Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

More than 30 Deputies have already indicated, including those carried forward from yesterday. I call Deputy Micheál Martin.

Mindful of the Taoiseach’s comments earlier regarding mental health and suicide, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon, has been extremely critical of the State’s failure to put in place the Pathfinder project for youth mental health. This was proposed five years ago. Dr. Muldoon said its lack of implementation has been catastrophic for the most vulnerable young children with mental health issues. In a letter released under freedom of information, Dr. Muldoon describes how many thousands of children have languished on waiting lists for years and have been turned away from adolescent units. He goes as far as saying: "we have ultimately lost children and young people to suicide because of the Government’s inaction." Can the Taoiseach confirm when the Pathfinder project will be delivered?

I thank Deputy Martin for the question. I note the Ombudsman's comments and I intend to meet with the Ombudsman shortly to discuss this. A number of Departments have worked on it. It is a whole-of-Civil Service initiative. I will revert to the Deputy this week in terms of a timeframe for the Pathfinder project.

I raise with the Taoiseach again the case of Emma DeSouza. I raised it with him yesterday and he informed the House that he was counting on a review that had been undertaken on the watch of former British Prime Minister, Theresa May. I told him yesterday that that response was wholly inadequate but, more to the point now, Emma DeSouza has reflected the fact that this review is inadequate. She questions whether there is, in fact, a review. The belligerence and the intent of the British Home Office and the British system is very clear. It is to insist, without consent, that Irish people living in the North are, in fact, British. The Taoiseach shares a common purpose to resolve this issue. What exactly does he propose to do now - now - to sort out this matter?

As the Deputy knows, this issue needs to be solved by the British Government. I raised the issue at some length last night when I met the Secretary of State in Northern Ireland. I understand he is meeting the Deputy's party this morning. In fact, he has probably met it in the past hour or so. There is an opportunity to raise the concerns directly with him. I share the concerns raised by the Taoiseach yesterday during questions to the Taoiseach. I believe there is an understanding on the British side that this is an issue that needs a fundamental review but we have to await a formal response from the Secretary of State on that.

I failed to get an answer on this issue. A €70 million cut in the capital budget for education was announced the day after the budget. As the Taoiseach knows well, approximately ten projects in Dublin West, and I am sure other TDs know of others, are awaiting new school buildings or repair of school buildings. I refer to projects like Corduff national schools, Edmund Rice Schools Trust, the Blanchardstown secondary school, Pelletstown Educate Together and the Danu ASD special school as well as others requiring repairs. Will these projects go ahead? Where will the axe fall? Can the Taoiseach assure parents, teachers and the entire community, which is waiting for these new school buildings, that they are guaranteed to go ahead, as he and many others have promised those communities in past elections? We need clarity. I have put down this question for the Topical Issue Matter all week and it seems that the Minister is not willing to answer it.

I thank the Deputy. I am happy to answer it. They are going ahead. All the projects the Deputy mentioned will go ahead and I look forward to turning the sod on St. Patrick's national school, in Corduff, in the new year.

Will that be after the election?

It would already have gone ahead had the contractor who got the tender not pulled out but we have approached a second contractor and are ready to go in the new year. The same goes for the Edmund Rice Schools Trust but that does not have planning permission yet so that is the next step in respect of that particular project.

The Deputy may ask how there can be a reduction in the schools capital budget and projects continue. I will explain how this comes about. The budget in 2016, when this Government took office, was €530 million. It was increased to €532 million in 2017. It was increased to €547 million in 2018. It was increased to €622 million in 2019 and it will be €620 million next year. That is a €2 million reduction. However, DIT has managed to sell the very large property at Kevin Street for €140 million whereas the guide price had been €60 million, therefore, there is an additional €80 million coming in from that transaction than had been anticipated.

