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 Header Item Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Gerald Nash: Information on Gerald Nash Zoom on Gerald Nash] Importantly, he was proud to be a famous son of Dunleer. From speaking with locals in the village and across the wider county, I know that he was proud of that village. He wrote and researched widely on the history of the village and the mid-Louth area with his son, Tom.

As Deputy Martin mentioned, he was also synonymous with one of the most significant social measures ever introduced in this State. The development of the regional technical college, RTC, sector gave opportunities for further and higher education to segments of Irish society that previously could only longingly aspire to higher education attainment and advancement. This was a crucial development in the making of a better, more equal Ireland. It is a tremendous epitaph for any political career when it can be said with certainty that one's work made Ireland a more equal country and a better place in which to live.

I take this opportunity to express my personal condolences and the condolences of all members of the Labour Party in County Louth to his family - his wife, Kitty, his daughter, Mary, and his sons, Tom, Bartle and Pat - and to the people of Dunleer and Louth on our recent loss.

  Members rose.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 16, statements on the European Council in Brussels, pursuant to Standing Order 102A(2)(b); and No. 17, Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m. or on the adjournment of Private Members' business, whichever is the later; No. 10 shall be decided without debate; and No. 16 shall be taken following the Order of Business and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 95 minutes, and the following arrangements shall apply: statements made by the Taoiseach and the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, the Minister of State, Deputy Creighton, shall be called upon to make a statement that shall not exceed ten minutes, a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes, a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply that shall not exceed five minutes, and the order shall resume thereafter with the Topical Issue debate.

Private Members' business shall be No. 42, Equal Status (Amendment) Bill 2013 - Second Stage, to be taken on the conclusion of the Topical Issue debate or at 7.30 p.m., whichever is the later, and adjourn after 90 minutes, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 3 July 2013.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 10, without debate, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The health insurance industry is going through a crisis as we speak. There is significant concern and anxiety among many policyholders and members of various insurance companies across the board, including the VHI group, to such an extent that many seasoned analysts claim that the industry is in danger of entering a debt spiral against which the centre cannot hold.

The programme for Government contains extensive proposals on health insurance, in particular the establishment of a hospital insurance fund, which was committed to early in the lifetime of the Government. Will the Taoiseach outline to the House when the hospital insurance fund is to be established? Will he indicate when the injection of capital into the VHI group will occur? Substantial moneys are necessary to sustain it. When will the HSE's function for purchasing care for uninsured patients be given to a hospital care purchase agency?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That is the liberal end of matters on the Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny In respect of the hospital insurance fund, that is a matter that is under discussion at the moment, both internally and with the European Commission. I do not have a date for the Deputy in respect of the second issue that he raised.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The hospital care purchase agency.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Yes. In respect of health insurance, that legislation is moving through. The Minister is involved with the hospital consultative group and the insurance companies. No decision has been taken by Government on the rates to be applied. The Minister is very conscious of the impact upon subscribers to private health insurance arising from this. That is the reason there are intensive discussions under way with the insurance industry.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur faoi reachtaíocht atá geallta. Will the Taoiseach provide an update on the child and family agency Bill and the Children First Bill? He may be aware that independent assessments of child protection services in Roscommon, south east Dublin and Waterford have revealed yet again the lack of appropriate services for the most vulnerable. In more than half of the 96 cases examined, adequate safeguards were not in place and chronic understaffing in the psychology services in Roscommon left 180 children waiting for up to two years to be seen. Clearly, this is not acceptable. When will the legislation be published and discussed in the Dáil? When does the Taoiseach expect the new structures to be in place?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I expect the child and family agency Bill to be published inside two weeks. Hopefully, we can have Second Stage in the House before it rises.

In respect of the audit that Deputy Adams referred to, this was contingent upon a very serious case in Roscommon some time ago. It was felt that there should be an audit of the general situation. A number of changes have taken place even since that audit was conducted. The Minister will respond in detail on this later.

Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I have a general query on the reports that legislation is necessary to underpin public-private partnerships, PPPs. The Gort-Tuam motorway represents a significant investment of €550 million for which no contracts have been signed. The reason given for this is that legislation must be introduced to underpin this great project. If so, I hope that it will be signed shortly and that work will start on this well-deserved project in the west and my constituency.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It goes through the heart of the Deputy's constituency. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has already pointed out the priority that this road has. No legislation is required. Discussions are under way with potential funders for this as part of-----

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin PPP.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----the ongoing stimulus plans that the Minister has been referring to.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley In the not-too-distant past, the Government promised legislation to amalgamate Shannon Development and Shannon Airport.


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