Priority Questions

Constitutional Amendment on Children

Charlie McConalogue


88Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide an update on drafting of the adoption legislation to accompany the Children’s Rights Referendum; if this legislation will be published before the Dáil summer recess; if she will confirm that the Children’s Rights Referendum will take place in 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24075/12]

Officials in my Department and I are continuing a substantial engagement with the Attorney General and her officials to progress the Government's commitment to hold a referendum to amend the Constitution to ensure children's rights are strengthened along the lines recommended by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children. The immediate focus of this engagement is the preparation of a draft wording to be put to the people for consideration during the current year. The process is strongly focused on ensuring the proposed wording of the constitutional amendment reflects the deliberations and conclusions of the joint committee and the commitment in the programme for Government.

In parallel with bringing forward the proposed constitutional change in favour of children's rights, there is a need to provide for clarity around related proposals for legislative change regarding adoption. Work is ongoing in this regard and the matter has been the subject of comprehensive legal and administrative analysis, including by officials of my Department. Consideration of the policy issues which will arise from the proposed amendment to the Constitution in regard to adoption is at an advanced stage. The draft heads of the Bill and the general scheme will reflect the policy in this area. One of the policy objectives of the proposed legislation is to provide for the situation of children of marriage who remain in long-term foster care without the option of adoption. Some of these children are in need of a permanent alternative family and adoption would be in their best interests. It is intended to publish the draft legislation on adoption policy at the same time as the draft wording of the proposed amendment to the Constitution.

The referendum on children's rights is a programme for Government priority. The Government is satisfied that the nature of the referendum is such that it will be a stand-alone matter to allow for full attention and engagement by the public in the interests of children. As indicated, I intend to be in a position to seek approval from the Government for the proposed wording with a view to holding the referendum this year.

It is critical that the referendum on children's rights is held this year, with the introduction of the accompanying legislation on adoption. The issue has been the subject of interparliamentary discussion for a number of years. There was an agreed report from the all-party Oireachtas committee, following which a draft wording was published by the last Government before the general election. I have been concerned, since taking on this role and the Minister took up her position, that the date for the referendum is being pushed back. Pledges made during the election that it would take place within the first year at the same time as the Presidential election slipped. We should have seen the adoption legislation before now. It is important that the heads or, preferably, the Bill itself be published and brought before the children's committee before the summer. It is important that it be published in advance of the referendum Bill and we be given appropriate time to assess it in the Houses of the Oireachtas. That will enhance the chances of success in the referendum which I hope will take place before the end of the year. Will the Minister give a commitment that the adoption legislation will be published before the end of the summer? There has been plenty of time for it to be drafted. Why have we not seen it before now and will the Minister commit to publishing it before the summer?

I made a decision shortly after taking office when I examined the issues involved relating to the referendum that it would be in the public interest to publish the heads of the Bill, the legislation on adoption that would accompany the referendum, to give the public more information on the implications of the referendum. I agree with the Deputy that there is a need to consider carefully and understand the issues involved. On taking office I found that work had not been done on the legislation needed and I had to initiate work on the legislation and policy required in that regard. The issues are substantial and until now my focus has been on developing and agreeing the policy from which the legislation will arise. The key policy issues we will have to include in such a Bill include the nature and threshold of parental failure to justify an adoption, the duration of such a failure regarding the age of the child, the process to be used for such adoptions, the process to be used for the voluntary adoption of children of married parents and questions around consent and the role of the High Court in that regard. These are substantial issues and, as I stated, I have initiated the policy work from which the legislation will emerge. I assure the House that this work and the legislation are high priorities on which the Department is working steadily. I am not in a position to provide a precise date for the publication of the Bill as the Department is working on a number of Bills. It is, however, my intention to publish it alongside the legislation on the referendum. I concur with Deputy McConalogue that a full discussion will be required given the seriousness of the issues I have outlined.

I thank the Minister for her response. While I agree with her that many important issues must be addressed in respect of the legislation, it is not acceptable to publish the Bill at the same time as the referendum Bill. The former must be published in advance of the latter.

