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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 27 Apr 2022

Vol. 1021 No. 2

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Crime Prevention

I regret that once again, I have to speak in this House on the level of violence in our capital city. A dangerous level of unprovoked and gratuitous violence is being perpetrated against people who are socialising in Dublin at night time. Three weeks ago, a 23 year old man was viciously assaulted on Dame Street after he had been subjected to homophobic abuse. That young man had his left eye socket fractured. On the same night, an Italian man was also attacked around in the same vicinity. Two weeks ago, a 24 year old English man was gratuitously assaulted on D'Olier Street and is now in hospital fighting for his life.

We need to understand what is happening. Gangs of youths who believe they are immune to apprehension are prowling Dublin city at night time looking for people to attack. They are misogynistic towards women, they are homophobic towards gay people and they are particularly seeking to target men in their late teens to their 30s who are on their own or just with one other person. We need to understand that part of the solution is that Dublin needs to become more like other European cities. If you go to other European cities you see a good number of policemen policing those city centres at night time. We do not have enough gardaí on the streets at night time.

I thank the Minister of State for coming here today but I would ask him to get the answer back to the Minister for Justice and, through her, to the Garda Commissioner, that we need to see more gardaí in Dublin city centre at night time. I do not want to see Gardaí at meetings at night time or stuck in Garda stations. I want to see them out patrolling the inner city. I fear that we will not get a strong enough response until regrettably a tourist is killed in this city. If it is not checked or challenged, Dublin will get a terrible name as a place of violence. It will damage our tourism industry and will also damage us as a place for foreign direct investment. We need tougher and stronger policing and stronger sentencing.

It is not only in the city but also the suburbs. Tallaght Garda Station, the main Garda station in my constituency along with Rathfarnham Garda station, was designed in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. It is completely outdated. The Garda in Tallaght now take two floors of the Plaza Hotel, adjacent to Tallaght Garda station in order to be able to fulfil the functions they must fulfil. It is not just that. City West, a sprawling suburb which is growing exponentially and really quickly because of strategic housing developments there, has no Garda station. It needs a station serving that particular area and doing so exclusively because it is quite remote from Tallaght. There is a lot of anti-social behaviour, particularly in relation to some of the Luas stops, which I will return to.

I hope that the Minister of State will feed my next point on Garda numbers back to the Minister, and she in turn to the Garda Commissioner. When compared with towns and cities of similar size such as Limerick, Tallaght simply does not have the proportionate amount of gardaí to serve the area and the surrounding area. The numbers in Tallaght are significantly below comparative sized cities. Furthermore, because of duty commitments on the Russian Embassy which is covered by Rathfarnham Garda station, up to ten gardaí per week are committed to surveillance and coverage of the Russian Embassy because of the whole Ukrainian crisis and protests around it. There are quiet protests which are legitimate. But these Garda personnel who are committed to this duty, with two per shift at least, as well as other surveillance coverage, I am sure, have not been compensated for in Rathfarnham Garda station. Therefore every day there are two gardaí over two shifts and, I am sure there are others involved, totally committed to coverage of the Russian embassy who should be on duty, patrolling the streets, and who should be keeping the people of Tallaght and Rathfarnham and all the adjoining areas safe.

I thank the Deputies for raising this important issue. The Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, and I utterly condemn the deplorable violent attacks that took place in Dublin city centre over Easter and wish the victims of these incidents a healthy recovery. People should be able to feel safe and be safe, whether they live or work in Dublin, or want to visit and enjoy our capital city.

I urge anyone who may have witnessed these or any other violent incidents in Dublin city recently, or who may have any information of potential interest to An Garda Síochána, to contact the Garda. Reports can also be made through the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.

I can assure the Deputies that matters of community safety are taken very seriously by the Government and Departments and agencies are continually exploring policy, legislative and operational measures to combat all forms of violence.

This Government’s commitment to tackle public disorder-related issues and anti-social behaviour is reflected in Justice Plan 2022, which the Minister for Justice published recently. The plan contains a number of actions relating to combatting crime and strengthening community safety, including those relating to the ongoing work of the anti-social behaviour forum, the progression of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill and the continuing implementation of the youth justice strategy 2021-2027.

