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

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

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 840 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan] We spoke about the reconfigured Limerick East and Limerick West, which are now the county and the city constituencies. Peadar gave a summation of what he thought was likely to come out of the ballot boxes in 2011, and he was not far wrong. That proved his connection with and understanding of the electorate. Anybody who could take a seat in Limerick East on the eighth and twelfth counts, as he did in the early 1990s, showed how he was tuned into the single transferable vote. He would never walk away from a house without the promise of a No, 4, 5, 6 or 7 because being elected on the twelfth count proves that every vote one gets on the ballot paper is worth getting, and he epitomised that. I would like to sympathise with Peadar's sons, daughters and extended family. The greatest tribute that can be paid to people who gave their lives to public service is paid by their own people. I know that the people around Fedamore and rural east Limerick turned out in huge numbers to say goodbye to Peadar. One of the comments made by the Limerick Leader at the time was that Peadar Clohessy showed an unselfish public service, and any of us who can leave this House with that as our legacy will not be doing half bad. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílis.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I would like to be associated with the expressions of sympathy and call on Members to rise in their places.

  Members rose.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 9, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the ratification by Ireland of the Internal Agreement concerning the 11th European Development Fund; No. 10, motion re proposal that Dáil Éireann adopts the EU Scrutiny Work Programme 2014, Joint Committees' Priorities; and No. 21, statements on Europe Week, to be taken on the conclusion of Nos. 9 and 10.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that in the event that Topical Issues have not concluded at the time fixed for taking Private Members' Business, the Dáil shall sit later that 9 p.m. tonight, and shall adjourn on the adjournment of Private Members' business, which shall be No. 146, motion re water charges, and which shall be taken on the conclusion of Topical Issues or at 7.30 p.m., whichever is the later, and shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn after 90 minutes; Nos. 9 and 10 shall be decided without debate; the proceedings in relation to No. 21 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 70 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statement of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Technical Group and of the Chair of the European Affairs Committee, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share their time; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes and the order shall resume thereafter with Topical Issues; and the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. tomorrow.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 9 and 10 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 21 agreed to?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Is that later tonight?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny After the Order of Business.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Is that agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. tomorrow agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I raised earlier with the Taoiseach the shocking situation pertaining to the removal of a medical card from Alex Coyle, the presentation of that issue on "The Saturday Night Show" by his parents, and the subsequent commentary by the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation to the effect that it has come across 300 children in similar situations, and it will have more to say about this later. Annette and Declan Coyle spoke movingly about it, and everybody who saw the programme could not believe what has happened. It would go through one's heart, Taoiseach, and I do not understand it. I am aware legislation has been published on one aspect of this but given the clear decision to eliminate discretionary medical cards it appears that some aspect of the legislation on universal primary care must be moved forward. It needs legislative change. I believe the 1970 Health Act provides for the award of discretionary medical cards. I do not agree with the Minister of State, Deputy White, on that. An attempt has been made, almost in a North Korean style, to write discretionary medical cards out of existence and say they never happened, there was never a legal basis for them, therefore, they should no longer exist. That is the narrative that is emerging. There is a legislative template but if the Taoiseach is not satisfied that is the case or he is concerned about it, why will he not bring in urgent amending legislation to ensure the provision of discretionary medical cards in cases such as that revealed on "The Saturday Night Show" and to children and adults with a terminal illness, particularly people with rare syndromes that, by definition, create enormous and multiple challenges for such children? It defies any rational explanation that we could not do that. Can the universal primary care Bill promised in the programme for Government be accelerated now with a view to making such a provision, and when will we see it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We can look at this under the existing situation. There were 100,000 medical cards issued in 2013, 23,000 of which were discretionary cards. There are 40,000 medical cards issued for the first three months of this year. I have given the details previously of the discretionary cards that applied two years ago and their current status. It is not true to say that discretionary medical cards are being phased out.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They are. Thousands of them-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny These are extraordinary examples, and nobody likes to see them. I want to examine the situation the Deputy has outlined and that many people have brought to my attention but it is not a case of discretionary cards being phased out. It is how far we extend the flexibility and discretion that is allowed under the Act. We need to look at that.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin General practitioners throughout the country are now publishing details of their patients on Twitter at #cardwatch. Many desperately hard cases are emerging from all areas of the country, and it is incredible that the Taoiseach keeps denying it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny As the Deputy is aware-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The policy has changed, and he is targeting those people.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----GPs have discretion to say that a case is particularly bad and he or she will not agree with the recommendation.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin No, they do not.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Yes, GPs are entitled to continue a card for a period-----

Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan: Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan It is a pity nobody told them that.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----while these matters are dealt with. I am aware they are publishing them.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They do not have that-----

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I ask the Taoiseach about the Government's position on the Narrow Water Bridge project. I understand he has said he is now committed to ensuring the project will go ahead to the next round of European Union funding. I have raised this issue with the Taoiseach many times. The project did not go ahead because of the Government's failure to provide the financial investment needed to supplement the funding from local councils and the European Union.


Last Updated: 21/09/2016 16:58:08 First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page