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 Header Item Equal Status (Amendment) Bill 2012: Second and Subsequent Stages (Continued)
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch] Where the major impact will be felt is in regard to new car insurance after 21 December.

Equality is a funny thing. As a woman, I see how it will affect women but, on the other hand, as Deputy McLellan rightly said, if we take out the gender issue, insurance companies will surely be able to take account of the fact that someone is a safer driver, as they have done in the past. No matter what gender they were, in the past unsafe drivers would see their insurance costs rise if they were involved in crashes. It is this type of detail that will be necessary.

Equality is a funny thing. As a woman, I see how it will affect women but, on the other hand, as Deputy McLellan rightly said, if we take out the gender issue out, insurance companies will surely be able to take account of the fact someone is a safer driver, as they have done in the past. No matter what the gender was, in the past an unsafe driver would see their insurance cost rise if they had a crash. It is this type of detail that will be necessary.

While I hate to say the following, it is a fact. People taking out insurance products, whether from a bank, a broker or directly from an insurance company would be wise to get at least three quotes. Just because a person is getting a mortgage from a particular lender does not mean the person must take insurance from that lender. Sometimes people do not realise this or forget it, and while there can be a degree of pressure, customers should resist it.

Comprehensive and detailed information leaflets are available both on the Department's website and on the website of the Citizens' Information Bureau. These have been available on the Internet for some time because we knew this was coming, and all the information the average citizen will need is available.

This is a brief but significant Bill that will have an impact on people's lives in the future. I hope those in the insurance industry will be sensible and take into account that someone is a safe driver, whether male or female.

I thank the two Deputies. It is late on a Thursday evening and I know what it is like to have to stay when the Dáil sits late.

  Question put and agreed to.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Olivia Mitchell): Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch Now.

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly   Agreed to take remaining Stages today.

  Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Olivia Mitchell): Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell The Bill will now be sent to the Seanad.

Topical Issue Debate

Home Help Service Provision

Deputy Seamus Kirk: Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk I raise this issue in the context of the various cutbacks and adjustments that have been made to home support in the caring sector. For elderly people, the disabled, the immobile and the disadvantaged, the home help scheme, along with the other care schemes, is invaluable. The benefit of the health budget to the economy as a whole is obvious. Supporting and maintaining people in a home setting for as long as is practical and possible is very desirable.

There has been a whole sequence of adjustments and cutbacks to the home help scheme, particularly the number of hours available to particular families. While I will not cite the individual cases that have cropped up in the Louth-Meath East constituency, I am sure they mirror the position across the country. I exhort the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, to take a serious and urgent look at the scheme. It is so valuable to people living in a home setting that this bears reiteration time and again. Even at a time when resources are scarce, there is a need to prioritise, and there is certainly a need to prioritise the home help scheme. I encourage and exhort the Minister of State to urgently re-examine the situation to see whether additional resources can be made available to support this scheme.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue, which is one that needs to be discussed on an ongoing basis. The aim of Government policy remains to support older people in living in dignity and independence in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. This objective is realised through various community-based supports such as mainstream home help, enhanced home care packages, meals-on-wheels and day or respite provision. Our aim is to develop and improve community-based supports where possible, taking account of wider reforms of the health service, the overall resources available and the need for the HSE to meet its statutory budgetary obligations.

The HSE has been developing various operational initiatives to improve its approach nationally to all relevant aspects of its home support services. These include various new guidelines for home care and agreeing a new procurement framework for approved agencies providing such services on a partnership basis on behalf of the executive.


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