Home Care Packages Provision

Ceisteanna (176)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

176. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a homecare package. [27024/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (177)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

177. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health when extra home help hours will be facilitated for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27059/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (178)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

178. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be provided with Versatis patches. [27103/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key health service objective. However, the challenge is to do this in a safe and sustainable manner. Treatment must be appropriate and proportionate and clinical decision-making, such as prescribing, should be based on both patient needs and sound medical evidence.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plasters are licensed for localised relief of post-shingles pain in adults. This is the patch's only licensed use in Ireland. It has been reimbursed in the community drugs schemes since 2010.

Clinical concern arose when, from 2012 on, usage increased significantly, to the point where more plasters were being used in Ireland than in the entire UK National Health Service. In such situations, it is important and appropriate for clinicians to review usage and, in 2016, the HSE Medicines Management Programme (MMP) reviewed the use of the plasters. The review estimated that only 5-10% of prescribing was for the licensed indication.

From September 2017, following the clinical review, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement approval system for the patches, to support appropriate use and patient care. Under these arrangements, the patient's GP or consultant applies to the MMP for reimbursement approval on behalf of the patient. If an application is refused, the clinician may submit an appeal, making a clear clinical case for the patient, to the MMP. Information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE MMP website at: hse.ie/yourmedicines.

The decision to introduce a new reimbursement approval process is a matter for the HSE and you will appreciate that, as Minister for Health, I cannot intervene in individual cases. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (179)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

179. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will engage with an organisation (details supplied) and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure new medicines are available to persons with multiple sclerosis. [27104/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for medicine pricing and reimbursement decisions, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.   As Minister for Health, I do not have any statutory power or function in relation to the reimbursement of medicines. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines.

In line with the 2013 Act, if a company would like a medicine to be reimbursed by the HSE pursuant to the Community Drugs scheme, the company must first submit an application to the HSE to have the new medicine added to the Reimbursement List.

As outlined in the IPHA agreement, and in line with the 2013 Act, the HSE will decide, within 180 days of receiving the application (or a longer period if further information is sought from the company), to either add the medicine to the reimbursement list or agree to reimburse it as a hospital medicine, or refuse to reimburse the medicine.

HSE decisions on which medicines are reimbursed by the taxpayer are made on objective, scientific and economic grounds, on the advice of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE).

The NCPE conducts health technology assessments (HTAs) for the HSE, and makes recommendations on reimbursement to assist HSE decisions. The NCPE uses a decision framework to systematically assess whether a drug is cost-effective as a health intervention.

The HSE strives to reach a decision in as timely a manner as possible. However, because of the significant monies involved, it must ensure that the best price is achieved, as these commitments are often multi-million euro investments on an on-going basis. This can lead to a protracted deliberation process.

I am keen to engage with Industry and to explore ways in which new medicines might be more easily introduced in Ireland. However, any innovative approaches that may be tabled must be compatible with the statutory provisions which are in place and must also recognise the fundamental pricing/funding issues in the context of finite Exchequer resources. 

I have indicated willingness to meet with MS Ireland and my office is in contact with the organisation to arrange a mutually convenient date.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (180)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

180. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health if home help hours will be provided for a person (details supplied) [27105/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Commencement of Legislation

Ceisteanna (181)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

181. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health when the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 will be commenced to allow both parents in a same sex marriage the same rights with regard to their children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27109/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

A number of technical drafting issues have come to light in relation to Parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. Consideration of a resolution to these issues and the likely need for primary legislation are close to conclusion and I expect to be in a position to progress shortly.

Medicinal Products Availability

Ceisteanna (182)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

182. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) will be provided with Versatis patches. [27121/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key health service objective. However, the challenge is to do this in a safe and sustainable manner. Treatment must be appropriate and proportionate and clinical decision-making, such as prescribing, should be based on both patient needs and sound medical evidence.

Lidocaine 5% medicated plasters are licensed for localised relief of post-shingles pain in adults. This is the patch's only licensed use in Ireland. It has been reimbursed in the community drugs schemes since 2010.

