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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 6 Jul 2006

Vol. 623 No. 3

Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 9, inclusive, answered orally.

Semi-State Bodies.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

10 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the efforts he is making to ensure that the valuable assets, paintings, fixtures and fittings of the Great Southern Hotels chain are retained in State ownership; if he will clarify the ownership of all the paintings, fixtures and fittings of the chain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26924/06]

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

13 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the estimated value of paintings hanging in the Great Southern Hotels chain; what will happen to these paintings following the decision to sell-off the hotel group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26926/06]

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Ceist:

47 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to the removal of 54 paintings from the Great Southern Hotels earlier in 2006 and their subsequent valuation by auctioneers in Dublin; the reason these paintings were sent for valuation; if he will clarify the precise ownership of these paintings; if he has had discussions with the Dublin Airport Authority and the Arts Council regarding these paintings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26925/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 13 and 47 together.

The Arts Council is a statutory body under my Department's aegis, and is the principal channel through which State support is directed to the Arts. The Council is operationally independent of my Department, but it is understood from the Council that there are 143 works in the collection in question, which were jointly funded under the Arts Council's Joint Purchase Scheme. These works include works by Gerard Dillon, Patrick Collins, Louis le Brocquy and Basil Blackshaw. These were purchased primarily in the 1960's and 1970's, at a cost to the Council of £7,233. The total cost of these works came to £14,466.71.

The Arts Council is aware of the potential issues arising from the sale of these works and is in touch with the CEO of the Great Southern Hotel Group in this regard. On my instructions, my Department has also written on the matter to the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority and has asked for a report on the matter. I understand that potential vendors are obliged to notify such intended sales to the OPW so that first option of such items may be exercised by the state collecting institutions. The Dublin Airport Authority has responded to my Department and has confirmed that it will comply fully with State guidelines in this matter. Furthermore, the DAA has confirmed that it will consult fully with my Department on the issue.

Question No. 11 answered with QuestionNo. 9.

Swimming Pool Projects.

Ciarán Cuffe

Ceist:

12 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if the expenditure review of the current swimming pool programme will be completed at the end of July 2006, as expected; and if so, when will the issue of whether to re-open the programme be looked at, in view of the demand for swimming pools across the country, including for example Lucan, which has recently had a pool sanctioned by the local authority, which is committed to funding it, but for which a part-grant from his Department would be put to good use and may even speed up the delivery process. [26951/06]

The Expenditure Review of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme which my Department is carrying out is examining, among other things, how the programme has worked to date and what changes, if any, are required to ensure its effective and efficient delivery. A draft of the Expenditure Review has been prepared and will be considered shortly by the Steering Committee which is overseeing the project with the intention of having it finalised in a matter of months.

On completion of the Review, the question of re-opening the programme can be considered. If the Pool Programme is re-opened, it will be open to all local authorities including South Dublin County Council, which my Department has been informed has recently completed a Review of its Water Leisure Strategy, to submit applications under the terms that will apply.

Question No. 13 answered with QuestionNo. 10.
Question No. 14 answered with QuestionNo. 9.

Countryside Access.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

15 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to a recent High Court ruling against walkers on a route in Enniskerry County Wicklow; his views on the fact that a large number of other routes may be affected by this ruling; his further views on whether now that these routes will be closed to the general public, it will have an impact on local tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26940/06]

Shane McEntee

Ceist:

23 Mr. McEntee asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he had discussions with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs regarding the Wicklow High Court ruling on 19 June 2006, which could have implications for the leisure tourism industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26673/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 23 together.

Responsibility for legislation relating to public rights of way does not rest with my Department. Certain legislation bearing on public rights of way, under the Road Act 1993, is under the aegis of the Minister for Transport and, as the House is aware, the issue of public access to the countryside for recreation purposes is being dealt with by a group established by the Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Neither I nor my Department nor any Agencies under my aegis were involved in the case referred to by the Deputies and I am reluctant to get involved in commenting on its merits. I understand that the case at issue was about the alleged existence of a public right of way on a particular piece of land and that the High Court held that there was no such public right of way on two grounds:

—there was little or no evidence to support the contention that this route had been a public right of way and, in fact, the strong weight of evidence suggested that very few "outsiders" or hill-walkers ever used the route in question, and

—there is a long established principle in law that, for a public right of way to exist, the start and finish points of that way have to be on publicly accessible land. There are one or two exceptions to this rule in relation to the finishing point. In this case, however, I understand that the Court held that the route in question was, in fact, surrounded by private land and the start and finish points were not ones to which there was public access by right. It, therefore, failed a basic and long-established test for the existence of a public right of way.

I have not been advised that the judgment in question represents a departure from long-established and well-understood principles of law or has any particular implications for tourism. I have not, therefore, discussed the matter with my colleague the Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs although our two Departments continue to keep in contact on developments relating to rural tourism including access to the countryside.

For the information of the House, I understand that Fáilte Ireland will, in the very near future, launch a major new initiative in relation to the development and promotion of walking tourism, details of which will be made available on its websites.

Tourism Promotion.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

16 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to the submission from the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation to the National Development Plan that the Government needs to invest nearly €1 billion into the tourism sector; his views on this estimate; his further views on the need to spend significantly on international marketing and to develop particular tourist spots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26943/06]

Gay Mitchell

Ceist:

46 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will ensure that at least €250 million be allocated to tourism product development under the National Development Plan 2007 to 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26670/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 46 together.

I am, of course, aware of the submission from the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation in relation to the National Development Plan 2007-2013, a copy of which has been provided to my Department. Indeed, I met the Chairperson and the Chief Executive of ITIC earlier this week to discuss the submission and other issues.

Work in relation to the preparation of the next National Development Plan is being co-ordinated by a High Level Inter-Departmental Committee chaired by the Department of Finance. My Department is represented on this group which is overseeing the drafting of the Plan and the preparation of material in respect of the various economic areas involved. As part of a broad consultation process, the Department of Finance has invited submissions from the social partners, including ITIC.

Tourism is an important economic sector which has had a high level of visibility in the current and earlier such Plans. My objective is to ensure that there is appropriate provision in the next NDP to provide for the necessary future investment in marketing, product development and human resource development and training to help deliver our ambitious targets for the Tourism sector.

A good deal of preparatory work has already been carried out in relation to the Plan, including a detailed submission from Tourism Ireland on marketing while a major report on a Tourism Product Development Strategy is nearing completion by a group under the auspices of Fáilte Ireland. The precise levels of funding involved for the different areas will be determined by Government later in the year as the NDP process unfolds.

Greyhound Industry.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

17 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his Department received a copy of the PricewaterhouseCooper report, commissioned by Bord na gCon in August 2002, into alleged improprieties in the course of a development of Shelbourne Park; if his Department was aware that the terms of reference given to PWC were subsequently narrowed significantly; the action his Department has taken as a result of the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26932/06]

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

31 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his Department has received complaints in relation to issues regarding staff relations within Bord na gCon; the action he has taken or plans to take on foot of such complaints; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26935/06]

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

39 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he is satisfied that Bord na gCon has at all times complied with all EU rules and State guidelines in regard to procurement policy and appropriate corporate governance procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26933/06]

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

45 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when it is intended to appoint a new chief executive officer to Bord na gCon in view of the fact that it is almost six months since the removal of the former CEO (details supplied); if his approval is required for such an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26934/06]

Joe Costello

Ceist:

48 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism further to the receipt of the Dalton Report, his views on whether there is a need for an independent inquiry into activities of Bord na gCon not covered within Mr. Dalton’s terms of reference; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26931/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 31, 39, 45 and 48 together.

As I have stated already earlier in reply to priority questions number 1 and 2, it is my intention to fully implement the recommendations contained in the Dalton Report on Certain Matters Affecting Bord na gCon. I intend to proceed immediately to appoint a new Chairman, following which appropriate arrangements will be put in place by the Board for the early selection of a Chief Executive Officer.

Internal staff matters and the day to day business of the organisation are the direct responsibility of Bord na gCon as the statutory body responsible for the industry. However, arising from the recommendations in the Dalton Report, new standards and procedures in relation to corporate governance and internal management systems will now be enforced within the organisation.

The PricewaterhouseCooper Report referred to was commissioned by the Board and was not received by my Department. During the course of Mr Dalton's investigation a number of matters outside the scope of his investigation were drawn to Mr. Dalton's attention on the basis that they might merit investigation by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Mr. Dalton submitted these documents to my Department. Following consideration, these documents were referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General who has recently informed my Department that in order to try to establish the factual position in relation to the issues having a significant financial dimension, he has concluded that an examination by his office is warranted. However, he indicated that he would await the publication of the Dalton Report before finalising the scope of his examination. Copies of Mr Dalton's report have been provided to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

National Aquatic Centre.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

18 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding the management of the National Aquatic Centre; if a date for the hearing of the appeal by Campus Stadium Ireland Development Limited has been set; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26946/06]

The National Aquatic Centre is operated under lease given by Campus and Stadium Ireland Development Ltd. CSID issued legal proceedings for the forfeiture of the lease due to the failure of the operators to comply with their obligations under the lease. A stay has been placed on the Order and Judgment of the High Court, and the case currently awaits allocation of a date for hearing of an appeal in the Supreme Court against that Order and Judgment. It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment in advance of the Supreme Court proceedings.

Question No. 19 answered with QuestionNo. 8.

Campus and Stadium Ireland.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

20 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position in regard to the development of the Abbotstown sports campus; if he has received the inter-agency study for the site that is being undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26945/06]

In November 2005 the Government gave its assent to the commencement of phase one of the development of the national sports campus at Abbotstown. The estimated cost of the project is €119m with a 4 to 5 year delivery schedule (2006-2010). The refurbishment of the State Laboratory as the new headquarters for FAI Ireland is taking place and planning and preparation for the main development is currently in progress.

The inter agency study referred to by the Deputy is in progress and I expect that it will be delivered in the Autumn. This study, once agreed and completed will be a blueprint for the planning process under which the development of facilities at Abbotstown will take place.

Question No. 21 answered with QuestionNo. 8.

Swimming Pool Projects.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

22 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has received applications for grant aid for swimming pool developments since the current scheme closed prior to 2001; the locations by county; the way in which it is intended to deal with such applications in the absence of a new grants scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25632/06]

The Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, which is administered by my Department, provides grant aid to local authorities in respect of the capital costs of a new swimming pool, a replacement pool or the refurbishment of an existing pool. The closing date for receipt of applications under the current round of this Programme, which now involves some 57 projects, was 31 July 2000.

A further 8 projects were submitted by local authorities after the 31st July, 2000 but were not valid as they were received after the final date for submission and therefore were not processed. These projects were located in Douglas and Mitchelstown in Cork City and County respectively, Kells and Trim in Co. Meath, Roxboro in Limerick City, Portnoo in Co. Donegal and Cloghran in Co. Dublin. One replacement project in Monaghan was accepted into the Programme after the closing date, as an exceptional measure, because it had to close for safety reasons in 2001 notwithstanding the fact that it was the only local authority pool in the county.

An Expenditure Review of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme which my Department is carrying out is examining, among other things, how the programme has worked to date and what changes, if any, are required to ensure its effective and efficient delivery. On completion of this Review, the question of re-opening the programme will be considered.

Question No. 23 answered with QuestionNo. 15.

Tax Code.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

24 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to carry out a review of the tax exemption scheme for artists following the changes introduced under the Finance Bill 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26675/06]

I have no plans at this time to carry out any further review of the tax exemption scheme for artists. The scheme will continue to be of great benefit to artists in Ireland. An adjustable cap of €250,000 on annual tax-exempt earnings has been applied, but this will have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of artists, who earn well below that amount. The feedback available to me indicates that artists in general very much welcome the retention of the scheme, notwithstanding the adjustments to it.

Question No. 25 answered with QuestionNo. 7.

Departmental Reports.

John Gormley

Ceist:

26 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of publicly available reports commissioned by his Department since 2002; the key recommendations arising out of each; if these recommendations have been rolled out in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26960/06]

My Department has commissioned a total of 12 reports for publication since it was formed in June 2002 which are listed below.

Title of Report

Year

Report of the Tourism Policy Review Group: New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for Action

2003

First Progress Report of the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group

2004

Second Progress Report of the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group

2005

Third and Final Progress Report of the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group

2006

Department’s Annual Report 2002-2003

2004

Department’s Statement of Strategy 2003-2005

2003

Department’s Statement of Strategy 2005-2007

2005

Department’s Annual Report 2004

2005

Sports Capital Programme Expenditure Review

2003

Evaluation of Local Sports Partnership Programme

2005

Independent Report on certain matters affecting Bord na gCon

2006

Public Art: Per Cent for Arts Scheme — General National Guidelines 2004

2004

The above reports can be obtained from my Department's website or by contacting the Department directly.

In the case of the Report of the Tourism Policy Review group — New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for Action, progress on the implementation of its recommendations is set out in the three progress reports listed in the table and published on my Department's website.

The Departments Statements of Strategy identify a series of objectives and planned actions in the arts, sport and tourism sectors to deliver on the commitments in these areas as set out in the Agreed Programme for Government, the National Development Plan 2000-2006, "Sustaining Progress", the Social Partnership Agreement 2003-2005 and North-South cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement etc. Progress on the delivery of these objectives and actions is reported in my Department's Annual Reports which are available on the Department's website.

The Sport Capital Expenditure Review Report was approved by Government in September 2005 and the recommendations in the report across ten headings have been prioritised in my Department's Business Plan for 2006 which is also available on the website.

The implementation of the recommendations on the Evaluation of Local Sports Partnership Programme is a matter for the Irish Sports Council.

The Government approved the publication of the Independent Report on certain matters affecting Bord na gCon on 4 July 2006. I will be taking action on implementing the key recommendations made in the report.

The publication on the Per Cent for Arts Scheme — General National Guidelines 2004 provided a set of guidelines and as such did not contain recommendations for implementation.

Sports Funding.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

27 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has had meetings with the Gaelic Players Association regarding their proposed Government-funded grant scheme; if he has received representations from either the GPA or the GAA on this issue; his views on such Government grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26927/06]

I met with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) on 8th March, 2006 to discuss their proposed grant scheme for GAA players. I also met with the President of the GAA and officials on 16th May last. At both of these meetings, I indicated that this issue is, in the first instance, a matter for the governance structures within the GAA itself, to determine how best the important contribution of its own elite players should be recognised.

Performing Arts.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

28 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding the academy for the performing arts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26674/06]

I refer the Deputy to my reply of 13th October 2005 in which I stated that responsibility for the establishment of a third-level Irish Academy for the Performing Arts was transferred from the Department of Education and Science to my Department in 2003. However, no transfer of capital funding for the project occurred. Capital funding is not currently available to me to progress the development of an Irish Academy for the Performing Arts.

Tourism Industry.

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

29 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the measures that he intends to put in place to address the growing imbalance in regional distribution of tourism demand which has resulted in west coast regions having 3,298,000 fewer holiday makers, bed nights in 2004 compared with 1999 and attracting 50 per cent of all overseas holiday maker bed nights in 2005 compared to 75 per cent in 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26668/06]

CSO statistics for overseas tourism for 2005 show a very positive result both in terms of overseas numbers — up 6% (400,000 additional visitors) to almost 7 million — and revenue earnings — up almost 8% to €3.455 billion (excluding carrier receipts and cross border tourism). On both counts, we are ahead of targets for the year. As global competition intensifies and consumer preferences evolve, these results represent a very robust performance by the sector and confirm how dynamic and responsive the Irish tourism sector is. Performance to date in 2006 is very encouraging. The CSO figures for the first four months of the year show over 2 million visits to Ireland in the period — an increase of almost 13% over 2005 which is well ahead of Tourism Ireland's target of 4.9%.

It is widely acknowledged within the tourism sector that growing the pure holiday component of the overseas tourism business has proven difficult in recent years, both at a regional and a national level. In 2005, the holiday segment of all overseas travel to Ireland grew by 2.7% in revenue terms, significantly lower than the 8% overall revenue earnings growth. This clearly impacts on the holiday business at a regional level. Both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland are working to help the industry to address the issues behind this trend which is very much a global phenomenon. It is also important to emphasise that the so-called "VFR" — visiting friends or relatives — component of the overall tourism business continues to be of immense strategic importance and grew by over 17% in revenue terms in 2005.

I also wish to draw the Deputy's attention to the home market. The home holiday market is an increasingly important component of the tourism business in Ireland particularly in terms of seasonal and regional spread. Eighty-six per cent of holiday trips and 89% of holiday nights by domestic tourists are now spent outside the Dublin area. This offsets, to some extent, the relative strength of Dublin in the overseas visitors market. In 2005, expenditure on domestic tourism was up across all regions — albeit at different rates. In the West it grew by €20m which is equivalent to a 9.5% increase and offset the decrease in revenue for overseas visitors for the same period.

The fact that all regions and sectors are not benefiting to the same extent from our tourism success continues to be a matter receiving attention from my Department and the State tourism agencies as we evolve our tourism policy and programmes. I am confident, however, that the new regional tourism arrangements will enable tourism to grow in the regions to a greater extent than at present, and that the various region specific initiatives introduced this year by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland Ltd will further help to address this situation.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

30 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to recent criticisms from the chairperson of Fáilte Ireland regarding the potential danger to tourism here that would be caused by the sale of some of Aer Lingus landing slots at Heathrow Airport; if he has had discussions with the Department of Transport on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26923/06]

On 26 June last, the Chairperson of Fáilte Ireland Ms Gillian Bowler, restated the organisation's view that the maintenance of the Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow is of great importance for Irish tourism growth as Heathrow is the world's busiest airport for international passengers and one of the key conduits for long-haul visitors to Ireland.

I concur with the view that the maintenance of the Heathrow slots is of strategic importance for the further development of Irish tourism, particularly to long-haul markets, and my Department has communicated this view in the inter-Departmental fora which have examined the issue of the flotation of Aer Lingus.

Question No. 31 answered with QuestionNo. 17.

Equal Opportunities Employment.

John Gormley

Ceist:

32 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the expected impact of the decentralisation of his Department to Killarney in 2007 in terms of the numbers of persons with disabilities employed by the Department in the short term; the transfer rate of persons with disabilities from Dublin to Killarney compared with other employees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26958/06]

Currently, over 4% of staff in my Department are persons with disabilities which exceeds the 3% requirement under the Disability Act 2005. However, all staff transferring into the Department with a view to decentralising to Killarney are recruited through the Central Applications Facility (CAF) conducted by the Public Appointments Service. The protocol for assigning officers from the CAF was agreed centrally and my Department is complying with this protocol which operates largely on a seniority basis.

It is possible therefore that, in the short-term, the overall number of persons with a disability employed in my Department may fall below 3%. However, the Deputy may rest assured that, in the longer term, my Department will take all necessary steps to increase the percentage to at least comply with the requirement under the Disability Act.

Sports Capital Programme.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

33 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of applications for sports capital grants in 2005 and 2006 by county; the amount applied for in 2005 and 2006 by county; the amount allocated in 2005 and 2006 by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25631/06]

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

332 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the value of capital grants sought under the Sports Capital Programme 2006 in each county; and the value of grants awarded in each county. [27400/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 332 together.

The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, allocates funding to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The programme is advertised on an annual basis.

Applications for funding under the 2006 programme were invited through advertisements in the Press on November 27th and 28th last. The closing date for receipt of applications was January 20th 2006. A total of 1,338 applications for projects costing €670 million and seeking funding of €312 million were received before this deadline, of which 1,211 were classified as local projects and 127 as national, regional or municipal/multi-sport. Applications were evaluated against the programme's assessment criteria, which are outlined in the guidelines, terms and conditions of the programme.

I was pleased on 6th June last to announce provisional grant allocations under the 2006 programme totalling €53.745 million to 719 projects classified as local. Information on the number of applications for sports capital grants, the amounts applied for and the amounts allocated by county for both 2005 and to date in 2006 is contained in the following schedule as requested by the Deputy. The information relating to 2006 is in respect of applications classified as local only details of which were amended last month.

I intend to announce the provisional allocations under the 2006 programme for projects classified as national, regional or municipal/multi-sport in the near future.

Details of 2005 and 2006 Sports Capital funding by county

County

2005

2006 (local only)

No. of Applications

Sought

Allocated

No. of Applications

Sought

Allocated

Carlow

22

1,491,237

446,000

15

3,414,075

652,500

Cavan

20

2,696,519

785,000

26

3,730,321

1,315,000

Clare

33

3,571,094

1,356,000

28

3,399,619

1,340,000

Cork

151

34,637,133

8,172,000

143

27,137,595

6,449,500

Donegal

59

15,216,346

1,572,000

57

6,085,277

1,672,500

Dublin

268

65,161,582

15,739,419

190

38,847,477

10,959,200

Galway

100

30,634,135

5,760,000

84

15,359,521

3,333,500

Kerry

81

12,843,156

3,603,000

81

8,169,236

3,427,500

Kildare

44

11,439,604

1,550,000

28

4,248,782

1,406,500

Kilkenny

26

3,026,455

1,284,000

34

4,409,982

1,691,000

Laois

22

2,241,361

771,000

24

2,601,492

768,000

Leitrim

23

3,192,360

660,000

26

2,076,670

703,000

Limerick

59

12,483,119

3,092,000

49

5,007,556

2,119,000

Longford

19

3,593,184

499,000

15

1,777,408

551,000

Louth

42

9,178,560

1,347,000

31

2,930,624

1,144,000

Mayo

53

18,008,417

1,422,000

47

6,509,843

1,765,000

Meath

28

5,927,863

1,576,000

26

2,793,802

1,645,000

Monaghan

39

3,569,612

744,000

33

2,899,873

1,274,500

Offaly

35

6,291,964

1,260,000

25

2,177,365

869,000

Roscommon

32

3,942,171

880,000

28

3,776,258

1,098,000

Sligo

21

6,500,486

2,020,000

28

3,793,242

1,211,000

Tipperary

56

7,827,134

2,177,000

56

8,455,221

2,061,000

Waterford

39

5,869,388

1,425,000

40

7,057,015

1,642,000

Westmeath

25

6,251,948

1,305,000

19

2,180,776

747,000

Wexford

38

7,860,440

2,267,000

51

10,020,234

2,087,500

Wicklow

27

8,683,200

1,527,000

27

4,536,495

1,813,000

Totals

1,362

290,647,232

63,239,419

1,211

183,395,759

53,745,200

Tourist Accommodation.

