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Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 971 No. 1

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  3 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy] These are vulnerable people. As the Taoiseach swans around New York giving out U2 tickets, he seems to have little realisation of the problem on his doorstep at home. I challenge the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, to pick up the phone today to instruct the HSE not to close those centres, end of story. I demand that the Minister of State does this without further delay.

Deputy Mary Butler: Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler I also want to raise this issue. There are many people in those homes who suffer with dementia. There are 55,000 people in Ireland with dementia. A recent mapping exercise was carried out by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the HSE to pinpoint exactly what services are available in Ireland. The report shows evidence that there is inequality of services nationally. Unfortunately, Roscommon is suffering badly as a result of this inequity. The closure of the Rosalie unit will cause further hardship for the people in that area who have dementia.

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputies for raising the issue. I am not privy to what happened at that meeting on Friday but Deputy Eugene Murphy will know that I have met the local Oireachtas Members on numerous occasions. As far as I am concerned the situation has not changed. The future of the Rosalie unit will be determined by the outcome of the clinical assessment of the 12 remaining residents who are there.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy That is not what we are looking for at all.

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I am waiting for that clinical assessment to be completed. We have also undertaken to have it independently reviewed by the College of Psychiatry. That continues to be my sole focus, as it has been from day one. It is not about the politics or who said what. It is about the well-being of the 12 remaining residents. The only guidance I will take on this issue is clinical guidance and I await the result of the clinical assessment before any decision is taken on the future of the unit.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The HSE is an agent of the Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I am sorry, Deputy Murphy-----

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Will the Minister of State instruct the HSE? These are vulnerable people.

Deputy Niamh Smyth: Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth In the health section of the programme for Government on page 5 the Government has given a commitment "to increase access to safe, timely care, as close to patients’ homes as possible". In The Northern Standard last March the Taoiseach is quoted as saying that he wanted to see more people using the minor injuries units in hospitals such as Monaghan Hospital to lessen the pressure on our accident and emergency departments in Cavan General Hospital. In 2011, however, the HSE reduced the hours of the minor injuries unit in Monaghan Hospital to a service offering no night service and no weekend service, when of course it is needed most. This is a big mistake in my view and that of constituents. The Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, visited the constituency and the hospital on Saturday. I am disappointed that he did not invite other Oireachtas Members to meet him on that visit.

  Two weeks prior to that visit, Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on health, Deputy Donnelly, also came to the hospital and I am sure the message that the Minister got was the same one we received, namely, that the hours of the unit need to be expanded. We have the facilities and the capacity to do so for both Monaghan Hospital and the minor injuries unit. Will the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, extend the hours beyond office hours?

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I will relay this point back to the Minister. As the Deputy has said, the Minister has visited that facility and is well aware of the request to extend the hours. There are a number of concerns in this regard, with patient safety being foremost. That is the most important consideration in any changes. I will undertake to ask the Minister to get back to the Deputy on the issue.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae Farmers' incomes are under threat again. No grass is growing and many farmers are grazing their herds on second cut silage. Many are using first cut silage for feed. Farmers are feeding costly meals and rations daily.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Are we on to climate change now?

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae When the Tánaiste was the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, he told farmers to increase production of milk. He even told the farmers that the Chinese population would drink it. All farmers now, however, are in a tight corner. I ask the Tánaiste, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, and the Government to secure feed from abroad for this winter. Farmers do not have it, or they will not have it, and there will be a fodder crisis like never before. Nothing is left since last winter. I ask the Government to act in time to protect farmers and their incomes.

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney This is a serious issue. Ireland looks very different now from what it normally looks like at this time of year. The Deputy is aware that grass growth is dramatically less than it normally would be, especially along the southern quarter of the country. If one looks at the science of the grass growth curve, how it looks this year compared with a normal grazing season is quite dramatic.


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