Gardaí continue to implement high-visibility policing plans to address public disorder-related issues and antisocial behaviour in Dublin city centre, with particular overt and targeted policing of public places at times when public order incidents and antisocial behaviour typically increase, such as bank holiday weekends. The Deputies will, of course, appreciate that the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. However, the Deputy may wish to note that Garda members and Garda staff in both Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, north central and south central have seen an increase in resources since 2012. North central had an increase of over 2% for Garda members and 67.5% for Garda staff, and south central had an increase of over 2% for Garda members and 281% for Garda staff.

In addition, a range of Garda operations are in place in Dublin city centre to tackle violent and antisocial behaviour in our capital. Operation Citizen commenced in Dublin city centre in October 2021 and places a particular focus on antisocial behaviour, public order and quality-of-life issues, assaults and high-volume crimes, and involves increased visible policing, particularly at key locations. Operation Saul, launched in January this year, supports Operation Citizen in targeting antisocial behaviour to provide a safe environment for commuters utilising public transport services within the Dublin metropolitan region. Operation Soteria is also in place to ensure a reduction of assaults in public, reduce fear of violence within communities, prioritise assault investigations and focus on problem areas and assault hotspots.

As the Deputies will be aware, north inner-city Dublin is also one of three pilot locations where local community safety partnerships have been established. These partnerships bring together residents, community representatives, business interests, councillors, local authorities and State services, such as An Garda Síochána, Tusla and the HSE, to devise and implement local community safety plans. The plans detail how best the community can prevent crime and will reflect community priorities and local safety issues. The aim of this approach is to make communities safer for families, residents and businesses. The Minister, Deputy McEntee, and I believe the experience and results of the partnership pilots will inform national roll-out and make a valuable contribution to Dublin city centre as a whole.

The Government, and the Department of Justice in particular, are prioritising continued momentum in the vital work to make our communities safer. Budget 2022 provided significant additional funding to deliver a host of initiatives under the youth justice strategy, and the community safety innovation fund, announced recently by the Minister, will also support community-based initiatives to enhance public safety.

Is there a copy of the Minister of State’s response?

It should be on the way. I apologise that it is not available now.

I thank the Minister of State for his response and welcome that extra resources have been allocated to An Garda Síochána. However, the issue is the deployment of those resources because, unfortunately, it does not appear that we are seeing a greater number of gardaí on the streets in the inner city. That is the solution to this. How many gardaí are doing roads policing at night time as opposed to patrolling the inner city? Obviously, we need roads policing but we primarily need more gardaí patrolling the inner city.

I have recently seen a solution to this. For the past number of months, the people of Creighton Street and City Quay in my constituency have been subjected to unprovoked violence by rival gangs of youths on the pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey. They were exposed to this level of violence throughout the day. The local committee met with the Garda and there has now been a very positive response from the Garda in Pearse Street by allocating more resources there. Therefore, more resources on the ground can solve this problem or certainly curtail it. I ask the Minister of State to bring that message back to the Minister for Justice.

Likewise, I acknowledge the increase in Garda numbers, but what people want to see, which is the age-old challenge, is gardaí on the streets. Be it the area covered by Tallaght Garda station, the area that is in need of a Garda station in Citywest, or Rathfarnham Garda station, which covers Firhouse, Ballycullen, Knocklyon, Rathfarnham and Churchtown, the public never see a garda on the beat anymore. It instills a huge amount of confidence when they do. As a result, we have seen an increase, especially in recent times, in assaults as well as significant antisocial behaviour and criminal damage in our parks, for example, in Rathfarnham Castle Park, where there was an incident over a weekend ago, and in Sean Walsh Park, where there was criminal damage caused over the weekend with fires started and assaults carried out. Parks should be safe spaces for people.

I ask the Minister of State to bring this message back to the Minister and the Garda Commissioner. We need more gardaí on the beat and in the stations in Tallaght and Rathfarnham. People in those areas need to see a visible Garda presence which would demonstrate the fact the Government has committed additional resources to these stations. I work closely, through our policing committee in the constituency, with Chief Superintendent Duff and Superintendent Lackey. These are top-class police officers. In terms of surveillance of antisocial behaviour on the Luas red line, the gardaí do incredible work, but Tallaght Garda station, which is the mother-ship Garda station of my constituency, simply does not have the kind of numbers and resources it needs given the population it serves, which is the size of a city. That needs to be addressed seriously by the Minister and the Commissioner.

