Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

Brexit continues to cast a cloud over political, economic and social developments in Great Britain, Ireland and throughout the entire European Union. Tonight's vote in Westminster is the latest instalment in a lengthening saga in which no coherent, concrete view on Brexit commanding a majority of British parliamentarians is emerging. The withdrawal treaty looks set to be defeated - although we do not know that for certain - plunging all of us into greater uncertainty and speculation in the days ahead. We cannot influence tonight's vote, if we are honest, but we can influence how prepared we are for any eventuality that may emerge, including, of course, a no-deal Brexit, by the end of March. It is my view that the Government has treated the Dáil and the public shabbily and badly when it has come to sharing its plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Government should treat the Oireachtas and the public with greater respect in this regard.

Under pressure, the Government published a contingency plan on 19 December, the day on which the Dáil went into recess prior to Christmas. The document itself is light, lacking in detail and needs considerable fleshing out. It outlines up to 22 elements of primary legislation and more than 20 areas of secondary legislation that may be required. I hardly need to point out that there are only 25 sitting days in this House between now and 29 March, when all this legislation, in addition to other legislation, will be required to be passed if we end up with a no-deal Brexit scenario. We do not know much because the heads or outlines of the legislation have not even been published or circulated to Members of the Oireachtas. The contingency plan published in late December deals rather sketchily with a number of important areas such as medicine supplies, aviation, the land bridge, ports and airports, staffing, Revenue and agriculture. I have some specific questions for the Taoiseach on these areas. Do any of the changes required at our ports and airports as a consequence of Brexit require planning permission or legislative changes? If so, has planning permission, where necessary, been sought?

Is all relevant ICT infrastructure in place at our ports and airports, or will it be in place by 29 March in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

Approximately 240 medicines are listed as being in short supply, which is more than normal. Deputy Brassil has been diligent in bringing this information to me. Anecdotally, we have heard of the difficulty that all pharmacists are having with such a short supply of drugs. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the Government is stockpiling key medicines, particularly those with a narrow therapeutic index which are not interchangeable in the event of a no-deal Brexit? Will he outline the medicine supply situation and how the Government intends to deal with the legislation that would be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

I welcome the Deputy back and wish him and his party a happy new year.

The withdrawal agreement is the only agreement on the table, and it has been supported by 28 Governments, including that of the United Kingdom. We will allow the democratic process to take its course in Westminster tonight, when the British Parliament will vote on the withdrawal agreement and four amendments. We will review the position tomorrow in consultation with our EU colleagues. At Cabinet earlier, we discussed preparation for a no-deal. I still believe a no-deal is unlikely but we must be prepared for it, or at least as prepared as any country can be. We discussed four memos which related to the common travel area, medicine supply, transport and, perhaps most important, the legislation that will be required. We are happy to share that legislation with the Opposition, and the Tánaiste has been in touch with spokespeople to organise briefings with the Opposition this afternoon. After we have briefed the Opposition, we will brief the media.

In response to the Deputy's questions on the ports and the airports, planning permission will not be required in most cases. What will be required, however, are parking areas and parking bays, and a certain amount of accommodation for staff. Where planning permission is needed, the Minister for Finance can use his powers to make directions to the Office of Public Works.

On medicines, a plan has been put in place and a working group, comprising representatives from the Department of Health, the HSE, the Health Products Regulatory Authority and the Food Safety Authority, has met every week for nearly two years. It has advised against stockpiling because it believes stockpiling may cause a break in supply, although it is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry and the main wholesalers to ensure an adequate supply. It has identified a watch-list of approximately 24 medicines about which we are most concerned. As the Deputy will know, between approximately 60% and 70% of medicines transit the UK or come from the UK. The watch-list has been developed, and those 24 medicines are the ones to which we must pay particular attention.

On legislation, we agreed we would put all the necessary legislation relating to Brexit into one large, omnibus Brexit Bill, with 17 different parts to it, that is, effectively 17 pieces of legislation in one, covering a number of different areas which I can outline in my follow-up reply. We are keen to consult and seek co-operation and engagement from the Opposition on getting this legislation through. We published our legislative programme earlier. Most of the time when a legislative programme is produced, there will be 20, 30 or 40 Bills, but there are only six on the priority list for this session in order that we can ensure we give all the time to the legislation that is needed in the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the House.

