Adjournment Debate.

Health Services.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for giving me the opportunity to raise this issue. It has just come to my attention that there is a proposal before the Health Service Executive to reform the HSE regions for administrative purposes. Apparently all the regions will be restored to their former status, with the exception of the north west. I request further information on this proposal. Specifically, I want to know why it is proposed that the north west should be the only region not to be re-established.

The Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Mary Harney, said she planned to achieve more effective changes in the organisational structure of the HSE, and I agree fully with her on this. I am a former member of the North-Western Health Board and have first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of the regionalised system. The North-Western Health Board area was, I believe, one of the most effective in the country. Staff there were dedicated, efficient and conscientious, with a genuine concern for those using the services. I agree that there are major benefits to be gained from regionalising the areas for administrative purposes. It will ensure more accountability and speed up many of the processes. Local staff have the benefit of knowledge of the area they work in and this can mean better and more efficient results for the public, which is what we are all trying to achieve across the health system.

Why, then, is the north-west area being denied this change? Why is it proposed that it be the only area not to be reinstated? Why has there been no consultation with Oireachtas Members or, at the very least, information provided to them regarding this plan? In my constituency, Sligo-North Leitrim, there is a state of the art facility in Manorhamilton, just a few miles from Sligo. There is no shortage of skilled workers in the area. A top class management structure has in place in the north west for a long time.

A meeting was held recently between Oireachtas Members from Sligo, Leitrim and east Mayo with consultants and other doctors at Sligo General Hospital in relation to cancer services. We were requested to organise a meeting with the Minister and Professor Keane. I am glad to say that the meeting will take place on Thursday. I hope everybody will go into that meeting with an open mind to try to resolve, once and for all, a difficult situation in the Sligo and north-west region. All we want, ultimately, are the best treatments and outcomes for our people.

Following the meeting with the consultants, who gave Oireachtas Members a very comprehensive briefing, it emerged that there were nearly 7,000 outpatient clinic appoints at Sligo General Hospital in 2008. I implore everybody to go in with a very open mind and, hopefully, we shall have a resolution to what is a very difficult situation.

I congratulate the Deputy on covering two topics in his debate.

I will be taking this matter on behalf of my colleague, Deputy Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Children. I thank Deputy Scanlon for raising this issue. I am glad of the opportunity to address the House on this matter and to counter, yet again, the idea that the Health Service Executive, or the Government, is planning to restore the former health boards.

The Minister for Health and Children confirmed to the House last July that there are management changes under way at the HSE. As part of these changes the HSE has informed the Government that it is proposing to put in place a regional administrative structure, within the national structure, to drive operational performance and accountability on the ground. The HSE has not yet finalised its proposals for these changes. There will not be any regional authorities or any other autonomous structures within the HSE. No change will be needed to the Health Act 2004 to give effect to these management changes. There will continue to be one unified health service organisation. The full, formal accountability arrangements set up in that Act do not change. The HSE will continue to pursue the benefits of service integration, for example, between acute and primary care, and implementing consistent national service standards.

The Minister has made it clear on many occasions that she wants to see health and personal care provided to patients on an integrated basis. There must be accountability throughout the system, at all levels, to deliver on national policies and standards. This can only happen if authority and accountability for operational performance is delegated to regional and local level in a meaningful way. That is what the HSE is proposing to do. It is a natural evolution of the health reform process. The 2001 health strategy highlighted the need to strengthen existing delivery structures at local level within a framework of national standards for the whole health system. One of the objectives of the reform programme approved by the Government in 2003 was to provide clear lines of accountability and to simplify the structures.

The Fitzgerald report into the events in Portlaoise identified systemic weaknesses of governance, management and communication within the HSE. It noted that key people in the process were distracted by other important issues they had to attend to during the period. Those assigned to focus on operations within a region must be enabled to do so. When the Minister wrote to the chairman of the HSE, on foot of this report, she asked him to consider whether the governance and management issues which had been identified in relation to the events at Portlaoise had wider application across the HSE. The Minister acknowledged that the board had already been considering these issues and asked for this work to be expedited.

