Respite Care Services Provision

Questions (327)

Brendan Smith

Question:

327. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health when a healthcare facility (details supplied) will be operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53704/19]

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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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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. 

Departmental Advertising Data

Questions (328)

Robert Troy

Question:

328. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53746/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As part of the whole-of-government response to Brexit, the Department of Health established dedicated structures to manage the approach to preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU. A high-level group chaired by the Secretary General and comprising the heads of the HSE, HPRA, FSAI and senior officials was established to oversee the health sector’s overall approach to contingency planning and to monitor progress.

Among the supporting operational groups is an inter-agency communications group, chaired by the Department, established to plan for all aspects of a communications strategy to ensure that the public and stakeholders, including industry, remain fully informed of the implications for the health sector of Brexit.

In terms of specific advertising on Brexit, the Department of Health has not incurred direct costs.

Personal Injury Claims

Questions (329)

Robert Troy

Question:

329. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if the personal injuries pay outs will be published for properties under the ownership of his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form [53794/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims on behalf of Delegated State Authorities (DSA’s), including the Department of Health. 

Personal injury claims are delegated to the SCA by state agencies overall and not by individual buildings/properties therefore this question has been considered to include all personal injury claims for the Department regardless of where the personal injury took place which could have been onsite or offsite and relates to staff, service users and member of the public. 

Based on information provided by the SCA and the Department's payment information system, I can inform the Deputy that there were no payouts for personal injuries for the period 2016 to 2019.

Cross-Border Health Services Provision

Questions (330)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

330. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health if he will investigate with the HSE a case involving the cross-Border directive unit and a person (details supplied); the reason it will not reimburse a person the costs for sensitive medical care which was agreed to be reimbursed before they underwent surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53803/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE is responsible for the operation of the Cross-Border Directive.  As this question relates to a service matter I have referred it to the HSE for direct reply.

National Children's Hospital

Questions (331)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

331. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 247 of 12 December 2019, if the new national children's hospital facial recognition camera system will be provided with an existing database of facial images available for matching purposes [53805/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The safety of patients, visitors and staff at the new children’s hospital is of paramount importance to everyone working on the new children’s hospital project. 

Less than 3% of the cameras procured for the new children’s hospital have the potential for high definition facial recognition capabilities. These cameras have many capabilities and can also be used in the same way as the remaining 97% of the cameras, which do not have facial recognition capabilities.   

Only the hardware (the cameras) have been procured at this stage in the project. Without procurement of additional software, facial recognition capability is not possible.

It has not yet been decided which aspect of the security systems’ capabilities will be used. This decision will be taken nearer the opening of the hospital by Children’s Health Ireland and will be fully in line with Irish and European data protection and privacy legislation and guidelines, to ensure that the occupants of the hospital have the appropriate protections and security afforded to them, in line with their privacy rights. 

Home Care Packages Data

Questions (332)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

332. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the number of persons waitlisted for home care services in county Louth and east County Meath; when resources will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53806/19]

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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.

Respite Care Services Data

Questions (333)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

333. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the funding provided in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019 for respite overnights with or without day respite accessed by persons with a disability, in tabular form. [53819/19]

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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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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.

Respite Care Services Data

Questions (334)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

334. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the funding provided in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019 for day-only respite sessions accessed by persons with a disability, in tabular form. [53820/19]

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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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. 

Health Services Provision

Questions (335)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

335. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the progress to date on the local health projects in County Louth and east County Meath confirmed as part of the HSE ten-year capital plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Questions (336)

Brendan Smith

Question:

336. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase funding in 2020 for the drug task forces in view of the increasing problems with drug abuse nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53824/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The National Drugs Strategy Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery is a health-led response to the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland. The strategy is underpinned by a partnership approach between the statutory, non-statutory and community and voluntary sectors. 

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces play a key role in assessing the extent and nature of the drug problem in local communities. They ensure that a coordinated approach is taken across all sectors to address substance misuse based on the identified needs and priorities in their areas. 

Task Forces oversee an annual budget of €28m from the Department of Health and the HSE. This funding supports over 280 community projects, in local areas and communities throughout the country, to support initiatives to tackle drug and alcohol use and misuse.

Additional funding of €1m has been provided for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy in 2019.  €480,000 of this funding will provide an additional €20,000 for each of the 24 Task Forces, including the ten Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces.  €10,000 of this funding will be on a permanent recurring basis.  

 A further allocation of €480,000 of this funding has been allocated in 2019 for twelve strategic health initiatives, as announced by me on 17 September 2019.

