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].

Tourism Statistics

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

1 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach the number of tourists who visited this country in each of the past three seasons to date in 2011; the locations from whence they came; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4201/11]

Data on overseas visitors to and from Ireland is available from the CSO's Overseas Travel and Tourism & Travel Releases.

The results are based on a continuous passenger survey conducted on selected incoming and departing sailings and flights at Irish ports and airports.

The following table presents data on the number of overseas visitors to Ireland for each calendar quarter between Q1 2008 and Q3 2010 by the four main visitor regions. Data for Q4 2010 will be available before the end of February 2011.

Overseas Visits to Ireland by Non-Residents

’000

Visits

2008

2009

2010

Jan-Mar

Apr-Jun

Jul-Sep

Oct-Dec

Jan-Mar

Apr-Jun

Jul-Sep

Oct-Dec

Jan-Mar

Apr-Jun

Jul-Sep

Total Overseas Visits

1,542

2,159

2,472

1,665

1,402

1,902

2,177

1,446

1,085

1,541

1,997

Area of Residence

Great Britain

849

1,023

1,149

851

722

858

956

720

527

702

853

Other Europe

480

729

840

561

489

658

757

478

367

501

701

USA & Canada

156

312

357

179

142

305

356

177

137

264

333

Other Areas

57

95

126

73

49

80

107

71

54

75

110

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

2 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4019/11]

No legislation is being contemplated or proposed within my Department at present.

Higher Education Grants

James Bannon

Ceist:

3 Deputy James Bannon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied), who is not in a financial position to fund college education has not been granted a third level maintenance grant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3973/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

Schools Building Projects

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

4 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when money will be allocated for an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3974/11]

The school to which the Deputy refers recently applied to my Department for funding for additional accommodation. Supplementary information in support of the application was requested from the school and this has now been provided. The application will be assessed and my Department will convey a decision to the school authority when this process has been completed.

Grant Payments

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

5 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has held recent discussions with the Protestant community regarding the withdrawal of the ancillary grant; the value of the grant withdrawn; the reason behind the withdrawal; the latest discussions which have taken place regarding this issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3976/11]

Estimated savings to the Exchequer from the withdrawal, with effect from 1 January 2009, of the ancillary grant to fee-charging schools with a Protestant ethos were estimated at €2.8 million. The grant was withdrawn due to concerns about the constitutionality of making it available to fee-charging schools of one ethos and not to those of another.

However, I wish to assure the Deputy that I am committed to supporting education in schools under Protestant management, while at the same time ensuring that funding arrangements are in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

In this regard, I had a useful meeting with Protestant educational representatives on 9 September last. At the conclusion of that meeting, we agreed to continue our discussions on funding issues pertaining to Protestant fee-charging schools. Since then, my officials have had further meetings with the educational representatives and will continue to do so.

I am committed to continuing this engagement with members of the Protestant community, as I believe that these issues are best resolved collaboratively.

Schools Building Projects

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

6 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the extension to a school (details supplied) in County Meath; the funding level for the extension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3997/11]

The school to which the Deputy refers recently applied to my Department for funding for additional accommodation. The application will be assessed and my Department will convey a decision to the school authority when this process has been completed.

School Completion Programme

John McGuinness

Ceist:

7 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if in the context of the review of the children at risk fund and the school completion programme she will ring fence funding for a centre (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if she will have that programme examined as a stand alone project as the centre and what it offers under the CAR funding is recognised as being at the cutting edge of service provision in this area nationally; if her officials will visit the centre and if the recent Department report commending the centre for its services and value for money will now be considered in support of the proposal to consider the 3 to university project as a pilot project. [4006/11]

My Department launched the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) initiative which brought together a range of programmes and supports aimed at tackling educational disadvantage in some 876 schools throughout the country. Through DEIS an additional €40million was provided bringing the allocation for disadvantage in schools to in excess of €200million. In light of this additional investment, a decision was taken in Budget 2009 to discontinue the Children at Risk Fund.

The project to which the Deputy refers was among a number of projects evaluated by the Evaluation, Support and Research Unit in conjunction with the Inspectorate of the Regional Directorate of this Department in 2009, to assist in determining future funding arrangements and possible mainstreaming of appropriate projects or models of intervention.

As a result of this evaluation, funding of €133,000 issued to the Project in December for 2011 and a process has begun to integrate the Fr. McGrath Centre Homework Club & Study Support with the Kilkenny City School Completion Programme (SCP) Project, as both projects share the same aims and objectives. The School Completion Programme is a major component of DEIS and provides support for targeted children who are at risk of early school leaving. The supports are provided through 124 local projects and include interventions on school attendance, literacy/numeracy, after school, homework, holiday time supports as well as social and sporting interventions.

The National Coordination Team for the School Completion Programme has commenced work on the integration of both projects and a meeting with the project to which the Deputy refers will be arranged shortly.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

8 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within her Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4012/11]

Work is currently underway in my Department on the preparation of the following items of draft legislation:

1. Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill

The Heads of Bill were approved by Government in January 2010 and work is at an advanced stage on the preparation of the draft legislation. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the amalgamation of a number of education bodies arising from a Budget 2009 announcement. The bodies concerned are the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). The new organisation will also take responsibility for the functions currently performed by the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB). The draft legislation will also include provisions to empower the amalgamated organisation to develop a Quality Mark and Code of Practice for international education, including the English language sector.

2. Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill

Work is currently underway on the preparation of a scheme of the Bill. The general scheme has not been approved yet by Government. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the establishment of a Statutory Fund to support the needs of survivors of residential institutional child abuse and for other education and welfare purposes, and for related matters including provisions to facilitate the wind-down of the Residential Institutions Redress Board.

3. Vocational Education Bill.

Drafting of heads of a Vocational Education Bill is underway and is at an early stage. The purpose of the Bill is to rationalise and reduce the number of VECs and restructure and modernise the legislative framework applying to the VEC system.

Redundancy Payments

Joe Behan

Ceist:

9 Deputy Joe Behan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding redundancy payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4031/11]

I can confirm that an application for redundancy has been received by my Department from the person referred to by the Deputy. Applications for redundancy are being received on an ongoing basis and are processed in date order of receipt. The application in question will be dealt with as soon as possible.

Higher Education Grants

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

10 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her views on the case of a person (details supplied) who has appealed a decision; if this appeal will be successful, if not, why not; her views on this person’s options in the absence of such a grant being awarded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4172/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

EU Globalisation Fund

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

11 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if a group of workers who have applied for funding under the EU globalisation fund can also receive funding for the project through the EU micro-loan scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4174/11]

Article 6.5 of Regulation (EC) 1927/2006 governing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) states that specific actions receiving a contribution under the EGF shall not also receive assistance from other Community financial instruments. Under EGF rules, the balance of funding shall come from national sources.

Schools Building Projects

John Deasy

Ceist:

12 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a request from a school (details supplied) in County Waterford to have the application for a permanent school advanced to the architectural planning stage and to upgrade the priority rating to band 1.1; when a decision on this application will issue; her views on this school being left without a permanent school for the past 25 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4188/11]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy, that a project to provide a new school building for the school to which he refers, has been announced as one of the projects to commence the process of appointing a design team under my Department's 2011 Multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. My officials will be in further contact with the school authority in due course relating to the steps to be taken to progress the project.

Schools Refurbishment

John Deasy

Ceist:

13 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application from a school (details supplied) in County Waterford for funding to upgrade facilities at the school; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the works associated with this application are designed to eliminate very serious road safety issues at the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4189/11]

I understand that the school referred to by the Deputy has submitted an application for the works in question under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme. Applications for funding under the scheme are being processed in my Department, as outlined in the Circular governing the operation of the Scheme, and the school authority in question will be notified of the decision on the application later in the year.

Higher Education Grants

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

14 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason a higher education grant has not been awarded in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20 who is currently attempting to go back to education following loss of employment; when this file will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4207/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy

Departmental Groups

David Stanton

Ceist:

15 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No 180 of 18 January 2011, if he will provide details of the stakeholders with whom the chair of the Office of Public Works Haulbowline working group met on 1 September and 11 October 2010; the action taken as a result of these meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4186/11]

David Stanton

Ceist:

16 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No 180 of 18 January 2011, when the Office of Public Works Haulbowline working group is due to meet next; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4187/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together. In September and October last, the Chair, on behalf of the Working Group established by Government to develop a structured and coherent approach to the further management and development of the former Irish ISPAT site at Haulbowline, County Cork, met with the following:

The Cork County Manager.

The Chief Executive, Manager Engineering Services, Harbour Master and Operations Manager of the Port of Cork Authority.

The Chairman and Director of the Maritime & Energy Research Campus & Commercial Cluster.

The next meeting of the Working Group will take place in early February 2011.

Flood Relief

John McGuinness

Ceist:

17 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the funding allocated to a flood relief scheme (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; the stage of the planning project; if local concerns and suggestions have been considered; if further consultation will take place before the scheme commences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4002/11]

Kilkenny County Council was allocated funding of €198,000 by the Office of Public works last year under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works Scheme to undertake flood alleviation measures in Graiguenamanagh. In addition, the OPW has recently provided funding of €58,000 for a Flood Risk Management Study that was commissioned by the Council that covered Graiguenamanagh, as well as Callan and Thomastown.

The progression of the works in Graiguenamanagh, including the issues of public consultation and the securing of planning and other necessary consents, is entirely a matter for the Council.

Pension Provisions

John McGuinness

Ceist:

18 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance if the original Irish Sugar Company will be included on the list of members of the public service network for pension purposes. (details supplied) [4005/11]

Membership of the Public Sector Transfer Network is voluntary. The former Irish Sugar Company made a decision not to join and, now that the company no longer exists, that decision cannot be reversed.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

19 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4014/11]

Apart from the 2011 Finance Bill, I do not envisage bringing forward any further legislative proposals before the anticipated dissolution of this Dáil. Other legislative proposals that have been approved by Government or that have been under consideration in my Department are set out in the table.

Title

Purpose of Bill

Heads of Bill approved by Government

NAMA Amendment Bill

To fulfil certain conditions relating to deleveraging of the banks as required under the Programme of Financial Support to Ireland by making provision for the transfer of sub €20m land and development loans from AIB and BOI to NAMA.

Yes.

Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) Bill

To provide a new single pension scheme for new entrants to the public service and for related matters.

Yes.

Betting (Amendment) Bill 2011

A Bill to amend the Betting Act 1931 with the object of bringing remote betting including betting exchanges within the existing regulatory framework and to make some incidental amendments generally to bookmakers’ licensing arrangements.

Yes.

Customs Bill

To consolidate and modernise national legislation relating to the administration of Customs into a single piece of legislation including the Customs provisions that apply at national level. This will also involve introducing some new provisions.

Yes.

Central Bank (Reform) Bill 2011

To address the question of necessary changes and enhancements to the regulatory functions of the Central Bank.

Pending.

Financial Services (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

To transfer Ministerial responsibility for building societies from the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Govt to the Minister for Finance.

Pending.

Central Bank (Consolidation) Bill 2011

To consolidate the body of legislation relating to the Central Bank into a single statute.

Pending.

Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2011

To provide a statutory basis for the range of fiscal policy and expenditure management reforms set out in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014.

Pending.

Credit Institutions (Resolution) Bill 2011 *working title

To provide for a comprehensive resolution regime for credit institutions in line with the Programme agreed with the IMF, ECB and European Commission.

