Dáil Éireann - Volume 532 - 20 March, 2001

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

[1107] 175. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether there is a scheme which might provide financial support for persons (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7662/01]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I am aware of the heavy financial burden that this family is having to bear and I would like to be able to help them. The only assistance from my Department for which their son might qualify would be the airfares to Ireland of himself and, if necessary, the airfare or airfares of an escorting nurse or nurses of the country where he is now located. They may be payable from subhead B of the Vote for Foreign Affairs – Repatriation and Maintenance of Irish Persons Abroad. I understand that the Eastern Regional Health Authority is prepared, at its expense, to provide escorts if that is necessary and acceptable to the authorities of the other country.

Although the State does not normally compensate Irish citizens for legal expenses they incur abroad and there appears to be no precedent for special financial assistance from the State in circumstances such as these, my Department is considering the possibility that the considerable legal and other expenses which arise in this case may be defrayed by a special grant.