Retail Sector

Questions (172)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

172. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the work she is undertaking to assist small businesses in the retail sector to develop an online presence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52031/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

As Chair of the Retail Consultation Forum, I am conscious of the impact of digital transformation for the retail sector. The growth in demand for shopping online domestically and globally is driving the retail sector more broadly to develop its online capability in order to enhance its competitiveness.

To enable retailers to increase their customer base and build a more resilient business, I introduced a new pilot Online Retail Scheme in 2018 administered by Enterprise Ireland. The Scheme, with a fund of up to €1.25m over two Calls, provided funding to 40 retailers across Ireland, with grants of between €10,000 and €25,000 on a 50 percent match fund basis. Eligible expenditure under the Scheme included activities required to strategically enhance retailer's online offering, and included: research, strategy development, implementation and relevant training. The Pilot Online Retail Scheme concluded this year and my Department and Enterprise Ireland will review its effectiveness.

Additionally, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) undertake a number of activities to encourage businesses, including retail businesses, to build their online presence and compete online. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme administered by the LEOs and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, is designed to help micro businesses trade online to boost their sales and reach new markets. The Scheme is a matched-funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available, with training provided by Local Enterprise Offices. Funding can be used towards eligible costs such as digital marketing strategies, e-commerce websites or app development.

LEO Measure 2 supports including training in digital marketing, management development, Lean4Micro, Productivity Voucher and mentoring are available to all sectors including retailers.

I recently announced the successful projects under the LEO Competitive Fund. One project - the eCommerce Cluster project has a primary objective to support and educate online retailers in the North-East. Led by LEO Monaghan, in collaboration with LEO Cavan, Louth and Meath, the project will bring online retailers in the these counties together, to share experience and best practice, access online expertise and support members to develop and grow their online business domestically and internationally.

As set out in Future Jobs Ireland 2019, all businesses, regardless of size or sector, in today’s digital environment need to focus on building competitive online capability. In line with this, my Department has commenced a study on the retail sector to understand the full extent and impact of disruption to pre-existing business models in light of digital transformation.

I will continue to engage with the retail sector in relation to business developmental needs and objectives through the Retail Consultation Forum.

Retail Sector

Questions (173)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

173. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the impact online shopping and digital transformation are having on the retail sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52032/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

As Chair of the Retail Consultation Forum, I am acutely aware of the transformation which the retail sector is undergoing. The growth in demand for shopping online domestically and globally is driving the retail sector more broadly to develop its online capability in order to enhance its competitiveness. Retailing supports jobs in every city, town and village in the country, with one in every seven people at work in the retail sector. Therefore, it is critical that our retail sector is both productive and competitive to sustain employment across the country, in the long term.

Technological breakthroughs, as one of the global megatrends, has greatly affected retailing. The pace and progress of technological change has never been greater, and it is clear that this transformation – although exciting, is challenging for the sector. The digital economy provides a different retail experience for consumers across Ireland and beyond. Digitalisation has increased the scope for competition in the retail sector, domestically and internationally, as reflected in the growth in online shopping and changing consumer preferences in terms of how people are shopping in town centres. Sustaining physical retail outlets requires adaptation: many retailers now offer multiple sales channels to sell their goods, from physical stores, to social media, mobile apps and websites.

I want Irish based retailers to compete at the forefront of the digital revolution and have prioritised supporting the retail sector to develop their online capability, in order for them to expand their market reach nationally and internationally and enhance their competitiveness. To enable retailers to increase their customer base and build a more resilient business, I introduced a new pilot Online Retail Scheme in 2018 administered by Enterprise Ireland. The Scheme, with a fund of up to €1.25m over two Calls, provided funding to 40 retailers across Ireland, with grants of between €10,000 and €25,000 on a 50 percent match fund basis. The Pilot Online Retail Scheme concluded this year and my Department and Enterprise Ireland will review its effectiveness.

Additionally, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) undertake a number of activities to encourage businesses, including retail businesses, to build their online presence and compete online. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme administered by the LEOs and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, is designed to help micro businesses trade online to boost their sales and reach new markets. The Scheme is a matched-funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available, with training provided by Local Enterprise Offices. Funding can be used towards eligible costs such as digital marketing strategies, e-commerce websites or app development.

LEO Measure 2 supports including training in digital marketing, management development, Lean4Micro, Productivity Voucher and mentoring are available to all sectors including retailers.

I recently announced the successful projects under the LEO Competitive Fund. One of the projects - the eCommerce Cluster project has a primary objective to support and educate online retailers in the North-East. Led by LEO Monaghan, in collaboration with LEO Cavan, Louth and Meath, the project will bring online retailers in these counties together, to share experience and best practice, access online expertise and support members to develop and grow their online business domestically and internationally.

