Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Health about the delay in accessing mental health supports in Dublin 5 after concerned constituents contacted him about the waiting times for Kilbarrack East and West Mental Health Services, Kilbarrack Health Centre, Coolock Health Centre and Killester Mental Health Service. Earlier this week, Deputy Broughan received a reply from the HSE stating that the “indicative timelines for the next available routine Mental Health Outpatient assessment appointment dates” were 8 weeks for Coolock, 10 weeks for Killester, 11 weeks for Kilbarrack East and 12 months for Kilbarrack West. The reply also stated that if a referral is “deemed urgent during the triage process, the service user will be prioritised for an urgent assessment. There is also a suicide crisis assessment nurse in place which helps address urgent cases.”
Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to seek assurances from the CEO of Iarnród Éireann that additional security personnel will be deployed at Howth Junction DART Station in the run up to Halloween. Deputy Broughan today received a letter from Mr Jim Meade, CEO, confirming that there will be security on site from 5pm – 12.30am and also at Kilbarrack Station from 2pm – 12.30am. Mr Meade also confirmed that “there will be further teams operating in Howth Junction & Donaghmede and adjacent stations.”
Please note, due to the October Bank Holiday weekend, my weekly information clinics will not be taking place on Saturday the 27th of October or Monday the 29th of October 2018. I will, however, be attending my normal information clinics on Friday evening, October 26th next.
My weekly information clinics will resume on Saturday, 3rd of November 2018. For further details of the times and locations of these clinics, please see the Contact section of this website.
Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, when the responsibility will be given to the Central Statistics Office for housing output data, homeless and housing figures and other statistics in relation to this sector. Indeed, Deputy Broughan had also included such a measure in his own pre-budget submission to Minister Donohoe last week. The lack of reliable statistics for several key areas of the economy, such as housing output and tax expenditures is very worrying and should be addressed.
Today, during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Tommy Broughan asked the Taoiseach why it is so difficult for the Parliamentary Budget Office and Budgetary Oversight Committee to access information on certain areas of public expenditure, in particular regarding tax expenditure. Following yesterday’s Budget 2019 announcements, Deputy Broughan focussed on the opaque nature of our tax expenditures for today’s extended Leaders’ Questions. As a member of the Budgetary Oversight Committee, and having produced his own pre-budget submission also, Deputy Broughan raised concerns around the lack of transparency and accountability remaining in our budgetary process.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has welcomed some of the measures announced in Budget 2019 today. Increases in Social Protection payments, the full restoration of the Christmas Bonus and further access to free GP care are all very welcome, as is the increased Health Budget of over €17bn. There have also been some increases in expenditure for Housing but the government is still tinkering at the edges of the current crisis.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has, this week, received replies to Parliamentary Questions that he raised on behalf of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) showing the extent of youth unemployment by county. Earlier this summer, the NYCI called for an investment of €22m into education, training and apprenticeships to halve Ireland’s high youth unemployment rates. In his own pre-budget submission, which he delivered to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, yesterday, Deputy Broughan called for a restoration of Jobseekers’ Rates for Under 26s. While the most recent unemployment figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that there was a slight fall in youth unemployment, at 12.9% it is still more than double the national unemployment rate of 5.4%.
Deputy Broughan was recently contacted by concerned constituents and medical professionals regarding the withdrawal of inpatient paediatric rehabilitation services in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). Earlier this summer, it was reported that the Consultant Paediatrician who provided cover to the National Rehabilitation Hospital from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin was taking unplanned leave, leaving the NRH with no cover for this vital service. Deputy Broughan requested information via Parliamentary Question and was this week informed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) that “the inability to admit children for specialist inpatient rehabilitation has seen a resultant increase in the numbers waiting by 38% when compared with waiting figures at the end of Q1 2018 when services were fully operational.”
Today, Deputy Broughan handed in his pre-budget submission to the Department of Finance. In it he calls for increase in Social Protection payments, paying particular attention to measures that would assist in helping lone parents and children out of poverty; for an additional €1.25bn investment in Housing and significant investment in the areas of Health and Disability of €800m plus. Deputy Broughan also call for a clampdown on tax expenditures for the super-rich and for the postponement of the Rainy Day Fund, releasing an extra €500m for necessary personnel and infrastructure.
I’m delighted to be supporting the #RaiseTheRoof campaign today and commend those involved in organising it. It is about time that we had a huge movement of all those representing everyone affected by the housing and homeless crisis. The emergency has now permeated all sectors of our society (bar the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil pro-landlord sectors obviously) and it spans all generations from homeless children, to students unable to find appropriate rental accommodation, young professionals forced to live at home for longer due to unaffordable rents, to people unable to save for deposits for mortgages, to families whose mortgages are being sold to vulture funds or struggling with arrears or repossession threats, to older people dependent on Rent Supplement alongside their pensions. I commend the unions, ICTU, USI and others who have mobilised for today’s rally.