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Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020

Written Answers Nos. 99-118

Programme for Government

Ceisteanna (99)

Patrick Costello

Ceist:

99. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the progress made by his Department to give legislative effect to the children and family support section of the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33986/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The children and family support section of the Programme for Government contains a range of commitments which I will continue to progress. The majority of these will not require legislation in order to be implemented. In relation to those that will require a legislative measure, the position is as follows.

My Department has commenced preliminary legislative work in respect of preparing the Heads of a Bill to provide for amendments to the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019. The proposed legislative amendments will make provision for an additional period of parental leave and benefit in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government 2020.

Further work will be required to amend and extend existing legislation in relation to the regulation of the Early Years Sector in order to implement some Programme for Government Commitments. This includes the extension of regulation to non-relative childminders and the streamlining of regulatory requirements for early years services while continuing to improve quality. This work is complex and may take time to address. In relation to accelerating access to subsidies for non-relative childminders, a report is due to be published by year end.

Young Farmers Scheme

Ceisteanna (100)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

100. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if a person (details supplied) received the certificate required to complete their young farmer scheme application from Dundalk IT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33969/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are governed by the Universities Act 1997, the Institutes of Technologies Acts 1992 to 2006 and the Technological Universities Act 2018. Within the meaning of these Acts, HEIs are autonomous with regard to the management of their academic affairs and retain the right to determine their own policies and procedures in this area. Decisions on how courses and campus services will operate, including graduations and the awarding of qualifications, are made by each institution, in line with public health advice, and arrangements will vary between institutions and between courses. As a result of current circumstances, HEIs have had to alter graduation dates in order to ensure the wellbeing of the student body.

Questions on or issues arising from arrangements for a specific institution or course should be directed to the institution in question, as I do not have a function in this regard.

However, my Department has been informed by the Department of Agriculture that, for the purposes of the Young Farmer Scheme, where a graduation has not yet taken place, a letter from the HEI and a transcript of results will be accepted. They have further confirmed that the applicant should then upload a copy of the qualification once it is available following graduation.

Student Accommodation

Ceisteanna (101)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

101. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding student accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33993/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

On 25th September intensified protective measures in third level were announced, in line with public health advice. On-site activity in further and higher education will be minimised so long as these measures are in place. Campuses will remain open to facilitate learners and researchers in accessing laboratories, practicals and apprenticeship training, scheduled library attendance and small group activity on a prioritised basis. With the country being placed on Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID for a period of six weeks, it is clear that this will be the case for the remainder of the first semester.

I appreciate that this is disappointing for students who had hoped to have as much time on campus as possible, however these measures are very important from a public health perspective in controlling the spread of the Coronavirus.

Responding to these issues is a significant matter of concern for myself and for my colleague the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and we are examining how accommodation providers can be encouraged to show greater flexibility to students during this challenging time.

The Deputy will be aware that the university sector is already engaging with these issues. I will be continuing to liaise with the sector through the Irish Universities Association to encourage the availability of fair solutions to students in university-owned student accommodation. The majority of universities have confirmed that students who choose not to take up their accommodation will receive a refund and I have made it clear that I wish to see this principle applied by all universities.

For students in the private rental market, I am urging providers to be flexible in finding solutions given the circumstances in which students find themselves. There are, however, no powers available to me under the current legal framework to direct any particular course of action. Refund or cancellation policies in student accommodation should be set out in the license agreement signed at the beginning of the academic year. In the first instance students should engage with their accommodation provider to see if an arrangement can be reached. If this is not possible, students have access to the Dispute Resolution Services of the Residential Tenancies Board.

I have asked my Department to continue to engage with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to monitor and report to me on developments on student accommodation issues in order to ascertain whether any further policy response is feasible.

Springboard Programme

Ceisteanna (102)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Ceist:

102. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the number of free or subsidised places on short, modular courses that were being offered through Springboard+ prior to the July stimulus package; the number of additional places were added as part of the July stimulus package; the number of places that are currently being offered;and the number of places that remain unfilled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34057/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

Under the July Stimulus, funding was announced for short modular courses to be offered in a flexible manner, allowing people to gain important skills without taking a considerable period away from the labour market.

Each module will be stand-alone so that participants can gain skills and put them into practice immediately in the workplace, but modules are also accredited in such a way as to provide building blocks to a full qualification should the student so wish.

11,597 places are being funded on these courses during this academic year. The full allocation of 11,597 places are currently available and Higher Education Institutions are currently taking applications on these courses. All courses will commence in Q1 2021 and early Q2 2021. As applications are currently being taken for these programmes, fill rates are not available.

Springboard+ provides free and heavily subsidised upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities in areas of identified skills need. Courses are generally of one year duration.