Mary Upton

Ceist:

34 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on whether it is acceptable that hotels in Dublin, Kildare and counties surrounding the K Club in Kildare should increase rack rates by 25 percent during the period of the Ryder Cup; if so, his further views on whether there will be knock-on effect whereby local businesses put up prices accordingly; his views on whether this will damage Ireland’s image to visitors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26944/06]

The approval of hotel and guesthouse accommodation is the responsibility of Fáilte Ireland. In accordance with the Tourist Traffic Acts, which govern this area, approved accommodation providers are obliged to display their registered charges in bedrooms. These charges are also published in relevant accommodation guides. However, the upper and lower limits on accommodation charges are set by the accommodation provider who can also set charges for a number of time periods. Fáilte Ireland has no role in this regard. If a guest is charged more than the relevant upper limit there is a formal process that is followed and the matter is investigated. In practice this is very rare and the overcharge has to be refunded.

I am aware that concerns have been expressed about the risk of excessive prices being charged by certain elements of the Irish tourism and hospitality industry in the context of the Ryder Cup taking place in Ireland. The State Tourism Agencies are being particularly vigilant in this area, and in all of their dealings with the industry are taking the opportunity to encourage a commonsense approach to the pricing of our tourism products. That said, given free market forces, it is not surprising to see some increase in prices as was the case at other Ryder Cup venues. I understand, for example, that when the competition was held in the Belfry, room yields in Birmingham increased by 36.5% in the period around the competition.

My Department wrote to the Director of Consumer Affairs last November requesting that a special initiative be undertaken around the time of the Ryder Cup to ensure that price lists in restaurants and public houses are displayed prominently. The Director of Consumer Affairs has informed me that appropriate checks will be carried out.

I believe that Ireland will deliver value for money during the staging of the Ryder Cup. The vast majority of visitors will have purchased packages that have been priced now for quite some time. Nevertheless, I will continue to raise these issues, as appropriate, in my regular contact with the industry, and in the media, in the build up to the Ryder Cup.

In particular I would urge all tourism service providers to take a long-term perspective on the benefits of the event. The value of word of mouth publicity cannot be overestimated and we want our visitors to return home with glowing reports about their stay here and confirmation that the hospitality and friendliness for which we are renowned really does exist. More importantly, we want them to be able to say that the golf was excellent, that they received value for money and that they will want to come back again.

National Museum.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

35 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding the proposed extension to the National Museum at Collins Barracks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26676/06]

The proposed extension to the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks will house the Military History Exhibition. The building is on schedule to be handed over to the National Museum later this month and work will then be carried out on the mounting of the exhibition. It is planned that the exhibition will open to the public in September, 2006.

The Military History Exhibition will be the largest single exhibition ever mounted by the National Museum of Ireland and will deal with the complete story of the Irish soldier. The exhibition, consisting of nine galleries, will cover topics as diverse as 18th century battles in Ireland, garrison life in the 19th century, the Irish Wild Geese in France and America, the Irish Regiments in the British Army, as well as in World War I and World War II, the struggle for the Independence of Ireland and the evolution of the Irish Defence Forces.

Tourism Promotion.

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

36 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will appoint a successor body to the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26669/06]

I have already appointed a successor body to the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group. It is called the Tourism Strategy Implementation Group and was appointed by me on 28 May 2006. The new High Level Group will continue the important work of the Tourism Action Plan Implementation Group which completed its two-year term in March.

The full membership of the Implementation Group is as follows:

•John Travers (Chairman)

•Paul Tansey, Economist

•Margaret Jeffares, Managing Director, Les Routiers, Ireland

•Dan Flinter, ex Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland

•Nancy Moran, Moran's Seaside Farmhouse,

•Luke Moriarty, Chairman of the Moriarty Group

•Philip Furlong, Secretary General, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism

•Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland

•Paul O'Toole, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland

I addressed the inaugural meeting of the Group which took place on 28 June 2006. The press releases associated with the appointment of the Group and its first meeting are available on my Department's website http://www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie.

National Theatre.

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

37 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if, prior to the decision to locate the new Abbey Theatre on George’s Dock, the acquisition of Eden House was considered as part of a plan to redevelop the Abbey on its present site; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Eden House is for sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26936/06]

The current combined area of the Abbey and Peacock Theatres is 4950 Sq Metres. The Accommodation Brief for the new Abbey Theatre requires approximately 12,220 Sq Metres. It has long been clear that the existing site would not accommodate the requirements of the Abbey and Peacock after redevelopment. Accordingly, at my request, the Office of Public Works (OPW) investigated the suitability and feasibility of expanding the space available at the existing site by acquiring adjacent properties. OPW concluded in this context that the necessary expansion would require the acquisition of Nos 15-25 Eden Quay. This would have included Eden House (Nos 15-17).

In 2003, OPW commissioned Hamilton Osborne King to examine the feasibility of these acquisitions. This study concluded that acquiring the various interests in these properties would cost well in excess of reasonable market price and would take a considerable time to assemble. At the time of the report, there were approximately twenty-six interests in these properties on Eden Quay. Ten were investors/owner occupiers and the remaining sixteen were tenants. In addition, eight of these properties were listed buildings under the Dublin City Development Plan. This report concluded that the "most practical, economic, and timely solution to re-housing the Abbey would be to move the theatre to a pre-assembled site".

Following careful and thorough examination of a number of alternatives, the Government decided that the Abbey should be redeveloped at a site at George's Dock, which was offered free of charge for this purpose by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

Policy Directives.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

38 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his Department lays down policy priorities or guidelines to the Arts Council or other bodies or agencies which receive funding from his Department; the policy directives; if specific reference is made to a particular type or category of application or if the recipient bodies or agencies have autonomy in deciding such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26949/06]

The Arts Act 2003 provides that I, as Minister, may in relation to the performance by the Arts Council of its functions, other than those relating to funding of the arts, give a direction in writing to the Council requiring it to comply with such policies of the Minister or Government as are specified in the direction. I have never in practice used this power.

In addition, I, as Minister, may by direction in writing require the Arts Council to establish one or more Special Committees to advise it on such matters relating to the arts as are specified in the direction. Such Special Committees shall comprise:

•A Chairperson appointed from among the members of the Council by the Minister

•Four ordinary members, two appointed by the Minister and two by the Arts Council

Only one such Special Committee has been appointed to date, to advise the Arts Council on the support of the Traditional Arts. The Arts Council is statutorily independent under the Arts Act 2003 regarding its funding of the arts.

The Irish Film Board:

The functions of the Irish Film Board are set out in the Irish Film Board Act of 1980, and the Board is independent in the discharging of those functions.

The Arts Act 2003 provides that the Minister may give directions to the Arts Council requiring the Council to comply with specified policies of the Minister or of the Government. However, the Minister has not issued any such direction. The 2003 Act also provides that the Arts Council shall be independent with regard to the funding of the arts.

Cultural Institutions:

In general, the autonomous National Cultural Institutions such as the National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland operate a policy established by their Statutory Boards. However, my Department's provision of capital funding to the National Cultural Institutions is provided subject to that funding being expended in accordance with my Department's cultural priorities. Staffing in the National Cultural Institutions is of course subject to overall Government policy in relation to staff numbers.

Irish Sports Council:

The functions of the Irish Sports Council are provided for under the Irish Sports Council Act 1999 and the Minister approves their Strategy Statement every three years.

Campus and Stadium Ireland Ltd:

Campus and Stadium Ireland Ltd is in receipt of funding from my Department. I have met the Board of CSID on a number of occasions to discuss policy issues and give directives for example asking the Board to do the development plan for Abbotstown.

The National Sports Campus Development Authority Bill 2006 which has recently been considered by the Oireachtas sets out the functions of the National Sports Campus Development Authority that will replace CSID. The Bill provides that the Minister may give general policy directions to the Authority.

Fáilte Ireland:

The role of Fáilte Ireland is set out in Section 8 of the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003. The company has full autonomy in undertaking the functions conferred on it by the Dáil.

National Policy on Tourism is set out in "New Horizons for Irish Tourism — An agenda for Action" which was presented to Government and published in September 2003. In keeping with the Government's policy on partnership the agenda was drawn up by a group comprising of experts from across the Tourism industry including the chief executives of Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland and the Chairperson of Fáilte Ireland. In drawing up the policy the group met with 17 key representative groups across the industry,

The Tourism Strategy Implementation Group monitors progress on the implementation of the policy. The Group advises me on the implementation of the recommendations of the New Horizons report and responds to evolving issues as they arise in the course of the development of the tourism industry in a dynamic international context. It works with the tourism industry and other Government Departments and Agencies to address a number of key areas. Both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland Ltd are represented on the Group.

Both my officials and I regularly meet with the management of Fáilte Ireland to review implementation of Tourism Policy and to discuss issues relevant to the Industry and work with each other to ensure Ireland achieves its full tourism potential. My department keeps Fáilte Ireland fully informed of Government policy and decisions on matters pertaining to Corporate Governance and the general management of State agencies."

Tourism Ireland:

Tourism Ireland does not administer any grant schemes. As a North-South Body, it receives funding from both Irish and British Exchequer and policy direction is provided jointly through the North-South Ministerial Council. In practice, this means that my Ministerial counterpart in Northern Ireland and I jointly approve Tourism Ireland's 3 year Corporate and Annual Business Plans as well as our respective funding contributions to support delivery of these plans. The Agreed Programme for Government provides very specific policy direction for Tourism Ireland's activities. In addition, National Development Plan contains a specific Tourism Marketing Measure in the Productive Sector Operational Programme which describes the objectives, targets and activities which can be supported. More recently, the New Horizons Report on Irish Tourism provides a very clear policy backdrop to Tourism Ireland's marketing activities — containing as it does, very specific recommendations for action in the tourism marketing area.

Question No. 39 answered with QuestionNo. 17.
Question No. 40 answered with QuestionNo. 7.

Tourism Promotion.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

41 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the timeframe for the merging of Regional Tourism Authorities with Fáilte Ireland in view of the refusal by the northwest RTA to wind up the company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26965/06]

I refer the Deputy to my earlier reply to priority question number 4.

Question No. 42 answered with QuestionNo. 9.

National Conference Centre.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

43 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if the provisional preferred tenderer has been appointed as preferred tenderer for the provision of the National Conference Centre; the timeframe for the remaining stages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26677/06]

Engagement between the Contracting Authority, the Office of Public Works, and the Provisional Preferred Tenderer, Spencer Dock International Conference Centre Ltd, in accordance with the competition process, is continuing. As I previously informed the House, most recently on 31 May last, these negotiations are detailed and complex and, by their nature, time consuming. Nevertheless, I am assured that the Contracting Authority is pressing to have them concluded as soon as possible.

Assuming that these negotiations prove successful, the next step will be the appointment of the Provisional Preferred Tenderer as Preferred Tenderer. During the Preferred Tenderer phase, the Preferred Tenderer will develop and provide the full range of project documents, which will require review and approval by the Contracting Authority. I look forward to the timely completion of the next stages and hope to be in a position to bring the matter to Government for final decision in the coming months.

Subject to the successful completion of the remaining stages of the procurement process and assuming no unexpected developments, I would hope that construction of the National Conference Centre would begin next year and that the Centre would be operational during 2009.

Sports Capital Programme.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

44 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the criteria by which capital sports funding is allocated to local sports clubs and facilities around the country; if the geographic location of the sports club or facility is taken into account when the allocation is made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26930/06]

The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, allocates funding to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The programme is advertised on an annual basis.

All applications received under the sports capital programme are assessed on an individual basis by officials in the sports unit of my Department in accordance with a detailed set of assessment criteria as specified in the guidelines, terms and conditions for the programme, which accompany the application form for the programme. Following the assessment process, each application is given its order of priority within its own county.

The assessment process takes into account factors such as the existing level of facilities in an area, the number and quality of the applications received, the amount of funding being sought by each applicant and the strategic positioning of major facilities that may be required as well as the most recent Census of Population figures. Every effort is made to achieve a balanced geographical spread of funds throughout the country, while also affording priority to projects in areas of social and economic disadvantage.

The criteria could be summarised as covering the following:

•the need to achieve an equitable geographical spread of funds and an equitable spread of funds among different sports and community groups;

•the extent to which projects increase active participation and result in improved standards of sport;

•the financial viability of the project;

•the extent to which applicants have consulted with other clubs, community groups, schools, the Local Authority and the National Governing Bodies

in order to prioritise proposed improvements and facilities. Highest priority is afforded to projects in disadvantaged areas aimed at increasing participation. High priority projects include those which are essential or integral to sports participation or performance, e.g. pitch development, floodlighting, changing rooms and showers.

In relation to the 2006 sports capital programme, a total of 1,338 applications were received nationally, of which 1,211 were for projects classified as local and 127 as non-local, that is, projects which were categorised as national, regional or municipal and multi-sport.

I recently announced provisional grant allocations under the 2006 Programme in relation to the local applications totalling €53.745 million to 719 projects and I will be announcing the provisional allocations for the non-local projects in the near future.

Question No. 45 answered with QuestionNo. 17.
Question No. 46 answered with QuestionNo. 16.
Question No. 47 answered with QuestionNo. 10.
Question No. 48 answered with QuestionNo. 17.

General Register Office.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

49 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the implementation of the Civil Registration Act 2004, with particular reference to the creation of two non-statutory advisory committees to which a commitment was given to establish when the Act was commenced. [27463/06]

Statutory responsibility for the administration of the Civil Registration Service in Ireland rests with an tArd-Chláraitheoir (Registrar-General). I have made inquiries of an tArd-Chláraitheoir regarding the matters raised by the Deputy and he advises as follows: The Civil Registration Service has been engaged in a major programme of modernisation in recent years, the main features of which are:

—the capture and storage in electronic format of all historical paper records from 1845 to date;

—the design, development and implementation of a new computerised registration system;

—organisational reform and

—reform of the legislation governing Civil Registration to underpin the delivery of a modernised service to meet the needs of a modern society and to facilitate the wider eGovernment agenda.

The reform of the legislation has been completed and the Civil Registration Act, 2004 now provides the statutory basis for the administration of the service. The various sections of the Act are being commenced on a phased basis and progress to date includes the commencement in December 2005 of Parts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8 of the Act, which relate to the administration of the service and the civil registration of births, stillbirths and deaths.

Before the outstanding provisions of the Act can be commenced, a substantial body of work needs to be completed. Currently, the requirements for the commencement of the marriage provisions are being addressed. This entails a significant amount of work including drafting and publication of regulations, guidelines and detailed procedures; establishment of a register of solemnisers in consultation with religious bodies; establishment of a register of approved venues for civil marriages; and the further development of the computer system to facilitate the administration of the new marriage provisions introduced in the Act.

A dedicated research facility has been established in Dublin to cater for the needs of members of the public and genealogists wishing to carry out family research. Plans are currently being made to relocate the research room to a new purpose-built facility in Dublin city-centre and it is intended that this facility will include electronic access to records. This will greatly improve services to genealogists and other members of the public in carrying out family research. It is intended that the relevant organisations will be consulted as part of this process.

At the moment, it is vital that all available resources are devoted to working towards the commencement of the remaining provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004 and that the processes and procedures established by the provisions commenced in December 2005 are allowed to develop fully prior to review.

With regard to the creation of the two non-statutory advisory committees on civil registration and family research issues, the Deputy may be aware that it has been decided to transfer the functions of the General Register Office from my Department to the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Accordingly, the position in relation to the establishment of these committees will be reviewed in the context of that Department's structures and frameworks in relation to customer consultation and consultative panels.

Feedback on all aspects of the Civil Registration System is received by an tArd-Chláraitheoir both directly, as a result of the Office's constant interaction with the public through it's Public Research Facility, located at Joyce House in Dublin, and with members of the public, their legal representatives and various groups having an interest in the work of the Office, and indirectly through monthly meetings with Superintendent Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, who are responsible for the direct delivery of registration services to members of the public. Generally speaking, feedback from members of the public, their legal representatives and genealogists in relation to the services provided is positive. Processes and procedures for dealing with the public are kept under review and revised as necessary within the statutory framework.

I should like to assure the Deputy that the General Register Office is fully committed, in line with the key principles of Quality Customer Service, which are enshrined in my Department's Customer Charter and in line with customer expectations, to the development and provision of an equitable, high quality, customer friendly and increasingly efficient service to those who wish to avail of its services and that staff at its Offices strive at all times to ensure that these principles are adhered to.

Disabled Drivers.

John Deasy

Ceist:

50 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of primary medical certificates applications received in each of the past five years for the disabled driver passenger tax concessions scheme; the number of these applications that were refused; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27556/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Adoption Services.

Damien English

Ceist:

51 Mr. English asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if there are plans to make changes to the adoption laws or procedures for both Irish adoptions and foreign adoptions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27673/06]

Adoptions in Ireland commenced on 1 January 1953 with the enactment of the Adoption Act 1952. This Act has been amended six times since 1952-in 1964, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1991 and 1998. Over this period adoption in Ireland has undergone major change. In 1996, Ireland signed the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. Ratification of the Convention requires legislative amendment and the designation of a Central Authority.

A consultation process with people affected by adoption and working in that field was undertaken in the second half of 2003 at the request of the Minister for Children. This included consideration of legislative proposals relating to the ratification of the Hague Convention and issues relating to adoption information and post adoption contact. The Bill currently being prepared will provide, inter alia, for the creation of the Adoption Authority (replacing the Adoption Board) as the Central Authority required under the terms of the Convention to oversee the implementation of the Convention in effecting intercountry adoptions. The Bill will also include miscellaneous provisions concerned with domestic adoption arrangements including putting current administrative information and tracing arrangements on a statutory footing.

The Heads of Bill on the Adoption (Hague Convention Adoption Authority and Miscellaneous) Bill are currently being drafted in the Parliamentary Counsel's Office. It is anticipated that a Bill will be published in Autumn 2006.

Child Care Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

52 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of places being provided under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme in June 2006 compared to the number in 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28077/06]

As the Deputy will be aware I now have responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 and the follow on programme the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010, which are being implemented by the newly established Office of the Minister for Children.

The number of new places created under the Programme is not yet available for the period requested by the Deputy. However, I have set out in the following table the figure for the most recent period available, to end December 2005, for the total number of new child care places created up to that point as well as the projected number of places to be created on the basis of the funding approved over the same period. I have also provided similar figures for the periods ended December 2004, 2003 and 2002 for comparative purposes.

Period to end December

2002

2003

2004

2005

Actual number of new places created

8,063

18,320

24,636

28,852

Projected number of new places being created

20,894

27,327

33,321

41,030

The deputy will please note that the original target for the Programme was the creation of an additional 28,402 new child care places. This target was revised upwards at the mid term point following the early success of the Programme and now stands at 31,332 new places.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

53 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the extent of her Department’s responsibility for child care; if there have been any changes in allocation of responsibilities between Departments, Ministers and Ministers of State in the area of child care in the past year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28078/06]

The Office of the Minister for Children was established in accordance with the Government decision of 7th December, 2005 to place the interests of children at the heart of Government and to build on the successes already achieved in the context of the National Children's Strategy. The Office is an integral part of the Department of Health and Children. The responsibilities of the new office comprise the following: the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme — EOCP (transferred from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform); the new National Childcare Investment Programme which was announced in Budget 2006 as part of the new National Childcare Strategy for the next 5 years; the programmes and activities of the former National Children's Office; policy and legislative work on Child Welfare and Protection (Department of Health and Children); Implementing the Children Act (2001).

The new Youth Justice Service of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Science will be co-located at the new office. The purpose in bringing these various responsibilities together is to maximize the co-ordination of policies for children and young persons and to provide a strong focus at the highest level. The Office of the Minister for Children also maintains a general strategic oversight of bodies with responsibility for developing and delivering children's services.

As Minister for Children, I hold delegated responsibilities in the Departments of Health & Children, Education & Science, and Justice, Equality & Law Reform for those areas appropriate to my brief. In addition, I attend meetings of the Government. This gives a strong voice for the interests of children and young persons at Cabinet level.

Health Services.

John Gormley

Ceist:

54 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps she has taken to establish a National Diabetes Register. [27275/06]

John Gormley

Ceist:

55 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will make a commitment to establishing a National Diabetes Strategy. [27276/06]

John Gormley

Ceist:

57 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the estimated figure and percentage of national health expenditure that is spent on diabetes care and care of diabetes related illness. [27278/06]

John Gormley

Ceist:

112 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will report on diabetes services in Cork, recent improvements and planned improvements in the next six months. [27569/06]

John Gormley

Ceist:

113 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department collected data on regional disparities in diabetes services; and the information that this shows. [27570/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 55, 57, 112 and 113 together.

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

John Gormley

Ceist:

56 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the measures that she is taking to slow the growth in type two diabetes. [27277/06]

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all cases and affects mainly middle aged or older people. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing due to a number of factors including the aging population and lifestyle factors such as obesity. It is estimated that there are approximately 140,000 people with diabetes in Ireland. The majority of patients, particularly those with type 2 diabetes, receive their care in the primary care setting. In this setting, there are obvious benefits of convenience, continuity of care and immediate access.

Diabetes has been acknowledged as a priority issue and the 2006 HSE Service Plan has identified that current policy guidelines will be translated into specific action plans with the initial focus on the development of a national diabetes service framework. The Department of Health and Children is currently implementing a number of strategies, the health promotion aspect of which is of direct benefit to diabetics. These strategies include the Cardiovascular Health Strategy, the Health Promotion Strategy and more recently the Obesity Strategy. The HSE is treating the matter as a priority. It is currently considering the report of the National Diabetes Working Group and is putting in place a structure to implement its recommendations.

Question No. 57 answered with QuestionNo. 54.

John Gormley

Ceist:

58 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of major incidents that have been declared in hospitals between 30 June 2005 and 30 June 2006; and the reasons for same, in each case. [27279/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

59 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she accepts that persons with mental health problems and their families have the right to participate in all of the decision making that affects them on a personal, local, regional and national level. [27280/06]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

61 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she accepts that everyone needs the highest attainable standard of mental health including the best possible measures to promote their mental well-being and to prevent mental ill health; and the plans that will be implemented in 2006. [27282/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 61 together.

As the Deputy may be aware, the future direction and delivery of all aspects of our mental health services were considered in the context of the work of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy. The Government published the Group's Report entitled "A Vision for Change" on 24th January 2006. Extensive consultation with service users, carers and service providers informed "A Vision for Change". This included formal submissions, questionnaires, public meetings and an in-depth survey of service users. The findings from the consultative process were published in two separate reports: "Speaking Your Mind" and "What We Heard".

