Michael Healy Rae reports…

Darkness into Light. I was glad to be able to attend the Darkness into Light walk in Killarney on Saturday 7th May for such a great cause. Well done to everyone who took part.

Speech and Language Therapy. In the past number of years there was a huge delay in young children receiving speech and language therapy and this was a matter that I have been raising in the Dail and with the HSE over a long period of time. I’m glad with the recent HSE announcement that 7 new posts have been created in Kerry and Cork area. There are currently 545 children on the waiting list for this service so the creation of these posts will lead to a situation where this waiting list for the first time will be able to be addressed and not before time.

Kenmare Community Hospital. I’m glad that HIQA have approved formally the upstairs facility of Kenmare Community Hospital and those negotiations are under way at present with the union presenting staff with regard to the opening of the beds upstairs. The beds which will be opened will be long stay beds which are much needed in our community.

Delays on Cataracts operations. The Minister for Health recently answered a question in the Dail with regard to the waiting list for cataract operations. I raised the matter that people are actually going blind while waiting to have their cataracts removed in County Kerry. The Minister in his response stated that 80 percent of the patients are waiting 12 months but I have provided evidence of people who have actually lost their eyesight while being on the list to have their cataracts removed. The Minister revealed that in the South/South West Hospital Group up to 2895 people are actually on the waiting list to have cataract procedures carried out. This is an absolute scandal and that in a modern society this should never happen, that people would lose their sight while on a waiting list for a cataract operation.

Sheep farmers. I was glad to fight for inclusion for the programme for Government a new sheep scheme which will have a budget of €25milion and will be provided for in budget 2017. This will be introduced in consultation with Farming Groups on the development of a new sheep scheme which will commence immediately with attention of submitting amendment to the RDP as soon as possible. What I hope this will mean is that qualifying sheep farmers would achieve between €10-€15 a head. I would like this to have been more but it is certainly more than what is there at present.

Transportation of Livestock. I also have insured that in consultation with the Road Safety Authority and the Irish Road Hauliers Association there will be changes to the restriction on hauling of cattle without tachographs from 50Km to 100km. This was causing a lot of problems in some instances and I was glad to secure this concession recently.

Johnny Healy Rae MCC. My nephew Johnny has recently raised by means of a notice of motion at Kerry County Council the following serious problem. The RSA insist that people looking for a licence who are under 18 have to provide a bank account or proof of address which in many cases they don’t have. In the past a letter from a Principal in the school would have been accepted but what Johnny has highlighted that at present people are not aware of this and travel to Tralee to apply and do not have this letter with them. On contacting the school for said letter the RSA are refusing to accept this letter via email and it has to be in hard copy so it many cases people have to leave and have to reschedule an appointment when they have relevant letter. This is a matter I will not raise in the Dail in the coming weeks.

Passports. With holiday season upon us please check your passport is in date as there are currently huge delays in processing passports. If you are due to travel in the near future and discover that your passport is out of date, contact my office on 087-9464425 or 064-6685782 and we will gladly assist you in getting your new or emergency passport.