Following further work within the HSE and in ongoing contact with the Department, the HSE is developing a package of proposals to change the organisation. These changes are designed to enable a single national strategic approach with local regional responsibility for service delivery; to ensure clinical leadership and engagement at all levels; to create a leaner organisation with clarity of roles and accountability; and to provide integrated service delivery for the benefit of patients and optimise efficient use of resources. In summary, the changes involve the integration of the two service delivery pillars, NHO and PCCC, under a single national director of operations who will be responsible for all service delivery with a team of regional operations managers; the integration of the HSE's planning capabilities under a new national director of planning and performance, with a team of national care group-programme managers covering areas such as children, older people, disability-mental health, acute hospitals and primary-community care who would be responsible for setting corporate policy-standards in all these areas and driving performance against these standards; the creation of a clinical care and quality directorate which would drive clinical governance, quality and risk, national standards and protocols and provide clinical leadership within the healthcare system; and the creation of a communications directorate responsible for all communications, including parliamentary affairs.

Some of these changes are already under way. The recruitment process for the director of operations, the director of planning and performance and the director of clinical care and quality has begun. The new director of communications has been appointed. The administrative regional structure is not finalised and has not been agreed yet. It will not involve re-establishing local autonomous structures.

The regional level changes proposed by the HSE will be considered by the Government when they are finalised and submitted to the Minister by the board of the executive. The Government will want to be satisfied that the proposed changes will improve operational performance and accountability, and that they will sit comfortably with the configuration of other public services at local level.

Employment Action Plan.

Once again I am disappointed that the Tánaiste is not in the House. This is a matter of grave importance to Limerick city and county overall. The fact that I, as a Deputy for Limerick city, am obliged to raise this matter in the Dáil, three weeks after Dell announced it was to close its manufacturing facility, with the loss of 1,900 jobs, is an absolute disgrace. The fact is that I am forced to do it as the Tánaiste came to Limerick only on 13 January, nearly a week after the Dell announcement was made.

Almost three weeks after the closure was announced, we still have no indication as to when the multi-agency task force will be put in place, or its configuration. One begins to believe the Government wants the Dell issue and the issue of unemployment in Limerick — with companies such as Banta which are directly linked to Dell — to slip off the pages of the national media, in the hope that it will disappear. It will not, because the local media have kept this top of the agenda. As a public representative, I will continue to keep it top of the agenda. This task force should have been set up long before these jobs went. I called on 4 November for such a task force to be established because there was large-scale unemployment in Limerick and a continuing overhang as regards the Dell manufacturing jobs. I wanted a proactive measure, but what one gets from this Government is not even reactive — it is crisis management, pure inertia. Here we find the people of Limerick are suffering. Some 450 of the 1,900 people working in Dell are due to lose their jobs at the end of April. Banta, a plant related to Dell where more than 700 people work, will shed jobs on a pro rata basis, likewise Kostal in west Limerick. What is this Government doing? What is the delay with this task force? Why has it not been announced? Why was it not in place to provide a contingency plan before these jobs went? I cannot understand why that was the case, unless due to bad management and a lack of understanding of how serious is this situation.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Coughlan, was in the House earlier today. I mentioned that I would raise this on the Adjournment tonight and I expected her to be here because that is her job. I mean no disrespect to the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, but this is of such magnitude in Limerick that it warrants direct ministerial intervention. I want to hear this task force announced tonight. I want to hear what it consists of, that it is a multi-agency task force including business interests. We want action. The time for talking is long over.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for accepting this matter and allowing me to raise this issue which is of great importance to my constituency. Since the recess we had some devastating job losses in county Limerick, 1,900 Dell workers, 200 in Kostal, Abbeyfeale and 100 in Kostal, Mallow. The positives should be pointed out. Dell will keep 2,000 high-end jobs, which is very welcome. We are not losing Dell but some of the manufacturing jobs there. That is regrettable and a terrible blow to those who held those jobs. Kostal has been an exemplary employer and has kept its staff informed for the last number of weeks. In previous situations when it has asked for voluntary redundancies it has looked after its staff very well and I hope that follows through this situation. I hope Dell can do likewise and look after and compensate its workers who have been loyal to it for many years.

