The Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government Phil Hogan told the Dáil he will keep under review the need to provide financial support to households whose domestic waste water treatment systems are deemed, following inspection, to require substantial remediation or upgrading.
Replying to Fianna Fáil’s Michael Kitt he said the need for any such support will be only become clearer when inspections are being carried out.
“At that stage, more information regarding the nature and extent of problems with domestic waste water treatment systems and the type and cost of pragmatic remedial actions that may be required to address these and remove the risks posed to public health or the environment by failing systems will be available,” he said. “Any scheme of support will need to have regard to budgetary constraints and to the financial position of the individual households concerned.”
Draft performance standards, which include operation, maintenance and de-sludging requirements, had been prepared by my Department in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and were published on 1 March. The consultation document had been drafted in an easy-to-understand format so that it was clear to everyone what the standards involved.
“The public consultation process will be open until 30 March and I encourage all interested parties to consider the consultation document and, if they wish, to make submissions to my Department on the draft performance standards before the closing date,” he said. “The submissions will be reviewed by my Department prior to finalising the content of the regulations, which will be made under section 70L of the Act. The regulations will give legal effect to the standards. As soon as the regulations are made, the relevant statutory instrument will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas for approval in accordance with section 18 of the Water Services Act 2007.”
Lindsay Tribunal recalled by John Paul Phelan
The events which led to the establishment of the Lindsay Tribunal were recalled in the Dáil by Kilkenny Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan.
Speaking on a new Bill which transfers responsibility for procuring the national stock of clotting factor products from the Irish Blood Transfusion Board to St. James’s Hospital, he said the Tribunal had occurred while he was in secondary school.
“A number of women found themselves in a particularly harrowing situation when they suffered severe damage to their health after being infected by inferior and contaminated blood products,” he said. “I acknowledge the good work done by Judge Lindsay in that tribunal, the findings of which led to the establishment of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, IBTS.”
The most important issue he was the health and welfare of those who relied on clotting factor products. They were dependent on the arms of the State in dealing with their serious illnesses.
“We must do everything we can to ensure their safety,” he said. “However, it also will be possible to save money by reducing outgoings on these products.”
In dealing with the costs of health service procurement, the most important issue was retaining front line services, whether for haemophiliacs or those who suffer from other illnesses. Procurement costs were a significant part of the HSE’s budget and if savings could be found in this area, he did not see why similar savings could not be found elsewhere.