Pending.

Construction Contracts Bill 2010

This is a private members Bill initiated by Senator Feargal Quinn in Seanad Éireann. The Bill provides a remedy to parties operating at various levels under a construction contract when payments are not forthcoming.

Yes — Bill being redrafted.

Tax Code

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

20 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Finance the reason income tax has been deducted from the pension of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4049/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that income tax was deducted from the pension of the person in question following the changes that I announced in Budget 2011 to the Personal, Employee (PAYE) and Aged tax credits. In addition, the person in question is now liable for deductions under the new Universal Social Charge. If the taxpayer in question wishes to contact their local Revenue Tax Office, Kilkenny District, to discuss the matter of deduction of tax on future pension payments. They should contact Ms. Phil Reid at Telephone 056 7783778 or Ms. Anne Doyle at Telephone 056 7783753.

Tobacco Prices

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

21 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 215, 230 and 233 of 23 March 2010, the steps taken by her as a result of the European Court of Justice judgment issued on 4 March 2010 against Ireland, France and Austria to the effect that the setting in health legislation of the minimum price for which cigarettes can be sold is not in keeping with EU law; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3978/11]

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

22 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she is now fully compliant with the European Court of Justice judgment issued on 4 March 2010 that the setting in health legislation of the minimum price for which cigarettes can be sold is not keeping with EU law; the steps she has taken to ensure that her Department is fully compliant with the ruling. [3979/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 22 together.

Following on from the European Court of Justice's Judgement, my Department last year, ceased the practice of calculating the weighted average price for cigarettes. There was no change required to the legislation as the arrangements to calculate a weighted average price were on the basis of an agreement with the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC) affiliated tobacco companies, who forwarded data on sales volumes and retail prices to year end each year. From this information, a weighted average price was calculated and industry were advised "if the recommended retail price of any brand of cigarettes is less than 97% of the weighted average price it will be considered as a "sales promotion device".

The Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000 (S.I. No. 35 of 2000) provides a definition for "sales promotion device", and, as such, the framework for the setting of the weighted average price. There are other instances of a sales promotion device that may need to be dealt with in the future e.g. — 3 for 2, buy one get one half price, "happy hour" promotion etc. In the circumstances, an amendment of the regulations is not necessary as it may be necessary to invoke the regulations in relation to potential illegal practices that may arise in the future.

Child Care Services

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

23 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the supports or grants that are available from her Department to a person setting up a new business providing Montessori school service in the Cork area; the grants and services that may be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4221/11]

Pre-school services can apply to participate in the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which was introduced by my Office in January 2010. Under the scheme, in return for providing the free Pre-School Year to eligible children, a pre-school service will be paid an annual capitation for each eligible child enrolled. The standard capitation rate is €2,450 per annum and a higher capitation rate of €2,850 per annum is payable to services with more highly qualified staff.

Children are eligible to participate in the scheme when they are aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months in September of the relevant year. At September 2010, some 4,300 pre-school services, or 95% of all such services, are participating in the scheme. 63,000 children, or 94% of all eligible children are availing of the free Pre-School Year. The ECCE scheme cost approximately €154 million in 2010 and is expected to cost €166 million in 2011. Applications for new services to enter the scheme from September 2011 will be available shortly from the local City or County Childcare Committee.

My Office also has responsibility for the implementation of the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) which includes a capital grant programme to develop childcare facilities. However, as this programme closed to new capital grant applicants in 2009, I regret to advise the Deputy that capital expenditure in 2010 and 2011 is confined to existing capital grant commitments.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Michael Creed

Ceist:

24 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she has an estimate of the cost associated with covering Crohn’s disease under the long-term illness scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3975/11]

The medicinal products prescribed for the treatment of patients with Crohn's disease are also prescribed for other conditions. When pharmacists submit reimbursement claims to the HSE for medicines dispensed to patients under the GMS and other community drug schemes no information is provided as to which condition or illness a particular medicinal product has been prescribed. As a result the information sought by the Deputy is not collected or compiled by the HSE.

The prices paid by the HSE for medicines dispensed under the Drugs Payment Scheme and the Long Term Illness Scheme are the same. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme no individual or family pays more than €120 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme is easy to use and significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

Care of the Elderly

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

25 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will assist in having long-term care provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [3977/11]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

26 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within her Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4016/11]

Earlier this month the Government Chief Whip announced a break with the usual practice of publishing a full legislative programme at the start of a Dáil session as the current session will be interrupted by a general election. In place of this, the Government set out a legislative work programme for the remainder of this Dáil. As this did not include the publication of specific health Bills, a list of health legislative proposals from the Government legislative programme for Autumn 2010 is set out below. This list excludes the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2011 which has since been published.

The general scheme of the Health Information Bill was approved by Government in June 2009. The heads of the other Bills listed below have yet to be approved by Government.

Working Title of Legislation

Object

Health Information Bill

To provide a legislative framework for the governance of information in the health sector.

Reference Pricing for Drugs Bill

To introduce a system of reference pricing and generic substitution for drugs prescribed under the GMS and community drug schemes.

National Vetting Bureau Bill

To provide a statutory basis for the vetting of applicants for employment and employees, including vetting to identify, in particular, information relating to the endangerment or sexual exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.

Ryan Implementation Bill

To implement recommendations of Ryan Report including matters related to “Children First”.

Mental Health (Amendment) Bill

To make technical amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001.

Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill

To make it mandatory for registration purposes for doctors to have clinical indemnity/insurance.

Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

To provide for a new risk equalisation scheme for health insurance.

Human Tissue Bill

To regulate the removal, retention, storage, use and disposal of human tissue from deceased persons and consent for the use of donated tissue from living persons for the purpose of transplantation and research.

Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill

To introduce a number of measures to regulate the use of sunbeds including a prohibition of their use by those under 18 years of age.

Licensing of Health Facilities Bill

To provide for a mandatory system of licensing for public and private healthcare facilities.

Public Health (Alcohol Labelling Provisions) Bill

To provide for the inclusion of health advice/warnings on alcohol drink containers (bottles, cans) and on promotional materials.

Eligibility for Health and Personal Social Services Bill

To clarify the eligibility framework relating to health and personal social services.

Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill

To make technical amendments to the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.

Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

To provide for subsuming the Opticians Board into the Health and Social Care Professionals Council.

Medical Cards

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

27 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive their renewed medical card which was promised by December 2010. [4025/11]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

28 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be awarded a medical card. [4029/11]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Accident and Emergency Services

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

29 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who were treated in the accident and emergency department of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, since 1 January 2010 to date in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4034/11]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

30 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of patients sent overseas for specific surgical and medical procedures which were not available here; the treatment they received and the location in which they were treated. [4038/11]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Services

David Stanton

Ceist:

31 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, with reference to the Adjournment matter dated 25 November 2010, if the positron emission tomography scanner in Cork University Hospital is operational and if not, if she will give details of when it might become operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4041/11]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Waiting Lists

John O'Donoghue

Ceist:

32 Deputy John O’Donoghue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who failed to keep outpatient appointments in hospitals here in 2010. [4042/11]

John O'Donoghue

Ceist:

33 Deputy John O’Donoghue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who failed to keep outpatient appointments in hospitals in County Kerry in 2010. [4043/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 33 together.

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

34 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 156 of 3 November 2010, the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4169/11]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Staff

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

35 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 144 of 14 December 2010, the position regarding a retirement claim in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4170/11]

The Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement (ISER) was announced by the Minister for Finance in his Supplementary Budget Statement of 7 April 2009. This replaced all existing early retirement schemes, and no others were available after the closing date of the ISER, until the introduction of the Voluntary Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy schemes which were announced on 1 November 2010.

The Government decided in November 2010 that in view of the need to achieve a permanent reduction in the number employed in the public health sector from 2011 onwards, and to facilitate public health reform, that targeted voluntary early retirement and voluntary redundancy schemes should be introduced for certain grades in the health sector. As this scheme post dated the retirement date of the person in question, its terms were not, unfortunately, available to him.

The ISER was a voluntary scheme and the individual concerned made a decision to avail of the scheme, based on the terms of that scheme, which included the immediate payment of pension without actuarial reduction, and the payment of 10% lump sum at time of retirement, with the balance of 90% payable when the retiree reaches normal preserved pension age. Each applicant signed an undertaking to abide by the terms of the ISER and, therefore, I regret it is not possible to alter the terms which have already been accepted.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

36 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a group (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4171/11]

Fibromyalgia is a recognised condition under the International Classification of Diseases Version 10 which is used in Ireland to codify disease. There are no plans to extend the list of eligible conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme no individual or family pays more than €120 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme is easy to use and significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultations.

Medical Training

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

37 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children with whom does responsibility lie to ensure the availability of training in all of the different surgical specialties in respect of doctors working here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4175/11]

Under the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, it is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE), in co-operation with the medical training bodies and after consultation with the Higher Education Authority, to undertake appropriate medical workforce planning for the purpose of meeting specialist medical staffing and training needs of the health service on an ongoing basis. It is also the responsibility of the HSE to assess on an annual basis the number and type of specialist medical training posts required by the health service and to put proposals to the Medical Council. Under the Act, it is a matter for the Medical Council, on foot of proposals received from the HSE, to specify the number and type of posts it approves for the purposes of specialist medical education and training.

Hospital Staff

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

38 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the progress made in the centralisation of the process of the recruitment of non-consultant hospital doctors; the number of vacancies for such posts; if she will provide a table of the hospitals which have vacancies and the number and nature of these vacancies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4176/11]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised my Department that approximately 150 of 4,638 Non Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) posts are vacant. The moratorium on public sector recruitment is not a factor in these NCHD vacancies. Other countries are also experiencing difficulties in recruiting NCHDs at present.

The HSE has developed a range of strategies and initiatives to maximise recruitment. It is currently progressing the development of a centralised recruitment process for service posts with a view to this system being fully operational for the July 2011 recruitment cycle. In December 2010, the HSE advertised all vacant non-training NCHD posts as ‘Professional Development Posts' under 2 year contracts to one of the four HSE Areas, with a minimum of 6 months in a regional centre, participation in a Professional Development Scheme under the relevant postgraduate training body and access to a range of financial incentives. The Executive is also progressing the introduction of a single contact point for HSE agencies to obtain locum/temporary medical staff. I have asked the Executive to reply directly to the Deputy about the number and nature of vacancies in specific hospitals.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Pat Breen

Ceist:

39 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4184/11]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

40 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children in view of her decision to exempt persons who hold long-term illness cards from the prescription fee, if she will make arrangements that persons who hold both medical cards and long-term illness cards, who are now being forced to acquire their long-term medication under the general medical service scheme, should continue to be exempt from the prescription charge on these items. [4190/11]

With effect from the 1 October, medical card holders are required to pay a 50c charge for medicines and other prescription items supplied to them by community pharmacists, subject to a cap of €10 per month for each person or family. Charges are not payable in respect of items supplied under the Long Term Illness Scheme. I have asked my Department to make enquiries of the HSE with regard to the practice referred to by the Deputy.

