording requirements may notify the MSO.

In relation to commitment 13 of the mediated agreement. My officials have met with the officials of DTTAS concerning the proposal to extend the WRC's and the Labour Court's jurisdiction to cover violations of SI 709 of 2013. This is currently being progressed.

Trade Missions

Questions (302)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

302. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to have a trade and investment mission to Singapore early in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51659/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I expect to receive proposals in the near future for a schedule of trade and investment missions for 2020. I understand that while Singapore is being considered for inclusion, it is unlikely that any such mission would take place early in 2020.

Proposed Legislation

Question No. 304 answered with Question No. 301.

Questions (303)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

303. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to update the Casual Trading Act 1995. [51695/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Casual Trading Act, 1995 provides for a control and regulatory system for people trading in public places. The 1995 Act devolves the administration of casual trading matters from a national level to the local authorities and the Act requires that local authorities make bye-laws governing casual trading in their functional areas. These bye laws can be used by local authorities to designate casual trading areas and set the size of pitches, etc.

In August 2018, I launched a public consultation on the Casual Trading Act 1995 and the Occasional Trading Act 1979 to determine the fitness for purpose of both Acts. Both pieces of legislation have been on the statute book now for a number of years and given the changes in retail and trading environments, I considered that it was an opportune time to review both pieces of legislation to determine if they are still fit for purpose. The consultation sought the views of interested parties on matters relating to both Acts.

Submissions on the matter were received from interested parties, traders, local authorities and consumers and these responses are now being examined by my Department. When this detailed examination of the submissions is completed, I will review any policy issues that arise and I will assess whether any updating is required to be carried out on the Casual Trading Act 1995. I expect that this review process will be finalised during 2020.

Question No. 304 answered with Question No. 301.

Community Pharmacy Services

Questions (305, 341, 343, 344, 347, 379, 382, 413, 450)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

305. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the reason for replacing phased dispensing fees and replacing them with a capitation fee; if his attention has been drawn to the effects on pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51366/19]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

341. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the reason for new cuts being imposed on pharmacists [51244/19]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

343. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if the imposition of new cuts to pharmacists will lead to the closure of pharmacies. [51246/19]

View answer

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

344. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the timeline for the implementation of new services to be carried out by pharmacists. [51247/19]

View answer

Michael Harty

Question:

347. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health his plans to save village and small town pharmacies in rural areas in view of the fact that pharmacists are now the only profession to have no fee restoration under FEMPI despite his promise in May 2019 to start talks (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51259/19]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

379. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health his plans to honour the commitment made at a conference (details supplied) in May 2019 to unwind FEMPI and increase investment and expansion of healthcare services in pharmacies; and his further plans to pursue cuts to the sector. [51351/19]

View answer

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

382. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health when FEMPI cuts to pharmacies will be reversed; if the HSE will enter into meaningful talks with a union (details supplied) regarding new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51368/19]

View answer

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

413. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if talks have commenced with the representative body for pharmacy contractors regarding new fee regulations, the reform and modernisation of pharmacy services and the unwinding of FEMPI for community pharmacists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51628/19]

View answer

John Curran

Question:

450. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if no further cuts will be made to payments made to pharmacists in advance of the full unwinding of FEMPI and the negotiation of a new pharmacy contact and new pharmacy services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51773/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 305, 341, 343, 344, 347, 379, 382, 413 and 450 together.

I recognise the significant role community pharmacists play in the delivery of patient care and the potential for this role to be developed further in the context of health service reform and modernisation. Community pharmacy is recognised as the most accessible element of our health service with an unequalled reach in terms of patient contact and access.

Regulations governing the current pharmacy fee structure were made under section 9 of the FEMPI Act 2009 and are set to expire at the end of 2019. Under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, these regulations must be replaced on 1st January 2020 to maintain a statutory basis for contractor payments and to prescribe the fees payable from that date.

In keeping with my obligations under Section 43 of the 2017 Act, my officials have undertaken a process of consultation with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), as the representative body for the profession. My officials have met with an IPU delegation on two occasions where proposed fee restructuring was discussed. A detailed submission was received from the IPU. This consultation process has now concluded.

I met with the IPU on the 5th December, where I reiterated my intention to move beyond the arrangements underpinned by the FEMPI regulations and to commence a comprehensive review of the pharmacy contract. In this context I also communicated my intention to maintain the current fee structure from 1 January 2020.

The comprehensive review of the pharmacy contract in 2020 will address the role to be played by community pharmacy in the context of Sláintecare. It will consider all aspects of pharmacy service provision including delivery of a multi-disciplinary model of service delivery for patients, ensuring clarity of roles and achieving optimum value for money.

However, any publicly funded pharmacy service expansion should address unmet public healthcare needs, improve access to existing public health services or provide better value for money or patient outcomes. Accordingly, any measures to be considered must be evidence based.

New secondary legislation is currently being drafted in order to give effect to the prescribed fee structure, as required under the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017.

Disability Services Funding

Questions (306)

John Curran

Question:

306. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if his Department and the HSE will review the funding being made available to an organisation (details supplied) that provides preschool for children with intellectual disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51775/19]

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.