The Deputy gained additional time from a malfunctioning clock.

I thank the Deputies again for raising this matter in the House this morning. I will take their messages back in terms of visibility, resourcing and gardaí on the beat. The Minister is determined to continue to drive the implementation of the range of community safety policy actions to combat criminal activity and antisocial behaviour. We are very conscious of the effect these behaviours can have on the quality of life for local communities and those visiting in the community. Incidents of assault or intimidation are completely unacceptable, and fear should never become normalised in our society.

As the Deputies will be aware, the budget provided by the Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation in excess of €2 billion for 2022, including funding for the recruitment of up to 800 additional Garda trainees and up to 400 Garda staff. This significant investment demonstrates the Government's commitment to increasing the Garda workforce to enable the organisation to keep our communities safe. Many of the Garda members to be recruited will be drawn from the Garda recruitment competition that closed in recent weeks, and I very much welcome the fact that more than 10,000 people applied to join An Garda Síochána in this competition.

Record budget funding is underpinned by the ongoing roll-out of the new Garda operating model to support the redeployment of gardaí from non-core duties to front-line policing throughout the country. The new model will see larger divisions with more resources, increased Garda visibility in communities, a wider range of locally delivered policing services, and a strong focus on community policing.

Bus Services

I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this very important issue. Private bus operators are a fundamental part of our public transport service. In the way it has evolved over the years, they are responsible for 100% of services in many places, particularly in vast swathes of rural Ireland. They provide scheduled services through the National Transport Authority. They provide school bus transport services through the Department of Education, under Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus in the city, as well as under other bus companies. In terms of coach tourism, they provide an important role for incoming tourists. It is a hugely important service that keeps people moving.

Operators have had a difficult couple of years because of Covid. I acknowledge the supports the Government provided during that time. I point to the fact, as I consistently did during that period, that there were anomalies and discrepancies within those measures, for example, regarding the private school bus operators and the supports that were available. I welcome the Government measures, and I have said as much to the Minister, Deputy Ryan, such as the introduction of the youth travel card, which is due to be introduced next month, the additional cost-of-living measures, and the 20% reduction in fares. However, this has a direct impact on private operators in that they cannot avail of these measures. There is a commitment from the Government that the youth travel card would be introduced at some stage in the future, around which there are technical issues. That needs to be introduced as quickly as possible.

The 20% fare reduction is literally limited to public service obligation, PSO, routes. That has a real impact on the competitiveness and viability of these services. I make that point as someone who wants to see an enhancement of uptake on public transport. There is a question now about viability. This happens in the context of increasing running costs, the increase in the price of diesel and everything else. It calls into question the future viability of these services. I am not convinced that the Government, the Minister or the Department have adequately assessed the potential impact of that.

I believe there is a commitment to the expansion of public transport but I am not convinced the approach that has been taken here and the potential impact of the specific exclusion from the 20% reduction has been adequately considered. There is a real prospect, and we have literally seen the difficulty the school bus transport sector is having at this point spelled out in black and white, that we might lose a number of operators. In our mission to get more people on to public transport, we might actually lose and forego that opportunity because of the approach and inherent inequity in these measures.

I thank Deputy O’Rourke for raising this important topic, which I am taking on behalf of the Minister, Deputy Ryan.

I understand that the Deputy’s question is with regard to the inclusion of private bus operators in the young adult card and other fare-reduction initiatives. From the outset, I would like to assure the Deputy that I have been advised that it has always been the intention of the Minister, Deputy Ryan, to include commercial bus operators as part of the young adult card initiative. Licenced bus and coach operators are an integral part of the overall public transport system, particularly in areas around the country that are not covered by existing public service bus and rail services.

In recognition of the important role these operators play, the Government has continued to provide temporary financial supports throughout the Covid-19 pandemic for certain licenced commercial services with a view to protecting capacity across the public transport sector throughout the crisis. In acknowledgment of the continuing difficulties facing this sector, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that these supports for the commercial sector were recently extended up to 30 June 2022. To date, more than €60 million has been provided to support the commercial bus operators during this challenging time.