The Report proposes a holistic view of mental illness and recommends an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health problems. It proposes a person-centred treatment approach which addresses each of these elements through an integrated care plan, reflecting best practice, and evolved and agreed with service users and their carers. Special emphasis is given to the need to involve service users and their families and carers at every level of service provision. The Report also recommends that interventions should be aimed at maximising recovery from mental illness, and build on the resources within service users and within their immediate social networks to allow them to achieve meaningful integration and participation in community life.

The recommendations in the Report have been accepted by Government as the basis for the future development of our mental health services. In this connection, an additional €26.2 million was made available this year to the Health Service Executive for the further development of our mental health services, bringing the total revenue spend to in excess of €800 million in 2006. The Health Service Executive has recently established an Implementation Group to ensure that the recommendations are realised in a timely and coordinated manner. It is chaired by the National Care Group Manager for Mental Health. In addition, I have established an independent monitoring group to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in the Report.

Youth Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

60 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will support the Tramore Youth and Family Project, Tramore, County Waterford in their efforts to employ another member of staff in order to manage and co-ordinate the services and programmes in their youth cafe. [27281/06]

My Office is currently developing a recreation policy for young people aged 12-18 in conjunction with a number of Government Departments and agencies directly involved in the provision of recreation facilities and programmes for young people. The policy will be available this year. It is intended that the issue of youth cafes will be dealt with in the policy. The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 61 answered with QuestionNo. 59.

Health Services.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

62 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a general practitioner (details supplied) in County Mayo will be replaced; and the position in this recruitment process. [27284/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for GP contracts under the General Medical Services Scheme. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

63 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called for an ultra sound scan. [27285/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this case investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

64 Mr. Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has been told by Cork University Hospital that they will not get an out-patient appointment for three years and therefore does not qualify for surgery under the National Treatment Fund. [27286/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

65 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3 was denied a mobility allowance for people with disabilities; and to give them the maximum advice and support. [27288/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

66 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 28 February 2006, in relation to the death by suicide of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and the outcome of the Mental Health Commission Report on the circumstances of this death. [27291/06]

I am informed that the Mental Health Commission expects to be in a position to furnish me with a review of the circumstances surrounding the death of the named person shortly.

Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

67 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick was refused application for work to be completed to their house under special housing aid for the elderly. [27292/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for the provision of the Housing Aid Scheme for the Elderly, on behalf of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

68 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when central heating will be installed for a person (details supplied) in County Limerick under the special housing aid for the elderly scheme. [27293/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for the provision of the Housing Aid Scheme for the Elderly, on behalf of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

John Perry

Ceist:

69 Mr. Perry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of home helps employed in County Sligo and north Leitrim for the years 2003 to 2006; the directive she has issued in relation to the privatisation of the Irish home help services: if she or her officials has had negotiations with a service (details supplied) regarding setting up operations here; the priority steps she has taken to provide proper resourcing to the homehelp service; if she will give a firm commitment that it will not be privatised as there are many hardworking home helps in this country who feel they are not being given a fair deal by the Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27294/06]

The number of home helps employed in County Sligo and north Leitrim for the years 2003 to 2006 relates to the management of human resources which is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

As the Deputy will be aware, additional funding of €150m was allocated to Services for Older People/Palliative Care in the 2006 Budget. Of this, an extra €33m was allocated to the Home Help Service, €30m of which is provided for 2006 and will deliver 1.75m home help hours. €55m was also allocated to home care packages (€30m for 2006 and a further €25m for 2007), with an additional 2,000 packages to be delivered by the end of this year.

Home care, including the home help service, is delivered through the Health Service Executive in partnership with a range of providers including the Health Service Executive itself, voluntary groups and the private sector. This has long since been a policy in relation to home care. There are no plans to privatise the home help service or give priority to private companies over public or other home care providers, and no directive has been issued in this regard. An initial meeting took place between officials from the Department and the company concerned, regarding the provision of home help services, and this company was directed to liaise with the Health Service Executive.

The most important factor in delivering home care and home help is not who provides the service, but that an appropriate level of service is delivered in as flexible a manner as possible which is highly responsive to the real needs of the individual, and there is no reason why private providers should not work in partnership with the Health Service Executive to this end, as they have been doing in the past and continue to do.

Mental Health Services.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

70 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if an action plan has been put in place to progress the issues identified in the Report of the Working Group on the Role of Psychotherapy in the Health Service including exploration of issues relating to the development of an appropriate model of service. [27295/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

71 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the details of continuing care guidelines in respect of consideration by the department of medicine for the elderly in their examination of request for continuing care at St. Ita’s and Camillus Hospital, Limerick. [27296/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

72 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a schedule of works promised to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo under the special housing aid for the elderly scheme in January 2006 will be carried out. [27297/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for the provision of the Housing Aid Scheme for the Elderly, on behalf of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

73 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will expedite a response to an application under the housing aid for the elderly scheme in the name of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; the timeframe for a decision in the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27298/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for the provision of the Housing Aid Scheme for the Elderly, on behalf of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

74 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding adjournment debate of 6 April 2006 in relation to community child care groups funding in West Limerick and the need for increased resources to ensure that the community child care groups from Kilcolman, Newcastle West, Broadford and Rathkeale are in a position to provide the necessary service in the constituency. [27299/06]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 (EOCP) and the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP), which are being implemented by the newly established Office of the Minister for Children.

The four projects referred to by the Deputy have been approved a total of € 4.5 million in capital grant assistance. These approvals are subject to further development of the proposals and external appraisal by a building specialist. All four groups have been in contact with and are receiving support from Limerick County Childcare Committee. I understand that they are working together to reduce the costs of their projects. I have also met with representatives from the Groups and discussed how they might further progress their projects.

I am advised that two of the projects in question have submitted applications for additional funding and these requests are currently under appraisal. Each application undergoes a thorough assessment by Pobal, formerly known as Area Development Management Ltd., who administers the Programme. Following these assessments, applications are considered by the Programme Appraisal Committee, before a decision is made regarding funding. The Groups will be informed of the outcome of their request for additional funding in due course.

Medical Cards.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

75 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [27300/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Suicide Incidence.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

76 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of suicides by gender per 100,000 in the Health Service Executive regional areas and county for each of the years 2002 to 2005. [27301/06]

Dan Neville

Ceist:

77 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of deaths by suicide by county, gender and age group for each of the years 2002 to 2005. [27302/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 77 together.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the number of registered deaths by suicide by county and gender for the years 2002 to 2005 is as follows: Deaths from Suicide classified by year, county of residence of deceased and gender

2002

County

Total

Male

Female

Carlow

3

3

0

Cavan

10

8

2

Clare

16

15

1

Cork

62

46

16

Donegal

20

17

3

Dublin

103

77

26

Galway

26

23

3

Kerry

13

11

2

Kildare

21

19

2

Kilkenny

11

11

0

Laois

6

6

0

Leitrim

7

5

2

Limerick

30

22

8

Longford

4

2

2

Louth

14

10

4

Mayo

18

16

2

Monaghan

4

4

0

Meath

19

13

6

Offaly

11

11

0

Roscommon

4

4

0

Sligo

4

3

1

Tipperary

22

19

3

Waterford

12

8

4

Westmeath

6

6

0

Wexford

17

15

2

Wicklow

15

13

2

Total

478

387

91

2003

County

Total

Male

Female

Carlow

6

4

2

Cavan

5

4

1

Clare

15

9

6

Cork

80

56

24

Donegal

19

13

6

Dublin

107

77

30

Galway

26

22

4

Kerry

19

16

3

Kildare

13

12

1

Kilkenny

13

12

1

Laois

3

2

1

Leitrim

0

0

0

Limerick

28

24

4

Longford

2

2

0

Louth

14

12

2

Mayo

12

10

2

Monaghan

13

12

1

Meath

16

15

1

Offaly

11

7

4

Roscommon

3

2

1

Sligo

7

7

0

Tipperary

25

16

9

Waterford

14

10

4

Westmeath

9

8

1

Wexford

22

20

2

Wicklow

15

14

1

Total

497

386

111

2004

County

Total

Male

Female

Carlow

6

5

1

Cavan

9

7

2

Clare

14

8

6

Cork

69

51

18

Donegal

18

15

3

Dublin

104

81

23

Galway

15

12

3

Kerry

21

17

4

Kildare

13

13

0

Kilkenny

10

9

1

Laois

3

2

1

Leitrim

4

3

1

Limerick

25

20

5

Longford

5

3

2

Louth

12

8

4

Mayo

11

8

3

Monaghan

8

7

1

Meath

24

20

4

Offaly

12

8

4

Roscommon

1

1

0

Sligo

10

8

2

Tipperary

17

12

5

Waterford

16

12

4

Westmeath

7

6

1

Wexford

11

10

1

Wicklow

12

10

2

Total

457

356

101

2005

County

Total

Male

Female

Carlow

8

6

2

Cavan

11

10

1

Clare

15

12

3

Cork

53

46

7

Donegal

12

9

3

Dublin

101

79

22

Galway

26

20

6

Kerry

12

8

4

Kildare

19

17

2

Kilkenny

7

6

1

Laois

6

6

0

Leitrim

6

5

1

Limerick

16

13

3

Longford

4

3

1

Louth

7

6

1

Mayo

11

10

1

Monaghan

10

9

1

Meath

13

11

2

Offaly

8

6

2

Roscommon

5

4

1

Sligo

3

2

1

Tipperary

23

20

3

Waterford

13

10

3

Westmeath

12

10

2

Wexford

13

12

1

Wicklow

17

13

4

Total

431

353

78

Source: Central Statistics Office.

The number of registered suicides by age for each of the years 2002 to 2005 is as follows:

Age Group

2002

2003

2004

2005

1-4

0

0

0

0

5-14

3

4

2

3

15-24

105

112

93

80

25-34

127

91

94

94

35-44

77

107

98

90

45-54

74

80

79

80

55-64

52

63

61

44

65-74

28

23

21

29

75+

12

17

9

11

Total

478

497

457

431

Source: Central Statistics Office

In relation to the other information requested by the Deputy, I have asked the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) to investigate the matter and to reply to the Deputy directly.

Mental Health Services.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

78 Mr. Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the application in full of the Mental Health Act 2001; and if she will make a statement on a delay in introducing all provisions of the Act. [27303/06]

The Mental Health Act 2001 provides a modern framework within which people who have a mental disorder and require treatment or protection can be cared for and treated. It puts in place mechanisms by which the standards, care and treatment in mental health services can be monitored, inspected and regulated. Sections 1 to 5, 7 and 31 to 55 inclusive were commenced on the 5 April 2002. The commencement of the other sections of the Act was delayed due to protracted negotiations with the consultants' representative bodies which concluded earlier this year. My Department, the Mental Health Commission and the Health Service Executive are preparing for the commencement of the remaining sections of the Act which will take place later this year.

Tuberculosis Incidence.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

79 Ms Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will provide information on the incidence of tuberculosis in each of the past 10 years; the number of isolation beds available for public patients diagnosed with tuberculosis and their location; and if there are guidelines or protocols in place in respect of the treatment of such patients in order to minimise the possibility of spreading the disease. [27348/06]

The incidence of TB in Ireland has declined dramatically since its peak at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) monitors rates of TB in Ireland on an ongoing basis and identifies any increases in rates or clusters of the disease. According to data provided by the HPSC TB notifications in Ireland between 1991 and 2003 are as shown in the following table.

Year

Number of TB Notifications

1991

640

1992

604

1993

598

1994

524

1995

458

1996

434

1997

416

1998

424

1999

469

2000

395

2001

381

2002

408

2003

407

2004

437

*Figures for 2004 are provisional.

The Health Service Executive has advised that there are 3 negative pressure rooms fully operational at St James's since 2 April 2006. They have also advised that the development of additional beds will be dealt with as a priority item in the context of the Capital Programme for 2007.

The Health Act 1947 and the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 (as amended) provide the legislative basis for the control of infectious diseases, including Tuberculosis (TB), in Ireland. My Department's strategy in relation to the prevention and treatment of TB is guided by the recommendations of the "Report of the Working Party on Tuberculosis" (1996) which covers a wide range of issues including epidemiology, surveillance, screening, preventative therapy, clinical management and laboratory diagnosis. Responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations rests with the Health Service Executive. As recommended in the Report, a permanent committee — the National Tuberculosis Committee — was established to advise on a detailed strategy for the control and management of TB. The Committee meets when necessary to review all relevant issues.

Child Care Services.

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

80 Mr. Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when an application for grant aid for Montessori preschool by a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be determined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27358/06]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 (EOCP) and the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010, which are being implemented by the newly established Office of the Minister for Children. With regard to the application for capital grant assistance under the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 referred to by the Deputy, I understand the person in question submitted an application for funding recently through Westmeath County Childcare Committee.

I understand from enquiries I have made that this application for funding has been received by Pobal, formerly known as Area Development Management Ltd. who administer the Programme. Each application undergoes a thorough assessment by Pobal to ensure that it meets the criteria of the Programme. All applications are processed as speedily as possible. Following this assessment, the application will be considered by the Programme Appraisal Committee, before a decision is made regarding funding and the applicant in question will be informed of the outcome in due course.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

81 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a service (details supplied) was discontinued in County Mayo; when this service was last provided; the plans of the Health Service Executive to reintroduce this service; her plans to introduce a national screening programme in view of the obvious benefits of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27372/06]

I wish to see the Irish Cervical Screening Programme (ICSP) rolled out nationally by 2008, based on an affordable model and in line with international best practice. Significant preparatory work is well under way involving the introduction of new and improved cervical tests, improved quality assurance training and the preparation of a national population register. An additional €9m is available to the Executive for cancer services development in 2006, including the continuation of preparations for the roll out.

As part of my response to the Strategy for Cancer Control, I recently announced my intention to establish a National Cancer Screening Board to amalgamate BreastCheck and the ICSP to deliver both programmes nationally. This will maximise the expertise in both programmes, ensure improved efficiency and develop a single governance model for cancer screening. The plan is to have cervical screening managed as a national call/recall programme via effective governance structures that provide overall leadership and direction, in terms of quality assurance, accountability and value for money. All elements of the programme, call/recall, smear taking, laboratories and treatment services must be quality assured, organised and managed to deliver a single integrated service.

The Deputy's questions in relation to services in Co. Mayo relate to the management and delivery of health and personal, social services, which are currently the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the matters raised.

Health Services.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

82 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will carry out an audit into the way that children are assessed and deemed eligible or otherwise by the Health Service Executive for orthodontic treatment; her plans to review the assessment process in order that people who are dissatisfied with the initial assessment could get a second opinion from another orthodontic consultant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27369/06]

The Deputy's question regarding the way that children are assessed and deemed eligible for orthodontic treatment relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

The aim of my Department is to promote the development of the treatment capacity of orthodontics in a sustainable way over the longer term. Given the potential level of demand for orthodontic services, the provision of those services will continue to be based on prioritisation of cases based on treatment need — as happens under the existing guidelines. These guidelines were issued in 1985 and are intended to enable the Health Service Executive, to identify in a consistent way those in greatest need and to commence timely treatment for them. My Department has no plans at present to review these guidelines.

Non-Governmental Agencies.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

83 Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the non-governmental agencies or organisations her Department has provided funding to in 2004, 2005, and 2006; the amount of funding provided to each in each year; the number of applications for funding submitted to her Department in total; the number of these applications which were refused; the reason for same; the percentage of her Department’s overall annual budget such funding equates to; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27380/06]

In total, 203 applications for National Lottery Funds were received by my Department in 2004, of which 105 applications were not approved. €3.631m was paid out by my Department under the National Lottery discretionary grant scheme in 2004. Details of the amounts paid by my Department to each organisation are set out in the following table.

TABLE 1

Organisation

Paid 2004

Project

Age Action Ireland Ltd., Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2

43,791

Towards the cost of Positive Ageing Week

Aisling Group/Bradan Day Programme, Navan, Co. Meathg

50,000

Towards the cost of sustaining the services provided at Bradan House by two full-time staff

Alpha One Foundation, RCSI Building, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9

20,000

Towards the cost of the Second International Congress for Patients, Dublin, 8-10 October 2004

Alzheimer Day and Home Care, Adare, Co. Limerick

20,000

Towards the cost of a conservatory extension; development of the garden and a new office for the home care supervisor

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (Mid West Region), Limerick

40,000

Towards the cost of replacement of the minibus/ambulance

Askea Day Care Centre, Askea, Carlow

150,000

Towards the cost of providing a day care centre for elderly and providing support facilities for people with multiple sclerosis

The Association for Severely and Profoundly Mentally Handicapped, COPE Foundation, Montenotte, Cork

62,202

Towards the cost of the summer scheme in August 2004 for 25 special class pupils of St. Paul’s Special Class, Montenotte, Cork

Asthma Society of Ireland, Eden Quay, Dublin 1

9,306

Towards the cost of a nationwide survey of second level schools to gauge the incidence and awareness of asthma

Aware, Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

30,000

Towards the cost of developing the helpline service to include an e-mail response facility for those in need of help and support

Ballincollig Senior Citizens Club Ltd. t/a Westgate Foundation, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of various programmes and projects

Ballinlough Community Association, Cork

30,000

Towards the cost of the refurbishment of the meals on wheels kitchen to meet the current health and safety standards; the fitting of a smoke system; and painting of the hall

Ballybane Active Retirement Association, Galway

5,000

Towards various costs

The Bereaved by Suicide Foundation, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

50,000

Towards the cost of ongoing operational costs for the national suicide helpline and counselling service

Brothers of Charity Services, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon

40,000

Towards the cost of the transport of service users

Cahir Day Care Centre Ltd., Cahir, Co. Tipperary

50,000

Towards the cost of the completion of the day care centre buillding

Cappoquin & District Community Day Care Association, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford

8,248

Towards the cost of refurbishment of the centre

Caring for Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

30,000

Towards the cost of the 13th annual conference

Carnew Community Centre, Carnew, Co. Wicklow

100,000

Towards the cost of an extension to the day centre

Carrigoran House, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare

60,000

Towards the cost of an 18-20 seater, wheelchair accessible bus

Cashel na Cor Learning Disability Association, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

60,000

Towards the cost of the construction of a lift shaft and stairs at the north side of the building to provide access to the first floor in order to refurbish same

Castlelyons Community Centre Management Committee, Fermoy, Co. Cork

6,000

Towards the cost of the conversion of an old sweet shop and office into a family room/sitting room

Centre for Disability Studies, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4

5,000

Towards the cost of a multidisciplinary entry-level text aimed at professionals, students and advocates involved in intellectural disabilities

Charleville Sheltered Housing Services, Charleville, Co. Cork

63,000

Towards the cost of the provision of a new catering kitchen, a general meeting/activity room and a dining room

Clarecare, Ennis, Co. Clare

35,000

Towards the cost of an extension to the day care centre building in Miltown Malbay

The Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Ireland, Co. Dublin

4,500

Towards the cost of printing 4,000 copies each of 10 information leaflets

Clifton Convalescent Home, Montenotte, Cork

140,000

Towards the cost of updating the existing facilities and infrastructure to facilitate male patients

Club 91, Cloncallow, Ballymahon, Co. Longford

4,000

Towards the cost of the weekly running of the club, payment of rent, insurance, bus fares, outings and the purchase of equipment

Conna Community Council Housing for the Elderly Association Ltd., Co. Cork

54,024

Towards the cost of the purchase of a bus that includes a lift which is suitable to transport the elderly to and from the social satellite

The Counselling Centre, Fr. Matthew Street, Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of services for clients who are on prescribed medication because of difficulties in dealing with depression or anxiety

Cystinosis Foundation Ireland (CFI), Blackrock, Co, Dublin

30,000

Towards the cost of the research project to be undertaken at the University of Aberdeen to synthesise, characterise and biologically evaluate novel pro drugs for the treatment of cystinosis

Department of Medical Gerontology, Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24

15,000

Towards the cost of the William Stokes Summer School on Medical Gerontology

Diabetes Federation of Ireland, Tralee, Co. Kerry

13,000

Towards the set-up costs of the Southwest Regional Resource and Information Centre

Donoughmore, Knockea, Roxboro Senior Citizens Club, Ballysheedy, Co. Limerick

4,000

Towards various costs

Drumcollogher & District Respite Care Centre, Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick

50,000

Towards the cost of a separate sitting room for the gentlemen

Drumcor and Community Active Age Group, Cavan, Co. Cavan

50,000

Towards the cost of the provision and installation of full kitchen facilities

Dublin Aids Alliance, Parnell Square, Dublin 1

6,500

Towards the cost of production and distribution of information cards and a 2004 calendar/date book

Dun Laoghaire Active Retirement Association, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

1,880

Towards the cost of bowling mats

Dun Laoghaire Lions Club, c/o Blackrock, Co. Dublin

5,500

Towards the purchase of ECG machines in aid of St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

Elphin Social Services Ltd., Elphin, Co. Roscommon

20,000

Towards the purchase of a 15 seater mini-bus

Enniscorthy Branch of the Irish Red Cross, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

20,000

Towards the purchase of a new ambulance

Eurochild Internatinal Project (CWPC Ltd.), MacCurtain Street, Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of providing workshops for children to allow them to focus on alternatives to video games and TV

Family Life Centre, St. Brigid’s, Cabinteely, Dublin 18

20,000

Towards the cost of financing and subsidising the various programmes on an ongoing basis

Finglas Old Folks Group, Cappagh Avenue, Finglas West, Dublin 11

2,000

Towards the cost of a large TV and DVD for the centre

Friends of Ennistymon Hospital, Lahinch, Co. Clare

50,000

Towards the cost of rebuilding toilet/bathroom block; develop new units to health and safety standards in female wards; installation of invalid assisted equipment

Froends of St. Anthony’s Hospital, c/o Dunmanway Community Hospital, Co. Cork

68,500

Towards the cost of an Alzheimer’s garden unit

Friends of St. Ita’s Community Hospital, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick

100,000

Towards the cost of (a) the structure of an additional support unit to the hospital and (b) the provision of a designated dayroom in unit 6

Friends of St. Patrick’s Hospital, St. Patrick’s Hospital, John Hill, Waterford

100,000

Towards the cost of the erection of day ward facilities in 30 bed extended care unit

Irish Anaesthetic and Recovery Nurses Association, Togher, Cork, Co. Cork

10,000

Towards the cost of the quarterly journal and maintenance of the website

Irish Association of Suicidology, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

20,000

Towards the cost of the specialist conference on 24th-26th November 2005, “Schools Based Intervention in Crisis Management and Suicide Prevention”