For eight weeks during the summer, the Independent Farmers of Ireland, their wives and families protested outside the gates of meat plants because they were devastated by the price they were continually getting. It is not business as usual with the Government and the so-called task force because, first, the Taoiseach appointed the former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who I believe is not independent, as head of it. Second, the Minister refused to meet Independent Farmers of Ireland, 600 of whom met in Athlone this night last week, and sent three representatives. Even worse, I asked the Taoiseach here last week about the injunctions against a Fine Gael councillor and two others in Longford, which have not been lifted. They were told the night of the agreement they all signed up to that all threats of court action would be lifted immediately. Are the beef plants going to dictate, day and night, and ignore what was agreed in Kildare, overseen by the Minister? They have had their way for 40 years. Time has changed. They have been found out in the practices they are undertaking. We discussed a motion on the living wage in the House last night for two hours. Give the beef farmers a living wage so that they and the industry can survive and cut out this codology and this cartel.

I too call for the lifting of the injunctions on these farmers in the spirit of the deal that was agreed. It is a shame that those people are still being threatened with an injunction. I point out that the price of beef has actually fallen in the past few weeks to €3.30 and €3.20 per kilogram. Farmers cannot survive on that. The quicker the Minister realises that, the better. It seems that everything he is doing relates to Dublin; he is Dublin orientated. He is forgetting about rural Ireland but he will have to stand up and do something for these farmers because this issue has gone on long enough. That farmers are now being offered €3.20 and €3.30 per kilogram is ridiculous. The Minister is the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Will he, please, do something about that?

I am the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. If the Deputy, or Deputy Mattie McGrath, had an interest in these matters he might have turned up for agriculture questions in the House yesterday where I dealt with these matters at some length.

We have a rota system for questions.

We could not get in.

Please, Deputies.

Many Members raised these issues here yesterday and we had a comprehensive discussion on them.

We are entitled to raise them here. It is hard enough to get the Minister here.

I dealt with the issue comprehensively yesterday. I also wish that all injunctions would be lifted. I felt the beef task force would have been the place where outstanding issues could have been raised. I am sure both Deputies will agree with me that the intimidatory tactics employed by people outside the Department offices on Monday, when we attempted to get that task force up and running, were disgraceful.

It is not an independent task force.

With regard to Deputy McGrath's contention that the chairperson is not independent-----

He is an insider.

-----he referenced that he was part of the negotiations for the programme for Government. Is that correct?

Deputy McGrath inferenced in public comment here that the chairperson was part of the negotiations for the programme for Government.

I did no such thing.

He did; I checked the record.

Stop conflating the issue.

I am not conflating the issue.

The Minister's time is up anyway.

The Deputy made allegations against the independent chairperson, which are disgraceful.

Look after the farmers.

His appointment has been welcomed by the parties as an independent, capable and impartial-----

Your time is up, Minister, please.

He had long retired before the programme for Government was negotiated.

There are a number of commitments in A Programme for a Partnership Government regarding student accommodation. Yesterday, I received a reply to a parliamentary question I asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government regarding properties availing of tax relief under section 50 of the Finance Act 1999 to provide student accommodation. I asked the Minister how many of the properties which have reached the end of the ten-year stipulation included in the Act have now been converted from student accommodation to private rental accommodation. Although I submitted this question to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, I received a reply from the Minister for Finance but it does not answer my question. Therefore, I am seeking some clarity on this issue. While I appreciate tax returns will not show the conversion of student accommodation to private rental accommodation once the tax relief has ended, this is an issue the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government should not only be aware of but he should be actively seeking this information as it relates directly to the supply of student accommodation across the country.

Given the crisis in affordability and supply of student accommodation, does the Minister have any information regarding the number of properties in respect of which this relief has been sought after they have been converted and, if not, does he intend to seek this information?

I thank the Deputy for her question. Issues concerning taxation are not compiled by my Department. We have a very ambitious plan for increasing student accommodation, which is well ahead of its targets. It is being rolled out by my Department and the Department of Education and Skills. The difficulty we have with student accommodation is local politicians and local communities objecting to it being built in their localities. We need student accommodation in many parts of the country. That will alleviate problems in other parts of the housing sector and free up rental properties for people who are working in our cities.

The Minister has not answered my question.