Budget 2020 provides for the continuation of this €1m funding in 2020.

Nursing Home Accommodation Provision

Questions (337)

Mary Butler

Question:

337. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the status of the replacement and refurbishment of 90 community nursing units nationwide as announced on 26 January 2016; the funding allocated to each project in 2019; and the date on which each of the projects will be complete and operational. [53826/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The CNU Programme, launched in 2016, aims to replace, upgrade or refurbish up to 90 public centres across the country to bring them in line with the regulatory requirements, having regard to the scheduled funding available.   

The HSE expects that by the end of 2019, thirty-one centres will have completed construction, while others will be at various stages of the design and planning process. Ongoing engagements between the Department of Health and the HSE have identified that by the end of 2021 over 80% of the projects will be completed or under construction. While this represents substantial progress on the Programme, the HSE has indicated that not all centres are likely to be completed within the originally planned timeframe.  It is important to get the projects right as these buildings are, and will be, homes for older people.  While for some projects, completion will be later than anticipated, this Government is fully committed to delivering all of the projects.  Funding of €65m has been allocated for the CNU programme in respect of 2019.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Questions (338)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

338. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the progress regarding all proposed new primary care centres in County Louth and east County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53830/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities, the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services

Questions (339)

Brendan Smith

Question:

339. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his plans to extend the provision of services at a health facility (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53834/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (340)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

340. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the capital expenditure by his Department in County Louth and east County Meath by location and facility provided or commenced in each of the past four years; the location and purpose of each such expenditure; the new and improved services provided as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53845/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Brexit Issues

Questions (341)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

341. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will engage with the UK Government to protect vital County Donegal fishing and economic interests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53686/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Once the UK leaves the EU, negotiations on a future fisheries agreement as part of the overall future relationship, will be co-ordinated by Michel Barnier for the EU.  These negotiations are expected to commence following the adoption of the EU negotiating mandate by the European Council.  The negotiating mandate will follow from the Political Declaration, which states that within the context of the overall economic partnership the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares.

The objective for the EU will be to maintain reciprocal access to waters and resources and agree a framework to ensure the sustainability of shared fisheries.  This will need to be achieved through joint management so that the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability are protected for EU and UK fishing industries. 

I met with the new Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevicius, on Tuesday to discuss these issues.  I was impressed by his knowledge and understanding of the potential impacts of Brexit on the Irish and wider EU fishing fleets.  We had an excellent discussion on the vital importance of ensuring that the fisheries negotiations remain inextricably linked with the wider future relationship negotiations, in accordance with the agreed political declaration.

Since the UK referendum, I have emphasised the necessity for a coordinated European response to ensure that there is a unity of purpose within the EU on fisheries.  Ireland participates in talks with the EU27 and my officials and I have had intensive discussions with the European Commission, other relevant Member States and stakeholders regarding the potential negative impact of Brexit on the EU fishing industry and the wider seafood sector as whole.   These discussions will intensify in the New Year.  

The Government has already introduced a range of measures to deal with the short-term impacts of Brexit.  In terms of dealing with the competitiveness issue, my Department introduced a €150 million low-cost loan scheme and increased funding under the Rural Development and Seafood Development Programmes in the 2017 Budget.  In Budget 2018, I, along with my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, introduced a new €300 million “Brexit Loan Scheme” to provide affordable, flexible financing to Irish businesses that are either currently impacted by Brexit or who will be in the future – at least 40% of which will be available to agri-food and seafood businesses.

Our enterprise agencies are continuing to work with seafood companies around the country to help them to deal with Brexit through making them more competitive, diversifying market exposure, and up-skilling teams.

A disorderly departure, that included a loss of access to UK waters, would have very serious consequences for our seafood industry. While this is less likely in 2020 following recent developments in the UK, I will continue to ensure planning continues in the event that an agreement is not secured within the timeframe set.  

Environmental Investigations

Questions (342)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

342. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the period of time he considers reasonable for his officials to commence and conclude an investigation with follow-up actions if necessary into alleged breaches of environmental legislation. [53358/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department conducts investigations under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations (SI 456/2011) as required and each case is considered fully by my officials before a determination is made on the investigation in question.   

The Deputy will appreciate therefore that the length of each such investigation will depend on the nature of the alleged breaches but I am happy that my officials endeavour at all times to bring each case to a timely conclusion. 