In relation to the Deputy’s question regarding the young adult card, recognising the importance of incentivising more young people to use public transport, €25 million of funding was secured for the scheme's introduction as part of budget 2022. This initiative will allow any person nationwide who is between 19 and 23 years old to avail of an entitlement for discounted travel costs and to increase the level of discount over and above the current student discount to an average discount of 50% across all services including city, intercity and rural services. It is expected that the young adult card will be launched on PSO services next month. It will then be broadened to include commercial operators later this year with the aim to have it in place before the recommencement of third-level colleges.

With regard to other public transport fare initiatives, as the Deputy will be aware, a 20% average reduction is being introduced on PSO services as part of a suite of Government measures to help combat the rising cost of living. This fare reduction was applied to all services outside the greater Dublin area from 11 April and it is intended to roll out the next stage of the reductions on greater Dublin area services from 9 May. The fare reduction will be in place until the end of the year.

It is clear that these fare initiatives will be of great benefit to public transport users. They will not only promote modal shift in the transport sector but should also contribute towards a reduced reliance on private transport, with the associated benefit of transport emission savings. It is important to note, however, that it is technically more challenging to roll out fare initiatives such as the young adult card on the commercial bus network than it is on the Leap-enabled PSO network. As such, it will take longer to make this fare discount available to commercial bus operators.

The National Transport Authority, NTA, is in detailed discussions with transport operators and the Department of Transport regarding the range of issues that need to be addressed. To assist with this process, the NTA has established a joint working group with commercial bus operators to consider options and develop a plan to implement the young adult card on commercial bus operators in as timely a manner as possible, taking account of current ticketing capabilities to ensure a viable scheme is implemented, with the second meeting of this group taking place this morning. The invaluable industry experience on the working group will help expedite the process of deploying the young adult card to the wider commercial bus sector.

I thank the Minister of State for that update. I welcome the joint working group and the commitment to engagement with regard to the issue of the youth travel card. That needs to happen as quickly as possible. I also draw the Minister of State's attention to this matter. It is important to point out that there needs to be movement regarding the 20% fare reduction on non-PSO routes. Operators have told me they acknowledge the progress on the youth travel card. They need movement with regard to the 20% fare reduction. When they engaged with the Minister in relation to this, he said that not only were there technical issues with the youth travel card but there was no additional funding to move on the 20%. At the same time, however, or very shortly after, there was movement on the student Leap card for 12 to 19-year-olds, which is separate to the youth travel card.

I make the point that it is really important there is consistency across the board. If our objective is to maximise the number of people who will be using public transport in the years ahead, and if we acknowledge that it will be a mixture of PSO, commercial, private bus operators and State operators, then we need to ensure the viability of all the component parts of that. There is a risk in setting a two-tier approach that this will not happen.

In my remaining 20 seconds, I ask the Minister of State to relay those points to the Minister but also those in respect of school bus transport. The Coach Tourism and Transport Council, CTTC, private bus operators said they will not make it to the end of the year. They have not seen a dime in extra money despite the increasing cost of fuel. That needs to be resolved as well.

I will bring the Deputy's message to the Minister. I think the school bus transport issue may go to the Minister, Deputy Foley. I take the Deputy's point, however. I would like to reassure him that both the NTA and the Department of Transport have been engaging directly with commercial bus operators to help inform policy decisions with regard to the public transport sector, particularly those related to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the sector and the various fare initiatives being introduced this year.

In addition to the working group I referenced earlier, the Department of Transport has been engaging with the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland since May 2020. To date, 23 meetings have taken place. More recently, on 25 March, the Minister, Deputy Ryan, met with the CTTC to discuss its concerns and the key issues facing the sector.

While it is not intended to include the commercial operators as part of the 20% average fare initiative, which is applicable to PSO services and is due to run to the end of 2022, it is intended to include these operators as part of the young adult card initiative. The NTA is working closely with operators to achieve this shared goal as quickly as possible. As the Deputy will appreciate, however, in order to roll out the card across the commercial bus sector, time is needed to make and test the necessary changes to the wide array of ticketing systems employed across the network. The NTA has advised that the intensive technical work to achieve this is on track.

