Increased supports for older people in the new HSE service plan – Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) welcomed the increased supports for older people in the new HSE Service Plan. Senator Keane was speaking following the announcement of an additional €10 million for the Fair Deal Scheme, the allocation of additional beds to deal with delayed discharges and the provision of increased supports to help older people stay in their own homes if they wish.

“The new HSE Service Plan is budgeting an additional €10 million for the Fair Deal Scheme which will provide for extra places next year. This brings the total budget for the Fair Deal Scheme for 2015 to €948.8m.

“This will support quality long-term residential care services for 22,361 older people under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, including 330 additional in 2015.

“A key component of Fine Gael’s last election manifesto was a commitment to help older people stay in their homes as long as possible. The new plan makes this possible with the inclusion of funding for community care services and measures to tackle delayed discharges. As part of a comprehensive suite of home care and community support services, home care packages will be available to an additional 600 older people, to enable them to live independently, in their own homes, for as long as possible.

“The new plan also provides for an additional 115 short stay hospital beds, including the opening of Mount Carmel, with 65 beds on a phased basis from March 2015. This measure will support older people in the most appropriate care setting and will support early discharge from acute hospitals, reduce delayed discharges and provide rehabilitation services to support the older person in returning to their home.

“There will be a joint approach to the management of delayed discharges in acute hospitals between the hospitals, primary care and clinical programmes to ensure the best possible solution for patients requiring long-term care.”


Social Housing Strategy will address the shortage and provide homes for those who need them in Dublin South-West- Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South West, Cáit Keane, has today (Wednesday) said that the Government’s Social Housing Strategy 2020 will address the current housing shortage and provide homes for those who need them in her constituency, Dublin South-West.

“The Social Housing Strategy announced by the Government today will deal with the housing shortage in this country and in my constituency, Dublin South-West. I am pleased to hear that 35,000 social housing units are going to be supplied by 2020. The needs of a further 75,000 households will be met through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme. Sometimes we can be blinded by statistics and figures, but the reality of this is the provision of homes to those who badly need them. The Government has a clear plan to accommodate the 90,000 households currently on the waiting list.

“The news today is particularly positive for Dublin. A new Dublin Social Housing Delivery Taskforce is to be established immediately to deal with the 31,814 households are on the waiting lists of the four Dublin Authorities.

“This ambitious national plan to supply 35,000 social housing units will be completed through the building and acquisition of over 22,000 units, the lease of 11,000 units and the return to use of over 2,000 units.

“For a long time now I have been calling for return of empty units to the waiting list, as part of the solution to the housing problem, so I am very pleased to see this incorporated into the new strategy. There are 655 vacant units in Dublin that, with refurbishment, can be returned to use for the people who so badly need them. Work has started on 245 of these units and work will begin on the remaining 410 over the next 4 to 6 months.

“The €2.2 billion announced in Budget 2015 is to kick start this project. The total cost of supplying 35,000 units by 2020 will be €3.8 billion.

“A major part of the strategy is also the reform of social housing and the way it is allocated. The Housing Assistance Payment is designed to ensure people have the accommodation they need but also to make work pay for people. It is currently being introduced on a phased basis in a number of Local Authorities and will be widespread by 2015. It is better than Rent Supplement as it allows people to take up work without losing their payment, and to avail of other social housing supports and options, if they so choose. Rent Supplement will continue to be paid by the Department of Social Protection to households who are already in the private rented sector but who, because of temporary a loss of income through unemployment or otherwise, require a short term income support to pay their rent. That was the original purpose of Rent Supplement.

“Examples of reform in the allocation of social housing include the introduction of a Housing Passport mechanism to allow greater mobility of social housing tenants between local authorities in order to access employment opportunities, and the introduction of a Choice-Based Letting system to offer more choice and involvement for applicant households in selecting their new home.
“Of course this increased spend on social housing is not just good news for those waiting on the list. It is also very positive for the construction industry, with plenty of potential for job creation in an industry that was badly hit by the economic crash. It is estimated that the strategy will see the creation of 29,000 jobs.
“The Government has worked hard to secure a significant economic recovery in this country and I am very glad to see that the benefits of this will be spread to the most vulnerable in society. The fact is that the open market is not meeting the housing needs of our citizens, particularly in Dublin South West. I have been seeing the effects of this in my clinics for a long time now. Everyone deserves the right to a place they call home and the Social Housing Strategy announced today is going to address the current housing shortage which has left so many people in a vulnerable situation.”


Keane welcomes change to valuation legislation

Fine Gael Press Office
Senator Cáit Keane
Dublin South-West

Thursday, November 20th 2014

Keane welcomes change to valuation legislation

Community childcare providers will be exempt from commercial rates

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) said she is very pleased that for not-for-profit community childcare providers are to be exempt from commercial rates. Senator Keane was speaking after the Minister for State in the Department of Finance with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Simon Harris TD, with the agreement of the majority of Seanad members. introduced an amendment to the Valuation (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2012, which will exempt up to 1,000 Community Childcare providers
“As someone with a professional background in early childhood education and Montessori, I have been proposing this exemption for community creches and childcare facilities since the publication of this Bill in 2012. I am very pleased that this amendment by the Minister has been agreed to by a majority of all sides of the political divide in the Seanad and was agreed at Report Stage in the Seanad today.
“It is incumbent upon the Government consider the importance of early childhood education and this measure is a very proactive step in this regard. Early childhood education has proved to be a return in investment for the State but, more importantly, we know the importance for children in their development. We know that 80% of a child’s development occurs by the age of 3. At just 22 months a child’s development level can accurately predict his or her educational outcome at 26 years of age. That means that at 22 months we know the educational outcome for a child. That fact reinforces for me the importance of early childhood education. Exempting community child care providers from commercial rate helps to promote early childhood education in terms of making it more accessible to hard pressed working parents.
“This exemption will normalise the application of commercial rates for not-for-profit and charitable providers of childcare which represent approximately 30% of the sector. Significant direct support is provided to all childcare and early education providers particularly through the free pre-school year scheme. I look forward to the passage of the Bill to law in the New Year.”