The Dail: Replies to Parliamentary Questions tabled by Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin

‘Illegally held firearms’
‘Funding allocated for health related services’
‘Public health (Alcohol) Bill’
‘Funding for Sligo Housing: 2015-2016’
‘Ballyshannon Fire Service’
‘Plans for N4, Collooney-Castlebaldwin, Route’

Sligo News File Online.

Tony McLoughlin, TD, Fine Gael.
Tony McLoughlin, TD,
Fine Gael.

Issues raised in the Dail by Fine Gael Sligo-Leitrim TD,
Tony McLoughlin.


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and
Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald) for WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015. 

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her Department’s
estimates at present, in relation to the number of illegally owned
firearms; her plans to seize these illegal firearms; and if she will
make a statement on the matter.


It is impossible to accurately state how many illegal firearms are
currently in the hands of criminals in the State. An Garda Síochána
tackles the issue of illegal firearms on a daily basis at both local
and national levels and in recent weeks alone have successfully
removed a number of illegal firearms from criminal hands in ongoing
operations throughout the country. 

Gardaí tackle the issue of illegal firearms through a range of targeted and intelligence based operations, often disrupting and preventing incidents, as well as detecting and prosecuting those involved.  The details of intelligence based operations targeting illegal firearms cannot be made public for operational reasons.

Heavy penalties are provided for weapons offences in our criminal law and mandatory minimum penalties have been introduced for certain firearms offences. The considerable powers already available to Gardaí have been supplemented further by the DNA Database legislation enacted last year, which  provides for the establishment of a Database which will have the capacity to link suspects to unsolved crimes using forensic evidence, and will greatly assist Gardaí in investigating a whole range of serious offences. 

The various Garda operations which target armed and organised criminals are complemented and supported by Garda engagement with local communities, including a range of community local fora, to address local concerns relating to crime, community safety and the impact of organised crime on community life.


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar) for WRITTEN ANSWER on 24/03/2015 

To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide a list of each organisation directly funded by his Department, excluding the Health Service Executive, to provide an advocacy service; the total amount of funding each organisation received for year ended 2014; the number of persons each organisation provided advocacy service for; the issues each organisation addressed for year ended 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter                      


In 2014 the Department provided three sources of direct funding to
organisations providing a range of health related services. One was  National Lottery Grants through which the Department provides funding for voluntary and community organisations. Details of payments made from this source are available on the Departments web site The second source is through  administration of a Drugs Initiative which primarily funds community based drugs initiatives supported by Local and Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. Funding from the Drugs Initiative supports local projects set up by Drugs Task Forces in the areas of curbing local supply, prevention and awareness and research. A list of Drugs Task Forces are available on the Department’s website:

Details of 2014 expenditure are presented in the table below.

Drug and Alcohol Task Force 2014 Expenditure



RDTF-Mid West


RDTF-North West




RDTF- East Coast


RDTF-South West


RDTF-Northern Area










LDTF-Canal Communities




LDTF-Dublin North East




LDTF-Dublin 12


LDTF-Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown




LDTF-North Inner City


LDTF-South Inner City






The Department also funds a number or research, consultative,
supervisory and regulatory bodies, details of which are set out
in the table below.

2014 Drawdown(€m)

Food Safety Authority of Ireland


Food Safety Promotion Board


Health Research Board


Institute of Public Health


Health and Social Care Professionals Council


Health Information and Quality Authority


Health Products Regulatory Authority


Mental Health Commission


National Cancer Registry


Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council


Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland


International Society for Quality in Healthcare


The National Treatment Purchase Fund



DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 24/03/2015 

To ask the Minister for Health when the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 will be published and considered by Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was approved by Government on the 3 February 2015. The Scheme includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol and the regulation of sports sponsorship. As part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the measures are being  debated in detail by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. The hearings commenced on the 10 March and
will over the next few weeks.

The Department of Health is continuing to work on the preparation of the legislation. It is expected that the Bill will be published during this session.

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government for WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the funding that will be provided in 2015 and 2016 for housing in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)

The allocation of funding to local authorities for the build and acquisition of social housing units in 2015 and 2016 will be based on the proposals they will be implementing to deliver social housing units in line with the targets of the Social Housing Strategy.

My Department has received proposals from Sligo regarding their planned delivery of new social housing over the next 3 years and those proposals are now being assessed.
Question No.   918

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government for WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that discussions have been ongoing for a number of years regarding the provision of a new fire station in Ballyshannon County Donegal; if he will provide an update as to the current situation surrounding the proposed development for Ballyshannon Fire Service; and if he will make a statement
on the matter.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Service Act, 1981. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing
guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.
Donegal County Council, in partnership with my Department, has made substantial progress in modernising fire stations in Co Donegal and has replaced 12 of the 15 fire stations following investment of some €11 million by my Department over the last decade or so. The following towns in County Donegal are now served by modern fire stations with full facilities: Millford
(1998); Buncrana (2000); Letterkenny (HQ) and An Fal Carrach
(both in 2003); Carndonagh and Donegal Town (both in 2004); Killybegs (2005); An Clochan Liath, Glenties and Moville (all in 2007); and most recently Gaoth Dobhair and Stranorlar (2009). My Department has channelled significant investment to fire authorities over the last number of years and as a consequence, the high quality of Ireland’s fire service infrastructure is now widely acknowledged.
With regard to the provision of a new fire station in Ballyshannon, while this issue has been the subject of discussions with the Local Authority for a number of years, my Department awaits receipt of a fully updated proposal, taking into account, among other issues, site suitability, fire cover requirements and prioritisation of projects.
In further considering any proposal, my Department must have
regard to national priorities for funding in this area and the totality
of requests from fire authorities countrywide. The priorities of Donegal County Council, the extent of current and previous investment in Donegal Fire services and the status of existing facilities having regard to area risk categorisation, will also fall to be considered.
Question No: 971

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the Colloney-Castlebaldwin N4 Route; when funding will be allocated to this for County Sligo and the north west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal


As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for
overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. 

The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects
(such as the N4) is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA)
under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local
authorities concerned. 

Noting this I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for
direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a
reply within 10 working days.