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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item An Bille um an gCúigiú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (An Ceart chun Teaghaise), 2016: An Chéad Chéim
 Header Item Thirty-Fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) (Amendment) Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Ministerial Rota for Parliamentary Questions: Motion
 Header Item Membership of Standing Committee of Selection: Motion
 Header Item Adjournment Debate Matters
 Header Item Membership of Standing Committee of Selection
 Header Item Mental Health Services: Statements (Resumed)

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 911 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 94 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] Deputy Michael Healy-Rae is well aware that the Government has decided to introduce a basic bank account for post offices so that such business can be conducted in post offices as some extra assistance to them to continue to exist in the time ahead. I will bring Deputy Michael Healy-Rae's comment to the notice of the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That completes the Order of Business. My apologies to the nine other Members who had indicated that they wanted to speak but those Members who consume an enormous amount of time do not leave time for other Members to contribute.

An Bille um an gCúigiú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (An Ceart chun Teaghaise), 2016: An Chéad Chéim

Thirty-Fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Tairgim:

Go gceadófar go dtabharfar isteach Bille dá ngairtear Acht chun an Bunreacht a leasú.

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Constitution.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Does Deputy Adams want to say a brief few words on it?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Yes. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the right of all citizens to adequate, secure and affordable housing, and to give effect to the decision of the Constitutional Convention that such a right be enshrined in the Constitution. Such a constitutional right to a home would oblige the State to make reasonable provision to vindicate such a right through its policies and decisions.

  Cuireadh agus aontaíodh an cheist.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Tairgim: "Go dtógfar an Bille in am Comhaltaí Príobháideacha."

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Cuireadh agus aontaíodh an cheist.

  Question put and agreed to.

Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move:

  That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to create the indictable offence of corporate manslaughter by an undertaking, to create the indictable offence of grossly negligent management causing death by a high managerial agent of the undertaking, and to provide for related matters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill opposed?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Does Deputy O'Brien want to say a few words on the Bill?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Since 2008, there has been over 400 work-related fatalities and the Law Reform Commission, as far back as 2005, identified the need for legislation for the offence of corporate manslaughter. The Bill that my party has produced today is in 13 Parts and it outlines the offence of corporate manslaughter and also the penalties associated with it.

  Question put and agreed to.

Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) (Amendment) Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher I move:

  That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 to allow interchangeability between biologic and biosimilar medical goods.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Does Deputy Kelleher want to say a few words on the Bill?

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher This short Bill would amend the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 in two ways. First, it would allow prescribers, consultants and doctors to choose biosimilar drugs or biologics instead of the existing medicines. The second part of the Bill would allow prescribers to prescribe new diagnosed patients with generic, more affordable medicines instead of the branded products.

  Question put and agreed to.

Ministerial Rota for Parliamentary Questions: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I move:

  That, notwithstanding anything in the Order of the Dáil of 6th May, 2016, setting out the rota in which Questions to members of the Government are to be asked, Questions for oral answer, following those next set down to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, shall be set down to Ministers in the following temporary sequence:
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
whereupon the sequence established by the Order of 6th May, 2016, shall continue with Questions to the Minister for Defence.

  Question put and agreed to.

Membership of Standing Committee of Selection: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I move:

  That, notwithstanding the Order of the Dáil of 19th May, 2016, insofar as it relates to membership of the Committee, the Committee of Selection shall consist of the Ceann Comhairle and nine other members, of whom one each shall be appointed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Independents4Change, the Anti-Austerity Alliance—People Before Profit, the Rural Alliance group and the Social Democrats—Green Party group. Substitutes may be nominated as provided for in Standing Order 95(2), and the Chair of the Working Group of Committee Chairs shall also be a member. The Ceann Comhairle shall announce the names of the members appointed for the information of the Dáil on the first sitting day following their appointment.

  Question put and agreed to.

Adjournment Debate Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 23(3) and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Lisa Chambers - the status of the N5 Westport to Turlough road project in County Mayo; (2) Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin - resourcing the Cavan-Monaghan drug and alcohol awareness services in terms of funding and staffing; (3) Deputy David Cullinane - the need for an urgent and targeted response to the Central Statistics Office's Quarterly Household Survey for Quarter 1 2016 which shows unemployment in the south east at 12.5%; (4) Deputy Eamon Scanlon - irregularities regarding e-mails from publicjobs.ie and the subsequent interview selection process; (5) Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív - the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the delay in upgrading the Galway to Clifden N59 road and resolving the issues with the Oughterard to Maam Cross and the Maam Cross to Clifden sections of the road; (6) Deputy Brian Stanley - the report on the future of services, in particular, emergency department and related services, at Port Laoise regional hospital in County Laois; (7) Deputies Hildegarde Naughton and Catherine Connolly - the need for the continued operation of the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning unit in Galway University Hospital at Merlin Park in County Galway; (8) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the need to implement measures to address and reduce the rapidly escalating costs of motor insurance; (9) Deputy James Browne - issues recently raised by the Mental Health Commission in inspection reports; (10) Deputy Anne Rabbitte - the urgent need for the HSE to expedite the appointment of a paediatric diabetic specialist at University Hospital Galway; (11) Deputy John Brassil - lack of progress on the liquefied natural gas project on Ballylongford landbank in County Kerry; (12) Deputies Dessie Ellis and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire - the funding for the Young Ballymun project and its importance to the local community; (13) Deputy Michael McGrath - the status of Norwegian Air International's efforts to launch a transatlantic service between Cork Airport and the United States of America; (14) Deputies Mick Barry and Margaret Murphy O'Mahony - the proposed increase of the minimum qualifying age under the disability allowance scheme; (15) Deputies Clare Daly and Mick Wallace - the ongoing use of Shannon Airport by the US military and last week's incursion by two peace activists onto the runway at Shannon Airport to inspect US military aircraft; (16) Deputy Pat Deering - the provision for early intervention mental health supports and services in County Carlow; (17) Deputy Joan Collins - the provision of an update on the Brú Aimsir; (18) Deputy Bríd Smith - the docking of workers' payments by Transdev during the ongoing Luas dispute; (19) Deputy Bernard J. Durkan - stalled development of Naas Town Centre in County Kildare; and (20) Deputy Eamon Ryan - changing name of the new Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources to Department of Environment and Communications.