Health Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

41 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4217/11]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

42 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4218/11]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

43 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin. [4219/11]

As the Deputy's question relates to service issues, I have referred this question to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Road Network

Christy O'Sullivan

Ceist:

44 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport the amount of money allocated to Cork County Council for emergency road repairs after the November-December 2010 cold spell; his plans to allocate further funds for Cork’s rapidly deteriorating road network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3999/11]

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources and are supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The 2011 regional and local road grant allocations, including the allocation to Cork County Council, will be announced very shortly. There will be an increased focus on directing funding towards repair and maintenance works with over 85% of the grant monies available in 2011 to be spent on such works.

The amount of money directed towards major new projects will be reduced. Discretion will be given to local authorities to revise their 3-year restoration programmes to assist them in repairing recently damaged roads.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

45 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4021/11]

The Road Traffic Bill 2011 has passed all stages in the Seanad and is provisionally scheduled to go before the Dáil on 1st February. It is not envisaged that my Department will progress any other legislation during the lifetime of the Government.

Transport Projects

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

46 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will list all of the transport projects which are expected to be completed in 2011; the transport projects which are expected to commence in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4037/11]

Following is the information requested by the Deputy.

Aviation

In April 2010 my Department approved runway reconfiguration and overlay works at Donegal Airport. The project is expected to be completed in 2011.

Public Transport

Since December 2009 matters relating to the development and implementation of public transport projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) come under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The Oireachtas Liaison Officer for the NTA is Mr Karl Seeber who may be contacted at karl.seeber@nationaltransport.ie. Outside the GDA, a number of public transport investment programmes will continue in 2011, for example the Railway Safety Programme, the Iarnrod Eireann Car-Park Expansion Programme, Bus Priority and Park & Ride measures in the Regional Cities and the Public Transport Accessibility Programme. The Removal of Rail Speed Restrictions Programme in Limerick is expected to be completed in 2011 and delivery will commence of 51 new Intercity Railcars for Iarnrod Eireann.

Roads

National roads construction projects are a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under Sections 17 and 19 of the Roads Acts 1993 as amended, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. The NRA recently provided funding allocations for national roads for 2011 to all local authorities. I have arranged to place copies of this document in the Oireachtas Library for the information of members of the House. The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, under Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. It is intended to issue details of grant allocations to local authorities for these roads in the near future.

Maritime

My Department administers capital grant payments to harbour authorities operating under the Harbours Act 1946 in respect of priority remedial works to protect the fabric of the harbours and to facilitate their transfer to local control. In 2011, Baltimore & Skibbereen Harbour — North Pier Remedial Works Phase 1 are expected to be completed. Projects expected to commence in 2011.

Requests for funding for capital works under the remedial works programme for 2011 have been received by the Department from 6 regional harbours. These requests are currently being assessed but funding has not been allocated. It is hoped that projects will commence in 2011 at the following harbours: Arklow, Baltimore & Skibbereen, Bantry, Kinsale, Tralee & Fenit and Wexford.

Smarter Travel Projects

The following Smarter Travel sustainable transport projects are due for completion or commencement in 2011.

Expected for completion in 2011.

Cork Co. Co. — Carrigaline Walking and Cycling Network.

Galway City Co. — Greenway Fisheries Field.

South Dublin Co. Co. — Adamstown to Grand Canal.

Westport Town Co. — Westport Greenway.

Mayo Co. Co. — Westport to Newport Greenway.

Mayo Co. Co. — Mulranny to Achill Greenway.

Expected to commence in 2011.

Kerry Co. Co. — Fenit to Tralee Cycle Route.

Road Network

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

47 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Transport the date on which he will announce the grant allocations of the funding provided for regional and local roads; if this allocation will focus on repair works and maintenance in view of the recent bad weather; the way these considerations will be taken into account in making the allocations and if it will delay these allocations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4222/11]

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources and are supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

The 2011 regional and local road grant allocations will be announced very shortly. The level of grants allocated to individual authorities is determined each year having regard to a number of factors including the total funds available in a particular year, eligibility criteria for the different grant schemes, road pavement conditions, length of road network, the need to prioritise projects and competing demands from different local authorities.

There will be an increased focus on directing funding towards repair and maintenance works with over 85% of the grant monies available in 2011 to be spent on such works. The amount of money directed towards major new projects will be reduced. Discretion will be given to local authorities to revise their 3-year restoration programmes to assist them in repairing recently damaged roads.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

48 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4017/11]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the requested information has been collated and is set out as follows:

Bills for which Heads of Bill have been approved

Criminal Justice Bill 2011

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the criminal law to improve certain procedural matters and strengthen Garda investigative powers. The intention is that such improvements will assist in reducing the delays associated with the investigation and prosecution of complex crime, in particular white collar crime.

The Bill proposes to make more effective use of detention periods by allowing persons detained for questioning to be released and their detention suspended so that further investigations can be conducted during the suspension period. A range of powers are proposed to require persons to produce material and make statements, as are new measures relating to how detailed information is to be provided to assist in the investigation and prosecution of complex crimes.

European Arrest Warrant (Extension) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill

The purpose of this Bill, which is at an advanced stage of drafting, is to give effect to the EU-Norway/Iceland agreement on surrender (extradition) by extending the application of the EAW Act to this agreement. It amends the Extradition Acts to streamline procedures and it will also enable ratification of the protocols to the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition.

Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010

The main purpose of this Bill is to give effect to five EU decisions:

Council Decision 2009/426/JHA on the operation of Eurojust.

Council Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA on mutual recognition of confiscation orders.

Council Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA on mutual recognition of financial penalties.

Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA on judgements in absentia.

Council Decision 2008/617/11 on enhancing the operation of special intervention units in crisis situations.

Criminal Justice (Cybercrime) Bill

The purpose of this Bill, which is at an advanced stage of drafting, is to enable ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and the transposition of the EU Framework Decision on attacks against Information Systems. Consideration is being given as to whether the terms of a recent EU Draft Directive could be incorporated into the Bill.

Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments Bill

This Bill will provide for implementation of the Lugano Convention.

Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Amendment Bill

This Bill will provide for better regulation of criminal legal aid under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 and for transfer of its administration and management to the Legal Aid Board.

Mental Capacity Bill

This Bill will reform the law on mental capacity (taking into account the Law Reform Commission's Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law).

Sale of Alcohol Bill

This Bill will codify the law relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Judicial Council Bill

This Bill will provide effective remedies for complaints about judicial misbehaviour including lay participation in the investigation of the complaints.

The Explosives Bill 2011

The Explosives Bill 2011 proposes the repeal in its entirety, of the Explosives Act 1875 and its replacement with a modern statutory framework for the control of the manufacture, importation, storage, transport and supply of explosives (for legitimate purposes only).

Bills yet to be approved

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill (No. 1)

This Bill will give effect to criminal law recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children (including recommendations of the majority of members, where agreement not achieved). A draft General Scheme has been completed.

The Bill reduces age of consent from 17 to 16, introduces more objective test in relation to defences for defendants, strengthens offences by persons in authority, amends the criminal evidence act to make court proceedings less intimidating for children, and amends the law on incest to address a gender anomaly in sentencing — currently maximum sentence for males is life compared to 7 years for females.

Bail Bill

The purpose of the Bail Bill is to consolidate and update bail law and to provide for certain improvements to ensure that the bail regime can operate in as tight and effective a way as possible. The preparation of the Bill includes the examination of the extent to which greater guidance could be given to the courts on the need to protect the public against those who present an unacceptable risk of committing a serious offence if granted bail.

Criminal Justice Europol (Amendment) Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to a Council Decision of 6 April 2009 (2009/371/JHA) which expands the operation of Europol removing the requirement that an organised criminal structure must be involved before Europol can act.

Probation Service Bill

This Bill will provide a modern statement of the law governing the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system and will also give effect to the EU Framework Decision on the supervision of probation measures.

Garda Síochána Act 2005 (Amendment) Bill

This Bill will amend the 2005 Act when proposals to be submitted by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission have been considered and agreed.

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (No. 2) Bill

This is a wider Bill to provide further protections to vulnerable persons against sexual abuse and exploitation, including amendments to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 (e.g., risk assessment, disclosure of information to the public, amendments to strengthen provisions relating to civil sex offender orders).

UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)

Ireland signed this protocol on 2 October, 2007 but has not yet ratified it

It provides for a system of visits to places of detention by both the UN Sub-Committee on Prevention (SPT) and national bodies — National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) — with whom the State would engage to implement recommendations

The international inspection regime would be similar to existing Council of Europe arrangements — Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) — to which Ireland is subject

A draft General Scheme empowering the Minister to designate NPMs and a Central Co-ordinator is well developed

Implementation will have resource and cost implications and an open consultation with civic society regarding the structures to be put in place is required.

Criminal Law (Corporate Manslaughter) Bill

The Minister's proposals for the preparation of a Corporate Manslaughter Bill were approved by the Cabinet on 14 December. A draft General Scheme has yet to be prepared. The Bill will give effect to the 2005 "Law Reform Commission (LRC) Report on Corporate Killing". The LRC's principal recommendations were for a statutory corporate manslaughter offence and a derivative individual offence of "grossly negligent management causing death". In its recent decision the Government approved the establishment of a cross-Departmental Committee to conduct a Regulatory Impact Assessment.

Criminal Justice Corruption (Consolidation) Bill

The law on the prevention of corruption is embodied in 7 separate, interlaced statutes starting with the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 and including the recently enacted Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010. In light of recommendations from the OECD and in order to clarify the law in this area, a commitment was made to bring forward a bill to consolidate the law in this area. The Bill may need to go further than mere consolidation to address any issues arising from consultations with the Garda Síochána on the need to streamline arrangements for reporting corruption.

Legal Costs Bill

This Bill will provide for the regulation and assessment of legal costs and for the establishment of a Regulator to replace the Office of Taxing Master and to give effect to Report of Legal Costs Working Group.

Landlord and Tenant Bill

This Bill will provide for the reform and consolidation of the law on landlords & tenants on the basis of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.

Trusts Bill

This Bill will provide for the reform and consolidation of the law relating to trustees in order to ensure better overview and the protection of trust assets on the basis of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.

Mediation and Conciliation Bill

This Bill will provide for the implementation of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission which are intended to set out the principles and arrangements applicable to mediation and conciliation in civil and commercial disputes.

Family Law Bill

This Bill will make provision for pension adjustments in the context of separation agreements and certain other reforms of family law.

Courts (Consolidation and Reform) Bill

This Bill will provide for the implementation of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.

Personal Insolvency Bill

This Bill will provide for a new framework for settlement and enforcement of debt and for personal insolvency taking into account recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.

Children Act, 2001

I gave approval in principle in July 2010 to draft the heads of a Bill in respect of amendments to the Children Act, 2001. My Department is working on drafting Heads of a Bill as well as engaging with relevant stakeholders.

Visa Applications

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

49 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding a visa application in respect of a person (details supplied), when a decision will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4022/11]

The visa application referred to by the Deputy was received in the Visa Office, Dublin on the 26 October 2010. It was refused by the Visa Officer on the 25 January 2011 for the following reasons:

1. Relationship History — The applicant had not provided evidence of a relationship being in existence prior to the visa application/marriage;

2. General Policy — It is not the general policy to permit any person, whether related or not, to join or visit any person who has been granted temporary permission to remain in the State. This case was fully examined, and all relevant facts were taken into consideration by the deciding officer. No compelling grounds were shown as to why an exception to the general policy should be made.

It is open to the persons concerned to submit an appeal within two months of the date of refusal, in this instance, before the 25 March 2011. Guidelines on the visa appeals process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service — (www.inis.gov.ie).