I thank the Taoiseach for his reply and wish him a happy new year. I must report back to him from west Clare, west Cork and other parts of rural Ireland that very few wish the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, a happy new year, judging by what I picked up from travelling around.

(Interruptions).

The Taoiseach said he was happy to share information with the Dáil and that he was keen to consult. Dare I suggest to him that he has not been keen to consult the Oireachtas and that he has not been happy to share with the Dáil. It was under pressure that the contingency plan was published on 19 December.

What is the big secret? What is behind the reluctance to share basic information with people on a no-deal Brexit? It is important to be prepared and ready and that the public be likewise. For example, on 19 December, Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection about preparations on social welfare, social assistance and so on. The Minister said an analysis was ongoing within the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Is that analysis completed? This is very basic. One would have thought that an analysis of that kind would have been completed long ago. Can the Taoiseach indicate whether that analysis on social welfare is complete and whether it can be published to show what the potential implications would be?

The Deputy is way over his time. I call An Taoiseach.

I do not accept the Deputy's charge. The stakeholder group meets regularly and information is given to stakeholders. Any time Opposition spokespersons have asked for a briefing, they have been provided with one. We could not publish the contingency plan until the day we did so because we had to have the European Commission one first, and I explained that at the time.

The work on social security is completed so a draft international agreement between the UK and Ireland has been prepared by officials in the Minister, Deputy Regina Doherty's office and in Secretary of State Rudd's office and that will allow existing arrangements to continue. There are between 20,000 and 30,000 people in Ireland who get some of their pension from the UK social security provision. Before that treaty can be signed, we need to ratify the withdrawal agreement because the common travel area and everything associated with it is underlined in the withdrawal agreement. We could do it separately, bilaterally, but that is not the space we want to be in, ideally, when we have been negotiating multilaterally for so long.

Before I begin, I take the opportunity to extend my deepest sympathy and those of my party colleagues to our comrade, Deputy David Cullinane, and the wider Cullinane family on the death of their mother Berna who is being laid to rest in Waterford. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.

In just under a fortnight's time, members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, are due to commence industrial action with a series of 24 hour work stoppages over the following weeks. Members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, PNA, are also due to commence industrial action with a three-day stoppage due to take place from 12 to 14 of February. We all know that strike action is the last thing nurses and midwives and medical professionals for that matter want to undertake. These people believe they have been left with no choice but to undertake such action given the ignorance, arrogance and the ineptitude of the Taoiseach and his Government colleagues in relation to dealing with the crisis we face. The Government has had years to address the recruitment and retention crisis in our hospitals and we see how it is crippling our health service but it has completely failed. The situation has deteriorated year-on-year and month-on-month. Nurses, midwives and their unions have continuously sought engagement with the Minister for Health as well as with the Minister for Finance to address the question of staff shortages and pay to avert the industrial action we face. Their concerns have been routinely ignored by this Government. In fact, what has happened is that they have been verbally attacked, threatened and insulted as they have tried to achieve a resolution to a crisis and it is impacting on so many of our patients.

It is the staff of our hospitals who have acted with responsibility and in a mature manner. The Taoiseach and his Government have decided to disengage. Nurses and midwives deserve our full support. In terms of their demand for a better health service that treats them as essential, skilled workers and with dignity and value, I and my party fully support them. The Taoiseach's approach has been to dismiss these concerns and industrial action is now the regrettable outworking of his Government's policy and that of his Minister as he ignores the issue of the recruitment and retention crisis in our hospitals.

For years nurses, midwives and their unions have put forward sensible proposals to try to address this issue. Last April we in Sinn Féin passed a motion in this House calling for the introduction of recruitment and retention measures based on realistic proposals which would prioritise pay. It was supported by the majority of Deputies in this House. This motion called for Government to work with unions to draw up a roadmap for full pay equality with an implementation plan to deliver pay equality within a short timeframe, not the eight year timeframe the Taoiseach has offered.

