Haughey, Charles J.

Wednesday, 17 May 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 306 No. 8

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Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Saccharine Control .

: The question of the potential hazards to human health arising from saccharine consumption was referred to the EEC Scientific Committee for Food for their advice in 1977. The committee thought that ...More Button

: Yes.More Button

: As soon as these consultations which are proceeding are finished.More Button

: Yes, possibly.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - NESC Report .

: I am aware of the contents of this report.More Button

: I do not think there is any question of either accepting or rejecting the report at this stage. The Government issued a statement when the report was published. According to my reading of the repo...More Button

: I did not catch the Deputy's opening remarks—I am sorry.More Button

: I do not think that is claimed in the report.More Button

: Not as I read it.More Button

: In any event, according to my reading of the report that is not what the report says.More Button

: Perhaps my interpretation is a little more accurate than the Deputy's. The Deputy has a tendency to read into things that which he likes to find in them.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Free Transport .

: The provision of transport for eligible persons travelling to hospitals and clinics is a matter for each health board. Normally health boards use ambulances and minibuses when it is necessary to pr...More Button

: The practice differs in the different health board areas. For instance, in the Eastern Health Board area taxis are provided by the board only in certain cases, for urgent admission to hospital where...More Button

: Yes, but more important, we have improved the minibus and ambulance services considerably in this area.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Family Planning .

: I indicated in a letter dated 30 September last to the director of administration of the association that I would arrange consultations on family planning with a wide range of interests and that his...More Button

: The Eastern Health Board have not agreed to introduce a family planning service. Having considered a letter from me regarding a meeting to discuss prospective legislation on family planning and con...More Button

: Health boards provide some services which would come within the ambit of family planning, such as advice on maternity and the treatment of infertility. According to my legal advice, a health board ...More Button

: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 7 together. While no time limit has been set, I expect to conclude consultations on the amendment of the law on con...More Button

: That would be my ambition and intention.More Button

: I have already indicated to Deputy Browne that that is my intention and ambition.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - National League of the Blind .

: No grant was paid in respect of 1977 as the day centre operated by the National League of the Blind was closed for eight months during the year. The board paid a grant of £1,000 to the league in Mar...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Health Contributions .

: The weekly health contribution of 50p is payable only by employees in insurable employment who have entitlement to limited eligibility services. Where a person in insurable employment has not got li...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Heroin Availability .

: I have seen reports of the proposal referred to in the question.More Button

: The difficulty is that the British will not export it. They manufacture it.More Button

: Being good international citizens they are following the UN recommendation.More Button

: I have not been pressed but if I was pressed by particular medical people I would certainly consider the suggestion.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Hospital Charges .

: Hospital maintenance charges are payable only by persons who are not eligible for health services and by eligible persons who decide to arrange for treatment in private or semi-private accommodation...More Button

: I would not accept that. The increase in the charges is relatively modest. I am sure the Deputy understands that, even at the increased level, the charges are still far below the economic cost of ...More Button

: The Deputy is not correct. First, I do not want to go back over the implications of the NESC report. I have explained what my view of that report is, that at this stage it is very much an academic...More Button

: I am afraid the Deputy is not up to date with the European situation in this regard. In fact, the general trend throughout Europe, and particularly in the EEC countries recently, has been in the op...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Hospital Food .

: I presume the Deputy is referring to press reports of the speech by the President of the Irish Medical Association at the recent annual general meeting of the association. The President in his speec...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Mental Treatment Laws .

: The proposals are now at an advanced stage of preparation in my Department and I would hope to be in a position to consult the various interested groups regarding the proposals within the next few m...More Button

: There is nothing wrong with consultations. I am not an expert and I like to consult.More Button

: I like to consult experts.More Button

: Our proposals are now ready. We are consulting the College of Psychiatrists and expert bodies in the area.More Button

: I would hope the wait will not be particularly long at this stage. I did not find anything ready when I came into the Department, as the Deputy suggested. I think the Deputy would grant me the rig...More Button

: 1945.More Button

: I have already indicated to the Deputy that I hope to bring forward proposals and discuss them here in the House.More Button

: Yes. I thought the Deputy agreed with that procedure the last day when I mentioned it to him.More Button

: No. I indicated that I was not going in for any colour of paper and that I hoped to bring forward proposals and have them discussed by the Oireachtas committee which is being set up.More Button

: Yes.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Health Services Eligibility .

: It would be difficult to quantify these costs as they fall on a large number of agencies and concerns.More Button

: I do not think it is fair for the Deputy to say I am not interested.More Button

: The general position is that I hope to effect a very considerable improvement in this whole area with the introduction of the pay-related scheme next April. However, the Deputy should bear in mind ...More Button

: I know that on the question of eligibility for health services generally the situation is not satisfactory. I admit that, but I hope to effect a considerable improvement next April with the introdu...More Button

: Some day the Deputy and I may agree on all these fundamental matters.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Social Workers .

