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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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Senator Jerry Buttimer

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Snippet Contents:

Senator Conway-Walsh raised the issue of carers and the protest. I agree with the Senator that no carer should have to protest. We do not take carers for granted. They are providing a service to people across the country. I refer the Senator to the changes made in the budget in terms of the 15 to 18.5 hours work in respect of which 1 million extra care hours were provided. As I said earlier, there is need for a real conversation on this issue be that by way of a citizens' assembly or a committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas and a comprehensive plan put in place with the HSE, the section 38 and 39 organisations and the Carers Association in regard to the role of carers, in particular in the disability sector and for our elders. I would be happy to provide a debate on the issue in this House. We do not take our carers for granted. We appreciate what they do every day of the week. I thank carers for the work they do. They should not have to protest outside the gates of Leinster House.
Senator Gallagher raised the issue of VAT on food supplements which the Minister has announced as part of the Finance Bill. The Senator will be well aware that certain food supplements will not be affected by the VAT rate application, that the Bill provides for an exemption in respect of foods for specific groups and that vitamins, folic acid and minerals will have a zero rating. There will be some changes which we can debate as part of our deliberations on the Finance Bill. The former Minister for Health, Senator Reilly, made a point regarding vitamin D, which is worth heeding.
Senator Reilly referenced enrolments at the community college in Skerries. I do not have an answer to his query but I am happy to have the Minister come to the House to respond to it. The Senator made the very good point that there is need for a review of the building unit in the Department of Education and Skills. It should always be subject to review.
I have not read the report on the hospitality sector as mentioned by Senator Gavan. If what he says is correct then that report makes for very grim reading and there is need for the Minister to come to the House for a debate on the hospitality sector. We are known as an Ireland of welcomes, the cead míle fáilte. Our bed and breakfasts, hotels and restaurants are an important part of what we sell across the world in terms of our tourism product. Central to this are staff who are happy and working in an environment that is conducive to their being able to produce their best and being treated with fairness, dignity and respect.