I note the Minister's comment that in many areas delays arose because work on the relevant issues had not started before she took office. After the Government came to power, the Minister and Taoiseach gave a commitment to hold the referendum at the same time as the presidential election. This was followed by a further commitment to hold it within one year. The referendum is now to be held by the end of this year. The Minister became aware of the position as regards the Bill when she took office. Since then, progress has been slower than it should have been. It is crucial the Bill is published before the summer to ensure we secure all-party agreement and thrash out important issues in advance of the referendum campaign commencing.

Child Care Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


89Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the absence of a comprehensive 24 hour child protection service has left Gardaí as frontline protectors of children in emergency; her plans to rectify this deficiency in the State’s response mechanism; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24236/12]

As part of the ongoing change agenda in child and family services, I am committed to developing the capacity of our child protection services to address appropriately and effectively the needs of children who present in emergencies outside of normal working hours. At present, the Health Service Executive provides out-of-hours emergency services for children at risk in the greater Dublin area through the crisis intervention service, and outside the greater Dublin area through the emergency place of safety service. The crisis intervention service provides an out-of-hours emergency social work service to young people aged under 18 years who are in crisis. The service operates across the greater Dublin area - counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow - and referrals are made outside of normal working hours by service providers, that is, gardaí and hospital and ambulance service personnel.

Outside the greater Dublin area, the HSE operates an emergency place of safety service whereby gardaí can access an emergency placement for children found to be at risk out of hours. This service involves the out-of-hours placement of a child in a family setting until the next working day when the local social work service assumes responsibility for the case. As part of this service, gardaí have access to advice and information from a non-HSE social work off-site resource which is provided on a contract basis.

I am acutely aware of and share many of the ongoing concerns regarding the need to develop these services further and I am committed to implementing service developments in this area. I informed the House on the previous occasion I contributed on Question Time that the HSE had piloted and is currently evaluating two out-of-hours pilot projects, one in County Donegal and the other in County Cork. The former project commenced in mid-2011 while the latter commenced in the third quarter of last year. Both projects involve the provision by local HSE staff of social work support out-of-hours where deemed necessary by gardaí. HSE social workers are on call out of hours to respond to referrals. I am informed by the HSE that having undertaken an initial internal evaluation, it commissioned an independent external assessment of the projects. This evaluation, which is being undertaken by Trinity College, is expected to be completed in the near future and the HSE hopes to receive the report in the coming days. A decision on progression to a national roll-out will be made following evaluation of the two pilot projects and other relevant data.

It was in November, in the course of a response on the review of serious incidents in care services, including the deaths of children in care, that the Minister referred in the House to the Cork and Donegal pilot projects. All of this was in the context of a progress report on the Ryan report implementation group which was placed before the Houses in July last. There is also an implementation group to oversee the roll-out of a national out-of-hours service. In the absence of a State-wide out-of-hours service, children in distress or in need of emergency accommodation are either brought to or obliged to present at a Garda station, where they must await the arrival of a social worker or other service supports. A report by the Ombudsman for Children on homeless children cited children's own experiences of being obliged to present at or be brought to a Garda station and what this exposed them to. There is no question about the understanding and responsible attitude of the Garda which would be dealing with cases as they present; that is not the focus of my question, rather it concerns the impact of what actually can occur in a Garda station. Let us be clear about this. A great number of these sad incidents will occur during the evening or at weekends. Many other things also happen in Garda stations and I do not believe it is appropriate that children are placed in these environments.

How many times has the implementation group met? Are we any closer - I note what the Minister said - to having a comprehensive out-of-hours service rolled out? Has any consideration been given to co-operation on a North-South basis, particularly where there are communities straddling the Border for which an out-of-hours service could be provided on a shared basis between authorities North and South?

I absolutely agree that Garda stations are not the place for young children in need of care. However, I wish to pay tribute to the work done by gardaí who are dealing with this issue. I have met their representatives who have expressed their concerns to me. That is why it is important we had two pilot projects last year. We had different models in Cork and Donegal, with a different response. We are awaiting the evaluation of these responses which we will have shortly. I hope the next time we discuss this issue on the floor of the House I will be in a position to get back to the Deputy with the national model we will use for the roll-out of services throughout the country, for which I have allowed funding in this year's budget.

