Emergency Departments Data

Ceisteanna (363)

John Curran

Ceist:

363. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if all hospital emergency departments include the monitoring of attendances as a result of alcohol and drug use in their electronic patient system. [28995/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Counselling Services Provision

Ceisteanna (364)

James Browne

Ceist:

364. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in each LHO area waiting for a counselling appointment in primary care at the end of June 2019 or the latest date available; and the number waiting zero to 12, 12 to 26, 26 to 52 and more than 52 weeks, respectively. [29012/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (365)

James Browne

Ceist:

365. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in each LHO area waiting for a child and adolescent mental health services appointment at the end of June 2019 or the latest date available; and the number waiting zero to 12, 12 to 26, 26 to 52 and more than 52 weeks, respectively. [29013/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Psychological Services Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (366)

James Browne

Ceist:

366. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in each LHO area waiting for a psychology appointment in primary care at the end of June 2019 or the latest date available; and the number waiting zero to 12, 12 to 26, 26 to 52 and more than 52 weeks, respectively. [29014/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (367)

James Browne

Ceist:

367. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of children admitted to adult mental health units between 1 January and 30 June 2019. [29015/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (368)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

368. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 135 of 20 June 2019, if he will report on the meeting between the Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People and HSE CHO managers on the delivery of home help hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29017/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Following recent media reports of cuts in the provision of home supports, I met with senior HSE management and representatives from Community Health Organisation management on 20th June. The HSE reconfirmed to me that there are no cuts to the home support service, nor is it correct to say that no new clients will be allocated home help hours for the next five months. The HSE has assured me that it will meet its service plans targets this year.

In 2019 with a budget of almost €446 million the HSE intends to provide over 18.2 million home support hours, including intensive home care packages, to over 53,000 people. The allocation of new hours will be based on client’s needs and the resources available.

Medical Card Administration

Ceisteanna (369)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

369. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if a replacement medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29051/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (370, 371)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

370. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which 1,000 acres of sitka spruce can sequestrate a specific amount of carbon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

371. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which one thousand acres of ash, oak or beech can sequestrate a specific amount of carbon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 370 and 371 together.

Carbon sequestration by forests is influenced by a range of factors including species, soil type, site conditions and management practices. Irish forests are currently estimated to sequester 3.8Mt of Co2 per year.

On average, a productive hectare of spruce forest may sequester 10 tonnes of CO2 per year over a 35 year period. This would mean 1,000 hectares of spruce would sequester 10,000 tonnes per year or at least 350,000 tonnes over its lifetime.

The rate of sequestration changes over time as a forest develops and matures. My Department has funded a number of large scale research projects which have examined carbon stocks and stock changes in Irish forests. For example, the carbon stocks in a Sitka spruce forest and an ash forest at different ages have been measured and are available in the following published journal articles:

Wellock, M.L., Rafique, R., LaPerle, C.M., Peichl, M. and Kiely, G., 2013. Changes in ecosystem carbon stocks in a grassland ash (Fraxinus excelsior) afforestation chronosequence in Ireland. Journal of Plant Ecology, 7(5), pp.429-438

Black, K., Byrne, K.A., Mencuccini, M., Tobin, B., Nieuwenhuis, M., Reidy, B., Bolger, T., Saiz, G., Green, C., Farrell, E.T. and Osborne, B., 2009. Carbon stock and stock changes across a Sitka spruce chronosequence on surface-water gley soils. Forestry, 82(3), pp.255-272

This work found that after forty-seven years, an ash forest and Sitka spruce forests had 177.8 and 376.7 tonnes of carbon per hectare respectively. However, these figures are specific to the forests and soils examined and cannot be used to reflect all forests of these species.

My Department is also funding the new forestry module on the Carbon Navigator which is being developed by Teagasc and An Bord Bia. This tool will describe indicative carbon stocks in a range of forest types.

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (372)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

372. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the calorific value of each deciduous species of tree normally found here in the context of the use of wood burning stoves in view of the fact that wood is carbon neutral; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

General information on wood energy is available through the website and advisory service www.woodenergy.ie which is funded by my Department. This website provides a broad range of information to forest owners and industry regarding the production of wood fuels in Ireland.