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Road Traffic Offences

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

50 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding an alleged traffic offence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4024/11]

The issuing of fixed charge notices for relevant offences is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

Payment of a fixed charge is a discretionary option for the recipient of a fixed charge notice. The relevant road traffic legislation, which is a matter for the Department of Transport, provides that, during the initial period of 28 days from the date of the notice, payment is accepted at the fixed charge. During the subsequent period of 28 days, payment is accepted at the fixed charge plus 50 per cent. If no payment is made, the recipient is liable for prosecution for the offence alleged. The matter then proceeds to be dealt with by the courts. The legislation does not allow for acceptance of payment under any circumstances outside the statutory time limit of 56 days.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the person referred to by the Deputy was detected exceeding the speed limit on 28 June, 2010. A fixed charge penalty notice was issued to the person on 7 July, 2010, and delivery was effected as provided for in legislation. I am further informed there is no indication of any difficulty with delivery of the notice.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

51 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of vehicles seized by gardaí for no tax, no insurance or no national car test certificate in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; the number of these vehicles which have been crushed or sold off to date in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4035/11]

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to supply the information requested by the Deputy. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Prison Service

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

52 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of chaplains employed in prisons here; the pay scales for the position of chaplain; the persons responsible for employing them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4040/11]

I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that 20 full-time and 8 part-time Chaplains are currently employed in prisons across the country. This amounts to 23.69 whole time equivalent positions.

I understand also that Chaplains are employed by the Prison Service to work in particular prisons on the nomination of their local Bishop. The current payscale for the position of full-time Chaplain is similar to that of the Assistant Governor grade and is as follows:

€54,312 — €55,810 — €57,325 — €58,852 — €60,474 — €61,991.

Citizenship Applications

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

53 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question 252 of 5 May 2010, the reason the application for a certificate of naturalisation from a person (details supplied) is still awaiting a decision 32 months after its submission to him; if he will specify the particular aspects of the matter that account for this delay while later applicants known to this person have received certificates of naturalisation; if a decision can be made without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4047/11]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in May 2008.

The application is being processed in the normal way with a view to establishing whether the applicants meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for decision in due course. While the average time from application to decision is 26 months, processing requirements and time taken to carry out necessary checks vary from case to case.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Visa Applications

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

54 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform when a decision will issue on an application for subsidiary protection in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4168/11]

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 24 January 2002, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him.

The person concerned submitted an application for permission to remain in the State on the basis of his marriage to an Irish National. However, following consideration of this application, a decision was made to refuse the application. This decision was conveyed in writing to the person concerned by letter dated 15 July 2003. He was again given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons a Deportation Order should not be made against him.

The person concerned applied for permission to remain in the State on the basis of his parentage of an Irish born child, born before 1 January 2005, in accordance with the Revised Arrangements announced by the then Minister on 15 January 2005, commonly referred to as the IBC/05 scheme. The application of the person concerned was refused on the basis that he did not satisfy the Scheme's continuous residency requirements. He was notified of this decision by letter dated 26 July 2005.

On 12 September 2007 the person concerned made an application for re-admission to the asylum process under the provisions of Section 17 (7) of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended). This application was refused and the refusal decision was notified by letter dated 28 September 2007. This communication also advised the person concerned of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Having due regard to the high volume of cases awaiting processing, the Deputy can be assured that the case will be processed to completion as soon as possible.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Residency Permits

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

55 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4209/11]

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 16 February 2009, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

56 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding residency and leave to remain in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4210/11]

Arising from the refusal of her asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 17 July 2009, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons a Deportation Order should not be made against her. In addition, she was notified of her entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

57 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4211/11]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the person concerned was granted permission to remain in the State in 2000 under the arrangements then in place for the non-EEA parents of Irish born children. The permission was renewed on a regular basis, and I am informed that it is currently valid until 23 September 2015.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Visa Applications

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

58 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding an application for visa in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4212/11]

Based on the information supplied by the Deputy, I am informed by Officials in my Department that they can find no record of a current visa application for the person referred to.

When completing an on-line visa application the applicant is assigned a unique visa transaction number. This detail must be provided where a query on the status or other enquiry regarding a visa application arises. The provision of this unique visa transaction number ensures that accurate and current information is provided to the authorised enquirer. Perhaps if the Deputy could provide the relevant detail to Officials in the Visa Office then an update could be provided.

Comprehensive information on the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie).

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

59 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4015/11]

No legislation is currently being contemplated or proposed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

International Trade

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

60 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to illegal business practice being conducted by Irish companies in Western Sahara; if he will, similar to the Norwegian Government, condemn such practice and request any Irish companies operating there to immediately suspend their business until such time as the Saharawi people benefit from the presence of international companies in their country. [4167/11]

I refer the Deputy to the reply to Question 317 answered on 25 January, which is outlined as follows. The Government has consistently supported the right to self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara. Ireland has not taken a position on the future status of the territory, so long as that status is decided in a genuine exercise of self-determination.

At present, the Western Sahara is a non-self governing territory. Under international law, the economic resources of a non-self governing territory may only be exploited for the benefit of the people of the territory, on their behalf or in consultation with their representatives.

The Government has consistently made clear its view that any exploration and exploitation activities that proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to natural resource activities in non-self governing territories. The Government would expect that any Irish company operating abroad would have due regard to the principles of international law and the rights of the inhabitants of the territory.

Passport Applications

Jack Wall

Ceist:

61 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4177/11]

An application for a passport from the person concerned was received in the Embassy in Canberra on 24 January, 2011. The application will be processed as soon as possible and subject to it being in order, the applicant could expect to have his new passport in approximately 3 weeks.

Departmental Programmes

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

62 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection the way the 15,000 activation places announced in budget 2011 will operate; if the work placement programmes in the public sector will be used as unpaid replacements for positions left vacant as a result of redundancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3995/11]

In Budget 2011 the Government announced that they would be providing an additional 15,000 activation places, delivered through three programmes, to broaden supports that are available to the unemployed.

The first of these is the skills development and internship programme which aims to provide unemployed people who are at least 3 months unemployed with a 12 month internship in a host organisation, while simultaneously providing them access to an education or training programme. The programme aims to increase participants' employability by facilitating the improvement of their skills, while also providing them with valuable work experience with an employer. The Government is providing support for up to 5,000 places to be created under this programme, but the number of opportunities will be entirely dependent on employers applying to participate.

The Department of Education and Skills have established a working group, comprising representatives from FÁS, the Higher Education Authority, the Irish Vocational Education Association and my Department, to finalise the design of the programme which is intended to be operational in the coming weeks.

The work placement programme is also providing additional activation places for the unemployed. Under this programme participants can avail of a nine month work experience placement in an organisation in the public, private or community and voluntary sector. In Budget 2011, the Government announced that they were expanding the work placement programme so that an additional 5,000 places would be provided in the public sector, with a further 500 additional places for graduates in the private sector. This means that the work placement programme has been expanded in total from 2,000 to 7,500 places.

The rules concerning the operation of the work placement programme prohibit participating organisations displacing existing employees or using placements to fill existing vacancies. These rules apply to all sectors including the public sector. Last year the Department of Finance wrote to all Government Departments informing them of the rules of the programme and encouraging them to participate.

I launched Tús, on the 21st December 2010. The aims of Tús are to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. Tús will be delivered at local level by each of the Local Development Companies and by Údarás na Gaeltachta and is built on the proven architecture of the rural social scheme.

Work has already begun on the roll-out of Tús across the country with the first placements expected towards the end of February when recruitment and other procedures have been completed.

Redundancy Payments

John Perry

Ceist:

63 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Sligo will be granted their redundancy money; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4161/11]

On 1 January 2011, my Department assumed responsibility for making redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund. There are two types of redundancy payment made from the fund i.e. rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I understand that the person concerned recently received a determination from the Employment Appeals Tribunal. The applicant should submit a copy of this determination together with a completed redundancy application form (RP50) to his employer for payment of his statutory entitlements. If his employer fails to make this payment, the applicant should then send the completed RP50 together with a copy of the determination to the Redundancy Payments Section of my Department for processing and payment.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

64 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection when redundancy payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [3994/11]

On 1 January 2011, my Department assumed responsibility for making redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund. There are two types of redundancy payment made from the fund i.e. rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I understand the person concerned was employed by the Department of Education and Skills and that her employment was terminated. It is the responsibility of her employer to pay any redundancy entitlement in the first instance. I understand that this case has not yet been finalised by her employer and as such the person concerned should pursue the matter with her employer.

Social Welfare Appeals

John McGuinness

Ceist:

65 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No 48042/10 of 16 December 2010, if one parent family allowance now under appeal will be approved and paid immediately in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will expedite the matter and outline the time frame involved. [4004/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 31 December 2010. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 24 January 2011 and the appeal will be referred to an Appeals Officer in due course, who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Benefits

John McGuinness

Ceist:

66 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 185 of 13 January 2011, if he will now approve an application for rent allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will further consider their letter of appeal based on the fact that they are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance and have worked in the country for ten years and in he will expedite the matter. [4007/11]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised that it refused a payment of rent supplement to the person concerned as it was satisfied that he was not legally resident in the State.

The HSE has further advised that it has informed the person concerned of its decision and of his right to appeal the decision to its designated Appeals Officer. The HSE has stated that it has no record of an appeal from the person concerned.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

67 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4018/11]

Details of proposed legislative changes being contemplated within my remit are set out in the table.

Short Title of Proposed Legislative Change

Outline of Main Provisions Proposed

Approval received for General Scheme of Bill

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011

To provide for—

No

a number of measures announced in Budget 2011 which could not be included in legislation enacted in December 2010;

changes to the social welfare code that are required to be enacted before end June 2011 under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland; and

other amendments to the social welfare code.

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 2011

To provide for a range of miscellaneous amendments to the social welfare code arising from policy, administrative or operational matters.

No

Social Welfare Bill 2011

To give legislative effect to changes to the social welfare code to be announced in Budget 2012.

No

Pensions Bill 2011

To transpose Article 17 of Directive 2003/41/EC on the Activities and Supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement provision (IORPS Directive) on the funding of occupational pension schemes.

Yes

Marriages Bill 2011

To confer respective validity on marriages conducted in certain foreign embassies and bring forward measures to prevent marriages of convenience.

No

Social Welfare Benefits

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

68 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive disability allowance. [4027/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 07 August 2010. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 28 September 2010 and the appeal will be referred to an Appeals Officer in due course, who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

69 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive rent allowance [4028/11]

In the time frame available, I regret that my Department is not in a position to reply to this question. My Department will be in contact with the Deputy over the coming days and will reply in full to the question raised.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

70 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding jobseeker’s entitlement in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4208/11]

The first person concerned applied for jobseeker's allowance from 6th July 2010. His claim was closed after he failed to respond to two requests for details required to assess his means. The second person concerned has not made a claim for jobseeker's payment.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

71 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection when rent allowance and arrears of rent allowance will be awarded in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4213/11]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised that the person concerned has been in receipt of a rent supplement since 1st January 2010. If the person concerned has a query concerning her rent supplement entitlement she should contact the community welfare office dealing with her claim.

