Health and Safety Inspections

Ceisteanna (226)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

226. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the average timeframe for inspection under HSA regulations; and if the delay in filling key posts is having an effect on same. [53669/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Health and Safety Authority was established in 1989 under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989.  Among the core elements of the Authority’s mandate is the regulation and promotion of the safety, health and welfare of people at work and those affected by work activities.  

In any given year, the Authority completes a programme of targeted inspections which may be proactive or driven by specific inspection campaigns.  It also conducts investigations which arise from accidents reported and complaints received.  

The time taken to undertake an inspection is not prescribed by statute and is dependent on the unique circumstances at the place of work under inspection and the issues identified by the inspector. As each inspection and investigation concerns a unique set of inter-connected factors it is therefore not possible to provide an average timeframe.  

The Authority currently employs 180 staff, which equates to 172.3 whole time equivalent staff. In addition, the Authority is carrying a number of vacancies in sanctioned posts which include inspectorate posts, administrative posts and accreditation officer posts. The Authority has experienced some delays in 2019 in filling sanctioned posts due to a competitive recruitment market. The Authority is, however, continuing to meet the main objectives of its annual Programme of Work.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (227)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

227. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she has met with an association (details supplied) since 2016; if such meetings were requested; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

To date I have had no meeting with the organisation referred to. While I did receive a request for a meeting, due to a heavy schedule of engagements it was not possible to facilitate the request which was subsequently referred to my colleague Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection for consideration. Minister Breen met with the association in question on 24 January, 2019 at the association's request. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to the association's concerns about their role in current consumer issues.

From time to time officials from my Department meet with the organisation concerned to discuss developments in consumer policy issues. Communication takes place in several ways including by telephone and by way of both formal and informal meetings.

IDA Ireland Supports

Ceisteanna (228)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

228. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if sanction will be provided to the IDA to deliver an advanced manufacturing facility at IDA grounds in Marlinstown, Mullingar. [53682/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is no enterprise priority more important to me than strengthening regional development, including through the growth of foreign direct investment (FDI). My Department and I are doing everything we can to increase and deepen FDI across the country. The energy and resources we have invested into that objective is, as the evidence illustrates, producing results.

In 2018, for example, the IDA delivered 113 regional investments with 56% of net new jobs created outside Dublin. The last four years have seen 44,500 new FDI-driven jobs created outside the capital. We will do our utmost to encourage further such job growth across all parts of Ireland in 2020 and beyond.

The site that the Deputy is referring to is the IDA Ireland Business and Technology (B&T) Park which is located in Ardmore, Mullingar. The park comprises 27 hectares with 22.5 hectares available for investment. The site is fully zoned and serviced and there is currently one IDA client located there, namely Patterson Pumps. The IDA continues to actively market this B&T Park through its network of offices in Ireland and overseas.

The IDA currently does not have plans to construct any new facilities at this B&T Park in Mullingar. However, the Agency keeps its property programme under continual review and will continue to do so into 2020.

More broadly, the FDI trend in Westmeath is positive. There are currently 21 IDA client companies located in the County, employing 3,466 people. Three of these companies are located in Mullingar, employing approximately 150 people. The wider County has seen an almost 17% increase in FDI employment from 2017 to 2018 and the IDA actively engages with its client base to support them in growing their business and footprint further.

Project Ireland 2040 Expenditure

Ceisteanna (229)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

229. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the annual profile of expenditure of the Project Ireland 2040 disruptive technology fund from 2018 to its closure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53730/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040, which extends from 2018 to 2027. The DTIF also forms a key part of Future Jobs Ireland and supports in particular the delivery of Pillar 1, embracing innovation and technological change. It is available for collaborative projects seeking investment in the development and deployment of disruptive innovative technologies and applications, on a commercial basis, targeted at tackling national and global challenges.

While the fund was launched in 2018, the successful projects under Call 1 were announced in December of that year with payments due to fall in 2019 and subsequent years. Accordingly, the Government committed an initial tranche of €180m over the first four years, with funding to be allocated each year from 2019 to 2022, as follows:

Year

DTIF

2019

€20m

2020

€30m

2021

€40m

2022

€90m

As each project funded is a multi-year project of up to 3 years, the capital allocated to projects to date is reflective of this. A total of €140m has been allocated to 43 projects under Call 1 (27 projects with a commitment of €75 million) and Call 2 (16 projects with a commitment of €65 million).

The DTIF allocations for the years 2023 to 2027 have yet to be determined.

