Tag Archives: James Reilly

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From top: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly; UN Committee on the Rights of the Child members Gehad Madi, of Egypt, and Suzanne Aho Assouma, of Togo

Today members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are looking at Ireland’s record on children’s rights.

It’s been ten years since the committee last reviewed Ireland’s record.

This morning, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly spoke before the committee at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and fielded questions in relation to school patronage.

At one point, one of the committee’s members, Suzanne Aho Assouma, from Togo, interrupted to as if Ireland plans to decriminalise abortion.

It’s understood Dr Reilly, and members of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, will reply to questions this afternoon when a second session gets under way at 2pm (Irish time).

From this morning’s session:

Dr James Reilly: “To reassure the committee, the Equal Status Act prohibit discrimination on nine grounds, namely gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, race, membership of the Traveller community and disability. And the Employment Acts cover discrimination in the workplace and the Equal Status Act provides protection against discrimination in the provision of goods and services. And the legislation is designed to promote equality and prohibit discrimination in any form that it comes. So that applies in the general sense to both, to all people and also to Travellers and Roma.

In relation to the issue around patronage of the schools, I suppose it’s important to point out that our school system evolved from the religious orders themselves and so it’s not surprise that we have such a preponderance of denominational schools with 95 per cent of primary and 70 per cent of secondary schools of a denominational nature. But we are committed, as a Government, to move to a more pluralist system of patronage for our schools.

The report of the advisory group to the forum among patronage and pluralism in the primary sector, which was published in April 2012, recommended steps that could be taken to ensure that the education system can provide a sufficiently diverse number and range of primary schools to cater for all religions and none. And, as clear evidence that change is occurring, in relation to the ethos of newly provided schools to meet demographic need, since 2011 patronage and decisions have been made in respect of 45 new schools established to meet demographic need and all of these decisions have involved consultation with parents, as to the preferred type of school. Over 90 per cent of the new schools have a multi-denominational ethos.

So where demographic need does not exist the means of achieving pluralism in school choice is through a process of divestment of existing school patronage and this, I have to admit, is a slow process. But the Minister for Education has recently emphasised the importance of accelerating the process in that regard.

Can I just also say, I think it’s important, to point out that, we do have a much more pluralist society and a much more open society in Ireland. Now, there is one school I’m aware of in my own constituency where there’s 81 different nationalities attending that school.

So the issue is one of concern to us, that the patronage  of our schools is lagging way behind the actuality of our education system which is, you know, the separation of state and church is clearly well defined. And secondly, the minister has also indicated that she’s going to repeal part of an act that dates from 1965 which states that religious education  was the most important element of education in primary schools.”

Gehad Madi: “Thank you very much… The problem is implementation on the ground and we see that there is a big portion of people who would like to enrol their children in non-denominational education do not find the right school in their community, in their county, to do that.

And we understand, also, that religious education, I stand here to be corrected, is part of the curriculum of many schools. Is this the case? Because a student who does not participate in such lessons will have some problems in their grades or graduation. So I wanted to be clear on this issue, to help us better understand the information. And we do acknowledge that the process of transfer is being very slow. Thank you.”

Suzanne Aho Assouma: “Thank you. I haven’t yet had an answer concerning discrimination against boys because they’ve had sexual intercourse. I would like to also know what is being done to prevent stigmatisation of girls. Now on the abortion act, do you plan decriminalise abortion? And, in this regard, we believe that there is discrimination against pregnant girls who have to travel to another country in order to have an abortion. So we are asking why abortions cannot be carried out in Ireland? Is this for religious reasons? And I’d also like to know what happens to those girls who travel abroad to get an abortion? What happens if they haven’t got the necessary resources? What do they do in this case?”

Watch live (from 2pm) here

Meanwhile, back in Ireland…

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Former health minister Dr James Reilly

 …his constituency.

You may recall how RTÉ’s Prime Time in May reported that the people living in Fine Gael’s former Health Minister Dr James Reilly’s constituency, Dublin North, were twice as likely to get National Lottery funding than any other constituency in 2011 and 2012.

RTÉ journalist Ken Foxe also obtained documents showing repeated instances of how Dr Reilly overruled original recommendations of senior civil servants.

Further to this, Paul Cullen, in the Irish Times, reports today that Mr Reilly awarded National Lottery grants totalling almost €500,000 to projects in his constituency during 2011, 2012 and 2013, and that he approved 17 grants nationally against the advice of officials.

Mr Cullen also reports that in 2010, before Dr Reilly was appointed minister, projects or groups in his constituency received €10,000 in lottery funding.

Right so.

Reilly awarded €500,000 in Lottery funds to Dublin North (Paul Cullen, Irish Times)

Previously: Making Magic Happen

Dr. James Reilly, Cllr Anne Devitt And The Airside Clinic

 

‘On the way out’ refers to symphysiotomy conducted when a child has already been delivered by caesarean section.

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James Reilly is to be sacked as Health Minister within six weeks, we  [the Irish Mirror] can reveal.The under-fire TD will get the boot from his department – and as Enda Kenny’s right-hand man in the party – over his shambolic handling of the medical card debacle.

James Reilly to be sacked as Health Minister within six weeks (Sarah Bardon, Mirror)

Earlier: Lung May He Run

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

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Health Minister Dr James Reilly appeared on the BBC2 documentary series ‘Burning Desire’ last night. As Peter Taylor asked him about the introduction of plain packaging he had this to say about the tobacco lobby:

Peter Taylor: “But on what grounds could the tobacco industry/cigarette companies take legal action against your government?”