Sports Funding

James Bannon

Ceist:

72 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she will provide funding towards the construction of a handball alley in an area (details supplied) of high unemployment and a large youth population, which urgently needs such an amenity to further the development of community based leisure and sporting amenities in the interest of social cohesion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3972/11]

Under the terms of the Sport Capital Programme grants are allocated to sporting organisations towards the provision of new facilities or the renovation/extension of existing facilities. Since 1998, over €739 million has been allocated to over 7,400 projects nationwide. No decision has been made on the timing of the next round of the Sports Capital Programme. When such a Programme is launched, it will be open to the organisation in question to apply for a grant if it has a suitable proposal.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

73 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within her Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4020/11]

The information sought by the Deputy is as set out in tabular form.

Short Title/Working Title of Legislation

Objectives of Legislation

General Scheme Approved?

Bill to amalgamate the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library of Ireland to become the National Library and Archives of Ireland

To merge the stated bodies and to update and amend the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997.

No

National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2010

A Bill to amend Section 24(2) of the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003 to increase the aggregate level of moneys provided by the Oireachtas in relation to expenditure on capital projects.

No

Heritage Fund (Amendment) Bill

To provide for allocations to the Heritage Fund in future years and to give effect to changes in governance procedures.

No

Tourism Promotion

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

74 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she has identified the total employment in terms of job numbers in the hotel and catering sector; if her attention has been drawn to any trading difficulties experienced by the sector in the current climate; if she has offered any encouragement or direct assistance in response; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4197/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

76 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she has examined the factors most affecting the hotel and catering sectors with a view to identifying how best to assist the promotion and expansion of the industry in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4199/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

78 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport her proposals if any for the future expansion of the tourism industry arising from any policy decisions or directives she has given; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4201/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

82 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the extent of the submissions she has received or has had discussions with the hotel industry with a view to stimulating growth and the employment potential within the sector; her proposals arising therefrom; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4205/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

83 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the extent to which she has received submissions from the hotel and catering industry in the context of enabling that sector achieve its targets towards economic recovery; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4206/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74, 76, 78, 82 and 83 together.

It is the policy of the Government to develop and support the tourist industry in partnership with the industry bodies that represent tourism businesses. Accordingly, I regularly meet with stakeholders in the tourism sector and receive submissions on various matters of importance to the sector. For example, last September I chaired a forum comprising a wide range of tourism interests including accommodation providers, tour operators and access providers.

I also have regular contact with a wide range of stakeholders as part of the Tourism Renewal Implementation Group, which I established last July and contains members from the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), and the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA), as well as the State Tourism Agencies.

The purpose of the Group is to oversee and drive the implementation of the actions in the Framework for Action produced by the Tourism Renewal Group in its report published in October 2009. This report drew substantially on the submissions received from all sectors of the tourism industry. The measures contained in the framework for action are designed to support tourism in Ireland, increase competitiveness and ensure that the sector is ready for recovery and growth. The Group has already met four times under my Chairmanship — on 6 and 20 September, 27 October and 13 December. Its first Progress Report, summarising progress on measures under the Framework for Action has been published on the homepage of my Department's website —http://www.tcs.gov.ie.

I also received a number of submissions and met with industry stakeholders in the run up to Budget 2011. For example, I met the Irish Hotels Federation to discuss their pre-Budget submission. They have since welcomed the measures in Budget 2011 which will have a positive impact on the tourism industry in 2011 including the substantial revision of the Air Travel Tax, the maintenance of marketing funding to Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland and the retention of the current VAT rates applying to tourism services.

In relation to employment in the sector, the Government's new Strategy and Action Plan for Trade, Tourism and Investment to 2015, "Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy", which was launched on 28 September last, contains targets for job creation, exports, tourist numbers and inward investment projects by 2015 and details on how the Government and its agencies will achieve these priorities and targets. The tourism-related elements of the new Strategy draw on the robust analysis already carried out by the Tourism Renewal Group in its Report and Framework for Action. Tourism already provides employment for approximately 190,000 people across the country and the Government aims to both maintain existing jobs and grow employment in the sector by 15,000 by 2015.

Overall, I believe that Government is pursuing the right programmes and measures to support the continued development of tourism, working with the industry and the tourism agencies in order to position the sector for recovery and growth as part of the Government's wider strategy for economic renewal. This work is being greatly assisted by remaining close to the tourism sector through the Tourism Renewal Implementation Group, which will continue to oversee and drive further action on measures to support the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism in Ireland.

Sports Funding

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

75 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the extent if any of capital or current funding provided by her for various sporting, recreational or similar activities throughout County Kildare in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 both from the proceeds of the national lottery or from other sources; the intended expenditure from each source in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4198/11]

My Department provides capital funding for the provision of sports and recreation facilities through the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) and through the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme (LASPP). Current funding is a provided through the Irish Sports Council. Under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP), which is administered by my Department, and part funded from the proceeds of the National Lottery, funding is allocated to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country.

€33 million has been provided in my Department's Vote in the 2011 Estimates to cover payments to be made from the C1 subhead, out of which grants are paid for the provision of sports and recreation facilities in respect of previously awarded grants. It is expected that all of this funding will be paid out to sports clubs and organisations this year.

As the drawdown of outstanding allocations is dependent on the timely receipt of invoices and other documentation from the grantees it is not possible to predict the exact amount of SCP drawdown from any county during a particular period of time.

The figures for payments under the SCP to projects in County Kildare for each of the last four years are set out in the table:

Sports Capital Programme

2010

1,061,870

2009

1,654,421

2008

687,451

2007

1,031,964

Under the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme (LASPP) a provision of €6.65m has been made in 2011 which will be sufficient to meet existing commitments under current round of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme.

Swimming pools in Athy and Naas have benefited from LASPP funding of €3.8m each. All of this funding has been drawn down. The figures for expenditure under the LASPP for each of the years since 2007, for County Kildare are set out in the table below.

Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme

2010

761,843

2009

0

2008

4,404,580

2007

2,452,005

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 74.

National Cultural Institutions

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

77 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she has any particular plans to increase awareness in the value and benefit of cultural activities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4200/11]

My Department provides annual funding to the National Cultural Institutions which are directly involved in promoting and increasing awareness in the value and benefit of cultural activities. As well as the normal promotion of events and programmes for which they are responsible, each of our National Cultural Institutions provides Community and Outreach programmes which include targeted events for the members of the community e.g. older persons, children, families, socially disadvantaged group etc.

The National Concert Hall's Learn & Explore team is dedicated to bringing the finest musicians from The National Concert Hall out into schools and communities across Ireland to deliver the best in music education. Each summer, the team organises in-service primary school teacher training which is accredited by the Department of Education and Skills as a Teacher Education Summer Course. The National Concert Hall also hosts summer camps that cater for all ages and all instruments.

The National Museum of Ireland has long been a resource for primary, second and third level students and educators, providing a broad range of services — including guided tours; demonstrations and workshops; an information and resource service; professional development courses and activities for teachers. The Museum's Education & Outreach department organises in-service courses for teachers annually.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art's (IMMA) Education and Community Programme aims to foster within society an increased awareness and understanding of the visual arts by creating innovative and inclusive opportunities for people to engage with the Museum's exhibitions and programmes, both as audience members and participants. It also seeks to create opportunities for meaningful exchanges between artists and the public. The Museum's Education and Community Programme is informed by models of practice which are designed to meet the needs of specific groups and to address targeted education needs. These models are documented and evaluated and their outcomes inform a broader programme which can provide access for a wide range of people.

While IMMA caters for the needs of all groups interested in using the Museum as a resource, it has also developed a number of programmes and projects intended to address the needs of specific groups, such as schools and colleges.

The National Gallery of Ireland also has a range of educational and outreach programmes, i.e.:

Lifelong Learning Events

Children's & Families Programme

Outreach Programme

Teachers & Schools Programme

A lecture series throughout the Winter

As well as providing funding to the National Cultural Institutions my Department provides annual funding to a number of other cultural institutions which are equally important in increasing awareness in the value and benefit of cultural activities. These include the Hunt Museum, Archbishop Marsh's Library, the National Maritime Museum, the National Print Museum as well as regional and local museums throughout the country.

My Department also provides funding for a number of cultural events throughout the year which are specifically designed to promote the value of our cultural heritage and cultural activities.

These include events such as Culture Night, Dublin Contemporary 2011 and the Cultural Technology Grant Scheme.

On Culture Night, arts and cultural organisations throughout the country, including the National Cultural Institutions, extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public. In 2010, twenty one cities and towns throughout Ireland participated in the event which attracted a nationwide audience in excess of 230,000 people.

Dublin Contemporary 2011 (DC2011) will be an internationally recognised and acclaimed contemporary art exhibition/event in Dublin in 2011. The project can be broadly described as a major exhibition of leading and emerging Irish and international contemporary art spread across a number of landmark sites in Dublin city centre over a period of 8 weeks, from September 6th to October 31st 2011. DC2011 will be the largest contemporary art event of its kind and scale ever held in Ireland and will provide a highlight for cultural tourism in Ireland on a global scale.

In 2010, I launched the Cultural Technology Grant Scheme, the aim of which was to use a variety of the best new and existing technology methods to deliver a promotional, educational or information product to promote the Irish arts, culture and creative sectors. Under this initiative I provided in excess of €1 million to 25 projects which will showcase the best of our Irish art, music, culture and heritage in the most exciting, innovative and dynamic ways. A number of these projects are now available and the remainder will be launched in the forthcoming months. My Department will give consideration to the operation of the scheme again in 2011 having regard to the level of resources available and the competing demands for same.

I believe that the most effective means to increase awareness in the value and benefit of cultural activities is to provide a broad range of events, including family friendly events, in a variety of settings. I am confident that the Irish cultural offering in 2011 will appeal to all and will ensure that Dublin, and Ireland, maintains its reputation as a prime cultural tourist destination.

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 74.

Job Creation

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

79 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the extent to which she has evaluated economic potential and job creation throughout the various sectors under the aegis of her Department; her plans for the future in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4202/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

80 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the degree to which she has had discussions with tourism, sport and recreational groups coming within the aegis of her Department with a view to promoting their respective sectors and thereby maximising job opportunities directly and indirectly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4203/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

81 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the extent to which she has engaged with those involved in culture, sport and the arts with a view to utilising the potential of this sector to promote the national image and maximise job creation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4204/11]

I propose to take Question Nos. 79 to 81, inclusive, together.

In the normal course of my duties, I regularly engage with a variety of stakeholders on tourism, cultural and sporting matters, and such discussions often include matters of an economic nature and issues relating to the national image.

In particular, in September 2010, tourism, culture and sport consultation forums were held in the National Museum at Collins Barracks in the context of the formulation of the Department's new Statement of Strategy for the period 2011 to 2013. These forums involved wide-ranging and in-depth discussions and presentations on all aspects of the tourism industry, the national cultural agenda, and sports matters. A particular emphasis was to discuss ways of maintaining employments levels in the sectors and maximising their contribution to the overall economy.

As I indicated to the stakeholders at the conclusion of the consultation forums, their comments and views were much appreciated. I also pointed out that priorities and objectives for the tourism, culture and sport sectors, including decisions on the allocation of resources, would be determined within the parameters of the resources available and the potential of the sector to contribute to national economic recovery and society development.

Questions Nos. 82 and 83 answered with Question No. 74.

