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Varadkar, Leo

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

All of us in the House will acknowledge and know that cervical cancer is a terrible disease that causes the death of many women and results in life-changing surgery for many others. We also know t...More Button

We will do so in three ways, namely, promoting the uptake of the HPV vaccine by girls; extending the HPV vaccine to boys, as we intend to do this year; and improving cervical screening by moving ...More Button

The free out-of-cycle smear tests were offered because a large number of women were concerned that their smear tests were wrong. They sought reassurance from their GPs and the helpline, and a de...More Button

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

I acknowledge that the people who built and ran CervicalCheck for a period did a good job. I remember the time before CervicalCheck, when women would present much later with a much more advanced d...More Button

-----that had significant retrospection bias, and they did not share the information about the audit with the women who were affected.More Button

I regret that Deputy Martin did not acknowledge that in his comments because, while they did a good job, they did something very wrong in not disclosing that information to patients. I understand ...More Button

I understood they did after the event.More Button

The HSE finalised the report of a look-back paediatric audiology services review for the Mayo-Roscommon area for 2011 to 2012 in June last year. It was shared with all 49 affected families in acco...More Button

In December last year, the HSE recalled a further 57 who were identified during the look-back process. The HSE has indicated that this group had an appropriate audiology assessment and the heari...More Button

With regard to other community healthcare areas, only CHO 2 and CHO 5 have had clinical risks identified, requiring a formal look-back review into paediatric cases. The HSE is proceeding with a ...More Button

Who is responsible for it? Obviously it is the clinician who made the mistake, carried out the hearing tests and either failed to diagnose or ensure the children and people affected had the proper...More Button

-----or, having diagnosed the hearing loss, did not ensure the patients affected had the appropriate follow-up. The problem was identified internally. The HSE assistant clinical lead for audiolog...More Button

There are appropriate professional bodies that register people and that can sanction them by striking them off.More Button

The Deputy is aware that VAT is quite a complicated tax. It derives not just from the EU VAT directive but also from national legislation. There are different VAT rates for different foods, for e...More Button

Given his experience in government, the Deputy will be well aware that very often there are arguments about which VAT rate should be applied to which product or service. The Deputy will recall the...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I believe our duty as a Government and as politicians is to make sure that we pass our planet on to our children and grandchildren in a better state than we found it and that m...More Button

On this particular issue, the Deputy has it wrong in terms of climate action, energy security and the economy. The truth is that we will need natural gas and oil as transition fuels for the fore...More Button

Perhaps the Deputy would like that, but it is my view that it is wrong-headed. If we have our own natural gas we should use it and should not be dependent on Russia, countries in the Middle East a...More Button

I note the Deputy did not actually address any of my substantive arguments around climate science, around-----More Button

I note the Deputy did not answer any of my substantive arguments around climate science, import substitution-----More Button

-----and energy security.More Button

Her question was entirely a procedural question. As the Deputy should be well aware, the procedures of a committee-----More Button

-----are a matter for the committee. If the Deputy has a question for the Chairman of the committee-----More Button

-----that question should surely be addressed to the Chairman.More Button

The Deputy should try to be constructive around the issue of climate change and climate action. I understand that she offended the Senators at the committee, which is one of the reasons she found ...More Button

As is always the case, the far left does not actually want to solve any problems. They want to politicise problems so that they can get airtime, attention, likes, retweets and all of the rest of it.More Button

I advise the Deputy to work harder, to be respectful and polite to colleagues, to try to build support for her Bill, to try to build a coalition for it-----More Button

-----and to work much harder at the Joint Committee on Climate Action on the issue of carbon tax. The truth is that the far left has no interest in climate change. It just wants to do this stuff.More Button

The Deputy does not care about the environment, she should stop pretending.More Button

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Táim buíoch as an deis seo chun ómós a thabhairt do cheann dár mBaill a thug seirbhís den chéad scoth sa Teach seo, le 24 bliain. Ba pholaiteoir iontach é an t-iarTheachta Donal Creed a d’oibrigh ...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

That is a matter for the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne. There was an increase in funding for social inclusion and addiction services provided for in budget 2019. The increases are pro...More Button

I do not agree that it is a misuse of taxpayers' money. The amount spent last year by the public health service on agency staff was €300 million. It is a lot of money, but it represents 4% of pay...More Button

Agency staff are often used to cover for staff on sick leave and maternity leave and overtime. Often, it is our own staff who work in agencies who are working overtime. Notwithstanding the fact t...More Button

I understand the Netherlands permits the export of cannabis dried herb, but it does not permit the commercial export of oil-based cannabis formulations, which is why we cannot import them. Dutch l...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

They have had extensive recent discussions with both our Danish and UK counterparts and are now in contact with a number of potential suppliers. The discussions may take some time to produce a res...More Button

Much as I would like to be involved, I am not really involved in deciding which advertisements should be shown on television and which should not.More Button

