Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (105)

James Lawless

Ceist:

105. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Education and Skills the initiatives or grants available for local organisations and groups to assist local schools in the promotion of sports and active lifestyle courses for students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49176/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

While my Department is active in the area of promotion of health and wellbeing in schools, it does not offer initiatives or grants to local organisations and groups to assist local schools in the promotion of sports and active lifestyles courses for students.

You may wish to address your query to the Department of Transport Tourism & Sport.

Teaching Qualifications

Ceisteanna (106)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

106. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the acceptable requirements to receive approval for time served teaching outside the European Union in respect of teachers who have taught outside the European Union; and the reason time served teaching at overseas private primary schools is recognised and time served teaching at secondary schools is not. [49254/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The criteria for the award of incremental credit to recognised teachers was agreed under the auspices of the Teachers Conciliation Council (TCC). This Council is comprised of representatives of teachers, school management, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Department of Education and Skills and is chaired by an official of the Workplace Relations Commission.

The criteria for the award of incremental credit is laid out in my Department’s Circulars, 10/2001 for Primary teachers and 29/2007 & 29/2010 for Post-Primary teachers.

Schools Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (107)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

107. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 164 of 12 November 2019, if a contractor has now been appointed; if the HSA has signed off on a schedule of works, method statement and timeline for the works to be completed at a school (details supplied). [49256/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that approval has been granted to appoint a new specialist to enable the preparatory work necessary to proceed with the repair works. All the relevant stakeholders are working together to agree on a date for the works to resume. This can be expected to occur in a timely manner while remaining cognisant of the circumstances previously outlined to the Deputy.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (108)

James Lawless

Ceist:

108. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 153 of 19 November 2019, if a copy of the letter outlining points raised at the meeting including the importance of a balanced research system will be provided. [49271/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will appreciate that the letter comprises part of the ongoing consideration of and engagement on the draft strategy.  On that basis while this process of deliberation on the draft strategy continues and pending the finalisation of the strategy and its approval by Government publication would not be appropriate.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (109)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

109. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by his Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My department does not employ agency staff.  Where we have a requirement for temporary clerical support we have Temporary Clerical Officers assigned from the Public Appointments Service.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (110)

James Browne

Ceist:

110. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a grant application by a school (details supplied); if there is a separate grant scheme for such works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49312/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can inform the Deputy that the school to which he refers has been advised of the position which is that the items in question are not covered under the Furniture and Equipment Grant Scheme. The school was further advised that the Minor Works Grant would normally be used to purchase such items.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (111)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

111. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reduce the pay gap between teachers recruited pre- and post-2011; the timeframe for achieving pay parity for teachers recruited pre- and post -2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49314/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. The starting salary for a new entrant teacher in 2012 was €30,702. As a result of the programme of pay restoration, the starting salary of a teacher is now €36,953 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €37,692.

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the cost of and a plan in dealing with pay equalisation for new entrants to the public service.”

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjustment to new entrants recruited since 2011. The total cost of such an adjustment across the public sector is of the order of €200 million, of which Education accounts for €83 million. The report also acknowledges that, during the financial crisis, there were policy changes which affected remuneration in different occupations across the public sector (including education).

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants.

On 24 September 2018, an agreement was reached between the Government and the public services committee of ICTU in respect of new entrant pay.

This agreement will benefit 16,000 teachers and nearly 5,000 SNAs within the education sector. The deal provides for a series of incremental jumps for new entrants.

I am fully aware that the teacher unions have outstanding issues of concern following the September 2018 agreement. These outstanding matters will be given full consideration. This will happen either in the context of any pay review mechanism agreed by the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement, or in the context of the next round of pay talks. The positions of each of the parties on these matters must be given due regard in endeavouring to reach a mutually agreed resolution.

The current series of restorative measures for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such engagement can bring.