The BBC "Spotlight" programme has broadcast a series of documentaries on the Troubles in recent weeks. These have featured a great deal of information regarding loyalist collusion with British forces in the North of Ireland. Much of this information was known but a large amount of fresh information has been put forward regarding MI5, the force research unit or FRU, RUC special branch and the British Army running loyalist agents and manipulating loyalist paramilitaries. This resulted in the murder of hundreds of innocent nationalists. Some time ago, I submitted to the Taoiseach a request that he meet some of the affected families but it has not been dealt with. I also submitted a request to the previous Taoiseach that he meet some of these families but it was not dealt with either. Six months ago, I again asked for the Taoiseach to meet some of these families but a meeting has not been held. Will the Taoiseach raise this issue with the British authorities and meet these families? Some of these organisations, MI5 in particular, are still involved in policing in the North of Ireland.

As the Deputy might know, I have met a number of families on both sides whose family members were victims of the Troubles, so there is no issue with setting up meetings.

There have been no meetings with them for three years.

What we are trying to do - and what we are focusing on - is to ensure the legacy structures linked to the Stormont House Agreement are set up fully in order that inquests can take place and a historical investigations unit can be funded and established to ensure all victims of the Troubles can access the truth regarding what happened to their loved ones.

I will now call those Deputies who were not reached yesterday, starting with Deputy Brady.

The N81 in west Wicklow is one of the most dangerous roads in the State. A new analysis carried out by Gamma Location Intelligence has identified some of the most treacherous roads, both national roads and motorways, and the N81 is on that list. Another tragedy occurred along that stretch of road two weeks ago. In 2016, after a process lasting nearly ten years, a route was selected for a 31 km new road between Tallaght and Hollywood Cross to address these serious safety issues. Unfortunately, the project was dropped and did not make it into the national development plan. It will not be considered until at least 2027. I would have liked to put this question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport but I do not think we have a Minister with responsibility for transport in this Government because he is never anywhere to be seen. I ask the Taoiseach if this scheme will be taken down off the shelf and looked at because it involves a serious safety issue. I urge him to encourage the Minister to do so and progress this project as swiftly as possible.

I know the N81 very well but I do not know the details of this particular project. We have a roads programme that is powering ahead but it is only really possible to do two major projects each year. As the Deputy will be aware, the Enniscorthy and New Ross projects are being finished, the Sligo project has just started, the Westport to Castlebar project was signed off yesterday and we should make progress on the Ballvourney-Macroom project in the very near future. There is a pipeline of road projects. We would love to be able to do them all in one year or in two or three years but that is just not possible given resource constraints and the availability of staff.

And the children's hospital.

It is certainly a matter I will mention to the Minister, Deputy Ross.

Does he exist?

I met him yesterday at Cabinet and, subsequently-----

-----when we announced a €240 million road investment in County Mayo.

As the Taoiseach will be aware, dementia advisers work not only with people with dementia but with their families and carers to provide a highly responsive and individualised information and signposting service. Kildare is one of the counties that does not have the services of a dementia adviser. I have worked and engaged with the Kildare branch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, as has the Ceann Comhairle, and we both know the great benefit the appointment of a dementia adviser will bring to Kildare residents. This and the funding of an additional 1 million home care hours announced in the budget last week should help to keep people with dementia and other vulnerable and ill members of society in their homes for longer. When does the Taoiseach expect the ten additional dementia advisers to come on stream and benefit dementia sufferers, their families and carers in new areas of the country?

I thank the Deputy for this question. I am delighted that budget 2020 was able to deliver on one of the key requests of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, namely, to ensure we have a dementia adviser in every county. The Deputy has pursued the matter with respect to County Kildare on a number of occasions. We will outline the recruitment process in the HSE service plan. Ten additional dementia advisers will be recruited in 2020, ensuring there is one in every county. I acknowledge the work of the cross-party group on dementia in this House, of which Deputy Buckley is a convenor, and also the input of Senator Kelleher. We have worked in a cross-party, bipartisan way on this issue and I am delighted to be able to report that progress.

The programme for Government contains a number of commitments regarding the concept of early intervention. A constituent of mine recently received a letter from the HSE school age team in Dublin South-West. This parent was told that it will be 52 weeks before their child is seen. Will the Minister accept that this makes a nonsense of the idea of early intervention? Will he agree to speak to staff in the area where there is a shortage of staff and the school age team is broken? What can he tell the family of this child who will have to wait 52 weeks for intervention? The child has profound needs and is non-verbal. It is a sad case but one of many. The system is broken locally and it needs to be fixed.

