Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Mark WallMark Wall (Labour) | Oireachtas source

I will raise a few issues with the Leader today. I have just come from the social protection committee where I once again raised the matter of the housing adaptation grant. The reason I raised it is that I have dealt with three cases in the past two weeks. In one case, a woman has just come from hospital where she spent six months. Thankfully, Clare County Council has approved a grant to her. Unfortunately, it is €30,000 short of what she needs to be able carry out the necessary housing adaptation work to maintain her in her home, where she and her family want her to be.

I have been told by the Department of housing that the review I mentioned previously in this House is currently with the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform and that it will be published shortly. I have been hearing that response for six months. Will the Leader write to the Department and ask that that happen shortly for those three people? I am sure other Members also have examples of what is happening. We want to keep people in their homes. It is a great grant, as I have said continually. I would appreciate if a letter could be sent.

The other grant I will speak about is the Croí Cónaithe grant. Again, it is a good grant, but unfortunately, I am coming across example after example of people having to look for bridging finance. Unfortunately, builders are now saying they will not start the build unless they are paid upfront. In one case, which happened in the past week, an individual went to the credit union, but because there is a diagnosis of cancer in this case, that person will not get the bridging finance. We need bridging finance or stage payments to be made under the Croí Cónaithe grant for those who need it. Many builders are stressing the fact that they will not complete the work unless they get money upfront and building costs have risen.

I will raise a final item today. Last night, I was in Wicklow town for the launch of the local election campaign of a good friend of mine, Councillor Paul O'Brien. At that election campaign launch, I met a great campaigner, a lady called Chris Daly. She has worked on defibrillators and automated external defibrillators, AEDs, which I have mentioned in this House numerous times in the past. Unfortunately her husband passed away a year and a half ago. Her request is that all new builds would have to have an AED as a condition of their planning permission. It is a reasonable request. It should be incorporated into the new Planning and Development Bill, if possible. As Ms Daly said last night, 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home. Every minute there is a delay in acting, it reduces the person's chances of survival by 10%. If every new housing estate included an AED, we would increase the survival chances of many people. I ask the Leader whether that can be discussed with the Minister for housing and addressed when the Planning and Development Bill comes before this House.


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