At the 11th hour, will the Taoiseach concede that he has failed to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service? Will he accept that the issue needs to be addressed and will he commit to proper engagement with the nurses and midwives and their unions and give them the fair deal they deserve, one that means all parties, including the Ministers for Health and Finance, will be obliged to be at the table?

The difficulties in recruiting and retaining healthcare staff, including nurses, are very real. They are not unique to Ireland: the same problems exist in places where pay is much lower, such as Northern Ireland, and much higher, namely, the Middle East and Australia. It is the consequence of an international labour market in which there is a shortage of healthcare staff. Deputy Pearse Doherty should not give anyone the false impression that what is happening means we are not making progress. The number of nurses employed in the public health service in the past five years increased by 2,330. If one compares the position year on year – it is important to compare month with month for seasonal reasons – the number of nurses working in the health service in November 2018 was 860 more than in November 2017. That is an increase of 860 in a year and it does not include student nurses. Those are the facts. People could be given the impression that there are more nurses leaving the profession and leaving the country than there are nurses going into the profession and coming into the country but that is not the case. There are 3,000 more nurses working in the public health service than was the case five years ago, and recruitment will continue.

I am aware that two of the three nursing unions have voted for strike action. The ballots were very decisive, with 95% voting for strike action. That reflects the depth of feeling among nurses and midwives regarding their pay and conditions. The Government does not believe for a second that nurses are anything other than sincere in the action they are proposing to take. We will do our best to try to avoid a strike. An engagement involving employers and unions is taking place today. A meeting of the oversight committee for the public sector pay deal, at which the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Health will be represented, will take place on Friday next. There are other avenues, including the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. We will do everything we reasonably can to prevent this strike from happening but we need to bear in mind that there is already a pay deal in place. That deal, which was agreed not just with nurses and midwives but with all public servants, runs until 2020. It would not be fair or affordable to offer a special deal to one group in the public service and then say to every other group that we have no money left for them. That would not be right. That is the reason we have collective agreements with ICTU and I am of the view that it is the right way to manage public sector pay.

We should not forget what is involved in the agreement to which I refer. This year alone, there are five different ways in which public servants' pay can increase: there will be an across the board pay increase in the autumn; a special pay increase for those earning under €30,000 has just kicked in this month; there has been a reduction in the pension levy; a special increase for new entrants in March, should that be agreed;, and an incremental pay increase for most public servants over the course of the year.

The recruitment and retention crisis is very real. That is evident when one talks to front-line staff, people the Taoiseach blamed for causing the trolley crisis over the Christmas period. I am sure he got the wake-up call from all their tweets as they posted pictures of them working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. The reality is that this is a very real crisis. There are 1,754 fewer staff nurses in our hospitals than was the case a decade ago. This is despite the fact that we have an ageing population. Some 71% of students who are going through midwifery and nursing training state that they are considering emigrating. The reality is that 60% of nurses recruited in 2017 were migrants. The reality is that nurses and midwives are not paid enough for the work that they do, the pressures they are under and the care they provide. What we need is a pay deal. We need the Taoiseach to give effect to the motion Sinn Féin put forward that was supported in the House last April, which was to deal with this issue and to deal with the pay constraints on nurses-----

I thank the Deputy.

-----to ensure that we deal with the situation whereby we have only one application for every four vacancies in the health service. The Taoiseach talked about inefficiencies. This is one of the greatest inefficiencies, that we are not staffing our health service properly.

The time is up.

Therefore, we have a trolley crisis, a recruitment and retention crisis and the spillover effect from that whereby numerous people are on waiting lists that are growing, month on month.

We can only deal with this issue in the context of wider concerns and wider issues. There are lots of people working in the public service, 300,000 of them, including doctors, teachers, gardaí, people who work in this House and other civil servants. They all work really hard. There are lots of areas in our public service where we are now finding it hard to recruit because we are approaching full employment; indeed, that is the case across the private sector as well. We can only do things within the constraints of a limited amount of finance. We balanced the books last year, just about, but to concede to this and all the knock-on claims which would inevitably follow would require us to pay for it through borrowing. I do not think it is prudent, right or sensible in the long term to fund pay increases with borrowed money because that inevitably will turn into a pay cut in two or three years' time.