I have received Deputy Mattie McGrath's correspondence which I have passed on to the Road Safety Authority. I have asked that it reply to him directly.More Button

It is. The Deputy should read the legislation.More Button

The last time Fianna Fáil was in government nearly 1,000 post offices were closed across the country.More Button

The situation is the same as it was then. Governments do not decide which post offices should be closed. It is not a Government decision, but there are post offices that are not viable.More Button

They do not have enough business or footfall to be sustainable. There is a system in place to allow decisions on closures to be reviewed if the post offices are viable.More Button

On the issue of haulage, what we trying to achieve in securing ratification of the withdrawal agreement is a transition period to the end of 2020 during which nothing will change at ports. However...More Button

Is the Deputy asking me to open factories?More Button

It is a matter for the factories, but we are available to assist in any way we can.More Button

I did not hear the Minister's remarks so I cannot really comment on them. None of those projects is being deferred or delayed as a result of the consequences of the escalating costs of the nationa...More Button

I understand that the heads of Bill are currently being drafted but they will have to be sent to the Mental Health Commission, which will be consulted. This may cause a delay.More Button

I am not responsible for the price of beef but I do know that the Minister of State, Deputy Doyle, will be in Kerry on Monday and he will meet with the farm organisations on these issues.More Button

The number of patients on trolleys this morning was 326. That is a 20% reduction on this time last year. We know from January that the numbers were at their lowest for maybe three years. It look...More Button

The Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, is working on that legislation and we expect to have it published this year.More Button

I cannot give the Deputy a date but recognise that this is a real issue and a point well made. It is very important that people who have a disability are able to use public transport, which is not...More Button

I record my congratulations to Philip Lane on his pending appointment as chief economist at the European Central Bank.More Button

It is a very important role and Mr. Lane will be one of only six people on the executive board. It is good to have an Irish person among the six key decision makers at the European Central Bank. ...More Button

Departmental Operations

Was asked: if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service reform division of his Department.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service reform division of his Department.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service division of his Department.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.More Button

The role of the social policy and public service reform division is to assist me as Taoiseach and the Government in delivering on the programme for Government objective of public policies and ser...More Button

The division also promotes the Civil Service renewal programme, including the Civil Service Management Board, and assists in the delivery of Our Public Service 2020 through membership of the Publ...More Button

In addition, a policing reform implementation programme office has recently been established within the division. The office will drive the implementation of the policing reform plan entitled, A...More Button

Departmental Operations (Continued)

On the initial question Deputy Howlin asked on health, I have not seen any of the emails he mentioned. I presume they are emails between officials rather than emails to which I was a party-----More Button

-----so I am unable to comment on their content. However, the monitoring of the capital plan, the national development plan and the implementation and delivery of Project Ireland 2040 is done by b...More Button

I will have to get an update on the Open Government Partnership for Deputy Howlin. He was very enthusiastic about it when he was a Minister and we were making progress on it, but I am not up-to-...More Button

The Government's policy on housing is to increase the stock of social housing, and we are doing that. It is the best way to reduce reliance on rent supplements and HAP into the future. It has t...More Button

The other half consisted of voids brought back into use, houses purchased by local authorities or affordable housing bodies and houses that were leased for the long term. This represents a very co...More Button

In talking about the budget mix, we always need to bear in mind the difference between capital and current. As a long-term investment, building or purchasing houses and adding them to the social...More Button

Regarding Owen Keegan's comments the other day, I do not believe that anyone chooses to be homeless. Certainly, I do not think any children are homeless by choice. There are really two main cau...More Button

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

Was asked: if he has met church leaders recently.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meetings with church leaders.More Button

Was asked: if he has held recent meetings with representatives of churches and faith communities as part of the church-State structured dialogue process.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on recent or planned meetings with church leaders.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 7, inclusive, together.

  On 25 August 2018 I met Pope Francis during his visit to Dublin Castle. The meeting provided an opportunity for u...More Button

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements (Continued)

I agree with Deputy Micheál Martin's comments about the vital role that the clergy, the Catholic Church and other churches played in helping to bring about the peace process in Northern Ireland. I...More Button

If we end up with a no-deal scenario in a few weeks' time - that is, no-deal without an extension, which I assume is what the Deputy means, although there could be a no-deal with an extension - w...More Button

If we end up in a no-deal scenario without an extension, it will create a difficult dilemma for Ireland, the United Kingdom and the EU. The UK will be bound to implement World Trade Organisation...More Button

I had the opportunity to meet members of the Jewish community in the past couple of weeks with Maurice Cohen, head of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, and the Chief Rabbi at a public...More Button

On the divestment programme for schools, parents of preschool children are being surveyed in a number of schools to find out what they want. I agree that we need to accelerate the programme of d...More Button

On the mother and baby homes, the commission of investigation has informed the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that it is conducting geophysical testing on the burial grounds located on t...More Button