: Seventy-eight additional posts of social worker were created in the health services in 1977 and so far this year 11 additional posts have been created. I am keeping the position constantly under re...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Blood Transfusion Service .

: The provision of staff for the service mentioned is a matter for the Blood Transfusion Service Board in the first instance. The only recent proposals which I have had from the board for additional s...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Telephone Rental Scheme .

: I am not aware that confusion has arisen as to who is entitled to free telephone rental allowance. The allowance is payable to pensioners or recipients of deserted wife's benefit aged 66 or over w...More Button

: You cannot get a telephone subsidy unless you have a telephone. That is the position, yes.More Button

: Yes. At the moment we do not pay the installation charge, which is about £48, but thereafter we pay the rental.More Button

: If I had the unrestricted resources which Deputy Browne thinks I have there are many things I would do.More Button

: Of course. I should like to take this opportunity of suggesting that this is an area in which community effort could be of great assistance. It is an area to which I should like to direct the atte...More Button

: I do not think so. Perhaps the Deputy would address that question to my colleague, the Minister of State.More Button

: The free telephone rental allowance scheme is confined to recipients of the living alone allowance under the Social Welfare Acts. British retirement pensioners are not eligible for the living alone ...More Button

: I am not saying they do not deserve lots of things but at the moment I am not in a position to extend this facility to them.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Means Tests .

: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 20 together. As I stated in reply to earlier questions on this matter I have had an inquiry carried out in my Depa...More Button

: I may well have done so but that is the position. As I said, the examination is continuing.More Button

: Yes. Does the Deputy object to the fact that the work of my Department is, to use cliché, ongoing?More Button

: I have given the Deputy a number of instances of end products during this Question Time.More Button

: Before the recess If I was not subject to so much harassment here I might be able to get on with my work quicker and get more beneficial results for those for whom I am responsible.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Social Welfare Allowances .

: I am not aware that many social welfare recipients are being inconvenienced and are suffering hardship in the circumstances mentioned in the first part of the question. With regard to the second p...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Disability Benefit Appeals .

: The causes of delays in having appeals heard against decisions disallowing claims to disability benefit have been examined in my Department and steps have been taken to rectify the position includin...More Button

: I would be delighted to do so. At the beginning of January this year there were 200 cases outstanding and on 5 May 1978 there were only 21.More Button

: I, too, am glad that the Deputy raised it. Please keep out ting down questions of that nature.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Discrimination Against Women .

: I have already taken the first step in this matter by abolishing from October next the special conditions which applied in the case of single women and widows claiming unemployment assistance. The ...More Button

: Fourteen thousand.More Button

: Deputy Browne was asking me about the provision that is coming in in October. It is anticipated that that will extend the live register by 14,000 or 15,000. The Deputy is now asking about the rest...More Button

: I am not seeking to blame anybody.More Button

: The terms of the latest directive. There is a new directive coming out in this area which will mainly deal with the question of dependency.More Button

: No. We are taking one important costly step forward this year and that is as far as I am authorised to go at present.More Button

: The Deputy is not quite right. There is another directive in the course of preparation which is under discussion at present and I will have to wait until it is finalised before proceeding any furth...More Button

: Because I have to confirm with the terms of it.More Button

: I am saying that there is a new directive coming out. That directive will deal with the general question of the dependency. We will have to make considerable changes in our dependency arrangements ...More Button

: There is no reason why there should be a long delay. I mentioned the matter to the Commissioner for Social Affairs when he was here recently and he intimated that there will not be a long delay. I...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Fuel Scheme .

: The review in question has not yet been completed?More Button

: It will be completed very shortly. The Deputy will understand that if we were taking any action, we would be unlikely to be taking it before next winter.More Button

: At the moment this area is under examination by a group——More Button

: The Deputy may call it what he likes, but it consists of people from my Department, that is the Department of Social Welfare, Dublin Corporation, charitable organisations and others. I have asked t...More Button

: No, there is no particular difficulty. The Deputy will appreciate that this is not exclusively a departmental examination. We are asking outside people to come in and give us the benefit of their ...More Button

: They have each been operating in their separate ways and I want to look at the overall situation of the three separate schemes to see whether they should be brought together or whether some new arra...More Button

: The Deputy is using the term “urgency” relatively because as far as that scheme is concerned nothing will be happening until next winter. Therefore we have that time at our disposal. As the Deputy...More Button

: I would hope so.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Social Welfare Expenditure .