Research Funding

Ceisteanna (230)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

230. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason fundamental research is not allowed under the disruptive technology fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53733/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a €500 million fund established as one of the National Development Plan (NDP) priority initiatives under Project Ireland 2040, which will run from 2018 to 2027. The Fund forms a key part in the delivery of the Pillar 1 goal of Future Jobs Ireland to embrace innovation and technological change.

In establishing this Fund under the National Development Plan, the Government wanted a competitive and challenge-based programme that would see investment in the research, development and deployment of disruptive technologies and applications on a commercial basis and drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry as well as facilitating enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development of these technologies.  

In developing the Fund, my Department consulted with the enterprise and research communities both at home and abroad with a view to identifying the most appropriate type of scheme to introduce. Arising out of these consultations, the DTIF was established to optimise collaboration between our excellent enterprise and research communities in complement to existing development and innovation funding supports. By focusing on industrial rather than fundamental research, it ensures that projects can be developed closer to commercial application within a shorter time period than would be possible with a fundamental research project. It also meant that SME partners could be integral participants. With this Fund, SMEs are enabled to collaborate with other enterprises including multinationals and the research community on their innovative solutions to global challenges, helping to create the jobs of the future and deliver real economic impact for Ireland.  

The DTIF is complemented by a range of other programmes under agencies of my Department and other Departments that support basic/fundamental research, and in the case of Science Foundation Ireland, oriented basic research.

Departmental Advertising Data

Ceisteanna (231)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

231. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The following table provides details of expenditure incurred by my Department and its Offices on Brexit advertising over the period 2018 to date.

2018

Type of Advertising

Amount Spent

Campaign/Project Name

Leaflet (Design and Print)

1,324

Summary of Brexit Supports available to Retail Businesses

Leaflet – Additional copies (print)

209

Summary of Brexit Supports available to Retail Businesses

Print and Delivery

610

6,000 Getting Ireland Brexit Ready Guides

Print and Delivery

330

3,000 Getting Ireland Brexit Ready Guides

Design and Print

861

Brexit Preparedness leaflets for the National Ploughing Championships

Total Expenditure incurred in 2018

3,334

2019

Radio Advertising

21,914

Brexit Advertising Campaign

National and Regional Newspaper Advertising

69,793

Brexit Advertising Campaign

Newspaper Advertising

1,469

Brexit Preparedness Advertising Campaign

Newspaper Advertising

260

Brexit Preparedness Advertising Campaign

Digital Advertisement

185

Brexit Preparedness

Advertising (New Brexit Times and Digital Ads)

Total Expenditure incurred in 2019

93,621

Skills Shortages

Ceisteanna (232)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

232. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the quota on employee permits for chefs will be extended in view of the shortages and in further view of the fact the quota for same has been reached; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the State and other EEA states. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.

Ireland operates a managed employment permit system through occupation lists, namley the critical skills and ineligible occuaptions lists, which are reviewed twice yearly. This is an evidence based process that takes account of labour market conditions and submisison from sectors and other stakeholders together with contextual factors. The purpose is to maximise the benefits of economic migration while minimising the risk of disrupting the Irish labour market.

Since March 2018, all chef grades with experience, with the exception of commis chefs, have been eligible for an employment permit, today I have removed the commis chef grade, with two years’ experience, from the ineligible list, thereby extending eligibility for all chefs grades to the system.

Chefs account for the highest number of vacancies in the hospitality sector and the shortage of commis chefs is feeding into shortages at higher and specialist levels, this announcement today will ensure that the capacity gap in filled in the short-term through the employment permit system.

Taking into account the pressures on the sector, I have decided that the occupation of chef will no longer be subject to a quota, previously there was a quota of 610. This change will be kept under regular review to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the labour market opportunities for those in the industry within Ireland and across the EEA and those exiting training programmes seeking employment in the sector.

In addition, the current cap of two permits per establishment is no longer applicable.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (233)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

233. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025 and its goals. [53757/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025 was launched on the 19th June 2019.  The strategy aims to support the development of an economically sustainable and expanding space active industry in Ireland.  

In order to achieve the vision, the strategy sets out six goals, as follows:

Double the space related revenue and employment in space-active Irish companies;

Support 100 companies to benefit from ESA engagement;

Double the value of contracts won through the EU Horizon programmes in space related activities;

Increase industry, public and international awareness of space and Ireland’s activities in space;

Develop and attract talent for space-active and related industries; and

Develop a sustainable Earth Observation services sector based on advanced data analytics capability.  

The strategy is currently in the implementation phase and activities that have taken place thus far include:

- In November 2019, at the triennial European Space Agency (ESA) Ministerial Council meeting, the Government committed to an investment of over €100m into ESA programmes for the period 2020 to 2024.  This investment into ESA is a significant increase when compared to the previous Ministerial meeting which took place in 2016, and it is anticipated that Ireland's investment will be leveraged further in the coming years through industry co-funding. 