Irish Association of Suicidology, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

10,000

Towards the cost of producing a quarterly newsletter

Irish Cancer Society, Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

150,000

Towards the 4th World Conference for Cancer Organisations to be hosted in Dublin from 17th to 19th November 2004

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Model Farm Road, Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of a strategic review of the organisations activities and a process of investigation and study into tailoring services to encompass other disabilities

Irish Kidney Association, Park West, Dublin 12

175,000

Towards the cost of a donor public awareness campaign including printing and distribution of organ donor cards with fact file

Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Fairview Strand, Dublin 3

120,000

Towards the cost of providing resources to administer the work of the Parliament

Irish Senior Citizens parliament, Fairview Strand, Dublin 3

5,000

Towards the cost of the Irish co-ordination of the transnational EU project

Kilteely-Dromkeen Housing Association, Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick

9,500

Towards the cost of the installation of automatic entrance doors in the day care centre

Kolbe Pre-School, Portarlington, Co. Laois

27,913

Towards the cost of a playground

League of Friends of St. Camillus Hospital, Ennis Road, Limerick

30,000

Towards the cost of adaption of reception — canopy — or extension of reception area

Limerick Senior Citizens Club, Ballinacurra, Co. Limerick

22,000

Towards outgoing costs

Longford Active Retirement Association, Longford, Co. Longford

2,000

Towards the ongoing development of cultural, educational and sporting activities

Lusk Community Unit for Older People, Station Road, Lusk, Co. Dublin

10,000

Towards the cost of (a) art therapy and (b) restaurant/social evening venue

Marino and District Community Centre Ltd., Marino, Dublin 3

20,000

Towards the cost of equipping and furnishing the new community centre/Carleton Hall

Mayo Cancer Support Association, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

50,000

Towards the cost of building a two storey extension

Mental Health Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

80,000

Towards the cost of (a) information resources (b) research (c) education and (d) policy development

Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, Artane, Dublin 5

50,000

Towards the cost of upgrading the kitchen and associated facilities as required by ECAHB and HACCP

Mitchelstown Senior Citizens Project Ltd., Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

46,000

Towards the cost of replacing the existing bus

Moore Community Council Ltd., Balldangan, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

10,000

Towards the cost of a general upgrade of facilities associated with the elderly

Mother McAuley Centre, Drimnagh, Dublin 12

120,000

Towards the cost of extending the existing facility in order to cater for the long waiting list

National Leisure Council of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

20,000

Towards the cost of educating young people on alcohol and drug abuse

North Eastern Health Board-ERRHA-Aspire-IAA-Social Communication Research Programme, Drogheda, Co. Louth

80,000

Towards the cost of Part II of the 2 year project to develop a computerised social skills programme

Networking Dublin 15 Ltd., Buzzardstown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15

2,000

Towards the cost of a parenting course for eight participants who are in recovery from addiction and are single parents

Open Heart House, St. Mary’s Place, Dublin 7

10,000

Towards the cost of the wellness programme

Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

21,000

Towards the purchase of an eight-seater minibus to enable teachers to take children out of school to pursue educational opportunities

Parke Community Centre Committe, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

19,000

Towards the cost of providing a heating system for the centre

Portumna Social Services, Portumna, Co. Galway

48,000

Towards the cost of the replacement of mini-bus

Raheen Hospital Support Group, Raheen, Tuamgraney, Co. Clare

30,000

Towards the cost of the construction of an extension to the day centre

Raphoe Friday Club, Raphoe, Co. Donegal

5,000

Towards the cost of continuing the service

Resource Centre of St. Vincent de Paul, Marino, Dublin 3

10,000

Towards the cost of continuing to provide regular meetings

Roscrea Active Retirement Association, Ballystanley, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary

2,000

Towards defraying the cost of hiring buses for monthly outings

The Rosses Neighbourhood Youth Project (Donegal), Dungloe, Co. Donegal

4,800

Towards the cost of an intensive support programme for young people who have been referred by the Gardaí

Serenity Active Retirement Association, Moville, Co. Donegal

6,000

Towards the cost of tutor fees

Soroptimist International Club, Rochestown, Cork

6,750

Towards the cost of completing the publication, outlining the voluntary work accomplished by Soroptimists over the last 50 years in Cork City in the areas of culture, public speaking, literacy, the elderly and those with special needs

South Meath Alcohol and Substance Misuse Response, Trim, Co. Meath

1,000

Towards the cost of a public information/education night on 31st March 2004 for parents in the Trim and South Meath communities

South Westmeath Rural Transport Association, Glasson, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

15,600

Towards the cost of transport for citizens in the area of South Roscommon on a minimum of two routes on a weekly basis

Special Olympics Ireland, North Circular Road, Dublin 7

80,000

Towards the cost of the Healthy Athlete Programme

St. Christopher’s Services Ltd., Battery Road, Longford

34,500

Towards the cost of providing 1 multi-purpose vehicle for seven day community residence at Parkside Community Residence, Ballymahon, Co. Longford

St. Gabriel’s Parish Resource Centre, Dollymount, Dublin 3

25,000

Towards the cost of refurbishment of assembly hall and stage area; essential rewiring and the provision of furniture

St. John Ambulance Brigade, Southern Command, Richmond Hill, Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of replacing an ambulance

St. Joseph’s Association for the Mentally Handicapped, c/o Blackrock, Co. Dublin

10,663

Towards the purchase of snoezelen equipment

St. Vincent de Paul, St. Carthage’s Conference, Lismore, Co. Waterford

5,000

Towards the cost of purchasing wheelchairs and walking aids

Summerhill Active Retirement Group Third Age Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath

30,000

Towards the cost of assisting with the ongoing running costs/services, activities and programmes delivered by the Third Age Centre

Summerhill Active Retirement Group, Third Age Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath

10,000

Towards the cost of retaining a driver for the Millennium Bus

Tang Golden Years Club, Tang, Ballymahon, Co. Westmeath

3,000

Towards the cost of providing a social outlet for the elderly in the form of training courses

Templemore Active Retirement Association, Templemore, Co. Tipperary

4,000

Towards alleviating the costs associated with the running of the organisation

Templemore Community Social Service, Templemore, Co. Tipperary

50,843

Towards the cost of work to be undertaken to bring the day care centre within the fire and safety regulations

Tolka River Project, Buzzardstown, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15

3,000

Towards the cost of parenting skills course

West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation, Ballindine, Co. Mayo

120,000

Towards the cost of updating equipment in the new respite home in Athenry; and developing and securing the garden

Williams Syndrome Association of Ireland, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

30,000

Towards the cost of running the annual music/activity camp

TOTAL

3,631,000

This figure represented 1.2% of my the Department's gross 2004 Vote. In total, 206 applications for National Lottery Funds were received by my Department in 2005, of which 99 were not approved. €3.727m was paid out by my Department under the National Lottery discretionary grant scheme in 2005. Details of amount paid to each organisation are set out in the following table.

TABLE 2

Organisation

Paid 2005

Project

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Coolock, Dublin 17

8,225

Towards the cost of upgrading the kitchen and towards equipment

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (Dún Laoghaire)

50,000

Towards the cost of financial support for carers, volunteers and staff to attend the Alzheimer Europe Conference in June 2005

Aoibhneas Women’s Refuge, Coolock

2,000

Towards the cost of the new pamphlet printing expenses

The Association of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland Ltd, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

4,500

Towards the cost of hosting the Joyce-Lacan symposium in Dublin Castle in June 2005

Association of Irish Clinical Embryologists (IEC), Ranelagh, Dublin 6

20,000

To fund a joint academic meeting in January 2006 with the UK Association of Clinical Embryologists and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)

Association of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Ireland, North Circular Road, Dublin 7

20,000

Towards the cost of outreach health promotion to refugee youths

Autism West Limited, Galway

50,000

Towards the cost of renovating and upgrading existing properties for provision of service to persons with autism, both day and residential

Best Buddies Ireland, KARE Industrial Estate, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

50,000

Towards the cost of developing a national outreach programme

Bodywhys, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

15,600

Towards the cost of design and printing of 2 booklets: “Families coping with Eating Disorders” and “Binge Eating Disorders”.

Brainwave, The Irish Epilepsy Association, Crumlin Road, Dublin 12

2,500

Towards the cost of distributing the Teachers Information Pack to all primary school teachers in Ireland

Caherconlish Caherline Community Council Ltd, Caherconlish, Co. Limerick

2,000

Towards the cost of the “Wednesday” Club

Caring for Carers Ireland, Ennis, Co. Clare

40,000

Towards the cost of the 14th National Respite Weekend and Conference for Family Carers

Caring for Carers Limerick Branch, John Street, Limerick

60,000

Towards the cost of increasing the nurse-led clinic from two half-days per week for five half-days per week

Carrigoran House, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare

42,000

Towards the cost of 20 extra low beds as part of the Fall Prevention Strategy

Carrigoran House, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare

47,670

Towards the cost of upgrading the facilities to meet fire safety standards

Castlebridge, Community Centre, Castlebride, Co. Wexford

20,000

Towards the cost of maintaining the centre

Cloughjordan Active Retirement Association, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary

6,000

Towards the cost of continuing to provide a weekly programme

Cobh Youth Services Ltd, Cobh, Co. Cork

10,000

Towards the cost of continuing to provide current activities and towards employing a tutor for music lessons

The Coeliac Society of Ireland, Nth. Brunswick, Street, Dublin 7

30,000

Towards the cost of compiling, printing and mailing a book of gluten free manufactured products for members

Coiste Aosach na nOileán, Lettermore, Co. Galway

40,000

Towards the cost of a wheelchair friendly minibus

Common Purpose, 31-35 Bow Street, Dublin 7

2,100

Towards the cost of enabling interpreters for 4 pupils from Transition Year at St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls in Cabra to take part in a conference on Young People and Citizenship on 30 November 2005 in the Axis Theatre, Ballymun

Community Awareness of Drugs, Dame Court, Dublin 2

4,000

Towards the cost of delivering educational programmes on drugs

Console (Bereaved by Suicide Foundation)

100,000

Towards the National Suicide Crisis and Counselling Service

Cork Counselling Services Ltd., Fr. Matthew Street, Cork

80,000

Towards the cost of counselling services

Cuan Mhuire Teoranta, Bruree, Co. Limerick

55,000

Towards the cost of (a) the construction of a multi-disciplinary jobskills/training facility (b) the construction of a horticulture job skills/training facility incorporating polytunnels, potting shed, storage and seeding beds (c) the construction of a potato storage facility and (d) the installation and laying of new mains foul sewerage from Cuan Mhuire, Treatment Centre to the village of Bruree, to connect to the main sewerage system

Cuidiu — Irish Childbirth Trust, Ashford, Co. Wicklow

6,000

Towards the cost of training for ante-natal teacher in North Wicklow branch

Dóchas Family Centre, Clondalkin

36,000

Towards the cost of transport — a 9 seater VW Shuttle

Donnycarney Community and Youth Centre, Dublin 5

2,500

Towards a course on healthy eating, basic food preparation skills, cooking on a low budget and promoting a balanced diet

Down Syndrome Ireland, Mary Street, Dublin 1

15,000

Towards the cost of providing information on Downs Syndrome to new parents, students, medical/teaching professionals and the general public

Down Syndrome Ireland, Mary Street, Dublin 1

15,300

Towards the cost of a survey on services provided to young adults with Downs Syndrome

Drogheda Community Services, Co. Louth

100,000

Towards the cost of building a purpose built non-medical day care centre for older people, adjacent to a geriatric hospital and a medical day centre for older people

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

12,000

Towards the cost of a conference to be held in the National College of Ireland on 10th October 2005

Dún Laoghaire Lions Club

9,000

Towards matching the contribution from the annual golf classic in aid of the purchase of essential equipment for the intensive care unit at St. Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire

Embrace, The Lough, Cork

70,000

Towards the cost of a summer scheme for children with a severe or profound learning disability, who are pupils of the special classes in St. Paul’s School, COPE Foundation, Montenotte, Cork

The Endometriosis Association of Ireland, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

6,624

Towards the cost of a salary for a part-time employee to deal with requests and queries on a day-to-day basis

Eurochild International Project (CWPC Ltd), Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of “Healthy City Topics” workshops

Family Ministry, Paul Street, Cork

10,000

Towards the cost of “The Seedling Project 05/06” which is a peer group grief support programme for 12-18 year olds who have been bereaved by the loss of a parent

Finglas Senior Help Line, Finglas West, Dublin 11

5,000

Towards the cost of the Help Line

Foynes & District Community Council Ltd, Foynes, Co. Limerick

20,000

Towards the cost of providing a lift in the community centre to allow wheelchair access to 2nd floor amenities for senior citizens and wheelchair users

Frenchpark Community Playgroup, Co. Roscommon

40,000

Towards the cost of a 17 seater minibus

The Friends of St. Patrick’s Association, Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

20,935

Towards the cost of a 7/9 seater vehicle adapted to carry wheelchair dependent residents

Galway Travellers Support Group, Prospect Hill, Galway

25,000

Towards the cost of fitting out the premises already accessed in Galway City to meet the growing needs of the project

Glin Homes for the Elderly Ltd, Tullyglass, Glin, Co. Limerick

100,000

Towards the cost of the purchase of a mini-bus

Grow in Ireland, Swords, Co. Dublin

15,000

Towards office set-up costs and expansion of services in the region

Hooked, Salthill, Galway

1,000

Towards the cost of audio-visual equipment for use in information campaign

Irish Anaesthetic & Recovery Nurses Association, Cork City

3,000

Towards the continued on-going development of the Association; maintenance of the website; continued communication to a wider audience through the journal; and providing courses for practitioners.

Irish Association of Suicidology, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

20,000

Towards the cost of the “Suicide and Masculinity” conference in December 2005

Irish Association of Suicidology, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

7,500

Towards the cost of producing a quarterly newsletter

Irish Chronic Pain Association, Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups, Coleraine Street, Dublin 7

4,500

Towards the cost of the upgrade of computer equipment and ancillaries

Irish Family Planning Association Limited, Amiens Street, Dublin 1

7,500

Towards the cost of purchasing an ultrasound machine

Irish Gerontological Society, c/o Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork

10,000

Towards the cost of an academic policy seminar in the Royal Irish Academy

Irish Haemochromatosis Association, Rathgar, Dublin 6

25,000

Towards the cost of designing and printing information booklets, posters and stationery

Irish Kidney Association

500,000

Towards the cost of the donor public awareness campaign, including printing and distribution of organ donor cards with fact file.

Irish Kidney Association

50,000

Towards the cost of training, accommodation and travel for 40 organ transplant patients to Ontario, Canada for 9 days to represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games 2005

Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, Coleraine Street, Dublin 7

140,000

Towards the cost of improving, maintaining and expanding the equipment bank

Irish Progressive Association for Autism, Bessborough, Cork

23,000

Towards the cost of summer camps, seminars, an awareness campaign for an assistance dog programme for autistic children, an expanded library service, office equipment and an alternative therapies programme

Irish Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Society, Foxrock, Dublin 18

13,500

Towards the cost of a diagnostic nailbed capillaroscopy system for diagnosis of scleroderma

Irish Red Cross (Leenane/Haam Branch), Co. Galway

6,000

Towards the cost of purchasing and equipping an ambulance

Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Fairview Strand, Dublin 3

140,000

Towards the cost of providing resources to administer the work of the Parliament and to provide for an improvement in its ability to respond to policy initiatives

Irish Society for Mucopolysaccharide Diseases, Ballyneety, Co. Limerick

28,000

Towards the cost of a national medical conference bringing together affected people, their families and experts to offer advice and support

Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society

30,000

Towards the Society’s running costs

JADD Projects Ltd, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin 24

15,000

Towards the cost of paying for a qualified childcare supervisor to supervise children of clients who are attending JADD for treatment and/or personal development courses

Johnny — Gay Peer Action Group, Outhouse, 105 Capel Streeet, Dublin 1

3,000

Towards the cost of producing new publications and further developing the website

Kerry Hospice Foundation, c/o Tralee General Hospital, Tralee, Co. Kerry

100,000

Towards the cost of the palliative care day unit

Kerry Mental Health Association, Killorglin, Co. Kerry

50,000

Towards the cost of setting up a day care centre for people with mental health needs

Killahan School Pre-School Autism Unit, Tralee, Co. Kerry

15,000

Towards the cost of equipping the Snoozelen Room

Knockanure Development Association, Listowel, Co. Kerry

50,000

Towards the cost of restoring the old school house and converting it to a centre for the community

Laharn Community Action Group Ltd, Mallow, Co. Cork

4,500

Towards the cost of converting the old school house at Laharn into a Community, Cultural and Heritage Centre for the use of community and other local organisations

Leitrim Lifestart, Manorhamilton Co. Leitrim

15,000

Towards the cost of establishing a Lifestart initiative in North Leitrim

Lifestart National Office, Church Street, Sligo

30,000

Towards the cost of developing the service nationally and to train staff in quality assurance in order to deliver a quality service to parents and children

Longford Community Resources, Longford

40,000

Towards the cost of establishing a county based youth service for Longford

Mallow Social Services Council

45,000

Towards the cost of replacing the Center’s roof

Mead Day Care Centre, Donaghmede, Dublin 13

20,000

Towards the cost of replacing the Center’s roof

Meningitis Trust, Bray, Co. Wicklow

16,750

Towards the cost of publishing the Early Years Guide

Mental Health Association, Loughrea, Co. Galway

28,000

Towards the purchase of a mini-bus

Mental Health Association, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

57,000

Towards the purchase of developing mental health education resources for use with primary school children

Mna Feasa, Women’s Domestic Violence Project, Knocknaheeny, Cork

15,600

Towards the cost of providing 2 hours of group counselling per week for 12 women at a subsidised rate

Music Network Ltd, The Coach House, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2

12,000

Towards the cost of evaluating the “Music in Healthcare” programme

National Infertility Support and Information Group, Togher, Cork

20,000

Towards the 10th Anniversary conference in 2006

Newtown/Donadea Senior Citizens Group, Kilcock, Co. Kildare

6,000

Towards the cost of providing transport to and from the community centre

Oak House Resource Centre, Portarlington, Co. Laois

4,000

Towards the cost of a computer project for adult service users with an intellectual disability

One in Four, Holles Street, Dublin 2

100,000

Towards the cost of funding the existing psychotherapy and advocacy programme

Open Heart House, St. Mary’s Place, Dublin 7

20,000

Towards the cost of the Therapies Programme

Order of Malta Ambulance Corps (Ballsbridge Unit)

140,000

Towards the cost of replacement ambulances

Order of Malta Ambulance Corps (Ballinrobe Unit)

60,000

Towards the cost of building a headquarters

Outhouse Ltd, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1

70,000

Towards the cost of refurbishment of the premises

Pre-School for Travellers, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo

6,799

Towards the cost of developing an outdoor play area

Samaritans (Limerick/Tipperary) Branch

8,020

Towards the cost of a new telephone system and new computer for e-mail support

Schizophrenia Ireland, 38 Blessington Street, Dublin 7

20,000

Towards the cost of Relatives Weekend with a mixture of educational, respite and leisure activities for relatives who are carers of people with severe mental illness

Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, St. Mary’s, South Hill, Delvin, Co. Westmeath

15,000

Towards the cost of developing an IT and multi-media room

Social Communications Research Programme Ltd, Trim, Co. Meath

80,000

Towards the cost of development of a manual, DVD and computerised social skills programme and to provide training to metal health and educational professionals for adolescents with Asperger Syndrome

Southhill Family Resource Centre, O’Malley Park, Southill, Limerick

7,000

Towards the cost of bioresonance-testing and appropriate remedies, psychology, based on guided introspection, mediation and relaxation classes and Indian head massage.

St. Andrew’s Centre, Greenhills Road, Dublin 12

15,000

Towards the running costs of the centre

St. Helena’s Women’s Awareness Group, St. Helena’s Family Resource Centre, St. Helena’s Road, Finglas, Dublin 11

11,577

Towards the cost of installing a chairlift for individuals with mobility issues in order to allow access to the four training rooms on the upper levels

St. John’s House of Rest, Merrion Road, Dublin 4

55,000

Towards the cost of upgrading the building and facilities

St. Joseph’s Association for the Mentally Handicapped, Portrane, Co. Dublin

11,000

Towards the cost of a treadmill and stationary bicycle for the gymnasium

St. Mary’s Community Benefit Fund, Richmond Hill, Rathmines, Dublin 6

35,000

Towards the cost of a wheelchair accessible ambulance

St. Mary’s Parent and Toddler Group, Wheaton Hall, Drogheda

2,000

Towards the cost of maintaining and improving the programme

St. Mary’s Senior Citizens Club, Corbally Limerick

2,000

Towards the cost of acquiring new equipment

Summer Fund 2005 — Camp, c/o St. Brigid’s School, Harbour Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

2,000

Towards the cost of a week-long summer camp

Tallaght Community Arts Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24

5,000

Towards the puppetry and play project which focuses on the issue of obesity

Thursday Club Clarina, Clarina, Co. Limerick

10,000

Towards the cost of running bingo and other activities, and health talks and demonstrations by health professionals

Tiny Tots Parent and Toddler Group, Westport, Co. Mayo

2,000

Towards the cost of purchasing equipment and toys

Tralee Refugee Support Services, Tralee, Co. Kerry

10,000

Towards the cost of providing a family support service for locally resident asylum seekers and refugees

Volunteer Stroke Scheme, Crumlin Road, Dublin 12

4,000

Towards the cost of an annual holidary

Westgate Foundation, Westgate West Village, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

60,000

Towards the cost of services and projects

West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation

100,000

Towards the cost of clearing the outstanding balance on the capital cost of the loan for Maryfield Nursing Home, Athenry, Co. Galway

Total

3,727,200

This figure represented approximately 1.1% of my Department's gross 2005 Vote.

To date in 2006, 181 applications for National Lottery funding have been received by my Department. 24 of these applications have been assessed of which 7 have not been approved. The remainder of the applications have been issued to the relevant line divisions for assessment and on receipt of their recommendations I will make a decision with regard to the provision of funding in the case of each application. €1.544m has been paid out by my Department to date in 2006 under the National Lottery discretionary scheme. Details of the amount paid to each organisation are set out in the following table.