On DNA, a new unit has been established in the Minister's Department to work on the legislation required to implement the Government's decision on the site of the former mother and baby home in T...More Button

In response to Deputy McDonald's request to begin collecting DNA samples of survivors and relatives, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Zappone, has asked Dr. Geoffrey Shannon to...More Button

Cabinet Committee Meetings

Was asked: if a meeting of Cabinet committee D, infrastructure, which deals with climate change was held on 31 January 2019.More Button

Was asked: when Cabinet committee D, infrastructure, last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again.More Button

Was asked: when Cabinet committee D, infrastructure, last met; and when it will meet again.More Button

Was asked: if Cabinet committee D, infrastructure, met on 31 January 2019.More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee D, infrastructure, will next meet.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 to 12, inclusive, together.More Button

Cabinet committee D works to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the delivery and ongoing development of policy on infrastructure investment and delivery, housing and climate action. The committee...More Button

Significant work is under way across each of the areas covered by the committee through Government Departments and agencies and a range of interdepartmental groups such as the climate action high...More Button

Significant progress is being made on the implementation and delivery of Project Ireland 2040. Through the National Planning Framework, it sets out our strategic 20-year vision for Ireland’s fut...More Button

The Land Development Agency, another cornerstone initiative of Project Ireland 2040, was established on an interim basis in September and is working to ensure the optimum management of State land...More Button

We are aware of the significant challenge in meeting housing demand and tackling the ongoing issues in the housing market. For this reason, budget 2019 provided an increase of 25% in the housing...More Button

Cabinet Committee Meetings (Continued)

I am glad that Deputy Micheál Martin took the time to study the website and spreadsheets. I have not done it myself for some time. It is clear that they are out of date and need to be updated and...More Button

Obviously I was wrong. I should have checked them. We will get them updated; they should be updated.More Button

In respect of the impact Project Ireland 2040 and the national development plan, NDP, will have on climate change we estimate that implementing the NDP will get us approximately one third of the ...More Button

Yes of course there are people who will argue that some aspects of the national development plan will contribute to climate change such as, for example, the expansion under way at our regional airp...More Button

Derry and Letterkenny developing together as a city region is very much a feature of Project Ireland 2040. The Government has provided funding already to the North West Strategic Growth Partners...More Button

On the reprofiling of capital projects, or savings, whatever people want to call them, I am happy to clarify again, roughly €100 million has been reprofiled out of a capital budget this year of m...More Button

  Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.More Button

  Sitting suspended at 2.45 p.m. and resumed at 3.45 p.m.  More Button

Confidence in the Minister for Health: Motion (Continued)

Without a doubt, being the Minister for Health is one of the toughest jobs in government.More Button

It is also one of the most important jobs in the country because it affects so many lives. It is also good experience for higher office. It helps one to understand what a crisis is and what it is...More Button

It is noteworthy that three of the four main party leaders in the Dáil are former Ministers for Health. The other Member who is proposing this motion has never held ministerial office and has no r...More Button

-----whether it is being pressurised to act before one has full and accurate information, or being expected to make decisions before one has the time to consider all the options, and having to choo...More Button

If the Deputies in Sinn Féin had any real experience of running a country, Department, large organisation or even small business, they would not be so trigger happy with their no-confidence motions...More Button

I have confidence in the Minister for Health for many reasons. He is getting things done, including a successful referendum on the eighth amendment, the Public Health (Alcohol) Act and, after year...More Button

I also have confidence in the national children's hospital project. Major errors were made in calculating the true cost of building a hospital of this scale and complexity and, as Head of Govern...More Button

I also have confidence in Project Ireland 2040. One year after its launch, many projects are coming in on time and on budget. Shovels are in the ground and the work is being done. All over the...More Button

On Friday, I will be in Sligo for the sod-turning to mark the construction of the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin road, another project which was promised for decades and is now under construction. ...More Button

Schools, community nursing units, third level institutions, primary care centres, tourism projects and sporting facilities are being funded.More Button

We hear a great deal about accountability in the House. At its simplest, accountability is about taking responsibility and answering for one's actions. Accountability does not mean giving in to...More Button

We saw that in November 2017 when Sinn Féin put down a motion of no confidence in the then Tánaiste, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, accusing her of being at the centre of a scandal. Sinn Féin made fal...More Button

It was also true when Sinn Féin tried to weaponise homelessness and personalise the debates around housing against the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy. It...More Button

Motor Insurance Costs

Was asked: the way in which the CSO acquires data on the price of motor insurance; and if staff working for the office identify themselves as a representatives of the CSO when requesting such data from a comp...More Button

Tender Process

Was asked: the status of the tender process for the replacement of the CASA maritime patrol aircraft; when it is expected that a preferred aircraft will be identified; the sum of money allocated for the repla...More Button

Irish Language

Was asked: the progress made on implementing all aspects of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 that are relevant to his Department and bodies under his remit; and if he will make a statemen...More Button