Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (85)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

85. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the changes planned for the delivery of resource hours to primary schools; when changes are expected to be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5849/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0013/2017 for primary schools and 0014/2017 for post primary schools set out the details of the model for allocating special education teachers to schools.

Details of the allocations which will be due to be made for schools for the 2019/20 school year will be advised to schools in the coming weeks.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (86)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

86. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding caretakers and cleaners at schools becoming direct employees of his Department; if investigations into same have been carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5856/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I recognise the very important work done by school secretaries, and indeed by other support staff, in the running of our schools and I am grateful to them for the contribution they make to our education system.  I have spoken to a number of school secretaries about their employment conditions.

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of Clerical Officers and Caretakers in schools.  The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008.  These schemes have been superseded by the more  extensive capitation grant schemes.  The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991. 

The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services under these grant schemes.  It is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the grant funding for caretaking or secretarial purposes, any staff taken on to support those functions are employees of individual schools.  Specific responsibility for the pay and conditions rests with the school.

On foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period.  This arbitration agreement covers the period up to 31 December 2019. 

The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a Secretary or Caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration will, from 1 January 2019, be paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual’s hourly pay. 

Following the arbitration process, grant funding used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff was improved in order to enable schools to implement the arbitration outcome.

My Department has shown a willingness to engage with staff representatives on this matter as evidenced by the Chairman's Note discussions.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (87, 88)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

87. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary and secondary schools in counties Laois and Offaly with ASD units. [5858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

88. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to increase the number of ASD units at primary and second-level in counties Laois and Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 88 together.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs including Autism, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of special classes from 548 in 2011 to 1,459 across the country now, of which 1,196 are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special classes.

There are 25 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Co. Laois. Of these, 4 are ASD early intervention classes, 17 are primary ASD classes and 3 are post primary ASD classes. The number of ASD special classes in Co.Laois has increased from 4 in 2011/2012 to 24 in 2018/2019.

There are 64 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Co. Offaly. Of these, 10 are ASD early intervention classes, 29 are primary ASD classes and 9 are post primary ASD classes. The number of ASD special classes in Co. Offaly has increased from 12 in 2011/2012 to 48 in 2018/2019.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available by county on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie   

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, SENOs work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved.

The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 will assist in addressing this issue where the NCSE is of the opinion that there is insufficient education provision for children with special educational needs in an area.

Section 8 of the Act, which commenced on the 3rd of December 2018, provides the Minister with a power, after a process of consultation with the NCSE, the board of management and the patron of the school, to compel a school to make additional provision for the education of children with special educational needs.

Special Classes can be established within a schools existing accommodation. In such circumstances the school can apply to the Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation for special needs purposes should the school’s existing accommodation not be capable of hosting special classes. 

In the case of all new schools, it is general practice to include a Special Education Needs Base (SEN Base) in the accommodation brief for new school buildings, unless local circumstances indicate that it will not be required. Typically, a two classroom SEN Base is provided in new primary schools and a two or four classroom SEN Base is provided in new post primary schools.

All school capital projects that have been approved by my Department under the Additional Accommodation Scheme, including special needs accommodation, may be viewed on my Department’s website, www.education.ie  and this is updated regularly.

As the Deputy's question relates to a particular area I have arranged for the question to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (89)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

89. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to buy or rent a building (details supplied) which is being converted to provide accommodation for a temporary primary school. [5887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Government announced plans in April 2018 for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 16 classroom school to be established in September 2019 to serve the Goatstown_Stillorgan_DLR school planning area. 

The Department is currently examining all potential suitable site options to serve the relevant area and in the interim the school will be established in Sept 2019 in suitable interim accommodation pending delivery of its permanent school building.  The Department has applied for planning permission to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to use a building (on a rental basis) on Ballymoss Road, Sandyford Business Park as the interim location for the school.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (90)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

90. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the location a person (details supplied) can apply for vacant positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5888/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The recruitment and appointment of Special Needs Assistants is a matter for the individual school authority. Department's Circulars 34/ 2018 and 21/2011 and Appendix H of the Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2015-2019 sets out the current minimum educational requirements for appointment as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA).

