Commencement Matters

Ambulance Service Accommodation

I thank the Minister of State. At this stage, she is probably fed up listening to me talk about the few issues I constantly raise. I am always bringing the Minister of State back because I firmly believe that there is no follow-up. When a Minister comes to the Chamber and we receive the answer, there is no follow-up from the health boards or the Department of Health. That is a major issue for me.

This matter relates to the paramedics and the prefabs where they are based in Carlow. Following the health and safety audit that was carried out on the prefabs in which the Carlow paramedics and ambulance service are located, the prefabs were condemned and deemed unfit for purpose. In light of this, I ask the Minister of State to give me an update on the situation. As she will appreciate, the ambulance and paramedic staff constitute a vital asset to Carlow and the south east. They provide assistance and support to local communities, especially at times of illness or tragedy. Carlow ambulance service has 18 staff, four women and 14 men, who are based in two prefabs. A small bit of work has been done. When I first spoke to the Minister of State, the prefabs had been deemed unfit. There were sewerage problems and only one shower for the 18 staff. Although they are not all on duty at the same time, they need at least two or three showers in these locations. The other issue I addressed is the fact that the stores are in a totally different building that is located away from the prefabs. On winter evenings, this puts these paramedics and other staff in a very vulnerable position. A few months ago, another health and safety audit was carried out and, again, the accommodation was deemed unfit for purpose.

There is regular, ongoing health and safety training for paramedics and they do an excellent job. I compliment the 18 paramedics and ambulance staff in Carlow on their work. While some work has been done, it is unsuitable. There is a massive hospital called St. Dympna's Hospital which has some empty rooms. On the previous occasion, the Minister of State said she was considering putting in another prefab. Would she consider putting them in the building? How much work has been done? We are dealing with taxpayers' money here. These paramedics are great people and they come across so many vulnerable and very sick people. What is the update? Hopefully the Minister of State will have some good news for me. I thank her for coming back in again.

Before I read the reply, I want to reassure the Senators that when I take Commencement matters, I make it my business to go back to the Minister and speak to him personally.

I am sorry if Senator Murnane O'Connor has not received a response.

I will follow up on the matter. I will set out the response on behalf of the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris.

On behalf of the Minister, Deputy Harris, I wish to thank the Senator for raising this issue and giving me the opportunity to provide an update to the House on the Carlow ambulance base. As the Senator is aware, there have been difficulties recently with a prefabricated building that forms part of the station facilities at Carlow ambulance base, which is situated on the grounds of St. Dympna's Hospital.

Following a review undertaken as part of a health and safety audit, urgent remedial works were carried out to ensure the immediate safety of the ambulance base. These remedial works have been completed with the exception of fitted furnishings in the kitchen and the installation of new staff lockers. I understand that this work is ongoing and is soon to be finished.

While the base is functional at present, the national ambulance service has engaged with the HSE estates division with a view to finding new premises for the Carlow ambulance base. The Minister, Deputy Harris, has been advised that agreement has now been reached in respect of a building situated at Elm Court, also on the grounds of St. Dympna's Hospital, that will be converted and modified to provide a new home for the Carlow ambulance base. It is estimated that the cost of this work will be approximately €300,000. Works will commence later this year and are expected to be completed in early 2018. The works will be funded from the minor capital programme.

The Minister, Deputy Harris, has been assured by the national ambulance service that there will be no disruption to the provision of emergency ambulance services to the people of Carlow during the transition to the new base. The House will be aware that the national ambulance service has undergone a significant process of modernisation in recent years and a number of important initiatives and developments have taken place. We have established the national emergency operations centre and provided improved technology to improve response times. We have developed the intermediate care service to provide lower acuity hospital transfers. This frees up emergency ambulances for the more urgent cases. Of course we have also established a permanent emergency aeromedical support service to provide more timely response to persons in rural areas.

The ambulance reform programme is taking place against the backdrop of the HIQA review of ambulance services, which was published in late 2014, and the national ambulance service capacity review, which was published in 2016. The capacity review, which was undertaken by Lightfoot Solutions, a UK-based consultation firm, examined all ambulance resource levels and distribution against demand and activity. Implementation of the recommendations of the capacity review will require a multi-annual programme of phased investment in ambulance manpower vehicles and technology. To this end, increased funding has been made available to the national ambulance service for 2017.

