I share the sentiments of Deputy Boyd Barrett. Since 2008 or 2009 in particular Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments have decimated the public capital programme and resorted to this PPP approach. Recently, a colleague of the Minister’s, Andrew McDowell, previously his party’s main economic adviser, told the Committee on Budgetary Oversight why we should use PPPs and try to keep projects off-balance sheet. At the end of the day, the people, the State and especially the communities affected by the building projects at Coláiste Ráithín, St. Philomena’s, Tyndall college, the Eureka secondary school and Loreto college are having to pick up the pieces for a failed and short-sighted Government policy.
It must be said that this Fine Gael tax is grossly unfair. I am looking at figures from the statistics and economics research branch of the Revenue Commissioners which lists the percentages of homes with a valuation of over €300,000 based on returns five or six years ago. Dublin city comes in at 22%, Dún Laoghaire comes in at nearly 60%, Fingal comes in at 21%, south Dublin comes in at 19% while Wicklow and Kildare are also in the teens.
As the Donegal and cycling communities mourn the first tragic loss of a cyclist’s life on our roads in 2018, Deputy Broughan received a reply to a Parliamentary Question which confirmed that 1,350 pedal cyclists attended hospital in 2015 due to being injured in a “transport accident” and 1,339 in 2016. 15 pedal cyclists lost their lives on our roads during 2017 and recently advocates for cycling have been calling for increased safety measures for these vulnerable road users.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will be unable to hold my usual information clinics tomorrow, Saturday the 27th January 2018 at Clonshaugh, Donaghmede and Bayside Shopping Centres. I will be holding my Monday clinics in Darndale as usual.
Deputy Broughan continues to try and ascertain the numbers of people being seriously injured on our roads following calls from cycling advocates and road safety groups such as PARC (Promoting Awareness Responsibility and Care on our Roads). Earlier this week, in a press release on the matter, Deputy Broughan revealed that the Road Safety Authority’s figures on serious injury due to road traffic collisions (RTCs) were:
561 serious injuries in 2010;
472 serious injuries in 2011;
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I warmly welcome the motion and agree with the proposed solutions, many of which seem to make eminent sense, such as agreeing a roadmap with the teaching unions on how we can achieve full pay equality as soon as possible, re-establishing the substitute supply panel at primary level, the use of teachers on career breaks, job-sharing and retired teachers, the swift registration of qualified teachers from Northern Ireland and other countries and to expedite the work started after the Teaching Council’s 2015 report. These are all valuable suggestions and I urge the Minister to adopt them.
Deputy Broughan today received a reply from the Road Safety Authority to a recent Parliamentary Question raised with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding data on serious injuries as a result of road traffic collisions (RTCs). The RSA stated that the provisional data available to it from An Garda Síochána showed that there were 827 serious injuries in 2015 and 953 in 2016 and that the data for 2017 was unavailable.
Deputy Broughan will continue to raise the plight of homelessness and the Housing Crisis this year in Dáil Éireann, demanding change and action for the thousands of homeless children across the country. 2018 began with news that the Gresham Hotel was to stop accepting families from DCC for emergency accommodation. At the end of 2017, there were still more than 650 families being accommodated in wholly unsuitable hotel/b&b/guesthouse emergency accommodation, 5 months after the Government’s commitment to end the practice.
Deputy Broughan recently asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business; Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald to report on the number of staff requests by each State agency under the remit of her department in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and the number of staff subsequently hired in each year in this period.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I am grateful for the opportunity to speak briefly on this very important motion on reimbursing staff of section 39 agencies. I raised the issue several times in this House during 2017 and, in particular, in support of the claims of the workers of the Irish Wheelchair Association. I made several representations to the Ministers for Health and Public Expenditure and Reform and, indeed, to the Taoiseach during Leaders’ Questions on 21 June last year. The Taoiseach, of course, gave the usual disingenuous answer by saying he would take a dim view of any organisation that used its block grant to give the proper increases to its workforce. I also wrote to the Taoiseach and to the Ministers, Deputies Donohoe and Harris, on 19 December asking that they intervene and provide the requisite additional funding to the HSE urgently. I also raised the matter at the Committee on Budgetary Oversight in the context of budget 2018.