Motor Taxation

James Bannon

Ceist:

84 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on whether it is viable for the owner (details supplied) of a small van, who was previously obliged to pay €288 to tax it for the year, to meet the new rate of €596, which is over twice as much and is way beyond the means of an unemployed person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3971/11]

There has been no change in the legislation regarding the taxation of goods vehicles.

The legal basis for the taxation of such vehicles is provided in paragraph 5 of Part 1 of the Schedule to the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act 1952, as inserted by section 3 of the Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) (No. 2) Act 2008. In accordance with motor tax legislation, in order to be taxed in the goods category, a vehicle must be constructed or adapted for use as a goods vehicle and used solely for the conveyance of goods in the course of trade or business, including agriculture.

A goods vehicle which is used for private purposes at any time does not qualify for the goods rate of motor tax and must be taxed at the private rate. This has always been the case.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

85 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4013/11]

Details of the legislation proposed by my Department are provided in the Tables.

Table 1: Legislation for which a General Scheme has been approved

Title

Purpose

Environmental Liability Bill

To effect full transposition of the Environmental Liability Directive including some of the discretionary provisions therein.

Local Government Services (Corporate Bodies) (Amendment) Bill

To provide clarification of legal provision for establishing corporate bodies.

Noise Nuisance Bill

To extend and improve the powers available to enforcement authorities to prevent, reduce or abate noise nuisances, in particular noise from continuously sounding alarms

Electoral (Amendment) (Political Donations) Bill

To provide for further restrictions in the donations provisions of the Electoral Acts.

Monuments Bill

To update and consolidate national monuments legislation

Table 2: Legislation for which a General Scheme has yet to be approved

Title

Purpose

Motor Vehicles (Duties and Licences) Bill

To modernise and consolidate motor tax law.

Water Services Bill

To remove prohibition on charging for domestic water services and related matters and to establish system for monitoring the performance of septic tanks in response to a European Court of Justice ruling.

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill

To make provision for amendments to the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 and 2009 and for the amalgamation of the Private Residential Tenancies Board and the Rent Tribunal.

Property Tax Bill

A Bill to introduce the property charge as announced in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014.

Departmental Funding

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

86 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to provide funding to householders to replace lead water mains and boundary boxes; if any of type of grant aid was available in the past to assist householders to carry out this type of work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4046/11]

The Department's Water Services Investment Programme, which includes funding towards water conservation, funds major strategic infrastructural projects but does not currently extend to replacing individual service connections or other measures relating to single households. Consideration is being given in the context of the acceleration of investment of mains rehabilitation to funding of associated replacement of common lead services.

I have no proposals to introduce a general grant scheme to assist householders replace lead water pipes, boundary boxes or the internal lead plumbing of their dwellings, nor has the Department provided specific grant assistance in the past to carry out such works. Local authorities may however determine that such works are eligible for funding under the Housing Adaptation Grant for Older People and People with a Disability, for private dwellings.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Jack Wall

Ceist:

87 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has any further plans to address the problems with anti-social behaviour in houses where the tenant is in receipt of the rent supplement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4163/11]

Housing authorities, in their capacity as landlords, have powers under the Housing Act 1997 to take action against their own tenants who are engaged in anti-social behaviour.

Households in receipt of rent supplement, however, are private rented tenants and as such are not covered under the provisions of the 1997 Act in the same way. Tenancies in the private rented sector are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 which falls under the remit of the Private Residential Tenancies Board. An Garda Síochána also has general powers to address anti-social behaviour.

I have no plans at present to extend the remit of housing authorities to address anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector.

Electoral Management System

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

88 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide up-to-date figures for the cost of storage of the e-voting machines both centrally stored and not centrally stored; when it is anticipated that the inter-departmental task force into the disposal of the redundant electronic voting equipment will issue its final report including a timeframe for the ending of outstanding leases and the disposal of the equipment; the cost of maintaining an official e-voting website and the reason it is considered necessary to maintain a website long after the e-voting project has been scrapped; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4183/11]

Following the Government decision not to proceed with implementation of electronic voting in Ireland, an Interdepartmental Task Force, chaired by my Department, was established to bring the project to an orderly conclusion and to oversee disposal of the equipment and termination of storage arrangements. The Task Force aims to complete its work as soon as possible.

In considering options for disposal of the equipment, the priority is to pursue the most economically advantageous approach, with a view to achieving the maximum recovery of cost possible in the circumstances, consistent with environmental and other obligations. In 2007, over 60% of the machines (4,762 in total) were moved from 12 local storage locations to a central facility at Gormanston Army Camp. One-off costs associated with the movement of these machines were €328,363.21. There are no ongoing rental costs in respect of the use of this property. Costs of €552.83 were incurred in 2009 in respect of equipment to monitor the environmental storage conditions at the Gormanston premises. A further 14 machines are held in the Custom House.

The remaining machines are stored at 13 local premises that were originally identified by Returning Officers for this purpose. It is intended that all machines will be removed from their present locations when arrangements for disposal are implemented. Work on termination of local lease arrangements is proceeding in this context.

Figures for storage costs incurred from 2004 to 2009 are included in the table. A further €5,566 was expended in 2010 in relation to work undertaken on behalf of the Department by DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald in respect of the negotiation of local lease arrangements. Figures for costs incurred by Returning Officers for the local storage of the electronic voting equipment in 2010 are currently being gathered and are therefore not yet available.

Storage Costs for the Electronic Voting Equipment 2004-2009

Year

Local Storage

National Storage (Gormanston)

2004

658,228.94

2005

696,281.94

2006

705,995.08

2007

488,703.74

328,363.21

2008

204,225.21

2009

182,523.14

552.83

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

89 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding postal votes; the circumstances under which a person may be allocated a postal vote, that is, holidays, work and so on; the length of time they must be away before the election; the closing date for inclusion on the postal vote list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4224/11]

Postal voting is provided for in electoral law in respect of certain categories of person who are entered in the register of electors. The Electoral Act 1992 provides for postal voting by whole-time members of the Defence Forces, members of the Garda Síochána, and Irish diplomats serving abroad and their spouses. Subsequent legislation enacted by the Oireachtas has extended postal voting to other categories: electors living at home who are unable to vote because of a physical illness or a physical disability (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996); electors whose occupation, service or employment makes it likely that they will be unable to vote in person at their local polling station on polling day and full-time students registered at their home who are living elsewhere while attending an educational institution in the State — in these cases, the law provides for completion of the necessary voting documentation at a Garda station (the Electoral Act 1997); certain election staff employed at the poll outside the constituency where they reside (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001); and electors who because of the circumstances of their detention in prison pursuant to an order of a court are likely to be unable to go in person on polling day to vote (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2006).

Where duration of absence is a factor to be considered in an application to a registration authority for a postal vote, the matter is determined on its merits by the authority involved. The last date for receipt of applications to be entered onto postal vote lists is 25 November annually. However, in the case of a general election the law provides for a period of two days following the dissolution of the Dáil in which an application for inclusion in the supplement to the postal voters list can be made.

Energy Conservation

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

90 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when funding will be made available to Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland warmer homes scheme in view of the fact that there are a large number of persons awaiting a decision on their application for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4195/11]

My Department's Vote for 2011 includes provision of €79.4m for the Sustainable Energy Programme including the Warmer Homes Scheme. The Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on behalf of my Department to provide energy efficiency improvements to low-income homes.

Telecommunications Services

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

91 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the percentage of households that have access to high speed broadband in County Meath; the list of areas in County Meath that are covered by the rural broadband scheme; the list of areas that do not have access to high speed broadband in County Meath in tabular form; the date on which all areas in County Meath are expected to have full high speed broadband coverage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3996/11]

The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband services, is a matter for private sector service providers operating in a liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Broadband services are provided by private service providers over various platforms including DSL (i.e. over telephone lines), fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fibre and satellite. ComReg's websitewww.callcosts.ie provides detailed information on the various private sector telecommunications products and services available on a county by county basis, including County Meath.

While my Department does not hold information on broadband penetration by region, ComReg publishes quarterly statistical reports on national developments in the fixed-line, mobile and broadband communications markets.

These reports demonstrate the significant progress in broadband roll-out over recent years. At the end of June 2010 Ireland had in the region of 1.48 million broadband subscriptions and narrowband connections had reduced to less than 5% of all Internet connections. The year-on-year growth in subscriptions over the preceding 12-month period from June 2009 was over 16.5%.

Broadband services are now available throughout the entire National Broadband Scheme (NBS) area. A list of the Electoral Divisions (EDs) covered by the NBS in County Meath is provided.

However, despite Government and private investment in broadband, I am aware that there continues to be a small percentage of premises throughout the country that will not be capable of receiving broadband services. This is primarily due to technical and other reasons (suitability of a telephone line, distance from an enabled exchange, no line of sight etc.).

The European Commission has set aside a portion of the European Economic Recovery Programme (EERP) funding for rural broadband initiatives. Using this funding, which will be augmented by an Exchequer contribution, I intend, to formally launch a new Rural Broadband Scheme aimed at providing a basic broadband service to individual un-served rural premises outside of the NBS areas.

There will be a competitive process to engage a service provider who will offer a broadband service to qualified applicants under the scheme. While the exact details have yet to be finalised, I expect that the service offered under this scheme would at least match the service offered under the NBS. This process will be technology neutral — it will be a matter for the bidders to decide which technical approach they propose in their bids.

Information in relation to acceptance of applications and the process of qualification under the scheme will be made available in due course when the scheme is launched.

Electoral Divisions (ED) Covered by the NBS in County Meath ED

Name

ED Reference No.

ARDBRACCAN ED

167002

BECTIVE ED

167011

CASTLEKEERAN ED

167016

CLOGHBRACK ED

167019

CLONMACDUFF ED

167020

CROSSKEYS ED

167022

DRUMCONDRA ED

167027

KILLALLON ED

167047

KILLARY ED

167048

KILLEAGH ED

167049

KILLYON ED

167051

KILMORE ED

167054

KNOCKLOUGH ED

167056

LOUGHAN ED

167058

MOYLAGH ED

167063

RATHKENNY ED

167075

RATHMORE ED

167076

TROHANNY ED

167092

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

92 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4009/11]

The details of legislation proposed by my Department as requested by the Deputy are shown in the table.

Title

Purpose of Bill

Present Position of Bill

Approved at Cabinet Yes/No

Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010

To provide a legal framework in primary legislation for the placing of energy efficiency obligations on energy suppliers and distributors

The Government has approved the submission of the draft Heads of Bill to the Office of the Attorney General for detailed drafting.

Yes

Restatement in primary legislation of provisions relating to EirGrid, and ESB Networks and Gaslinks pensions

The Bill is substantially drafted with the exception of some minor redrafting. Finalisation of the text of the Bill is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Amendments to address lacunae in legislation relating to the theft of gas and electricity

To extend the functions of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) in the regulation of the activities of LPG undertakings with respect to safety.

Amendments to further provide for the CER’s powers and responsibility for electricity and gas safety

Minerals Development Bill

To implement the commitment of the Programme for Government 2007-2012 to modernise and consolidate all mineral development legislation

Bill is substantially drafted but following legal advice some crucial policy and legal issues require further consideration and redrafting. This is being addressed in liaison with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.

Yes

Geothermal Energy Development Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to provide a legislative framework for the vesting, licensing and regulation of the development of geothermal energy.

