Call for Kerry patients to have surgery in other hospitals
THERE are many people in pain, including 124 people who have appointments for orthopaedic surgery at University Hospital Kerry that are not being fulfilled, Independent Deputy Danny Healy-Rae told the Dáil.
“Many more are waiting to be assessed and are in pain,” he said.
“I ask the Taoiseach to ask the HSE and managers to spread the work around and make appointments in Cork, where there are two hospitals, Limerick and Dublin.”
In response, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the first priority is to have theatres back up and running in Tralee Hospital. “I will pass on to the HSE his suggestion that patients be transferred to other hospitals, whether in Cork, Croom or Limerick, if there is spare capacity,” he said.
The need for action on spiralling insurance costs that are crippling many Kerry businesses was highlighted in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil Deputy John Brassil.
“A consistent question I am asked in constituency clinics and when I meet the people of Kerry is: ‘Why are insurance costs so high?’,” he asked. “They find the costs very difficult to comprehend. They also ask why we, as legislators, cannot do something about it.”
Why are Irish people paying up to four times more than our UK counterparts for minor injuries such as whiplash, he asked. “I believe the very high compensation levels that are available in this country are attracting people inclined to engage in fraud and something needs to be done about that also.”
Deputy Brassil said he believed there is a willingness in the Dáil, once and for all, to tackle this scourge. “The business people, homeowners and law-abiding citizens of this country deserve fair insurance rates,” he said. DELAYS in the payments of Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) to farmers in Kerry were raised in the Dáil by Deputy Michael Healy-Rae. “I came across five farmers whose areas of natural constraint, ANC, payments were held up. These are people who diligently do their paperwork and do everything right. I am not criticising the excellent people working in the Department who are doing their best.”
In response Minister of State Andrew Doyle said he believed more than 90% of the ANC payments have been made but there may be some technical delays. “The green low-carbon agri-environment scheme, GLAS, is the next one due for payment with which there have been problems,” he said. “In the past two years considerable work has been done to deal with some of the technical issues more efficiently. The feedback at the National Ploughing Championships was that farmers were fairly satisfied that if they had a concern, it was being answered as quickly as possible. AFTER some difficult years for An Garda Síochána, the public’s confidence is beginning to return under the new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, and morale is beginning to lift in the force itself, Fianna Fáil Deputy John Brassil told the Dáil.
However, he said numbers are still not at the desired level and in their absence the facility of overtime is needed. “Introducing a blanket ban for the remaining months of 2018 is a blunt instrument that could have devastating effects,” he said. “I ask all parties concerned, the Minister for Justice and Equality, the Government and the Garda Commissioner, to review and reverse this decision and to allow the confidence growing in the force to continue.”
In response, the Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan said the Garda budget is a matter primarily for the Garda Commissioner himself.
“The Garda budget is of the order of €1.6 billion,” he said. “Out of that, less than €100 million is the bill for the overtime budget. The Garda Commissioner said in his initial public comment three weeks ago that he was going to look at the Garda budget. That is what he is doing. I keep in regular contact with him and with the Garda representative associations. I look forward to completing the ongoing ambitious programme for recruitment in An Garda Síochána.” THERE is nothing wrong with promoting alcohol in moderation, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae told the Dáil. Speaking on the Public Health (Alcohol Bill) 2015, he said. “To say it is wrong for sporting organisations to get advertising sponsorship from drinks groups is more rubbish,” he said.
“If the drinks industry has money, wants to advertise and is willing to support a local club or team, I see nothing in the world wrong with that. It is perfectly above board. It is wrong to try to make that illegal. It would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I do not agree with it. That has been the practice for many years. If young people who are of an age want to have a drink and act responsibly, there is nothing wrong with that. If they want to join the local pioneers and be a member of the pioneer association, that is fine too. People have choices to make in life.”
If the link is broken between sports sponsorship and the drinks industry and those involved in the alcohol business, where will the money come from to fund local clubs that have been relying on sponsorship from drinks advertising, he asked.
“Who is going to make up the shortfall? There is nothing wrong with advertising alcohol. It is the same as advertising any other product. It is not an illegal product. There is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation.”
Deputy John Brassil
Deputy Danny Healy-Rae
Deputy Michael Healy Rae
Concern at delays in payments to Kerry farmers
Nothing wrong with promoting alcohol in moderation
Call to review overtime ban by Garda Commissioner
Spiralling insurance claims crippling Kerry businesses