Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:12 pm

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy and wish to convey condolences from the Government to him, his party and the families of the late Liam Kavanagh and Toddy O'Sullivan, who represented my constituency with distinction for so long. Both of them were Labour Party stalwarts and great servants of their constituents and of their party. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.

I thank the Deputy for raising the issue of the Dean Maxwell community nursing unit in Roscrea. He is correct that I am familiar with it. It was while I was in opposition that I visited but I would be happy to visit again. I know that the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, did visit in the height of Covid and that is why there was no fanfare or invitations being issued. It was kept low key as I am sure the Deputy can understand.

He mentioned the new HIQA standards in respect of long-term residential care which come into force on 1 January next. They mean the Dean Maxwell community nursing unit will have continued compliance issues regarding the premises. It is important to make the point that existing residents will not be required to leave their home by 1 January 2022. My understanding is that the HSE has given a commitment to continue to admit residents to the Dean Maxwell until such a time as it is directed otherwise by HIQA. That is a positive development. I will certainly work with the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, and the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, and Deputies Kelly, Lowry and Cahill from the constituency. Deputy Cahill accompanied me during my visit to Dean Maxwell.

We understand the HSE's plan for the Dean Maxwell arising out of these HIQA compliance obligations is to develop a larger respite and short-term care facility for north Tipperary and to retain the current day services. We also recognise that this is not widely supported and there is a determination and a wish for the Dean Maxwell to continue to provide community nursing home services. We acknowledge that is the desire. The Minister of State, Deputy Butler is personally committed to making progress on this issue and will in the new year meet again with the HSE and local stakeholders with a view to making progress.

What is really needed is an agreed plan for the Dean Maxwell. If there is an agreed plan, I do not believe that funding will be the impediment. We have a very large capital envelope set out to 2030 under the NDP, totalling €165 billion. The challenge across a number of Departments will be to make sure that money is spent. I want to see projects brought through the various stages of the project life cycle to the point where they can absorb and spend capital.

The Government recognises the ageing population and the pressures that will place on long-stay facilities in the public and private sectors. I recognise the potential role that the Dean Maxwell can play into the future in meeting those needs.

What we need is an agreed plan that the HSE is willing to support and seek funding for.


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