Dáil Éireann - Volume 408 - 14 May, 1991
Written Answers. - Cheeverstown House, Dublin.
Mr. Taylor Mr. Taylor
168. Mr. Taylor asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the press conference by the board of Cheeverstown House, Templeogue giving their position on his statement to Dáil Éireann on a recent Adjournment debate, he will make a statement on the new situation arising as a result of the press statement of intent and confirm that legislation will now be introduced to ensure that the residential places in Cheeverstown House are opened as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the new position now arising as a result of the response from the board.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon) Rory O'Hanlon
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): It was suggested at the press conference called by Cheeverstown House on Friday, 3 May, that neither my Department nor the Eastern Health Board have funds to open additional places in Cheeverstown. This is not the case. Last year, the Government made a special allocation of £2 million available to provide additional places for persons with mental handicap. Of this sum, £1 million was spent in the Eastern Health Board area, providing an additional 91 residential and 250 day places, almost all of which were in voluntary agencies. Because of the difficulties between Cheeverstown House and the Eastern Health Board, it was not possible to assign any of these additional funds to Cheeverstown.
This year, the Government have made an additional allocation of £1 million  available to provide more places for persons with mental handicap. Most of the funding will be spent in the Eastern Health Board area. It was my intention that a significant proportion of this sum would be available to Cheeverstown House in the current year on the basis of the agreement negotiated between Cheeverstown House and the Eastern Health Board last October.
On Wednesday, 8 May, I wrote to the chairman and members of the board of Cheeverstown House advising them that additional funds were available to open more places in Cheeverstown this year provided the board agreed to abide by the terms of the agreement with the Eastern Health Board negotiated through the good offices of the Federation of Voluntary Bodies Providing Services to People with Mental Handicap. I have not yet received a response to that letter.
I understand that the initiative undertaken by the federation referred to above to resolve the difficulties between the centre and the Eastern Health Board has come to an end. The federation will be reporting to me this week on the outcome of their initiative.
The Attorney General is advising me on possible options to ensure that the facilities at Cheeverstown House, which were provided at public expense, will be put at the disposal of persons with mental handicap at the earliest possible opportunity.
Dáil Éireann 408 Written Answers. Cheeverstown House, Dublin.