Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 30 September, 2003
Written Answers. - Departmental Correspondence.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
979. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will respond to correspondence submitted to his Department on 20 May 2003 from an association (details supplied); if he has satisfied himself with the delay in his Department in responding to correspondence; the action he is taking to address such delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20844/03]
Mr. T. O'Malley Mr. T. O'Malley
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): I wish to inform the Deputy that it is common practice within my Department to issue an acknowledgement letter promptly upon receipt of all correspondences. As there is no record of receipt of the Deputy's correspondence and he himself did not receive an acknowledgment from my Department, I can only presume that the correspondence in question was not received by my Department in the first instance.
However, following investigations, my Department received by fax, on 25 September 2003, a copy of the Deputy's correspondence and I would  now like to take this opportunity to respond to the Deputy's query of 20 May 2003.
The overall economic position in 2003 has had implications for all aspects of public investment, as reflected in the Estimates and Budget adopted by the Government for 2003. Within this overall framework, however, some two thirds of the additional funding available for non-capital services has been allocated to the health services. This funding is being applied largely to maintaining existing levels of service across all service programmes including services for people with disabilities.
Furthermore, I wish to inform the Deputy that in June of this year my Department advised the Not for Profit Business Association of an additional allocation of €5.85 million to relieve the underfunding situation of its member organisations. Further claims amounting to over €5 million have been made by the association and these claims are being considered by my Department, in consultation with the Eastern Regional Health Authority, the health boards and the association.
Consideration is also being given to implementing service audit recommendations – Harmon-Bruton – on staffing inadequacies in voluntary organisations. The Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards have been asked for proposals in this regard.
Dáil Éireann 571 Written Answers. Departmental Correspondence.