I thank the Deputy for his question. If he wishes to provide me with the information on the individual case he raised, I will be happy to revert to him directly.

The waiting period is 52 months, not 52 weeks as I said.

While I am willing to look at the individual case and liaise with the HSE, what I would say to the family in question is that, contrary to the inaccurate information Deputy Micheál Martin place on the record of this House, 100 additional therapists will be in post by 31 December. Budget 2020 has also delivered funding for 1,000 additional front-line staff by the end of 2020, which will mean more speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. We need to make sure they are located in the right areas and not in accordance with the bizarre way the HSE was set up under Fianna Fáil. I will revert to the Deputy with more detail on this matter.

I am glad the Minister for Health is here. The programme for Government refers to reducing the number of people on trolleys in our hospitals. This seems like a joke to people in Limerick. We have an emergency in our hospital every single day. So far this month, an average of 70 people have been waiting on trolleys in the hospital. Before the Minister gives me a spin about reducing the numbers, already this year 3,000 more people have been on trolleys in Limerick hospital than last year. One step the Minister could take immediately do to address this matter is deliver a second MRI scanner. Will he do that? He stated in a reply to parliamentary question on 10 October that the issue would be considered as part of the HSE budget. Will he make a commitment to deliver this scanner as it is exactly what nurses at the hospital are seeking immediately? Will the Minister give a commitment today that it will be delivered, funded and staffed?

I have already given that commitment but I am happy to give it again. I have engaged with Deputies on a cross-party basis in the mid-west on this issue. It is fair to say that in years gone by the region was left with an inadequate number of beds. We are fixing that problem. I recently paid an unannounced visit to University Hospital Limerick where I saw that a 60-bed ward extension is under construction. We will deliver another 96 beds under the capital plan. We have delivered a new emergency department in University Hospital Limerick after years of neglect. I believe there is merit is having an extra MRI scanner. I have been convinced of that case by the chief executive of the hospital and Members of this House. I have asked the National Treatment Purchase Fund, the hospital group and the HSE to do their best to put a funding stream in place. I want to see a second MRI scanner provided urgently at the hospital. I will keep in touch with the Members from the mid-west on that.

Maxine Maguire is a name I have mentioned in this Chamber previously. Maxine was a young girl whom I had the privilege of teaching in primary school.

She was a beautiful young person who died by her own hand two and a half years ago. Today, her parents, Kathy and Robbie, and a number of friends, family and supporters, will come to the gates of Leinster House to protest about inadequacies in the mental health service. Maxine was somebody who looked for help and, initially, she received it, but there were huge gaps within the system that absolutely failed her. We know this because of the work that Maxine's mother, Kathy, has undertaken in the past two and a half years in terms of finding out the answers, and the HSE has admitted the shortcomings that were there.

The Taoiseach spoke earlier about funding for mental health services. It is not just about funding. It is about outcomes protocols and procedures, and about helping those who need it. Maxine mattered. Her life mattered and her death mattered also. I am asking the Taoiseach what can be done to make sure the proper protocols and procedures are put in place to make sure that lives like Maxine's will not be lost again.

I call Deputy Barry on the same matter.

Play was made earlier of the fact that the numbers on CAMHS waiting lists were down, but there are 2,500 children and adolescents currently on those waiting lists. Social isolation, poverty, inequality, unemployment, oppression and alienation have not gone away, but where is the funding that is necessary to get to grips with this situation? The €39 million that has been mentioned would be insufficient even if all of it were to be ploughed directly into mental health service provision. I would like clarification on this, flowing on from the previous discussion. Deputy Buckley said that the €39 million was broken down into €26 million for pay and €13 million for Portrane. Mental Health Reform is backing those figures. Is the Minister saying it is wrong and, if so, how much is he saying is going directly into mental health provision?

I thank Deputy O'Loughlin. I can tell she knew Maxine personally and I would be very happy to talk with her about the learnings she believes there are in terms of how the system failed Maxine.

