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Care Services: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (Continued)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 4

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley] I ask the Government to do the honourable thing. It should reverse the heartless cut, reinstate the full respite grant and help people who are in dire straits but who are providing a great service to their families, the community and the State.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I had expected the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, to be present and had intended to appeal to her to look into her heart and revisit her conscience. However, the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, is present and there is not much point in appealing to him to look into his heart. I do not know if he has one. I do not mean that in a bad way, but we have seen some of the contributions from Ministers over the past week on the respite care grant and carers. One issue that gets lost in all of this-----

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I would not presume anything if I were the Deputy.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien You seem to presume an awful lot.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I do not. I made no personal remarks about you, Deputy.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien If I could continue without interruption-----

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I made no personal remarks about you and it is ill becoming of you to make such remarks about me.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Let us calm down a little.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes It is presumptuous. It ill becomes you.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I will not take lectures from the likes of-----

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You started it.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Can I finish?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You started it. I did not make any charges against you.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien This is not a playground.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You are the one who made charges. Substantiate it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Calm down and allow Deputy O'Brien to continue.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I substantiate it with the fact that the Minister is heaping misery on tens of thousands of carers through the cuts he made last week. That is all the evidence I need to realise where you are coming from.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You referred to my heart or my lack of heart, with respect.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien With respect to the carers listening to this debate, behind every carer there is the individual for whom he or she provides care. That individual has rights.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes And I know nothing about that?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Did I say you did not?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You did, actually, in your initial remark.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Let us continue with the debate.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes My apologies, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I was provoked by the remarks of my colleague.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt There is very little time for contributions.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien There is no need to apologise to me or the House. The Minister should apologise to the carers.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The sincerity is dripping from you.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The Minister should listen, for once, to what people have to say.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You attacked me.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien If the Minister would just listen for a moment, he might get an understanding of what people are going through.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I listen to people out there, not to hypocritical yokes like you dripping with hypocrisy.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien If you listened to people out there, you would not be coming in here to vote for cuts to respite care grants.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You are dripping with hypocrisy.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Let us get back to the debate.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I know what it is like.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes So do I.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy O'Brien, please speak through the Chair.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Up to last August, my mother was a full-time carer for my father, who passed away from motor neuron disease-----

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I make no assertions, Deputy.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien -----so do not tell me what carers do.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I made no assertions against you.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt There can be no more interruptions.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes It was a personalised attack without any justification.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I just justified it.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Your head is dropping with the weight of hypocrisy.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Speak through the Chair, Deputies.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I just justified it. You come in here and talk about the role of carers and how-----

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I have said nothing about carers, with respect.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien In the past you have.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes When?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien You are a member of this Government and it has implemented cuts which are absolutely devastating tens of thousands of families-----

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes When?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien -----throughout this State. I will not take any lectures from you in here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I ask the Deputy and Minister to both please-----

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien It would be more in your line to go out and speak to the carers whose respite care grants you have cut.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I have, constantly.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien That is an even worse reflection on you. You have spoken to those carers and I presume the Minister claims to understand them.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I do.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien If you did, you would not proceed with the implementation of those cuts.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Churchill said there are a hundred thousand contradictions in a good man's life, and in a bad man's life there are too many to count.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I ask the Deputy and Minister to continue with the debate. There is very limited time.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I have heard members of your party-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The Deputy should speak through the Chair.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien -----today in the Seanad criticising political figures for raising this issue.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Who?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Senator Hayden.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Saying what?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien She said that Opposition politicians who dare raise the issue of cuts to respite care grants are doing so for their own political purposes.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes She can answer for herself.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I did not say she could not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy O'Brien, you have only half a minute left. Please stay on the carers issue.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Indeed.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I will. I refer to a particular point in the motion tabled by the Technical Group. I commend it to the Minister. Perhaps he will discuss it with the Cabinet. It is the need to put in place transitional arrangements to facilitate people who are long-term carers and who, due to the death of a loved one, wish to return to work or education.

In my mother's case, she cared for my father for so long that when he passed away she was at a loose end and did not know what to do with herself. In addition to trying to deal with the grief of losing a husband, there were no supports in place to help her through that difficult period. She was caring for somebody for 24 hours each day, seven days a week, and had a house full of people calling to visit, as well as public health nurses and people from Marymount Hospice and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association calling to see my father to give him the supports he required. When he passed away she found herself living alone, with an unbelievable sense of grief. She is now seeking to do something more with her life, but there is little opportunity for her to do so. She and thousands of other carers have saved the State hundreds of millions of euro through the service they provided for their loved ones. Unfortunately, however, when the loved ones die, those individuals are left to one side. They get no thanks, although they are not looking for any. However, the least they could get from the Government is the support to help them to integrate back into society. It should give them support to enable them to access education or training, or provide some form of support to enable them to get over that grief.

The Minister is sitting there but he is not really paying any attention.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The Deputy is over time.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The Minister is more interested in his telephone than in this Deputy's contribution.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes No, you have more interest in your heart issue.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Is the Minister more interested in his telephone than in listening to this contribution?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes I am listening simultaneously.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Thank you, Deputy. I must call the next speaker.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien There are no hypocrites in this House besides the Minister and his Government.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes We will see about that.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien We will, and I will take no lectures from the likes of you.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes You started it.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien You did. You were like a six year old.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Minister and Deputy, it is the week before Christmas. Allow Deputy Buttimer to speak.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I am glad I was not heckling.

This Private Members' motion is extraordinary, to say the least. It does not address in any way the core problem the nation has of how to rectify our economic situation while recognising that the Government is spending an inordinate amount of money to fund our public services. We borrow €42 million per day. The Government has delivered a difficult and tough budget which ensures that those who can pay the most will pay the most. A total of €500 million extra will be paid by the high earners. This has not been recognised by the Members on the other side of the House. I have great respect for Deputy O'Brien, as he knows, but when Sinn Féin Members speak about social welfare or social protection, they fail to recognise that the Northern Ireland Government is doing the opposite to what they say. That is the reality, and the facts speak louder than-----

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley The rates are set in London.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The same applies here. We no longer have our economic sovereignty.

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley The rates are set here.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I am glad that, for once, the Deputy recognises that we must go to the troika, the EU and the IMF. That is the reality.

  The Fianna Fáil Party cut €16.50 from core social welfare payments. It baffles me to hear Deputy Martin speak on the Order of Business, given that he sat in Cabinet for 14 years and acquiesced to and supported the McCreevy-Ahern economic model.


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