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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Minister 'hasn't heard anything' to reassure her about abuse at other care homes

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about

Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch has confirmed that the HSE will postpone its inquiry into Áras Attracta until An Garda Síochána completes its investigation.

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Lynch, who has responsibility for primary and social care, confirmed the news on Morning Ireland today. Last week, Prime Time revealed how residents with intellectual disabilities were mistreated at the centre in Swinford, Co Mayo.

The minister said that no matter who delivers the service “ultimate responsibility” for safeguarding individuals lies with her, the State and the HSE.

She said she hasn’t “heard anything so far that has reassures [her]” about services elsewhere, adding that a designated person to whom complaints should be made will be put in place at the 908 centres for people with disabilities in Ireland. Lynch said she remains open to the idea that cameras be placed in public areas at the facilities.

Yesterday Health Minister Leo Varadkar told us the abuse of vulnerable patients at Áras Attracta is the worst he has ever seen.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

A national summit for disabilities will be held by the HSE in Dublin this afternoon. The organisation directly runs Áras Attracta and 14 other facilities nationwide.

Lynch is also set to meet with Emily Logan, the Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, to discuss the issue in the new year.

The agenda

  • The Cabinet comes together this morning for its final meeting before Christmas
  • 3.15pm: Enda Kenny will be answering Leaders’ Questions.
  • 5.30pm: Officials from the HSE will come before the Oireachtas Health Committee to discuss the ambulance service (Room 3).
  • 5.36pm: The Water Services Bill 2014 will be debated once again.
  • 7pm: HSE representatives will remain before the Health Committee to discuss the Áras Attracta controversy.

Inside Leinster House…

While the political scene is starting to wind down for the Christmas, the banking inquiry is just getting started. The special Oireachtas committee has its first witnesses in this week and there was, by all accounts, some squabbling among members over who gets to question witness number one, Finnish banking expert Peter Nyberg, first.

In the end it will be Pearse Doherty (Sinn Féin) and Eoghan Murphy (Fine Gael) who will kick things off tomorrow morning with 20 minutes of questioning each and after that 10 minutes each for the nine other TDs and Senators. “I think most members are satisfied, whatever about happy!,” one source told us last week.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Times reports that the marriage equality referendum could be held in April, alongside the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election.
  • The same paper reports that the Fianna Fáil-Green Government considered abolishing the Junior Certificate and universal child benefit to save money.
  • Ms Y, the woman at the centre of an abortion controversy earlier this year, has launched High Court proceedings aimed at stopping the HSE inquiry into care provided to her by state agencies, according to the Irish Examiner.
  • Several papers are reporting that Health Minister Leo Varadkar has warned Senators that if they reject the revised water charges package, higher fees will apply.

In case you missed it

  • The terms of reference of the mother-and-baby homes inquiry have been completed and will be published on 8 January, before being debated later that month.
  • Health Minister Leo Varadkar told us he’ll find a plan to sort out ‘chronic’ hospital overcrowding.
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan explained his poor voting record in the European Parliament was because his wife has been unwell
  • Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice wants to start a new political party
  • A Labour TD has called for an immediate freeze on rents in the private rental sector.

On the tweet machine

Mary Lou McDonald was rather impressed with this piece of Photoshop art.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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