Those are the kinds of policies that Sinn Féin would pursue and that is where it would lead us. It would offer people-----

Maybe they could tax the banks and that could pay for some of our nurses.

Just as in places like Venezuela, it would implement socialist policies, it would blow all the money in the first couple of years and, after that, it would just be austerity, austerity and austerity.

Keep waving the flag for the ones with the golden spoon in their mouths.

Deputy Doherty is finished. I call Deputy Joan Collins.

There are many important issues that could be raised today but I am starting the year as I mean to continue, on the issue of housing, which to my mind will be a legacy failure of this Government unless there is a change of policy. On 29 March last year, the Taoiseach stated the housing and homelessness crisis was a national emergency yet the main causes of this emergency are the housing policies of his Government. The results are devastating. The public housing list has a consistent waiting list of more than 100,000, year on year. Thousands of householders are struggling with mortgage debt. More homeless people are sleeping and dying on our streets and many families in the private rented sector have been evicted as landlords and vulture funds seek to extract higher rents. Ten thousand people are officially homeless, over 3,000 of whom are children, and thousands are unofficially homeless and living in overcrowded homes.

Every week my constituency office is in contact with the Residential Tenancies Board, RTB, representing tenants whose landlords are attempting to illegally evict. I was contacted by a woman last week who will be 60 this year and who lives with her partner. She gets up early every morning and heads to work in the Alzheimer's centre on a 39-hour week. She was renting for 14 years but she and her partner have been homeless since October and are temporarily staying with a relative because the landlord sold the house they were renting. They searched for alternative rented accommodation but could not afford the rents. In her dilemma, she then reduced her working hours from 39 to 28 to bring the household income below the €36,000 threshold and she has applied to Dublin City Council to go on the housing waiting list, although she will be at the end of a long queue. Can the Taoiseach imagine being in that situation? What can he offer this woman for the future under Rebuilding Ireland?

In my constituency two recent planning applications have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála under the strategic housing development strategy to build apartments, although these apartments will be exclusively for rent and for student accommodation and will not be for sale. The question is who will be able to afford the rents and, in addition, there is no security of tenure. Most likely, the supply of more than 300 apartments to rent will feed into more HAP tenancies and line the pockets of developers.

The Government is set to spend over €3 billion on rent subsidies over the next five years. There is an alternative, which is the cost rental model or, as it is more popularly called, the secure, fair rent homes model. This is a public housing strategy that is accessible to everyone who needs a home and to people of all income levels. The rent would be affordable because it would be subsidised and based on the cost of provision, rather than on the market price for accommodation. Fair rent homes are based on a proven European housing programme - the cost rental model. This successful model exists in a number of countries. In Austria alone, approximately 20% of people avail of cost rental housing.

A new housing organisation would need to be established. This organisation could service and manage the finance and oversee the implementation of a fair rent homes programme. It could work with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the city and county councils to build and develop the fair rent homes model on a national scale. There could be a target to build 70,000 homes in the next five years on this basis. Why is the Taoiseach not investigating this strategy and why is the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government not coming forward to drive a strategy of this nature?

I do not doubt for a second the depth of the housing crisis affecting so many of our citizens, whether they are in emergency accommodation at hotels or bed and breakfasts, spending a large proportion of their take-home pay on rent or seeking to buy for the first time by putting together a deposit and finding a home they can afford. We are hard at work as a Government to deal with this. What I can offer the citizen the Deputy mentioned is, first, more supply of housing and apartments, which is fundamental to solving this crisis. We do not know the numbers yet for last year but we suspect that between 19,000 and 20,000 new houses and apartments were built, which is the largest number for a decade. While it is not enough, it is going in the right direction and more than in any other year this decade. Of those, more than 4,500 were public housing units built by local authorities or affordable housing bodies. When was the last time approximately 25% of new housing built in Ireland was public housing? It has not happened for a very long time.

The Deputy mentioned the cost rental model. It has a great deal of merit. As a Government, we have seen how it has worked in other places to provide affordable accommodation, in particular in cities. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has seen it working in Vienna. It is being pursued, including in the Deputy's own constituency at the Emmet Road development which she has supported. It contains a significant proportion of cost-rental housing. As part of the remit of the new Land Development Agency, LDA, between 40% and 50% of public and private land it develops will be public housing of some form, including traditional social housing units, affordable housing and even cost-rental.

