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“Crisis surrounding new Children’s Hospital deepens,” McGrath

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for an immediate suspension of all decisions relating to the construction of the new Children’s Hospital at St. James pending an investigation into how one of the architectural firms chosen to design the new hospital was selected. Deputy McGrath was speaking as anger mounts among parents and groups advocating the needs of sick children who are baffled at how the contract was assigned to O’Connell Mahon Architects despite its previous project for a proposed Children’s Hospital at the Mater having been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanala:

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“I am being contacted on an almost daily basis by parents and groups who are stunned at the lack of high level engagement on this matter. Not only have the Architects of the disastrous Mater debacle been reassigned to this new project, but now the very same road engineers who contributed to the controversy are re-involved.

Organisations like the Jack & Jill Foundation are totally bewildered at this latest turn of events which will do nothing to inspire confidence or offer hope to the many sick and vulnerable children who will have to rely on this new facility.

I will be seeking ways to bring this matter before the Dáil Public Accounts Committee given that there has already been an estimated loss of between €40 or €50million paid out in professional fees for the now defunct Mater proposal.

We seem to be on an endless merry-go-round of wasted fees and incoherent proposals and the only people getting any enjoyment out of it are the same companies who have already proven that their designs are unlikely to pass Bord Pleanala guidelines.

What is most disheartening about all of this is the near total absence of consultation with the parents of these sick children who know what is and what is not required and what is certainly not required is to bring back in the same chefs who made a dogs dinner of the Mater project.

It is time we defer to the parents insights and the insights of people like Jonathan Irwin and Senator Mary Ann O’Brien of Jack & Jill who as things stand have already saved the State millions by raising €47 million privately over the last number of years while receiving only €4.5 million from the HSE. By any standard that is the kind of efficiency and high quality approach to children’s care we should be emulating,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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Cost over-run on Children’s Hospital could have paid for entire National Cancer Strategy – Mattie McGrath

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Independent TD and General Election candidate Mattie McGrath and has said that the scale of the financial waste associated with the National Children’s Hospital can be effectively measured by comparing it with the total cost of implementing the National Cancer Strategy. Deputy McGrath was speaking this morning to mark World Cancer Day which aims to highlight the need to put renewed emphasis on cancer prevention, diagnostic and treatment services:

“Information provided by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has shown that the cost of implementing the National Cancer Strategy will require in the region of €840 million up to 2026.

Yet the cost over-run of the National Children’s Hospital will likely be double that before it is completed.

This demonstrates the catastrophic impact that the National Children’s Hospital fiasco is going to have on the delivery of vital health services like cancer prevention and treatment.

It also totally undermines the claims that are being made by the Minister and the government that they can be trusted to deliver the roll-out of a world class health service for all of our people.

Instead what we have seen is €840 million-the total spend required for the National Cancer Strategy-shoved into the hands of multi-national contractors assigned to the Children’s Hospital when that money could have been used to speed up the delivery of the Cancer Strategy.

On World Cancer Day this Minister for Health should hang his head in shame for the waste that he and his government colleagues have presided over,” concluded Deputy Mattie McGrath.

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Health

Bord Bia examines what Ireland ate for dinner last night

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February 5th, 2020: Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, has today released the results of an in-depth national study into the evening meal consumption habits of today. Carried out in partnership with Red C Research, this unique study was designed to better understand the changing dynamics of people’s evening mealtime habits, including the gap between what we say and what we do, and ultimately identify opportunities for the Irish food, drink and horticulture sectors.

The study involved a nationally representative online survey of over 1,000 Irish consumers who charted their evening eating habits, resulting in a sample of 5,925 adult and 1,841 child evening meals collected over seven consecutive days. The research captures consumer intentions to live more healthily and sustainably versus their daily choices when it comes to evening meals.

Meat & two veg most popular adult meal type

Key findings of the study include:

  • Classic ‘meat and two veg’ is the number one evening meal type eaten by adults in 2019, accounting for 11% of all adult evening meals across the 7 days. Chicken dishes and pasta with sauce meals, such as Spaghetti Bolognese, were in 2nd and 3rd spot at 10%.
  • Pasta with sauce meals, such as Spaghetti Bolognese, was the number one meal type eaten by children, accounting for 14% of all evening meals.
  • Red meat is the most popular meat consumed in Irish households, with 29% of all adult meals including red meat, although chicken follows closely behind at 21%.
  • Incidence of fish within all meals is at 7%. However, this increases to 11% on Fridays demonstrating it is still a popular evening meal choice.
  • Dairy is a key part of evening meals among Irish consumers, with 17% of all meals containing cheese.

Good intentions prevail

Health and wellness considerations are driving consumer behaviour, with over 80% of people placing a high level of importance on eating a balanced diet. 4 in 10 adults cite awareness of the food they eat and the impact it can have on physical and mental wellness as having a great deal of influence on evening meal choice. Ethical considerations are also influencing consumer behaviour, as almost 3 in 10 people feel making choices that are more positive for the environment has a great deal of influence on evening meals.

