Seanad debates

Thursday, 21 March 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


9:30 am

Photo of Mary Seery KearneyMary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

That is the experience of the people advising the Senator. However, there are huge amounts of money out there - €80 million from the Government and €80 million from the EU is considerable support. We need people coming up. I liked the championing of the ideas and the opportunities in this. That is to be commended and amplified further.

I would say to Senator Clonan that there is no doubt there is a grave injustice going on. The administration of disability services and supports for families within the HSE is absolutely dreadful. One of the concerns we expressed in this House, perhaps prior to the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte's time here, was how would accountability be held when a Minister moved from the Department of Health into the Department of children? Where were we going to find that across Departments? How were we going to call in the Minister for Health when this is under the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth? That is a matter of concern. Perhaps we should be framing it in terms of accountability of the HSE with the Minister for Health, Deputy Donnelly, in this particular area and have statements on that. However, it may well be that the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, will also need to attend. I am not quite sure how that works, when two Departments are involved. There is an issue where people fall between CHOs. I have come across personalities within different CHOs who exercise their power. It happens in CHO 7 also. It is not unique to CHO 6. The two of them seem to have personalities who are not transparent in the exercise of their authority. We would wholeheartedly endorse having statements.

Senator Cassells spoke about the research. I would dearly love to get my hands on that. The fact is that it is difficult for parents. There is a model and societal pressure on parents to be all things to all people, to never be tired and to never come in the door and wish you could have five minutes and hide under the stairs. I saw a programme recently where someone was hiding in a wardrobe just get away from her family. While we laughed, it resonated to a certain extent, in that sometimes you have to go into the toilet to get a break because of the demands on family life. There is that sense of a bar of perfection that nobody ever reaches. We need normality to be called out. Perhaps we need a debate on parenting supports for parents. I hear that and I completely support that. I will send an email supporting that.

Several Senators paid tribute to our Taoiseach, Deputy Leo Varadkar, on his extraordinary service to our State and his extraordinary work. He certainly broke glass ceilings for the LGBT community in coming out and in assuming office as Taoiseach of our country as the son of a migrant. He has shown great nobility in his decisions. Whether one agrees with him or not, he has always been clear and transparent in where he stands and he explains why. I always found great comfort when he explained why we could not do something. He brought peace and stability to matters. I was very moved yesterday. His legacy is yet to be written and history will look incredibly kindly at him given his many achievements. He is leaving office when we have full employment, our economy is very strong, our housing and commencements are on the up and we have a satisfaction rating among our people that is extraordinarily high - it is in the nineties percentage-wise. It is an incredible achievement to have all of that. I am grateful for the tributes paid to him and add my voice to them.


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