  The matters raised by Deputies Eamon Scanlon, Pat Deering, Bernard J. Durkan and Eamon Ryan have been selected for discussion.

Membership of Standing Committee of Selection

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl For the information of the House, I wish to announce that the following Members have been nominated to sit on the Standing Committee of Selection: Deputy Mick Barry, Deputy Clare Daly, Deputy Regina Doherty, Deputy Noel Grealish, Deputy Michael Moynihan, Deputy Catherine Murphy, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Deputy Brendan Ryan.

Mental Health Services: Statements (Resumed)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Government is in possession. Deputy Heydon, who is the next speaker, is sharing with Deputy Hildegarde Naughton.

Deputy Martin Heydon: Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon I begin by congratulating the Minister of State, Deputy Helen McEntee, on her elevation to the new position of Minister of State with responsibility for mental health and older people. It is an area that the Minister of State has a huge commitment to and a passion for, and I look forward to working with her to help in our necessary improvement of mental health service provision.

  Mental health issues affect all categories of citizen - male and female, young and old, urban or rural. There are no exceptions. However, today I want to focus on young people, specifically those living in County Kildare. Kildare has one of the largest populations of young people in the country and the majority of correspondence that I have received from constituents whom I have engaged with on this issue has come from younger members of the community who feel passionately about this issue and who either have been affected themselves or had close family members or friends affected by mental health issues.

  I believe much of the increased media coverage and discussion about mental health in recent years has been driven by young people who have suffered themselves or know friends or family members who have, and who, therefore, want to speak out about it. For too long mental health issues were not discussed or acknowledged in Ireland even though they have always existed. Bringing the discussion out in the open is one of the first key steps in helping to address these critical issues.

  There are 77,832 persons between the ages of zero and 24 years in County Kildare, accounting for more than one third of the population. As I mentioned, this is one of the highest rates in the country and is also considerably higher than the eastern and midlands average. Research carried out by the Children and Young People's Services Committee found that current service levels in Kildare are not sufficient to meet the needs of the 77,832 young people in the county. However, Kildare has also one of the lowest funded youth services in the country, including those for mental health issues. That same report also highlighted that funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Kildare in 2011 was €13.55 per young person. This was the third lowest per capita allocation in the State. Kildare also has one of the lowest funded mental health services per head of population, and this is just not good enough.

  We have the Lakeview mental health facility in Naas, which is over 25 years old. It is a 29 bed unit that is in real need of significant capital investment. Lakeview, I understand, is constantly at in excess of 100% occupancy. We also have ten beds in Portlaiose taking an overflow of Kildare patients and in addition, in more recent times, we have had to go and use services in Tallaght as well. This has a significant knock-on impact on support services.

  We also do not have enough high support hostel places as step-down facilities from Lakeview, meaning patients struggle to transition from the service following their time at Lakeview. I understand that a proposed investment plan has been submitted for consideration to the Department of Health and I would expect a decision to be taken on this as soon as possible to boost existing services in the county. This investment will be our attempt in Kildare to catch up with the rest of the country. Sometimes I feel that we in Kildare suffer from a presumption of wealth and our close proximity to Dublin. When it comes to mental health services, I believe that perception has damaged us in terms of investment. That must change.

  I was surprised to see in the statistics provided by Mental Health Reform that 75% of mental health difficulties arise before the age of 25. That statistic is frightening, but backs up the need for services for our young people.

  Credit is due to the many organisations providing services, in Kildare and nationally. From the great Samaritans to Pieta House, we have wonderful voluntary elements that are playing their part in providing the support needed to people when they reach out. We also have pilot programmes that need to be extended. Mojo is one such programme in Kildare town. This is a pilot project for men over 18 funded by the National Office of Suicide Prevention, NOSP, which has been very successful to date. While there is a commitment to continue the programme in 2017, the funding available through NOSP is limited and its future cannot be guaranteed. I call on the Minister of State to ensure that Mojo and programmes like it which are serving a real need in the community are continued through the allocation of increased funding.

  The child and adolescent mental health service, CAMHS, in Kildare is simply not fit for purpose.


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