Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 984 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett] If the Taoiseach does not think it is acceptable, what does he intend to do about it? The person who emailed me says his wife needs this treatment now. If she does not get it, her life expectancy will be compromised.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It has been the case for a very long time in Ireland that when it comes to the reimbursement of new medicines the private system follows the public system and the private sector and health insurers only cover the cost of new medicines after the public system has decided to cover them for public patients. This is a new development. It is certainly not a welcome development. We are analysing what we can do about it. It is difficult to know what we can do about it because we cannot have a situation whereby the private sector and private health insurers are deciding for the State which medicines it should or should not reimburse. At the same time, is it really feasible for us to ban or prohibit the private system and private insurers from offering treatments to their own patients? It is a difficult one to deal with it. I know the Deputy's preference would be to abolish private health insurance and private medicine. I do not think we would go that far but we need to examine it and try to come up with a solution.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett What about the medicine?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I call Deputy Catherine Connolly.

Deputy Catherine Connolly: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly Le linn cruinnithe de Chathaoirligh na gcoistí éagsúla le déanaí d'adhmhaigh an Taoiseach go hionraic go raibh náire air agus mé ag ardú cheist Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla beagnach chuile sheachtain sa Dáil. D'fhógair sé go raibh náire air agus go ndéanfaidh sé cinneadh maidir leis an mBille. Cén uair a bheidh sé foilsithe? Fuaireamar geallúintí solúnta go mbeidh sé foilsithe roimh an samhradh. Táimid i rith an tsamhraidh anois agus beidh an téarma Dála críochnaithe an tseachtain seo chugainn ach fós níl tásc ná tuairisc air.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tá an Bille réidh anois. Beidh cruinniú deireanach an Rialtais ann i gcúpla seachtain. Beidh plean againn an Bille a fhoilsiú ag an bpointe seo.

Deputy Catherine Connolly: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly Go raibh maith agat.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I am happy the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy McHugh, is here because I want to ask him about DEIS status in respect of five Tipperary town primary schools and the Holy Trinity national school in Fethard. This matter has been bandied around for a number of years. It is discriminatory to the pupils and families of Tipperary town and County Tipperary. The statistics in regard to some parts of Tipperary town are among the worst in the deprivation index, which is accepted by Government as an independent barometer, yet these schools are failed spectacularly in terms of inclusion in DEIS. These young people are as entitled to DEIS supports as pupils in any part of the country, be that Dublin, Cork or anywhere else. I hope that we will see movement in this regard. There was huge disappointment last year when these schools were excluded from the DEIS programme. These Tipperary schools need to be included immediately.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh This is an issue on which I have worked closely with political representatives and school principals. Deputy Mattie McGrath is aware that I met the principals. He is also aware that the Department is carrying out an audit of DEIS status in the main. A lot of people believe the geographical basis of DEIS status is redundant. I agree with that analysis and I am working with my officials on a more targeted approach. In the meantime, we are looking specifically at Tipperary Town and we will have a response in that regard in the not too distant future.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The Government has promised for some time to address the issue of scramblers and quad bikes, which are a real scourge in many housing estates. They are becoming an increasing problem. People out walking in recreational areas and facilities and in housing estates are being threatened by the widespread and illegal use of these vehicles. A number of Deputies have been raising this issue for many years in the House. There seems to be no coherent response from Government. Is there any possibility that a Minister might give some thought to this issue and ensure that, as we approach the summer months, action will be taken to enable the proper policing of this highly dangerous activity which has already threatened the well-being and lives of a number of people?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Before the Taoiseach responds, I ask Members - some in particular - to desist from taking calls in the House. There must be some regard for the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Deputy raises a very serious and dangerous activity. It happens in my constituency and, I know, it happens in Deputy Shortall's constituency as well. There has been thought given to it. A cross-agency group was established in April 2018 to consider in detail the laws governing the issue. The cross-agency group has recommended the most effective response involves targeted enforcement measures, awareness raising and youth engagement programmes and these are being progressed at the moment. Rather than there being a need for a new law, this activity is already covered under section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2004. What is required is better enforcement, education and awareness.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall That is not what the Garda is saying.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I now call Deputy Danny Healy-Rae and I ask that he focus on promised legislation, as he did yesterday.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae I want to give credit where it is due. The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Deputy Michael Ring, reintroduced the local improvement scheme, LIS. However, Kerry County Council has received over 800 applications for funding under this scheme but it has only enough funding for 28 projects. I appeal to the Minister to give Kerry County Council additional funding for this important scheme.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher A question, Deputy, please.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae The people who drive these roads pay motor tax. They also pay property tax and most of them have their own water supply. These people are as deserving of good roads as the people in Dublin 4. I again ask the Minister, Deputy Ring, to give Kerry County Council additional funding for the local improvement scheme.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher It is not promised legislation.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae It is. It is related to the programme for Government. There are roads in the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's constituency of Donegal as well and the local authority there will need money for them. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle should take my side.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I have to remain impartial.

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I was delighted to reintroduce the local improvement scheme. To date, more than €48 million of LIS funding has been spent on roads. I allocated this year's funding in February. Kerry County Council might have already spent all of its funding but there are many local authorities that have not spent the allocation they received in February.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae We will take it.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae Yes, we will take it.

Deputy Michael Moynihan: Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan The programme for Government refers to housing, an issue on which we have had many debates. I want to speak about the mortgage to rent scheme. People who get into financial difficulty and are unable to repay their mortgage can, by way of engagement with the banks and housing bodies, enter the scheme. In this regard, there are a number of cases on my books which I am trying to advance through the system. I am advised by people in the system that there is a shortage of funding for the mortgage to rent scheme. What is the status of the scheme and how many households are being approved for it?

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I thank the Deputy for his question. The mortgage to rent scheme is an important scheme that helps to keep people who have run into difficulty meeting their mortgage repayments in their homes. We reformed the scheme last year and changed the eligibility criteria to allow more people to avail of it. As a result, new housing bodies and organisations have come to the fore to do that work. Arising from what the Government is doing, private entities have come in to do their own schemes. There is no shortage of funding on the Government side for the mortgage to rent scheme. It is a demand-led process. As people apply to either the housing bodies or the Department, their applications are progressed, as long as they meet the criteria. If there are specific examples where this is not the case, I will be happy to look into them. The funding is in place to progress the scheme in every local authority in the country.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The programme for Government states that the development of the agriculture and food sector is a fundamental priority for the future direction of the country and that the priority must be to reward farmers for productivity and producing quality food, which brings me to the Mercosur deal. Many comments have been attributed to the Taoiseach over recent days. I have one direct question for him. Is he going to stand behind rural farming families in regard to this deal?


Last Updated: 18/06/2020 14:23:01 First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page