Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (384)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

384. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a case (details supplied) will be reviewed with a view to introducing a flexibility in the labour market needs test to allow advertisements on a website rather than advertisements in the national newspapers for job vacancy sites in State-funded organisations that do not have budgets for advertising in commercial newspapers. [23787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Ireland operates a managed employment permits system maximising the benefits of economic migration and minimising the risk of disrupting Ireland’s labour market. The system is intended to act as a conduit for key skills which are required to develop enterprise in the State for the benefit of our economy, while simultaneously protecting the balance of the labour market.

Only where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and wider EEA, may an employment permit be sought by an employer to hire a non-EEA national. The Employment Permits legislation prescribes a range of criteria when considering an application for an employment permit including a Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT). The LMNT seeks to ensure that an offer of employment is first made to people already in the local and EEA labour markets before an application is made for an employment permit to employ a non-EEA national. The Employment Permits Act 2014 prescribed the criteria to which employers must adhere in order to satisfy the LMNT and includes the provision that employers must advertise in National Newspapers.

An examination of the operation of the Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT) was included in the Review of Economic Migration Policy which was published at the end of last year. The Report found there is widespread support for retention of the LMNT, however it recommended modernisation and extension of the process by broadening the range of advertising methods to reflect modern advertising tools. This will be addressed in new Employment Permit legislation which is being developed to consolidate the existing Employment Permit Acts and to implement the recommendations of the Review. A consultation with stakeholders will be undertaken as the draft legislation is being developed.

The highly skilled and ineligible occupations lists for employment permit purposes are subject to regular review to ensure the regime is aligned with prevailing labour market conditions. The twice yearly review process examines labour market conditions at occupational level and adjusts access to the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals on the basis of available evidence. In addition to public submissions, the review process involves the in-depth examination of research and data from sources such as SOLAS, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), review of relevant Reports, outputs and initiatives and input from Government Departments. Submissions received are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by DBEI.

In order to have the status of an occupation changed to make it eligible for employment permits, there would need to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages of appropriate personnel 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 an occupation from the ineligible list, based on this detailed data would need to be put forward by the lead Department for the sector in question, in this case the Department of Health, to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation for review and consideration.

Work Permits Applications

Question No. 386 answered with Question No. 376.

Ceisteanna (385)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

385. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a case (details supplied) will be reviewed to examine if flexibility can be applied to have the decision to refuse the visa reviewed. [23788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that, on 15 March 2019, this application for a General Employment Permit was refused for a number of reasons, one of which was that the occupation of Specialist in Assistive Technology and Specialised Seating/Occupation Therapist is listed on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits – employments for which an Employment Permit shall not be granted.

My officials inform me that on 8 April 2019, a request for a review of this decision was received and on 4th May 2019 the Reviewing Officer confirmed the decision to refuse the application.

As the decision to refuse this permit has already been upheld on review under Section 13 of the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended, this case cannot be re-visited. However, the position remains that as this occupation is listed on the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits, an Employment Permit cannot be granted.

Question No. 386 answered with Question No. 376.

IDA Ireland Portfolio

Ceisteanna (387)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

387. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the planning status of IDA-owned lands on the Sligo Road, Ballina, County Mayo; if it has planning permission for industrial development; the plans the IDA has for the site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24116/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

IDA Ireland owns approximately 10.6 hectares of industrial zoned land on the Sligo Road in Quignashee, Ballina. The site has been concept master planned by the Agency in order to demonstrate its potential to investors. Planning permission was previously obtained for infrastructural development, although this has since expired. The IDA continues to market the site to existing and prospective investors that may be interested in expanding or locating in County Mayo.

More generally, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the County is continuing to grow. In 2018 there was a 7.5% increase in employment by IDA client companies with 344 net new jobs added. Work is ongoing to secure further FDI gains for Mayo in 2019.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (388, 389)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

388. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the actions she has taken to date to attract companies in the automotive industry that are closing operations in the United Kingdom due to Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24269/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

389. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if IDA Ireland has approached companies in the automotive industry that are closing operations in the United Kingdom due to Brexit with a view to setting up operations here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24270/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 388 and 389 together.

IDA Ireland works closely with international clients from a range of sectors, including the automotive industry, to highlight the benefits of investing in Ireland and potentially locating here. This includes companies who are increasingly attracted to Ireland on account of Brexit.

It is also the case, of course, that many prominent international firms, including companies from the UK automotive sector, already have operations in Ireland. Increasing the scale of those operations can be as valuable to the country, if not more so, than securing new investments altogether. Pursuing a twin-track strategy – targeting both new-name investors and the expansion of existing projects – has helped produce record foreign direct investment (FDI) results in recent years and should lead to further investment and job creation in the years ahead.

The IDA’s efforts to win more FDI are helped by our continued status as an attractive destination for overseas firms. Our membership of the European Union is undoubtedly a key selling point and companies are keenly aware that locating in Ireland ensures barrier-free access to an EU market of over 500 million consumers. Ireland therefore continues to be an attractive location for overseas mobile investment, as evidenced by the 70 Brexit-related investments and over 5,000 associated jobs that have been won to date.

Disabilities Assessments

Ceisteanna (390)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

390. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) who has been waiting four years for an assessment of need in order to attend school will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

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

Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (391)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

391. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the pre- and postnatal services being offered to women in direct provision centres and emergency reception and orientation centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23869/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to a service issue, I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (392)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

392. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Health the services being offered to women in direct provision centres and emergency reception and orientation centres who have experienced miscarriages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23870/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to a service issue, I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Transport Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (393)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

393. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if he will introduce a replacement scheme for the mobility allowance for persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24182/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

With regard to the proposals for a new Health (Transport Support) Bill, the Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health and I, brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme. Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time.

I intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris on the best way to progress the Transport Scheme.

It is important to note that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners, remains in place. This scheme provides VRT and VAT relief, an exemption from road tax and a fuel grant to drivers and passengers with a disability, who qualify under the relevant criteria set out in governing regulations made by the Minister for Finance. Specifically adapted vehicles driven by persons with a disability are also exempt from payment of tolls on national roads and toll bridges. Transport Infrastructure Ireland has responsibility for this particular scheme.

There are improvements in access to a range of transport support schemes available to persons with disabilities in the State and on-going work is being carried out by Government Departments, agencies and transport providers to further improve access to public transport services. Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of public transport for people with a disability.

Health Services Funding

Ceisteanna (394, 690, 691, 692)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

394. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the level of resources provided through Departments to support the work of an organisation (details supplied). [24264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

690. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health the level of resources provided to the national safeguarding office of the HSE and for each of the community healthcare organisations' safeguarding and protection teams for the years 2015 to 2019. [24211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

691. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the need for additional resources for HSE safeguarding teams in view of the results of a recent national survey which showed that one in ten persons was aware of the abuse of a vulnerable adult in the past 12 months. [24212/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

692. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health if an organisation (details supplied) will be involved in the safeguarding policy development group established by his Department; and when it is planned to establish a group for all of Government. [24213/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 690 to 692, inclusive, together.

The safety and protection of vulnerable people is a key objective of Government and society. I have long since recognised the need for clear policy in this area, particularly with regard to the sector over which I have responsibility. This is why I sought Government approval in December 2017 to the development of an adult safeguarding policy for the health sector, together with underpinning legislation as required. This will be the first such overarching policy for the health sector. My Department's ongoing work in this area addresses the Government's Decision to approve this proposal. An overarching sectoral policy of this nature is a complex undertaking, not least because the health sectoral policy will cover the public, voluntary and private sector and will include cooperation, collaboration, information-sharing and referral arrangements between the health and social care sector and other relevant sectors.

My Department has established an inter-agency steering group to assist with the development of the health sector adult safeguarding policy. This group contains representation from relevant public sector bodies and a citizen representative. A number of representatives on the inter-agency steering group are also represent their organisations on Safeguarding Ireland (SI) - for example, five of SI's member organisations and two of its individual members overlap with the membership of the steering group.

Comprehensive stakeholder consultation, including with Safeguarding Ireland, has been and will be a feature of my Department’s development of a national health sectoral policy on adult safeguarding. A major stakeholder consultation event is planned for Autumn and a public consultation is planned in relation to a draft policy. As a key stakeholder, Safeguarding Ireland will be invited to participate in both of these consultation processes.

It is recognised that adult safeguarding is a matter for every sector, including the health and social care sector. I am not aware of specific plans that other Departments may have in relation to their sectoral responsibilities in this area, nor am I aware of any plans to establish an all of Government group. As noted, my Department's focus is on delivering a comprehensive health sector policy and, subsequently, any required legislation to underpin it.

The level of funding available to my Department and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE, including in relation to its adult safeguarding functions, will be considered as part of the normal Estimates and budgetary process and the national service planning process. As an operational matter, I am referring the PQ to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy in relation to the specific resources allocated within the HSE to its National Safeguarding Office and each of its Safeguarding and Protection Teams for the years 2015 to 2019.

I understand that funding support is provided to Safeguarding Ireland from the HSE’s allocation from the Health Vote. As an additional support, the HSE provides a secretariat service to Safeguarding Ireland. I do not have details on the support provided by other Departments or Agencies to Safeguarding Ireland, I am therefore referring the PQ to the HSE for direct reply to Deputy, as the HSE in providing secretariat support to Safeguarding Ireland can provide details in relation to the level and source of resources provided to Safeguarding Ireland.

Home Care Packages Administration

Ceisteanna (395, 396, 706, 707)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

395. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if there are insurance liability risks for recipients of home care supports if a care giver alleges he or she was injured on the property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24253/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

396. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if HSE-employed home carers and-or privately employed home carers are covered for injuries sustained while they are at the homes of their clients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24254/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

706. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if there are insurance liability risks for recipients of home care supports if a care giver alleges he or she was injured on the property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24247/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

707. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health if HSE-employed home carers and-or privately employed home carers are covered for injuries sustained while they are at the homes of their clients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24248/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 395, 396, 706 and 707 together.

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 (397)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

397. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of a procedure for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23177/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Ceisteanna (398)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

398. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the reason a medication (details supplied) is not covered by the medical card; if he will review this situation in view of the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23179/19]

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 drug schemes since 2010.

Clinical concern arose as 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 to the MMP, making a clear clinical case for the patient. Information for patients and practitioners is on the HSE MMP website at: hse.ie/yourmedicines.

The outcome of an application or an appeal for reimbursement of lidocaine patches is a matter between the MMP and the treating clinician. The Deputy will appreciate that, as Minister for Health, I cannot intervene in individual cases.

The decision to introduce a new reimbursement approval process for a particular treatment is a matter for the HSE. I fully support the objectives of the HSE Medicines Management Programme.

Nursing Staff Data

Ceisteanna (399)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

399. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health the number of whole-time equivalents of advanced nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists in psychiatry by CHO area. [23181/19]

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.