The calorific values of specific wood fuels have been examined in a number of projects funded by my Department and are available online as a database on the www.forestenergy.ie website. Examples of gross calorific value on a dry basis of alder, ash and birch wood are 19.4, 19.2 and 19.45 megajoules per kilogramme respectively. Information on a range of other species is also available in this database.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (373)

John Lahart

Ceist:

373. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the availability of bike parking spaces and lockers in all buildings used by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28688/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Designated bike parking spaces are made available in my Department offices subject to the location, layout and access to the building. Bike parking spaces are available at the offices of my Department shown in the table.

Bike Parking Spaces and Lockers

Agriculture House, Dublin

Backweston, Celbridge, Co Kildare

Government Offices, Portlaoise

Farnham Street, Cavan

Johnstown Castle, Wexford

Dublin Port

Dublin Airport

Government Offices, Castlebar

Regional Veterinary Office, Limerick

Clonakilty

Castletownbere Harbour

Lockers specifically for cyclists are not generally provided at Government offices.

Ministerial Transport

Ceisteanna (374)

John Lahart

Ceist:

374. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the model of the car or cars used by him in the performance of his official duties; and if it is a diesel, petrol or electric engine. [28704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The car used by me in the performance of my official duties is a Skoda Superb 2.0 diesel.

Grocery Industry Regulation

Ceisteanna (375)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

375. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps taken by his Department to ensure that recently passed legislation is fully implemented to deal with the regulations of the greyhound industry from the perspective of governance, integrity, probity and welfare of the industry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

My Department takes any allegations of breaches of animal welfare rules very seriously and will thoroughly investigate and take the necessary enforcement actions to deal with such offences.

It is worth noting that the greyhound sector has undergone a series of reforms in recent times and the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 was signed by the President on the 28th May 2019. This legislation strengthens the legal basis for the industry, with a view to fortifying the integrity of the greyhound racing sector and improving provision for greyhound traceability and welfare.

In recent days, Bord na gCon has published the first steps of their Action Plan to strengthen the traceability, re-homing and welfare standards by improved regulation, more inspections and the use of greater resources in these areas. Minister of State Andrew Doyle will be meeting with the Board of Bord na gCon this week to discuss these issues and other measures that may be required to bring about comprehensive change in the sector. In addition, I will press for the swift implementation of their action plan, with a view to identifying what further tangible measures are required to address the issues of serious public concern raised in this Programme.

Laboratory Facilities

Ceisteanna (376, 377, 378, 380)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

376. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the annual operational costs for the Dublin Regional Vet Laboratory in Backweston; the annual salary bill by grade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

377. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of carcasses submitted to the Dublin Regional Veterinary Laboratory in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28799/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

378. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of carcasses diverted each year to the Kilkenny RVL from the Dublin Regional Veterinary Laboratory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28800/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

380. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of full driving allowances which apply to staff in the Dublin Regional Veterinary Laboratory at Backweston Campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 376 to 378, inclusive, and 380 together.

As part of the strategic re-development of the Department's Laboratories, the Dublin RVL is now primarily focused on providing diagnostic and investigative services to the pig and poultry sectors, including post-mortem examination. The staff resources available for this work is a Senior Research Officer with an annual salary of €98k, a Research Officer with an annual salary of €76k and two laboratory attendants with an average annual salary of €28k each. None of these staff are in receipt of a driving allowance.

The operational cost, excluding salaries and overheads, for Pathology Division of which Dublin RVL is a component but which also includes clinical microbiology, histopathology, the TSE National Reference Laboratory, biochemistry and toxicology is approximately €500k per annum. This relates specifically to the supply of laboratory consumables, equipment maintenance and proficiency testing.

Since 2017, farmers from Dublin and surrounding counties who contact the Department seeking to book in ruminant carcases for post-mortem examination have been advised to avail of the services provided by either Kilkenny or Athlone RVLs. However, it should be noted that over that time, while Dublin RVL has focussed on providing a diagnostic service to the pig and poultry sectors, no farmers who have presented themselves at Backweston have been turned away or refused a service.

