23/06/15 Senator Daly Supports Proposed Amendment on the Lone Parent Allowance and speaks on Organ Donation and Transplantation Issues

Senator Daly: I support the proposed amendment to the Order of Business on the lone parent allowance. All of us have received representations on this important issue and I hope the Government will accept the amendment. I commend the Taoiseach on his recent announcement in Killarney that he will release the files on the Kingsmill massacre in the North. He met the families involved and promised to release the files but this was delayed for technical reasons. I ask the British Prime Minister to do the same in regard to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and to honour his commitment under an international agreement, the Weston Park Agreement, to hold an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. The nature of the cover-up of past incidents, which is the nicest way I can put it, is revealed by the fact that the Birmingham Six files are under lock and key until 2069.

My colleague, Senator Darragh O’Brien, referred to the issue of organ donation and transplantation. Senators will be delighted to hear that we will not recall the Seanad this summer to debate that issue. One in ten people on organ transplant waiting lists die not because of a shortage of organs but because of systems which do not work. Our systems for pancreatic transplants have collapsed. The Government knew that Dr. Hickey was retiring but he has not been replaced. Thankfully, we now have 19 organ donor co-ordinators who were hired as a result of the recall of the Seanad. The head of the Spanish transplant authority stated that we had the worst system in Europe and that our system was killing people. The publication of those embarrassing comments on the front page of a Sunday newspaper one week before the Seanad was recalled forced the Government to act. It now needs to act on the issue of pancreatic transplants because the current situation is not good enough. The Minister for Health acts like a commentator, as if he has nothing to do with these issues and just happened to appear on the Marian Finucane show after reading a newspaper article, which is where he appears to get most of his information, as opposed to being briefed by his own Department. If he put a proper system in place instead of spending millions of euro on dialysis, the taxpayer would save €325 million per year. The sad reality is that 65 people will die on the organ transplant waiting list this year simply because the system does not work. As the Minister with responsibility for that system, I ask Deputy Varadkar to come to the House to explain why he is allowing people to die under his watch.

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