Visa Applications

Questions (234)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

234. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice if the case of a person (details supplied) will be re-examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9330/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Following full consideration by a Visa Officer in the Immigration Service of my Department, the visa application referred to by the Deputy was refused. A letter was issued to the applicant on 26 October 2020, outlining the reasons for this refusal. An appeal was subsequently lodged in respect of this application, on 23 November 2020.

The visa application was then re-examined by a Visa Appeals Officer. All visa applicants are advised that the onus is on them to provide as much information in support of their application as they feel is necessary. Guidelines in this regard are posted on my Department's website. The appeals process, which is free of charge, allows applicants, in the event of a refusal of the application at first instance, to address the factors which gave rise to that decision.

The appeal in relation to this application was not successful and the original decision to refuse the application was upheld. The reasons for the refusal of the appeal are outlined in the refusal letter issued to the applicant on 25 November 2020.

Should any person who has been refused a visa wish to make another application at a future point, that application will be assessed on its own merits taking all relevant information into consideration at that time.

The granting of a work permit by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), has no bearing on whether a visa will subsequently be granted. There are two very distinct application procedures with different checks and procedures in place in each respective Department.

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

Deportation Orders

Questions (235)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

235. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice when a revocation of a deportation order will take place in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9353/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order, made on 29 September 2017, following consideration of the person’s case under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). That Order was subsequently affirmed in November 2018.

The Immigration Service of my Department has no record of a current request from the person concerned to have that Order revoked. However, in the event that the person concerned can point to materially changed circumstances which have arisen since the decision to make a Deportation Order was taken, it would be open to them to make a request, under section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), to have that Order revoked. The Deputy can be assured that any such request made will be considered on its merits.

In the meantime, as a person subject to a Deportation Order, they are legally obliged to comply with any reporting obligations placed on them by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

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

Citizenship Applications

Questions (236)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

236. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the status of the determination of an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9354/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Citizenship Division of the Immigration Service of my Department requested further documentation from the person concerned on 23 June 2020. To date, this documentation has not been received. On receipt of the requested documentation, the application for naturalisation will be fully considered with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for decision in due course.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (237)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

237. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice when a person (details supplied) will have an application for naturalisation approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9356/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

There is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation having been received from the person concerned by the Immigration Service of my Department. The person concerned does, however, have permission to remain in the State, on immigration stamp 4 conditions, up to 25 October 2021.

It is open to any person to make an application for a certificate of naturalisation when they are satisfied that they meet the qualifying criteria which can be found on my Department’s website.

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

Mental Health Services

Questions (238)

Mark Ward

Question:

238. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health the treatment available to patients who present to the accident and emergency department of Tallaght Hospital with a mental health issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9017/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Mental Health Services

Questions (239)

Mark Ward

Question:

239. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health the number of patients who presented to the accident and emergency department of Tallaght Hospital with a mental health issue in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9018/21]

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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.

Disability Diagnoses

Questions (240)

Mark Ward

Question:

240. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health the impact for a parent in obtaining the additional treatments for the development of their child in a public setting in cases in which the parent obtained an assessment of needs report privately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9019/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, recognises the need to improve services for both children and adults with disabilities through better implementation and by working together across Government in a better way.

The Government commits to prioritising early diagnosis and access to services for children and ensuring that the most effective interventions are provided for each child, to guarantee the best outcomes.

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

Mental Health Services

Questions (241)

Cathal Crowe

Question:

241. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health the reason the HSE has a monopoly on training for safeguarding vulnerable adults; and his plans to address same. [9024/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is an operational matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (242)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

242. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health if all persons with medical conditions which put them at high risk of severe disease will be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out rather than being required to wait for their general age cohort; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9025/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus.

The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began on the 15th of February.

All of the groups will be covered as further vaccine supplies become available and the immunisation programme is rolled out nationally.

The evidence will be kept under review and the allocation groups may be updated, where necessary, in light of new evidence.

Mental Health Services

Questions (243)

Mark Ward

Question:

243. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on waiting lists for Jigsaw; the average waiting time in each of the years 2017 to 2020 and to date in 2021, by community healthcare organisation, CHO, area in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9029/21]

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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.

Gender Equality

Questions (244)

Carol Nolan

Question:

244. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health if the HSE considers the Dutch Protocol to be best practice internationally with respect to gender dysphoria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9034/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Medical Cards

Questions (245)

James Lawless

Question:

245. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health the status of a medical card for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9044/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Water Fluoridation

Questions (246)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

246. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health his plans to reduce the permissible levels of fluoride in drinking water in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9053/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Fluoridation of Water Supplies Regulations 2007 sets the level of fluoride in drinking water in Ireland at between 0.6-0.8 parts per million. There are no plans to lower this limit, which was introduced on the recommendation of the Forum on Fluoridation (2002), who deemed it best for protecting the oral health of all age groups.