The Senator referred to another point. I will get more final dates in respect of the fitted furnishings in the kitchen and the installation of new staff lockers. I was unable to get the information this morning on the way to the Chamber, although I requested it.

Bearing in mind, Senator, that the Minister of State was here, I have accepted fully her bona fides on the basis that she is not the line Minister. I think you might progress matters if someone in the office of the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, or another senior member of staff were to contact you directly.

I thank the Minister of State. She has always been most courteous in the House. I probably have her tormented. Anyway, this is a good news story for Carlow. I thank the Minister of State. I am delighted with this good news.

You are right, a Chathaoirligh. It is a question of the follow-up. I am constantly bringing up matters but I am not getting much feedback.

Thank you, Senator. I am sure that if appropriate action is not taken, my good Senator will be back in action again.

Vaccination Programme

I wish to raise the issue of the meningitis B vaccine because I believe it is an important issue. The meningitis B vaccine was rolled out last September and it came into operation last December. It was a positive initiative led by the Department of Health.

A vaccination programme at this level is important. It mainly affects people between the ages of one and five years, as well as from 13 to 18 years. These are the two age groups most affected by meningitis B.

The unfortunate side effects of meningitis B are well documented. There are approximately 170 cases in Ireland every year. A total of 10% of these sufferers could face amputation, brain damage and loss of hearing. Unfortunately, 33% of this group face a lower IQ. Clearly, it is a major issue.

I compliment the work of the Department of Health on rolling out this important programme. Similar programmes have been rolled out in other countries, such as New Zealand. Those countries have seen a dramatic reduction in meningitis B over the lifetime of the programme.

My major concern about the programme is that it goes from September onwards. In other words, if a child is born in September, he or she is included in the programme. We need to consider a programme going backwards to pick up the 1.2 million children aged between six months of age and 18 years of age. The Government must invest in such a programme because it has long-term benefits for the State and the population.

The cost of getting the vaccination privately is high. For example, let us suppose a child is less than nine months of age. That child must get three jabs, and it costs €150 per jab plus €30 for the visit to the doctor. That is a significant cost. If the child is over nine months of age, it is down to two jabs at €150 per jab plus €30 for the cost of a doctor's visit.

We are now running a two-tier health service. We are heading for a situation where only those who can afford the vaccination can get it. That is a major concern for the general population. Parents have contacted me with concerns over meningitis. An unfortunate case arose in Cork in the past two weeks. There is broad concern about the disease. The cost issue for young families is considerable. I hope that the Department of Health can put in place a programme to cover the people who are not vaccinated. We have seen catch-up elements as part of other programmes. We need the Minister to look at putting in place a catch-up programme to catch the 1.2 million children in the State who are not tied in to this programme.

We have seen the effects of meningitis. The recent vaccination programme has been a great success, but we need to go from September backwards and tie in all those people who need this vaccination. The vaccination programme is a great programme. We should promote it and recognise what it has delivered. However, we should go backwards and look at the 1.2 million who are not in this loop. If we do not, the knock-on effects will be horrendous.

On behalf of the Minister, Deputy Harris, I thank Senator Lombard for giving me the opportunity to update the House on this important matter. Meningococcal disease is a vaccine-preventable disease which has a high mortality rate if untreated. It is statutorily notifiable in Ireland under the Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2016. However, this does not require reporting of individual strains. The annual epidemiological report for 2015, published by the health protection surveillance centre of the HSE in December 2016, indicates that between 1999 and 2012, a marked downward trend in invasive meningococcal disease was observed. In 1999 there were 536 cases and in 2012 there were 66 cases, a decline of almost 88%. In Ireland in 2015, meningococcal B was the pathogen most commonly associated with invasive meningococcal disease, accounting for 57.3% of the 75 notifications that year. Age-specific incidence rates show that the highest rates are in infants under one year of age. The vaccine used in Ireland is Bexsero. In January 2013 the vaccine received marketing authorisation from the European Commission. The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the national immunisation advisory committee. The NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprised of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health.

In December 2013, the NIAC issued guidelines relating to the use of this vaccination in the control of clusters or outbreaks of meningococcal B disease. The vaccine has been used in accordance with these guidelines, along with other measures, to control outbreaks of the disease.