People appointed to SNA posts are required to have:

1. A FETAC level 3 major qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications, OR

2. A minimum of three grade Ds in the Junior Certificate, OR

3. Equivalent

The above are the minimum qualifications required for appointment as a SNA. The actual requirements for a post will vary depending on the specific needs of the children and the school to which the SNA is to be appointed. When recruiting an SNA school authorities must list in the advertisement any specific competencies and/ or requirements to meet the special educational needs of the pupil(s).

All standard SNA vacancies and cover SNA vacancies of 24 weeks or more must be advertised on one of the following websites as soon as practicable.

SNA vacancies may also be advertised locally as required / deemed necessary. This will enable SNAs who are being made redundant to know what SNA vacancies are available.

List of Websites:

www.educationposts.ie

www.staffroom.ie

www.educationcareers.ie

www.educatetogether.ie

www.jobsireland.ie

Any Education and Training Board websites

These Circulars can be accessed on the Department’s website at www.education.ie.

Technological Universities

Ceisteanna (91)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

91. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if powers or duties under the Technological Universities Act 2018 have been delegated. [5932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

No power or duty conferred on the Minister for Education and Skills by or under the Technological Universities Act 2018 has been delegated to a Minister of State.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (92)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

92. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department is required to contribute to the cost overruns on the National Children's Hospital. [5934/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

No final decisions have yet been made on how the additional funding requirement in 2019 is to be met.  I understand the Minister for Finance and PER will be bringing his proposals in this regard to Government next week.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Ceisteanna (93)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

93. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which Garda vetting has been completed in respect of candidates who have applied for recent posts in the Prison Service and An Garda Síochána; the degree to which approval is forthcoming, pending or refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 it is the function of the Garda Commissioner to carry on and manage and control generally the administration and business of the Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the recruitment, training and appointment of its members and civilian staff. The allocation of resources including recruitment and training of Garda members is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. National recruitment campaigns for new recruits to An Garda Síochána are generally conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) with the initial recruitment stages being managed by PAS and the latter stages (vetting, physical competency test, medical) being managed by the Garda Commissioner.

Similarly, given the level of responsibility in prison officer positions, it is necessary for checks to be carried out by An Garda Síochána on persons considered for this employment. These checks can take time to complete for a variety of reasons, some of which may be outside of the control of the Garda Authorities, depending on the circumstances of the individual case. However, I am assured that every effort is made to expedite this process to the greatest extent possible.

This is carried out as part of the recruitment process which is managed by the Public Appointment Service in conjunction with the Irish Prison Service.

Any candidates seeking an update on the status of their applications should contact the Public Appointments Service or An Garda Síochána/the Irish Prison Service as appropriate.

International Conventions

Ceisteanna (94)

Frances Fitzgerald

Ceist:

94. Deputy Frances Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the outstanding issues concerning the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women; and the timeframe for ratification in this regard. [5797/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Ratifying the Istanbul Convention is a Government priority and is included in the Programme for Government as a significant legal instrument in the fight against domestic and sexual violence.

At the time of signing of the Istanbul Convention, the Government approved an Action Plan to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention. The Action Plan contained 18 different administrative and legislative actions required by the Istanbul Convention. Most of the legislative requirements were met in the Domestic Violence Act 2018, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017.

The Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 is the final legislative action to be enacted to allow for ratification. This legislation is required to establish extraterritorial jurisdiction over Convention offences committed abroad by Irish citizens and residents.

On 30 January 2019, the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Bill) 2018 completed all stages in the Seanad. The Bill will now progress to second stage in the Dáil on Tuesday 12 February. It is expected that the Bill will be enacted in quarter one, 2019.

This is a very short but important Bill, that once enacted, will allow Ireland to ratify the Istanbul Convention shortly thereafter.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Ceisteanna (95, 96, 97)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

95. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received in 2017 and 2018 by county for the community CCTV scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5832/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

96. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications granted in 2017 and 2018 by county for the community CCTV scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

97. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of funding issued to communities for the community CCTV scheme by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5834/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 to 97, inclusive, together.

The Deputy will be aware that CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access, such as town centres, fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems. Neither may be established without the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, among other requirements.

Community based CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, and

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded.

