Wednesday, 11 December 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I commend Senator Craughwell on his work with the NFA. The points he made are ones we should pursue. I will be happy to talk to him afterwards about this.It is important that we acknowledge the NFA, not just in a tokenistic way but in real terms. I would be happy to talk to Senator Craughwell about that.
Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell raised the issue of visa requirements for healthcare workers. She is 100% correct. There is a skills shortage in the health sector, in particular in the nursing homes sector, that needs to be addressed urgently. They are competing with HSE hospital staff and it is not a level playing field. I have spoken to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Heather Humphreys, about the need to change the visa requirements. We changed the work visa programme for a number of other areas, in particular in the hospitality sector. We must ensure that we do that.
Senator Gallagher also raised a health issue. The Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, was before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health today. He announced the opening of 190 new beds across various hospitals. I am told that the Minister indicated to the committee that the fee the Senator mentioned is being reduced but I do not have confirmation on that yet.
Senator Ó Domhnaill referred to Cuisle. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Finian McGrath, has been in the House to discuss the issue. It is disappointing to hear the IWA did not apply for funding but it is important that we ensure it has an opportunity to engage further on the matter.
Senator Nash raised the issue of school secretaries. I hope there is engagement, as there needs to be. All of us who worked in schools understand the importance of the school secretary and their role but they also need to get fair pay.
Senator Horkan raised the issue of the attacks on the Grand Canal. That is disappointing for cyclists. It is a matter that should be taken up with the relevant Garda authorities. It is important that CCTV monitoring is used in the area.
I will not be accepting Senator McDowell's amendment.