Many people feel the Government is working very hard for landlords and developers and not for those who need housing. There are thousands in this city with housing needs. Fair rent homes work on the principle that people pay a fair rent based on the cost to build and maintain their homes. It is not based on the current profit-driven model for which the Taoiseach stands. Fair rent homes are an alternative to the current private rental market and mortgage debt model and offer public rental housing for those with different income levels. The fair rent home is crash-proof and poses a secure rental alternative to debt-based housing provision. It provides stability in the rental sector of the sort that works in other countries. The fair rent home offers security of tenure and lifetime affordable housing, which means people can plan their futures without worrying constantly about increasing rents and the threat of eviction and homelessness, as faced by the woman to whom I referred earlier. A delegation from Dublin City Council visited Vienna recently for a conference and returned convinced that this will work. The proposal must now be driven through the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to ensure it is implemented here. We could build 70,000 units over the next five years, linked to local authority building of 30,000 units.

I thank the Deputy.

Mr. Mel Reynolds says there is enough land in this country to build at least 100,000 houses. This cannot be a case of simply telling the House that this will be looked at.

The Deputy's time is up.

We want to see it start and being driven now.

I thank the Deputy. I tried my best to answer her question earlier. The Minister, Deputy Eogahn Murphy, has been to Vienna and knows it well. That is one of the reasons he has been driving forward the cost rental model as part of the solution to our housing shortage. To resolve the housing crisis, we need houses of all sorts. We need houses built by developers for young people to buy or for people to upgrade to who want larger homes. We need houses that might be bought by landlords to rent to people who need to rent for one reason or another. We need social housing built by public bodies. As I said to the Deputy, more than 4,000 public homes were built last year by local authorities and affordable housing bodies. Along with leasing, direct purchase and developers, almost 8,000 homes were added to our social housing stock last year. When is the last time that was done? The solution must be housing of all forms because people need housing of all different times. Cost rental is absolutely part of that picture.

Over the weekend, we learned that PwC had been appointed to carry out an independent review of the colossal scale of spiralling costs of the national children's hospital.

The current estimate of the cost - it appears to increase day by day - stands at more than €1.73 billion, which is almost three times more than the initial estimate of €650 million. The timescale for the project is also going to be longer than that originally envisaged. While this crisis is unfolding on the watch of the Minister, Deputy Harris, the Taoiseach was Minister for Health when the relevant decisions were taken and when the initial information was placed in the public domain. It appears that said information had little grounding in reality. The origins of this spending extravaganza, which has not appeared suddenly in recent months, can be found in the establishment of this process, including that part relating to site selection. The Taoiseach was a key player in the process during his time as Minister for Health. There was a considerable delay prior to the awarding of the contracts. At the time, there was a great deal of speculation that the delay was caused by difficulties getting funding in place.

Did the figures ever really stack up? Did officials ever raise this issue with the Taoiseach at that time? Will he outline the extent to which he, as the then Minister for Health, scrutinised the tendering process? What set of circumstances led him to sign off on contracts that now seem to have been a work of fiction? Was the veracity of the cost projections and the timescales rigorously tested by the then Minister and his officials? If it was, how have we ended up in this predicament? We all know that the health budget is finite. The cost overrun has already had an impact on health services and will continue to have such an impact. What assurances do we have now that there will be no further increase in the estimated cost of building this hospital?

We accept that the new children's hospital is desperately needed. Fine Gael likes to laud itself as a party of prudent fiscal management - the Taoiseach did so earlier - but in the case of this project, it appears that a blank cheque has been written for those who have been awarded the contract to develop the site. There is absolutely nothing prudent about that. Did the Taoiseach, as the Minister for Health of the day, and his officials engage in due diligence to rigorously test the veracity of the contract proposals, specifically in relation to cost? What immediate steps are being taken, or have been taken, to stop the overruns I have mentioned? What is the updated figure, as of today, in relation to the cost? What health projects are now in doubt because of the overruns?