TABLE 3

Organisation

Paid 2006

Project

Brú Columbanus, Cardinal Way, Bishopstown, Cork City

50,000

Towards operational costs for the running of the project in 2006

Cáirde, 19 Belvedere Place, Dublin 1

15,000

Towards the cost of a national conference for black and ethnic minority community organisations and the launch of the national ethnic minority health forum at the conference

Calry Select Vestry/Catacombs Project, Calry Rectory, The Mall, Sligo

100,000

Towards the cost of the installation of a lift

Cancer Fund Donegal Town Limited, Ardeskin, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

100,000

Towards the cost of the construction of a building

Clondalkin Partnership, Camac House, Oakfield Industrial Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

109,210

Towards the cost of the Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Project (EBD)

Community of Lough Arrow Social Project, Gleann Communtiy Centre, Drumnacool via Boyle, Co. Sligo

20,000

Towards the cost of CLASP community transport

Console (Bereaved by Suicide Foundation), All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9

50,000

Towards the cost of establishing a professional counselling support service in the Clondalkin area of Dublin for those bereaved through suicide and those who are suicidal

Dromcollogher & District Respite Care Centre, Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick

60,000

Towards the cost of four independent units as an extension to the Centre

Embury Close Sheltered Housing, Rathkeale Road, Adare, Co. Limerick

30,000

Towards the fitting out costs for the Club House

Europa Donna Ireland, The Irish Breast Cancer Campaign, P.O. Box 6602, Dublin 8

10,000

Towards the cost of the first national conference on 20th May 2006

Friends of Clonakilty Day Care Centre, Hospital Grounds, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

50,000

Towards the cost of the extension and refusbishment of the day care centre

Irish Kidney Association, Donor House, Block 43A, Park West, Dublin 12

550,000

Towards the cost of a donor public awareness campaign including printing and distribution of organ donor cards with fact file

Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, 90 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3

175,000

Towards the cost of providing resources to administer the work of the Parliament and to provide for an improvement in its ability to respond to policy initiatives

Nova Helpline Ltd., Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7

100,000

Towards the cost of the helpline

Summerhill Active Retirement Group, Third Age Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath

15,000

Towards the cost of an evaluation/audit of the services provided from the Third Age Centre

Summerhill Active Retirement Group, Third Age Centre, Summerhill, Co. Meath

10,000

Towards the cost of a one day seminar which aims to raise awareness of the range of opportunities that can and should be available to older people

Thurles Lions Trust Housing Association Limited, c/o Neil J. Butler & Co. Solicitors, Friar Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

100,000

Towards the fit-out costs for a 14 bed sheltered residential complex at Gortataggart, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Total

1,544,210

€3.815m has been allocated to my Department in 2006 in respect of the National Lottery discretionary grant scheme. This figure represents 1% of my Department gross 2006 Vote.

In general, applications for National Lottery funding received in my Department are not successful for three main reasons: they relate to projects closely associated with the delivery of health services, thereby more appropriate to the HSE; they relate to projects that are non-health related and more appropriate to other Government Departments; and following assessment of applications by the relevant line divisions of my Department they are not prioritised for funding in the context of the limited National Lottery funding allocated to my Department.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

84 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will ensure that the Health Service Executive do everything possible to bring forward the date for the invitation of tenders for phase 3C of Naas General Hospital from its present target date of the last quarter of 2006 in view of the continuing problems with patients on trolleys in Naas General Hospital accident and emergency. [27394/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for considering new capital proposals or progressing those in the health capital programme. Accordingly, my Department is requesting the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

85 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in providing the information sought under Parliamentary Question No. 241 of 8 November 2005. [27396/06]

BreastCheck in conjunction with my Department is preparing an estimate of the costs of extending the breast screening programme nationally to women over the age of 64. My Department expects to be in a position by the end of this month to forward the information requested by the Deputy.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

86 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in issuing a response to Parliamentary Question No. 98 of 11 May 2006. [27397/06]

I have been advised that the Health Service Executive (HSE) issued a reply to the Deputy on the 18th May, 2006, in relation to Question No. 98.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

87 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason additional opticians are not being hired to reduce the waiting times for eye tests for children in Maynooth Health Centre, which stands at 12 months and Naas Health Centre, which stands at 11 months, in view of the fact that the public service recruitment embargo does not affect the health service and that the waiting time in Newbridge Health Centre is only three months and the recent exercise in improving administrative efficiency in the optical service has increased waiting times. [27399/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

88 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that due to imposition of staff ceilings in 2003 the community speech and language therapy service in Kildare and West Wicklow were advised that all vacant posts were frozen and that no recruitment could take place, despite her assurance that recruitment in the public health service is not affected by the public sector recruitment embargo, and as a result of this the service is short 14 additional therapists and the waiting time for assessment for speech and language therapy is now 20 months; and the action she intends to take regarding this service which is now at collapsing point. [27402/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

152 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will address the shortage of speech and language therapists (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27750/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 152 together.

Let me say at the outset that there is no embargo on the recruitment of staff in the public health service. Nor does my Department set employment quotas at national level for any grade in the public health service. It is a matter for the Health Service Executive, as part of its management of its employment ceiling, to determine the appropriate staffing mix required to deliver its service plan priorities, including speech and language therapy services. I have consistently emphasised the importance of prioritising the filling of front line vacancies in complying with approved employment levels. I have also emphasised the need to achieve an appropriate balance between clinical and non-clinical posts.

Approved employment levels for the health service have been adjusted since 2002 in line with Government policy on public sector employment and also to take account of specific policy measures aimed at increasing service levels. My Department is currently in discussions with the Department of Finance and the Health Service Executive to agree revisions to the health service employment ceiling to take account of service developments, including disability services.

A priority for the HSE in 2006 is to increase service provision in the area of multi-disciplinary supports to meet obligations to children with developmental delay, in the home, in the community and in other appropriate settings. The investment package will facilitate the recruitment of up to 200 extra therapists, particularly speech and language, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Due to the current limited supply of these grades it is acknowledged that in the short term recruitment from overseas will be required. The HSE has put in place a project plan for this.

In regard to the recruitment of speech and language therapists generally, the Deputies will be pleased to note that the Health Service Personnel Census shows a total of 596 wholetime equivalent (WTE) staff at end March, 2006. This represents an increase of 315 WTE staff or 112% since end December, 1997. The number of training places in speech and language therapy has increased by 300% since 2001.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

89 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of times a general practitioner, a nurse, a physiotherapist and a chiropodist have been in attendance at the weekly clinic in Carbury in the 26 weeks since 1 January 2006. [27408/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Care of the Elderly.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

90 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the primary, community and continuing care directorate of the Health Service Executive have concluded their assessment of long term care needs of older people; and if their recommendations will include the provision of additional public nursing homes. [27429/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

91 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of children awaiting orthodontic treatment in County Kildare as of 30 June 2006. [27430/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Ambulance Service.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

92 Mr. Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if there has been progress in identifying a site for the new ambulance base in Maynooth, County Kildare, funding for which is provided in the 2006 Health Service Executive capital programme. [27431/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

93 Mr. P. Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the estimated number of children who suffered irreversible damage to their teeth, gums and faces following the cessation of the orthodontic regional training programmes in 1999 and before their treatment resumed; the number of those children wore orthodontic appliances without the appropriate supervision for a year or longer; if the parents of those children were informed that their children had been damaged; the measures which have been taken to rectify the situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27433/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Jerry Cowley

Ceist:

94 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason there is currently no audiologist in County Mayo to test hearing for the elderly; when one will be appointed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27438/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Jerry Cowley

Ceist:

95 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will encourage BreastCheck to outsource this essential service in order to save women’s lives in view of the fact that breast cancer is a terrible killer, that health care apartheid exists here, that 260 more women will die needlessly in the west and south before BreastCheck is up and running and that she has stated that it is not possible to get an alternative venue to carry out these essential checks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27441/06]

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

140 Mr. Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when BreastCheck will become available to women in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27737/06]

John Deasy

Ceist:

169 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when BreastCheck will be available to patients from the Waterford constituency. [27863/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95, 140 and 169 together.

A breast screening programme is a complex multidisciplinary undertaking that requires considerable expertise and management involving population registers, call/recall systems, mammography, pathology and appropriate treatment and follow up. A programme must be quality assured and acceptable to women who attend for screening. The first phase of the programme is of a high quality and a similar quality in the West and South is essential.

I have met with representatives of BreastCheck and they are fully aware of my wish to have a quality assured programme rolled out to the remaining regions in the country as quickly as possible. For this to happen, essential elements of the roll out must be in place including adequate staffing, effective training and quality assurance programmes. I have made additional revenue funding of €2.3m available to BreastCheck to meet the additional costs of roll out. I have also approved an additional 69 posts. BreastCheck recently interviewed for Clinical Directors for the Southern and Western regions and appointments have been made; both will take up their positions later this year. Both are currently undergoing additional training in relation to their roles as Clinical Director. BreastCheck will begin recruiting Consultant Radiologists, Consultant Surgeons and Consultant Histopathologists for both centres this week.

BreastCheck also requires considerable capital investment in the construction of two new clinical units and in the provision of five additional mobile units and state of the art digital equipment. I have made available an additional €21m capital funding to BreastCheck for this purpose. BreastCheck is in the process of short-listing applicants to construct its two new clinical units at the South Infirmary/Victoria Hospital, Cork and University College Hospital Galway. BreastCheck is confident that the target date of next year for the commencement of roll out to the Southern and Western regions will be met.

Any proposal received by BreastCheck to support the roll out of its screening programme will be carefully examined to assess the extent to which it complies with existing standards. BreastCheck recently conducted an evaluation of a proposal from a private screening service and concluded that the clinic in question would not be in a position to provide a screening programme in line with BreastCheck standards.

Health Services.

Jerry Cowley

Ceist:

96 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department will release €400,000 necessary funds to advance a nursing home in Ballinrobe, County Mayo to the design and planning stage, in view of the fact that development of such a project is being discussed with her Department since 1971; if she will agree that it is a priority case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27442/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for considering new capital proposals or progressing those in the health capital programme. Accordingly, my Department is requesting the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Jerry Cowley

Ceist:

97 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department will evaluate the need for a wet hostel in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27444/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Jerry Cowley

Ceist:

98 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a rheumatology department will be established at Mayo General Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27449/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

99 Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on establishing or funding a missing persons helpline in order to provide a much needed communication service for missing persons, their families, and people with information on the whereabouts of the missing persons in view of the number of missing persons that suffer from some form of psychological illness; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27487/06]

Whilst I acknowledge that a number of missing persons may suffer from mental illness, the establishment or funding of services for missing persons, their families and people with information on their whereabouts is not a matter for my Department. I understand that the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform will consider any applications for the funding of such services.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

100 Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will introduce a registration system in order to regulate the chiropractic profession and provide protection from unqualified practitioners for the public; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27488/06]

The Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 provides for the establishment of a system of statutory registration for the following health and social care professionals — clinical biochemists, dietitians, medical scientists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, radiographers, social care workers, social workers and speech and language therapists.

Section 4 of the Act provides for the inclusion, by Regulation, of additional professions in the proposed system of statutory registration. This section also sets out the criteria the Minister shall have regard to in considering the designation of further professions under the Act. It would be a matter for the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, in the first instance, to advise the Minister on whether a profession should be regarded as a health and social care profession and be considered for regulation under the Act. I favour the programmed and orderly inclusion of additional health and social care professionals in this new statutory framework and I will consider the case in relation to chiropractors in that light.

Liam Twomey

Ceist:

101 Dr. Twomey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she has received representations, oral or written, or has been approached on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; the action she took, or the advice she gave, oral or written in relation to same; the outcome of such advice or actions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27489/06]

Oral representations were made to me on behalf of a person (details supplied) in Co. Wexford. An Adviser was requested to establish where spinal stimulation could be made available. The Spinal Cord Stimulation Budget at the Department of Anaesthetics of St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin was accessed, as was the service of an appropriate consultant. This is part of a public pain service paid for by the State.

Cancer Incidence.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

102 Mr. Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the type of cancers that people have in each of the district electoral divisions in the city of Dublin; the incidence of each type of cancer in each DED; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27490/06]

Statistics in relation to cancer incidence are collated by the National Cancer Registry. My Department has asked the Director of the Registry to examine this matter and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

103 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 122 of 28 June 2006, if she has fixed a date to visit Wexford; if not, if she will be visiting Wexford General hospital in the next three months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27491/06]

I wish to advise the Deputy that I will be visiting Wexford on Monday 10th July 2006 and it is my intention to visit Wexford General Hospital as part of my official itinerary that day.

Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

104 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the action which is proposed to reinstate the home heating works undertaken under the aegis of the Health Service Executive in the provision of heating facilities in the home of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare under the special home refurbishment scheme; if her attention has been drawn to the professional opinion to the effect that the works involved are a health and safety risk, that part of facilities exploded and that the dwelling has no heating; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27492/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

105 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the process in the selection of a site for the new acute hospital in the north east; the timetable proposed; if submissions can be made by the public; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27510/06]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to a recommendation contained in a report by consultants who were engaged by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to undertake a review of acute hospital services in the former North Eastern Health Board area. The review, which commenced in March 2006, has recently been completed and the report has been considered by the Board of the HSE. It concludes that the present system, where five local hospitals deliver acute care to relatively small populations, is exposing patients to increased risks, that it is not serving the community well and is not sustainable. The consultants believe that there is an unprecedented opportunity over the next 10 years to develop a very high quality responsive emergency and planned care service, in line with international standards, by developing local services within existing hospitals and other local centres supported by a new Regional Hospital. The HSE is to establish a North East Steering Group to quickly address the issues that require immediate attention and at the same time develop a longer term strategy to deliver a world class health service during the next 10 years. The Group will have representation from key stakeholders such as clinicians and primary care providers. There will also be a widespread public engagement on the issues highlighted in the report.

Hospital Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

106 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her proposals for improving acute hospital services in the North Tipperary area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27511/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

107 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her proposals for improving community health services in the North Tipperary area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27512/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

108 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of general medical practitioners there are per head of population for Counties Carlow, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27516/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

109 Mr. Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of beds and staff in St. Vincent’s, St. Colmcille’s Loughlinstown, Naas, Tallaght and Letterkenny Hospitals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27517/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

110 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services will be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27567/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

114 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if respite care will be provided for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27571/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

125 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27721/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

126 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27722/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

127 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27723/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

128 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27724/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

129 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27725/06]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

174 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if essential regular permanent services can be provided by the Health Service Executive for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27918/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110, 114, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129 and 174 together.

The Deputy's questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have these matters investigated and to have a reply issued directly to theDeputy.

John Gormley

Ceist:

111 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she has recently met representatives of a group (details supplied) in County Cork; or if she has plans to do so. [27568/06]

The issue the Deputy is referring to relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange for relevant officials from the Health Service Executive to meet with the group concerned.

Questions Nos. 112 and 113 answered with Question No. 54.
Question No. 114 answered with QuestionNo. 110.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

115 Ms Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in obtaining an appointment with a consultant; the public clinics provided by this consultant between May and September 2006; and the steps she will take to ensure that there is no further delay in arranging an appointment for this person. [27572/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Clinical Drugs Trials.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

116 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of participants who take part in clinical or drug trials each year here; the percentage of this number who are not Irish nationals; the number of people who have been paid compensation from drug trials gone wrong here; the highest amount of compensation that has been awarded to a person who participated in a clinical or drug trial that went wrong in Ireland; the way in which the participants were recruited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27573/06]

Clinical trials conducted in Ireland generally involve the testing of new drugs on persons who actually suffer from the condition for which the drug is being developed. Clinical trials are regulated by the Clinical Trials Acts 1987 and 1990 and by the European Communities (Clinical Trials on Medicinal Products for Human Use) Regulations 2004 (SI No 190 of 2004) which implement Directive 2001/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 April 2001 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the implementation of good clinical practice in the conduct of clinical trials on medicinal products for human use.

Information in regard to the numbers of participants taking part in clinical trials is being assembled and I will arrange to have it forwarded to the Deputy when it becomes available. Participants in clinical trials are generally recruited by the clinician treating them for a pre-existing condition.

There is no requirement on those conducting clinical trials to forward information on the nationality of those taking part in clinical trials to any official agency. In regard to any compensation that might have been paid, this would be a private matter between those involved in any settlement and no information is available to my Department on this issue.

Community Care.

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

117 Mr. Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive pays subcontractors in Portarlington to care for disabled and handicapped people; her views on whether it is appropriate for the latter to have to fund-raise even though each person is allegedly 100 per cent funded. [27574/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

118 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delays in issuing or responding to medical card applications; the further reason the required documentation is not listed on the application form; the reason patients with serious illnesses are not prioritised; her plans to address these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27575/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

119 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to reports that the Health Service Executive office for the north west Dublin region is difficult to contact by telephone as the phones frequently ring out; and the steps she will take to address this problem. [27576/06]

My Department has contacted the HSE regarding the matter raised by the Deputy and it is not aware of reports that the Health Service Executive office for the north west Dublin region is difficult to contact by telephone or that the phones frequently ring out without reply.

The HSE advises that all calls are queued until answered by the switchboard operator and are forwarded to the relevant extension. The Executive has pointed out that as the switchboard at Rathdown Road covers an extensive range of services and due to the volume of calls coming into it, there would be an occasional backlog of calls from time to time. The switchboard is manned from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each workday including lunchtime and arrangements are in place for unanswered calls to be routed back to the switchboard for further assistance.

As the Deputy did not provide details regarding the particular difficulties which gave rise to his question, the HSE was unable to comment on the reports referred to by him. My Department has been informed that the HSE has contacted the Deputy's office with a view to obtaining details to enable it to investigate the matter further.

Departmental Correspondence.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

120 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the issues raised in recent correspondence from a group (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27577/06]

I am aware of the issues raised in the correspondence referred to by the Deputy. My Department is awaiting a report on the matter. When the report has been received, the issues raised in the correspondence will be taken into account in my consideration of the matter.

Nursing Home Charges.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

121 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when her Department will make the refunds to patients who had unfair deductions from their pensions and social welfare payments in order to pay for their keep in nursing homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27578/06]

The Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006 was signed by the President on 23 June 2006. This Act provides a clear legal framework for a scheme to repay recoverable health charges for publicly funded long term care.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) have announced the appointment of a preferred service provider, a consortium comprising of KPMG accountancy group and McCann Fitzgerald solicitors, to administer this repayment scheme. The consortium has already commenced its preparatory work and intends to launch the scheme publicly in mid-July. The HSE has indicated that the consortium will, within four weeks of appointment, begin to issue application forms and begin notifying approximately 7,600 living patients of the amount of repayment due to them. The HSE has indicated that the details of these repayments have been prepared in advance of the appointment of the company. On submission of an application and receipt of notification of the calculated amount of repayment due, the applicant will have a period of 28 days in which to appeal or reject the calculated amount of repayment due prior to the issuing of money by the HSE.

Repayments will be made as soon as possible, with priority given to living persons, and provision has been made for repayments to continue up to 2008 . It is anticipated that all repayments will have been completed within this period, however if required the cut off date for receipt of applications can be extended.

Hospital Services.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

122 Mr. Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of wards which are closed at present in Health Service Executive run hospitals and other facilities in South Tipperary; and the number of beds which are taken out of the system as a result of closed wards in South Tipperary. [27579/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

123 Mr. Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of people from South Tipperary requiring renal dialysis treatment who are required to travel between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to receive such treatment. [27580/06]

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

124 Mr. Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of people living in South Tipperary who are currently receiving renal dialysis treatment. [27581/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 124 together.

The Deputy's questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have these matters investigated and to have replies issued directly to the Deputy.

Questions Nos. 125 to 129, inclusive, answered with Question No. 110.

Health Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

130 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive will provide immediate improvement of essential early intervention services for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27726/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

131 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the action she will take to ensure the renegotiation of the consultants’ common contract to deliver equity of access for public hospital patients; if she will support the Health Service Executive in proceeding with the appointment of consultants on a public hospital service only basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27727/06]

A new Hospital Consultants' Contract is a key element of the Government's health reform programme. It is management's intention that the new contract will be underpinned by the principle of equity. In this context, a position paper outlining proposals on a new employment contract for consultants working in the public health system was tabled by management at a plenary meeting on 26 January 2006. The proposals include a commitment to public sector service alone. The implementation of the proposals tabled by management in relation to the consultants' contract will ensure that patients' access to care and the speed at which care is delivered will be determined only by clinical need. The HSE-Employers Agency has been attempting to restart the stalled negotiations with the medical organisations for some time, most recently last week. Contact is being maintained with the Chairman, Mark Connaughton, S.C., in an effort to find a basis for a resumption of negotiations.

Departmental Properties.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

132 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number and location of public hospital sites where it is proposed to construct private hospital facilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27728/06]

The Health Services Executive has advertised for expressions of interest for the construction and operation of private hospitals on the campuses of 11 publicly funded hospitals. The 11 publicly funded hospitals are: Limerick Regional; Waterford Regional; Cork University Hospital; St James' Hospital; Beaumont Hospital; Connolly Hospital (Blanchardstown); Adelaide & Meath Hospital Incorporating the National Children's Hospital (Tallaght); Sligo General; University College Hospital, Galway; Letterkenny General; Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda.

Interested parties have been invited to express an interest for one or more projects. Pre-qualification questionnaires have been received by the Health services Executive and will be evaluated over the coming weeks.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

133 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the cost, the capacity, the specialties and the time scale of the proposed new Children’s Hospital at the Mater site; the facilities for children which will be available elsewhere in the city for urgent care and admission. [27729/06]

Following receipt last February of the report "Children's Health First", which was prepared by McKinsey & Co, a joint Health Service Executive/Department of Health and Children Task Group was established to advise on the optimum location of the proposed new hospital.

Following extensive examination, discussion and consultation among the relevant stakeholders the Report of the Task Group was completed, and was presented to the Board of the HSE on 1st June. The Report and its recommendations were endorsed by the Board. At its meeting on 8th June, the Government strongly endorsed the recommendations of the Board of the HSE, in line with the recommendation of the Report of the Task Group, that the new paediatric hospital be developed as an independent hospital on a site to be made available by the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.

The Government mandated the HSE to move forward with the development of the new national tertiary paediatric hospital and associated urgent care centres, and to explore any philanthropic proposals in relation to its development.

The governance arrangements that will arise in the context of the amalgamation of the three children's hospitals will also be pursued, in particular the measures needed to ensure that the new children's hospital is multi-denominational and pluralist in character.

My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to reply to the Deputy directly in relation to its plans for progressing the development of the new national paediatric hospital.

