Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Business of Joint Committee

9:30 am

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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May I remind members, witnesses and those in the Visitors Gallery to turn off mobile telephones or switch them to airplane mode as it affects the broadcasting and sound equipment.

Our meeting today is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the development of national maternity services and infrastructure in Ireland. I welcome Dr. Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital; Dr. Sharon Sheehan, Master of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.

The second part of the meeting concerns babies born to mothers born with substance abuse issues. Deputy Catherine Byrne raised the issue as part of a previous discussion. I welcome Dr. Adrienne Foran, consultant neonatologist at the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Jan Miletin.

This is our first meeting since the summer recess. Apologies to our witnesses for the delay this morning. We had a substantive piece of private business to get through. I have received apologies from Senator John Crown, Deputy Sandra McLellan, who has a question in the Dáil Chamber, and Deputy Regina Doherty. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick had to attend the committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and Deputy Joe Costello is attending the Committee of Public Accounts .

May I formally congratulate Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, who were before the committee previously with their very important project on the effects of parental alcohol consumption on adolescents? They have been awarded the Intel ISEF prize. They were very impressive witnesses. I propose that we write to congratulate them. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I remind members that the quarterly meeting with the Minister for Health takes place on 6 October. Members were asked to submit questions, which I hope they have done. In so far as we can, we will schedule the quarterly meeting with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with Tusla prior to the dissolution of the Dáil, whether that is in November or February. I am joking about November. We will endeavour to get that meeting organised. As members know, we have the adoption tracing legislation Bill coming before us, which took priority ahead of the quarterly meetings. I hope members will understand.