Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 December 2017

10:30 am

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

-----but there are plenty down in Cork South-Central, just in case people were concerned that he is moving constituency.

I fully agree with the comments made by Senator Ruane and the matter to which she referred. Over the past 30 or 35 years we have made little progress in bringing about a downward trend. I refer to the way areas like this are managed. There has been a number of good projects, such as the Young Ballymun Project, which is about working with young people and working with their parents at the same time. It is likewise in my own constituency, in my own former local electoral area.It is about working with everyone, not just with children.

In 1996 the breaking the cycle scheme was introduced which saw a reduction in the pupil, teacher ratio in certain schools. That was very helpful but that alone cannot solve the problem. We have to work with the whole community. Senator Ruane is right about the need to have a debate on this matter. We need to bring forward a far more comprehensive method of working out problems and coming up with solutions. We need to put a long term plan in place in each of these areas and I would welcome a debate on that.

I have raised the issue of respite care on a number of occasions in recent months. I am glad to report that an extra €10 million has been allocated by the Minister for Health for respite services which will increase the number of bed nights available by 19,000. However, I still maintain that we need to do a lot of long term planning on this issue. While the additional funding is helpful, it will not sort out the problem. It is an area that needs serious attention and a plan for the next three to four years. That said, I welcome the decision by the Minister to allocate extra funding for respite care.


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