Need for increased awareness of homelessness problem – Buttimer

Thursday, 16th October 2014

  • Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises awareness of the increasing problem of homelessness.
  • Charity sleep out takes place on Friday 17th October 2014 

Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - logo 2014Over recent years housing and social difficulties have led to a visible increase in the numbers of people who are homeless.  It is important that as a society we are aware of this problem, that we understand the underlying causes of homelessness and that we take steps to provide viable alternatives.  Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises important awareness of this increasing problem and I am delighted to be able to take part in this year’s event.

For many of us our impression of homelessness is of people sleeping rough in doorways and on the streets. However, this is only part of a much greater issue. There are families, single men, single women living in unsuitable, insecure and temporary accommodation all over Ireland. It is frightening to think that one in seven accessing a homeless service is a child. Tonight’s event is an opportunity for those of us taking part to highlight these issues and to contribute to the fundraising efforts of Focus Ireland.

I was very pleased this week when additional funding to help tackle homelessness was provided as part of Budget 2015.  An additional €10.5 million will be provided for accommodation and related services for homeless people.  This brings the annual spend on tackling homelessness to €55.5 million in 2015.  The strong commitment by Government to developing social housing will help to ensure the availability of essential and sustainable long-term housing options that can help tackle homelessness.


Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - Etag final

Posted under Cork, Environment, National Work, Social Protection

Budget begins sharing recovery across society – Buttimer

Tuesday, 14th October 2014

  • Budget 2015 begins to share the benefits of recovery across society.
  • Measures introduced will assist families and individuals who have sacrificed significantly over the past seven years. 

Budget 2015 - income tax and USC ChangesToday’s budget will help to ensure that the benefits of recovery will be shared across society. By reducing income tax and the rates of universal social charge, this budget has continued the Government’s priority of encouraging work and job creation. This budget does more than just benefit those in work; it also contains measures that will help those who relying on a range of social protection measures.

Reducing the amount of tax on employment helps businesses to create jobs and it increases the take home pay of workers. Reducing the amount of tax on wages has a direct impact on all workers. It has prioritised those on low and middle incomes by taking people on low incomes out of the USC and reduces the higher rate of income tax from 41% to 40%. It has increased the tax band at which the top rate of tax is paid by €1,000 to €33,800; this will make a significant difference for working families and individuals.

Budget 2015 has also provided much needed relief for people on fixed incomes. As well as returning a Christmas Bonus to people receiving social welfare this budget also provides extra help in meeting costs of water charges. There will be a new Water Subsidy worth €100 per anum for all recipients of the Household Benefits Package. This will significantly reduce a person’s water bill, and when combined with efforts to reduce water use, it will make the bill much more manageable.

Working families will also have access to assistance in paying water charges.  Water charges of up to €500 per year will be tax deductible at the standard rate, this will provide families with a €100 contribution towards meeting water charges.  This will be of particular benefit to families with teenage children and adult children who continue to live at home.

Returning our country to a position of growth over the last three years has been down to the hard work and resilience of the Irish people and their determination to put things back on track. All of these efforts have put our country on a path to recovery and growth that will have benefits across society. Budget 2015 is the first budget that returns the benefit of improved economic conditions to families.”

Posted under Economic, Finance, National Work

Buttimer calls for regulatory change to help treat anaphylaxis

Thursday, 9th October 2014

Speaking at FAAM Conference, 9 October 2014, Convention Centre Dublin

Speaking at FAAM Conference, 9 October 2014, Convention Centre Dublin

Speaking at the opening of the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting at Convention Centre Dublin I called for a detailed national policy on anaphylaxis and for a review of regulations which control access to treatment in emergency situations.

Severe allergic reactions can have devastating consequences and immediate access to medication can be a lifesaving intervention. Each year around 2% of the population experience anaphylaxis and require different levels of treatment. To make sure all people affected receive the appropriate access to care we should develop a detailed policy to deal with anaphylaxis. We should also review regulations so that improved access to medication is available in emergency situations.

Data from Ireland’s first birth cohort study demonstrated that 3% of one year olds have proven food allergies. Estimates indicate that about 20,000 of Irish children have a peanut allergy. Given this rate of incidence and the potential drastic consequences, there should be a detailed policy in place to deal with this issue. I have asked the newly appointed Minster for Health, Leo Varadkar, and the Health Service Executive, to prioritise the development of strategy for allergy care in Ireland.

As well as developing a comprehensive policy approach we should also change how we provide access to adrenaline auto-injectors in emergency situations. UCC is leading efforts to develop a first-responder anaphylaxis model but regulations are preventing the roll-out of this scheme.

The Department of Health has said it will review the regulations that provide only limited access to adrenaline auto-injectors in emergency situations. However, despite efforts to have this progressed I do not believe it has been given the priority that it warrants. I have asked the Minister and the new Secretary General to ensure that this review takes place as soon as possible.

By changing the regulations we can provide a first-responder system for the treatment of anaphylaxis in emergency situations. This along with a comprehensive policy for anaphylaxis can improve the level of service and treatment provided to all those affected.

Posted under Health, National Work