As the Deputy is aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In furtherance of this commitment, a grant-aid scheme to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas is being administered by my Department. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.

There have to date been 28 applications to the scheme. 20 applications have been approved, involving approved grants totalling more than €500,000. A further 5 applications to the scheme are being assessed and considered. The remaining 3 applications have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to supply the information necessary to qualify for grant aid.

As information requested by the Deputy, the following table sets out the breakdown by county of the applications approved for funding to date and the level of funding for which approval has been granted.

County

Number of Approved Schemes

Amount of Grant Aid Approved

Year

Leitrim

1

€40,000

2018

Limerick

14

€334,573

2018

Sligo

1

€8,835

2018

Wexford

3

€77,915

2018

Wicklow

1

€40,000

2018

I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme. If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, full details of the grant aid package are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups to apply for this funding through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie

Garda National Immigration Bureau

Ceisteanna (98)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

98. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 142 of 26 September 2018, 420 of 6 November 2018 and 162 of 28 November 2018, if he will address issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) concerning the INIS online appointment system for registrations; the action he will take to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As outlined in responses to previous parliamentary questions, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department became aware in September 2018 of customers experiencing difficulties booking registration appointments. Some of these difficulties had arisen because third party agents had been able to secure multiple appointments through the use of automatic software.

A set of software fixes was introduced in mid-September 2018 to prevent this abuse of the system. As far as can be determined, this software update has been successful in preventing the block booking of appointments by third party agents. The system is being regularly monitored in this regard. INIS is aware that some third party agents continue to book individual appointments with information supplied to them by customers. INIS strongly advises our customers not to provide sensitive personal data to these unregulated agents.

I am also advised that INIS is currently developing a replacement online appointments system which will be operational later this year, and which is being designed to prevent the block-booking of appointments. This new system will also assist in streamlining and improving the current online booking process. As part of the INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020, a number of other options are also being considered with a view to improving customer service and efficiency as well as meeting the growing demand for registration in Ireland.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (99)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

99. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if legislative changes are proposed in respect of inheritance legislation with particular reference to minimising the opportunities for misrepresentation to the detriment of family members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5903/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Part VII of the Succession Act 1965 sets out the legal requirements for the making of a valid will. These are as follows:

- it must be in writing;

- the testator must be over 18 years of age (the testator may be under 18 if he or she is or has been married);

- the testator must be of sound mind;

- the testator must sign or mark the will in the presence of two witnesses;

- the two witnesses must sign the will in the testator's presence;

- the witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will;

- the witnesses must see the testator sign the will;

- the signature of the testator must be at the end of the will.

These statutory provisions, as interpreted by the courts in relevant case law, provide robust safeguards in relation to the validity of wills.

I should add that it is, of course, possible for a person to challenge a will on the grounds of either the diminished capacity of a testator to make a valid will, or the testator's ability freely to make decisions in disposing of their property by will.

When determining whether or not a testator had the capacity to make a will, courts will generally consider whether he or she understood the nature of the act of making a will and its effect, and whether the testator understood the extent of the property of which he or she was disposing.

Where undue influence is alleged, succession law places the onus of proving such undue influence on the person alleging it. In order to succeed, the court must be satisfied that:

(a) the person alleged to exert the influence had the power or opportunity to do so;

(b) undue influence was in fact exerted; and

(c) the will was the product of influence.

While I have no current plans to amend legislation in this area, the operation of the law in this area is kept under review in my Department.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (100)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

100. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the level of Garda resources in County Kildare; his plans for further recruitment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5905/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard.

Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I can assure the Deputy that local Garda management in the areas referred to remains resolute in its determination to act against all forms of criminal activity and will work with these communities to prevent and detect crime.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,400 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including 800 trainees who passed out from the college during 2018.

The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff. This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to front-line policing in 2019.

I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions including Kildare.

The Garda strength of the Kildare Division from 2009 to 31 December 2018 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Health and Safety Regulations

Ceisteanna (101)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

101. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date in rectifying deficiencies in the ESB safety procedures identified by the Health and Safety Authority; the timeline for the completion of corrective action; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5820/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I have been informed by the Health and Safety Authority that the Authority has acknowledged the concerns raised by a company in relation to practices at the ESB. The Authority has advised me that it has engaged extensively with both Parties on the matter and is satisfied with progress to date. It will continue to engage with the Parties involved to ensure that all matters are adequately addressed.

