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 Header Item Financial Resolution No. 7 - General: Motion (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2020: Message from Select Committee

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan] That is an integral part of delivering the health services we require in this country in the future.

We also need to do more in the area of special needs provision. We have taken action to a certain extent in this regard but we need to continue on that path. Children with special needs will continue to have those needs regardless of any ups and downs in the economy. Sadly, over the period of the pandemic, there has been a serious impact on the assessment of special needs. I hope that in the course of the budget debate, it will be possible to address those particular issues.

We have spoken about mental health issues many times in this House and we all know that addressing that area of need does not get any easier as time goes on. The requirement is still there and we must continue to invest in that particular area to a greater extent than was ever the case in the past. Mental health provision has always been regarded as the Cinderella of the health services and that is indeed what is has been. Child mental health provision is an issue that is becoming more urgent as time goes by. It is something on which there must and will be a focus in the coming years, notwithstanding the pressures of Covid and Brexit. I recall a response I received some years ago to a parliamentary question regarding children who had self-harmed on numerous occasions, which informed me that there were often attendant issues for the children in question in terms of their household or their community. Those issues can, must and, I hope, will be addressed in the not too distant future.

One should always make reference to one's constituency and I take this opportunity to refer to the DART+ project which is coming towards us at a good rate. I have asked the Minister to consider whether it can be extended further into areas such as Kilcock and Enfield, which would be of huge benefit in providing alternative transport in the future for people living in the commuter belt. Local infrastructure is an issue that must be taken into consideration in this regard. Where more houses are being built to accommodate a growing housing need, there must be road networks to facilitate connectivity between road and rail services to provide the necessary wherewithal to enable people to get to where they need to go.

My last point concerns education, which has been challenged like every other sector of society over the past 12 months and particularly in the past six months. The budget offers a fairly shrewd and good assessment of what is required in this area. I believe it will produce the results that are needed as long as we remain constant in what we are trying to do in terms of both Covid and Brexit.

Debate adjourned.

Estimates for Public Services 2020: Message from Select Committee

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly The Select Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands has completed its consideration of Vote 42 for the year ending 31 December 2020.

  The Dáil adjourned at 9.55 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 15 October 2020.

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