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 Header Item Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 6
Unrevised

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan] As well as the cities we must build up, more than anything else we must address our 19th century market towns. A strategic question has been asked of whether we let them wither on the vine or if we bring people and life back into their centre and create vibrant communities. That is what this Government is going to do.

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I have 34 names and I do not think we will get through them all. Rather than have me interrupting Deputies all the time, I ask Members for their co-operation in refraining from making statements and simply putting their question.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, is hell-bent on introducing a shared equity scheme that will only push up house prices. The Minister, Deputy Ryan, knows, as we all do, that a whole generation is locked out of home ownership because of the prices that are being charged for houses. It is not just Sinn Féin that is saying the scheme will push up house prices. The most senior official in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is saying the property industry is lobbying for this because it will push up house prices and line the pockets of developers. It is the developers who lobbied for this scheme. The reason we know that is that they lobbied Sinn Féin as well. We told them to sling their hook because we knew it would lock in high prices. However, they went over to Government Buildings and got a friendly ear in the form of the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien. It is not just Sinn Féin and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, but the Central Bank and the ESRI are all singing the same tune, that this policy is reckless and will push up house prices and it should not happen.

The Minister, Deputy Ryan, as leader of the Green Party, was very clear. He committed to pushing back on inflationary demand-side interventions in the home purchase market. The Green Party states in its policy document that these are essentially social transfers from taxpayers to developers and builders which are paid through increased house prices. How can the Minister reconcile that the Green Party is rolling over and allowing this Minister to introduce a policy that everybody knows is going to increase house prices?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly We are over time. I call on the Minister to respond.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty The warnings are there for the Minister and his party to see.

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Deputy Doherty is right. We have to make sure this does not push up prices. That is why the ESRI rightly stated at the Oireachtas joint committee that the targeting of any market intervention is critical and that we must make sure we get this right. The key to getting it right is also what this Government is delivering after a lot of talk and promises over the years when nothing was ever delivered. It is the development of cost-rental solutions, which I believe should be central to addressing the housing crisis. The key benefit of these solutions as an intervention is that they intervene in the market to bring prices down. This approach is not developer-led; the housing is still retained in public ownership and it is social housing done in a new way. It is open to everyone. The shared equity scheme is being discussed and advanced with care to make sure it does not create further market pressures and price rises.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I thank the Minister.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan We are progressing and have advanced cost-rental solutions like the one in Shanganagh on the way to Bray.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I am moving on.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I believe that will be the mainstay of the-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly If we do not co-operate, nobody is going to get in. I know it is difficult. I call Deputy Alan Kelly.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I will ask the Minister about the revised reprioritisation of the vaccine roll-out through the national immunisation advisory committee, NIAC. Broadly speaking, I welcome the decision, but issues arise and I want to flag them so they are nipped in the bud. In response, I want the Minister to guarantee that this will happen.

Dr. Keith Swanick in Mayo has outlined how he and a neighbouring GP received no vaccines but another neighbouring GP received 420 vaccines, despite having only 45 to 50 patients aged over 85. That cannot work out. More alarmingly, my colleague, Deputy Howlin, informed me this morning that in Wexford a childcare provider, who possibly put some pressure on the HSE, got all her staff vaccinated. These are young people in their 20s, 30s and possibly 40s. If what I have outlined in those two examples is going to continue, the public will have serious issues.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I thank the Deputy.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Will the Minister please engage and ensure the Government irons out these issues?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly Go raibh maith ag an Teachta.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly We cannot have such anomalies happening. It is not equitable.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I will commit to that. We listened to what Dr. Swanick said with real care because he was in the centre of a flare-up of cases in Belmullet, so I can well understand his frustration. I spoke earlier to Deputy Catherine Murphy about the changes to the vaccine roll-out process. This week, there was a further iteration or variation when it was decided that those people at very high risk with underlying conditions would be brought up the order and those at high risk would similarly be brought up. That was done on good, scientific health advice. We must follow such advice as the medics are best placed to make the call on that. My understanding is that the GP system is working effectively, although there may be variations and cases where there are problems. I can cite an example of people I know where one would do it different but it is not just GPs as pharmacists will be rowing in.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I thank the Minister. I call Deputy Cairns.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I will take that advice.

Deputy Holly Cairns: Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns It is essential to extend the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes so people can seek a judicial review, if required. That is a legal entitlement. It would allow the Director of Public Prosecutions to continue its investigation. If any testimonies are not recovered, survivors can seek a remedy under the general data protection regulation, GDPR, as required by EU law.

Yesterday, the Government passed the Social Democrats motion to extend the commission but it will not do it. We all know this is a cynical move to avoid the optics of Government Deputies voting against extending the commission. The Government can simply ignore it until the commission dissolves on Sunday. It is unbelievable, cynical and beyond disappointing. I do not know how the Minister will square that with the electorate, survivors or himself, but the legislation is ready to go. Will the Minister please change his approach and honour the motion that was already passed in the interests of justice and democracy?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I did not hear the interview but I understand the Data Protection Commissioner, DPC, was on the radio this morning and she indicated she would continue to work with the relevant designated data authorities for the records of the 550 or so survivors. I believe the approach the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O'Gorman, has taken has been correct and appropriate, which it must be.

Deputy Holly Cairns: Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns The House passed a motion yesterday, which the Government has no intention of honouring.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The key point we want to honour is those 550 survivors and their ability to get access to data.

Deputy Holly Cairns: Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns They cannot take a case against a non-entity.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly Deputy Cairns should not interrupt. She is using up time. Please allow the Minister to reply.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan People are always entitled to a judicial review but the Minister's focus is correctly on making sure that the data, which are the subject of real concern, are accessible in a way that is appropriate and is in compliance with the DPC.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly I thank the Minister. I am moving on.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan He is doing that, which is the key thing he must do.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett The Government's gratitude for the heroic work our healthcare workers have done to protect us all during Covid was revealed as thoroughly hollow when it voted down the People Before Profit motion in October to pay student nurses and midwives for their work on placements. What the Government did promise was a review of their allowances. The review offered them an absolutely pathetic €100 a week, but even that has not been paid. It was supposed to be backdated, but student nurses and midwives have not got a cent. Now they are concerned that they may be punished because the cancellation of placements in January may have to be fitted in outside the college term at another point in the year. That is an absolute disgrace.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan I will check and revert to the Deputy on when that payment was due, why it has not proceeded and if payment was due, why it has not come through. The Government's approach is to make sure that we retain a good nurse education training system. I believe we made the correct decision strategically as a country some years ago to introduce a degree course for nurses. As I understand, the international assessment of nursing training, education and skills development shows us to be very high quality. It is a system that works.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Student nurses are living in poverty.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan No one should accept that, but in addressing it we do not want to dismantle a system that is a good one by international standards. I am open to correction on that.

Deputy Matt Shanahan: Information on Matt Shanahan Zoom on Matt Shanahan I ask the Government to consider a new beef exceptional aid measures, BEAM, scheme to support beef finishers and beef farmers. They are facing catastrophic losses bringing their product to market because of falling prices at factory gates and reduced demand on the Continent due to Covid.


Last Updated: 26/03/2021 11:51:37 First Page Previous Page Page of 74 Next Page Last Page