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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 8 Mar 2022

Vol. 1019 No. 3

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

The report of the Business Committee has been circulated and can be taken as read. Are the proposed arrangements for this week's business agreed to?

The Dáil will not sit next week, as Deputy Canney has averted to, because of St. Patrick's Day. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we act urgently this week on the matter of spiralling costs of petrol, diesel and home heating oil. I have put the proposal to the Taoiseach that a financial resolution be drafted and brought before us tonight, tomorrow night or at the earliest available opportunity to ensure that consumers and families see immediate relief and immediate price reductions. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Taoiseach is not taking this initiative. The EU authorities and the Commission can deal with VAT and no doubt will deal with other issues.

The issue of excise is a matter for government and a matter for the House. Therefore, we are quite insistent that the Government act and bring forward this financial resolution this week.

Please, Deputy. The time is well up.

I was very disappointed with the Taoiseach's response to Deputy McDonald earlier. We need action now. We sleepwalked into this crisis. Blaming Ukraine and what goes on there is horrific. There is no excuse and the public know it. There is a 64 cent in excise and carbon tax on every litre of petrol and 54 cent on every litre of diesel. This can be wiped away with the stroke of a pen. I demand a full debate. The Rural Independent Group has been on this for a long time. Anyone could have seen it coming. We need a debate. We need a resolution, as Deputy McDonald said, to strike out the charges and cut at least 50 cent from the price.

Thank you, Deputy.

People cannot afford to work, live, play or produce food. It is a crazy situation.

The Taoiseach will go off for Paddy's day and I wish him well on his travels. I have no objection to it. He will leave the people languishing. The people are furious.

Please, Deputy.

They cannot heat their homes or anything else. We need a debate on this matter. We need a Dáil motion. We can do it-----

The Deputy is over time.

I am sorry but it is such an important issue.

I know it is but the Deputy is way over time.

The Government needs to be awoken from its slumber on this.

As the House knows, we had hoped to take the remaining Stages of the Proceeds of Crime (Gross Human Rights Abuses) Bill this week. It passed Second Stage last December. It is a very short and concise Bill to extend the powers of CAB to deal with those abusing human rights wherever. It is particularly apt and important right now in the context of the past 12 days. It would have shown a clear signal of solidarity and our determination to stand with the people of Ukraine. It has not proven possible for, in truth, technical reasons. I listened carefully to what the Taoiseach said earlier on Leaders' Questions, that we have to look outside the norms in this crisis and look outside the box. I appreciate that the Chairman of the justice committee has called a meeting this evening to see whether we can waive pre-legislative scrutiny. I appreciate that the Minister for Justice has agreed to meet me tomorrow to see whether we can advance this.

The time is up.

If we cannot do it this week, it is important that we have special legislation to deal with this. Since we will not have Private Members' time, will the Taoiseach undertake to give Government time to conclude the legislation speedily?

The European leaders will meet in Versailles on Thursday and Friday. They will discuss the Russian invasion as it impacts on the economy and on energy supply. No doubt they will also discuss military matters. Of course they will. Perhaps no official decisions will be made in this regard but a process will be got under way without a doubt. Yet there are no statements on that meeting in the House this week. There should be statements on this issue in the House this week.

When there is a meeting of the European Council, we have statements beforehand.

This is an informal meeting.

The Taoiseach says this is an informal meeting. Let us have an informal debate. When the European Council meets, we have pre-meeting statements and post-meeting statements. This meeting is more important than 95% or even 99% of the European Council meetings held in recent times but there are to be no statements. Why not? I propose a special meeting of the Business Committee this afternoon to arrange such a debate. Will the House agree to that?

In light of the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine and the fact that President Zelenskyy is addressing a number of parliaments around Europe and, indeed, the world, the Regional Group is of the view that he should be invited to address the joint Houses of the Oireachtas by video link at his convenience. I would be grateful if the Business Committee could hold an urgent meeting with regard to scheduling such an engagement. We spoke to the Ukrainian ambassador this morning and she is very much in favour of the proposal. She has agreed to contact the President's office directly, pending, of course, the approval of the House. I would be grateful for the support of the Government and all parties and Independent Members in the House in that regard.

Last week, I raised the fact that Deputy Pringle had requested a debate on the national maternity hospital. In his response, the Taoiseach said that he was not averse to such a debate. The Chief Whip was sitting behind him at the time. Despite this, when Deputy Pringle raised the matter again in a meeting of the Business Committee, it was still not put on the agenda. I ask the Taoiseach to ensure such a debate is included on the agenda for this week or for when we come back from the break.

