Category Archives: Press

Keane welcomes national lottery funding for projects in Tallaght

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) welcomed the announcement of €13,600 for projects in Tallaght which is being made available to groups through National Lottery grants. The funding was announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly TD, this week.
This follows on from the awarding of National Lottery funding to 18 projects for older people announced by the Minister for Heath, Leo Varadkar last week.

The youth group projects receiving funding include:
€4,000 for St. Kevin’s Girls NS, Treepark Road, Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24 for the purchase of equipment and a summer activities programme
€4,000 for the New Hope Residential Centre, Kiltalown Cottage, Hazelgrove Golf Course, Mount Seskin Road, Dublin 24 to construct a new playground as part of a drug rehabilitation project
€4,000 for St. Dominic’s Community Centre, 60 and 60A Avonbeg Gardens, Dublin 24 to develop a natural play area
€1,600 for Killinarden FRC, Killinarden Way, Dublin 24 to provide a life skills club and grinds for Leaving Certificate students

Senator Keane said: ‘This funding will go a long way to assisting in the vital work carried out by these  groups in the Tallaght community to expand on the excellent work that they are already doing The funding will be used for initiatives that support young people, those recovering from addictions and others in the community who require services to help develop and grow their personal skills. I am confident that this funding will be put to good use and that it will be appreciated by those in the Tallaght area who are to avail of it and the difference it will make to their community organisations.”

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Early Access to new Hepatitis C treatments will save lives- Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, that the HSE is putting in place a programme to provide early access to powerful new direct-acting anti-viral drugs for Hepatitis C patients with the greatest clinical need, due to the advanced nature of their condition.

“I have been calling for this action to be taken in the Seanad now for several weeks. I know that the  patients  in  question  have  been  identified  by clinical experts as suffering  from very serious liver disease and to be most likely to benefit substantially from this  intervention.

“I am very pleased that we can commence the use of these new medicines in Ireland.  These  drugs  have  the  potential  to  bring  major benefits for patients  with  serious  illness as a result of Hepatitis C. I also want to thank Gilead, Janssen and Bristol Myers Squibb for agreeing to enter into negotiations with the HSE and the Department of Health in the interests of these seriously ill patients.

“The early access programme will apply to patients deemed to have an urgent need for treatment, and for whom previously licensed drug treatments would not be appropriate.  Similar early access programmes are in place in a number of other European countries. A number of powerful new Direct-Acting Antiviral therapies are being licensed in Europe for people with Hepatitis C. As with other countries, Ireland must ensure that access to high-cost treatments such as these is managed, in order to prioritise access for patients who can benefit most, while ensuring that the financing model is sustainable and affordable.

“The aim is to provide access for as many patients as possible, within the resources provided by taxpayers.For that reason, the Department of Health has also set up an advisory group to consider a multi-annual approach to the clinical and public health management of Hepatitis C. I understand that this group will report to the Minister in the coming weeks. Its recommendations will inform decisions about extending access to these new drugs to further groups of patients. This is a very welcome development that will save lives and therefore, I fully support it.”

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Mount Carmel to re-open in the new HSE service plan – Keane

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) welcomed the news that Mount Carmel Hospital is to re-open under the HSE Service Plan. Senator Keane was speaking following the announcement of the new HSE Service Plan. The facility was closed in 2013 due to a cited reason of a lack of viability. However, the Hospital is to be re-opened under the service plan additional funding provision.

“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.

“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.”

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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.”

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