Today we launched our plan for moving towards a new National Community Health Service in Cork with Tánaiste Joan Burton, Minister Kathleen Lynch and our candidate in Cork South-Central, Ciarán Lynch. By 2021, we will achieve significant steps towards the full rollout of Universal Health Care. We will provide free access to GP care, develop more nurse-led services, lower the cost of medicines and increase funding for primary care, community care and our hospitals.
I was immensely proud to launch the Autism Bill in the Dáil today and that it received the full support of the Minister for Health, James Reilly, not to mention an overwhelming amount of cross-party support. An enlightening and robust debate took place in the Chamber about the Bill and many constructive views were put forward by fellow TDs. It was a fine example of how legislators of all hues can come together and work positively with one another to further a common cause which has, at its core, the aim of creating a more constructive society.
Last night Minister of State Kathleen Lynch spoke in the Dáil about the publication of the Expert Group report on the A, B and C v Ireland judgement saying that Labour stands ready to legislate. You can see what she said in the accompanying video or read her speech which is detailed below. You can read the report at this link.
I wish to thank Deputy Daly and her colleagues for raising this important matter in the Dáil and for their valuable work in attempting to frame this complex legal and medical issue in a legislative proposal.
Today the Government announced the location of the new Children's Hospital at St James's Hospital, representing the most important single building project in the State. The delivery of the National Children's Hospital was a key Labour commitment before the General Election and in the Programme for Government.
Funding for the project was ring-fenced by the Government last year and will pave the way for the construction of a hospital that will be of benefit to many future generations of children.
Minister Alex White said: "A building alone has no value without the health professionals to ensure the highest quality of care. This decision by Government will ensure the strongest possible concentration of clinical excellence being brought to bear on the treatment of sick children."
A €2 ¼ billion infrastructure Stimulus Plan has been announced today by Minister Brendan Howlin, representing a step in the right direction on the path to recovery with the creation of 13,000 jobs, €280m investment in education, €115m in health, €850m in transport, €190m in justice and €1.4b in projects that meet key infrastructural needs.
Among the projects to benefit will be the development and rejuvenation of a campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology at Grangegorman; the upgrading of the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam motorway and the M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy project.
Other projects include €190m to be invested in the State Pathology Laboratory, two new Garda headquarters as well as the provision of two bundles of primary care centres comprising of up to 10 centres.
The Labour Party has prioritised schools, hospitals and job creation in the Government's capital spending programme announced this afternoon.
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, set out the Government's capital spending programme saying: "Clearly we are now living in different economic times. This report, by necessity, is about priorities... Our priorities as a Government are clear and are manifest in this plan. In summary: jobs, schools and health."
Among the priorities include 40 new schools, a new National Children's Hospital, job creation, the linking of the two LUAS lines, the Railway Safety Programme, replacement buses and upgrades of existing QBCs.
Last Fridays 'Pink Day', organised by Wicklow TD, Deputy Anne Ferris, with Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society was a huge success with more than €800 being raised for the worthy cause.
All members of the Oireachtas and staff were encouraged to turn the Houses pink for a day by wearing a pink item of clothing to drive breast cancer awareness.
Each year, more than 1,700 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed with Irish women having a one in 12 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.