It should be noted that Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption specifies that the level should not exceed 1.5 milligrams fluoride/litre of water, almost twice the maximum level permitted in Ireland.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (247)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

247. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the human papillomavirus, HPV, vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9055/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation. It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department. The NIAC continues to revise recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease. Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time.

In 2009, the NIAC recommended HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for all 12 to 13 year old girls to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer when they are adults. In September 2010, the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of secondary school.

The NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys. On foot of the NIAC’s recommendation, my Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake a health technology assessment (HTA) to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme to include boys in the first year of secondary school.

The HIQA completed the HTA in December 2018, recommending that the HPV immunisation programme be extended to include boys. A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys, starting in September 2019, with the introduction of a 9-valent HPV vaccine.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by the NIAC in order to give each child the best possible protection against vaccine preventable diseases. As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection.

Therefore, the gender-neutral HPV vaccination programme targets all girls and boys in first year of secondary school to provide maximum coverage. All vaccines administered through the School Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge.

My Department will continue to be guided by NIAC's recommendations on any emerging evidence on this issue in the future.

Anyone not in 1st year of secondary school or age equivalent in special schools or home schooled during the 2020/2021 school year who wishes to get the HPV vaccine, must go to their GP or sexual health clinic and pay privately for the vaccine and its administration.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Questions (248)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

248. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the reason the human papillomavirus, HPV, vaccine is not covered by the drugs payment card scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9056/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The committee's recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation. It makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department. The NIAC continues to revise recommendations to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease. Therefore, the immunisation schedule will continue to be amended over time.

In 2009, the NIAC recommended HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for all 12 to 13 year old girls to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer when they are adults. In September 2010, the HPV vaccination programme was introduced for all girls in first year of secondary school.

The NIAC recommended that the HPV vaccine should also be given to boys. On foot of the NIAC’s recommendation, my Department asked the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to undertake a health technology assessment (HTA) to establish the clinical and cost-effectiveness of extending the current immunisation programme to include boys in the first year of secondary school.

The HIQA completed the HTA in December 2018, recommending that the HPV immunisation programme be extended to include boys. A policy decision was made to extend the HPV immunisation programme to include boys, starting in September 2019, with the introduction of a 9-valent HPV vaccine.

The ages at which vaccines are recommended in the immunisation schedule are chosen by the NIAC in order to give each child the best possible protection against vaccine preventable diseases. As the HPV vaccine is preventative it is intended to be administered, if possible, before a person becomes sexually active, that is, before a person is first exposed to HPV infection.

Therefore, the gender-neutral HPV vaccination programme targets all girls and boys in first year of secondary school to provide maximum coverage.

All vaccines administered through the School Immunisation Programme are provided free of charge.

My Department will continue to be guided by NIAC's recommendations on any emerging evidence on this issue in the future.

Health Services Reports

Questions (249)

David Cullinane

Question:

249. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health if his Department has conducted a workforce census of the entire public and private health and social care system; the breakdown or estimates of workers across categories of service providers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9057/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (250, 251)

Réada Cronin

Question:

250. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health the systems in place under the Covid-19 national vaccination strategy to address conscientious objection by doctors to vaccine administration; the reassurances his Department can give patients that this not-unexpected development has been factored into the planning, delivery and communication of that strategy; the guarantees he can give persons that conscientious objection will not impede them in their direct access to the vaccine locally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9066/21]

View answer

Réada Cronin

Question:

251. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health the public information strategy in place or planned to address comprehensively the safety issues raised in conscientious objection by doctors in order to maximise public trust and public confidence in the Covid-19 vaccines for the best possible public health outcome in the pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9067/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.

The Department of Health has published the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which outlines Ireland’s high-level plan for safe, effective, and efficient vaccination of the population, while safeguarding continued provision of health and social care services.

The National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which was prepared by the High-Level Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccination, was signed off by Cabinet on 15 December 2020.

Operational responsibility for delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out lies with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

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

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (252)

Réada Cronin

Question:

252. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to doctors here refusing to refer patients for Covid-19 testing due to deeply held beliefs regarding the virus; the public health systems in place to address a possible refusal to refer patients for testing for any disease on a personal belief basis, including for a virus causing a pandemic; his views on whether a refusal to refer patients for Covid-19 or other testing due to personal beliefs and against prevailing public health advice as constituting an unnecessary and avoidable risk and potential hazard to public health, particularly in a pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9068/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am not aware of GPs refusing to refer patients for clinical testing, other than the individual case reported recently in the media. Referrals for Covid-19 testing can be made by any GP, and it is not necessary to be registered with a GP to contact them in relation to a COVID test. Testing can also be arranged by GP out-of-hours services. The Government has been concerned to ensure that COVID testing is available to all who need it on an equal footing, and has allocated significant resources to this end.