On 23 January 2015 the chair of National Immunisation Advisory Committee wrote to the chief medical officer strongly recommending that meningococcal B, or MenB, vaccine be included in the primary childhood immunisation programme, if the vaccine can be made available at a cost-effective price. In Ireland, both childhood and adult immunisation programmes are delivered by the HSE. The HSE service plan 2016 included additional funding of €2.5 million for the expansion of the primary childhood immunisation schedule. Two changes were made to the primary childhood immunisation schedule and I am happy to inform the House that, from 1 December 2016, all babies born on or after 1 October 2016 are eligible to receive the MenB and rotavirus vaccines.

The HSE national cold chain service has distributed 35,500 doses of the MenB vaccine to date. This is sufficient to vaccinate the children in the cohort born on or after 1 October 2016. Uptake figures are not yet available. Ireland is the second country in Europe to make the vaccine available free of charge as part of its national immunisation programme. There are no plans at this stage to introduce a catch-up programme for older children.

I thank the Minister of State. The last line says it all, in that there are no plans at this stage to introduce a catch-up programme. That is the crux of the issue. First, we have to acknowledge the programme has been put in place and it is very positive that, from 1 October, we have seen a major uptake. The real issue is that, going forward, we have to consider such a catch-up programme. Other countries like New Zealand that have put in place a catch-up programme have seen amazing reductions in meningitis B. One of the key issues is that of planning that catch-up programme and putting it in place. That some 1.2 million people are exposed to this issue makes it a big issue for us all. As I have said previously, I have seen situations in my own part of the world where tragedies have happened. I hope the Department of Health will put a catch-up programme on its agenda. What it really means is that parents and their children can have peace of mind when it comes to meningitis. We have all been in the situation of wondering whether a child has meningitis or not. It is a real worry because, if a child does have meningitis, it is a major issue with far-reaching consequences.

I acknowledge again the Senator's concerns around the catch-up programme for 1.2 million children. As a mother and a grandmother, I am very conscious of the fact that when the word meningitis is mentioned, people have real fears. All of us around Leinster House, whether public representatives or staff, have been touched through our families because, unfortunately, people have contracted this deadly disease. There is now the opportunity for people to have their children vaccinated, although the Senator is correct that there is a cost to this. I believe we need to widen the net. I will bring the Senator's views back to the Minister, Deputy Harris.

Redundancy Payments

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne. I have to raise one small issue, which is that the Minister of State was in front of me four weeks ago in regard to Tipperary hostel workers and she promised me sincerely she would get answers for me. I regret to say I have heard nothing back from her since, despite having e-mailed her. It is not about me; it is about those workers in the Tipperary hostel. I hope she will pursue the answers she promised me on the day. I know that is not what I am supposed to say.

The Minister of State can deal with that when she responds. Senator Gavan should deal with the issue before us.

I raise this question because of a series of experiences that have been relayed to me by workers active in the construction sector. These people have been puzzled, to say the least, by two related phenomena in the sector. The first is that a number of employers declare they cannot fund redundancy payments, leaving the workers to pursue their statutory entitlements via the Social Insurance Fund. This situation creates a number of problems for the workers in question. For starters, they lose their right to notice, leaving them short between one and eight weeks' pay, which is a significant loss. Second, they have to wait for payment for months, sometimes up to one year if they are taking cases through the Workplace Relations Commission to recover their redundancy entitlements. A huge amount of stress and worry is involved for those workers.

What has been even more frustrating is the regular sight of companies that declared they were unable to pay redundancy not only continuing to trade but actually winning public contracts for more work. It seems bizarre that this practice could happen. It appears, I regret to say, to be a regular feature of the construction sector.

I want to give the Minister of State a couple of examples in this regard. As one of the company names is actually the name of an individual, I will not mention the name out of respect for the rules of the Chamber, but I can supply the Minister of State with the name of the company afterwards. This medium-size contractor let workers go, declaring it could not fund redundancies, and left the workers to recoup moneys via the taxpayer and the Social Insurance Fund. However, the company continued to trade, it won a contract to build the public swimming pool at Nenagh, County Tipperary, and it has since won substantial public contracts at Athlone Castle and with the Department of Education and Skills - a current €8 million project at Ballyhaunis community school has been given to this company. It seems baffling that a company that declares it has no money to pay redundancy continues to win public contracts.