11,514 Springboard+ part-time one year courses are available for the academic year 2020/2021. The application system has been live since June 2020 and courses commence at various points between Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021. While at this point it is not possible to give an exact figure of how many of the places are filled as registrations are currently live, it is estimated to be approximately 80%.

It should be noted that the Springboard+ part-time courses do not overlap with provision of modular courses announced as part of the July Stimulus package.

Inquiries into Garda Activities

Ceisteanna (103, 104, 105, 106)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

103. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if an end date can be provided to persons (details supplied). [33954/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

104. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if an enquiry into the death of a person (details supplied) is continuing during lockdown [33955/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

105. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice the number of extensions of the end date made to an inquiry (details supplied); the reason; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33956/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

106. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if she will meet a family in relation to the death of a person (details supplied); and the inquiry into their death; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33957/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 to 106, inclusive, together.

I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to the family of Shane Tuohy and I am very conscious of the hurt and pain caused to them by the loss of Shane.

In May 2017, Judge Donagh McDonagh was appointed by the then Minister to undertake an Inquiry into the conduct and adequacy of the investigations conducted by An Garda Síochána into the death of Mr Tuohy in February 2002 in Clara, County Offaly.

This was one of five Inquiries established by the Minister at that time following a recommendation from the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM). While the original timeframe for this work was six months, it was not possible for the Judge to conclude the Inquiry in that time. In light of this, specific extensions have been granted to the Judge, as outlined below, with the most recent granted by my predecessor as Minister on 16 June 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Date of Minister’s Decision

Extension Granted

16/06/2020

Extension granted until 31/12/2020

04/10/2019

Extension granted until 30/06/2020

27/06/2019

Extension granted until 31/12/2019

28/01/2019

Extension granted until 30/06/2019

03/07/2018

Extension granted until 31/12/2018

23/01/2018

Extension granted until 30/06/2018

November 2017

The then Minister extended the deadline for submission of the final report without specifying a revised date and asked for an updated report in order to determine a revised date.

I am informed that Judge McDonagh continues to work on the Inquiry though I understand that the COVID pandemic has delayed his work, in that the Judge has been unable to hold any further interviews for the time being.

I hope to be able to receive the report from Judge McDonagh as soon as he has completed his work.

Charities Regulation

Ceisteanna (107)

Steven Matthews

Ceist:

107. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Justice if her Department is considering legislation that exists in other jurisdictions that is colloquially referred to as the "good samaritan" law in which those that donate food in good faith are prevented from potential liability and that this may include organisations and individual donations. [33984/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Law Reform Commission Report on the Civil Liability of Good Samaritans and Volunteers (LRC 93-2009) made a number of recommendations for reform in this area.

Part IVA of the Civil Liability Act 1961 (inserted by Part 3 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011) provides statutory protection to Good Samaritans and Volunteers, subject to the provisions of the Act.

While the interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts, no issues of concern with regard to charitable food donations of the type referred to by the Deputy have been brought to my Department’s attention. In the circumstances, I have no plans to bring forward amendments to the Act but will, of course, keep the matter under review.

Garda Recruitment

Ceisteanna (108)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

108. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of members of the Traveller community that have applied to become members of An Garda Síochána; and the number of members of the Traveller community that have graduated as a member of An Garda Síochána. [34013/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is, by law, responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources.

The Public Appointments Service (PAS) run the national competitions for Trainee Garda in An Garda Síochána on behalf of the Garda Commissioner. The Garda authorities understand that there is a section on the application form for ethnicity but that it is not compulsory to complete this section. The PAS do not as a matter of course share this information with An Garda Síochána.

I am informed that An Garda Síochána is examining ways of gathering information in relation to the diversity of their personnel on a voluntary basis and in compliance with GDPR principles.

The Programme for Government commits to increasing the diversity within An Garda Síochána, prioritising the identification and removal of barriers to recruiting and retaining people from diverse and minority backgrounds.

Garda Recruitment

Ceisteanna (109)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

109. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice if the Shelta or Cant language can meet the requirement of a second language within the Garda recruitment application process in circumstances in which a person is applying to become a member of An Garda Síochána has an exemption in the secondary school system from other languages except English. [34014/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy may be aware that entry to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions & Appointments) Regulations, 2013 and Statutory Instrument 470/2013. There are no exemptions granted in relation to any of the regulations contained therein.

Subject to the provisions of these Regulations, a person is eligible to apply for admission as a trainee where, on the closing date specified in the advertisement for the competition for the vacancy to which the admission relates, -

(c) He or she has obtained

(i) a grade of not less than D3 in 5 subjects at not lower than ordinary level in the Leaving Certificate Examination,

(ii) a Level 5 Certificate (Major Award) or greater that is recognised within the National Framework of Qualifications, or

(iii) such other qualification that, in the opinion of Quality and Qualifications Ireland, is of a standard in terms of both level and volume of learning that is not lower than the standard of those qualifications specified at subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and

(d) he or she has proven proficiency in 2 languages, one of which shall be either English or Irish, which may be proven-

(i) by the grades or qualifications specified at paragraph (c ) or,

(ii) in relation to Irish or English only, by undergoing such assessment or assessments as the Public Appointments Service shall determine.

