Department of Health and Children
Question 74: To ask the Minister for Health and Children if she will reconsider her decision to cancel the intended introduction of the HPV vaccine programme in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
(Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
Question 137: To ask the Minister for Health and Children if the evidence in support of cervical cancer vaccines for young women is being reviewed in her Department; if the decision to withdraw the planned programme is expected to be reconsidered; and if it is her advice that parents should fund this vaccine privately if they can afford to do so.
(Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 137 together.
I am on record as saying that I am already convinced, based on the expert advice that I have received and considered, as to the important role a HPV vaccine programme would play as part of a cohesive response to cervical cancer. All of the clinical advice available to me indicates that, in the context of the limited resources available, the national roll-out of a cervical screening programme should take precedence over the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme. The National Cervical Screening Programme, CervicalCheck, is being implemented at a full year cost of €43 million. I am fully committed to keeping the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme under active review. As with all childhood vaccines, an organised population based programme is the optimum means of delivery.
Question 82: To ask the Minister for Health and Children when she will introduce legislation to ban female genital mutilation; and if she will make a statement on the matter
Legal advice which I obtained in 2004 strongly indicated that Female Genital Mutilation would constitute an offence under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.
In 2008 the Women’s Health Council published a report on Female Genital Mutilation. The council’s research found no evidence that Female Genital Mutilation is being carried out in Ireland among ethnic communities living here.
The question of introducing specific legislation to ban Female Genital Mutilation remains under review.
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Question 50: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding funding announced by him for conservation of heritage; if any of the funding will be used in respect of work schemes for unemployed people, for example, in restoring buildings or historic walls; and if he will make a statement on the matter
(Minister, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Dublin South East, Green Party)
I recently announced €12.5 million in funding for the 2009 built heritage capital programme which covers a broad range of conservation schemes, including the local authority conservation grants scheme, the civic structure conservation grants scheme, the walled towns initiative, the significant places of public worship grants scheme, and funding for heritage properties both in State and private ownership.
Grants are provided to a number of bodies and individuals including local authorities, local community groups, and private owners-occupiers. Funding is provided for a variety of conservation projects including works to thatched houses, shop and public house fronts, timber sash windows, and to buildings of architectural significance generally, including town walls. The recruitment of contractors to carry out the work is a matter in the first instance for the grant recipient. My Department encourages each grant recipient to seek value for money while ensuring that the work is carried out under the supervision of a qualified expert, but has no direct role in the employment of contractors to carry out the conservation works.
However, my Department provides funding to the Office of Public Works to undertake an apprenticeship programme for training in traditional building skills. The apprenticeship positions are filled through a number of sources including through FÁS and in response to advertisements placed in the national media.