This is an extremely important issue which has gone on for far too long. I pay tribute to the emergency place of safety service which the Garda can access. Most of the young children being brought to its attention receive a place in a foster family, which is really important. It is happening quickly, but nevertheless, young children can have the experience of having to spend some hours in a Garda station inappropriately in these circumstances. We want to stop this practice as quickly as we can. It has gone on for years, but we are now at a point where we are waiting for the reports on the pilot projects. We will figure out the best model to use because clearly there are resource implications of which we have to be conscious, depending on which model is used to develop the service. That issue will have to be addressed also.

We have a service available in Dublin, to which approximately 800 children were referred in 2010. They were placed in a variety of settings. That is an emergency out-of-hours social work service. We have the model of the emergency place of safety service where gardaí seek a foster family to look after a child. We also have the two pilot projects. We have to bring all of this experience together and decide how we should move forward within the available resources.

Adoption Services

Clare Daly


90Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to the his response to questions on access to and safeguarding of records of de facto illegal adoptions (details supplied), the number of such records held by the Health Service Executive; the number of cases that were identified in the audit, relating to the pre-1952 period and the number that relate to the post 1952 Act period; the number of cases believed to contravene the Adoption Act(s) that have been notified and to which appropriate authorities; when these cases were notified to these authorities and the reports she has received regarding actions taken on foot of the notification of the contravention of the Adoption Act(s). [24234/12]

The Deputy has asked for information on records about persons who were told or believed they had been adopted and in respect of whom there are no adoption records. It must be understood the Adoption Authority of Ireland like its predecessor, the Adoption Board, has no statutory responsibility in the matter raised but has endeavoured to assist persons affected to the extent open to it. The guidelines on information and tracing services, first issued by the Adoption Board in 2004, included acknowledgement of a practice of illegal birth registrations and offered the board's assistance in efforts to obtain any records that might still be available. I am aware from the Adoption Authority of Ireland that, in mid-2010, the Irish Adoption Board conducted a review of information it retained of contact received from persons who had been told or believed themselves to be adopted, but where no adoption records existed, which is an extremely traumatic situation for anyone to be in. This exercise indicated 99 people who had identified themselves to the board as adopted did not have a corresponding adoption file. Around 45 of these cases related to people born after 1953 and the balance related to persons born before 1953.

I am advised that, at the specific request of the persons making a complaint, the Irish Adoption Board reported a number of such cases to the Garda, the Registrar General and the Director of Public Prosecutions by reference to possible offences under the birth registration Acts. It is my understanding that further action did not ensue having regard to available proof and the lapse of time since the events in question.

I have also made enquiries concerning the Deputy's question about the number of such records held by the Health Service Executive. I have been informed that the HSE has not carried out a review similar to that done by the Irish Adoption Board in 2010. Obviously, the records would be more scattered if the HSE did have them. I have, however, asked the HSE to establish any relevant information in its possession and examine the matter. I am happy to correspond directly with the Deputy on this.

As I indicated in a recent reply to the Deputy, I am looking into what steps may be possible in relation to such cases in the context of ongoing work by my Department with the Attorney General's office on the drafting of legislation with regard to information and tracing. Work is under way on the preparation of the adoption (information and tracing) Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority of Ireland, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption, including where the adoption was not effected.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.

It is intended that the Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority of Ireland to have access to records currently held by a wide range of information sources, give the authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records, and place the national contact preference register on a statutory basis. The Bill is also to provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority of Ireland having the overarching responsibility for the service.

I realise how difficult and complicated this issue is but I am not fully sure we are advancing it as we continue to discuss it. My query is not about cases where no records exist. It is about cases where records exist but may not be in the hands of the Adoption Authority of Ireland or under the remit of the HSE. We are trying to grapple with a scenario where it has been acknowledged that adoptions have been falsely registered and that the information exists somewhere. It is a question of getting access to those records and safeguarding them. We are a long way from that. We should remind ourselves that we are talking about people's personal identities, which is very important.