: The allocation of Exchequer resources in respect of social welfare is a matter for consideration in the context of the annual estimates and the budget.More Button

: Is the Deputy telling me what the Government are considering?More Button

: I am not aware of any such suggestion.More Button

: I am not aware of any such reference by the Minister for Economic Planning and Development. The Deputy will appreciate that part of the functions of that Minister is to carry out continually studies...More Button

: I am not prepared to accept any suggestion that anybody is restricting social welfare.More Button

: When our plans for the reduction of unemployment come into operation that in itself will effect a considerable reduction in the bill for social welfare in so far as unemployment benefit and similar ...More Button

: To a considerable extent the bill for social welfare has been greatly increased in recent years because of high unemployment figures brought about by the Coalition's mismanagement of our economy.More Button

: I am standing on my own two feet. (Interruptions.)More Button

: Any improvement we can bring about in the employment situation will ipso facto bring about a reduction in the overall bill for social welfare. Maybe that is what the Deputy is worrying about.More Button

: I do not think any Deputy in this House can point to any shortage of funds for the administration of the schemes of my Department this year. I have already indicated that the allocation of funds fo...More Button

: If the Deputy is trying to stir up trouble between me and my Taoiseach he will not succeed. (Interruptions.)More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Pension Scheme .

: The Green Paper, A National Income-Related Pension Scheme, which was published in October 1976 was designed to provide a basis for informed discussion of the whole question of pension provision. To ...More Button

: I will not get all the submissions, including very important submissions from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, until the end of this month at the very earliest. These are my constraints, and it i...More Button

: There will be nothing specific in a matter of months anyway.More Button

: Probably not.More Button

: That is the big question.More Button

: Naturally the benefits to the economy and to the country would be enormous in the event of there being a funded scheme but as the Deputy knows there are cogent arguments both ways. I will be consid...More Button

: Yes, but some of that discussion was ill-informed as I think the Deputy will agree.More Button

: I am referring to one very important organisation in this area who were involved in discussions but discussions which proceeded on the basis of confusion as between a funded and a pay-as-you-go sche...More Button

: I think it has been cleared up now.More Button

: The Government have not taken any decision on this.More Button

: That is not so. My answer indicated that when I have received all the submissions and considered them I will put proposals to the Government.More Button

: It is not a question of a review body. If the Deputy understood what was involved in this I do not think he would be asking me to rush to any conclusion.More Button

: I may have to reveal something, that is, that the Deputy did not get very far when he put a proposal in this regard to the Coalition.More Button

: I am saying that as Parliamentary Secretary the Deputy got nowhere with his proposal in this regard.More Button

: The Deputy was not allowed by his Government to do anything about the proposal.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Social Workers .

: There are no social workers employed as such by my Department either directly or indirectly and there are at present no plans to employ social workers.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Herring Quotas .

: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to have circulated in the Official Report a statement giving the information sought. Following is the statement:More Button

: No compensation has been paid to Irish fishermen for loss of earnings incurred by the Celtic Sea Herring ban as the EEC Commission's proposals for such compensation have not yet been adopted by the ...More Button

: No.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Fishery Training Courses .

: Thirty places for the training of new entrants to sea fishing and 20 places for the training of eligible fishermen as skippers are available at each training course provided at the National Fishery ...More Button

: I understand that the whole situation in regard to training is under review by the Minister in the Department.More Button

: The whole question of the training of fishermen and prospective fishermen is at present under examination in my Department and I would hope shortly to be in a position to decide what additional faci...More Button

: I understand that Cork in particular provides such facilities but the question of the availing of these facilities generally is being considered by the Department.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Irish Sea Fishing .

: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 32, 33 and 34 together. Irish fishermen may exercise their traditional rights within the six-to-twelve mile zone off the ...More Button

: I have no information about that matter.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Salmon Licences .

: It has not proved possible in the time available to ascertain from all boards of conservators the number of salmon fishing licences that have been issued for 1978. I expect the information to be av...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Trawler Loans .

: The reply to the Deputy's question is in the form of a tabular statement which I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to have circulated with the Official Report. Loans for fishing b...More Button

: There are more than two. In respect of new vessels both of 50 feet and over and those under 50 feet the figure was three in respect of both 1977 and 1978 while in the case of secondhand vessels the...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Foreign Boat Fishing .

: The reporting arrangements suggested by the Deputy are already in operation for Spanish vessels. I have sought, and will continue to press for a similar provision covering Community vessels to be ...More Button

: I am not in a position to accept what the Deputy is saying but I will have his remarks conveyed to the Minister for Fisheries.More Button

Private Members' Business. Health Services Eligibility: Motion (Resumed) .

: The Deputy had better ask Deputy Corish.More Button

: On a point of order, this is a very important point. Deputy O'Connell was very anxious yesterday that we should clear up the situation for the benefit of all concerned. I wish to state quite categ...More Button

: I never said that. That would be a form of egotism which is not natural to my character.More Button

: This evening?More Button

: The Deputy is talking about bringing in the millionaire farmers.More Button

: How much have they now?More Button

Written Answers . - Medical Card Holders .

: The agreement between a health board and a pharmacist participating in the General Medical Service Scheme requires the pharmacist to keep his premises open for dispensing prescriptions during specif...More Button


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