Literacy Programmes

Ceisteanna (112)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

112. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has forecast the funding amount, the numbers of beneficiaries and type and amount of provision to achieve the NSS targets in view of the declining number of beneficiaries of adult literacy provision in ETBs. [49316/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department prioritises supporting literacy acquisition both in childhood and throughout adult life.  Good literacy skills equip citizens to participate in education, in work and in society.  Children in Ireland, on the whole, perform very well in international surveys of literacy.  However, the situation for the adult population is somewhat less positive, but there has been improvement in this area. In 2014, 14.6% of the working-age population had an education attainment of less than lower secondary. By the end of 2018 this figure had decreased to 11.8%.  The target for end 2020 in the National Skills Strategy is 7% and despite the steady improvement in the figures it is unlikely to be achieved.

Over €800m is invested annually in the further education and training (FET) sector, and literacy and numeracy is a key component of all FET programmes. Within the overall investment in FET, some €35 million is spent annually on dedicated adult literacy programmes.  Dedicated adult literacy programmes are part time and mostly accredited at levels 1 to 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications.  While growing participation in these programmes should enable pathways into the higher level accredited provision required to contribute the achievement of the National Skills Strategy target, it will not in itself deliver the required outcome.  It should also be noted that there has been no decline in the numbers of beneficiaries of adult literacy provision.  There has been an increase of over 4,000 beneficiaries taking part in adult literacy programmes, from 60,800 in 2018 to 65,000 in 2019.  

The delivery and enhancement of adult literacy and numeracy provision is being driven through the implementation of the Further Education and Training (FET) Literacy and Numeracy Strategy which is contained in the FET Strategy 2014-19. My Department, along with SOLAS, the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and partner agencies are collaborating on the ongoing development and enhancement of the structures required to progress its implementation. The strategy sets out 12 inter- related elements which aim to promote, develop and encourage literacy and numeracy skills in the adult population.  

As well as dedicated literacy programmes, there is also a focus on supporting integrated literacy and numeracy on all FET programmes. Transversal skills, such as literacy and numeracy, form part of the QQI award standards in the FET sector.  As the intergenerational benefit of Family Learning offers significant impacts to both the adult learner and the child, Good Practice Guidelines Family Literacy in ETBs have been developed over the last year and will roll out in 2020.

Building on the substantial level of adult literacy and numeracy education already delivered in the FET sector, my Department has focused increasingly in recent years on the needs of vulnerable people in employment.  Initiatives such as Skills to Advance and the EXPLORE programme offer targeted support for employees in lower skilled jobs who need to adapt to a changing work environment. These initiatives are also a significant part of the Department of Education and Skills’ national efforts to implement the European Commission's Upskilling Pathways Recommendation: New Opportunities for Adults, which aims to help adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and gain accreditation at levels that will contribute to delivering on the National Skills Strategy targets.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (113)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

113. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an application for funding by a school (details supplied) to undertake electrical upgrading works will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49320/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy may be aware of my announcement of, 25th November 2019, of a €30 million package for 405 schools around the country to carry out specialist improvement works under the Summer Works Scheme 2020 onwards (SWS).

In this regard, I am pleased to advise the Deputy that funding, for the school in question, has been approved for 'Life Safety Systems'.

A full list of the successful schools is available online at www.education.ie 

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (114)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the proposed new post-primary school at Enfield, County Kildare; the manner in which it is expected to interact with other schools within the catchment area; if Johnstownbridge and Kilshanroe, County Kildare, will be included in the catchment area; the extent to which patronage has been determined; if parents in Johnstownbridge or Kilshanroe have an entitlement to vote in the determination of patronage; when the school will be open for students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49350/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level. 

The school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required in that school planning area.  For school planning purposes Johnstown Bridge is located in the Longwood school planning area and Kilshanroe is located in the Edenderry school planning area.

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 500 pupil post-primary school for Enfield (Kilcock school planning area) to be established in 2020.

New schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required, in the first instance, to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve.  This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the school planning area where they have sufficient places, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to parents and guardians which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. 