The Tánaiste, Deputy Coughlan, visited Limerick at her earliest opportunity. She was asked to give some space to the workers and their employers, and that happened. It was announced on Thursday morning and she was in Limerick on the following Tuesday or Wednesday. She met the workers, the public representatives in the area, the mayors of the city and county and gave them a very full briefing. I have the fullest confidence in the Tánaiste putting a task force in place.

I spoke to her earlier this evening and she has assured me that announcement is imminent. I welcome the fact that the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, who is attached to the office of the line Minister, is here tonight to listen to our concerns. He, too, has been more than helpful in this situation through his responsibility for FÁS and other agencies and I appeal to the Government to ensure we have the fullest support for those people. I further appeal to the Tánaiste, the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher and the Government on job replacement.

I have mentioned this on a few occasions recently. A business park was opened in Askeaton 20 years ago when the State agreed to buy 200 acres of land. Not one sod was turned on that business park and not one job was created. With respect to Limerick city and my colleague's constituency, they have had the benefit of many thousands of job announcements over a number of years because multinationals tend to go to the urban centres. We have an ideal opportunity for the Newcastle-Wests, Kilmallocks and Askeatons of County Limerick to take up the slack and create employment there. I have the fullest confidence. The Tánaiste has identified the proper person to head up the task force and personnel to take part in it. She will be totally committed to ensuring we can replace many of the jobs lost in county Limerick.

I have answered questions on numerous occasions and on Adjournment debates in this House from many Deputies, particularly Deputy O'Donnell opposite. He has a very strong concern about the impact of the job losses in Dell on Limerick and the mid-west region and the further spiral of job losses this will create. We all accept that. We are all practising politicians in this House and we on this side of the House are fully aware of the concerns of public representatives and, more important, the devastation job losses can cause to the employees, families and the broader community. Any practising politician would be well aware of this because no constituency is immune to potential job losses, or they have happened in previous times. We are well aware of the concerns out there.

The Government wants to keep this on the agenda because we must acknowledge a number of very important points to which Deputy Cregan alluded. Dell is still in Limerick. It is a very good employer and we want to ensure the contribution Dell has made to the mid-west region for many years since it came——

We all agree with that.

It is important to put it on the record. Dell, an international company, is still a good employer in Limerick and Cherrywood in Dublin. We want to acknowledge that.

Some 1,900 people are about to lose their jobs

On 8 January last, Dell announced its intention to reduce its workforce by 1,900 at its plant in Raheen, Limerick. As I said, I am keenly aware of the impact that will have on the employees and the broader mid-west region. We had established a group of the relevant State agencies to prepare for a major job loss situation to specifically deal with the needs of any workers to be made redundant. The group, chaired by my Department, has been working to take the appropriate actions to support those to be made redundant to find new employment, including assistance to reskill and retrain to enhance their future employment potential.

Immediately following the Dell announcement, this group met with Dell on 9 January and established appropriate contacts as to who will work with the company. Since then, FÁS has had a number of meetings with Dell and will commence meeting Dell staff next week on 2 February. In preparation for job losses at Dell, FÁS mid-west had put in place a team to deal specifically with redundancies in Dell and other companies in the region. As an initial step, at a meeting held on its premises on 12 January last, four days after the announcement of the redundancies, the team offered Dell employees group briefing sessions to outline the range of FÁS services available to them.

What about the multi-agency task force?

It also offered individual one-to-one guidance interviews to include: identification of current qualifications and job requirements; provision of information on job opportunities, mid-west, national and EU; identification of upskilling training requirements; provision of a broad range of training programmes in response; referral to educational providers where appropriate; and referral to enterprise boards regarding start your own business initiatives, where appropriate. In addition FÁS will host training and job opportunities events in Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary. These events will have local, national and European vacancies on display as well as employers in attendance.

FÁS, Enterprise Ireland and the City and County Enterprise Boards, University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology have developed a web portal to assist people who find themselves out of work in the mid-west. This web portal will guide people through the initial orientation process into new opportunities. Through this co-ordinated approach, the affiliated organisations are ensuring that valuable time is not lost and people will get clear and comprehensive individual guidance. The web portal will provide information and direct access to designated contact people within the organisations.