As I said to Deputy McDonald earlier, the Government is aware of the issues with regard to rising fuel prices and acknowledges the enormous impact these increases in energy prices are having on people in terms of going to work, heating their homes and so on. The matter is under active consideration by the Government.

The Government will respond. To respond to Deputy Mattie McGrath, we are certainly not sleepwalking into this. This war is 13 days old. It is having, and will continue to have-----

What is 13 days old? This has been going on for years.

If the Government listened to us, this would be sorted, but it is asleep.

Will the Deputies let the Taoiseach answer the question?

What he is saying is not accurate. The Government does not want to know about any crisis. The only thing that is going up is carbon tax.

The Taoiseach is running out of time now.

The Government responded to the cycle of inflation induced by the pandemic with a budget package of €500 million. The war is going to mean a lot more inflation. It will mean that life will not be quite the same as we thought it would be, at least for 2022. That is all I am saying.

The Taoiseach keeps saying that.

The Government will respond to this.

To respond to Deputy Barry's comments, this is an informal meeting of the European Council hosted by the French Presidency. Conclusions will not be drawn from it. I would not be as conspiratorial as the Deputy about it. On the one hand, it will deal with a number of issues pertaining to the strategic compass. On the following day, the economic repercussions of the war and of the Covid pandemic and the economic future of Europe will be discussed. It will be a general discussion and more exploratory with regard to its breadth. On Thursday, I anticipate discussions on the security crisis arising from the war in Ukraine. We expect to be briefed on the war in Ukraine and where matters lie in that regard.

On Deputy Berry's point, that is fundamentally a matter for the Oireachtas. The Government will co-operate with and be of assistance to the Oireachtas in facilitating President Zelenskyy addressing the Dáil or a joint sitting of the Oireachtas. I would have no issue with that, subject to facilitating President Zelenskyy because every presentation of this kind he undertakes carries security risks from his perspective and that of Ukraine. We will do whatever we can to be of assistance. We are well aware of what Ukraine wants and what it is seeking from the European Union. We have provided our full per capita contribution to the European peace facility. We have also provided humanitarian aid and have agreed with the European Union in respect of visas and so on.

Will the Taoiseach address the question on the Magnitsky legislation?

We facilitated that Act on Second Stage. I have no issue with lifting-----

Hold on a second. Those involved are not convinced that the Act is perfect or will do what it says on the tin.

Leaving that to one side, we have no objection to facilitating its passage. I think the Deputy wants pre-legislative scrutiny waived and he will meet the Minister tomorrow to discuss that. I do not have an issue with that now.

Deputy Joan Collins should bring the matter she raised forward in Private Members' time.

It was already voted for in Private Members’ time.

Every week there are calls for debates on a range of issues and we need to allow Government time for legislation.

That is not good enough.

It is a tight week and everybody wants statements on different items. It happens every day in the Dáil.

This is one of the biggest projects facing the country for women.

The Minister will bring this to the Government in the coming weeks and we will have a decision on that.

That is why we need a debate.

Question put.
The Dáil divided by electronic means.

Given the importance of this issue and the need for urgent Government action in respect of fuel and energy costs, under Standing Order 83(3)(b) I propose that the vote be taken by other than electronic means, or, in other words, by a walk-through vote.

Question again put: “That the proposed arrangements for this week's business be agreed to.”
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 53; Staon, 0.

  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanton, David.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers; Níl, Deputies Mattie McGrath and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
Question declared carried.

We will proceed to Questions on Promised Legislation. There are 17 Members indicating and 19 minutes to take this business. Is it agreed that Members will have a maximum of 30 seconds per question and the Taoiseach the same to answer? Agreed.

We are heartbroken at the horrific scenes of Ukrainian people, mainly women and children, fleeing for their lives. We are witnessing the largest displacement of people in Europe since the Second World War. To stop this humanitarian disaster, we have to stop the war. Members of the Government have speculated that Ireland might be required to accommodate up to 100,000 refugees. This is a huge scale of people seeking refuge and the question arises as to how a system that is already stretched can accommodate a challenge like this. Where will these refugees live and what is the accommodation plan?

First, I want to say in passing that I think we need to reflect on what we just did, in such an enclosed environment and with so many people, in terms of a roll-call vote. It is farcical in itself but makes no sense at all from a Covid perspective. Covid has not gone away. I just have to say that.

(Interruptions).

Deputies, please.

It is something we should reflect on. I just had to get it off my chest because I found it incredible what we did, as a collective group in an enclosed space, when we have technology available to vote and enable a vote to be done. We really should cop on a small bit.