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG will submit a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

The Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) closed for parental preferences on the 4th October 2019 for the six post-primary schools to be established in 2020, including the school referred to by the Deputy. It is anticipated that the successful patrons will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The school will open in September 2020 in suitable interim accommodation pending delivery of its permanent building.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (115)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

115. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the full extent of upgrades to facilities at a school (details supplied); the stage of the process; the timescale for conclusion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49351/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application for additional school accommodation from the school authority in question.  The application is currently being assessed and the school will be informed of the decision shortly.

School Transport Appeals

Ceisteanna (116)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

116. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a series of queries (details supplied) submitted by email in September 2019 will receive a response. [49372/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. 

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.  

The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

The School Transport Appeals Board, which is independent of my Department, determines appeals against decisions made by, or on behalf of, the Department of Education and Skills regarding the provision of school transport services and/or grant-aid under the terms of the School Transport Schemes. 

An appeal has been lodged with the School Transport Appeals Board in relation to the children referred to by the Deputy. The Board will consider this appeal at its next meeting on 19th December 2019.

Money Laundering

Ceisteanna (117)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

117. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated amount criminally laundered here in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49287/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have consulted with An Garda Síochána in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy.

I am informed that it is not possible to provide the information requested. 

Detected incidents of money laundering are recorded in various ways by An Garda Síochána.  I have been advised by the Garda authorities that to examine all detected incidents associated with money laundering, with view to compiling an estimated figure as requested by the Deputy, would be highly onerous and would represent an unjustifiable use of Garda time and resources. Given this, I am not in a position to provide the information requested by the Deputy.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (118)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

118. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda vehicles attached to each district in County Wicklow as of 20 November 2019; the year, make and model of the vehicles; the equivalent figures as of 1 January 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49173/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion and this is due to increase further to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020.  The capital budget for An Garda Síochána has also been significantly increased - a total of €92 million was provided this year, representing a 50% increase on capital investment in 2018. And capital investment will increase further to €116.5 million in 2020.

I can confirm that an overall investment of €46 million has been agreed by Government between 2016 and 2021.  €10 million was made available for the Garda fleet this year.  A further €9million will be provided next  year as part of an overall investment of €46 million in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021.

It is important to be clear that under Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána. He is responsible for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources, in light of operational demands.  This includes responsibility for allocation of Garda vehicles.  As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review, to ensure their optimum use. 

The Deputy will appreciate that the size of the Garda fleet can fluctuate somewhat, as vehicles are added to and removed from the fleet. 

I am further informed that the fleet in the Wicklow Division on 1 January 2019 included 61 vehicles.  On 22 November it was 60.  A breakdown of these vehicles for the Wicklow Division, as conveyed to me by the Garda authorities, is set out in the following tables.

Wicklow Division as of 1 January 2019

District

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4X4

Other

Baltinglass

10

3

0

1

0

Bray

19

4

1

1

1

Wicklow

13

4

0

3

1

Total

42

11

1

5

2

Wicklow Division as of 22 November 2019

District

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4X4

Other

Baltinglass

10

3

0

1

0

Bray

19

4

1

1

0

Wicklow

12

4

0

4

1

Total

41

11

1

6

1

I am informed that the current tender for the purchase of Garda vehicles through the Office of Government Procurement is for Hyundai, BMW and Ford vehicles.

I understand that this year's funding is being used for the purchase and fit-out of over 300 vehicles, of which 289 vehicles have been allocated to date. I understand that orders have been placed for a further 59 vehicles which will be allocated before the end of this year or in Quarter 1 2020.  As a result, the Garda authorities consider that it is likely that the Garda fleet will be slightly larger at the end of the year compared to the total number of vehicles at the beginning of the year.

Further, my intention is that a further €1 million funding for the fleet will be included in additional funding to be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of the year.