In the mid-west area, IDA Ireland has been working diligently to secure new investments, and over the past year companies like Vistakon, Zimmer, Cook, DTS and Microsemi have announced jobs in the region. The agency has a pipeline of projects under consideration. These potential investments are being pursued and IDA will do everything possible to speed up the investment decisions in Limerick's favour.

IDA Ireland's regional strategy reflects the NSS, with an emphasis on the Limerick-Shannon gateway and on the hub town of Ennis. IDA Ireland's strategy for the mid-west region and Limerick is and will continue to be — transition to a knowledge economy by winning new foreign direct investment, FDI, in innovation driven, high value, high skills sectors; to work with the existing company base to expand their presence by increasing the number and scale of functions being carried out and by adding further strategic functions; to promote balanced regional development; to influence the provision of modern property solutions with supporting infrastructure; and to work with local authorities and other partners to influence the creation of the right infrastructural environment to help win new FDI throughout the region. The investment projects the IDA seeks to attract to Limerick——

I was going to speed up the Minister, but his time has expired.

Could the Minister address the point of whether the Department will establish the multi-agency task force?

To be helpful to the Deputy, may I go on? This is a very sensitive issue and I am trying to give the Deputy as much information as possible. We do not need any lectures about job losses. We are fully aware of the concerns of the Deputies opposite and on this side of the House——

I have a simple question. When will the multi-agency taskforce——

Enterprise lreland is specifically targeting potential business start-ups through the following supports and programmes: a dedicated opportunities fair to be held in March in Limerick to encompass all enterprise, employment and education institutions, together with private and voluntary sector organisations, including financial institutions, MABS, Citizens Information and recruitment agencies; a new collaborative information brochure detailing contacts, business start-up supports and financial assistance available via Enterprise lreland and the county enterprise boards; a new series of one and two night seminars and workshops——

The Minister of State has run well over his time.

The Minister of State has not answered the question.

In addition, Enterprise lreland is addressing the challenges facing the sub-supply base in the mid-west with a dedicated sub-supplier event in April to facilitate supply companies to explore new opportunities, new business leads and new markets with assistance from Enterprise lreland's overseas market network.

When will the agency be announced?

I assure the Deputy that the new task force for the mid-west region is being finalised and will be announced imminently. There will be some very fine people on the task force.

I will inform the Deputy personally when it is being announced.

Schools Building Projects.

I wish to make an observation regarding the reform of Dáil procedure. It would be much more satisfactory if the Minister were to reply to the question first and the Deputies could question him or her on that rather than our stating our case and the Minister reading a statement.

I am sure the Deputy will make a submission to the reform committee.

I understand that point perfectly.

I will not count this as part of the Deputy's five minute slot.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle is a good man. I am sure he will carry my observation about reform of procedure for the debate on the Adjournment to the powers that be because it would be far more satisfactory.

The Deputy is now eating into his speaking time.

The community school for Clifden, the capital of Connemara, lies approximately half a mile out of town on the Ballyconnelly road. For the past ten years there has been a campaign running to replace the school. It caters for 432 pupils but was built to cater for 350 pupils. The original school building was 20,400 sq. ft., which was one sixth less than the standard required at that time. According to the engineer's report:

The school currently has problems relating to space, classrooms, circulation, the lack of social and dining areas for pupils, health and safety issues and staff accommodation, both social and professional. The school needs to be evaluated not only from the perspective of the physical structure, but also from the perspective of its educational adequacy.

It caters for a large area north west of Clifden, including Clifden, Cleggan, Claddaduff, Renville and almost as far as Leenane, and, to the west, Ballyconnelly, Roundstone, Tomboola, Cashel and Recess, which is on the east side of the school. That is a catchment area of approximately 22 square miles. An added problem facing the school is that the only other second level school in that area, Kylemore Abbey, is being phased out. It now caters only for fifth and sixth year students and will be closed in two years' time. This will increase the number of pupils attending the Clifden school.

