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What’s in today’s Budget?

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Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath delivered a €4.7bn package for Budget 2022. What can we expect?

* An increase in the national minimum wage by 30 cent to €10.50 per hour
* A 50c increase for a packet of cigarettes
* Free GP care for children aged six and seven
* €5 increase in the weekly rate of Fuel Allowance
* €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments
* €5 increase in weekly payments for pensioners
* Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €3
* The reduced VAT rate of 9 percent for the hospitality sector will remain in place to the end of August 2022
* Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to remain in place in a graduated form until April 30, 2022
* Income tax deduction amounting to 30 percent of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband for remote workers
* Recruitment of up to 800 new trainee Gardaí and 400 Garda staff, 1,165 additional SNAs

"We are now entering a new phase where we will recover from the pandemic, restore our public services and living standards, repair our public finances," Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, said during his speech.

"Public spending next year will amount to €87.6 billion – the Government has been steadfast in its commitment to keeping this amount below the ceiling laid out in the Summer Economic Statement. Our medium-term strategy sets out that over the next two budgets we will: restore our public services, phase out temporary COVID-related spending, and repair our public finances."

Key Points

Health

* free GP care for children aged six and seven
* threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme lowered to €100
* €250 million to tackle hospital waiting lists
* free contraception for women aged 17-25
* €30 million to allow patients greater access to high-tech drugs
* expanding dental access to medical card patients

Social

* National Childcare Scheme universal subsidy extended to all children aged up to 15
* €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments
* €5 increase in weekly payments for pensioners
* Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €3
* Fuel Allowance increased by €5
* Parent's Benefit increased by 2 weeks to 7 weeks from July 2022
* introduction of a Youth Travel Card for those aged 19-23

Housing

* 11,820 new social homes will be delivered through build, acquisition and leasing programmes. 9,000 of these will be new build homes
* €18 million for the delivery of Traveller accommodation
* 11,000 grants to adapt the homes of older people and people with a disability
* 14,800 new households to have their housing needs met under the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme, in addition to supporting almost 82,000 existing tenancies under these schemes

Education and Training

* 1,165 additional SNAs, bringing the total number of SNAs to almost 19,200
* an additional 350 teachers to reduce school staffing schedules by 1 point for all primary schools
* 7,600 places in Further Education and Training courses in key skills areas of the economy
* 980 additional special education teachers working in special classes, special schools and mainstream settings to support children with special educational needs
* off-the-job training places for 7,000 craft apprentices impacted by COVID-19
* a €200 increase in the maintenance grant payment in the Student Support Scheme
* recruitment of up to 800 new trainee Gardaí and 400 Garda staff

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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