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 Header Item Housing (Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability) Bill 2018: First Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018: First Stage
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2018: Motion
 Header Item Pre-European Council Meeting: Statements

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 976 No. 5

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frank O'Rourke: Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke] This is hugely important for those involved. They need to have this work done on their homes. It can be a difficult and traumatic time for them and it is very sensitive for families.

This is an important Bill. The funding is in place in local authorities so no additional cost will be imposed. It is about making the system more transparent, efficient and effective and helping those in need to get meaningful and timely access to the funding. We do not propose any major changes to the current process, we propose only to make it more efficient and pragmatic. I hope we get the support of the House for the Bill. It is end-user driven and that is who it seeks to help. It seeks to provide easier access to decisions and outcomes. No additional cost will be imposed on applicants who are already engaging with the occupational therapist in the community or hospital setting. As such, applicants get the recommendations from professionals who are registered and tax compliant. The proposed legislation is therefore above board and in keeping with the current system and seeks simply to create efficiencies.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the Bill opposed?

Deputy Tony McLoughlin: Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

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

  Question put and agreed to.

Treatment of Cancer (Advertisements) Bill 2018: First Stage

Deputy Kate O'Connell: Information on Kate O'Connell Zoom on Kate O'Connell I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide, in the interests of the common good, for the prohibition of certain advertisements relating to the treatment of cancer and to provide for related matters.

This Bill seeks to provide greater protection for patients who receive cancer diagnoses and are then inundated in this most vulnerable moment with communications from people seeking to sell them treatments or claims of cures. The origins of the Bill lie in the concerns of the cancer care community. There is growing concern among clinicians who see the effects of false claims due to a lack of regulation in the area. There are no adequate safeguards in place to address unproven and, at times, dangerous suggested cures or treatments which are pushed on those who receive cancer diagnoses. The Bill proposes provisions to prosecute those who are making large sums of money by peddling things they claim can cure cancer when there is no evidence to support those claims. These people are selling treatments which, at best, have no effect whatsoever but which at their worst increase pain and suffering and often hasten death. It is not the patient who will be found at fault under the proposals in the Bill, rather it will be those who profit from promoting products of dubious or dangerous composition or efficacy. Anyone who advertises a treatment or therapy that has been proven to be effective will be exempt from prosecution under the Bill. Likewise, doctors, nurses and others working in the field of oncology or cancer care will be exempt also. Similarly, patient access to clinical trials will not be affected, nor will emerging research and study in the fields of cancer research, clinical care or treatment.

  Many medical professionals have been calling for this legislation for some time as they have watched patients pursue pathways that can seriously interfere with their medical treatment. There is no end to the sad and frightening stories oncologists, nurses, families, patients and dieticians working in this area have to tell. RTÉ's "Prime Time" with Conor Wilson did great work to expose some of these practices in a special programme which aired some weeks ago. It was an excellent example of public service broadcasting in the truest sense, notwithstanding the deeply upsetting narrative. It is for the people we may know who are going through cancer treatment and the people we have lost that this Bill is presented to the House. I urge the Opposition to support the Bill and I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the opportunity to introduce it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I express my strong support for the Private Member's Bill proposed by Deputy Kate O'Connell. We have seen enormous improvements in cancer care in Ireland over the past few decades with the result that more people with cancer now survive than die. We will continue to see improvements in that regard as screening and prevention improve and as we make improvements to our cancer care centres. However, I share the real concern about the exploitation of many people who are sick with cancer by those offering cures and treatments which do not work along with various other false health claims. They do so for profit and abuse immensely vulnerable people. As such, the legislation is timely and I welcome the fact that it is on First Stage today.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the Bill opposed?

Deputy Tony McLoughlin: Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

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

  Question put and agreed to.

Estimates for Public Services 2018: Motion

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I move the following Supplementary Estimates:



Vote 12 - Superannuation and Retired Allowances (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for pensions, superannuation, occupational injuries, and additional and other allowances and gratuities under the Superannuation Acts 1834 to 2004 and sundry other statutes; extra-statutory pensions, allowances and gratuities awarded by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, fees to medical referees and occasional fees to doctors; compensation and other payments in respect of personal injuries; fees to Pensions Authority and other professional fees, miscellaneous payments, etc.
Vote 13 – Office of Public Works (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €20,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 2018 for the salaries and expenses of the Office of Public Works, for services administered by that Office and for payment of certain grants and for the recoupment of certain expenditure.
Vote 20 – Garda Síochána (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €59,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Garda Síochána, including pensions, etc.; for the payment of certain witnesses’ expenses, and for payment of certain grants.
Vote 21 – Prisons (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €10,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Prison Service, and other expenses in connection with prisons, including places of detention, and for payment of certain grants.
Vote 22 – Courts (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Courts Service and of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Special Criminal Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court and of certain other minor services as are not charged to the Central Fund.
Vote 24 – Justice and Equality (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €8,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Probation Service staff and of certain other services including payments under cash-limited schemes administered by that Office, and payment of certain grants.
Vote 26 – Education and Skills (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €181,700,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Education and Skills, for certain services administered by that Office, and for the payments of certain grants.
Vote 27 – International Co-operation (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €15,350,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for certain Official Development Assistance, including certain grants, and for contributions to certain International Organisations involved in Development Assistance and for salaries and expenses in connection therewith.
Vote 30 – Agriculture, Food & the Marine (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, including certain services administered by that Office, and of the Irish Land Commission and for payment of certain grants and subsidies and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes and the remediation of Haulbowline Island.
Vote 31 – Transport, Tourism and Sport (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €43,500,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, including certain services administered by that Office, for payment of certain grants and certain other services.
Vote 32 – Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €1,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, including certain services administered by that Office, for the payment of certain subsidies and grants and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes.
Vote 34 – Housing, Planning and Local Government (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €130,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, including grants to Local Authorities, grants and other expenses in connection with housing, water services, miscellaneous schemes, subsidies and grants.
Vote 35 – Army Pensions (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €3,500,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for retired pay, pensions, compensation, allowances and gratuities payable under sundry statutes to or in respect of members of the Defence Forces and certain other Military Organisations, etc., and for sundry contributions and expenses in connection therewith; for certain extra-statutory children's allowances and other payments and for sundry grants.
Vote 37 – Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €139,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, for certain services administered by that Office, for payment to the Social Insurance Fund and for certain grants.
Vote 38 – Health (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €655,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Health and certain other services administered by that Office, including grants to the Health Service Executive and miscellaneous grants.
Vote 40 – Children and Youth Affairs (Supplementary)
That a supplementary sum not exceeding €23,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year on the 31st day of December, 2018, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, for certain services administered by that Office and for the payment of grants including certain grants under cash-limited schemes."

  Votes put and agreed to.

Pre-European Council Meeting: Statements

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Tomorrow and Friday, I will attend a meeting of the European Council in Brussels and a meeting of the euro summit. On Thursday afternoon, we will focus on the multi-annual financial framework and follow that work with a discussion on external relations in the evening. On Friday, the meeting will begin with a discussion of citizen consultation on the future of Europe followed by an exchange on the Single Market. The euro summit will take place at lunchtime. Other issues to be discussed include migration, the challenge posed by large-scale disinformation, the fight against racism, xenophobia and climate change. I will focus my remarks today on the Single Market, migration, disinformation and external relations as well as on the euro summit. The Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, will speak about the other European Council issues in greater detail in her statement. However, I will turn first to Brexit, which we will also discuss in Brussels on Thursday in Article 50 format.

The UK Government has postponed the planned vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons and there have been further developments this morning within the Conservative Party. As I said before, the withdrawal agreement, of which the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, including the backstop, is an integral part, has been endorsed by the European Union and agreed with the UK Government. Therefore, it carries the support of 28 Governments. It is the result of over 20 months of complicated technical negotiations and represents a carefully balanced compromise among 28 states. It is the best possible deal to protect the European Union's interests and those of the United Kingdom to ensure an orderly withdrawal and it cannot be renegotiated. The European Union and the 27 member states are united on this. We should not forget that the backstop is not just an Irish issue. It is there to prevent the emergency of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland but it is also there to protect the Single Market and ensure that an open Irish border does not become a back door to the European Union. As such, it is a European issue too.

We should recall that a UK-wide backstop rather than a Northern Ireland specific one was included at the request of the UK Government. It is important to bear in mind that the United Kingdom took the decision to leave the European Union and thereafter the UK Government set out a number of red lines, including no customs union, no Single Market, no free movement of people and no recognition of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The agreement we reached was achieved, working around the constraints, by drawing around the UK's red lines. The European Union has always stated that if the United Kingdom's approach to the future relationship evolves and the red lines are erased, we will be willing to take that into account in the negotiations on the future relationship treaty in accordance, of course, with our guidelines and based on the balance between rights and obligations.


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