Community Care.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

134 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when the urgent care centres planned for three locations in Dublin will open at each centre; the staff to be appointed to each, and the hours of opening; and the reason they did not open in 2005 as promised at Estimates time. [27731/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act, 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Aids and Appliances.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

135 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when the new MRI scanner promised for Beaumont Hospital will be available to the public; the expected annual usage of the scanner; and the reason there has been a delay. [27732/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

136 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the plans she envisages for the development of facilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Raheny and if they were included in the five year capital programme which she recently announced. [27733/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Accident and Emergency Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

137 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the proportion of patients treated within one hour, within four hours and so on, in different categories of urgency at each of the Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny accident and emergency departments in the most recent years for which data is available. [27734/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

138 Mr. Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if additional speech therapy services will be provided for victims of stroke in Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27735/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Community Care.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

139 Mr. Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the provision of the community nursing unit on the grounds of Kerry General Hospital, Tralee, County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27736/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 140 answered with QuestionNo. 95.

Medical Cards.

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

141 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the way in which a couple with two children earning approximately €63,400 a year can as suggested in her statement of 26 June 2006 qualify for a general practitioner only medical card and in particular if she will give details of what are taken into consideration as typical outgoings for any such application. [27738/06]

In my Department's press release of 26 June 2006 I announced the increase in the basic income guidelines for the GP Visit Card to 50 per cent above the medical card income guidelines. The press release listed a range of examples based on persons with different earnings and expenses and in different family situations.

I attach a table for the Deputy's information which gives details of these and other sample cases outlining the weekly income and outgoings which would allow persons to be entitled to a GP visit card on foot of these recently increased income guidelines.

Departmental Investigations.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

142 Mr. Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the progress which has been made by the Working Group on Cystic Fibrosis since its inception; when its recommendations will be published; and if an implementation plan will be published in conjunction with the recommendations. [27739/06]

I wish to see significant improvement in the level of services available to persons with cystic fibrosis. I am aware of the current service deficits in this area which are widely acknowledged and which have been identified most notably in the Pollock Report, and by the Health Service Executive Working Group which is looking at this issue.

My Department is advised that the Working Group is being finalised and will be making specific recommendations in relation to a range of service improvements required for persons with CF, in particular the need to increase the level of clinical, nursing and allied health professional staffing in CF units around the country. As part of the overall funding for health services in 2006, additional revenue funding of €4.78m was allocated specifically for the development of cystic fibrosis services.

Departmental Correspondence.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

143 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a reply will issue from the Health Service Executive to Parliamentary Question No. 98 of 1 June 2006. [27740/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

My Department has now requested that the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive expedite the issue of a reply to the Deputy on the matter.

General Practitioner Co-operatives.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

144 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the retirement policy for general practitioners; if the retirement date can be extended for general practitioners in areas where there is a shortage of doctors (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27742/06]

The General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme was established under the Health Act, 1970 to provide publicly funded general practitioner services to eligible people. Under the GMS Scheme general practitioners hold one of two contract types i.e. the Fee per Item contract (first introduced in 1972) or the Capitation contract (effective from 1989). These contracts reflect the agreed outcome of negotiations between the Department of Health and Children and the GP representative body, the Irish Medical Organisation. Both contract types contain provisions which were agreed between the parties on a range of issues, including retirement age.

Under the Fee-per-Item contract it was agreed that a GP might hold the contract up to age 70. The terms of the Capitation contract which was agreed between the parties provides that GPs who entered into contracts on the date of its commencement could hold the contract up to age 70 and in all other cases the GP would hold the contract to age 65. Any changes to these arrangements would require to be agreed between the parties involved and would have to include consideration of all relevant factors, including the pension arrangements for GMS GPs. General Practitioners may, of course, and subject to continued registration with the Medical Council, continue to practice and to treat private patients following retirement from the GMS Scheme.

A review of the contractual arrangements for the provision of services under the GMS and other publicly funded schemes commenced in October 2005 and is being conducted under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). The Government wishes the new contractual arrangements to provide open access to public contracts for all qualified GPs registered with the Irish Medical Council. I am also open to considering whether it would be appropriate to change the present arrangements in relation to the age at which GPs must cease to hold contracts. I have therefore, asked my Department, in conjunction with the Health Service Executive (HSE), to consider this matter in the context of the joint review process being conducted under the auspices of the LRC.

I am committed to ensuring there is an adequate supply of doctors to meet future national GP manpower needs. Following consultation with the Irish College of General Practitioners, in 2004, it was agreed to increase the number of GP trainee places on GP vocational training schemes nationally from 84 to 150, on a phased basis. I have provided additional funding of €2 million in 2005 and an additional €4 million in 2006 has been provided to the HSE for this measure.

Departmental Correspondence.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

145 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that fewer than fifty percent of parliamentary questions from this office referred by her to the Health Service Executive are replied to within a 20 working day period and before a follow up parliamentary question has been tabled; that interim replies are not issued as a matter of routine when the 20 working day period is exceeded; that the tabling of a follow-up parliamentary question usually prompts an immediate reply from the Health Service Executive, indicating that the delay was not due to inaccessibility of the information sought; if she considers this acceptable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27743/06]

My Department has been informed by the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive (PAD) that during the period 1st September 2005 to 30 June 2006 the HSE received 46 questions for direct reply to the Deputy and that considerably more than 50% of these questions were responded to within the 20 working day time frame. The Deputy may wish to have his office contact the manager of the PAD central office at 01-6352505 in regard to its figures on replies issued to him.

In relation to the Deputy's point about follow-up questions, the HSE has assured my Department that responses are issued as soon as the information is gathered and finalised.

The Health Service Executive is conscious of the need to improve its performance in replying directly to Deputies on matters raised in parliamentary questions, including the issue of interim replies. In that connection the HSE is increasing the number of staff assigned to the PAD's central office and is developing the operation of its area offices. The Deputy will be aware from the recent meeting which the CEO of the HSE arranged with Oireachtas members, that the expansion of the PAD's staffing is part of a range of initiatives by the HSE aimed at enhancing the provision of information to Oireachtas members.

Health Services.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

146 Mr. Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the waiting time for orthodontic assessment and the waiting time for orthodontic treatment for persons in need of orthodontic assessment and treatment in Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27744/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Consultancy Contracts.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

147 Mr. Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the provision of the services for a full-time senior consultant cardiologist at Kerry General Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27745/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

148 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason medical card patients travelling to Dublin for angiograms are being obliged to stay in bed and breakfast accommodation following the procedure; the reason the Department of Social Welfare and not her Department are refunding patients for these expenses; if an improved system can be devised in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27746/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

149 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position in relation to the long promised extension to Bandon Community Hospital, west Cork and if a design team has yet been appointed. [27747/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

150 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if a medical card will issue giving retrospective cover in respect of hospital treatment to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who has undergone several medical and surgical procedures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27748/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

151 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if speech and language services will be provided for a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27749/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 152 answered with QuestionNo. 88.

Departmental Correspondence.

John Gormley

Ceist:

153 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) in relation to the employment for physiotherapists; if she intends to address the issues raised therein; the way in which she intends to proceed with these concerns; if an outcome will be soon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27751/06]

I wish to inform the Deputy that correspondence has been received in my office from the individual concerned and a reply was issued to indicate that the matter is receiving attention. The correspondence concerned relates to the issue of why student nurses are paid while working on placement in hospitals while student physiotherapists on placement are not.

Students on the four physiotherapy courses provided in our university sector are required to undergo clinical training for a period of 1,000 hours which is equivalent to approximately 26 weeks, delivered in approximately seven clinical sites at different periods over the four years of the degree programme.

I do not accept that the comparison between the clinical training of nurses and physiotherapists in relation to payment is a valid one. Physiotherapy students are supernumerary while on clinical placements (1000 hours) and are not part of the work force. The clinical training component of the nursing degree is 2300 hours (equivalent to 74 weeks) and is laid down by EU Directive. Clinical training for nurses is more than double that of physiotherapists. In addition, it should be noted that the model for the training of physiotherapists in Ireland (including the clinical component) is in line with best practice internationally.

It is important to clarify that student nurses are not paid when on supernumerary clinical placements. A continual rostered placement (internship) takes place towards the end of the nursing degree programme. During this period the student is a paid employee of the health service and receives a salary based on 80% of the staff nurse salary. These students replace staff nurses on an agreed ratio.

A range of measures have been put in place to support the training of physiotherapists in the past number of years including a new physiotherapy course in the University of Limerick which commenced in 2002 with 25 places. Essential to the successful roll-out of these additional training places was the provision of sufficient, quality clinical placements in physiotherapy. Over the last two years, the Department, along with the Health Service Executive, has worked to put in place the enhanced structures necessary to ensure that students have access to a sustainable, high-quality clinical training model. A national implementation group co-chaired by the Department and including representation from the Higher Education Institutes, therapy professional bodies and professional managers, is in place to address the on-going requirements to source clinical placements in the longer term.

A significant level of funding, secured by the Minister for Health and Children, totalling €5.18m (including €2.75m announced in the Budget 2006) has been allocated since 2004 for the development of therapy clinical training.

Medical Research.

John Gormley

Ceist:

154 Mr. Gormley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if an inspector from her Department last made a visit to a register user establishment licensed for animal experiment; the report of such an inspector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27753/06]

Inspections of registered user establishments are carried out in accordance with Section 10 of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, as amended. The Act provides for all registered establishments to be from time to time visited by inspectors for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of the Act. Veterinary staff of the Department of Agriculture and Food have acted as inspectors under a long standing arrangement with that Department: however, this arrangement is currently under discussion.

It is a function of the inspector to report to the Authority (Minister for Health and Children) any case of non-compliance with the provisions of the Act. My Department has received no such notifications in the past four years.

Hospital Services.

John Deasy

Ceist:

155 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when she expects radiotherapy services to be made available at Waterford Regional Hospital; if the Government will provide funding for public patients seeking radiotherapy treatment at a clinic (details supplied) when it is completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27755/06]

The Government's plan is for a national network of radiation oncology services consisting of four large centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway and two integrated satellite centres at Waterford Regional Hospital and Limerick Regional Hospital, conditional on their conformity to certain quality assurance arrangements.

The capital investment involved in providing the national network is estimated at over €400 million, most of which is to be funded through a Public Private Partnership (PPP). There is a significant amount of work to be done in preparation for a PPP. Towards this end, my Department is working closely with the HSE and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). The NDFA has assembled a team to progress the financial and procurement aspects and the HSE has appointed a Project Manager to lead on its input. A Clinical Output Specification Group, which includes leading experts in the field, is well advanced in specifying the clinical aspects of the development. Technical advisors will be appointed shortly to advise on the construction and other technical aspects of the project.

The precise planning of the development at Waterford and at the other locations will be addressed when the output specifications have been drawn up as part of the PPP process. The aim is to have the national network in place in 2011. This is an ambitious target but I am determined that the access to radiotherapy services for people in the Waterford area will be enhanced at the earliest possible date.

The Deputy's question in relation to the provision of funding for public patients seeking radiotherapy treatment at a private clinic relates to the management and delivery of health and personal, social services, which are currently the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the matter raised.

John Deasy

Ceist:

156 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of people who have been referred from Waterford Regional Hospital to Dublin and Cork to receive radiotherapy treatment every year from 2000 to 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27756/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal, social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the matter raised.

Hospital Hygiene.

John Deasy

Ceist:

157 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the arrangements being made at Waterford Regional Hospital to prevent people from being infected by MRSA; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27762/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Garda Investigations.

Liam Twomey

Ceist:

158 Dr. Twomey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she has been informed of the progress to date on a Garda investigation regarding missing files from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, which she recommended following the publication of the Neary Report; if this investigation has begun; if it has been completed; if actions have been taken following the investigation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27767/06]

Following publication of the Lourdes Hospital Inquiry Report in February last my Department furnished An Garda Síochána with a copy of the report. I have no function in relation to the action, if any, which the Garda authorities may take in relation to this matter.

Departmental Expenditure.

Liam Twomey

Ceist:

159 Dr. Twomey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the amount paid to a company (details supplied) to date; the amount paid for each of the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27769/06]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to any payments made by the Health Service Executive to the company in question within the specified period.

As Section 6 of the Health Act, 2004 states that the Health Service Executive is a corporate body, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Dan Boyle

Ceist:

160 Mr. Boyle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the budgetary allocation for each of the public bodies, executive agencies, advisory bodies and taskforces operating under her Department. [27794/06]

The 2006 budgetary allocation for public bodies, executive agencies, advisory bodies and taskforces operating under the Department of Health and Children are as follows:

2006 Allocation

€m

Health Research Board

30.541

National Cancer Registry

1.947

Irish Medicines Board

4.025

Postgraduate Medical and Dental Board

8.580

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

17.430

National Council on Ageing and Older People

1.485

National Social Work Qualifications Board

0.526

Women’s Health Council

0.631

Institute of Public Health

1.505

National Council for Professional Development of Nursing & Midwifery

4.348

Crisis Pregnancy Agency

8.055

Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

2.812

Mental Health Commission

12.000

BreastCheck

13.693

Office of Tobacco Control

2.291

Irish Health Services Accreditation Board

3.497

Special Residential Services Board

2.215

The Social Services Inspectorate

0.615

Health Information & Quality Authority

3.500

Other — Miscellaneous grants to bodies who request assistance

9.089

Food Safety Promotion Board

6.580

The National Treatment Purchase Fund

78.644

Ministerial Appointments.

Dan Boyle

Ceist:

161 Mr. Boyle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of positions in State bodies under the aegis of her Department which are affected by the increase in non-executive chairpersons’ fees of State bodies recently sanctioned by the Government. [27808/06]

At present, the board membership of six agencies under the aegis of my Department are in receipt of fees in respect of their service on the board and will, therefore, be affected by the Governments decision to increase these fees. The total number of positions involved is 59. In addition, there are a further seven agencies under the aegis of my Department in respect of which only the Chairperson receives a fee. This brings the total number of persons affected by the change to 66.

Departmental Bodies.

Dan Boyle

Ceist:

162 Mr. Boyle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of taskforces which have been created by her Department and their function, size, membership, reporting mechanism and period of existence since 1997. [27816/06]

Enquiries are being made within my Department in relation to the information requested by the Deputy and I will forward this to him as soon as possible.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

163 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the cost of private nursing home subventions granted in each year since 2002; and the number of beds in each year since 2002. [27829/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Accident and Emergency Services.

John Deasy

Ceist:

164 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if defibrillators are available in every fire station in County Waterford; if not, if she intends to make this possible; the timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27832/06]

The question of making defibrillators available to fire stations would be a matter for the Health Service Executive in consultation with the fire services. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

John Deasy

Ceist:

165 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if there is a universal newborn hearing screening programme available in the paediatric and maternity department at Waterford Regional Hospital; if there is not such a programme, if she intends to introduce one; the timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27833/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

The report of the Universal Neo-natal Hearing Screening Group commissioned by the former Health Boards was received in the Public Health Division of my Department on 3 April 2006 and is being assessed. My Department is also in discussion with the Health Service Executive in relation to its implementation.

Medical Cards.

John Deasy

Ceist:

166 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of general practitioner only medical cards that have been granted to people in Waterford City and County; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27845/06]

The Health Service Executive have provided the figure of 444 for the total number of GP visit card holders in Waterford City and County as at 1 June 2006 to my Department.

Care of the Elderly.

John Deasy

Ceist:

167 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of home help hours allocated in County Waterford for each year since 2000; the number of persons benefiting in each year; the budget allocated in each year in County Waterford; it the allocation was used in each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27846/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

John Deasy

Ceist:

168 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of first responder schemes in the City and County of Waterford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27862/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 169 answered with QuestionNo. 95.

Hospitals Building Programme.

John Deasy

Ceist:

170 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the levels of funding that are being allocated to Health Service Executive South for the development of Waterford Regional Hospital over the next 10 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27864/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for considering new capital proposals or progressing those in the health capital programme.

Accordingly, my Department is requesting the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Home Subventions.

John Deasy

Ceist:

171 Mr. Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties being experienced where nursing home subvention does not match charges being presented by private nursing homes and the delays being experienced by patients who have to lodge an appeal; if she will streamline the system to ensure an automatic top up payment is examined based on the income details supplied with the original application, which is not the case in Waterford at present. [27869/06]

The Nursing Home (Subvention) Regulations, 1993 are administered by the Health Service Executive. There are currently three rates of subvention payable, i.e. €114.30, €152.40 and €190.50 for the three levels of dependency which are medium, high and maximum. Additional funding of €20 million was provided for the administration of the Nursing Home Subvention Scheme in 2006, bringing the total available budget to €161 million. The €20 million is to support more basic nursing home subventions and reduce waiting lists for enhanced subventions: it is also to bring more consistency to subventions support throughout the country. The Deputy may wish to know that the Nursing Home Subvention scheme was never intended to cover the full cost of a private nursing home bed.

The HSE has discretion to pay more than the maximum rate of subvention relative to an individual's level of dependency in a case, for example, where personal funds are exhausted. The application of these provisions in an individual case is a matter for the HSE in the context of meeting increasing demands for subvention, subject to the provisions of the Health Act, 2004. The average rate of subvention paid by the HSE generally exceeds the current approved basic rates. The supports paid by the HSE vary from person to person and region to region, depending on prices for example.

The recently published Health (Nursing Homes)(Amendment) Bill 2006 is designed to ensure that the existing subvention scheme for private nursing home care is grounded in primary legislation and to help the HSE to implement the scheme on a standardised basis across the country. In addition, national guidelines on nursing home subvention are currently being developed by the HSE to ensure an even and equitable application of the regulations nationally.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

172 Mr. Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in processing inter-country adoption applications in here; the further reason there is little accountability in the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27883/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

The process of assessment of applicants for inter-country assessment is set out in a Framework for Inter-country Adoption Assessment introduced in 1999 to streamline assessments and to provide a transparent system centred on the child's best interests. Inter-country Adoption applications are received by and assessed by the Health Service Executive and PACT, who are a recognised adoption agency. Assessment involves a number of stages and would generally include an initial assessment, a considerable level of education/preparation work (including an exploration with prospective adoptive parents of the challenges and issues that are likely to arise when undertaking adoption) and a home study assessment. The length of the assessment process can vary between applicants depending on the particular circumstances of each case, bearing in mind at all times the best interests of the child. Applicants found to be suitable to be adoptive parents are granted a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability by the Adoption Board, and may then pursue the adoption of a child abroad with the selected sending country.

Community Care.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

173 Mr. Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 can be moved permanently from Peamount Hospital to an apartment in order that they can live independently but with the necessary support services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27884/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 174 answered with QuestionNo. 110.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

175 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the financial supports available from her Department directly or indirectly to assist a physically disabled person to build their first home in a rural area; if no supports are available her views on introducing such a measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27919/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

176 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties in schools due to the long delays in accessing speech and language therapy for primary and post-primary students; her proposals to tackle this year long waiting list; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27920/06]

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

177 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the problems in accessing support services for post-primary pupils such as speech and language therapy, behavioural therapists, social workers, and so on; the measures she intends taking to ensure that these services can be accessed in the shortest possible time by all schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27921/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 176 and 177 together.

My Department understands from the Health Service Executive that its priority in 2006 is to increase service provision in the area of multi-disciplinary supports to meet obligations to children with developmental delay, in the home, in the community and in other appropriate settings. In this regard €12.5m was made available by the HSE from the 2006 investment programme to provide multi-disciplinary supports to people with intellectual, physical and sensory disability and/or autism.

The Deputy's questions relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have these matters investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

178 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the stage projects (details supplied) are at; if funding has been allocated; if funding is contingent upon revenue implications; when building will begin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27922/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. This includes responsibility for considering new capital proposals or progressing those in the health capital programme.

Accordingly, my Department is requesting the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Care of the Elderly.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

179 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the funds available to elderly day care centres to provide transport to day patients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27923/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Correspondence.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

180 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of parliamentary questions referred to health boards or other agencies for direct answer to Deputies for each year from 2002 to date in 2006; the number answered directly by her Department each year since 2005; the number referred to the Health Service Executive for answer since its establishment. [27924/06]

Pursuant to the Health Act 2004, the functions of the Health Boards, Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Area Health Boards and a number of other statutory agencies were transferred to the HSE with effect from 1 January 2005. This fundamental reform in the structure of the country's health and personal social service system resulted in a body which has statutory responsibility for the management and delivery of services not only at the local and regional levels but also at national level. The information provided in the table below in respect of 2005 and 2006 reflects this fundamentally changed situation.

The information available in my Department in relation to the Deputy's question is contained in the following table:

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

Year

Total no. of questions answered

Number of questions where no referral to a health board or the HSE was involved

Number of questions referred to Health Boards/HSE for full reply

Number of questions referred to Health Boards/HSE for part reply

2003

3,837

2,633

1,096

108

2004

4,132

2,676

1,338

118

2005

5,305

2660(of which 25 were referred to other bodies for full reply and 19 for part reply)

2,388

257

2006 January to June

3469

1,472(of which 13 were referred to other bodies for full reply and 8 for part reply)

1,701

296

This information was not routinely collected by my Department prior to the establishment of its Parliamentary Affairs Unit in 2005. The figures for 2003 and 2004 have since been retrospectively compiled and only identify questions referred to health boards for direct reply. Consequently, the figures in column (3) of the table for these two years include referrals to bodies other than health boards but do not provide a breakdown of same. Figures for 2002 are not readily available within my Department.

Consultancy Contracts.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

181 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if consultants were employed to develop the Health Service Executive logo; if as part of this work, a policy document on the use of the HSE logo was drafted and circulated; the cost associated with this project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27925/06]

Section 6 of the Health Act, 2004 states that the Health Service Executive is a corporate body. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Funding.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

182 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the amount of funding allocated to the Health Service Executive Mid-western and South Eastern region towards the homecare package; the amount allocated to north and south Tipperary; the number of persons in north and south Tipperary that has been approved the homecare package; the average length of time taken per application in north and south Tipperary. [27926/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

183 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of people waiting for orthodontic treatment in each area of the Health Service Executive mid-western area; the average length of waiting time in each area; the way this compares with other regions of the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27927/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Strategy Statements.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

184 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the proposal put forward by Irish Rural Link that a rural health strategy is urgently needed; her views on such a strategy; if she will provide resources toward implementation of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27928/06]

The National Health Strategy Quality and Fairness — A Health System for You was announced by the Government in 2001 to provide vision and strategic direction for the health and personal social services. The Strategy sets out the key objectives for the health system up to the year 2010, which are centred on four national goals:

•Better Health For Everyone

•Fair Access

•Responsive and Appropriate Care Delivery

•High Performance.

