Varadkar must reassure worried parents on BCG vaccine – Adams

SF Jennifer & GerryLouth TD Gerry Adams has called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and the HSE to reassure parents worried about future supplies of the BCG vaccine which provides protection against tuberculosis (TB).

Teachta Adams said:

“The difficulties in supply of the BCG vaccine have been known by the Department of Health since 2014. Little has been done to identify alternative suppliers, nor indeed to explain the ongoing situation to anxious parents of new-borns.

“Recent responses to questions I asked of Minister Varadkar, show little real commitment to address this matter. HIQA undertook a public consultation on proposed changes to the BCG vaccination programme on 9th September to run for six weeks. At the request of the Department of Health, HIQA has evaluated changes to the infant BCG vaccination programme proposed by the National Immunisation and National TB Advisory Committees.

“While I acknowledge HIQA’s assessment will be formed based on available evidence, I note that parents’ concerns are going unheard by the Minister. Minister Varadkar admits that no vaccine is expected for months to come.

“Recent media reports give rise to more fears among parents that the BCG vaccine may be withdrawn save for selected persons. HIQA’s draft assessment itself notes that universal vaccination is not “cost-effective”.

“The Minister, his Department and the HSE need urgently to engage with and reassure parents that they are actively seeking to secure alternative quantities of the vaccine and explain what their future plans are for the administration of the BCG vaccine.”

Concerns about the BCG Vaccine availability was raised with Mr Adams when Louth Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green was told her baby would not be able to avail of the vaccine until much later than recommended due to the supply issue. Cllr Green has since given birth to a baby girl.

Varadkar must ensure immediate investigation into dumping of personal medical files – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams, has called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to ensure an immediate and thorough investigation of a serious breach of patient information in Louth.

Mr Adams’ comments follow reports that patient files have been discovered on a public street in Drogheda.

Gerry Adams said:

“The discovery of sensitive personal patient information near the Cross Lanes in Drogheda, is a shocking breach of people’s personal details and medical histories. There is a major fear of identity theft and fraud for those people whose data has been compromised.

“Unfortunately this is not the first such occurrence, with a similar incident taking place in September of last year. The Minister for Health, Mr Varadkar, the RCSI, and the office of Data Protection must immediately investigate this incident.

“We need to know how many patients were affected and whether they have been contacted by HSE. Minister Varadkar must now act to assure the public of the safety of patients’ private data. He needs to review data protection procedures as a result of this discovery.”


Cunningham Welcomes Fibre Broadband For Ardee

IMG_5196 @ ArdeeArdeeSinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham has welcomed the news that Ardee is set to become Ireland’s third ‘fibre town’.

Speaking today, Cllr Cunningham said “there will be a fibre connection going into every business premises in Ardee town centre. In today’s world, it is vital for any business to have proper internet access to compete in the business sector and this is a great opportunity for Ardee”.

Cllr Cunningham continued “It is important to remember that in this state small and micro businesses employ 70% of the workforce outside the public sector and those businesses should be supported and encouraged as much as possible. This is good news for Ardee.”

Fibre broadband can deliver speeds of 250Mbs and this programme is being facilitated by Enet, the company that holds the concession to operate two phases of the Irish Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).

The MAN infrastructure is in place in 94 towns and cities across the country, with fibre optic cables delivered directly into premises. Ardee will be the third ‘fibre town’ after Claremorris in Co Mayo and Loughrea in County Galway.

Adams demands Commission of Investigation into NAMA

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called for the Government to establish a Commission of Investigation into the management and operations of NAMA

The Sinn Féin leader, speaking during Leaders Questions, described the “growing scandal around the revelation that an illegal £15 million fee was to be paid to ‘fixers’ involved in the original sale process.”

He described the Tánaiste response in the Dáil this morning as “pathetic and unacceptable.”

The Sinn Féin leader said; “The Tánaiste failed to adequately answer any of the questions put to her today on NAMA. She waffled and engaged in obfuscation; sought to claim that this is solely a northern issue, and ignored the very serious consequences for taxpayers in this state who have been left picking up billions in debt belonging to the banks and property developers.

“For years now Sinn Féin has been raising concerns about the sale of NAMA’s loan books, including its northern loan book.

“There is now a growing scandal around the revelation that an illegal £15 million fixers fee was to be paid. This was brought to NAMA’s attention by PIMCO a potential US bidder.

“NAMA previously claimed their Northern Advisory Committee was not privy to confidential or useful information regarding this sale. It has since been disclosed that the committee discussed potential purchasers on at least two occasions before the loan book was sold at a huge loss to Irish taxpayers.

“NAMA’s Chairman Frank Daly says he briefed Minister Noonan in full on the scandal of a £15 million ‘fixer’s fee’. Minister Noonan failed to suspend the sale process or to inform the North’s Office of First and Deputy First Minister

“These matters were apparently brought to the Taoiseach’s attention in a letter in February 2014. The Taoiseach refused to confirm this yesterday.

“Businessman Gareth Graham has testified that he possesses thousands of phone calls exposing inappropriate and possibly illegal conduct.

“This scandal is now being investigated by the police.  It is being investigated by the Assembly‘s Finance Committee.  The US Department of Justice is also investigating it.

“But this government is defending it. This is unacceptable and outrageous.

“NAMA is an arm of the state. It should be accountable. In light of all of the disclosures now made it is unacceptable that Minister Noonan continues to protect NAMA from public scrutiny.

“The government should now establish a Commission of Investigation into the management and operations of NAMA.”

Munster – Louth Housing List Longer Due To Chronic Shortage

Imelda Photo WhiteSinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has warned that “the lack of delivery of social housing coupled with the chronic shortage of private rented accommodation in Drogheda and throughout Louth are compounding the housing crisis in the county and will without doubt, lead to more and more people presenting themselves as homeless.”

Cllr Munster, who will be running for Sinn Féin in the upcoming general election stated “we now have the highest number ever on the housing waiting list with 1,907 applicants in Drogheda and 4,764 applicants overall in Louth with many waiting over 8 years to be housed”.

The Drogheda Councillor hit out at the government’s HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme which promised to address the crisis when it was introduced. “The current government policy is to force people in to private rented accommodation ignoring the fact that there is a chronic shortage of private rental property locally. Under this HAP scheme, people on the housing waiting list are being transferred over to HAP and into private rented accommodation and then the government deem their housing need to have been met.”

So what does that mean for families? Cllr Munster explained “families or individuals will forever be living in private rented houses at the mercy of private landlords and the taxpayer paying eternally with no return for their money. Some landlords are taking advantage of the shortage by increasing rents, some by as much as several hundred euros a month, forcing people who simply cannot afford the huge increases out on to the streets.”

In the last few weeks, twenty people presented themselves as homeless to Louth County Council, fifteen of who were there for financial reasons. “there are home re-possessions and increases in private rents. The tenants are forced out of their home and because of the chronic shortage of private rented property, they find themselves with nowhere to go”.

Cllr Munster concluded by saying “When are the government going to see that this policy is not working and indeed compounding the housing crisis? It cannot be resolved until they roll out a direct social housing building programme, introduce rent controls which would help stem the rising tide of homelessness, and amend the Land Conveyancing Act to give greater protection to the family home”.