Thursday, 16 December 2021
Social Welfare Bill 2021: Second Stage
I thank the Senator. I hope that the Government will explore with the Irish Hotels Federation a way of looking after these businesses. It is an important industry that provides thousands of jobs.
I support the work being done by my colleague, Deputy Colm Burke, in the Lower House on the issue of carers, including home carers. As the Minister knows, the Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, yesterday launched a review of how home care was commissioned and delivered. I have given the report a cursory glance but have not read it all yet. It calls for a root-and-branch review of home care and the introduction of regulation. In a Covid world, it is time that we had a debate on the extraordinary challenges facing caring and what they mean for our society and economy. We are living longer and our needs are becoming more complex but, thankfully, we are also staying at home for longer.In its report, HIQA speaks about the system being unsustainable and not meeting the needs of people. In fairness, that is a very good place to start. What do we want our carers to do and what do we want the person being cared for to receive? I commend carers and thank the Government for the support given to carers. It is nonetheless important as we come to the part where we are to have a statutory regulation, I think, by 2023 to have this debate.
I thank the Minister for her work and her office staff for their courtesy to us. I hope we can support this Bill, which is worth €558 million.