In regard to the biggest humanitarian crisis we have seen since the Second World War because of the war on Ukraine, every effort will be made by the Government to co-ordinate and do what we can. There are no immediate answers, but what it will mean is that some of the norms that would characterise business as usual will have to be put to one side in terms of enabling facilities and allowing work to be done to create accommodation. We no longer have the luxury of saying we cannot have this development over here or that development over there. The crisis is going to be so big, in my view, that we will have to pull out all the stops as quickly as we can, as a society and as a Government, to do what we need to do.

This morning, I met with representatives of the Endometriosis Association of Ireland to discuss the crisis in endometriosis care in this country. This illness is suffered by up to 100,000 women in Ireland but we do not know the overall figures. I have three questions for the Taoiseach in this regard. What will the Government do to tackle the waiting time for diagnosis of endometriosis, which can take up to nine years? Is the Government seeking to upskill GPs and provide adequate screening tools to help diagnose the illness more quickly? Will the Taoiseach commit to a national strategy for endometriosis, such as exists in France and Australia?

The Minister for Health is opening several endometriosis specialist centres in 2022 as part of an overall women's health strategy that will see an allocation of up to €30 million-odd, and €48 million in a full year, to women's health, with a particular focus on endometriosis as well as other issues.

The cost of fuel has risen to unbearable levels. The rate of the increases is raising many questions as to whether it is solely down to global factors or if there is a possibility that price gouging is happening at the pumps as we speak. Will the Taoiseach investigate whether there is price gouging? Otherwise, there is no guarantee that any mooted VAT or excise reductions will be passed on to consumers. It is an important issue.

The Deputy has raised a very fair point. There could be evidence of some price gouging going on but, clearly, there is a broader issue of an increase in fuel prices, which is receiving the Government's active attention right now. I take the Deputy's point and do not disagree with the need to be vigilant to make sure price gouging is not occurring.

On International Women's Day, I raise the plight of refugees fleeing from the brutal invasion of Ukraine, who are overwhelmingly women and children. I trust the Government is doing everything possible to assist Irish citizens in getting out. By now, there are numerous and credible reports of blatant racism against refugees trying to flee Ukraine, including racism both by the Ukrainian military and by, for example, Polish border guards.

The Taoiseach to respond.

CNN, Vox, TIME and others - I could go on and on - have had reports of separate lines for white and black refugees.

The time is up, Deputy.

Does the Taoiseach condemn this racism and will the Government act to ensure all refugees, regardless of colour or passport, are welcome in Europe?

There will have to be a lesson in timekeeping for Deputies from Solidarity and People Before Profit.

First, I refer to the reports of Paul Cunningham of RTÉ from the Polish-Ukrainian border. As a correspondent with experience covering a number of wars, he has said he cannot get over the comprehensive and very efficient response of the Polish authorities to an enormous migration of Ukrainians into Poland. Nobody would tolerate or accept any racism being applied to any migrants, but we have to be balanced on this. The Deputy said there is wholesale racism. I have to go by what people are saying who are on the ground locally.

Thank you, Taoiseach, the time is up.

There has been an extraordinary response overall to the crisis.

In light of the announcement last Sunday by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine asking farmers to grow grain to try to make up for some of the shortfall and risk arising out of the Ukrainian crisis, how will the Government provide the fertiliser, grain and machinery that are required? Many farmers, including in my constituency, have not done tillage in a hell of a long time, since the sugar factory closed in Tuam.

Thank you, Deputy. The time is up.

I am asking the Taoiseach how this is going to be done.

We have heard the question. The Taoiseach to respond.

The Minister is meeting with the farm organisations. There will be a need to grow grass and make sure we have enough animal feed for next year. We will take no chances or shortcuts. There will be a very challenging environment ahead in terms of animal feed and global grain supply. It makes sense that we change tack in terms of our agricultural portfolio and, working in partnership with the farming organisations and farmers, that we do so in a measured and sensible way.

When is the Taoiseach going to support the men and women, the postmasters of Ireland, who did sterling work during the Covid period? Post offices were some of the only places that stayed open and looked after people. The postmasters are on their knees, and if they do not get some package by this summer, they will be gone. Beidh siad imithe. The Taoiseach knows this better than I do. They have been 20 years telling us here about this. Hundreds of post offices have closed already and many more will close if postmasters do not get some recognition and support and action is not taken to stop social welfare offices from taking the business. The processing of driver licences and many other types of business could be given to them.