This is an issue on which we have worked on a cross-party basis and I think we have made good progress. We now have a budget for mental health that is more than €1 billion for the first time ever and we will open a new mental health facility in Portrane early next year following its completion this year. We have brought in a new HSE grade of assistant psychologist and we have recruited 114 of them. We set up only last week the first ever 24-7 signposting helpline so people who need help at any hour of the day or night can know where to go to get that assistance. As the Taoiseach said, we have seen a fall of 20% in the CAMHS waiting list, and we need to continue to do more in that regard. This year, we will also see the publication of the new A Vision for Change. I hope we can continue to work on these issues as there is an awful lot more work that we need to do.

On Deputy Barry's question, first, I take offence at the use of the word "play". Nobody plays in regard to this matter, which is one that everybody in this House takes seriously and works very hard on. We want to achieve the same outcome, which is building mental health resilience in our country and reducing the level of suicide, and we have seen some progress on both of those matters.

What of the €39 million?

In direct answer to Deputy Barry's question, we cannot just confine the spending on mental health to those areas. As the Taoiseach outlined, the Minister of State with responsibility for higher education and the Minister for Education and Skills will also be spending money on mental health this year. In addition, a number of the 1,000 posts under Sláintecare will be in the mental health area.

I want to raise the issue of the mobility allowance, which was withdrawn in 2013. It is an issue that has been around for a long time, in particular how it was to be replaced and what mechanism was going to be put in place to do that. A proposal for a transport support payment scheme went to Cabinet in May 2018 but went no further, and we are still where we are.

To give an example, a little girl I know, Billie, is three years old and suffers from brittle bone disease. She lives in Longford town and is being raised by her single mother. She has to go continually to appointments in hospital and for treatment, and there is no help or assistance. There was no creche in Longford town that had space for her and she ended up going out to Drumlish, but she does not have transport to get there.

The core of the problem is that when a service like this is withdrawn, where there is an illness in a family, that family is condemned to poverty because of it. That should not happen in the society we live in today. There has been a commitment to do something about this but we have waited far too long. When will the mobility allowance be restored?

I call Deputy Cowen followed by Deputy Breathnach on the same matter.

This has been one of the most asked questions in this House over recent years. I heard the Taoiseach say earlier that previous Governments hammered disabilities. How long is it going to take the Government to honour the commitment it made on several occasions? The Taoiseach, as Minister, made the same commitment that he would find an alternative to that scheme to assist those who need the mobility allowance.

We have gone beyond a joke. Actions speak louder than words. This House needs to make a decision in regard to the issue of mobility. I would say there is not a Deputy who has not raised it on some occasion since I came into the House. The time for talk is over. It is time for action. If there is a will, there is a way to solve this issue. I know of a lady who has disabilities and who has a son with disabilities. Not alone can they not get insurance for a 12 year old vehicle, but they cannot even use it and there is no facility to give them the opportunity to have the mobility that is required.

I thank the Deputies for raising this important issue. The Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, is actively considering options. It is important to say that the Government did not make a decision that this scheme needed to be ended. It was examined by the Ombudsman and found to be unfair. In fairness to the Minister of State, Deputy McGrath, he has been engaging with disability groups to find the fairest way to proceed. Everybody who is on it has retained it and we do not want anybody who is on it to lose, but we also need to look at how we can reopen it. I will ask the Minister of State, Deputy McGrath, to revert to the three Deputies with a timeline. I know he has been working on it extensively. He has a number of options to consider and I would like to see it brought to a conclusion quickly.

Page 58 the programme for Government contains a commitment to building capacity in emergency and acute services, and it states it will address hospital responsiveness to increased demand. I want to bring the attention of the Minister to an email that was sent to every GP in Kerry on 4 October informing them that the walk-in, same-day chest X-ray service would no longer be available in Kerry University Hospital. It also informed them that the current service, whereby ultrasounds are accommodated after 5 p.m., would be placed under review and that it is proposed to cease that service as of Monday, 14 October. Two critical services are, in effect, being scaled down in University Hospital Kerry. I ask the Minister to intervene directly to cease this proposal. We want to have GPs interacting with our hospitals so they can get their patients seen to in a timely manner. This is a regressive step.

I call Deputy Healy-Rae on the same matter.