I am assured that the allocation of Garda vehicles is made on the basis of identified operational demands and that the allocation of Garda vehicles is monitored and reviewed on a continual basis.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that the Garda authorities are developing a Fleet Strategy, which I expect to set out detail on matters including, for example, the optimum size and composition of the fleet.  I expect that the new Governance function in my Department will engage with An Garda Síochána, in that regard, as the process continues.

Refugee Status Applications

Ceisteanna (119)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

119. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 140 of 13 November 2019, when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision on the person's refugee status application following the recommendation of IPAT in November 2018 that the person be declared a refugee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49216/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, for reasons of maintaining full confidentiality, it is not my Department's practice to comment on whether an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State.  

An applicant for such protection status, or their legal representative, should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

The IPO may be contacted: by email to info@ipo.gov.ie; by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal may be contacted either: by email to info@protectionappeals.ie; by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

An applicant for international protection is awarded international protection, whether refugee status or subsidiary protection status, upon a declaration of status being issued from my Department. This is done on foot of a grant recommendation from the International Protection Office (IPO) or a decision of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) to set aside a refusal recommendation of the IPO. My Department processes the recommendations received from the IPO and the decisions of the IPAT in chronological order based on the date the file is received in that Unit. Once the necessary due diligence has been carried out by officials in my Department, a declaration of status will issue as soon as possible.

The Ministerial Decisions Unit of my Department may be contacted by email - mduinfo@justice.ie  

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the parliamentary questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (120)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

120. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if correspondence sent to him by this Deputy (details supplied) has been received; if so, when a response will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49231/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can confirm that the correspondence referred to by the Deputy was received in my Department on 17 October 2019.

As the correspondence in question relates to a legal action, I understand that the Office of the Chief State Solicitor will respond directly on the matter. 

The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (121)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

121. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a reply will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49236/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I understand that the Deputy's question relates to correspondence received by my Department in October 2019.

I can confirm to the Deputy that a response will issue shortly in that regard.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (122)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

122. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by his Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It will not be possible to provide the information requested by the Deputy within the time allowed. I will write to the Deputy when it has been collated.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (123)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

123. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of agency staff hired and-or engaged by her Department in the past five years to date; the cost per year of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49290/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Staffing resources are an ongoing priority to ensure my Department’s continued ability to facilitate the wide mission and volume of work in a range of challenging policy areas. This will continue with ongoing day-to-day review of the appropriate staffing mix across my Department in response to known and probable priority areas.

My Department liaises directly with the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and Top-Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) in relation to the filling of posts.

However, where there is a requirement for particular critical skills that are not available at a point in time, or when a particular service is required for a short period of time, my Department will use the services of an Employment Agency to acquire the required skills.     

In the past 5 years, 2 of the Offices of my Department have required the need of legal support in terms of both legal researcher and legal secretarial services. Further details are set out in the following table.    

Year

No. of staff

Cost

2015

1

€56,376

2016

1

€40,077

2017

0

Nil

2018

1

€2,990

2019 to date

2

€27,383

My Department, as part of the workforce planning process, is constantly reviewing the resource and skills demands across the Department and its Offices and the Human Resources Unit of my Department is currently exploring other mechanisms to meet the increasing demands for legal support.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (124)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

124. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the estimated cost in each remaining year to complete the pay restoration process for section 39 health and disability type organisations by pay costs and associated pension costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49277/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (125)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

125. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health when a reassessment will be carried out on a medical card application for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49161/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (126)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

126. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49170/19]

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.

Home Help Service Data

Ceisteanna (127)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

127. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Health the number of persons in County Wicklow awaiting home help hours to be approved, allocated or increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49177/19]

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.

Medical Card Drugs Availability

Ceisteanna (128)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

128. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if EpiPens are covered under the medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49178/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the pricing and reimbursement of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services Expenditure

Ceisteanna (129)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

129. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Health if there was a funding underspend from 2019 in the mental health services for CHO areas 6 and 7; if so, the amount; the location in which this funding was provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49179/19]

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.