- Ireland’s investment decisions at the Ministerial meeting were guided by the National Space Strategy for Enterprise and a focus was placed on programmes which will enable Irish companies to become actively engaged in technology transfer, which will support long-term quality employment and sustainable business by providing leading-edge solutions for both the space and complementary markets. The Government's investment will contribute towards the achievement of Goal 1 and Goal 2.

- In December 2019, the Government made a supplementary contribution of €5 million to ESA to fund ongoing industrial contracts between ESA and Irish companies to develop innovative technologies and services for the space market, in areas including Earth Observation, Launchers, Technology Support and Telecommunications. This supplementary investment will enable the Government's 2020 Exchequer allocation for ESA to fund new industrial activities between ESA and Irish companies, supporting the aims of the strategy to expand an economically sustainable space-active industry in Ireland.  

- As of December 2019, there are 70 companies engaged with ESA and the strategy is on track to achieve Goal 2 by 2025. 

- To support the achievement of Goal 4 and Goal 5, the Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, Mr. John Halligan T.D. and my Department engaged with, and promoted National Space Week in collaboration with Blackrock Castle Observatory.

- A space industry day, where Irish companies engaged with ESA and three space prime companies, was hosted by Enterprise Ireland on 10 October 2019. Further activities are currently under development, in order to support the achievement of Goal 6.

- The Department is currently making preparations to establish the Space Enterprise Coordination Group.  This interdepartmental group will oversee the strategy and raise awareness across Government of the benefits and opportunities presented by space.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (234)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

234. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps taken to increase the speed at which work permits are being issued by sector in tabular form; and the number of outstanding work permits at the end of each month in 2019 that remain to be processed. [53773/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the economy improves and we approach full employment, my Department continues to experience a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications. The current level of demand is due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

Employment Permits Section is working to further reduce the current waiting times of approximately:

3-4 weeks for Trusted Partners, which account for 76% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 7 weeks). Trusted Partners are regular users of the service.

10 weeks for standard applications, which account for 24% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 16 weeks).

In order to further reduce processing times, the Employment Permits section has introduced a number of operational changes, streamlined processes and implemented ICT solutions. Additional staffing resources have also been assigned to the section and a fast track training programme has been devised.

These processing timelines are good by international standards but they are not where we want them to be. I can assure the Deputy that all available resources are being deployed with the aim of reducing them. Whilst there is still room for improvement in relation to reducing processing times for standard applications, it should be noted that, overall, 76% of all employment permit applications are currently being processed in approximately 3-4 weeks.

The number of applications being received by my Department is currently at an 11-year high. At end November 2019, 17,216 applications have been received, an 11% increase on the same time last year. At the same time there has been a 24% increase in the amount of applications processed (17,535) compared to the same period last year. In July 2019, Employment Permits Section processed more employment permit applications (1,828) than during any month in the past 11 years. Quarter 3 of 2019 was the busiest Quarter in the last 11 years with 5,072 permit applications being processed so the changes currently being implemented within Employment Permits are resulting in higher outputs and reduced processing times.

An independent Business Process Review (BPR) has been carried out to identify further efficiencies that can be implemented in the short term and as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system during 2020 which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. The Review, which included engagement from key stakeholders, has just been completed with the final report expected in the coming days. It is anticipated that the implementation of the recommendations of the Review, including the implementation of a new IT processing system, will result in further streamlined processes and reduced processing times.

My officials have been proactively engaging with customers to notify them of current processing timelines through email, meetings and regular updates on the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website.

Applicants are advised to apply for the employment permit at least 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date so that any impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes is minimised.

All permit applications are processed in chronological order and not by sector.

Details requested by the Deputy in respect of the number of outstanding employment permits that remain to be processed at the end of each month in 2019 are set out in the following table.

PQ 53773

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (235)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

235. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken to increase the speed at which work permits are issued. [53774/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the economy improves and we approach full employment, my Department continues to experience a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications. The current level of demand is due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

Employment Permits Section is working to further reduce the current waiting times of approximately:

- 3-4 weeks for Trusted Partners, which account for 76% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 7 weeks). Trusted Partners are regular users of the service.

- 10 weeks for standard applications, which account for 24% of permits issued this year (down from a peak of 16 weeks).

In order to further reduce processing times, the Employment Permits section has introduced a number of operational changes, streamlined processes and implemented ICT solutions. Additional staffing resources have also been assigned to the section and a fast track training programme has been devised.