Another company, an agency specialising in contract labour, has regularly laid off workers and declared it has no funds to pay redundancy. The same agency continues to trade and continues to be a major supplier to a wide range of public contracts. Interestingly, when trade unions are taking cases for redundancy to what was the Rights Commissioner Service, now the Workplace Relations Commission, the labour agency would not even bother to turn up. The union would win the case and apply directly for payment to the Social Insurance Fund.

This begs the question of whether the Department of Social Protection is pursuing these moneys. Can the Minister of State explain how such companies can continue to tender for and win public contracts? I note from a report in the Irish Independent that the Department of Social Protection has written off more than €100 million of PRSI debt owed by thousands of firms. The same report tells us that the total debt pile owed by 13,600 companies has soared to nearly €500 million, and that just 10% of this debt is deemed recoverable. The report goes on to say the Department seeks recovery of debt directly from employers who continue to trade after getting into difficulty. I have a real concern that the Department may not have been relaying information about companies in debt to the Social Insurance Fund to other Government Departments. The examples I am citing are clear proof that something fundamental is wrong here. I wonder whether the examples I am quoting are just the tip of the iceberg.

First, I want to address Senator Gavan's remarks on our previous engagement. I assure the Senator that any time I take a Commencement matter, I always make sure to go back to the Minister on a personal basis. I went back to the Minister on a personal basis and relayed Senator Gavan's concerns regarding the Commencement matter that day. I was in contact again this morning and have been assured that an interim report is on its way to Senator Gavan at some time today. If that does not happen, he might contact me so I can follow it up. I make it my business to take each matter to the individual Minister.

I appreciate that. I thank the Minister of State.

I am taking this matter on behalf of the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Varadkar, who cannot be present. Under the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 to 2013, eligible employees who lose employment as a result of redundancy are entitled to two weeks' statutory redundancy payment for every year of service, plus a bonus week. In the first instance, it is the responsibility of the employer to pay statutory redundancy to all those eligible. However, the Social Insurance Fund provides a safety net for employees in situations where the employer is insolvent or in financial distress to the extent that it cannot fund the redundancy payments.

In situations where an employer becomes insolvent or is in financial difficulties, and is unable to make these payments, the Social Insurance Fund steps into the shoes of the employer and makes statutory redundancy payments directly to the employees concerned. In such situations, a debt is then created on the employer for the full amount and the Minister, Deputy Varadkar, can confirm that the Department of Social Protection actively pursues the recovery of the debt to the extent that it is able to do so.

The fact that a firm is in such severe financial difficulty that it becomes insolvent or is otherwise unable to fund statutory redundancy payments means that much of the debt is unlikely ever to be recovered. This position is recognised by the Comptroller and Auditor General and noted in the statutory accounts of the Social Insurance Fund. Nevertheless, the Department of Social Protection has an employer debt management policy in place which it actively implements. In support of this policy a new debt recovery and accounting IT system was introduced in 2014 which provides structured support for the debt recovery process. As part of this policy, when redundancy payments have been made from the Social Insurance Fund, the Department of Social Protection liaises with those employers continuing to trade in a constructive manner in order to recover the debt. In doing this, it takes account of the financial position of each company and tailors the debt management process to suit individual circumstances, balancing the requirement to recover the debt on behalf of the fund with the concern not to jeopardise further the financial position of the employer. This is both to protect remaining jobs and to enhance the prospects of ultimately recovering the full debt. For this reason, the debt management policy does not include an exclusion from tendering for public contracts. It is not in the interests of the Department of Social Protection to put barriers in the way of employers in obtaining contracts for work, rather it is important that those companies with a debt to the Social Insurance Fund continue to trade in order that they remain viable and in a position to repay that debt.

Debt owed to the Social Insurance Fund by employers is only written off where the Department of Social Protection is completely satisfied, in line with the Comptroller and Auditor General's requirements, that the debt is not recoverable and debt write-offs are only carried out with the sanction of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I thank the Minister of State for her response. I also thank her for her response on the Tipperary hostel workers issue. I look forward to receiving the interim report today.

