Scarce resources going to media moguls, complains TD

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

We are choosing multimillionaires before choosing taking care of sexually abused children and then we have tears in this chamber when people apologise for something

An Independent TD has claimed the Government is choosing to “fund multimillionaire media moguls” rather than provide ear implants to profoundly deaf children or keep a child sex assault treatment unit open.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan sharply criticised a reported proposed write-down of up to €100 million in debt for Independent News & Media.

Write-down

The reports suggested €12.5 million to €13 million of the write-down would “fall on the people’s backs through the nationalised banks”. The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said it appeared as though a decision would be made to spend some of the Government’s “scarce millions on saving the necks of multimillionaires”. He was speaking in the Dáil during the second stage of the Finance Bill, which was passed by 71 to 41 votes. The Bill gives effect to provisions in the budget.

Mr Flanagan highlighted a report that the State’s only dedicated 24-hour sexual assault treatment unit for children and adolescents faced closure. Approximately 100 children had been treated or assessed since it was opened in April 2011, some of whom were as young as 18 months, he said.

“We are choosing multimillionaires before choosing taking care of sexually abused children and then we have tears in this chamber when people apologise for something.” Referring to the Taoiseach’s “fantastic speech” about the Magdalene laundries, he said the apology was great but “you want to follow through continuously because you don’t abuse one day, apologise the next and then go on to do the same thing again and expect to get away with it”.

Ear implants

Asking what could be done for €12.5 million or €13.5 million, “instead of giving it to multimillionaires”, he suggested the Government could provide cochlear implants for 350 children with profound deafness on a waiting list.

Beaumont Hospital provided the operation which cost €36,000 to €40,000 for a double procedure, but it was not funded for bilateral implants by the HSE.

“Sure how could it be? We’ve got to fund multimillionaires to get them out of a hole,” he said.