Wednesday, 15 December 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I acknowledge the passing of two former Labour Party Deputies, Toddy O'Sullivan and Liam Kavanagh, who died in the past week. It has been a very sad week for our party. They were two fantastic representatives who will be very sadly missed.
I am glad the Minister is here this afternoon and that the Minister of State, Deputy Butler is beside him. I agree with the previous speaker. In my time in politics I have never seen the issues in home care that I am seeing at the moment. It is actually impossible. People are being allocated hours but it is a waste of time. Most people are trying to privately buy in some service on top of whatever small number of hours they can get. It is a labour shortage. A registered employment agreement is badly needed so that people will actually work in this area.
For a change, I want to raise a constituency issue that the Minister and the Minister of State will be well aware of. It is about the Dean Maxwell nursing home in Roscrea. I am raising the matter out of sheer frustration. In Nenagh in the northern end of our county a new nursing home is being built. We have a fantastic nursing home in Roscrea - the Community Hospital of the Assumption. The Dean Maxwell nursing home is the most important issue for the people of Roscrea. I know the Minister and the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, were there. I was not invited to attend.
There are two issues I wish to raise. Under the national development plan, NDP, will funding be provided to deliver on this much-needed home? Considering how we have come through Covid it is quite obvious that we need more publicly funded nursing homes, as I am sure the Minister will agree. That is the larger issue. The more short-term issue is that for a number of nursing homes like the Dean Maxwell, their HIQA registration runs out on 1 January next year and they will not be in a position to take long-stay residents from that date. Will the Minister confirm in respect of the Dean Maxwell nursing home and other homes equally affected that this action will be postponed and will not be implemented until the NDP review is concluded? That will allow us to give certainty to the people of Roscrea over Christmas. I acknowledge that the Minister's colleague, Councillor Michael Smith, has been working very hard on this in Roscrea, in fairness. We want to know so that the people will know over the Christmas and new year period whether a new NDP will facilitate a new Dean Maxwell home where the local authority and others are willing to work with he HSE to develop it. Will the Minister give assurances to the House today that long-stay residents will be accepted from 1 January next year and that the hammer will not come down?