Clinical concern arose when, from 2012 on, usage increased significantly, to the point where more plasters were being used in Ireland than in the entire UK National Health Service. In such situations, it is important and appropriate for clinicians to review usage and, in 2016, the HSE Medicines Management Programme (MMP) reviewed the use of the plasters. The review estimated that only 5-10% of prescribing was for the licensed indication.

From September 2017, following the clinical review, the HSE introduced a new reimbursement approval system for the patches, to support appropriate use and patient care. Under these arrangements, the patient's GP or consultant applies to the MMP for reimbursement approval on behalf of the patient. If an application is refused, the clinician may submit an appeal, making a clear clinical case for the patient, to the MMP. Information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE MMP website at: hse.ie/yourmedicines.

The decision to introduce a new reimbursement approval process is a matter for the HSE and you will appreciate that, as Minister for Health, I cannot intervene in individual cases. However, I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Basic Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (183)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

183. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the case of a person (details supplied) who has had parcels deleted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26962/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In relation to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application of the person named, a dual claim arose in respect of the land in question after the processing of his 2017 BPS payment. 

My Department contacted the person named in writing concerning this dual claim. A reply to this correspondence has now been received from the person named, and the parcels concerned have again been claimed by the person named under the 2018 BPS.  The reply received and all other relevant documentation are currently being examined with a view to resolving the dual claim identified.

Inland Fisheries

Ceisteanna (184)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

184. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department is preparing a report regarding the escape of some 20,000 farmed salmon from a site (details supplied) in Mulroy Bay, County Donegal in July 2017 as requested by Inland Fisheries Ireland; when the report will be finalised; when the report was first requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26987/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department’s records indicate that in July 2017 a salmon farm operator notified my Department, the Marine Institute and Inland Fisheries Ireland of a fish escape incident at a salmon farm located at Glinsk, Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal. My Department’s records further indicate that all relevant stakeholders, including Inland Fisheries Ireland, were informed in accordance with the applicable aquaculture licence conditions.

On 4 April 2018 my Department received a request from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment seeking certain specific information in relation to the incident. On 6 April 2018 my Department forwarded the specific information requested to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

As all appropriate action has been taken by my Department and by the operator no further action is considered necessary at this time.

Aquaculture Regulation

Ceisteanna (185, 186)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

185. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 47 of 30 May 2018, if the record will be corrected to accept farmed stock was taken to Inland Fisheries Ireland in 2017 as per the response of the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 1035 to 1038, inclusive, of 12 June 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26988/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

186. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason neither his Department nor the Marine Institute have sought further information from Inland Fisheries Ireland with regard to the findings of the Report on the Occurrence of Farmed Atlantic Salmon in Rivers in the Western River Basin District in August September 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26989/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 185 and 186 together.

My Department is aware of the Report on the Occurrence of Farmed Atlantic Salmon in Rivers in the Western River Basin District August/September 2017 and Press Release issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) on Friday 16 February 2018.

As the Deputy has been advised, during 2017 my Department also noted media reports of salmon being found in rivers on the western seaboard which may have been from farmed stock. My Department advised IFI that where anglers or officers of IFI suspected that they had collected salmon from farmed stock that the fish should be sent to the Marine Institute for analysis, with a view to determining whether they were, in fact, from farmed stock.

The Marine Institute has confirmed that it received no stock for examination from anglers or from IFI. In addition the Marine Institute did not receive any request from IFI to examine salmon that appeared to be from farmed stock.

Departmental Legal Cases

Ceisteanna (187)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

187. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress to date in relation to a case (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27020/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As previously outlined to the Deputy in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 880 in November 2017 and No. 1147 in January 2018, the case has been prioritised by my Department. This is a complex case involving a number of interested parties and a number of legal issues which are being progressed with the Chief State Solicitor's Office who have been in correspondence with the solicitors for the persons referred to by the Deputy. In addition my Department has had discussions with Donegal County Council on issues surrounding access to the property.

Horse Racing Industry

Ceisteanna (188)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

188. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 187 of 25 April 2018, when a response from Horse Racing Ireland is likely to be forthcoming. [27032/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland is a commercial State Body responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

Horse Racing Ireland inform me that they will furnish a direct reply to the Deputy in relation to the information requested in the coming days.