I thank the Deputy. For the record, the decision to opt for the St. James's Hospital site was made when I was Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

The Taoiseach is going to hide behind that now.

The decision in respect of tendering was made when I was Minister for Social Protection. Planning permission was secured when I was Minister for Health.

The Taoiseach is blaming everyone.

I was a member of all of those Governments. Therefore, I accept collective responsibility for the decisions in question, as should everyone who was around the Cabinet table at those times.

It was the Taoiseach's decision.

It was decided at an early stage that the best way to pursue the new hospital, and ensure it was built well, was by establishing a national paediatric hospital development board. A dedicated board, with its own chairman and its own accountability structure, was established to make this development happen. The employees had a substantial amount of experience in delivering big projects like the Aviva Stadium. When I was Minister for Health, the costs were in the region of €600 million. We were aware at the time that the costs were always likely to increase, not least because of construction inflation.

The wrong site was chosen.

Additional things, including ICT equipment and sprinkler systems, had to be added along the way.

There is no helipad.

The cost has increased from €600 million to €1.7 billion.

The cost was always likely to increase, although not by the amount by which it has increased in recent months.

The Government was warned about the site.

Further inquiries are required. The Department of Health is making those inquiries. I imagine that the Committee of Public Accounts and others will want to do the same.

The cost has increased by over €1 billion.

When we discuss the cost of the new national children's hospital, we should not forget the value of what we are building. The main hospital will be at the St. James's Hospital site. The satellite centre in Blanchardstown will open this year and the satellite centre in Tallaght will open next year. We should not forget the value of what we are building. Something struck me when I was watching the news on New Year's Day.

I saw the pictures one sees every new year’s day of the babies who are the first born that year. It occurred to me that those babies born this year will be alive in the 22nd century. They will be alive in 2100 or even in 2110.

It is the old Clinton line.

We are building this hospital not for one generation but for three, four and five generations. Let us not lose sight of the value of this development.

Spread the cost of it.

It is going to cost what it will cost.

There will be an individual room for every child with the possibility of their parents being able to stay in the room with them, five MRI machines and 15 theatres. This has the potential to totally transform the quality of paediatric care in Ireland, and not just for one or two years. This is a project that will last 100 years or more.

The same building, which was proposed, is being built. If we consider the costs in other countries where hospitals are being built, they are not of the order of the costs we face. Just because it will be the most expensive hospital in the world does not mean it is will necessarily be the best one but I hope it will be one of the best. The reality is that there are major cost overruns. Would the Taoiseach have signed off on this when he did if he knew it was going to cost three times what was projected at that time?

I asked the Taoiseach what other health facilities will be impacted by virtue of the fact the capital budget will be greatly impacted by this development. Dr. Fergal Hickey in a radio interview this morning spoke of the need for capital investment to deal with overcrowding. We understand investment is needed for the likes of Sláintecare. In that context, what will not be done? I ask the Taoiseach to answer the questions I asked him. What is the cost, as of today, of the national children's hospital?

The cost as of today is exactly what it was back in December. I do not have the exact figure in front of me but it is about €1.4 billion with additional contingencies above that, particularly around construction inflation. If there has been any change since the week before Christmas, I have not been informed of it. It is what it was then.

In terms of whether I would have signed off on it, it is impossible to answer a hypothetical question like that. One would have to know what the alternatives were, what the costs of those alternatives were-----

A greenfield site.

-----and what the pros and cons of those were, and there were many cons in terms of a greenfield site.

Regarding capital projects, Deputy Catherine Murphy will know that we added 250 beds to the acute hospital system last year. The service plan provides for another 140 to 150 to be added this year, and that will happen and will not be affected by this. However, we will need to find an extra €100 million because of the overruns this year and that will have to come out of capital budgets. Roughly €50 million will come from the capital budget of the Department of Health and roughly €50 million will come from the capital budgets of every other Government Department. We are currently working out how that can be done. The Deputy should bear in mind it is in the context of a capital budget of about €5 billion a year, so it is in the 1% or 2% territory. We anticipate it will mostly be achieved by postponing or delaying projects by two or three months rather than having to cancel any particular project but that has yet to be worked out.