Friday, 16 July 2021
Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
Mary Butler (Waterford, Fianna Fail)
The Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, is doing much work to try to get this pilot scheme up and running and move the administration from each CHO. We must start somewhere. It takes time, but she can certainly build on it. It is important to record that the original Act from 2009 refers to maintenance expenses. Provision in that regard is made for maintenance expenses in respect of a child under 21 years of age, which is interpreted as including education expenses. If a parent is in a nursing home, then that situation is covered under the existing Act. I understand the point the Senator is making, however.
I chaired the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation in the last Dáil and we did a great deal of work on apprenticeship schemes. I am heartened to see that there will be 10,000 new apprenticeships this year. The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, has been working hard on this initiative and there are now great opportunities for people with additional needs to transition into an apprenticeship model. We are digressing a little from the topic at hand, but there were only 200 female apprenticeships when we did that initial work on this subject. I am delighted the number has grown greatly in recent years. We will agree to talk again on the specific issue at hand, however, and I hope the Senator might be able to withdraw the amendment in that context.