Thank you, Deputy.

The Government has a death wish against the post offices. Will the Taoiseach please support them?

We have no death wish against anybody, particularly not the postmasters and post offices of Ireland. We are doing everything we possibly can to sustain and support them and will continue to do so.

Ar Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBan, is masla amach is amach é go bhfuil an Taoiseach ag dul ar aghaidh le cainteanna rúnda ar chúla téarmaí ó thaobh an ospidéil náisiúnta máithreachais de. It is an absolute insult, on International Women's Day, that the Taoiseach said to my colleague that we should use Private Members' time to raise this issue. On three occasions, we have done so and the Dáil has appealed unanimously to the Government to ensure we have a public hospital on public land. Will the Taoiseach commit, on International Women's Day, to putting this issue down as a matter of urgency for full, open and frank debate?

Ní aontaím leis an Teachta go bhfuil sé maslach in aon chor. Tá an-chuid ama don Fhreasúra chun ábhair éagsúla a chur os comhair na Dála agus iad a phlé. Tá an seans sin ag na Teachtaí chomh maith leis sin. On International Women's Day, the imperative, for me, is that we build a modern maternity hospital that can cater for the women of Ireland, especially in the region the hospital will serve. The current hospital facilities are appalling.

The debate has gone on for far too long. The consultants in the hospital, numbering 54, I believe, wrote to the public media making it very clear that all procedures and so on would be carried out in such a modern hospital.

What does the Government intend to do in the short term to alleviate the impact of rising fuel and energy costs on businesses and consumers? I am aware this is a very serious issue for the Taoiseach and that, from talking to all of us, he is aware of it.

I also want to talk about Ukraine. It has had an effect on fuel costs. I have had contact with a family in Carlow regarding a case that I am sure the Taoiseach is aware of, namely, that of a medical student, Racheal, who is trapped in Ukraine. The good news is she is on her way to Moldova with a Scottish rescue team. Will staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs be in Moldova to assist her? It is going to be a good news story. It is important everyone work with Racheal.

We are all very conscious of the impact of the war in Ukraine and various issues on fuel prices, the cost of home heating and, in particular, the cost of getting to work that is incurred at the petrol pump. The Government is keeping this under very active consideration, as I said earlier, and will continue to do so.

On Racheal's journey from a war zone, it is good to witness the progress being made. We are in constant contact with Irish citizens, including Racheal.

The €8 billion retrofit package is monumental and never been seen before in the history of the State. It delivers on one of the Green Party's most important policies, which is designed to eradicate fuel poverty and make homes warmer, healthier and more valuable. However, I believe a cohort of society has been left out, namely, pensioners. Will the Taoiseach consider going a step further to improve the retrofit package by introducing an equity release scheme for those nearing pension age and old-age pensioners so they can improve the quality of their homes?

I would have to give that some thought. Some equity release schemes are not the best sometimes for senior citizens. I would like to explore these issues further with the Deputy.

On International Women's Day 2022, women who experience domestic violence and abuse are still being turned away from refuges. In fact, nine counties throughout the State do not have any domestic violence refuge at all. The Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, said there would be extra places by the end of the year, but women cannot wait that long. When will women be a priority for the Government? When will every woman in the State have a refuge when she desperately needs it?

The Minister for Justice and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have published the audit on refuge spaces for women who are victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The work will commence very quickly on that. Of course, it will take time to design facilities and work with groups on the ground in given locations to bring about the construction and development of new public facilities.

I just came from a fantastic International Women's Day event in Finglas this morning. As a member of the gender equality committee to deal with the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly, I want to ask the Government whether it intends to hold a referendum on the issue of a woman's place in society and how we might reflect caring in our Constitution, in addition to addressing many of the other recommendations of the assembly?

That matter is under consideration by the Government. The Government is positively disposed to holding such a referendum. The timelines have to be discussed.

Killarney National Park is under severe pressure in tackling biodiversity challenges, carrying out repairs and dealing with rhododendrons. Contracts for the five general operatives employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service expired this month. Since last June, they have built a new bridge on the old Kenmare road, railings and pens for the white-tailed eagles, and they have replaced rotten seating. Will the Taoiseach, as we approach the anniversary of the fire, which is next month, retain these workers, give them permanent contracts and commit to a plan to protect the ecosystem?

I will talk to the Minister responsible for that area to see what the specifics are. I am not au fait with the specific contracts.