Forestry Management

Questions (343)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

343. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied) regarding an afforestation licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53611/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application for the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme for the reference number provided, was submitted by the registered forester and acknowledged in July, 2019.   Afforestation licence approval issued to the applicant and their registered forester in September. 

The licence has been appealed to the Forestry Appeals Committee, which is independent of my Department.  The licence is currently suspended pending the outcome of the appeal.

Aquaculture Licences

Questions (344)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

344. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position on the review of aquaculture licensing procedures and applications; the progress made on the issue since the matter went to public consultation; his views on the comprehensive submission made by this Deputy regarding the public consultation on the issue of aquaculture licensing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53617/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In 2016, I commissioned the Independent Review of Aquaculture Licensing and the Report of the Group was submitted to my Department in May 2017.

The Review Group carried out a detailed examination of the existing aquaculture licensing process, undertook comprehensive stakeholder consultation and looked at comparative national and international consent systems to determine best practice for managing a complex licensing process in a transparent, environmentally appropriate and legally robust manner. 

All submissions made to the group were given the fullest consideration and would have informed the Report.  The group’s report is published and available to view on my Department’s website.

Since receiving the report of the review group, my Department has engaged in detailed consideration of the recommendations set out in the report with a view to their implementation, having regard to the legislative, environmental, technical and public interest issues that arise. My Department has also engaged closely with industry representatives and relevant State agencies.

As all industry stakeholders and the EU Commission have, for different reasons, identified the elimination of the licensing backlog as the overriding priority in the reform of the licensing system, my Department’s response to date has focused on this issue while continuing to have regard to the other recommendations in the report.

I can confirm that the aquaculture licensing backlog in respect of shellfish aquaculture has now been eliminated as an issue affecting the industry.  In the case of finfish, measures have already commenced to reduce this backlog and these measures will intensify significantly in 2020.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (345)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

345. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if analysis has been carried out by his Department on the impact on agriculture here arising from an EU commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53629/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As a sector most impacted by climate change we recognise the importance of calls for more ambitious climate action including the commitment to achieve climate neutrality.  The EU’s long-term strategy ‘A Clean Planet for All’ acknowledges that agricultural production will always result in non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., methane and nitrous oxide) but these gases can be reduced by 2050 thanks to efficient and sustainable production methods.  The strategy suggests that any residual emissions need to be balanced by negative emissions opportunities such as afforestation and increased use of biomass in energy systems and displacement of energy intensive materials and in combination with carbon capture and storage can lead to increased negative emissions. Innovation will play an increasingly important role.

Furthermore, the IPCC’s special report on 1.5 degrees distinguished the importance of reaching and sustaining net zero global anthropogenic CO2 emissions separately from declining net non-CO2 radiative gases such as methane/nitrous oxide.

Currently, the long-term ambition for the agriculture sector is an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production. While carbon neutrality has yet to be defined the aim is to balance residual agricultural emissions by increasing carbon-sequestration and increasing fossil fuel and energy intensive materials displacement. The sector is pursuing a pathway towards carbon neutrality, guided by the principle of sustainable intensification, through measures such as:

- Efficient multi trait animal breeding strategies;

- Efficient use and recycling of nutrients which optimise nitrogen use efficiency and reduce losses of reactive nitrogen to the environment;

- Feeding strategies;

- Support of improvements to animal health and welfare; and

- Support of ICT in agriculture to aid delivery of sustainable intensification.

Lastly, my Department in tandem with EPA have commissioned a research project by NUIG to quantify/set out definitions and pathways to improve understanding of approaches to C neutrality consistent with temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

Beef Industry

Questions (346)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

346. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the work of the beef taskforce; if representatives from the retail sector will be invited to take part in the deliberations of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53630/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I established the Beef Taskforce to provide the leadership to develop a sustainable pathway for the future of the beef sector in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. The Taskforce will provide a robust implementation structure for commitments entered into in the Beef Talks Agreement, with timelines and stakeholder engagement.   Furthermore, the Beef Taskforce will offer a suitable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders, including retailers and regulatory authorities.  

There is a specific webpage on my Department's website dedicated to the Beef Taskforce at www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/beef/beeftaskforce/.  This webpage contains the agreement reached on 15 September, the Terms of Reference for the Taskforce and updates on actions arising out of the agreement.

The first meeting of the Beef Taskforce took place on 3 December. Minutes and update reports from that meeting will be published on the webpage this week.

The next meeting of the Beef Taskforce will take place on 9 January 2020.  Irish and UK retailers have been invited to participate to discuss market trends and requirements, specifically in relation to the Quality Payment System in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.