The Health Strategy is now in its sixth year of ongoing implementation and I do not see a need for a rural health strategy as proposed by Irish Rural Link.

The Health Act, 2004 sets out in broad terms the performance framework for the Health Service Executive (HSE) which was established on 1st January, 2005, as a corner stone of the Health Reform Programme. As part of the performance framework, the HSE must submit to the Tánaiste, for approval, a Corporate Plan and an Annual Service Plan. The HSE corporate plan for 2005-2008 commits it "to develop a consistent approach to access to service throughout the country, based on identified need". The service plan format is currently being revised within the Department. The 2007 Plan will, very specifically, include a section devoted to Consistency and Social Inclusion which is to contain details of initiatives being pursued by the HSE to ensure, amongst other things, a geographical equity in the provision of services.

I would like to take this opportunity to assure Irish Rural Link that the achievement of consistency in the standard and range of services available in each region of the country is a key objective of the health service reforms.

Health Services.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

185 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the recent report completed on proposed changes to Shannon-doc; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27929/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Suicide Prevention.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

186 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if an additional €60 million for suicide prevention will be made available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27930/06]

As the Deputy may be aware, Reach Out — a National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005-2014 was launched in September last. Four levels of action comprise the main body of the Strategy, i.e., general population approach; targeted approach; responding to suicide; and information and research.

During the two years developing the strategy, wide ranging consultation took place throughout the country to draw on the experience, perspectives and ideas of the key stakeholders and interested parties. This consultation process, combined with continuous monitoring of evidence and best practice, allowed the project team to take both an evidence-based and pragmatic approach in prioritising actions to be undertaken by the various agencies and groups in order to effect real change over the next 5 to 10 years.

Following the publication of the Strategy, the Health Service Executive (HSE) established the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP) to oversee the implementation of the Strategy. The Office has primary responsible for implementing the Strategy and will coordinate suicide prevention activities across the State, consult widely in relation to the planning of future initiatives and ensure best practice in suicide prevention.

An additional €26.2m development funding has been allocated to the HSE for the further development of our mental health services in 2006. Some €1.2m of this additional funding is specifically for suicide prevention initiatives. In the region of €800m will be spent on mental health services this year. The additional funding will be used to enhance the level and range of multidisciplinary services available to adults and children with mental illness. It will also fund the provision of additional community based mental health facilities, including mental health day centres, day hospitals and community residential facilities.

Future funding for suicide prevention initiatives will be considered in the context of the annual estimates process.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

187 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children given the high rates of suicide per capita in County Tipperary her views on making funds available for a project (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27931/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Drugs Payment Scheme.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

188 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the threshold in the drug payment refund scheme each year since 2002; the reason for such increases in the qualifying threshold; her views on lowering the threshold to ensure that more people qualify for the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27932/06]

Under the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS), at present, no individual or family unit pays more than €85 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.

On its introduction on 1 July 1999, the threshold was £42, and in subsequent years this was increased as follows:

•from £42 (€53.33) to €65 with effect from 1 August 2002

•from €65 to €70 with effect from 1 January 2003

•from €70 to €78 with effect from 1 January 2004

•from €78 to €85 with effect from 1 January 2005.

The DPS protects against excessive medical costs and significantly reduces the burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines. The introduction of the scheme saw substantial growth in the State bill, and the cost of the scheme has risen significantly since its inception in 1999. The threshold was not increased between the scheme's introduction in 1999 and 2002 although the cost of the scheme rose by 73% during that period. The number of claimants under the scheme rose by 40% between 2000 and 2002. As of 31 December 2003, 48% of the eligible population was registered under the Scheme. Only 15% of those registered exceeded the monthly threshold in that year, indicating that the scheme was successfully targeting patients with higher drugs costs. The number of eligible persons for the DPS as at 31 December 2004 was almost 1.47 million representing 36.33% of the population. Government expenditure on the scheme in that year was €226.83 million, an increase of €22.41 million on the previous year.

The threshold increases have been in line with Government policy to provide reasonable assistance for patients, within available resources.

Health Insurance.

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

189 Mr. Lowry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the proposed VHI rate increase; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the proposed additional 12 per cent increase will be on top of a 42 per cent increase since 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27933/06]

I was notified by letter dated 22 June 2006, of the intention of the VHI Board to increase premiums by an average of 12.5% from 1 September 2006. VHI have highlighted in the notification a number of cost drivers, including the costs associated with an ageing population, increasing drug costs and accelerated technology innovation. VHI state that the proposed premium increase will also finance new benefits and services for its members. I am aware of the level of increases in VHI premiums including 2002.

Under VHI legislation, the VHI Board is responsible for setting premium rates. The legislation obliges the Board to fix premiums to provide sufficient revenue to meet claims costs and to make provision for reserves. For the financial year ended February 2006, VHI will be reporting a loss of €32.3 million leading to a fall in its reserve ratio. I wrote to the Chairman of the VHI Board at the end of 2005, highlighting the need for the Board to build up its reserves. It is a matter for the VHI Board, to take account of all the key considerations in discharging its responsibilities as regards setting premium levels. The Board states that the increase proposed is the absolute minimum increase required. The premium increase notification is being considered against this background.

Accident and Emergency Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

190 Mr. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason the reports by a company (details supplied) on the operation of individual hospitals’ accident and emergency departments have not been published. [27949/06]

The National Hospitals Office of the Health Service Executive commissioned Tribal Secta to undertake a process mapping exercise across 10 acute hospitals. The project focussed on the maximum utilisation of existing acute capacity and in particular, the blockages, causes and potential solutions in the patient's journey from the decision to admit to discharge. The 10 hospitals examined included the major Dublin academic teaching hospitals.

The HSE has published the Overview Tribal Secta Report on its website at www.hse.ie. The Executive has advised that copies of the reports on individual hospitals can be obtained from the HSE on request.

Health Insurance.

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

191 Mr. Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position on the provision of medical cover for Alzheimer’s patients and the unit provided for them and for families at an institution (details supplied); and if she will indicate if medical cover exists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27952/06]

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

208 Mr. Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the provision of medical cover for Alzheimer’s patients and the unit provided for them and for families at an institution (details supplied); the medical cover that exists presently; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28023/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 208 together.

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

192 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the amount which was spent in her Department for the years 2005 and from January 2006 to date for media purposes or advertising; where the money was spent, that is, national papers, provincial papers, RTÉ radio, local radios and so on; the amounts spent on a yearly basis for each of the previous three years; if money was spent on videos, for promotional, educational or advertising purposes. [27958/06]

The information, involving many divisions of my Department, is not readily available in the format as requested by the Deputy. I have requested my Department to retrieve the relevant data and to assemble it and to present it in the format as requested.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

193 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps she intends to take to address the patient transport crisis in the western region; if she believes that it acceptable that the senior management in the Health Service Executive is unaware of the crisis; if she further believes that it is acceptable that the HSE has failed to respond to the issue following a recent meeting (details supplied); the steps she is taking to make the HSE responsive and accountable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27972/06]

My Department is advised by the Health Service Executive that it intends to conduct a comprehensive review of patient transport arrangements as an element of its 2006 service plan. It is envisaged that this review will examine the service currently delivered nationally and make recommendations for its future development. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Business Plans.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

194 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 192 of 20 June 2006, when she intends to publish her Department’s 2006 business plan; if she will include plans for a vaccine damage compensation scheme; the reason for the delay in establishing such a scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27974/06]

The Business Plan for 2006 is available on the Department's website. The business plan for Public Health Division includes the examination of the feasibility of a vaccine damage compensation scheme. Consideration of the issue is at an advanced stage.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

195 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if funding is approved under the national purchase scheme for the supply of digital hearing aids to clients in the west of Ireland; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27989/06]

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) was established as one of the key actions for dealing with public hospital waiting lists arising from the 2001 Health Strategy. The NTPF is used for the purpose of treating public patients who have been waiting longest for surgery. It is not intended to expand the remit of the NTPF to funding the type of treatment referred to by the Deputy.

Pension Provisions.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

196 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) will be issued with a pension from the Health Service Executive west; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27990/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the administration and management of superannuation payments for former employees of the health boards, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have this matter investigated and to issue a reply directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

197 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason the GMS list in Strokestown, County Roscommon is frozen; if patients have a right to choose their general practitioner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27991/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Food Labelling.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

198 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the plans she has to ensure that there is a legal basis to the labelling terms non GM and GM free; the discussions she has had at European level on the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27996/06]

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is the competent authority in Ireland for the enforcement of EU legislation regarding food derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) — generally referred to as GM food.

The authorisation and labelling of GM food within the EU is governed by the GM Food and Feed Regulation (EC No. 1829/2003). The labelling terms ‘non GM' and ‘GM free' are not defined in EU legislation and are used voluntarily by the food industry. However, the use of these terms is subject to Article 2.1(a) of the General Labelling Directive (2000/13/EC) which stipulates that labelling must not mislead the purchaser as to the characteristics of the foodstuff and, in particular, as to its nature, identity, properties, composition, method of production and manufacturing.

By carrying out regular surveys of the food supply, the FSAI monitors the level of compliance with GM food legislation and ensures that only authorised and correctly labelled GM ingredients are on the Irish market: a positive result of the FSAI GM food surveys to date is that while GM ingredients have been detected in a proportion of foods tested, no breaches of the EU GM food legislation have been identified.

In May of this year, the FSAI published the results of its most recent survey — the GM Food Survey 2005. In this survey a total of 60 food samples were analysed, with six samples being found to contain low levels of GM at less than the 0.9% labelling threshold provided for in EU legislation. However, three of these samples contained GM soya while carrying the claim ‘made from non GM soya' on their label. The UK based company producing these foods has been identified in a number of FSAI surveys as carrying potentially misleading claims relating to non GM status, and despite representations by the FSAI, the problem has not been addressed. As a result, the FSAI has discussed this issue with the retail trade in Ireland and requested that a long term solution be developed to prevent the persistent misleading of consumers by these products. Ultimately, the accuracy of food labels is the responsibility of the food industry which must ensure that all food labels and claims are accurate so that consumers are not mislead.

Unaccompanied Minors.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

199 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of unaccompanied minors referred to the Health Service Executive between the years 2000 and 2006; the number that remain in the care of the HSE; the number that have gone missing or remain unaccounted for while under the care of the HSE; if this information is collated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28005/06]

Information in relation to separated children seeking asylum was not routinely collected by my Department prior to 2001. The information held in this Department on Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum collected as part of the Interim Dataset is set out in the table below.

Year

No. of UAMS Coming to Attention of HSE

No. Reunited with Family

No. Placed in Care of HSE

No. Found not to be Minor

Other Arrangements Made

2001

1,151

445

560

32

114

2002

779

427

282

13

57

2003

858

456

285

50

67

2004*

679

450

176

13

40**

*The Interim Dataset for 2004 has yet to be validated and as such all figures for 2004 are provisional. Figures for 2005 are not yet available.

**Contains outcomes for 11 Separated Children yet to be confirmed by HSE Western area.

I have requested the Health Service Executive to provide you, if possible, with more recent figures and the further information relating to Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum sought by you.

Medical Cards.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

200 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number and percentages of general practitioner only cards that have been issued since the introduction of these cards; the breakdown per region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28006/06]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) have informed my Department that they are unable to provide the figures in the format (breakdown by four HSE regions) required by the Deputy and that they are currently working on their database system to enable the collection of this information in that format going forward.

The HSE have provided figures on the number of GP visit card holders in each county as at 1st June 2006 and these are shown on the table below. The percentage of the population holding either a medical card or GP visit card as at 1 June, 2006 was 29.15% (this figure is based on the Central Statistics Office official population estimate in 2005 — 4,130,700).

County

No. of persons holding a GP visit card

Carlow

447

Cavan

370

Clare

335

Cork

2,431

Donegal

1,205

Dublin

1,641

Galway

1,129

Kerry

845

Kildare

283

Kilkenny

492

Laois

383

Leitrim

240

Limerick

524

Longford

213

Louth

739

Mayo

850

Meath

657

Monaghan

345

Offaly

435

Roscommon

307

Sligo

372

Tipperary Nr

162

Tipperary Sr

596

Waterford

444

Westmeath

312

Wexford

727

Wicklow

391

Total

16,875

Hospital Services.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

201 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position of the proposed dialysis unit at Beaumont; the cost of this unit; the proposed date for completion of this project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28007/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

202 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her proposals in relation to calls for increased funding of neurosurgery in the public sector; her plans to provide such funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28008/06]

At the request of my Department, a committee was established by the former Comhairle na nOspidéal, to review arrangements for the provision of neurosurgical services and consultant staffing nationally, and following consultation with the interests concerned, to make recommendations on the future organisation and development of neurosurgical services.

My Department has been informed that the report will be published shortly.

The future development of neurosurgery services will be considered in the light of the report and resources available.

Sports Sponsorship.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

203 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on reports from the European Commission that believe that sponsorship of sporting contests by drinks companies should be banned as it encourages youth drinking; the steps she intends to take in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28009/06]

A number of the recommendations contained in the Interim Report of the Strategic Task Force on Alcohol concern a reduction in the exposure of children and adolescents to alcohol advertising, marketing and sponsorship. In response to these, my Department entered into negotiations with the broadcasting, media and drinks industries while at the same time pursuing the development of legislation to restrict alcohol advertising, sponsorship and sales promotions/marketing practices. It was agreed that the industry would respond on an incremental basis. This has resulted in the establishment of Central Copy Clearance Ireland which addresses the issue of the content of advertisements, the development of a Voluntary Code of Practice on Advertising which addresses the issue of placement and the establishment of the Alcohol Marketing and Communications Monitoring Body to oversee the implementation of the Voluntary Code. As the Tánaiste has previously indicated, she will await the Annual Report of the Monitoring Body before deciding on future actions in relation to legislation on this issue. Negotiations with the industry stakeholders are ongoing and will include the issue of sponsorship.

The Health Promotion Policy Unit of my Department has also engaged directly with the national sporting organisations. The GAA has, in association with the Unit appointed a dedicated project officer to address the issue of alcohol and drug use. The officer will be responsible for carrying out a number of initiatives including the development of a Code of Conduct for local clubs and a review of drug and alcohol issues arising at club level.

The Health Promotion Policy Unit and the Health Service Executive are now entering into discussions with the Football Association of Ireland regarding alcohol related issues.

Departmental Investigations.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

204 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the date for the publication of the report into the death of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28010/06]

Following the death of Mr. Patrick Walsh in Monaghan Hospital on the 14th October, 2005 the Health Service Executive (HSE) commissioned Mr. Declan Carey, a consultant surgeon at Belfast City Hospital, and an honorary senior lecturer at Queen's University and Professor John Monson, Professor of Surgery, University of Hull, to carry out an independent and external review.

The Health Service Executive has advised my Department that a report has been prepared by the Consultants and is now going through a necessary legal process prior to completion. This is normal procedure.

My Department is advised by the Executive that it has been in touch with the family of Mr. Walsh and briefed them fully on the current situation.

I have not received the report and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on its contents.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

205 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the State’s only obesity clinic at St Colmcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown is no longer taking referrals due to the length of waiting time to see a specialist; the waiting times that currently exist; the steps she intends to take to rectify this situation particularly in view of the growing numbers of people who are obese; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28011/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Ambulance Service.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

206 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position in relation to the ambulance control centre in Townsend Street, Dublin; when the report into this situation will be published; her plans to end the duplication of services between the Health Board and the DFB staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28012/06]

Pre-hospital emergency care services in the greater Dublin area are provided by both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Dublin City Council through Dublin Fire Brigade. The HSE has advised that the review of Command and Control arrangements, referred to by the Deputy, is being undertaken by representatives from the Executive and Dublin City Council. The Executive has advised that the review is in the process of being finalised. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Hospital Staff.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

207 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of hospital consultants appointed each year since 1997; the specialities and regions these consultants have been appointed to; her plans for further appointments; if these appointments will be on a public only contract basis. [28013/06]

The information requested by the Deputy is collated by the Health Service Executive. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive to provide you with the information directly.

Question No. 208 answered with QuestionNo. 191.

Health Services.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

209 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a review will take place of the current agreement with the Society of Chiropody Ireland in relation to payment for treatment of medical card patients; the terms of reference and the report deadline; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28032/06]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

214 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the practice of some chiropodists charging a levy on medical card holders to recoup costs not covered by the Health Service Executive; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact that more chiropodists are planning to introduce such a levy and that others are leaving Ireland to practice abroad; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28037/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 214 together.

There is no statutory obligation on the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide chiropody services to GMS patients; however in practice arrangements are made to provide these services. Before the establishment of the HSE the nature of the arrangements for chiropody and the level of service provided was a matter for individual health boards and so a degree of variation in practice developed over time. Priority is usually given to certain groups of people, including people who are medical card holders aged 65 years and over. In several regions the service is provided by private chiropodists by arrangement with the HSE.

I consider that it is inappropriate for private chiropodists who are providing services on behalf of the HSE to charge patients a top-up fee, and I have conveyed this view formally to the HSE. My Department requested the HSE to review the fee arrangements in place for the provision of chiropody services, with a view to ensuring that such additional fees will no longer be levied on persons in receipt of this service; and this process is well under way with the aim of expediting appropriate agreement at the earliest opportunity.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

210 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps which have been taken to establish a school and an associated degree course for students to study chiropody here. [28033/06]

Given the importance of securing a supply of chiropodists/podiatrists domestically to match the growth in demand for chiropody services, I am conscious of the need to establish a school of podiatry in the State.

Although responsibility for the establishment of a school of podiatry will be a matter, in the final instance, for the Department of Education and Science, the delivery of clinical training, which is a significant core component of the course, has been the subject of discussions between officials of my Department and the Department of Education and Science in terms of how best it could be facilitated in an integrated fashion with Health Service Executive (HSE) services. The HSE has submitted its proposals on how to provide the clinical training associated with a podiatry degree programme and these proposals were discussed at the most recent meeting between officials which took place on 21 June. Both Departments are continuing to progress the matter.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

211 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of registered chiropodists here; the number of Irish students of chiropody attending English colleges; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28034/06]

There are no statutory registration requirements for chiropodists in Ireland. However, the Deputy may wish to note that the Health Service Executive is responsible for the maintenance of a list of chiropodists considered eligible to practise in the public health service. There are 228 chiropodists on this list.

An assessment process to update this list is currently under consideration by the Health Service Executive and is likely to commence shortly.

My Department does not hold any information on the numbers of Irish people studying chiropody in English colleges. The Deputy may wish to note that officials from my Department are working closely with officials from the Department of Education and Science with a view to establishing a school of podiatry in the State.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

212 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when the payment to chiropodists who treat medical card patients will be benchmarked; when the payment from the Health Service Executive will be increased in line with inflation in general and medical inflation in particular. [28035/06]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to fees paid by the Health Service Executive to private chiropodists for providing services to medical card holders as opposed to chiropody grades employed by the Executive. Pay increases recommended by the Public Service Benchmarking body have been implemented for chiropodists employed in the public service. These pay increases are not applicable to private chiropodists.

My Department requested the HSE to review the fee arrangements in place for the provision of chiropody services and this process is well under way.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

213 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the role she sees for chiropodists in the primary care networks proposed by the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28036/06]

The Government is fully committed to the implementation of the principles contained in the Primary Care Strategy and this includes the development of primary care teams and networks. The implementation process at operational level is a function of the Health Service Executive, whose Chief Executive Officer has identified as a priority the development of multidisciplinary primary care services, both as the appropriate service to meet people's health and social care needs and to complement the services provided by acute hospitals.

The 2006 Estimate for the HSE includes an additional €10 million in revenue funding to enable the establishment of up to 100 new primary care teams. This will enable the provision of some 300 additional frontline personnel to work alongside GPs in order to provide integrated and accessible services in the community. Work by the HSE to establish these teams is under way. In planning for the establishment of these teams, the Executive intends to focus where possible on areas of disadvantage and with significant health inequalities.

The HSE will also, as part of the ongoing restructuring and reorientation of resources nationally, work towards the establishment of primary care networks of health and social care professionals that will include chiropodists.

Ongoing implementation of the Primary Care Strategy will focus on the reorganisation of the resources already available to the health service and on developing new ways of working in line with the service model described in the Strategy. This whole-system approach to implementation means change will be required in many sectors in the health service, and not solely within primary care. It is within this context that additional resources can be deployed to best effect.

Question No. 214 answered with QuestionNo. 209.

Departmental Funding.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Ceist:

215 Mr. Gogarty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the funding given to a group (details supplied) in County Dublin in the past 12 months; if it is intended to continue with this funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28044/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

David Stanton

Ceist:

216 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the assistance and supports available to parents and to childcare providers respectively from her Department to improve the provision of after-school care for school-going children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28053/06]

The new National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) 2006-2010 will provide a proactive response grounded in an understanding of local needs, to the development of quality childcare supports and services, including services for school going children. As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the NCIP and the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) 2000-2006, which are being implemented by the newly established Office of the Minister for Children. The NCIP builds on the success of the EOCP which will conclude in 2007.

The need to support the further development of childcare services for children of school going age, including before school, after school hours and during school holidays, is an important objective of both the NCIP and the EOCP. One of the key objectives of the NCIP is the creation of 50,000 additional childcare places, including 5,000 after-school places.

School Age Childcare was examined in detail by a Working Group of the National Childcare Co-ordinating Committee, set up under the EOCP, resulting in the publication of the Report "School Age Childcare in Ireland", in June 2005. The Report made a number of recommendations for the development of School Age Childcare to support the childcare needs of parents, including the use of school premises, where appropriate, as a location to develop a quality School Age Childcare service, as well as laying down Guidelines for the delivery of a quality service. It is hoped that its publication and on-going promotion at local level by the City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs), will give greater impetus to the development of these important services. A special allocation of funding was made available to each CCC to enable the Committee to organise local conferences aimed at raising awareness of the initiative and the supports that are available.

Funding is available under the NCIP and the EOCP for the development of childcare facilities, including facilities with a specific focus on school age childcare, subject to qualifying conditions. Grants are available for renovating and upgrading identified spare capacity within a school premises and for the furnishing of such facilities.

Community not for profit and private sector childcare providers may apply for grant assistance of up to €1 million and €100,000 respectively, towards the capital cost of developing a childcare service in a catchment area where there is a demonstrated need. Key stakeholders have been asked to come forward with proposals for services, shaped around their particular local needs. Schools, groups or individuals interested in applying for school age childcare funding should contact their local CCC.

Full contact details for the CCCs are available on the OMC website at www.omc.gov.ie.