The answer the Minister of State has given is comprehensive. It has been said clearly that companies in financial difficulty can continue to tender for public contracts. I have clear examples of companies that state they cannot make redundancy payments, which means that the workers are facing a significant financial loss, at least in terms of notice periods, and will have to wait for up to a year. It is infuriating to see the same company win a public service contract. Ultimately, the people who lose out are the workers. I have given two explicit examples of companies that are abusing the system. They are getting out of meeting their social insurance obligations and continuing to win major public contracts. The fact that one of them, in particular, does not even bother to turn up at the WRC because it assumes and knows that the taxpayer will foot the bill is not right. I ask the Department to look seriously at this. I will happily supply further details if it would be helpful.

If the Senator wants to send me the details, I will bring them to the attention of the Minister, Deputy Leo Varadkar, as it would be of help to have them. Alternatively, he can bring them to the Department. I will raise his concerns with the Minister.

Social and Affordable Housing

I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Damien English, for coming into the House to take this matter. I will talk about Poolbeg West and the 3,000 homes that I hope will be built there in the coming years. For young people, like those in the Visitors Gallery, we are talking about building a sustainable city with a properly integrated social mix.

I will give some of the history of the area. People living in the Ringsend, Sandymount and Pearse Street area have a history of providing homes for themselves. Way back in the 1980s we started to build affordable housing through co-operative movements. When the docklands were developed, the community devised a scheme that provided for 20% social and affordable housing. It was taken on board by the then Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Noel Dempsey, and developed as Part V housing. In the Ringsend area alone, about 150 affordable housing units have been generated. They are very different. Since there is such a strong tradition of providing affordable homes in the area, very few people are in arrears. Many people living in affordable and council housing fell into arrears during the recession, but that has not happened in our community because of that strong tradition. In many ways, we would not have a housing crisis if the former Minister, Martin Cullen, had not undermined the very good legislation brought forward by his predecessor, Noel Dempsey.

There were pretty much no social or affordable units provided during the boom because the legislation had been watered down to such an extent that very few social or affordable homes were provided during that period. Now that we are starting to see new homes being built, there is the possibility to make sure we will have sustainable integrated communities. The pilot scheme can start in Poolbeg West on the old Irish Glass Bottle site, on which it is proposed to provide 3,000 new homes. I ask the Minister of State to look seriously at the options for developing affordable housing, including for renting, on that site. There are many working people living on Pearse Street and in Ringsend and Sandymount who cannot afford to meet the huge market costs.

We want to have a sustainable city and sustainable communities. There is a pilot scheme taking place on Dublin City Council land. The housing action group that has emerged from the community is made up of very reasonable people who want to develop a model that will work. They have engaged positively with the receiver because we understand the land is not owned by the State. They have met most of the voluntary housing bodies. We can develop the model of affordable homes, including for renting, and establish how they would be managed into the future because sustainability is important. It has been gotten wrong in cases before. The people concerned met department officials this week. The meeting was supposed to last for only about half an hour or 45 minutes, but it went on for nearly two hours at the officials' request because they were interested in hearing about the new developments and the thought process involved.

What do I want from the Minister of State today? Affordable homes, including for renting, which the Minister of State and the Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, want to see provided, can be developed. The legislation in place only specifies a figure of 10% for social housing. To have sustainable communities, we need a mix.

I will take some time off at the end because this element is important.

The Senator can have a further chat afterwards.

We need some indication that the SDZ can be opened up in a way that was able to be done successfully in the past and to perhaps develop a model that could be implemented across the country.

I thank the Senator for raising this issue and giving me the chance to talk about it. He is absolutely right about the development and construction of sustainable housing at an affordable price to give people options. The Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, the Department and I are working very closely on the different models and ways of doing this because we want to achieve it. I am glad that the group had a chance to meet the officials last week, although, knowing some of the officials involved, housing was probably not the only issue they discussed. I am sure the Dublin football team came into the conversation at some stage, which is why the meeting took two hours. I am glad that they had a chance to meet and have that engagement. We want to engage with communities that have ideas and solutions and are prepared to work with all involved, including the receivers. We want to make that connection through the action plan for housing with local authorities in working with communities and through the Department. We are all on the same page in trying to achieve the best results on these sites and we will use taxpayers' money where we can on site.