These processing timelines are good by international standards but they are not where we want them to be. I can assure the Deputy that all available resources are being deployed with the aim of reducing them. Whilst there is still room for improvement in relation to reducing processing times for standard applications, it should be noted that, overall, 76% of all employment permit applications are currently being processed in approximately 3-4 weeks.

The number of applications being received by my Department is currently at an 11-year high. At end November 2019, 17,216 applications have been received, an 11% increase on the same time last year. At the same time there has been a 24% increase in the amount of applications processed (17,535) compared to the same period last year. In July 2019, Employment Permits Section processed more employment permit applications (1,828) than during any month in the past 11 years. Quarter 3 of 2019 was the busiest Quarter in the last 11 years with 5,072 permit applications being processed so the changes currently being implemented within Employment Permits are resulting in higher outputs and reduced processing times.

An independent Business Process Review (BPR) has been carried out to identify further efficiencies that can be implemented in the short term and as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system during 2020 which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. The Review, which included engagement from key stakeholders, has just been completed with the final report expected in the coming days. It is anticipated that the implementation of the recommendations of the Review, including the implementation of a new IT processing system, will result in further streamlined processes and reduced processing times.

My officials have been proactively engaging with customers to notify them of current processing timelines through email, meetings and regular updates on the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website.

Applicants are advised to apply for the employment permit at least 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date so that any impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes is minimised.

Personal Injury Claims

Ceisteanna (236)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

236. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the personal injuries payouts will be published for properties under the ownership of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Department does not own any property.

Accommodation for my Department and its Offices is provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in buildings which are either State owned or leased by the OPW on our behalf. Typically, the Department and its Offices are in shared accommodation, either with other Departments, public bodies or the private sector. The current staffing cohort of the Department and its Offices totals 925 staff in 11 locations across the country.

The Department works closely with OPW colleagues to ensure the provision of appropriate, fit-for-purpose accommodation that complies with health and safety legislation for our staff, external contractors and visitors to our buildings including members of the public.

My Department has a dedicated Health and Safety Unit, with designated responsibility at Principal Officer level. The unit’s role is to provide advice to all staff on matters relating to health and safety at work, undertake frequent audits of our occupied buildings and to advise senior management on or take any precautionary action(s) it deems fit in order to minimise the likelihood of accidents on our premises. In any organisation of such a scale which also interacts with the public, there will invariably be periodic slips, trips, falls and other accidents on or in the environs of our occupied premises. Such accidents may result in personal injury claims being taken.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is the State body which provides asset and liability management services to Government. The NTMA is designated as the State Claims Agency when performing the claims management, risk management and legal cost management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2000 and the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014.

Therefore, all management of alleged injury claims are a matter for the State Claims Agency. My Department’s role in the handling of cases is to provide information as requested by the State Claims Agency in cases of alleged accidents on Departmental occupied premises. Such cases typically take several years to run their course, particularly where contested through the courts. There are six cases ongoing which are of relevance to my Department.

Where cases are settled in favour of the plaintiff the State Claims Agency bears the initial costs involved and then recoups from the relevant Department. The recoupments made by the Department to the State Claims Agency the over the period 2016 to date are set out in the following table.   

Year  

Recouped to State Claims Agency   

2016

Nil

2017

Nil

2018

€159,785

To date in 2019

€52,101

Local Enterprise Offices

Ceisteanna (237)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

237. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the additional resources which will be provided to local enterprise offices in view of the recent OECD report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53804/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

A key objective for me as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and for this Government as part of our Future Jobs Ireland Initiative is to nurture entrepreneurship and support our businesses and workers to prepare now for tomorrow’s world. Our small and medium enterprises are the largest employers in the economy, with 70 per cent of our workers are employed by an SME, which highlights the crucial importance of Ireland’s indigenous businesses to stability and growth in every region. That is why I commissioned the OECD to undertake this detailed review into Ireland’s SME and entrepreneurship policies in March 2018.

My Department will draft a single national strategic document for SME and entrepreneurship policy outlining all planned policy interventions in this field in the medium term. It will include information drawn from the range of existing national policy statements referencing SMEs and entrepreneurship as well as other Department and Agency plans.

The strategy will set out the policy vision, objectives, targets, lines of action and performance indicators specific to SMEs and entrepreneurship. It will cover all areas of policy intervention and all SME and entrepreneurship populations.