It might be helpful to point out that Topical Issue matter No. 4 will not be proceeding. The third Topical Issue matter in ainm an Teachta Buckley to discuss the lack of short-term and long-term respite services in east Cork will be the final matter for today.

Health Services

I thank the Minister of State for his ten minutes this morning. This is black and white. What I want to raise probably goes back to late June of last year with the closure of the Owenacurra health centre in Midleton and the short-term and long-term respite beds.

I want to raise the fact that even when that centre was open pre-Covid and we had the short-term beds, on average, approximately 208 people per year used those two separate beds. That obviously closed with Covid-19. Since we have come out of the pandemic, however, there is actually a waiting list. There was an additional waiting list of 26 people looking for those services on those two short-term respite beds. Obviously, the centre is not taking in any more patients nor is it taking any short-term respite patients.

The big issue here, of which I am sure the Minister of State is well aware, is that the HSE has repeatedly been spinning news that buildings are not fit for purpose.

It says there are only so many residents in the centre and that, once they have gone, it will not be needed. From my research and work, even in recent weeks, I can see we are going to lose the service for the 200-plus people a year on the short-term respite alone and the services that come with that, such as blood tests, chiropody and dental services. They are all going to go.

I appeal to the Government and the Minister of State to instruct the HSE to revisit the Owenacurra centre. I had been informed about this issue yesterday morning, but in the evening I received a phone call from a person who had needed that service last Saturday. When I spoke to that person, it made me both angry and sad. They had driven their car to the Owenacurra centre last Saturday night and approached the centre. It is up and running for the 11 residents who are there at the moment but, unfortunately, the centre could not assist the person, who told me they ended up sleeping in their car. They were awoken by a young garda at 7 o'clock on the Sunday morning. They went on to tell me they were experiencing so much anxiety that they got sick into a bag and put the bag into the boot of the car. That is only one incident and, in fairness to the individual, they had the bravery to ring me and tell me I could relay their story because they needed the help. Families have been affected since this issue broke in late June. There are now families who have family members in that centre who are not talking any more, whether because of misinformation, coercion or whatever. Residents have been told another centre is better, even though the family know it is not, and things break down.

Having spoken to staff at the centre, I know families are still ringing them and crying down the phone, asking whether they can get one of their family members into the centre. The centre covers a population of roughly 94,000 people in east Cork. I accept the HSE has indicated people can go to other centres, but the other centres are in Skibbereen, Kanturk or Sarsfield Court. I visited Sarsfield Court with the HSE four weeks ago. Its compliance test received a lower score than the Owenacurra centre, and that was only four weeks ago. The Owenacurra centre might not be fit for purpose, but the services have to remain in east Cork and the town of Midleton. I appeal, therefore, to the Minister of State to ask the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, and the Government to revisit the Owenacurra centre and to keep the services in Midleton.

I thank the Deputy. The matter he submitted in writing related to the lack of short-term and long-term respite services in east Cork but, regrettably, my prepared response focuses entirely on disability services.

The Minister of State is correct. My question related to respite.

The Deputy's question related specifically to the Owenacurra centre. It would show my ignorance if I did not understand what the Owenacurra centre is. I do understand what it is; it provides respite in respect of mental health supports. My prepared contribution relates to a totally different matter, so it would be disrespectful of me not to acknowledge the Deputy's questions about the Owenacurra site. I understand it exactly and everything he has raised. I do not have a prepared answer to hand, but I will take on board what he said and I will discuss it with the Minister of State, Deputy Butler. I appreciate the local Deputies have engaged with that Minister of State, but I will convey to her what the Deputy raised. Nevertheless, I will outline my prepared answer on disability services.

I am deeply committed to the provision of respite. I have seen at first hand the benefit respite can provide to people with disabilities and their families, so I thank the Deputy for raising the important issue of respite. This year, I have allocated funding to provide an additional ten respite homes, including three additional specialist centre-based services to provide 4,032 nights to 90 children, that is, one to be Prader-Willi appropriate and the other two to provide high-support respite for children and young adults with complex support needs. Sometimes, when we say I support the “development” of something, that just means we are getting the process going, and when we talk about services being provided for 90 children, that could mean four children over seven nights. It is about growing and creating that capacity.

