The Taoiseach: The Minister of State has done here is to look at the situation and, if one likes, take a stocktaking view of what has happened and needs to happen. It is important to say to Deputy Martin that the Government is fully committed to delivering free GP care in its first term of office, as set out in the programme for Government. No decision has been taken to go back on that. It is important to remember that, ultimately, the entire population will be covered by a free GP service.
When the Minister of State, Deputy White, came before the Cabinet sub-committee dealing with health recently, he pointed out that it will be necessary to introduce complex legislation to provide free GP care to those with long-term illness. Read the full transcript of a Leaders Question on delivering free GP care:
Speech by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on a Topical Issue Debate on FSAI. I wish to thank the Deputies for raising this. The FSAI is responsible for the implementation of food safety policy which is determined by my Department. As part of its work, the FSAI continually monitors foods on the Irish market on a proactive basis to ensure that they are complying with the requirements of food law and are safe. As part of this routine activity a small survey was carried out in November 2012 to investigate the authenticity of meat products on the Irish market. This survey was conducted as part of the FSAI monitoring and surveillance programme on labelling of foods, specifically to check on the type of animal species in meat products. A total of 27 beef burger products were analysed. 10 of the 27 products (37%) tested for horse DNA and 23 (85%) for pig DNA.
At this stage, it was necessary for the FSAI to arrange for more intense testing of the samples, to ensure the correctness of the initial analysis and to quantify the amount of horse DNA in each sample. The results of these tests were received on 14th January 2013. Of the 10 burgers found to contain horse DNA, one (purchased in Tesco and produced by Silvercrest) contained 29% horsemeat, another 0.3% and the remainder had less than 0.1%. Traces of horse DNA were also detected in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from other Member States. The FSAI also confirmed that there was no food safety issue. The retailers involved removed all implicated batches from sale on 15th January 2013.
Speech by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on a Topical Issue Debate on a Disability services for children. I wish to thank Deputy O’Brien for raising this matter. Disability services for children have a long history in Ireland and many organisations provide excellent support and interventions for children and their families. However, as they have developed independently and were often established to serve one specific group of children only, the result is that there is wide variation in the services available in different parts of the country and for different categories of disability. We need to find a better way to provide services for all children with disabilities.
The Health Service Executive has recognised that the current system lacks equity and acknowledges that there is a need to increase the level of consistency and standardisation in the way both early intervention services and services for school-aged children with disabilities are delivered. Read the rest of this entry »