I do not accept the figure of 99 people which the Minister again quoted in her response. I believe that figure emerged from a newspaper story, that the Adoption Authority of Ireland examined only its own records and that the majority of false births that were registered, which the Minister has acknowledged, were done to arrange illegal adoptions and are, therefore, held by adoption agencies. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has refused to inspect those documents or to copy them. There needs to be an intervention from the Minister to ensure all existing records are brought together under some comprehensive remit. If the HSE rather than the Adoption Authority of Ireland is given that remit, it needs to be resourced to carry it out. It has not been to date.

I take the Deputy's point. I assure her it is intended that the Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority of Ireland to have access to records currently held by a wide range of information sources, give the authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records, and place the national contact preference register on a statutory basis. The Bill will also provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority of Ireland having the overarching responsibility for the service.

The HSE is concerned about the issue of records and is taking what action it can in the meantime. We do not, at present, have a statutory situation for safeguarding the records in the way I have outlined to the Deputy. That is the intention of the legislation I will bring forward. We will have a much more organised and comprehensive approach to records. It has been too ad hoc. As the Deputy said, it clearly affects this group in particular. In effect, she is raising the number of illegal adoptions that took place.

I have two supplementary questions. One relates to the timescale of the legislation. Is the Minister saying that the problem is the Adoption Authority of Ireland has been legally restricted in pursuing the matter? My understanding is that it has failed to intervene and use the powers it has to gain access to the records and inspect them.

The adoption (tracing and information) Bill is part of the legislative programme for this year. Much work has been done on it and I hope and intend to bring it forward this year.

There are no provisions regarding the retention and preservation of such records in current legislation. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has no remit in respect of such matters. We need the new legislation to deal comprehensively with the records.

Health Service Staff

Charlie McConalogue


91Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of social workers currently employed in the area of child protection and the way this compares to the number employed by the Health Service Executive at the start of 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24001/12]

The HSE compiles a monthly census of employment in the public health and social care sector. The latest data available are in respect of March, 2012. They show the total number of social workers employed in the HSE and in directly funded agencies was 2,397 whole-time equivalents, WTEs. The equivalent figure at the end of 2010 was 2,432 WTEs. It is important to note these figures apply to all social workers employed by the HSE, and by a range of other public and publicly funded bodies, to fulfil a range of roles, some of which fall outside the child welfare and protection services. For example, social workers are employed in hospitals to assist patients and families with the social aspects of their illness, in the mental health services, in primary care and in relation to older people.

The employment census also provides a breakdown of staffing levels by care group. In the case of social workers employed in the children and family area, the figures indicate there were 1,183 WTEs employed at the end of 2010 and 1,197 WTEs at the end of March 2012. That shows an increase of 14 WTEs since the 31 December 2010. It should be noted the classification by care group is viewed by the HSE and the Department as provisional and is subject to ongoing revision and refinement as part of the process of disaggregating the children and family resource base from the HSE prior to the establishment of the new children and family support agency.

The latest available information from the HSE indicates that 31 social work staff in the child and family services area availed of the recent early retirement scheme. Other vacancies have also arisen, as they would in the normal course of events. The national director of children and families services, Mr. Gordon Jeyes, will apply his discretion over the course of the year to the filling of vacancies, having regard to identified need and subject to services being delivered within available resources. I can advise the Deputy the HSE has informed me it has approved the recruitment of 57 replacement social worker staff across all care group areas since January 2012. These posts are at various stages of recruitment. While vacancies will always arise and will need to be filled, the overall trend is clear. The number of social workers employed in child and family services is increasing.

I am somewhat taken aback by the Minister's response because the figures she gave me indicate what I have been trying to ascertain from her on a number of occasions in the past year, namely, that the number of social workers has decreased under her watch. There are fewer social workers now than when the Minister took office. That is despite the Minister coming to the House on several occasions to reassure us that 200 additional social workers would be employed last year. She assured us repeatedly that would happen. The Minister said the social workers were at various stages of recruitment and they would be in place by the end of the year. In May 2012 the Minister has come to the House to confirm there are 35 fewer social workers in place now than there were at the start of last year. Specifically in the area of child protection there are just 14 more. An additional 200 additional social workers were supposed to have been recruited. That has not happened and the situation is that there are fewer social workers than when the Minister took office.