Regarding east Cork, the Cork-Kerry community healthcare organisation, CHO, provides funding to the Cope Foundation to provide adult respite services within the east Cork area. At present, a four-bedroom respite service is operational in Fermoy and a six-bedroom respite service in Cobh is currently not in operation, unfortunately, due to staffing and recruitment issues. That is very regrettable and puts a significant strain on families. Regrettably, due to the Covid crisis, respite services throughout Cork and Kerry were severely impacted and resulted in some services ceasing operations completely or being offered in an alternative way. Cork-Kerry disability services have informed me they have actively engaged with service providers to plan for the phased resumption of services and the development of alternative models. Cork-Kerry community healthcare disability services have advised they will implement a standardised process for the management of adult respite services. The standardisation is something I discussed with the CHO when I visited Cork last summer, whereby one person might get 40 hours while someone else might get only one hour. There has to be a proper tool whereby what you get will not depend on whom you know. A person's needs have to be the basis.

More broadly within the county of Cork, a new respite service for adults is being developed by the Brothers of Charity. I have been informed the building upgrade is now complete and the service is scheduled to open in quarter 2 of 2022 in Garretstown. While it is an existing building, the four or five rooms within it will create new capacity in the area. I have been informed that 10,649 respite overnights were provided in CHO 4, which exceeded the national service plan target by about 1,000 bed nights, while 1,467 day-only respite services days were also provided. That was lower than the target, but not significantly so. The HSE has advised that where targets were not met, this was mainly due to necessary precautions to maintain physical distancing. The need for increased respite facilities for people with disabilities is now well understood, and the Department of Health and the HSE continue to work with me to explore various ways of responding to this need.

I thank the Minister of State.

I thank the Minister of State. As I said, this matter was not intended as a trick question but rather was intended to highlight the lack of respite care and the difficulties for all sectors in east Cork. I welcome the fact the Minister of State mentioned the Cope Foundation and the services it provides, which are only down the road from me. In some ways, it is like the council waiting lists for housing, whereby someone might have been approved for a four-bedroom house and be excited and delighted but there may not be any four-bedroom houses available. As for the services in Cobh, the issue is one of staffing, which is insufficient. I raised the question in the first instance because this is about the knock-on effect of that. Some people are capable and willing to travel to other towns in the area to try to get these services, whether in disability or mental health, but we need all these services to work together and complement one another. If services are splintered, that will not work. If we lose the Owenacurra centre and all the services there, where will those people go? The social impact of the demand on families in Mallow, Fermoy, Cobh and possibly even as far down as Kanturk - God forbid if they had to travel to Skibbereen - who are not able to drive puts greater strain on those families. Moreover, the public transport is poor.

I reiterate my request. I do not want to beg, because we should not have to beg in this House, but I have worked with and met these families. There were more suicides at the weekend in our town, and a HSE entity is saying we do not need mental health services or respite services in the town. The model of consistency and excellence in this centre, which is totally integrated within the town and local services, should be replicated throughout the country, yet the HSE wants to close it. I appeal to the Minister of State to urge the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, and the wider Government to rethink the closure of the Owenacurra centre and to save the services.

I certainly will. As Minister of State with responsibility for mental health respite, this is one of Deputy Butler's priorities, so I will certainly convey the Deputy's points to her. Respite is also a priority for me within disability services.

For me to stand here and tell the Deputy I know of a house that is closed because we cannot staff it is extraordinary. We have to question why we cannot staff it. I know there are shortages everywhere else but sometimes we have to look at the wages and what we we pay people who work in these services. We also need to move away completely from the medical model and towards a more social model. The team does not always need to be medically-led. A social care worker with good staff can also deliver and support the respite piece. Cork is a huge challenge for me, especially with regard to respite and residential care. That is why I will be going away today and discussing this house that is closed. I know it is run by the Cope Foundation but I have to wonder why a house would be closed when I have funding to deliver that service. At the same time, when I get agencies in they are able to recruit staff and service the sites for me, which is why I was able to deliver the ten houses I delivered last year. I have to wonder about the management of funding and why that cannot be done nationwide.

We are a little ahead of time so I will suspend for a few minutes.

Cuireadh an Dáil ar fionraí ar 9.52 a.m. agus cuireadh tús leis arís ar 10 a.m.
Sitting suspended at 9.52 a.m. and resumed at 10 a.m.