Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rise in number of planning permissions approved will relieve housing shortage

“The number of planning permission applications approved has increased by 52% since this time last year. It will take some time for the effect of these approvals to filter through the housing sector but there is no doubt that this is good news”, says Regina Doherty, Fine Gael TD for Meath East.

“Living on the commuter belt of County Meath, there is a big demand for housing but very few new builds. The number of planning permission applications had fallen dramatically in recent years with only 9,000 houses built in 2013 compared to 90,000 at the height of the boom.

“We need 30,000 houses per year so it is very encouraging to see such a sharp rise in the number of applications made this year.

“According to the CSO, in the third quarter of 2014, planning permissions were granted for 2,144 dwellings, compared with 1,409 units for the same period in 2013, an increase of 52.2%.

“The Government has committed in the Construction 2020 Strategy to supplying 35,000 additional social housing units at a cost of €3.8 billion over the next 6 years. This will create 29,000 jobs in construction and it will reform the way in which social housing is delivered and managed in Ireland.

“There is a shortage of available housing in this country and this is being felt most acutely in areas like my own constituency of County Meath. Plans are in place to address this shortage and it is very positive to see that things are moving in the right direction. I expect further progress to be made in 2015 and I am hopeful that this time next year we will see an even greater increase in the number of planning permission applications that have been approved.”

Friday, December 12, 2014

Neglect of patient safety cannot continue

Fine Gael TD for Meath East Regina Doherty has said today (Thursday) the shocking HIQA Report on the Redwood Extended Care Facility demonstrates the urgent need for Safeguarding legislation for vulnerable adults. HIQA found 772 incidents of physical restraint within an 11 month period at Redwood.

“Legislation would provide for clear powers of investigation and prosecution to deal with these horrible revelations. It would result in clear demarcation of roles for statutory agencies and clear definitions of offences relating to the abuse of vulnerable adults.

“The well-being and interests of residents would also be well-served by enhanced and complimentary legislation that enshrines in law the safeguarding of vulnerable adults, a number of whom are in receipt of care services. The legislation would be similar to that in respect of child protection.
“HIQA raised this issue with the Department of Health and at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children of which I am a member, and they believe the development of more effective legislation and underpinning national policies would go some way in addressing this issue.

“Clearly something is very very wrong and we need to act now.  We will not tolerate the revelations contained in the HIQA report, which are compounded by Tuesday’s Prime Time programme. We are clearly failing patients.

“Inspectors found that there was a significant denial of residents’ civil, legal and human rights and a lack of adequate safeguards to ensure that the deprivation of and restriction of resident liberty was lawful and/or in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law.

“They found that residents did not have freedom to exercise choice and control in their daily lives and saw residents who were subjected to a locked door policy, and the nurse manager informed inspectors that this was for their own safety or the safety of others.

“Inspectors read records where up to eight staff were involved in the restraint of residents and inspectors observed an incident where a resident was restrained and there were 13 staff members present for the intervention.

“HIQA needs more power and patients’ safety needs to covered by legislation because the HSE Patient Safety department are sadly lacking.

“This needs to happen urgently”