With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.
The United Nations have asked each country to review its policies and programmes for the well-being of children during the International Year of the Child. This process is already under way in this country.
As Minister for Health, I have been given primary responsibility by the Government for child care services. One of the main contributions to the International Year of the Child in Ireland will be the submission to me of the report of the Task Force on Child Care Services. The Task Force will be making recommendations on services for deprived children and on the legislative reforms needed to update and modernise the law in relation to children. Whatever legislation may be required arising out of the recommendations of the Task Force will be introduced without delay.
In addition, I will be paying particular attention to the needs of children who are suffering from physical, emotional or material deprivation, particularly the children of itinerants. Special emphasis will also be given to children and the family in health education programmes during 1979. Other Government Departments are each reviewing their policies and programmes in relation to children.
The Government have also set up, under the aegis of my Department, a National Steering Committee for the International Year of the Child. This committee are representative of national, statutory and voluntary bodies concerned with the welfare of children. Their responsibility is to co-ordinate and where necessary stimulate activities for and on behalf of children during 1979. The committee are being serviced by officers of my Department. The amount to be made available to assist organisations promoting special events during the year and to promote the aims of the year generally will be approximately £50,000.