The Public Appointments Service may verify the validity of qualifications other than the Leaving Certificate with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).

The Deputy may wish to note that an Expert Review Group has been established to examine the issue of Garda Recruitment, Entry Pathways and Recruit Education. This is a commitment under A Policing Service for the Future, the Government’s Implementation Plan for the recommendations in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Group will examine a variety of matters including the entry requirements for recruitment to An Garda Síochána. The Group operates in an advisory capacity and will submit a report to the Garda Commissioner within 12 months.

Residential Property Sales

Ceisteanna (110, 111, 112, 113)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

110. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice her plans to reform the conveyancing process in view of the delays being encountered of up to ten weeks; and the steps her Department is taking to address the problem. [34104/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

111. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice her plans to reform the conveyancing process in view of the number of property sales failures that have happened as a result of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34105/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

112. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice her plans to reform the conveyancing process in view of the many cases of gazumping and gazundering in the residential property market. [34106/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

113. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice if her attention has been drawn to a recent survey (details supplied) which reveals that 79% of auctioneers are experiencing conveyancing delays from the time a property is deemed sale agreed to when the sale eventually closes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34107/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 to 113, inclusive, together.

There are no plans at present to introduce or amend legislation in this area. However, as with other policy and legislative reforms, interested parties are welcome to make submissions on this matter.

The position with regard to gazumping is that instances normally arise where a non-enforceable agreement for the sale of property at a particular price is reached between a vendor and intending purchaser but subsequently the vendor refuses to complete a formal contract and sells the property to another purchaser for a higher price. The non-enforceable relationship between the original parties is preserved by use of the term "subject to contract".

The problems associated with gazumping were examined in detail by the Law Reform Commission in its 1999 "Report on Gazumping" (LRC 59-1999). The Commission noted that delays arising between the conclusion of negotiations and completion of the formal contract were usually for the benefit of the intending purchaser, e.g. to ensure the availability of funding for that property, or to ascertain if there were any legal difficulties in relation to the title. The Commission concluded that the only practicable reforms were to improve the information available to intending purchasers and to regulate the terms according to which booking deposits are paid and accepted. It did not recommend any specific legislative reforms to the legal framework within which gazumping occurs.

The Property Services Regulatory Authority, which was established under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011, published a detailed “Guide for Users of Property Services Providers in Ireland" which explains the legal position in relation to gazumping and related matters such as payment of deposits and signing of contracts. The Guide is available on the Authority's web site (www.psr.ie).

I would also like to advise the Deputy that the Property Registration Authority (PRA) is responsible for registering ownership of land in the State. This statutory function is conferred on the PRA under the Registration of Deeds and Title Acts 1964 and 2006. These Acts make provision for the making of more detailed statutory rules setting out the procedures to be followed when registering land. Statutory responsibility for the PRA, and land registration policy, now rests with the Minister and Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Refugee Status

Ceisteanna (114)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

114. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the number of applicants under the Irish Refugee Protection Humanitarian Admissions Programme in each year; the number of applications which were successful, rejected and still in process; the reason for rejections; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34122/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP), announced in May 2018, is part of the Government's plan to realise the full commitment of 4,000 persons agreed under the first phase of the IRPP in September 2015.

The programme allows holders of an international protection status in Ireland, (i.e. refugees with Convention or Programme Refugee status), holders of Subsidiary Protection grants, and Irish citizens, to make a proposal to me to bring to the State their family members who are nationals of one of the top ten major source countries of refugees as identified by the UNHCR Annual Global Trends Report.

IHAP received proposals for inclusion in the programme within defined periods or ‘windows for submissions’. The first window for accepting proposals ran from 14 May 2018 to 30 June 2018. Processing of the proposals from this first window was completed in 2018. A second window for the submission of proposals ran from 20 December 2018 until 8 February 2019.

The first IHAP round granted permission to 165 beneficiaries. To date, the second round of the IHAP has granted permission to 556 beneficiaries.

When the IHAP was announced in May 2018, it was envisaged that there would be approximately 530 beneficiaries. In December 2019, the allocation was increased to approximately 740 beneficiaries, of whom 721 have already been approved under the IHAP. It is expected that between the pending applications and review requests, that the revised allocation of 740 beneficiaries will be reached, or possibly exceeded.

There are currently around 15 pending applications in respect of approximately 60 beneficiaries and it is expected that these pending applications will include both grants and refusals. The processing of these applications is ongoing however the COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the delivery of normal services to date this year.