Today is International Women's Day. In the budget, funding was provided to make free contraception available to women between 17 and 25. I understand the scheme is to be in place in August. What is the current status of the legislation? When will it be published? What engagement has there been with professionals to date to ensure there will be a comprehensive service available for those aged between 17 and 25 from August of this year?

My understanding is that it stands to be introduced in the autumn, in August or September. This is when the Minister envisages introducing it.

Before the war in Ukraine, we urged the Taoiseach to use the powers the State has under the consumer Act to control the spiralling prices of heating fuels and energy, which are impoverishing huge numbers of people and increasing fuel poverty. There is an even stronger case for that now with the spiralling prices as a result of the Ukraine war. Some of this is being fuelled by speculation, which should also not be allowed. Does the Taoiseach now think it is time for the Government to use the powers available to control the unit prices of heating fuel and energy?

The matter is under active consideration by the Government in terms of the broader issue of the increased fuel prices.

The Taoiseach mobilised all his troops — his own Deputies, Fine Gael Deputies and the Greens — to continue hurting people going to work, including hauliers and farmers, who are suffering because of the exorbitant cost of fuel. The Government is raking it in. It is taking more than a euro for every litre sold at the pumps, and poor people are perishing at home because they will not be able to afford the cost of home heating oil. The Government closed Bord na Móna when there was no real alternative.

The Government does not want Shannon LNG. What does it want? Does it want to paralyse the country?

I thank the Deputy. I call on the Taoiseach.

Does it want to stop every wheel that is turning and have people perish with the cold?

The Deputy has asked his question. I call on the Taoiseach.

What does it want? How long more is it going to keep the people suffering?

We will let the Taoiseach state what he wants.

It is nothing to smile about-----

The Government is actively considering an issue regarding fuel price increases; the Government has no interest in hurting anybody. The Deputy knows well these are international matters.

The Taoiseach should realise the Government is hurting people, and every day it is going on, the more it hurts them.

Will the Deputy let the Taoiseach answer?

Shouting and roaring does not get the point across, in my view. Shouting and roaring the point does not make it right. The bottom line is that international circumstances have forced a very bad situation in terms of global oil and gas prices. We are dealing with it, we have dealt with aspects of it, and we are going to deal with it again.

The more it goes up, the more-----

I call Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan.

Cork Life Centre, with its many stakeholders, has spent years engaging with the Department of Education on proper funding for its service. Following negotiations during the summer of 2021, in which the Taoiseach and I were involved, the centre accepted an interim funding agreement with the Department based on a commitment that talks would continue and a framework would be put in place to provide for sustainable payment and security of jobs at the centre. Will the Taoiseach update us on the framework? Will he provide us with an update on the out-of-school provision report, which was initiated in 2017? When are we likely to see it published?

As I said before, Cork Life Centre provides a very considerable service to a very important cohort of learners with a diverse range of needs whose individual requirements can be such that it can be difficult for them at times to be in mainstream education but who really flourish and develop well within the centre and under the supports available there. The centre plays a very important role in providing an holistic educational service. As a result of discussions, a package of support of €175,500 and 6,000 teaching hours to the centre for this school year is now being provided. It is important to state this level of co-operation is a baseline level of provision for the centre from both the Department of Education and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. The scope of the review of the out-of-school sector, which the Deputy talked about, includes Cork Life Centre. The recommendations of the review will inform future policy. It will be published shortly.

I thank the Taoiseach. We are out of time.

That will then establish the longer term arrangements for Cork Life Centre in the context of a sustainable framework for out-of-school provision. The Department will continue to work with the staff and board of the centre, which is doing such excellent work for young people.

I wish everybody in the House and working in the Houses of the Oireachtas a very happy International Women's Day. As we celebrate it, many of us are thinking of the women of Ukraine who are fleeing their home country because of a war of Russia's making. I fully support Ireland's commitment of 100,000 welcomes to 100,000 Ukrainians, but unfortunately, many of the women who will be coming here from Ukraine will still face inequality when they get here.

In the spirit of International Women's Day, how do we plan to support Ukrainian women arriving here in Ireland in terms of housing, healthcare, childcare and community provision?

First of all, I wish to make the point that, already, very significant supports have been offered by Ireland as a member of the EU in the waiving of visa requirements and through the temporary protection directive, which gives residency to all Ukrainian women fleeing to Ireland with their children and assists them in accessing social protection payments, education, childcare and accommodation. The accommodation piece will be very challenging, as will education, in terms of the provision of interpreting and translation services and matching numbers. Some schools will be in a position to absorb numbers and others will not be in a position to absorb such high numbers. It is going to be very challenging, but we will do everything we possibly can.

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