Coillte Teoranta Activities

Ceisteanna (189)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

189. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if Coillte can be compensated to plant small areas of forestry on its lands by farmers and landowners that require their lands after felling trees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27050/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The replanting obligation, which is a condition of a felling licence, is the responsibility of the forest owner and any proposed alternative site must form part of the felling licence application. The proposed alternative site must also receive approval for afforestation before any felling licence issues. Furthermore, in line with my Department’s Felling and Reforestation Policy, conversion of forest land to agriculture is only considered in limited instances, having regard to the scale and character of the area proposed for deforestation. There are no plans to change this policy.

Coillte was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as land transactions with third parties, are the responsibility of the company.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (190)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

190. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if amendments will be accepted as submitted by an organisation (details supplied) as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the greyhound industry Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27067/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Greyhound Industry Bill addresses governance issues in Bord na gCon, strengthens regulatory controls in the industry, modernises sanctions, improves integrity, includes the welfare of greyhounds as one of the statutory functions of Bord na gCon and provides it with powers to make regulations in relation to integrity, anti-doping, administration and traceability.

The General Scheme of the Bill is currently with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting into a Bill. A number of the suggestions in the Dogs Trust submission have been included in the current draft General Scheme.

In relation to exports the vast majority of dogs that are moved from Ireland go to the UK.  The rules on movement of dogs within the EU are set by the EU and not at national level.  In this regard dogs moved to another EU country from Ireland must be accompanied by an EU pet passport, be micro-chipped, and have a valid rabies vaccination. 

The premises exporting dogs must be registered with the Department in advance of the export.  Before travel, dogs must undergo a clinical examination by an authorised veterinarian, who must verify that the animals show no obvious signs of disease and are fit to be transported.  Dogs must also have a health certificate issued by a Department veterinarian.  These procedures, including vaccination, ensure that only healthy dogs, over the age of 15 weeks, are allowed to be exported. 

Exporters must also comply with EU law on the protection of animals during transport, while the transport of animals by air is also governed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations.  In this context, I am aware that a number of airlines do not transport commercial consignments of greyhounds. 

The Department has a close working relationship with animal welfare charities on all aspects of animal welfare. Officials of my Department have met with the welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum, which includes the Dogs Trust, the ISPCA and Bord na gCon, to consider issues surrounding the export of greyhounds.

Bord na gCon has stated that it does not support the export of greyhounds to destinations which do not conform with the standards in the Animal Health and Welfare Act, the Welfare of Greyhounds Act or its own Code of Practice and standards. I fully endorse this view.

Citizens Assembly

Ceisteanna (191)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

191. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the outstanding recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly. [26883/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 476 of 24 April 2018. The position is unchanged.

I welcomed the submission to the Oireachtas, on 18 April, of the final report of the Citizens' Assembly on how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.

The final report includes a total of 17 recommendations, which address a range of Government policies and activities across a number of sectors and Ministerial functions. The report reflects the deliberations of the Citizens Assembly over two weekends last Autumn informed, in turn, by a public consultation and by the contribution of a range of expert presentations to the Assembly.

As I have previously indicated, I was pleased to note that many of the recommendations adopted by the members of the Assembly, as reported on during the conclusion of this module of the Assembly’s work, are already being addressed in the National Mitigation Plan and in the implementation of the Energy White Paper, but I have also acknowledged that other recommendations will need further consideration by Government.

It will now be a matter for the Oireachtas, in the first instance, to consider how it will take forward consideration of the Assembly's report. The Government will study the Assembly’s report and recommendations and will provide its response in the context of the agreed mechanism in the Oireachtas for further consideration of the report.

