Seanad debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


1:00 pm

Photo of Maria ByrneMaria Byrne (Fine Gael)

First, I wish to pay my respects to the late Mr. John O'Mahony, to his wife, Gerardine and his daughters, Gráinne, Niamh, Rhona, Deirdre and Cliodhna. I had the pleasure of serving in the Senate with John from 2016 to 2020 but knew him prior to that. He was a very fine man, not only in his role model as a sportsman but also as a politician. I too served with him on the third floor. I met him on the corridor every day. He was a fountain of knowledge and I believe he touched the lives of many people right across sporting and political circles. He will be sadly missed by all. I am thinking of his wife and family at this difficult time. For a long time, I have been raising the issues at University Hospital Limerick, UHL, and the call for a crisis management team to be introduced and for fresh eyes to be cast over the situation there. I was delighted when that was done. My understanding is that the crisis management team is due to publish its report shortly. Once that happens, I hope the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, and the Department of Health take it seriously. The report will contain a number of recommendations that need to be implemented straight away. We are in the summer now but the winter will come. There are so many issues at the hospital now and their urgency will increase as the months go on. Those issues need to be addressed straight away. I hope to have the Leader's support in calling for that to be done.

Another issue relevant to health is the situation of young carers. The Government is examining the relevant budget of more than €5 billion. Young carers can only apply for carer's allowance if they are studying part-time but they cannot get Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, grants if they are in education on only a part-time basis. That anomaly needs to be addressed. I ask for the Leader's support in this regard.


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