I have followed this campaign closely for the past ten years. I have tabled several parliamentary questions, first on 28 February 2001 asking the then Minister for Education and Science "whether it would be better value for money to build a new school at an extra cost of £1.4 million and maintain the old building for other uses in the community". The then Minister, Deputy Michael Woods, told me he was looking into it. On 21 March 2006, the then Minister, Deputy Mary Hanafin, said: "The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning." On 29 April 2008, she said: "My Department recently approved the stage 3 submission for this project."

There are frequent public meetings in Clifden about the school and we get great value out of it. We held a public meeting before the 2002 election attended by the Minister, Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, and Deputy Frank Fahey, who were then Ministers of State and have many connections with that area. I thought I would be canvassing the workers on the site before the election. We had a tremendous meeting before the 2007 election too, attended by 250 or 300 parents, in the school and I thought I would be knocked with bulldozers which we were told would move in straightaway.

Two years into the life of this Government, however, the building of the school seems to be as far away as ever. What is the situation about the provision for the school? Now is the hour for the Minister to act. Construction firms and workers are out of work. Now is the time to give people in an area of high unemployment, Clifden and north Connemara, an opportunity to work. Those people would far rather work than be on the dole. If the Government moved to sanction the building of this necessary second level school in Clifden, it would be opportune for everybody, parents, pupils, teachers and the construction industry workers around Clifden who would be glad to have jobs.

I hope I will not have to speak on the subject here again. I look forward to being at a meeting before the next election, which might come sooner than we think, and hope to get the bulldozers will be revved up. I hope I will not have to return to the next Dáil to ask that this school building be started.

I am responding to the Deputy on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Batt O'Keeffe. I wish to thank the Deputy for giving me the opportunity of outlining to the House the position of the Department of Education and Science regarding the provision of improved facilities for Clifden community school, County Galway.

All applications for capital funding are assessed in the modernisation and policy unit of the Department. The assessment process determines the extent and type of need presenting based on the demographics of an area, proposed housing developments, condition of buildings, site capacity etc., leading ultimately to an appropriate accommodation solution.

As part of this process, a project is assigned a band rating under published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects. These criteria were devised following consultation with the education partners. Projects are selected for inclusion in the school building and modernisation programme on the basis of priority of need. This is reflected in the band rating assigned to a project. In other words, a proposed building project moves through the system commensurate with the band rating assigned to it.

There are four band ratings overall, of which band one is the highest and band four the lowest. Band one projects, for example, include the provision of buildings where none currently exist, but there is a high demand for pupil places, while a band four project makes provision of desirable, but not necessarily urgent or essential facilities, such as a library or new sports hall. The proposed extension and refurbishment of Clifden community school has been assigned a band rating of 2.3.

The proposed extension and refurbishment project for Clifden community school is based on a long-term projected enrolment of 425 pupils. The current enrolment is 401 pupils, 383 mainstream pupils and 18 PLC pupils. The area of the proposed new accommodation amounts to 1,676 sq. m and includes general classrooms, two science laboratories, woodwork and construction studies room, technical graphics room, general purpose and dining area and other ancillary accommodation. It also includes some refurbishment work to the existing accommodation, the toilets area, metalwork room, home economics room and art and craft room.

The school authorities were informed on 11 January 2008 that the stage three, detailed design, for the project was approved but the project was not authorised to progress further at that time. The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction is dependent on the prioritisation of competing demands on the funding available under the Department's capital budget. This project will be considered on an on-going basis in the context of the Department's multi-annual school building and modernisation programme.

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter and point out that over the lifetime of the national development plan, NDP, the Government is providing funding of €4.5 billion for school buildings. This will be the largest investment programme in schools in the history of the State and it will enable the Department to ensure that school places are available where they are needed. This investment will allow the Department to continue the school building programme which commenced during the life time of the last NDP when well over €2.6 billion was invested in school development delivering, as it did, over 7,800 projects.

The allocation for school buildings in 2009 is €581 million. This represents a significant investment in the school building and modernisation programme. This level of funding for the building programme, at a time of great pressure on public finances, is a sign of the very real commitment of the Government to investing in school infrastructure and will permit the continuation of progress in the overall improvement of school accommodation.

The Minister for Education and Science is committed to providing suitable high quality accommodation for Clifden community school at the earliest possible date. However, in light of current economic circumstances, and with competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible for the Minister to give an indicative timeframe for the further progression of this project at this time. I thank the Deputy once again for raising this matter.