Waste Disposal Charges

Ceisteanna (192)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

192. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the provision of an annual support towards the cost of pay by weight bin changes for homes which have a family member using incontinence pads; when details of this scheme will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26945/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

An annual support of €75 per person is being made available for persons with lifelong or long-term medical incontinence. This will help people meet the average annual cost for the disposal of medical incontinence products.  My Department is in discussion with the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner regarding the administrative details and arrangements of the support, as well as engaging with the relevant  stakeholders.  I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to finalising the details for this support as soon as possible. In line with the commitments set out in A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, published in 2012, and in the interest of encouraging further waste prevention and greater recycling, flat-rate fees for kerbside household waste collection are being phased out over the period autumn 2017 to autumn 2018, as customers contracts come up for renewal. The necessary regulatory steps have been put in place to give effect to this measure.

It is worth noting that this measure is not ‘new’ for about half of kerbside household waste customers, who are already on an incentivised usage pricing plan, i.e., a plan which contains a per lift or a weight related fee.

As announced in mid-2017, mandatory per kilogramme 'pay by weight' charging is not being introduced. Allowing for a range of charging options, which encourage householders to reduce and separate their waste, provides flexibility to waste collectors to develop various service-price offerings that suit different household circumstances.

The Price Monitoring Group has considered eight months of data to date. While fluctuations in prices and service offerings have been observed, the overall trend is relative price stability. The Price Monitoring Group has reported that there are currently 9 different types of price models on the market. The main price examples include a service charge plus charge per bin lift, with an excess per kg charge, and a service charge plus per kg weight charge. The most popular service offering now is the ‘service charge including weight allowance, plus per kg charge for excess above allowance'.

Taxi Regulations

Ceisteanna (193)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

193. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to allow taxi driver applicants to undergo the Garda vetting process at application stage rather than after the small public service vehicle, SPSV, licence has issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26960/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I do not have any plans in this respect as the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) sector is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.  Also, under this Act, An Garda Síochána (AGS) is responsible for the granting of SPSV driver licences, which includes the administration of the associated Garda vetting process.

While decisions regarding the detail as to how these procedures are administered by the NTA and An Garda Siochana respectively are clearly not for me or for my Department, I am aware that my Department has had discussions with taxi industry representatives in relation to a number of matters, including specifically the stage in the overall licensing process at which the Garda vetting process commences for SPSV applicants. Following that engagement, my Department has given a commitment to discuss this issue as raised by industry representatives with the NTA within the context of the Department's regular liaison with the NTA regarding taxi matters generally.

Public Consultation Process

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Ceisteanna (194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

194. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the cost of the public consultation process for MetroLink. [27039/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

195. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the methods used to advertise the public consultation process to those in areas affected by MetroLink. [27040/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

196. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if notices of the public consultation and proposed route were posted directly to residents in the areas most affected by MetroLink. [27041/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

197. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if notification was sent to those living along the route of the impact they will face during the construction phase of MetroLink. [27042/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

198. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if each person that is likely to be affected by a CPO in the building of MetroLink has been directly contacted. [27043/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

199. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the relevant experts which were consulted and ultimately used in the drafting of the current MetroLink proposal; and the way in which and when their input was sought. [27044/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 194 to 199, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy is aware the National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the development and implementation of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including light rail. Recently the NTA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) launched a public consultation on the details in relation to the "Emerging Preferred Route" for the MetroLink Project, which extends between Swords and Sandyford.

The Emerging Preferred Route is the proposal which has been identified as the likely optimal scheme from a technical design perspective, without the benefit of public consultation and input. It is not a finalised and selected scheme – the final layout will only be determined after consideration and evaluation of the issues raised during the consultation process.

Following receipt of all of the submissions, the issues and concerns identified will be carefully considered by TII and the NTA in determining the final scheme proposal and a report will be prepared on the consultation process.  It is envisaged that the public consultation report will be published later this year.

I understand the concerns raised by affected stakeholders including residents, local amenities and schools.  I believe there are many benefits the Metro project can bring.  The NTA and TII, through the consultative process they have underway, are working collaboratively to address concerns identified and to develop mitigating proposals.  Their aim is to find a way of delivering the MetroLink project, while maintaining good routes that interchange with other public transport and doing it in such a way that respects the social and community life of our city.

Noting their responsibility with regards to this matter, I have referred your queries to TII and NTA for their consideration and direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.