I would point out, however, that Authority has an independent Statutory role in relation to the investigation of complaints. I have no role in relation to such investigations nor in the rectification of matters arising from complaints to the Health and Safety Authority.

Industrial Development

Ceisteanna (102)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

102. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when a company (details supplied) will be open for business in Newcastlewest, County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5844/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Ortec Inc. announced its intention to establish a European headquarters, manufacturing and operations centre in Newcastle West in 2016. The company – a biomaterial and polymer technology firm which serves the life sciences industry – has indicated that this project will help create up to 110 skilled engineering and science jobs in the region over the next several years.

IDA Ireland continues to work closely with the firm, both locally in Ireland and in the US, in support of this investment. I understand that the company remains fully committed to the project, with progress expected early this year.

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (103)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

103. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if barbers can be removed from the list of ineligible categories under the work permit scheme in view of the fact that there is a significant shortage of barbers nationwide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and wider EEA, an employment permit may be sought by an employer to hire a non-EEA national subject to the Employment Permits Acts and Regulations. The employment permits system is managed in part through the operation of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL) for the purposes of granting an employment permit

Changes to access to the Irish labour market for specific occupations via the employment permits system are made on the basis of research undertaken by the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs, the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas) and, coordinated by the National Skills Council, the annual National Skills Bulletin and the annual Vacancy Overview Report in tandem with a public consultation process.

A review of the lists of occupations for employment permits is currently being finalised with a further review to take place in the second half of the year. Barbers are currently included on the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL). In order to remove a skill from this list, there would need to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages across the EEA and not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Organisations in the sector would need to provide the necessary data to substantiate their claims. A detailed evidence-based case for removal of barbers from the ineligible list, based on this detailed data would then need to be put forward, to my Department for review and consideration by a standing Interdepartmental Group.

Ticket Touting

Ceisteanna (104)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

104. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of proposed legislation to tackle ticket touting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5904/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

On 24 July 2018, I secured Government approval for its support for the Private Members' Bill, Prohibition of Above-cost Ticket Touting Bill 2017, introduced by Deputies Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly and for the taking of the Second and subsequent Stages of the Bill in Government time.

The Government also approved the drafting of certain amendments to the Bill and noted my intention to propose changes to it at Committee or Report Stage. In December 2018, officials of my Department submitted a number of amendments to the Bill to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and are currently engaging with Parliamentary Counsel on those amendments.

On 31 January 2019, the Bill had its second reading in Dáil Éireann in Government time. The debate on the Bill was adjourned and a date has yet to be scheduled for its resumption. I am awaiting the advice of the Office of the Attorney General as to whether there is a requirement to submit the Bill and any proposed amendments to the European Commission under Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on the procedure for the provision of information relating to technical regulations and the rules for information society services.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (105)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

105. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health the assistance available to a person (details supplied) to provide support to maintain their mobility and independence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Ceisteanna (106)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

106. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will address matters (details supplied) regarding services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5785/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (107)

John Brassil

Ceist:

107. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Medicinal Products

Ceisteanna (108)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

108. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the progress to date towards the introduction of a national biosimilars strategy; if it will be drafted and implemented; the timeframe for each step; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department and the HSE are engaging in a number of initiatives which will endeavour to lead to better access to medicines for patients, value for the taxpayer and the cost- effective provision of medicines in Ireland.

A public consultation on a National Biosimilar Medicines Policy was undertaken by my Department in 2017. The responses to that consultation and other possible policy levers are being considered by my Department with a view to developing a National Biosimilar Medicines Policy which will require the involvement of stakeholders from across the health service. I expect that my Department will make progress in this regard in 2019. At an operational level, the HSE's Acute Hospitals Drugs Management Programme has a biosimilar strategy in place since 2017 which is making considerable progress using a collaborative approach with hospital pharmacists and clinical teams to bring about changes in prescribing practice. In that respect, hospitals are working towards a targeted minimum prescribing rate for biosimilars of 50%.