Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 19 January 2023
Committee on Public Petitions
Decisions on Public Petitions Received
We have three petitions for consideration today. Petition No. 21 of 2021 is entitled Taking in Charge from Mr. Terence Coskeran. This petition relates to the request the local authority taking in charge a residential development of five houses at Rocksprings, Kilross in Tipperary. This petition has been before the Committee on Public Petitions a few times. The petitioner presented to us at our public meeting of 12 October 2022 and Tipperary County Council presented on the petition at our public meeting of 27 October 2022. At the request of the committee, Tipperary County Council has since submitted a set of documents relating to the planning and taking in charge processes as they relate to this petition. On behalf of the committee, the secretariat wrote and thanked Tipperary County Council for supplying information requested. It was also agreed by the committee at its meeting of 27 October that this petition be considered again during spring 2023. The petitioner submitted further questions that were forwarded to Tipperary County Council by the secretariat on 30 November 2022 on his behalf. Mr. Eamon Lonergan of Tipperary County Council responded with the answers on 2 December 2022. Mr. Joe McGrath, chief executive of Tipperary County Council, provided a further update to the committee on 16 January 2023, as was agreed at the meeting of 27 October 2022. The committee recommends the correspondence from Mr. McGrath be forwarded to the petitioner for information. Do members have any views or is that agreed?
Petition No. 29 of 2022 is entitled Research on Topical Steroid Withdrawal, submitted by Ms Neave Tugwell. The petitioner seeks to raise awareness of the issue among medical professionals and believes this is a preventable condition. The secretariat corresponded with the head of the Oireachtas co-ordination unit at the Department of Health on 30 June 2022 regarding this petition and received a response from the Department on 15 July 2022. This correspondence was sent to the petitioner for comment. The petitioner replied advising she was not satisfied the correspondence from the Department addressed what she requested, which was about topical steroid withdrawal. The committee recommends the committee again write to the Department of Health and ask for a more comprehensive reply with regard to topical steroid withdrawal. Do members have any views or is that agreed?
Petition No. 35 of 2022 is entitled Amend Child Care Act 1991 to provide HIQA with the necessary powers to sanction Tusla, Child and Family Agency when it fails to meet its statutory obligations, submitted by Ms Anna Kavanagh. This petition is from representatives of the Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice, ABC, which advocates for some birth mothers - not all - who have had their children taken into State care by Tusla. The petition seeks to have the Child Care Act 1991 amended to provide HIQA with the necessary powers to sanction Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, when it fails to meet its statutory obligations. The secretariat wrote to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on 27 September 2022 about this petition. The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O’Gorman, responded on 16 January 2023. The committee recommends the correspondence from the Minister be forwarded to the petitioner for information and the petition and the correspondence from the Minister be forwarded to the Ombudsman for Children for a response. Do members have any views or is that agreed?
I agree. We say after every meeting the amount of work the secretariat, under Maggie Semple, does for us is unbelievable. It makes our job very easy, so I thank Susan Moran, Barbara Hughes and everybody else involved in getting these petitions together.
That concludes our consideration of public petitions. I invite members of the public to submit petitions via our on-line portal, which is available at petitions.oireachtas.ie. A petition may be addressed to the Houses of the Oireachtas on a matter of general public concern or interest or an issue of public policy.
Is there any other business or would members like to make any final comments?