Details of the number of carcasses submitted to Dublin RVL (Backweston) from 2015 to date is provided in the table:

Year

Number of carcasses submitted at Backweston laboratories

2019 to date

246

2018

629

2017

1,072

2016

1,700

2015

1,803

Laboratory Facilities

Question No. 380 answered with Question No. 376.

Ceisteanna (379)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

379. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of the category 4 laboratory at Backweston to date; when it will be fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Amelioration works have been completed on the Department's High Containment Laboratory at Backweston Campus so that this facility now complies with the highest international standards (the Australia/New Zealand standard for level 4 laboratories). This new facility will provide my Department with a suitable space within which any exotic virus of farmed animals can be safely and effectively handled.

Therefore, Ireland will be entirely self-sufficient in respect of laboratory diagnosis in the event of an outbreak of an exotic viral disease and will no longer be reliant on our counterparts in the UK. The total cost of these amelioration works, the ancillary works that were required on a heat treatment plant and the associated consultancy fees was €7.5 million. Commissioning of the new laboratory has commenced.

In tandem with this, the High Containment Laboratory team is in the process of moving all of its exotic disease diagnostics operations into the new laboratory on a phased basis. This will ensure continuity of service and is in line with best international practice in bio-containment of the high risk agents involved (all of which are exotic to Ireland). Commissioning and relocation will be completed over the next few months.

Question No. 380 answered with Question No. 376.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (381)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

381. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the actions he plans to take following the recent revelations of animal cruelty in a programme (details supplied) into the greyhound industry. [28825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

My Department takes any allegations of breaches of animal welfare rules very seriously and will thoroughly investigate and take the necessary enforcement actions to deal with such offences.

It is worth noting that the greyhound sector has undergone a series of reforms in recent times and the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 was signed by the President on the 28th May 2019. This legislation strengthens the legal basis for the industry, with a view to fortifying the integrity of the greyhound racing sector and improving provision for greyhound traceability and welfare.

In recent days, Bord na gCon has published the first steps of their Action Plan to strengthen the traceability, re-homing and welfare standards by improved regulation, more inspections and the use of greater resources in these areas. Minister of State Andrew Doyle will be meeting with the Board of Bord na gCon this week to discuss these issues and other measures that may be required to bring about comprehensive change in the sector. In addition, I will press for the swift implementation of their action plan, with a view to identifying what further tangible measures are required to address the issues of serious public concern raised in this Programme.

Farm Data

Ceisteanna (382)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

382. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to help the forgotten farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve include an optional provision whereby Member States may use the National Reserve to allocate new entitlements or give a top-up on the value of existing entitlements for persons who suffer from a specific disadvantage.

In the context of the discussions with the EU Commission in early 2015 regarding the inclusion of the group referred to as Old Young Farmers under the 2015 National Reserve, the Commission advised that the inclusion of groups under ‘Specific Disadvantage’ category of the National Reserve would require individual approval at EU level.

The National Reserve in 2017 was established using funding derived from a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ entitlements. EU Regulations pertaining to the National Reserve provide that the two categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ must receive priority access to the Reserve. In the context of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, Ireland consulted with the EU Commission regarding the possibility of including the Forgotten Farmer group under the specific disadvantage category of the 2017 National Reserve. The EU Commission confirmed that Member States could not use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund a specific disadvantage category of the National Reserve.

The Commission confirmed at the time that the only funding option for the specific disadvantage category was natural replenishment of the Reserve, such as from unused entitlements or the proceeds of clawback, but only after the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ had been catered for.

EU Regulation 2393/2017 (Omnibus Regulation) came into effect in January 2018 and introduced a new possibility for the inclusion of ‘Specific Disadvantage’ categories such as Forgotten Farmers into the National Reserve. From 2018, Member States may use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund ‘Specific Disadvantage’ categories of the Reserve, but only if a linear cut is required to fund the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ in that particular year. As there was sufficient funding available in the National Reserve in 2018 and 2019 from natural replenishment of the fund in order to cater for the two priority categories, the issue of a linear cut did not arise.

Decisions in relation to the National Reserve, including the basis of funding the Reserve, are made in consultation with the Direct Payments Advisory Committee which comprises members of the main farming organisations, farm advisory and education services.