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Is mise le meas,

Senator Mark Daly

Seanadóir Marcus O’Dalaigh

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Seanad Recall on flawed EU Organ Donation Law resulted in improved resources for transplant patients – Daly

Senator Mark Daly (centre) with members of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy (left) Colin White, Gwen O’Donoghue, and Valerie Brady on the Plinth at the Dail after the recalled Seanad debate on organ donation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Senator Mark Daly (centre) with members of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy (left) Colin White, Gwen O’Donoghue, and Valerie Brady on the Plinth at the Dail after the recalled Seanad debate on organ donation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says the recall of the Seanad this day last year has secured improved resources for more than 600 people who are currently waiting on life saving organ transplant operations. The Kerry Senator spearheaded a campaign and secured the signatures of more than 20 Seanad colleagues to invoke a recall of the Chamber to debate and vote on the first ever law on organ donation in the history of the State.

Senator Daly says that while improvements have been made, more needs to be done to bring Ireland’s donation and transplant system in line with international standards, and he claims a fully functioning organ donation scheme will not only provide a better quality of life for transplant recipients, it could also result in major savings for the taxpayer.

Senator Daly commented, “The recall of the Seanad last summer brought organ donation and transplantation back into the spotlight. The Government’s handling of the issue left a lot to be desired; the then Health Minister James Reilly signed the EU organ donation directive into Irish legislation in 2011 without any debate in the Oireachtas. Subsequent calls for debates were refused and it was only when the Seanad was recalled that the issue was discussed.

“The week the Seanad was recalled, the HSE allocated extra senior staff and resources to the National Organ Donation and Transplant Office. Almost €3m in funding was set aside for 6 intensive care nurses, 6 link nurses, 5 procurement coordinators and 4 quality managers. The addition of these health professionals has improved the quality of service that patients waiting on organ transplants receive, but more needs to be done.

“Our record on organ donation has been criticised by international organisations, with the head of the Spanish Transplant Authority Rafael Matesanz claiming the system here is costing lives. Although improvements have been made in the past year there is still a long way to go in matching the high donation rates that other EU countries achieve.

“Improving our donation and transplant numbers would not only change the lives of those receiving a new organ, it would also result in significant cost savings for the taxpayer. The State stands to save around €100,000 per kidney transplant, because of reduced dialysis and medical costs. The Irish Kidney Association estimates that the savings made by organ transplant operations could amount to €325m over time. The employment of organ donor co-ordinators is a major step forward, but more needs to be done to transform Ireland’s organ donation system. It is essential that these changes are made to ensure that many more lives are saved and improved through transplantation”.

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Kerry broadband costs to soar as Govt scraps essential scheme

The Government’s decision to end the National Broadband Scheme further highlights its complete lack of interest in rural Ireland. The scrapping of the programme could see rural broadband users in Kerry forking out an additional €176 per year for a basic broadband service.

The withdrawal of funding for the National Broadband Scheme by the Government is short-sighted and ill-advised and will have serious consequences for households and businesses throughout Kerry. Broadband coverage across the county is of poor quality in many areas, and the removal of this essential service will only serve to make a bad situation worse.

The National Broadband Scheme, which was introduced by the previous Government, provided basic affordable broadband services in rural areas where coverage was poor. The decision to withdraw the funding could result in a 75% price hike for customers. Bills could increase by as much as €176 a year – a huge rise, which many homes may not be able to afford. The massive price increases could see households forced to give up their broadband, a utility which is now considered an essential service.

This move effectively downgrades rural communities and reinforces the two tier economy that this Government has created. Regional and rural Ireland has been effectively abandoned by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition. The Communications Minister Alex White has now decided to pull the plug on secure broadband in the region. Small and Medium businesses here will be at a serious competitive disadvantage compared to companies in the major cities, if broadband services aren’t up to speed.

Shortly before the local elections, the Government announced the National Broadband Plan, yet just months later the scheme which guaranteed basic broadband services at a reasonable price has been suddenly scrapped. This is a deeply cynical move by the new Minister, which will further disenfranchise rural Ireland. The scheme is due to expire on August 25th and I would urge Minister White to reconsider his decision and reinstate this essential scheme.

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Easter Rising descendants upset and angered by former Taoiseach’s remarks – Daly

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly is calling on the Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht to clarify whether comments made by former Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael John Bruton about the 1916 Easter Rising are reflective of the Government’s position. Mr. Bruton is quoted in newspaper reports this morning as referring to the Easter Rising as “completely unnecessary”.

Senator Daly commented, “I have been contacted this morning by descendants of those who fought in 1916 who are upset by the former Taoiseach’s comments. They’ve been expressing an ongoing concern that they are being side-lined in the commemorations, and these latest remarks do nothing to instil them with confidence.

“There are around 150,000 direct descendants of the 1916 volunteers still living in Ireland. These are people whose mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers sacrificed their lives to ensure that Irish citizens of a republic were given equal rights and equal opportunities, and they feel upset that a former Taoiseach would imply that their cause was a waste of time.

“I am a member of the all-party working group on the decade of commemorations, which is chaired by Minister Heather Humphries. It would seem deeply inappropriate for the chair of the group tasked with organising the commemorations to hold the same views as those expressed by the former leader of her party this morning, and I am calling on her to clarify whether the whether the comments reported, which have caused such deep upset among the relatives of those involved in the Easter Rising, are reflective of her party’s attitude to the commemorations”.

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Senator Mark Daly has welcomed the proposals from Minster Jimmy Deenihan which would allow Irish Passport Holding living outside the State to be represented by 3 directly elected Senators.

Irish Overseas Proposal

Senator Daly, who is the Fianna Fail spokesperson on the Irish Overseas and Diaspora commented “I absolutely welcome this news and I hope the Minister will work to ensure this is in place by the next election. I produced the first ever policy paper on the Irish Overseas and Diaspora last summer, with voting rights being one of the key proposals. The 3.1 Irish citizens living outside the state deserve a voice in Leinster House and the Senate is the perfect avenue for this.

I was disappointed this issue was not put before the constitutional convention last year, since 2009 almost 400,000 people have emigrated. These people and all Irish passport holders deserve representation.

Minister Deenihan has shown he is very committed to this portfolio and I look forward to continuing to work with him on these issues.

 

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Daly Criticises Government for Failure to Address Overseas Voting Rights

Irish Overseas Proposal

 

New ‘reform’ proposals again fall short of real reform


Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Senator Mark Daly has expressed his extreme disappointment at the fact that voting rights for the Irish overseas was not addressed in the Government’s latest reform proposals.
He commented: “It is extremely disappointing that voting rights have not been addressed by the Government in their latest Seanad Reform proposals. A reformed Seanad would be the perfect avenue for Irish citizens living outside the state to have a voice in Leinster House.
“By omitting to address this issue in the new reform proposals, we are continuing to disenfranchise people who by virtue of article 2 and 3 of our constitution are either Irish citizens or are entitled to be Irish citizens.

“Since 2009 almost 400,000 people have emigrated from Ireland and they deserve a voice in Leinster House. This was a perfect opportunity for the Government to recognise it and make provisions for the diaspora’s voting rights in the new set of reform measures. However, the Government has once again failed to follow through on their promise of a “democratic revolution”.
“It has nearly been 12 months since the Constitutional Convention recommended extending the franchise to Irish Passport holders overseas in a presidential election but unfortunately there has been no movement on this either.

“Fianna Fáil has welcomed the appointment of Minister Jimmy Deenihan and I hope he will now focus on this issue as a matter of urgency.”

 

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