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WATCH: Dáil falls silent to highlight plight of children in need of cochlear implants

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien asked that the Dáil observe the silence “to get some understanding of what those children have to endure”.

Updated 3.43pm

YouTube: Hugh O’Connell

THE DÁIL FELL silent for two minutes this afternoon as TDs debated a private members’ motion on the issue of cochlear implants for children who are deaf.

As parents of these children staged a silent protest outside the Dáil Sinn Féin was inside aiming to get the government to agree to fund the provision of bilateral cochlear implants for around 200 children.

Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien called for the Minister for Health to provide the €12.8 million for the scheme.

He asked that the Dáil observe the silence “to get some understanding of what those children have to endure”.

“If two minutes felt awkward I can only imagine what a lifetime of silence would be like,” O’Brien told the chamber after the silence.

James Reilly has previously said that the provision of bilateral implants is “a high priority” for government next year, but there was no specific announcement in the Budget on Tuesday.

Reilly repeated that claim today, saying it is one of his “top priorities” during a statement on the motion.

Earlier, speaking on behalf of the government, junior minister Kathleen Lynch said that any plan to provide bilateral cochlear implants “needs to be developed and argued in the Health Service Executive service plan and that’s what’s going to happen here”.

“We are in there and we are negotiating the service plan and we are negotiating it to get the best possible result,” she said referring to the HSE budgetary plan for next year which is expected to be published in the next three weeks.

She said it is “her fervent hope that we can” provide implants for the children. The debate can be watched here.

First published 1.41pm

Read: Silent protest outside Dáil today over childrens’ cochlear implants funding

Reilly: “Priority” to offer children bilateral cochlear implants in 2014

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