Thursday, 28 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I listened, as I always do, with great interest to our colleague, Senator Gavan. I agree with much of what he has to say. Nobody can defend the situation in University Hospital Limerick. Anybody who would defend it would not be doing justice to any mandate. It is terrible. I agree that there are challenges with management. I know that some sort of report is being carried out on the situation with the management of the facility.They are reviewing emergency department facilities overall anyway. At a ministerial level any request that has come in from the mid-west hospital group for funding for the emergency department in Limerick has been facilitated. The request was submitted for a six-bed modular unit and the Minister provided the money. It is up to the management to get that up and running. I am extremely frustrated with the delay in building the unit and making it operational. We are told it will be operational for next winter. Hopefully it will. We shall wait and see.
Another thing we all sought was a second MRI scanner. Twenty people get MRI scans in Limerick hospital each day. From next week, there will be 40, doubling the numbers. I understand that many people on trolleys are waiting for an MRI. I do not know if this will be a panacea or a start to resolve the problems in Limerick but I sincerely hope it is. This is not a party political situation, we all want to see it resolved as it is a humanitarian issue.
I attended two very interesting events today. The first was in the Italian Room in Government Buildings, with the Leader, where we attended the launch of the LGBTI+ strategy. It is a two and a half year strategy to try to break down the inequality in society among LGBTI+ people, including name calling and verbal abuse. I welcome the strategy which was launched by the Minister and Minister of State for Justice and Equality, Deputies Flanagan and Stanton. The Taoiseach gave a video address. It has whole-of-Government support and will be useful. We might have the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, before the House to go through the report's 100 recommendations.
At 11 a.m. today I attended the yellow flag presentation in the audiovisual room to six schools which have done enormous work to create equality and diversity, diversity in understanding in their primary schools. It is a pity it was not 60 or 600 schools but six schools is a start. I commend the young people from those schools who have already made a significant difference in their communities and education communities. Not only are the children learning from each other but the parents and teachers are learning from the children. I hope that society will also learn from the children. Much has happened in the area of climate action among children who have done fantastic work -----