The OECD’s recommendations will be considered in the formulation of a new government strategy on SMEs and Entrepreneurship. I have established a new SME and Entrepreneurship Consultation Group of key stakeholders, with my colleague Minister Breen as chair, to consider the review and areas for action, this consultation is ongoing, and I will announce an ambitious new national SME and Entrepreneurship strategy in due course.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (238)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

238. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital expenditure by her Department in County Louth and east County Meath by location and facility provided or commenced in each of the past four years; the location and purpose of each such expenditure; the new and improved services provided as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53837/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

In the time available, it has not been possible to provide the requested information. I have asked the state agencies under the remit of my Department to provide the details requested and I will respond in full to the Deputy as soon as the information is collated.

Regional Development

Ceisteanna (239)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

239. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of visits arranged by job creation agencies, the IDA, and Enterprise Ireland to counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare and Wicklow by location of town, for example, Drogheda and Dundalk and so on in each of the past three years; the outcome of such visits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development remains a key priority for myself and my Department. We understand the importance of achieving the best possible spread of employment and investment across the country and my Department and its Agencies have been working hard towards that goal. That will remain the case in 2020 and beyond.

It is therefore very positive that significant progress has already been made towards that objective. For example, 58% of all IDA client-supported employment is now situated outside Dublin. This figure represents the highest level of regional employment in the history of the Agency and reflects the significant energy and resources invested into supporting regional development. We will be seeking to increase that number again in 2020.

Data on IDA Ireland site visits is collated on a county by county basis. Information on site visits to specific locations - including individual towns - is therefore unavailable. For commercial sensitivity reasons, the IDA does not provide information on the outcome of individual site visits. Enterprise Ireland does conduct host site visits.

The following table outlines the number of IDA site visits to Counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Kildare and Wicklow from 2016 until Q3 2019.

County

2016

2017

2018

Q1-Q3 2019

Louth

24

22

20

32

Meath

8

3

6

3

Cavan

2

2

2

6

Monaghan

2

1

3

4

Kildare

8

10

8

8

Wicklow

5

2

1

6

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (240)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

240. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when additional categories will be added to the scheme for work permits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53879/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permit system is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills Occupations List and the Ineligible Occupations List for the purposes of granting an employment permit.  The Lists are subject to twice-yearly review which is predicated on a formalised and evidence-based process and involves consideration of the research undertaken by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas), the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Council, and input by relevant Government Departments in addition to the public consultation phase.  Submissions to the review process are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by my Department .

The second review of 2019 has just been completed.  Thirty four submissions were received from a range of employers, employer representative bodies and NGOs.  The submissions, the views of relevant Government Departments and Offices/Agencies have input into the review and the recommendations have been considered by the Interdepartmental Group on Economic Migration Policy.

I have very recently received the report of the review, I intend to make an announcement on the outcome of the review in the coming days.

State Claims Agency

Ceisteanna (241)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

241. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of medical claims outstanding with the State Claims Agency; the potential cost of such claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53450/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) has a statutory remit to manage personal injury claims, including claims in respect of clinical negligence, on behalf of Delegated State Authorities (DSA’s) including the Health Service Executive. 

I have been informed by the State Claims Agency that there are currently 3,383 clinical claims under active management. The Outstanding Estimated Liability of these claims is currently €2,717,118,325. This information was extracted from the National Incident Management Framework (NIMS) and is correct as of 16/12/2019.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (242)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

242. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the timeline for amendments being considered jointly by his Department and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to encourage the use of vacant properties under the fair deal scheme. [53660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under NHSS rental income is considered income for the purpose of the financial assessment, and is assessed at 80% less any allowable deductions. Allowable deductions include income tax and, therefore, any income tax arising from rental income should be deducted; other deductions include some health expenses, levies required by law to be paid, and interest on some loans in respect of a person’s principal private residence.

Action 17 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector commits the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government (DHPLG) to examine the treatment, under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme's financial assessment, of income from the rental of a person's principal private residence where they move into long term residential care. My officials are working with DHPLG officials and examining a number of possible options. I am not in a position, however, to provide detail on these as discussions and detailed examination are ongoing and any potential proposals have not been finalised.

Dental Services

Ceisteanna (243)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

243. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the reason there has been no dental services available in Tubbercurry, County Sligo for 12 months; and when a dentist will be appointed. [53455/19]

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.

Respite Care Services Funding

Ceisteanna (244)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

244. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 393 of 19 November 2019, the status of the closure of a centre (details supplied); the efforts made to prevent its closure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53457/19]

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.

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

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.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Ceisteanna (245)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

245. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if an appointment will be scheduled for a person (details supplied). [53459/19]

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.

Hospital Appointments Administration

Ceisteanna (246)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

246. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will receive an outpatient appointment to see an ear, nose and throat consultant at the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53466/19]

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.