27/11/2014 Senator Daly addresses the Seanad on the Health Service Executive Service Plan and Undocumented Irish in the United States

Senator Daly: As I stated, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, wishes to leave a legacy, but he will make his mark for all the wrong reasons. The housing plan announced yesterday was a reannouncement of previous plans. It is, to a large degree, a work of fiction. The Health Service Executive’s service plan which will be published today will also largely be a work of fiction.

Hans Christian Anderson would have been proud of it because the plan is way different from the reality. The reality we see on the ground is exemplified by the report of the Coroner’s Court in Limerick, as detailed in today’s newspapers. A critically ill man was brought to the accident and emergency department of Limerick University Hospital but never saw a doctor before he died. That is the reality on the ground. What we also see in emergency departments is paramedics arriving with patients on stretchers and having to stay there for hours before over-worked doctors can take the patients off their hands. The ambulances involved are not available during that time because the system is not working. That is the reality. Today there are 800 people in hospitals, taking up beds, who should not be there. They are there because the fair deal scheme has been cut. That is the reality on the ground. Whatever about the plan – which is a work of fiction to a large degree – the reality is entirely different.

In Kerry, the scandal —(interruption)

(continued)—-I ask the Leader to organise a debate on the HSE service plan. I will not push it to a vote on the Order of Business today because the plan has only been published but we should have a debate on the service plan next week to see how real it is.

I know a debate is scheduled for today on the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East. I ask the Leader to invite the Minister of State, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, to the House, as the first ever spokesperson on the Irish overseas and the diaspora, to discuss President Obama’s executive order. Some of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States will be assisted by it but I ask the Leader to encourage the Government to ensure that funding is made available to the Irish centres throughout the US. The Aisling Irish Community Centre in New York does great work, as do the Irish pastoral centres in Boston and San Francisco. However, they need assistance and funding. I would ask the Leader to urge the Government to look for a humanitarian visa for those who are not covered by the executive order so that they would be able to come home at times of bereavement. I would also like to see waivers being granted to those who have violated the terms of their visas in the past.

I wish to thank the Leader and Deputy Leader for facilitating the passing of a motion relating to Cumann na mBan. That motion is No. 8 on the Order Paper and I wish to move it today.

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