Dr James Reilly: “They will argue that we are interfering with intellectual property rights. It would be an extraordinary society that would put the intellectual property rights of multinationals over the right to life of citizens and children particularly. This is a nation that stands on its own two feet and we’ll protect our children.”

*cough*

Previously: Remember This Guy?

Rotten

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Last night a special Prime Time investigation into National Lottery funding of community projects, by Ken Foxe, revealed how, in 2011 and 2012, the people living in Fine Gael Health Minister Dr James Reilly’s constituency, Dublin North, were twice as likely to get funding than any other constituency.

Following a Freedom on Information request, Mr Foxe obtained documents showing repeated instances of how Dr Reilly overruled original recommendations of senior civil servants.

In one recommendation a civil servant recommended against a €44,000 allocation for a minibus for a group, saying the group already had a fleet of recreational vehicles.

But five months later, the funding was granted in full with the document signed off by Dr Reilly.

In another instance, a civil servant suggested that an application for €10,500 be turned down with the civil servant giving three reasons for their decision. However, six months later,  Minister Reilly approved the full amount.

Mr Foxe also found a document that recommended approval of a €30,000 allocation to a group in Dublin North in January 2012, which contained a handwritten note on the assessment form saying: “They are located in the minister’s constituency”.

But it wasn’t just the Department of Health that such practice was found. It was also evident in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Dublin-West, the constituency of former Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald – now the Justice Minister – was also twice as likely to get funding than other constituencies. Of the €1.5million approved by her department during her appointment, 10% of it went to Dublin Mid-west.

At the beginning of 2012, in the Transport Department,  Fine Gael’s Michael Ring, junior transport and sports minister, from Mayo, brought in new rules in regards to the allocation of National Lottery funding in his department, basing the allocations on a per capita basis.

However, between 1998 and 2011, Mayo ranked 16th in regards to receipt of National Lottery funding. Under the new system Mayo moved up to 9th by December 2, 2012. And three weeks later, on December 21, 2101, after the announcement of a second round of funding for regional projects, Mayo ranked 3rd.

Mr Foxe also discussed the matter of ministers making representations to departments,  for National Lottery funding, including a successful representation made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.  Mr Foxe found that, in the Department of Children, an application for funding had an average success rate of 18% but when an application was followed by a representation by a minister, the average success rate rose to 33%.

Every year close to €200million is allocated to ‘good causes’.

Watch back in full here 

Previously: Dr. James Reilly, Cllr Anne Devitt And The Airside Clinic

Meanwhile At The Trough

Seamus Murphy, You Say?

 (Sam Boal/Photocall ireland)

90314809OK.

What do we tell them?

Bottler!

What have you done?

Minister for Health James Reilly has said that elderly people have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to a review of the medical card scheme.

James Reilly says he has spoken to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and they have decided to launch a communications campaign to explain the review.

The Government has announced it wants to save €113m through the medical card probity scheme – but has declined to say how many medical cards will be lost as a result.

 

Health Minister asks families to reassure elderly about medical cards (Breakingnews.ie)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

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Bottler

Not you again?

The DUP [health] minister [Edwin Poots} has said his controversial decision – to deny gay men the opportunity to donate blood – is based on two pieces of evidence — a letter from the Minister for Health in the Republic and a document on the issue by the European Department for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQMH).
The letter from Dr James Reilly TD (above) sent to Mr Poots at the end of May said that the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood exists in Ireland “is based not only on risk factors for HIV but on other blood borne agents known to be associated with MSM (men who have sex with men) behaviour”.

Belfast Telegraph,. June 20, 2012

Meanwhile, today:

The ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland is irrational, A High Court judge ruled today.
Mr Justice Treacy also held that health minister Edwin Poots breached the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Stormont Executive. His verdict in a challenge brought by an unidentified homosexual man represents a major victory for campaigners seeking equal status with the rest of the UK.
Mr Justice Treacy heard claims that the minister has displayed apparent bias which went beyond religious beliefs and into the realms of prejudice.

Oh.

Ban on gay men giving blood is irrational, NI court rules (irish Times)

Previously: James Reilly’s Letter About Gay Blood Donors

(James Horan/Photocall Ireland)

Thanks Brian

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Further to  the confirmation by Minister for Health James Relly (above) that medical card holders who have cancer will lose their card unless they have a written note from their doctor saying the condition is terminal.

Dermot Bohan writes:

I would be much appreciated if you brought some attention to these new developments concerning cancer patients and the medical card on broadsheet.ie in case it goes under the radar with all the press coverage the abortion debate is getting at the moment.

I am literally shaking with rage after reading these articles.

I watched my father fight and ultimately lose a battle with cancer over a number of years and one of the feelings I remember was thinking that at least we’re not alone in this and the state actually cares.

To see the horrible effect that the treatment, let alone the disease itself, has on the sufferer is horrendous. After receiving chemo treatment, the patient can barely move, with all energy knocked out of them, they need to focus all their available energy on fighting this disease without the added worry of having to raise the funds to pay for all the treatment and medicines. As you can imagine, it would be very easy to give in and give up under these circumstances.

Now the government is saying that unless there is absolutely no hope for you, don’t come calling. For me, this is truly a move that has crossed a line today. Words can not describe the contempt I am feeling for those in power right now.

 

Non-terminal cancer patients may lose medical cards (By Fiachra Ó CionnaithIrish Examiner)

(James Horan/Photocall Ireland)