An article by Kitty Holland in The Irish Times today refers to comments by the head of child and family services in the Health Service Executive, Mr. Gordon Jeyes, regarding a report by Professor Bairbre Redmond of UCD on retaining social workers in our system. Mr. Jeyes observes that social workers “cannot do everything currently expected of them” and refers to the problems being caused by limited resources. I asked the Minister on several occasions about the impact on reporting numbers arising from implementation of the Children First guidelines, the draft heads of a Bill now in committee. Neither the Minister nor her Department has made an impact assessment of the additional burden this will place on the system in a context where there are now fewer social workers than when the Minister took office, despite her undertaking to recruit 200 additional staff in accordance with the recommendations of the Ryan report. There is serious cause for concern in the figures the Minister has presented today.

Does the Deputy have a question for the Minister?

There must be an impact assessment of the implementation of the Children First guidance in order to ensure the system is equipped to deal with the likely increase in the number of reports arising from it. An article in The Irish Times last week by Professor Helen Buckley indicated that the number of reports increased from 9,000 in 2000, of which 3,000 were substantiated as cases of abuse-----

If the Deputy wishes to receive a reply from the Minister, he should give way now.

-----to 26,000 in 2009, with the number substantiated remaining at 3,000. That increase is likely to continue, yet the Minister is making no allowance for resourcing the system to meet it. This could well lead to a service that is overburdened and which puts children at risk.

The Minister has approximately 20 seconds to reply.

The trend in the recruitment of social workers is upward. Staff for the 60 posts I indicated would be filled last year have been recruited.

They are not in place.

Yes, they are. The Deputy is misunderstanding the figures. It should be noted that there is a difference between recruitment and retention, as pointed out in a report published on Monday. A total of 220 social workers have been recruited, including those recommended in the Ryan report, but there is a range of issues affecting the overall allocation, including an ongoing process of replacement. In any group of 1,000 workers-----

There are supposed to be 200 additional workers.

They are in place. I am trying to explain what happens in a normal workforce of 1,000-----

It is a charade. There are fewer social workers in place now than at the beginning of last year.

The Deputy must allow the Minister to reply.

In a normal workforce of 1,000 there will be significant movement in and out of the service. Women comprise some 87% of the social worker cohort we are discussing, most of them under 40 years of age. A number of them will inevitably go on maternity leave and there are also people who have left the service to go abroad, take up other employment and so on. In addition, there are some who were previously employed on a temporary basis who have since, in accordance with the Ryan report recommendations, taken up permanent posts. In short, the overall trend is upward, the recruitment promised has been undertaken and it is a continuous process. There is constant movement in the figures, but overall-----

Have 57 or 200 been recruited?

The Deputy is being very unfair to Deputy Mick Wallace who is next in line.

Let us not argue about specific figures. It is important that we consider the broad range of issues that affect a workforce of 1,000. As part of the recruitment process under way, an additional 57 staff are being recruited. Most of these will work in child protection, the allocation for which has already increased by 14.

The Minister's explanation does not stand up.

I need the Deputy to understand clearly-----

I understand the situation very well.

I do not accept that the Deputy does. The recruitment has been completed, but there have been 31 retirements. Mr. Jeyes can, at his discretion, replace those who have retired.

Foreign Adoptions

Mick Wallace


92Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No 27 of 22 March 2012, the outcome of the Adoption Authority of Ireland visit to India scheduled for the end of April 2012; if prospective parents trying to adopt from India have been notified of any recent developments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24235/12]