Is it an extension or a new school? I thought there was to be a new school, but now the Minister of State is talking about a proposed extension or refurbishment. That script does not——

I will undertake to clarify that.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this matter on the Adjournment. I am very disappointed that I am here again tonight. I have raised the issue of this particular school on many occasions. The school is in existence for ten years. It has 11 permanent staff and 200 pupils, with a waiting list to get into the school.

Before the general election in 2007, the school management was led to believe by the former Minister for Education and Science that a new school would be sanctioned, the sod would be turned before Christmas, and that the pupils would be in that school for 2008. A few years ago, before the local elections, the then Minister, Deputy Michael Woods, visited the local schools. He sang an Abba song at one school called "Money, Money, Money", but he did not come up with the money at the time, and he let down the school at Westport Quay. He led us to believe that Gaelscoil na Cruaiche in Westport would be the priority. When will the funding be sanctioned for that school? When are the parents going to know that their children are going to be taught in a new school? It is not fair on the teachers, it is not fair on the pupils and it is not fair on the school. We are paying more money on prefabs and this is costing a fortune.

There has been much talk recently about the school bond scheme, where somebody with the resources can do a deal with the Government to build these schools. If the Government has not got the funding, it should get a builder to build the school and it can then buy it back from him. What is happening is not right. Before the last general election, Fianna Fáil led everybody to believe that the school would be up and running this year. It is not right to have teachers working or pupils educated in these conditions.

When can we expect an announcement regarding the new school? When can we expect the funding to be put in place? When can we see the bulldozers? There had been difficulties with the site but planning permission has been secured and everything is in place. What is needed now is approval from the Department. It is not fair to mislead the public. People were expecting the construction of the school to start last year and to be in the school this year. What is the up to date position? Is there any hope that the school will start this year?

I am responding to the Deputy on behalf of the Minister for Education and Science. I thank the Deputy for giving me the opportunity of outlining to the House the position of the Department on the provision of a new school building for Gaelscoil na Cruaiche in Westport, County Mayo. Improving facilities in the existing building stock, as well as the need to respond to emerging needs in areas of rapid population growth, is a significant challenge which the Minister for Education and Science has identified as one of his top priorities.

Gaelscoil Na Cruaiche is a co-educational Gaelscoil serving the town of Westport and its environs. The school opened in September 1996 with provisional recognition and was granted permanent recognition in 2000. The school is currently located in temporary accommodation which is funded by the Department. The school is staffed by a principal, eight mainstream assistants, one learning support teacher and one resource teacher, and has an enrolment of over 200 pupils in the current academic year.

The brief for this project entails the construction of a new ten classroom primary school. The project for the proposed new school has been progressed by the Department and is now at an advanced stage of architectural planning. A site has been secured and planning permission for the proposed new school has been obtained. However, it is not possible to progress all projects to construction at the same time. The progression of all large-scale building projects from initial design stage through to construction is dependent on the prioritisation of competing demands on the funding available under the Department's capital budget. The further progression of this project will continue to be considered in the context of the Department's multi-annual school building and modernisation programme.

The allocation for school buildings in 2009 is €581 million. This represents a significant investment in the school building and modernisation programme. This level of funding for the building programme, at a time of great pressure on public finances, is a sign of the very real commitment of the Government to investing in school infrastructure. Under the lifetime of the current national development plan, almost €4.5 billion will be invested in school buildings. This is an unprecedented level of capital investment which reflects the commitment of the Government to continue its programme of sustained investment in primary and post primary schools. This investment will facilitate the provision of new schools and extensions in developing areas and the improvement of existing schools through the provision of replacement schools, extensions or large scale refurbishments. It builds on the delivery of 7,800 building projects under the last national development plan which resulted in the delivery of new schools and the refurbishment of many existing schools.

I assure the Deputy that the Minister for Education and Science is committed to providing suitable high quality accommodation for Gaelscoil na Cruaiche at the earliest possible date. However, in light of current economic circumstances, and with competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time. I again thank the Deputy for raising this matter.

The Dáil adjourned at 9.05 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 September 2009.