694 proposals in respect of 1672 beneficiaries were deemed incomplete under the first round. Some of those refused under the first round would have made successful proposals under the second round. 552 applications in respect of 1157 beneficiaries have been rejected under the second round as they did not meet the criteria set out in establishing the programme.

Commissions of Investigation

Ceisteanna (115, 116)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

115. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if it has been established the personal information in relation to the Hickson Commission was on a USB key as reported in the media recently;and if her Department has notified the survivors or their legal team of its loss and contents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34138/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

116. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice the reason personal information relating to the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by a person (details supplied) known as the Hickson Commission was stored on a USB key; the circumstances of the reported loss of this USB key; if the use of USB keys for the retention of sensitive data is common practice in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34139/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 and 116 together.

It should be noted that the Hickson Commission is an independent body and I, as Minister for Justice, have no role in the conduct of its investigation.

I am informed by my officials that, in May 2019, having been made aware of the loss of the USB stick containing personal data in relation to the Hickson Commission, my Department notified the Data Protection Commission (DPC), as required under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. I am further informed that the Data Protection Officer in my Department investigated the circumstances surrounding the missing USB stick and the outcome of that investigation was subsequently notified to the DPC.

The investigation found that:

- Despite a thorough search of both premises the missing USB stick was not located.

- An Post indicated that no USB stick was identified in their Recovery/Reclaim Unit.

- The USB stick in question was an INTEGREL Courier USB key with hardware encryption. The encryption used with this device is AES 256-bit, which is ISO27001 compliant.

- The data contained on the USB stick had been uploaded to the Commission’s secure system prior to the stick being mislaid.

As the data contained on the USB stick continued to be available to the Commission and the missing USB stick was encrypted to industry standard, the risk to individuals whose personal data was on the USB stick was evaluated, as required by data protection legislation, and found to be low. Any third party finding the USB stick would be unable to access any information contained therein. In circumstances where the USB stick’s technical protection measures (i.e. encryption) rendered the data unintelligible, there was no reason to notify the data subjects. I understand that the details of the investigation were notified to the DPC and that, in mid-June 2019, the DPC notified my Department that the breach was closed.

I regret the upset and anger caused by the breach and in particular I regret that those concerned found out about it through the media. To avoid this occurring and as a courtesy, those concerned should have been notified of the data breach at the time that it occurred. I have written to them to express my regret about what happened.

In relation to the Deputy’s question regarding the use of USB keys by my Department, I wish to inform you that my Department’s policy in relation to the use of USB sticks is strictly controlled and it is not common practice for sensitive data to be stored in such a manner. In exceptional circumstances where they must be used, my Department uses dedicated encrypted USB keys.

Nursing Home Accommodation

Ceisteanna (117)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

117. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health the measures in place to provide for the staffing of nursing homes in which existing staff are required to self-isolate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33953/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Nursing homes have been particularly impacted by COVID-19 both in Ireland and internationally. The central focus of the response to COVID-19 has been to control the spread of the virus in so far as possible to protect those who are most vulnerable from infection, as well as protecting against causes, situations, circumstances, and behaviours that may lead to the spread of COVID-19.

Sustained communication and interagency cooperation also remain central to the response to COVID-19. The State’s responsibility to respond to the public health emergency created the need for the HSE to set up a structured nursing home support system in line with NPHET recommendations. This package of supports has been a critical intervention in supporting the resilience of the sector in meeting the unprecedented challenges associated with COVID-19. Guidance, PPE, staffing, serial testing, infection prevention and control training, accommodation and financial support have been provided to the nursing home sector, both public and private. In addition, multi-disciplinary clinical supports are in place at CHO level through 23 COVID-19 Response Teams as well as outbreak control teams responding to outbreaks.

It remains a legal obligation that every provider ensures that the number and skill mix of staff within its nursing home is appropriate having regard to the needs of the residents and the size and layout of the nursing home concerned. HIQA has published a regulatory assessment framework of the preparedness of designated centres for older people for a COVID-19 outbreak. Under this framework the provider should ensure that they have contingency plans in place, that their contingency plan is based on national guidance from the HSE, HPSC and Government and that it is reviewed regularly to include clear contingency arrangements, including, to establish surge capacity and arrangements to address potential staffing shortage.

In addition, as part of a package of support measures for nursing homes, a COVID-19 Temporary Assistance Payment Scheme was established. This opened for applications on 17th April 2020. The core concept of the scheme is that the State will provide additional funding to those nursing homes that require it, to contribute towards costs associated with COVID-19 preparedness, mitigation and outbreak management. Eligible costs include both additional payroll and non-payroll COVID-19 related costs. The scheme was originally devised to operate for a 3-month period to the end of June, this scheme was extended to the end of September. The scheme is now being further extended to the end of 2020 and for the first 6 months of 2021 (end June 2021).

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (118)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

118. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when an urgent operation will be scheduled for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33961/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

Patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

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 is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

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