On behalf of his Northside constituents, Deputy Broughan has been asking for a new A&E at Beaumont Hospital for a number of years now. As patients and hard-pressed Beaumont A&E staff well know, a new, fit-for-purpose A&E is urgently required at this busy hospital. Recently, Deputy Broughan received a reply from the HSE to some Parliamentary Questions he had raised and the reply included information on the specifications of what a new A&E would look like. The CEO of Beaumont Hospital, Ian Carter, said that the new emergency department should include 50 treatment bays and 25 assessment bays and is estimated to cost €51 million.
Following contact from concerned Howth residents about the sale of the St Columbanus Hall, Deputy Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister for Culture; Heritage and the Gaeltacht about the type of protections and supports available to the local community which is anxious to preserve and continue to use this historic community building. In a very informative reply to the Parliamentary Question today, Deputy Broughan was told that St. Columbanus Hall is recorded in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s “National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being of Regional Importance, qualifying it for recommendation to the local authority for inclusion in its Record of Protected Structures”.
In May, in a lengthy submission to An Bord Pleanála, I requested an Oral Hearing on the major development of almost 500 ‘build to rent’ apartments at the old Chivers Factory site on Coolock Drive, Dublin 17.
A number of advocacy groups for lone parents have expressed concerns that the National Childcare Scheme will adversely affect some families and will force parents out of work and/or education. SPARK has been highlighting this issue and calling for the CCS and CETS Schemes to be continued. The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and An Cosán agreed that there are concerns that childcare will become unaffordable for some of the lowest income and most vulnerable families when they presented in Leinster House recently. With the National Childcare Scheme due to be rolled out from October 2019 Deputy Broughan has been raising Parliamentary Questions with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone.
Today, during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Broughan again raised the issue of gun crime and serious anti-social behaviour in parts of his constituency of Dublin Bay North and indeed, the greater Dublin area. Since the appalling murders in broad daylight so far this year, Deputy Broughan has been raising the matter on the floor of the Dáil and directly with the Taoiseach, Minister for Justice and Equality, Minister for Rural and Community Development, with An Garda Síochána and with Dublin City Council. He has also been in regular contact with community leaders and vital community organisations.
Today, June 26th, Deputy Broughan will introduce the Thirty-Ninth Amendment to the Constitution (Right to Housing) Bill 2019. The Bill seeks to amend Article 45 of the Constitution, the Directive Principles of Social Policy with the following insertion in Section 5 “The State recognises the common good as including the right to adequate and appropriate housing and shall guarantee that right through its laws, policies and the prioritisation of resources, with particular regard to children.”
Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to report on the number of instances of Garda firearms and less than lethal weapons being discharged in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form and for a statement on the matter. In a reply to that Parliamentary Question received today, Deputy Broughan was informed that Pepper Spray was used 657 times in 2017, taser was used 34 times and firearms were discharged 6 times that year. In 2018, there were 687 instances of Pepper Spray, 31 instances of use of tasers and 4 discharges of firearms. To date in 2019, there have been 257 instances of Pepper Spray, 8 of tasers and 1 discharge of a firearm. The Minister for Justice and Equality and GSOC did not provide any further information with the breakdown of figures.
Deputy Broughan welcomes today’s announcement that Spinraza is approved for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) following a long and difficult campaign by families of children affected by this rare, muscle-wasting disease. In Ireland. there are around 70 people, 26 of whom are children, with SMA. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants worldwide and will affect around 1 in 11,000 babies born worldwide each year. Spinraza or Nusinersen is produced by Biogen and has been the first treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). It was available in most of the other European countries but not in Ireland.