The Minister will be aware I have raised in the House over a long period the issue of the downgrading of University Hospital Kerry, which is based in Tralee. I have studied very closely the decisions that have been taken by HSE South and I see it as being a power play by the HSE in Cork to downgrade our services in Kerry and centralise everything in Cork. It has been happening. It is happening. I know the Minister is not going to admit it but the fact is that this is what is happening. This walk-in service, which was essential, is being taken away from us. We are being hammered left, right and centre in that hospital, where we have an excellent manager and excellent staff. The people who are working in the hospital are doing their level best but they are getting no help whatsoever. There is a real and serious power play to downgrade our hospital and make it nothing more than a glorified community hospital. I and the other public representatives do not want that to happen and we will not let it happen on our watch.

I thank Deputy Brassil for bringing to my attention the issue in regard to the chest walk-in clinic and the ultrasound. I will revert to him directly and I will talk to the chief executive of the HSE, Mr. Paul Reid, in that regard. I was not familiar with this issue. I know Mr. Reid was in University Hospital Kerry yesterday to meet hospital management and hospital group management, so he should have a good update on it. I will come back to the Deputy on the matter, if not today, then in the morning.

In regard to Deputy Healy-Rae, just because he says something does not mean it is true. If he wants to support the staff and the very highly qualified professionals in that hospital, I do not think he should be suggesting they are working in a community nursing unit. It is a university hospital, providing an excellent service, and there are no plans whatsoever to downgrade it. Not only are there no plans to downgrade it, we plan to increase its capacity further, expand the number of beds and make it even busier.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a serious and debilitating illness that affects fewer than 1% of women during pregnancy. It is an extreme form of morning sickness where the infected woman is unable to tolerate even moderate amounts of food, including water. Although the condition improves after three months for some women, for others the condition lasts for the full nine months.

Cariban is a drug prescribed to women with this illness. It is very effective in improving some women's symptoms. Unfortunately, it is very expensive, costing more than €200 per month. As it is not a licensed drug, it is not covered by any of the HSE schemes, such as the drugs payment scheme, or the medical card. Many women are unable to afford Cariban and are forced to suffer unnecessarily during their pregnancies. The drug is now being advertised online. In a speech the Minister, Deputy Harris, gave on 17 January 2018, he asked, "Is it acceptable to any of us that women are once again left in a lonely and scary place sending off for a pill to be sent through the post instead of being able to access the medical advice and support they need?" This is happening in Ireland today. That is a fact. How can we ignore this? How we can consider it all right? Of course, on that occasion-----

The Deputy's time is up.

-----the Minister was referring to the abortion pill. If it is unacceptable for a woman to be forced to source a pill online to terminate her pregnancy, surely it is unacceptable for a woman to be forced, due to the cost, to source drugs online-----

The Deputy's time is up.

-----to help bring her pregnancy successfully to full term.

Deputy Aindrias Moynihan has a question held over from yesterday. We will hear it now to finish yesterday's list.

A commitment for a new secondary school in Ballincollig was made in recognition of the growing population and increasing demand in the area. Families in the area - in Ballynora and Ovens out as far as Aherla, and in Ballincollig itself - are finding it extremely stressful trying to get places for first years for the year ahead in local schools. There has been no apparent development or progress on getting the new school up and running. A patron has not been identified, and progress needs to be made on getting a site and so on. When will the process for getting a patron for the new secondary school in Ballincollig get under way, and can it be prioritised when it is started?

I thank Deputy Fitzpatrick for his question and his interest in women's reproductive health. He conflated two matters. I very much stand over my position on supporting women in accessing reproductive health services in our own country. I am very proud of the decision taken by the people and the decision taken in this House. I will revert directly to the Deputy in writing on the matter, but the answer to his question is that the drug to which he referred is not licensed. The HSE funds products for pregnant women which are licensed.

I am afraid I do not have information on the new secondary school for Ballincollig at present. I appreciate that the first step will be to identify a patron and then to identify a site and pursue the development of the new school. I will inform the Minister, Deputy McHugh, that the matter was brought up today in the Chamber and will ask him to provide Deputy Aindrias Moynihan with a reply. The Minister would be here but, as the Deputy will appreciate, he is visiting Coolock, where a school was burned down this morning. Unfortunately, the school will now have to be closed, and the Minister is working to ensure we can provide alternative accommodation for the 220 pupils there.

That concludes questions on promised legislation. Fifteen Deputies were not reached today.