Friday, 16 July 2021
Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)
I agree with Senator Malcolm Byrne regarding the commencement of decision-making capacity provisions. I appreciate that and all the Minister of State is doing. I was going to speak extensively on this aspect yesterday, but I was unable to be here for the debate. The overturning of the assumption of who is at the centre of circumstances such as these and who has the ability to make decisions in this regard is going to bring change. I refer to an assumption of there being a choice of being directed towards education and a future. We are on a better trajectory and the announcements this week have accelerated this direction of travel in a way that must be applauded. I commend the Minister of State and what she is doing is appreciated. Given that the gathering of information is under way, an amendment in this regard could be inserted into the legislation the Minister of State is proposing. We could also liaise in this respect with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and undertake something in the context of the review of the Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, grant system as well. Given time, we could explore many such aspects. It is a worthy element of this legislation. When I read the amendment first, I wondered what its intention was, and then I remembered the context. It is a reasonable proposal. However, a better proposal in this regard would be to ensure that no younger people are caught up in these circumstances at all, and we are well under way in that direction now.