Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 172, 216, 218 and 219 together.
As the Deputies are aware, the talks between my Department and IMPACT on behalf of speech and language therapists are complex. However, direct negotiations are ongoing, under the auspices of the Health Service Employers Agency, with a view to arriving at a mutually satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.
The whole time equivalent for the combined grades of speech and language therapist, according to my Department's 1995 census, is 248.89. There is no established linkage between the profession of speech and langauge therapists and social welfare.