asked the Minister for Health if he can now indicate the extra subvention to local authorities towards the cost of providing health services which are mandatory under the Health Act, 1953.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Health Services Subvention.
As the Deputy knows a supplementary subvention from the Health Vote amounting, on average, to almost 6 per cent is being provided in the current year towards the cost of health services, over and above the statutory 50 per cent. All I can say at present about next year is that this rate of extra-statutory subvention will, at least, be maintained.
Is the Minister not aware that local authorities, which are health authorities also, have postponed the striking of the rate for as long as they could statutorily do so, namely, 21 days? They then had to levy the rate. Is the Minister further aware that he sent a circular to these bodies a couple of weeks ago in which he indicated that, if they would send information to him, an extra subvention above that allowed in 1966-67 would be available? Is he further aware that his predecessor, the late Deputy Donogh O'Malley, indicated that there would be no increase in the cost of health on the rates after 1965-66 and that he was conferring with the Minister for Local Government in regard to the matter? What is the position even at this late hour and before all the local authorities have struck their rate?
If the Deputy sits around for a while I shall be replying to the Supplementary Estimate, to the discussion of which the Deputy has contributed.
Not so far, but the Deputy is prepared for a contribution and will contribute before the Minister replies. That is my prerogative as a Deputy.
I am delighted to hear it.
I do not need to be reminded of my prerogative by my good friend, the Minister for Health.
The Deputy comes in occasionally.
Will the Minister answer my supplementary question?
When I reply to the Supplementary Estimate, yes.
What it means is that the rates are up skyhigh all over the country and the promises have not been kept.