Weekly Message from An Taoiseach, Enda KennyPosted June 7th, 2011
I was saddened, though not altogether surprised, at the content of last Monday’s ‘Primetime Investigates’ programme, in which the plight of home carers and their often pitiful financial circumstances was highlighted.
It goes without saying that this is tremendously unfair.
The current situation has, however, taken years of mismanagement to reach this critical level.
Those who appeared on Monday’s programme represent the human cost of the failed health policies of recent years.
Minister James Reilly is currently in the process of carrying out a full and comprehensive analysis of the way money has been spent in his Department, to ensure that those most in need are looked after.
All those requiring home care, including senior citizens and people with special needs, will be individually assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the fairest distribution of available funds.
Of course, I would like to think that this problem could be solved overnight, but that is sadly not the case given the economic constraints we have been shackled with.
However, the new Government will move forward in attempting to balance this issue in the fairest possible way.
The Minister for Environment this week outlined his proposals to meet objectives on water, as set out in both the Programme for Government and in the EU/IMF Programme.
The EU/IMF programme also contains commitments relating to increased revenue from property.
It is the intention of the Government to advance proposals on a site valuation tax, but this will take time.
We will also examine ways to protect vulnerable households in this instance.
Minister Hogan is awaiting the results of a comprehensive departmental spending review that will determine the exact amounts of the Household and Water charges.
Options in this regard are currently being prepared for the consideration of Government, and these will be decided in due course.
It goes without saying that there is no pleasure to be taken from announcing measures such as these, but it is also true that the huge hole in our finances means that such measures are necessary.
This week, I reiterated our position regarding the current EU IMF ECB bail-out programme.
We anticipate that it will run as scheduled to the end of 2013 and that we have sufficient money to run the country up to that point.
That is the Government’s position and anything to the contrary is mere speculation.
It is the view of the Government that Ireland will return to the bond markets in a limited way during 2012.
The exact time of our return to the markets will, however, be ultimately influenced by domestic and international economic and market developments.
My appointments this week included a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, in Government Buildings on Wednesday and the launch later that evening of ‘The Week in Politics’ guide to Election 2011 and the 31st Dáil, a most informative read.
On Thursday, I attended the IFIA Global Investment Funds function in the Convention Centre, and officially opened the new Education and Conference facilities at the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital.
Earlier in the day, I had addressed various Irish diplomats based all over the world at the Heads of Mission Conference in Iveagh House, where I strongly encouraged the positive promotion of Ireland in their respective adopted countries.
On Monday, I launched the Free Trade Ireland reuse workshop in Castlebar.
This initiative builds on the progress made by the Dublin waste website and allows people to advertise their unwanted goods so they can be given away instead of ending up in landfill.
The website, freetradeireland.ie has been up and running for 10 months now and in that time over 1 million people have visited, a strong statement of the demand for such a service.
Ireland’s unemployment rate grew to 14.8 per-cent last month, which is very disappointing indeed.
My sympathies lie with each of the 2,600 people who signed on in May.
It is clear that the Government’s jobs initiative has not yet had an effect on these figures, but it is my hope that we will begin to see its positive impact in coming weeks and months.
Last’s month’s initiative was only the Government’s first step in getting growth back into the economy.
Job creation was our number one issue throughout the election campaign, and remains our number one priority in Government.
For this reason, all Ministers are prioritising job creation on their respective Department agendas and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Our chronic unemployment situation is too important for it to be any other way.
Enda Kenny TD