The Government has approved:

Yes

(1) the submission of the draft Heads of Bill to the Office of the Attorney General for detailed drafting, and,

(2) the publication of the general scheme together with the RIA in the interests of transparency and to facilitate any further consultations necessary.

The draft Scheme of Bill has been formally submitted to the Office of the Attorney for drafting.

Electricity (Transmission Assets) Bill

To allow for the unbundling of the electricity transmission system assets and to establish EirGrid in primary legislation.

Bill is not yet drafted. An independent analysis of the issue is being considered.

No

Gas Storage Bill

To provide a regulatory framework for offshore gas storage projects under the seabed

Bill is not yet drafted. A consultation process is currently under way.

No

Inland Fisheries (Consolidation) Bill 2010

To modernise and consolidate existing provisions of legislation governing the inland fisheries sector

Initial preparatory work for consolidation completed

No

Broadcasting (implementation of financial provisions) Bill 2011

To provide a legal framework to underpin the recent announcements in Budget 2011 in relation to changes to the receipts/distributions of TV licence monies.

Government approval not yet received.

No

Ministerial Appointments

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

93 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the appointments he has made to State agencies and State boards under his remit since coming to office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4036/11]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to appointments to boards of State bodies under the aegis of my Department. In the time available it has not been possible to compile a full list of appointments made to State boards during the term of the current Government. My Department is compiling the data sought by the Deputy in this regard, and I shall forward it to him as soon as possible.

Grant Payments

John Browne

Ceist:

94 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when single farm payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford. [3984/11]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 10 May 2010. The person named submitted an application with 41 land parcels, 14 of which required re-digitisation. Payments issued to the person named on the basis of the land parcels clear for payment on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010 respectively. My Department has now completed the re-digitisation process of the remaining parcels. The Single Payment Scheme application is currently being further processed with a view to a final balancing payment issuing in the near future provided no further errors are identified.

John Browne

Ceist:

95 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when single farm payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford. [3985/11]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 11 May 2010. The person named submitted an application with 33 land parcels, 12 of which required re-digitisation. Payments issued to the person named on the basis of the land parcels clear for payment on 18 October 2010 and 1 December 2010 respectively. My Department has now completed the re-digitisation process of the remaining parcels. The Single Payment Scheme application is currently being further processed with a view to a final balancing payment issuing in the near future provided no further errors are identified.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

96 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4008/11]

My Department produces over 70 pieces of legislation in any year almost all of which are secondary legislation and as such do not require a general scheme. However, my Department is proposing or contemplating 4 pieces of primary legislation at the present time, including the Greyhound Welfare Bill which has passed its second stage in the Seanad.

There are 3 other Bills for which the general scheme has been approved, namely — Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill, Forestry Bill and Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

The Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill will enable the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to make regulations providing that specified procedures carried out on animals are not restricted to veterinary practitioners or veterinary nurses.

The Forestry Bill will update the Forestry Act, 1946 by reforming and updating the legislative framework relating to forestry in order to support the development of a modern forestry sector, which enshrines the principles of sustainable forest management and protection of the environment.

The Animal Health and Welfare Bill will consolidate and update existing legislation in the areas of animal health and welfare, including the repeal of several extant Statutes. The new legislation will also provide for the consolidation of responsibility for the welfare of all animals within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Horticulture Sector

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

97 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the action he is taking to address the vulnerability of the Irish growers of fresh fruit and vegetables to monopoly control of the market of fresh produce by a dominant supermarket which is importing large amounts of fresh produce from the North of Ireland; his views regarding the future of the Irish growers sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4023/11]

In the face of ever-greater concentration of demand, the grouping of supply through producer organisations (POs) is an economic necessity in order to strengthen the position of producers in the market.

Accordingly, in its 2007 reform of the common organisation of the market for fruit and vegetables, the EU made further provision for financial assistance to producers grouping, on a voluntary basis, to form recognised POs under the EU Scheme of Aid for Producer Organisations in the Fruit and Vegetables Sector.

The POs play a vital role in supporting Irish producers of fruit and vegetables. The strengthening of their role is a core part of the EU strategy for improving the competitiveness of the fruit and vegetable sector in the future and was one of the main recommendations for the horticultural industry in the recently published Harvest 2020 Report. My Department continues to encourage growers to become actively involved in Producer Organisations. Payments are made annually in arrears. Payments of €5.785m issued last year in respect of 2009 operational programmes implemented by Irish POs.

Through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector, my Department provides grant aid for horticultural growers who are making capital investments in specialist plant and equipment. The main objectives of the scheme are to improve the quality of products, facilitate environmentally friendly practices and promote diversification of on-farm activities in response to market demand. This is a competitive grant aid scheme so funding is only provided for the very best projects which will achieve scheme objectives. Apart from improving the quality of products, investments under the scheme have also significantly extended the growing season for Irish produce. For example, Irish strawberries are now available right into November. The closing date for the latest round of the Scheme is Friday 18th February 2011 and €4 million has been allocated.

Because of wider concerns regarding the relationship between supermarkets and suppliers, the former Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment appointed Mr. John Travers to facilitate discussions with stakeholders in relation to the drawing up of a Voluntary Code for the Grocery Goods Sector. Mr. Travers is continuing to explore with relevant stakeholders the possibilities in relation to the development of a Voluntary Code. It is expected that Mr. Travers will report on his efforts to facilitate agreement on the terms of a Voluntary Code in the coming weeks.

In relation to the importation of fresh produce from Northern Ireland, this is a private commercial matter for the company involved and one in which I have no role, provided that the produce in question complies with the EU marketing standards in relation to quality and labelling. My Department conducts inspections at import, wholesale and retail level to ensure compliance with these standards.

In terms of fresh fruit and vegetables, Irish self sufficiency levels vary greatly depending on the product in question. For example Ireland is well over 1000% self-sufficient in mushrooms but many fruit types can't be grown in Ireland due to our climate and hence we are totally reliant on imports for these products. Overall Ireland is circa 85% self sufficient in vegetables (including potatoes) but the corresponding figure for fruit is much lower.

Milk Quota

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

98 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the action he is taking to address the potential for super levy penalties and the possibilities for reassignment of unused quota, nationally and EU wide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4039/11]

The deputy will no doubt appreciate that the primary responsibility for avoiding super levy lies with each individual milk producer, and it is a responsibility that all dairy farmers should take very seriously in the lead-up to milk quota abolition in 2015.

My priority is, firstly, to secure as much quota as possible at a national level, and, then, to ensure that as much quota as possible finds its way into the hands of active milk producers. I have had considerable success on both fronts in recent years. My negotiation of a very positive outcome to the CAP Health Check in 2008 means that, by 2014, the national milk quota will have increased by more than seven per cent compared to 2008. And my modernising approach to the implementation of milk quota policy, which has resulted in a radical overhaul of domestic legislation and the introduction of progressive distribution mechanisms such as the Milk Quota Trading Scheme and the New Entrants Scheme, has allowed historically large volumes of quota to be acquired by, or allocated to, both expanding and newly commencing milk producers.

Nevertheless, I am aware of concerns that have been expressed in the sector about a rapid increase in milk production in Ireland ahead of quota abolition. This is raising hopes for larger increases than the annual 1 per cent already agreed, or perhaps an EU-wide redistribution of unused quota, as suggested in the Deputy's question. While I have supported calls for a re-assessment of the situation at EU level in order to ensure a soft landing for all Member States, the Commission's assessment of the situation in its December 2010 report came to the clear conclusion that a revisiting of the quota elements of the Health Check agreement was not warranted, and any proposal in this regard is unlikely to attract the support of a majority of Member States.

Grant Payments

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

99 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their payment for REP scheme 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4044/11]

The person named commenced REPS 4 on 1 July 2009. The 2009 payment issued in 2010. The REPS 4 2010 application from the person named has now been processed and payment will issue shortly.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

100 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of the 2,897 Mayo farmers currently in REP scheme 4 that have received their full payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4045/11]

A total of 1159 Mayo farmers currently in REPS 4 have received their full 100% payment for 2010. A further 13 have received their 75% 2010 payment. Another 53 Mayo farmers in REPS 4 will receive their 75% 2010 payment within the next 10 working days. A further 3 Mayo farmers will receive their 25% 2010 payment shortly.

Animal Carcase Disposal

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

101 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the measures in place for on-site validation of the categorisation of category one, category two and category three meat and bone meal; the amount that has been spent by the State associated in the handling of category one, two and three MBM on an annual basis since 2009; the number of inspections that have taken place in 2009 on an annual basis; the percentage of inspections found incorrectly classified MBM; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4159/11]

My Department is responsible for the approval and supervision of rendering plants and MBM stores in accordance with the terms of Regulation (EC) No. 1774/2002, which governs the use and disposal of animal by-products (ABP) generally.

Of the nine approved rendering plants, five are approved as Category 1 plants and can deal with all types of ABP, including specified risk material. The other four are Category 3 plants dealing with lower risk material.

Six of the twelve approved MBM stores are approved to store Category 1 MBM, one for Category 2 and five for Category 3 MBM.

Under the TSE Subsidy Scheme €9.67m was paid to Category 1 rendering plants in 2009, and €5.81m in 2010, to cover the cost of rendering and disposal of fallen animals.

There is full time technical supervision in rendering plants by officials of my Department. Processing plants are also validated before commercial production commences and at regular intervals thereafter.

During 2009 and 2010 official veterinary inspections in rendering plants were carried out on a monthly basis. Verification inspections were carried out on an annual basis.

MBM stores are selected for inspection on a planned basis, with one store in each region being inspected annually.

The miscategorisation of MBM under the current controls is extremely unlikely and the planned controls carried out in 2009 and 2010 found no indication of incorrect classification.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

102 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the names and addresses of plants approved to dispose of category one meat and bone meal; the capacity in tonnes of each of the approved plants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4160/11]

Nine plants have been approved in this country to render animal by-products (ABP) in accordance with the terms of Regulation (EC) 1774 of 2002. All of these plants operate under the supervision of my Department. Five of the plants are approved as Category 1 plants and can deal with all types of ABP, including specified risk material. The other four are Category 3 plants dealing with lower risk material.

Details of the five Category 1 plants are set out as follows.

Approval Number

Name & Address of Premises

R910

Dublin Products, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow

R911

College Proteins Ltd., Nobber, Co Meath

R915

Premier Proteins, Ballinasloe, Co Galway

R919

Waterford Proteins, Christendom, Ferrybank, Co Waterford

R922

Ecosafe Systems Ltd., Unit 1A, Allied Industrial Estate, Kylemore Road, Dublin 10

During 2010 the five Category 1 rendering plants produced 71,139 tonnes of meat and bone meal (MBM). Details of production for individual plants can not be revealed as the information is commercially sensitive.

Category 1 material must generally be disposed of by incineration, with the consequence that Category 1 MBM for some years had to be exported for incineration at significant cost. In recent years however some Category 1 MBM has been used under IPPC licence as a co-fuel in a cement plant (Lagan Cement, Killaskillen, Co Meath) and I am also aware of proposals to use it as a carbon-neutral fuel to generate electricity.

Grant Payments

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

103 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment of REP scheme 4 will issue in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4193/11]

The person named commenced REPS 4 on 1 September 2009. The 2009 REPS 4 payment issued in 2009. The REPS 4 2010 application from the person named is currently being processed and payment will issue as soon as possible.