As set out in Future Jobs Ireland 2019, all businesses, regardless of size or sector, in today’s digital environment need to focus on building competitive online capability. In line with this, my Department has commenced a study on the retail sector to understand the full extent and impact of disruption to pre-existing business models in light of digital transformation. I look forward to seeing the results of the research study and continuing to work with the Retail Consultation Forum and its focus on the current and future developmental needs of the retail sector.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (174)

Robert Troy

Question:

174. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the expenses incurred by her Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of her Department including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [52111/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of expenditure incurred by my Department during 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives which highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of my Department including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online are set out in the attached table.

Many of the acquired videos are retweeted at various intervals on social media platforms or shown at related events to ensure continued promotion of my Department’s strategies. My Department also produces in-house video for social media.

Reply

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (175)

Robert Troy

Question:

175. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the expenses incurred by her Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video which highlighted schemes and programmes operated by her Department in tabular form; if such videos have been commissioned for 2020; and if so, the estimated costs of each such video. [52128/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of expenses incurred by my Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of videos which highlight schemes and programmes operated by my Department are set out in the attached table. Many of the videos are retweeted at various intervals on social media platforms or shown at related events to ensure continued promotion of my Department’s strategies. My Department also produces in-house video for social media. No videos have been commissioned for 2020.

Reply

Ministerial Travel

Questions (176)

Robert Troy

Question:

176. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the countries visited by her, her predecessors, the Minister of State with special responsibility for trade, employment, business, the EU digital Single Market and data protection and the Minister of State with special responsibility for training, skills, innovation, research and development since May 2016; and the travel, phone and accommodation costs incurred for each visit in tabular form. [52172/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of foreign travel during the period in question by the Ministers and Ministers of State in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation are published on my Department's website at the following address:

https://dbei.gov.ie/ga/Ce-muid-fein/Na-hAiri/Ministers-Expenses/

Mental Health Policy

Questions (177)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

177. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the MindOut mental health programme in secondary schools; the areas in which the programme is being implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52076/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational matter for the Health Service Executive, I have referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for attention and direct reply to her.

HSE Reports

Questions (178)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

178. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 350 of 15 October 2019 and 160 of 23 October 2019, if he has received a briefing from his officials on the HSE valproate response project report; if a decision has been made to publish or not publish the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51897/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE's report on its Valproate Response Project has been considered within my Department, and I have received briefing from officials. The report describes the HSE's work on sodium valproate issues since the Valproate Response team was established in May 2018. This work has included the provision of an expert support service for people with concerns about exposure to sodium valproate; developing a diagnostic pathway for foetal valproate syndrome; and improving the structures in place to support families affected by valproate syndrome. The HSE has also begun the development of a Programme for Women's Health in Epilepsy, which will coordinate the national response to issues relating to sodium valproate.

I understand that the HSE intends to publish its report in the near future.

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Questions (179)

Alan Kelly

Question:

179. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the arrangements made to replace a person (details supplied) who is due to leave his position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51902/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Delays

Questions (180)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

180. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that the person has been on the waiting list for over three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51913/19]

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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 Delays

Questions (181)

Denis Naughten

Question:

181. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for a procedure; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51917/19]

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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 (182)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

182. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal can expect to receive an appointment at University Hospital Galway for a procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51926/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

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.

Community Pharmacy Services

Questions (183, 221, 249)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

183. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51927/19]

View answer

James Browne

Question:

221. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the outcome of his recent meeting with an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51975/19]

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Michael Harty

Question:

249. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Health when he will enter negotiations with an organisation (details supplied) regarding the provision of a new pharmacy contract which will improve the sustainability of the service and expand the range of community pharmacy services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52167/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183, 221 and 249 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.

Psychological Services

Questions (184)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

184. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) will receive an appointment for psychiatric services in view of the length of time the child has been on the waiting list. [51929/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospitals Data

Questions (185)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

185. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgeries cancelled in each hospital in each month January to November 2019; and the reason for cancellation in tabular form. [51930/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Maintaining scheduled care access for all patients is a key priority for hospitals. I fully acknowledge the distress and inconvenience for patients and their families when elective procedures are cancelled, particularly for clinically urgent procedures.

While every effort is made to avoid cancellation or postponement of planned procedures, the HSE advise that planned procedures and operations can be postponed or cancelled for a variety of reasons including capacity issues due to increased scheduled and unscheduled care demand, medical reasons, and patient choice.

In relation to the specific question raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to reply to the Deputy directly.