On 1 July 2011 the Adoption Authority of Ireland was notified by the Indian National Central Authority, known as CARA, that it would not be accepting dossiers from Irish applicants either until 30 September 2011 or until further notice. It has come to the attention of the Adoption Authority of Ireland that CARA proposes to introduce a new computerised e-access system of online dossier registration. To date, CARA has not invited the AAI to participate in such a scheme. The AAI now proposes to visit CARA in India in mid to late June of this year. Should CARA invite Ireland, in the form of the AAI, to participate in a new inter-country adoption scheme between the two countries, the invitation will be given careful consideration by the board of the AAI, taking into account the advice of the Irish Embassy to India and the Hague Conference Permanent Bureau in the Hague. In the meantime, a number of potential adoptive parents have received referrals of children from India under the old system. There was some difficulty in obtaining the necessary assurances from CARA with regard to these referrals, which caused a delay in the AAI's agreement to the placement of these children. Fortunately, the AAI has now received a response from CARA which has allowed the processing of these referrals to continue to the next stage. The Adoption Authority keeps people up to date with changes through its website. Currently, the plan is that the AAI will visit India in June to further develop its relationships with CARA.

I thank the Minister for her reply. Originally, the delegation was supposed to go in April, but the Minister is now saying it is likely to be late June. A few of the families involved have been in contact with me. I realise there are problems on all sides and that many aspects on the other end leave a lot to be desired, but from the point of view of the rights of the families, it does appear things could have been handled a bit better. One parent in particular pointed out some areas in which he thought things could be done better by the AAI. For example, the AAI needs to understand there are young children at the centre of this process, as sometimes it seems to lose sight of this. He also said its communications with prospective adoptive parents could probably improve, that it needs to respect the processes established with Hague-compliant countries, that it should start working with more Hague-compliant countries rather than concentrating all its efforts on setting up bilateral arrangements with countries that will never be Hague-compliant and have no interest in becoming so, such as Russia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, that it should tap into the wealth of knowledge gathered by prospective adoptive parents, and most importantly, that the delegation to India should seek to repair the damage it has done in some areas. There are some people who have been waiting to adopt from India but are at the mercy of the authority because of red tape. Without understanding it all myself, I get the impression, while admitting these things are complicated and multifaceted, that there seems to be a certain amount of inefficiency. In some ways the authority could be described as dysfunctional. Would the Minister agree?

I do not agree. I agree that adoption work and the international relationships among countries participating in inter-country adoption are very complex because we must take into account the law in Ireland and in the other countries, and most countries have very different systems for handling adoption. It is a complex issue which requires major attention to detail. As the Deputy said, the key issue is the best interests of the child. This is about the child, not the parents. Having said that, we want to work with Hague-compliant countries where possible. Where adoptions have taken place from countries that are not Hague-compliant, that is, where there is a history of adoption between Ireland and a particular country, such as Russia or Ethiopia, we are examining the possibilities for bilateral agreements. The Hague Convention was signed only in November 2010, so we are in a relatively new situation with regard to procedures. I want to support the parents as much as possible.

The new CEO of the AAI has taken up his position only in recent weeks. I wish him the very best. I have had a number of meetings with him and with Geoffrey Shannon, the chairman of the board. The board and staff are very committed to their work. There is considerable demand and there are very complex circumstances to deal with.

With regard to India, I have spoken to the Indian ambassador to Ireland and have asked him to give us whatever information he can. I have been using diplomatic channels to assess the circumstances in India. There have been some difficulties in correspondence.

After signing up to the Hague Convention, many countries have stopped the process until they get their own law and processes in order. There has been something of a delay and it has been very tough on some of those who have been caught up in the changes. The circumstances after the Hague Convention are quite different from those that obtained before it. I assure the Deputy the Adoption Authority will be very conscious of the issues regarding communication with those who want to adopt and the of giving high-quality information. I have been in discussions with the board on those issues.

On the issue of communication, individuals have been very frustrated about not getting through to and not getting responses from the board, despite incredible efforts. Is it true there is no adoptee, birth parent or adoptive parent on the board? Perhaps I am wrong in believing there is none. Would it not be a good idea to have a board member with such a background?

I assure the Deputy the communication issues are being dealt with. Efforts are being made by all concerned to ensure the best possible communication with those who want to adopt.

The representation of the board is laid down in legislation. It could well require legislative change if the nominee did not have the background described. I can examine this and I will correspond with the Deputy thereon.

The time for Priority Questions has expired. We will now move to Question No. 93 in the name of Deputy Stanley.