Senator Gallagher has called on the Minister for health to make a commitment that the delays in ambulance response times be remedied.  It is vital that the Ambulance services in Monaghan/Cavan are those that people can have full confidence in and the delays in response are greatly affecting this confidence. Ambulance response times in the… Continue reading WATCH: SENATOR GALLAGHER CALLS ON THE MINISTER OF HEALTH TO REMEDY AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIME DELAYS

WATCH: Senator Gallagher Raises the issue of Children with Arthritis Waiting for Appointments


Order of Business – 26th October 2016

“I wish to raise the issue of children with arthritis waiting for appointments. The number of children waiting more than 18 months to see an expert in juvenile arthritis has increased from 22 to 110 between January and the end of August this year. That is a 400% increase in the number of children and teenagers waiting at least 18 months. Figures released up to the end of August reveal that a total of 565 children are still waiting to be seen by one of only two specialists in this area. If left untreated, juvenile arthritis can quickly lead to permanent joint damage, muscle wastage and the deformity, not to mention the trauma a child and his or her family experience as a result. With this condition, it is vital that children are seen as soon as possible by a rheumatologist. Irreparable damage can be caused to joints while this waiting continues, in addition to damage of an emotional nature.

  Two consultants are based in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, and they provide care to more than 1,200 children aged between three and 16 suffering with this condition. Ireland has only two paediatric rheumatology consultants and we are ranked as having one of the lowest number of paediatric rheumatologists in Europe. I join Arthritis Ireland in calling on the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, to appoint a third consultant to this area. Allowing children to continue to suffer is simply not acceptable. I plead with the Leader to bring this matter to the attention of the Minister, Deputy Harris.”

WATCH: Senator Gallagher Voices Concerns for the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2016

The over-consumption of alcohol is a persistent issue in Ireland and has taken many lives. It is fair to say that there is probably not a family in the country that has escaped the effects of overconsumption of alcohol and the dangers and addiction that comes with it. Any Bill that strives to attempt to lower consumption must be welcomed, and I will certainly support it

If the minimum pricing of alchohol units comes in I do think this should be introduced in a joint effort with Northern Ireland. Businesses in border counties would not stand a chance should prices be risen in the Republic and not the North, as alcohol buyers would simply cross the border to avail of the cheaper prices.

There is also clarification needed with regard to the isolation of alcohol within retail premises. Where it may be easy in some cases small rural shops throughout the country do not have the funds of the size of premises to keep alcohol discreetly hidden and separate from other goods. There needs to be clear acceptable standards introduced which do not cause too much of a burden on business owners.

WATCH: Senator Gallagher Questions Health Minister on lack of Emergancy Services in Monaghan

On the 12th of July I addressed Minister for Health Finian McGrath regarding emergency service in Monaghan. Ten years ago Monaghan Hospital lost its acute services and locals have had to travel to Cavan or Drogheda ever since for emergency services. At the time when this service was taken away the HSE said they would fast-track a primary care centre for North County Monaghan, there is still no sign of this promised centre.


Deputy Finian McGrath:  I congratulate Senator Gallagher on being elected to the Seanad and wish him the best of luck. I thank him for raising the development of the primary care centre for Monaghan town and I welcome the opportunity to outline the current position on this important health infrastructure development.

Over the past number of years work has been under way to deliver and manage health care as far as possible within a primary care setting, with patients less frequently requiring admission to hospital. The development of primary care is central to the Government’s objective of delivering a high quality, integrated and cost-effective health care system. Enhancing and expanding capacity in the primary care sector is crucial to ensuring delivery of a preventive, joined-up approach to the management of the nation’s health and the modernisation of primary care delivery. The programme for a partnership Government sets out a clear vision for health services in Ireland that is community-based, responsible and accessible to patients. The development of primary care is central to this by shifting the balance of care from a hospital-centric system to one located in the community, enabling users to access easily a broad spectrum of care services through their local primary care team. I have outlined the principle behind the system and the broader vision involved.

The delivery of primary care infrastructure is, however, dependent on a number of factors, including suitable locations being available, successful planning processes and a commitment by GPs to sharing accommodation and delivering health care services with HSE staff. The HSE is looking to provide a new primary care centre in Monaghan town to best provide for the needs of the population of Monaghan and I strongly support the Senator’s view on this matter. The primary care centre for Monaghan town is included in the HSE’s multi-annual capital plan and is currently at the design stage. The proposed location is the Monaghan hospital campus and it is presenting certain technical challenges – hence the delay. The HSE is examining these matters with the design team and all options for the delivery of the project are being considered. This process to identify a satisfactory solution to address these design challenges has not yet concluded. After the design issues have been dealt with, I hope to come back to the Senator and we can see what can happen from there.

Senator Robbie Gallagher: I thank the Minister of State for his response. I plead with him to use his good offices to try to ensure this project is fast-tracked as a matter of urgency. I will not go over the same ground again. Suffice to say this facility is badly needed. It would be very much appreciated by the people of County Monaghan, and by me, if the Minister could use his good offices to assert the case for the primary care centre for Monaghan town.