David Stanton

Ceist:

217 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the progress to date in the provision of 5,000 after-school places as outlined in the National Childcare Investment Programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28054/06]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 (EOCP) and the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP), which are being implemented by the newly established Office of the Minister for Children.

The need to support the further development of childcare services for children of school-going age, including before and after school hours and out of school terms, is an important objective of both the EOCP and the NCIP.

The NCIP aims to provide a proactive response to the development of quality childcare supports and services which will be planned for and developed locally and centred on the needs of the child and the family.

At present, there is a transition period between EOCP funding and NCIP funding, and a number of applications for the new Programme have been provisionally approved, and are expected to go to contract shortly.

Increased resources have also been approved for the 33 City and County Childcare Committees, to enable them play their enhanced role under the Programme.

David Stanton

Ceist:

218 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the progress to date in developing a new training strategy for childcare workers as outlined in the National Childcare Investment Programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28055/06]

Proposals for the process of development of the National Childcare Training Strategy are currently under consideration. It is envisaged that this process will build on the work of the Certifying Bodies Subgroup of the National Childcare Co-ordinating Committee, which drew up a Model Framework for childcare training in 2002. The process will be fully inclusive of all stakeholders who will provide a vital input into the development of the strategy.

Health Services.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

219 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the additional funding available to shorten the length of time parents are waiting for provision under the community school age services in relation to speech and language services. [28057/06]

My Department understands from the Health Service Executive that its priority in 2006 is to increase service provision in the area of multi-disciplinary supports to meet obligations to children with developmental delay, in the home, in the community and in other appropriate settings. In this regard €12.5m was made available by the HSE from the 2006 investment programme to provide multi-disciplinary supports to people with intellectual, physical and sensory disability and/or autism.

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

220 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if it is possible to employ extra speech therapists. [28058/06]

Let me say at the outset that there is no embargo on the recruitment of staff in the public health service. Nor does my Department set employment quotas at national level for any grade in the public health service. It is a matter for the Health Service Executive, as part of its management of its employment ceiling, to determine the appropriate staffing mix required to deliver its service plan priorities, including speech and language therapy services. I have consistently emphasised the importance of prioritising the filling of front line vacancies in complying with approved employment levels. I have also emphasised the need to achieve an appropriate balance between clinical and non-clinical posts.

Approved employment levels for the health service have been adjusted since 2002 in line with Government policy on public sector employment and also to take account of specific policy measures aimed at increasing service levels. My Department is currently in discussions with the Department of Finance and the Health Service Executive to agree revisions to the health service employment ceiling to take account of service developments, including disability services.

A priority for the HSE in 2006 is to increase service provision in the area of multi-disciplinary supports to meet obligations to children with developmental delay, in the home, in the community and in other appropriate settings. The investment package will facilitate the recruitment of up to 200 extra therapists, particularly speech and language, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Due to the current limited supply of these grades it is acknowledged that in the short term recruitment from overseas will be required. The HSE has put in place a project plan for this.

In regard to the recruitment of speech and language therapists generally, the Deputies will be pleased to note that the Health Service Personnel Census shows a total of 596 wholetime equivalent (WTE) staff at end March, 2006. This represents an increase of 315 WTE staff or 112% since end December, 1997. The number of training places in speech and language therapy has increased by 300% since 2001.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

221 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of speech therapists in each county. [28059/06]

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's Health Service Personnel Census collects data on an employing agency basis rather than on a county by county basis. As the Deputy's question relates a human resource management issue which is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004, the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive has been asked to respond directly to the Deputy in regard to the information sought.

Mental Health Services.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

222 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans to address the inadequate number of long term facilities for young adults with severe neurological disorders; if there are no such facilities, when consideration will be given to addressing this problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28071/06]

As part of the Estimates for health services in 2006, additional funding of €3m was allocated specifically for the further development of neurology and neurophysiology services. This funding was provided to allow the Health Service Executive to further progress the implementation of the recommendations made by the former Comhairle na nOspidéal in respect of these services.

Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

223 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of medical card holders in the state in 1997; the number of 2002 and the number in 2006. [28079/06]

The numbers of medical card holders in the state as requested by the Deputy are as follows: 1997, 1,219,852; 2002, 1,168,745; and 2006, 1,187,370.

The figure shown for 2006 is the most recent figure provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to my Department and refers to the position as at 1 June, 2006.

The decrease in the number of medical card holders since 1997 can be attributed to a number of factors including the improvement in the economic circumstances of the population resulting in less people requiring a medical card on means grounds. Also the ongoing management and review of the medical card databases by the HSE has resulted in the reduction of the perceived numbers who hold medical cards. The database cleansing exercise undertaken by the then health boards in 2003 in relation to the over 70's medical cards, resulted in the removal of 80,000 cards from the medical card database. These cards included duplicate cards, cards for persons who were deceased or cards for people who had left the relevant health board area.

The Health Strategy commits to making improvements in the income guidelines in order to increase the number of persons on low incomes who are eligible for the medical card and to give priority to families with children. In November, 2004 I set out my priorities for new health initiatives in 2005 including the provision of medical cards to an additional 30,000 people and GP visit cards to 200,000 people. Funding of €60 million has been provided to the HSE for these measures. The two initiatives greatly assist those on low incomes accessing GP services and also help in removing disincentives to people taking up work or progressing to better paying work. In June, 2006, 42,287 more people have medical cards than in January, 2005 (1,145,083).

In recent years there have been significant improvements to the way in which people's eligibility for medical cards and GP visit cards is assessed. In January 2005, the income guidelines used in the assessment of medical card applications increased by 7.5%. In June 2005, the means test for both medical cards and GP visit cards was simplified. It is now based on an applicant's and spouse's income after tax and PRSI, and takes account of reasonable expenses incurred in respect of rent or mortgage payments, child-care and travel to work. I believe that this is much fairer to applicants. In October, 2005 I increased the income guidelines for both medical cards and GP visit cards by an additional 20% and on 26 June, 2006 I again increased the income guidelines for GP visit cards and they are now 50% higher than those used for medical cards.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

224 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she conducted a survey of the number of general practitioners per head of population on an area basis in the State; the implications of this for the medical card scheme and for the delivery of primary care in general; the results of such a survey; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28080/06]

I wish to inform the Deputy that such a survey has not been conducted by my Department. In 2004, following consultation with the Irish College of General Practitioners it was agreed to meet short to medium term needs to increase the number of GP trainee places on GP vocational training schemes nationally from 84 to 150, on a phased basis. I have provided additional funding of €2 million in 2005 and an additional €4 million in 2006 for this measure.

My Department, the Health Service Executive and the College are in the process of putting in place arrangements to consider the most appropriate way in which to address the longer-term GP manpower and training needs, in the context of such factors as the projected growth of the population, the demographic profile of the GP workforce, the changing nature of general practice and primary care, and future service requirements generally.

Accident and Emergency Services.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

225 Ms Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the plans she has to tackle the A & E crisis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28096/06]

Tackling the problems that exist in some of the country's A & E departments is the Government's top priority in health. Our objectives are to reduce the numbers waiting for admission, the time spent waiting for admission, and the turnaround time for those who can be treated in A & E and do not require admission.

The Health Service Executive has put in place a number of measures to build on the actions contained in the A & E Action Plan. These include in particular the setting of performance targets for individual hospitals. Over the last three months there has been a consistent improvement in the numbers of patients on trolleys in A & E awaiting admission, when compared to the same period in 2005. In June, for example, there were on average 39% fewer patients on trolleys awaiting admission than in June 2005.

The numbers of patients who are waiting longer than 24 hours for admission have also decreased. The HSE is continuing to focus on the interim target that no patient will wait longer than 24 hours, with the ultimate target being to ensure that no patient waits any longer than six hours for admission.

The hospitals are being assisted in achieving their targets by the A & E Task Force which was established by the HSE. The Task Force has focused on those hospitals that have persistent challenges in relation to the delivery of A & E services and has undertaken site visits to those hospitals to identify initiatives that will have a high impact on A & E performance.

One of the first initiatives to be progressed has been the fast-tracking of admissions beds and other facilities to improve the patient experience by ensuring that patient privacy, dignity and comfort is preserved as far as possible while awaiting admission to an acute bed.

Tackling the issue of care for older people is an important and integral part of the A & E strategy. We have provided additional intermediate care beds and home care packages to facilitate the discharge in 2006 to date of more than 700 patients who have completed the acute phase of their care. Some 400 additional private nursing home beds have been provided for those who require long-term care.

Given the emerging capacity challenges in the private nursing home sector, and having regard to the specific needs of high acuity patients, the HSE is currently examining the possibility of providing a significant number of additional long-term care beds, both in Dublin and elsewhere, at a number of health service locations. All available mechanisms will be used to accelerate the process to allow for the earliest possible introduction of these additional facilities. The initiative is being overseen by a HSE dedicated project team.

I want to reiterate the Government's commitment to improving the delivery of A & E services. By adopting a system-wide approach I am confident that the services will continue to be improved, and that those improvements will be sustained.

Hospital Charges.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

226 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford has to pay a hospital for medical attention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28108/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Food Labelling.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

227 Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of inspectors within the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that enforce the food labelling legislation; the other functions of these inspectors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28136/06]

Section 49 of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act 1998 provides that the Board or Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) may appoint, in writing, persons to be authorised officers for the purposes of the Act. Authorised officers enforce food law, which is defined within the Act and set out in detail in the FSAI Act 1998 (Amendment of First and Second Schedules) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 320 of 2006). Food law as described within the Order includes several regulations on food labelling and food labelling provisions within many other regulations.

The FSAI has appointed twenty eight of its own staff as authorised officers under the 1998 Act, which allows them to enforce food law — including regulations on food labelling. However, the bulk of day-to-day enforcement of food labelling regulations is carried out by the authorised officers of official agencies — the Health Service Executive, the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, the local authorities and the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs.

Some of the twenty eight authorised officers within the FSAI are involved in occasional survey work or audits which include checks on food labelling. Audits and surveys have included checks on labelling and traceability of meat and fish, genetically modified food, fruit juice, honey and infant formulae. Such work is usually carried out in conjunction with staff in the official agencies. Depending on the particular audit or survey, FSAI staff involved are drawn from various divisions within the Authority but all have a wide range of other duties apart from checks on food labelling.

Communications Masts.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

228 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he has satisfied himself that the new mast erected at Coolock Garda station is safe; and if he will support the local residents in their efforts on health and safety issues. [27264/06]

The Commissioners of Public Works have granted licences to three mobile phone companies to install telecommunications equipment on the mast at Coolock Garda Station. Under the terms of their licence agreement with the Commissioners, the mobile phone operators are obliged to install and operate all equipment within current standards and E.U. regulations, including Health and Safety regulations, and adhere to the guidelines on exposure limits to emissions, issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). In addition, the Commissioner's consultants monitor all such developments on behalf of the Commissioners to ensure compliance with the regulations is achieved from the outset and is continuous during the term of the licence agreement. This compliance with Health and Safety legislation etc., required under the Licence Agreement, also applies to any future relevant legislation/regulations and ICNIRP guidelines.

The Commissioners assure me that the mast at Coolock Garda Station has been constructed, and is being operated, in compliance with all the relevant legislation and that there are adequate measures in place to ensure this compliance is continuous.

Tax Code.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

229 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary qualifies for the back to work tax allowance; the reason for the reduction in combined tax credits from €6051.99 in 2005 to €4620 in 2006. [27266/06]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the Back to Work Allowance is administered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the person concerned should make enquiries with that Department as regards qualification for the allowance.

The position is that €6,051.99 was the total of the person's tax credits for 2005 and the corresponding figure for 2006 is €6,425.80. However, the person's net credit is €4,620 and takes account of tax due on the person's taxable pension from the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

Flood Relief.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

230 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the number of compensation claims submitted following the River Nore flood relief scheme; the number of claims settled; the amounts involved; the number of claims in dispute and their value; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27267/06]

Seven claims have been received to date. Four have been settled at a cost of €259,979.02. The three outstanding claims are for €3,150,121.98. The Commissioners of Public Works anticipate that these claims will be settled through negotiation or if necessary arbitration for a figure significantly below the amount claimed.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

231 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the reason a commitment given to the residents of John’s Quay, Kilkenny (details supplied) has not been honoured; if a timeframe for completion of the repairs will be given to the residents; if a contractor is to be appointed to complete the work; if he will expedite the matter. [27268/06]

The Commissioners of Public Works are in ongoing contact with the residents of John's Quay, regarding arrangements to repair damage to their houses. The Commissioners understand arrangements, which they agreed with the residents are acceptable to them and that they are being honoured.

In the light of the Deputy's question, the Commissioners will contact the residents again next week to ensure that if there are any misunderstandings about what was agreed they will be resolved.

The Commissioners did not engage the consultants referred to by the Deputy. It is understood they may have been engaged by some of the residents to advise them.

Site Acquisitions.

Joe Walsh

Ceist:

232 Mr. Walsh asked the Minister for Finance the reason the acquisition of a site for a gaelscoil (details supplied) has not yet been finalised by the Office of Public Works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27269/06]

Contract documents were signed for the acquisition of the site in question on 23rd may 2006. The closure of the sale is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

Waterways Access.

Seán Ryan

Ceist:

233 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) has infilled part of Gulladoo Lake, County Leitrim; if he will confirm that the State own the lake up to the high water mark; the action he proposes to take to ensure that the position is rectified and that access to the middle lake is restored to the public in view of same; and if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that a similar question on this issue has been passed from the Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to the Office of Public Works. [27345/06]

The Title to the property (Gulladoo Lake) is currently being investigated. Further action to be taken can only be determined on confirmation of the Title.

Public Procurement Contracts.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

234 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the new public procurement contract gives appropriate recognition of and transfer and fair payment conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27363/06]

The Government in mid 2004 decided to reform construction procurement to help achieve greater cost certainty, better value for money and more cost effective delivery of public works projects. My Department, with the assistance of the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC), specialist legal drafters and external technical expertise, has now developed a suite of Standard Forms of Construction Contract.

The fundamental change in the new construction contracts is the re-balancing of risk to change from existing practice where the State bears a disproportionate level of risk to the situation where capital projects are tendered for by contractors on a fixed price lump sum basis to include identified and appropriate risks. The new draft contracts also require contractors to ensure that pay and conditions of employment comply with the law and are no less favourable than the terms of the Registered Employment Agreements for those employees to whom the agreements apply. The new draft contracts also include provisions which give some support to strengthening enforcement arrangements in the construction sector. More generally, the public procurement guidelines issued by my Department, require that all contracting authorities ensure that tenderers have regard to minimum pay and other legally binding industrial or sectoral agreements when preparing bids and that tender documents should have an appropriate reference to this.

My officials have had extensive and constructive consultations with the construction industry over the last year on the content of the contracts. During this process, there has been very significant movement on the part of the State to help meet the industry's concerns without compromising core policy in this area. Following a very useful exchange of views with representatives of the construction industry in early June, I am aware that there are a small number of outstanding concerns for the industry. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the details at this time. However, let me say that I have listened carefully to the industry's comments and views and I am currently reflecting on the points made with a view to finalising the contracts in the coming weeks.

Departmental Agencies.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

235 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the non-Governmental agencies or organisations his Department has provided funding to in 2004, 2005, and 2006; the amount of funding provided to each in each year; the number of applications for funding submitted to his Department in total; the number of these applications which were refused; the reason for same; the percentage of his Department’s overall annual budget such funding equates to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27381/06]

My Department's Vote provides for Grants-in-Aid to two non-Governmental bodies, the Institute of Public Administration and the Economic and Social Research Institute. These bodies have been provided with the following funding in the period in question.

Year

Agency/Organisation

Amount

2004

Economic and Social Research Institute

2,944,000

2005

Economic and Social Research Institute

3,026,000

2006 (year to date)

Economic and Social Research Institute

1,315,000

2004

Institute of Public Administration

3,237,000

2005

Institute of Public Administration

3,318,000

2006 (year to date)

Institute of Public Administration

1,415,000

In addition, two non-Governmental bodies applied to the National Public Procurement Policy Unit of my Department for funding. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions received €15,383 in 2005 for the publication of a document on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and to support a seminar on PPPs for its members. Another non-Governmental body made an application but this was rejected as the proposal would have resulted in a duplication of training services relating to Public Private Partnerships.

My Department also operates a scheme to make available, from the proceeds of the National Lottery, funds to supplement the income of promoters of private charitable lotteries competing directly with National Lottery products. In the period in question, my Department received 35 applications for funding. Three of those were refused, on the grounds that the applicants were not operating a lottery under the provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Acts on or before 1 January 1997, which is one of the criteria for eligibility. The following table sets out the funding provided to each of the successful applicants in the years 2004 and 2005. No funding has been provided yet this year.

Year

Agency/Organisation

Amount

2004

REHAB Lotteries

5,951,569

Gael Linn

442,993

Irish Cancer Society

389,043

Polio Fellowship

389,043

West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation

92,878

Drogheda Community Services Centre

80,640

The Hanly Centre

75,626

Longford Cathedral Circle

50,744

Associated Charities Trust

49,411

Asthma Society of Ireland

34,174

Irish Wheelchair Association

31,997

Mulranny Day Centre Housing Co. Ltd.

15,599

Cappoquin Community Development Co. Ltd.

13,281

The Liffey Trust

1,430

2005

REHAB Lotteries

5,314,136

Gael Linn

407,162

Irish Cancer Society

358,684

Polio Fellowship

358,684

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

350,632

Irish Lung Foundation Limited

219,886

Irish M.E. Trust

176,137

Asthma Society of Ireland

141,773

The Hanly Centre

101,180

Drogheda Community Services Centre

82,042

West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation

80,210

Longford Cathedral Circle

50,270

Associated Charities Trust

38,427

Irish Wheelchair Association

22,063

Mulranny Day Centre Housing Co. Ltd.

15,649

Cappoquin Community Development Co. Ltd.

12,236

Cope Foundation

152

The Liffey Trust

145

The amount of funding for relevant bodies mentioned above (i.e. in the text and the table) represented 11% of my Department's Vote for 2004. The amount for 2005 represented 14% of my Department's Vote. The amount of expenditure for the year to date in 2006 represents 2% of my Department's Vote for this year.

Departmental Staff.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

236 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if additional staff have being hired in the Office of Public Works; and when the catchment flood risk assessment and study report for the Rye River will commence. [27407/06]

The Commissioners of Public Works, with the assistance of the Public Appointments Service, is in the process of recruiting additional staff to deal with the increased workload arising from its designation as the lead agency to implement the Government's policy on flooding.

The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) study for the Rye River will be undertaken by Consultants under the direction of a Steering Committee, which will comprise representatives from the Office of Public Works and Kildare County Council and will commence later this year. The Office of Public Works is currently preparing tender documents for the appointment of Consultants.

Schools Building Projects.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

237 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if the contract has been awarded for the roof repairs to a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; the cost of the project; and the timeframe for construction. [27413/06]

A contract has been awarded for the replacement of the roof at the school in question. The total project budget is €2.45m. It is expected the project will be completed by the end of October 2006.

Site Acquisitions.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

238 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if the contract documents for the purchase of a site for a school (details supplied) in County Kildare have been signed. [27414/06]

Contract documents for the purchase of a site for the school in question were signed by the Department of Education and Science on 3rd July 2006.

Architectural Heritage.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

239 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Finance the number of historical sites in County Clare maintained by the Office of Public Works; the annual number of visitors to each site for each of the years 2001 to 2005; the investment in each of these sites for each of the years 2001 to 2005 and the corresponding figure spent on promotion of these sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27437/06]

There are 36 monument sites in the care of the Office of Public Works in County Clare. The following table outlines expenditure on conservation work at these sites from 2001 to 2005. Routine maintenance of the sites (cleaning/grasscutting etc) is carried out by the staff from the National Monuments Depot in Athenry but it is not possible to give a breakdown for individual sites.

Expenditure at National Monuments in County Clare for period 2001-2005

Monument

2001-2005

Burren Monuments*

687,355.04

Ennis Friary

241,808.30

Kilfenora Cathedral

1,237,608.40

Quin Abbey

654,618.25

Scattery Island

1,254,436.63

Poulnabrone

246,309.98

Annual Breakdown

Monuments

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Burren Monuments*

224,812.00

88,022.93

185,433.80

60,241.33

128,844.98

Ennis Friary

112,775.00

96,954.57

22,722.21

0

9,356.52

Kilfenora Cathedral

48,000.00

342,990.56

408,153.84

238,786.50

199,677.50

Quin Abbey

264,511.00

274,647.24

115,460.01

0

0

Scattery Island

168,359.00

460,214.84

327,862.93

297,999.86

0

Poulnabrone

33,820.00

102,225.49

39,210.49

28,503.98

42,550.02

*The Burren Monuments Strategy includes projects at the following sites:

•Leamaneh Castle

•Corcomroe Abbey

•Cahercommaun Stone Fort, and

•Cahermór Stone Fort

A Guide Service is provided seasonally at the Scattery Island monastic site and at Ennis Friary. The number of visitors to those sites in each of the years from 2001 to 2005 is shown on the following table:

Year

Total Visitors

Scattery Island

Ennis Friary

2001

1,803

14,539

2002

1,267

15,201

2003

1,524

15,226

2004

2,004

13,379

2005

1,722

15,896

The numbers of visitors to the non-staffed sites are not recorded.

In line with its marketing strategy, heritage sites that are managed by OPW are promoted collectively in partnership with the Regional Tourism Authorities and Shannon Development. Brochures that provide necessary visitor information are distributed at staffed OPW-managed heritage sites and through the Tourist Information Offices network. The sites are, in addition, promoted through a website, heritageireland.ie. The OPW-maintained sites in County Clare are promoted collectively in partnership with Shannon Development. It is not possible, therefore, to quantify the expenditure on the marketing of individual OPW-managed heritage sites in County Clare.

Garda Stations.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

240 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the stage of development the Leixlip Garda station; the length of time he anticipates it will be before construction will commence and is completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27450/06]

A formal decision by the Commissioners of Public Works in respect of Planning Consultation under Part 9 on the proposed new Garda Station for Leixlip is expected in a number of weeks.

Commencement of the tendering process is dependent on the outcome of the Commissioners decision.

Flood Relief.

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

241 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the stage the local catchment flood risk assessment and management plan for the Rye River, encompassing Leixlip, Maynooth, and Kilcock is at; if the study has commenced; if not, if he has a timeframe as to when this will occur; the length o