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Order of Business

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Senator Colm Burke

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I agree with Senator Bradford's comments on the self-employed. Many self-employed people who ran small businesses over the past four to five years in difficult financial circumstances continued to pump money in from their savings in order to keep companies going and workers employed, and they made considerable sacrifices. Those who run their own businesses have to pay commercial rates whether or not they are making a profit. For instance, €66 million is collected from the rate payers of Cork City Council, and the total cost of wages and salaries in Cork City Council is €74 million. Regardless of whether it is making profits, the commercial sector is paying a significant amount of money in. I certainly agree with Senator Bradford's comment that small business have maintained employment right throughout these difficult times.
I raise the issue of the HSE document which was circulated. It was good that it was sent to us because we now see what is happening behind closed doors. Many issues were raised in the 42-page document and it would be helpful if we had a debate on the matter. A number of issues were highlighted, such as funding being paid out where service level agreements had not yet been signed. Of 103 invoices identified, 41 could not be matched to a valid purchase order. There are many issues in the document related to the financial management of the HSE. In fairness to the staff of the HSE, they are doing a good job, but where there are deficiencies they should be identified and seen to. I see no reason we should not have a debate on this important issue at some stage in the future, because there is much going on behind closed doors that we are not aware of and that we should be aware of to ensure we are getting value for money for the taxpayers of this country.