The Senator mentioned sustainable cities and sustainable housing. That is what we are trying to achieve. Housing is the number one priority for the Government, the Department and the Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney. We are trying to drive towards having sustainable communities and affordable housing. Taxpayers' money will be used to activate sites and help with the provision of infrastructure.

There has to be a return on that. We have to make sure that we are getting a kick-back on the price.

Delivering extra supply across all tenures is agreed by all as the key to addressing our shared housing challenges. We have ample land and planning permission to secure the sustainable development of Dublin and at more affordable prices. Last May the Government took the decision to designate Poolbeg west as a strategic development zone, SDZ, because of its potential to deliver a big element of the extra homes we need right in the centre of our capital and on a superb site. The process has moved forward with Dublin City Council’s publication, for public consultation, of a detailed planning scheme for the area under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Comments and observations on the scheme must be submitted to Dublin City Council by 8 March 2017. The Minister is a statutory consultee under the aforementioned Act and he intends to indicate that, in broad terms, the draft planning scheme outlines a rational and reasonable approach to the development of this strategic site.

The Minister will also be emphasising that a key requirement of Rebuilding Ireland is the promotion of sustainable and mixed communities, which is exactly what the Senator is seeking. In this regard, he has asked the Department to explore new models for the maximisation of a mixed tenure approach on this site. In particular, we want to secure additional social housing well in excess of the 10% social housing requirement guaranteed under Part V. We believe it is crucial that people who need social housing and key workers who cannot afford high-end rents can also live in the city centre and in areas like Poolbeg.

I am glad to report that my Department is engaged with this issue and is working with all the relevant interests including NAMA, Dublin City Council and, as the Senator mentioned, the local community. It is essential that this communication continues. Therefore, rather than a pilot scheme per se, we are determined to progress on an agreed basis with an approach to a mixed tenure model that would deliver for the owners of the lands covered by the draft planning scheme and also for those communities who want and need to see homes delivered in the area that meet their aspirations.

I know that the issue of a pilot scheme has been discussed here previously. As I understand it, the Senator will be happy once this scheme actually happens. We hope that this scheme will be a top-class model that can be rolled out at other sites. This is a key site, as Senator Humphreys said, and we must get this right. All involved want to see what Senator Humphreys has outlined and hopefully that can be achieved.

I thank the Minister for State for his reply. I also want to thank the departmental officials who engaged with me on this issue prior to me submitting it as a Commencement matter. However, we cannot talk about this scheme forever. There are closing dates associated with the SDZ designation. The Minister of State is aware of what is involved in the SDZ process. I want to see, as does the Minister of State and anyone else in politics who is progressive, the supply issue resolved. We need these 3,000 homes to be built in order to start addressing that supply issue. We need action.

I was not trying to pin the Minister of State down with regard to a pilot scheme because it is very difficult to develop a national scheme when the clock is ticking. I am delighted that the Department is determined to progress, on an agreed basis, a mixed tenure development but the clock is ticking. Can we expect, before there is a vote at Dublin City Council, agreement on how to progress a mixed tenure development on the site that includes social, affordable and affordable rental housing? This must be passed by Dublin City Council before going to An Bord Pleanála. We cannot let it get bogged down at any stage in the process. It is too important for Dublin and for the country. We must see these 3,000 units built.

If the Minister of State cannot give me an answer today, I ask him to respond to me later. I want to know how we can progress this, when the consultation process will be complete and when it is likely to go before Dublin City Council for a vote.

The Senator will appreciate that I do not have timeline details with me today but that is something in which we are all interested. We have seen how SDZs can work but we have also seen how they cannot work. I am very familiar with an SDZ in my own constituency which has not delivered, which is a shame. We want this site to be activated quickly. That is the desire of all involved and that has been stressed by departmental officials at all relevant meetings. The aim is to find the magic formula as quickly as we can and to do it right. The Minister, all departmental officials and I want mixed tenure developments and this is the perfect site in that context. As Senator Humphreys said, we need to see a lot more than 10% social housing on that site and everyone understands that. If we can get agreement, things will move faster and that is what we are going to try to do.

The Minister of State and the Senator are ad idem on this.

Sitting suspended at 11.15 a.m. and resumed at 11.30 a.m.