Enterprise Support Services

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

104 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the person who makes the decisions on applications made to the EU globalisation fund for starting an enterprise which are processed through the county or city enterprise board; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4173/11]

Approval of grant applications made to the European Globalisation Fund facilities for assistance for business start ups are processed in accordance with the eligibility criteria laid down in respect of the EGF facilities that are operated by the County and City Enterprise Boards.

Applications are processed by the staff of the CEB and are then considered by an EGF Evaluation Committee — as distinct from the standard CEB Evaluation Committee — which subsequently makes a recommendation to the Board for final decision. The CEBs are operating three separate EGF facilities i.e. Dell EGF, Waterford Crystal EGF and SR Technics EGF and each EGF facility has its own Evaluation Committee. Each Evaluation Committee is comprised of 8 members who are drawn from a range of appropriate local representative groupings such as the participating CEBs, the Banking Sector the relevant Local Authorities, Enterprise Ireland etc.

Work Permits

Pat Breen

Ceist:

105 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4214/11]

My Department processes applications in respect of the different types of employment permits (Green Cards Permits, Work Permits, Spousal/Dependant Permits and Intra-company Transfer Permits). All applications are processed in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006.

I wish to advise the Deputy that this application was refused on the 9th September 2010 on the grounds that it is current Government policy to issue new employment permits only for highly skilled, highly paid positions or, for non-EEA nationals who are already legally resident in the State on valid employment permits or, where there is an officially recognized scarcity of workers of a particular type or qualification.

Furthermore, it appeared from the P60 submitted in support of the application that the employee had not received the level of annual salary required by the previous employment permit. The revised salary notified by the employer in support of the appeal, also fell short of the required salary level for that permit.

Having examined the appeal, the Appeals Officer upheld the original decision in this case on the 17th December 2010 and the fees are in the process of being refunded to the applicant.

In these circumstances, therefore, I regret that it is not possible to re-visit this application.

Garda Investigations

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

106 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [4026/11]

The issues raised in the details supplied refer to the former National Chairman and the former Chief Executive of an organisation. The matter relates to a complaint made by that organisation to the Gardaí in March 1999. The Department was not a party to that complaint.

The Department was informed at the time that the organisation had decided to alert the Gardaí of suspected irregularities in relation to claims submitted to the Department for funding under Measure 5 of the Small Business Operational Programme. The organisation advised that invoices in respect of one company in the amount of £16,500 were the subject of correspondence with the Gardaí.

On 23 June 2000, the organisation wrote to the Department stating that a file was subsequently sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who decided there were no grounds for action. At that stage, the organisation accepted the results of the investigation and considered the matter closed. This letter was disclosed by the Department on 26 July 2000 to the former Chief Executive under an FOI request.

At no point has the Department sought to assert or maintain that any individual was guilty of wrongdoing. From the outset, and during the intervening years, the Department has made all reasonable efforts to facilitate the former Chief Executive who has been the principal enquirer in these matters.

In 2004, the former Chief Executive referred his complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Department cooperated fully with the Ombudsman's inquiry. The Report of the Ombudsman concluded that the complaint against the Department was not upheld by the Ombudsman and that the case was closed by that Office on 28 November 2007.

For the avoidance of doubt, I again affirm that the Department does not have any issue or concern to pursue with the former Chief Executive who has previously been advised to this effect in writing. The Department has over a period of some 20 years dealt with the individual in a variety of capacities. The contacts were always of the highest probity.

Enterprise Support Services

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

107 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the supports available to a person setting up a new business providing a Montessori service in the Cork area; the grants and services that may be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4220/11]

My Department does not provide direct funding or grants to businesses but provides funding to a number of State Agencies, including the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) and Enterprise Ireland, through whom assistance is delivered directly to businesses. The CEB's unique role positions them as a first point of contact for persons wishing to set up in business. The County and City of Cork is serviced by four CEBs, contact details for each individual Board can be obtained through the CEBs' national website address atwww.enterpriseboards.ie. The promoter should in the first instance contact their relevant local CEB to discuss what options may be available to them and their proposed business venture.

To be eligible for CEB grant support an enterprise must be in the commercial sphere, must demonstrate a market for the proposed product/service, must have a capacity for growth and new job creation and must not employ more than 10 people. CEBs can provide both financial and non-financial assistance to a project promoter. The forms of financial assistance, which are available, subject to certain restrictions and conditions, include Priming Grants, Business Expansion/Development Grants, and Feasibility/Innovation Study Grants. The CEBs give priority to enterprises in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sector and must always give consideration to any potential for deadweight and displacement arising from a proposed enterprise. In addition, the CEBs deliver a range of non-financial supports to improve management capability development within micro-enterprises designed to help new and existing enterprises to operate effectively and efficiently so as to last and grow.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

108 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed Short Title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved by decision of the Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4276/11]

The following table provides details of the Bills being contemplated or proposed for my Department that have not yet been initiated in either the Dáil or Seanad.

Title of Bill

Objects of the Bill

Has the General Scheme of the Bill been approved by a Government decision?

Patents (Amendment) Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to make the necessary changes to the Patents Act 1992 to provide for the ratification of the London Agreement on the Application of Article 65 of the European Patent Convention.

Yes

Companies Consolidation and Reform Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to bring greater clarification and simplification to the companies code and to modernise Irish company law through the consolidation of the existing 15 Company Law Acts, other regulations and case law. The General Scheme of the Bill, as drafted by the Company Law Review Group (CLRG), contains some 1,400 Heads.

Yes

Transfer of Undertakings (Pensions) Bill

To transpose the optional pensions provision of the Transfer of Undertakings Directive regarding the transfer of supplementary pension rights in a transfer of undertaking in accordance with the commitments in the Towards 2016 Transition and Review Agreement 2008-2009.

No

Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Amendment Bill

To extend the functions of Science Foundation Ireland to enable it to provide funding for activities not encompassed within its existing remit.

No. (On 21st July 2010, Government approved preparation of General Scheme)

Control of Exports (Amendment) Bill

To transpose Directive 2009/43 simplifying the terms and conditions of transfers of defence related products within the Community.

No

Consumer and Competition Bill

To amalgamate the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority and to effect other changes to competition and consumer law.

No

Industrial and Provident Societies and Friendly Societies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

To introduce a number of regulatory improvements for co-operative societies (Industrial and Provident Societies) and to make certain other changes.

No

Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill

To amend the Trade Marks Act 1996 to allow Ireland to accede to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks.

No

Collective Investment Schemes Consolidation Bill(precise title to be decided)

To consolidate and update the Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) legislation that, up to now, has been handled by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

No

Possible Bill:Information and Data Sharing Bill

To provide for statutory bodies and government departments to share and process specified data relating to undertakings that is obtained by them in the course of carrying out their statutory functions and to provide for related matters.

No

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

109 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed Short Title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4010/11]

The details requested by the Deputy are set out in the Table.

Short title or working title of legislation

Outline of objects of legislation

If general scheme approved

Dormant Accounts (Amendment) 2010 Bill

To provide for the exercise by the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs of certain functions relating to the Dormant Accounts Fund, to provide for the dissolution of the Dormant Accounts Board, to amend the Dormant Accounts Act 2001 and to provide for related matters.

Yes

Gaeltacht Bill

To establish Údarás na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta, to repeal existing Údarás na Gaeltachta legislation and to define the status of Gaeltacht areas based on linguistic criteria.

No

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

110 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide a list of the legislation being contemplated or proposed within his Department; the proposed short title or working title of the legislation; an outline of the objects of the legislation being considered, and in each case if the general scheme of the Bill has or has not been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4011/11]

My Department is currently preparing the Defence (Amendment) Bill the Heads of which have been approved by Government. The main items to be dealt with in the Bill are: Liability to military law. The provisions of statutory powers of arrest and detention in relation to offences against military law. A full review of the offences against military law having regard to recent developments in the military law of other common law jurisdictions as well as in ordinary criminal law. A review of provisions relating to military prisons and detention barracks.

Road Network

Seán Power

Ceist:

111 Deputy Seán Power asked the Minister for Defence in view of the unsatisfactory road condition at a location (details supplied) and the length of time since the roads were resurfaced, if he will confirm when works will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4048/11]

The Department has recently been in contact with the local authority with a view of having the estate taken in charge. To date no reply has been received from the local authority. It is likely that some works would have to be carried out on the sewage system at the location and the Department is unwilling to incur costs in resurfacing the roads to have them excavated at a later time to facilitate the sewage works.

Defence Forces Appointments

David Stanton

Ceist:

112 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the appointment of the military judge for the Defence Forces to preside at courts martial; the qualifications for the position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4185/11]

The position is that under the provisions of section 184(J)(1) of the Defence Act 1954, as amended, "the President may appoint, on the advice of the Government, one, or more than one, qualified officer of the Permanent Defence Force to be a military judge". In this context Section 184(K)(1) provides for the establishment of a committee, consisting of the Chief of Staff, the Judge Advocate-General; and a Judge of the High Court, nominated by the President of the High Court, "for the purpose of identifying officers and informing the Government of the suitability of those officers for appointment to judicial office". Section 184K(6) provides that "all proceedings of the committee and all communications to the committee shall be confidential". The qualifications for the position of military judge for the Defence Forces are provided for in Section 184J of the Defence Act 1954, as amended.

Section 184J (2) states that "An officer who is a practising barrister or a practising solicitor of not less than 10 years standing shall be qualified for appointment as a military judge."

Section 184J (3) states that "For the purposes of this section service for any period in a position in the full-time service of the State (including as a member of the Permanent Defence Force and as a civil servant within the meaning of the Civil Service Regulation act 1956) for which qualification as a barrister or solicitor was a requirement shall be deemed to be practise as a barrister or a solicitor, as the case may be for that period and an officer, while holding that position, shall be deemed to be a practising barrister or a practising solicitor, as the case may be.

Finally, Section 184J (3) states that "The military judge, or where there is more than one military judge, the Chief Military Judge, shall not be below the army rank of colonel or the equivalent naval rank." The recommendation of the selection committee established pursuant to the provisions of the Defence Acts in relation to the filling of the currently vacant post of military judge is being progressed within the Department and the situation should be resolved shortly.

Medicinal Products

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

113 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 43 and 7 of 21 October 2010 and No. 68 of 15 December 2010 in which he stated that the Defence Forces prescribe anti-malaria drug Lariam to its personnel in accordance with the prescribing instructions and information provided by the Irish Medicines Board and that the system employed by the Defence Forces adheres to international best practice, this has been disputed by many Defence Forces personnel who believe their health has been damaged as a result of inappropriate prescription of Lariam, if he will acquire all written documentation provided to Defence Forces personnel relating to Lariam, either prior to or at the time of drug prescription, prior to deployment, while overseas, or when a suspected adverse reaction occurs and enter these documents into the Dáil record; if he will ensure that the information provided covers both current Defence Forces documentation and all historical documentation provided to personnel since Lariam was first introduced; if he will specify the time period of use for each document in view of the fact that there have been significant changes to the Lariam safety profile during the period and different personnel who are ill after taking Lariam served at different times on different missions and in different countries. [4228/11]

I am advised by the Military authorities that the first major mission on which Lariam was prescribed was Eritrea in 2001. Written documentation relating to the drug is provided to the relevant personnel via, inter alia, Instructions from the Director of the Medical Corps, documents published by individual units and the patient information leaflet that accompanies the medication itself. The information sought by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded in due course.