While just over 2 in 10 (23%) people claim to have prepared more vegan meals at home in the last 12 months, the reality is that just 1% of evening meals prepared over the last 7 days were vegan dishes. Commenting on the growing influence of health and wellness trends on dietary choices, Bord Bia Consumer Insight Specialist, Grace Binchy said; “When it comes to evening meals, this comprehensive study captures a clear intent to make healthy and socially responsible food choices and people believe they are regularly doing so. However, as a growing ‘time poor’ nation, life gets in the way. There is a tendency for people to remember the choices they make as being better than they were and their original intention is not always reflected in their actions.”

 

Busyness is the New Norm

Busier lives and seeking convenience solutions are influencing Irish evening mealtime habits. Smaller meals and snacks are changing evening meal dynamics, with 17% of all evening meals no longer the main meal of the day. There has been a 12% decline in regular scratch cooking among Irish adults, from just over 4 in 10 adults in 2011 to 3 in 10 in 2019.

The study found that there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to evening meals, with a significant rise in the number of households preparing different meals for different people since 2011. In keeping with the fracturing of the traditional evening meal occasion, 1 in 10 evening meals are now eaten in different rooms and more than 7 in 10 meals involve a device being active (e.g. a TV, Smartphone, or tablet). Takeaways and home deliveries account for almost 1 in 10 (9%) of all evening meals eaten over the course of a week, rising to 15% on a Friday or Saturday. A further 11% of evening meals are eaten out of the home.

According to Grace Binchy, “As our lives grow increasingly busier, the study captures a move away from the traditional evening meal as we know it. With nearly half of adults claiming to enjoy cooking, but only when there is enough time available to do so, convenience emerged as an extremely important consideration when choosing what to eat in the evening”.

Opportunities

Opportunities around marketing messages exist in addressing the converging importance of convenience, nutrition and climate for Irish consumers. Commenting on the relevance of the study, Grace Binchy said; “Over the past decade Ireland has experienced huge social, economic and technological changes which have significantly impacted consumer attitudes. This research will help the food and drink industry to look forward and make well informed business decisions that serve customers’ needs better. Manufacturers should consider how they can deliver healthy products while creating convenience in people’s lives and addressing their changing demands around sustainability.”

 

Top 10 adult meal types:

  1. Meat & Two Vegetables
  2. Chicken Dish (for example Roast Chicken)
  3. Pasta with Sauce (for example Spaghetti Bolognese)
  4. Italian Foods (for example Pizza & Lasagne)
  5. Diner Style Favourites (for example Burger or Steak & Chips)
  6. Fish Dish (for example Fish Bake or Fish & Chips)
  7. Light Meal (for example Toasted Sandwich or Beans on Toast)
  8. Chinese / Oriental meal
  9. Stew or Casserole
  10. Indian Dish (for example Chicken Tikka Marsala, Korma, Curry)

 

Top 10 children’s meal types:

  1. Pasta with Sauce (for example Spaghetti Bolognaise)
  2. Chicken Dish (for example Roast Chicken)
  3. Meat & Two Vegetables
  4. Italian Foods (for example Pizza & Lasagne)
  5. Diner-Style Favourites (for example Burger or Steak & Chips)
  6. Stew or Casserole
  7. Fish Dish (for example a Fish Bake or Fish & Chips)
  8. Chinese / Oriental Meal
  9. Indian Dish (for example Chicken Tikka Marsala, Korma, Curry)
  10. Light Meal (for example Toasted Sandwich or Beans on Toast)

Additional facts uncovered by the study:

  • Potatoes are at the heart of many evening meals in Ireland (28%), with consumption increasing significantly for over 45s.
  • 1 in 10 evening meals contain eggs, with consumption particularly high amongst under 35’s, highlighting their desire for protein and preference for lighter meals.
  • Almost 3 in 10 (28%) of all evening meals include bread.
  • Over three quarters of grocery shoppers use Irish produce wherever possible, with the perception that it is worth paying more significantly higher (up 10%) than 2011.
  • There has been an 8% decline in dessert incidence with evening meals for adults since 2011, to 16% in 2019. Over 2 in 10 (21%) of children’s evening meals include a dessert, but this has fallen 10% since 2011.
  • Tap water is the most common drink accompaniment for both adult (36%) and children’s (29%) evening meals.
  • For adults, both milk and wine are consumed less than they were in 2011, while for children milk consumption with evening meals has fallen by 11% since 2011.
  • Chinese food is the most popular takeaway choice in Ireland, while pizza is the most popular home delivery choice.
  • Almost 7 in 10 (67%) of all takeaway and delivery food orders take place online.

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Community

Alternative Proposal to Save Dean Maxwell Will Be Progressed – Lowry

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There have been deliberate attempts in recent days to distort and discredit a positive proposal to bring 40 public elderly care nursing beds to Roscrea to avert the crisis facing the town with the ongoing threat to close the Dean Maxwell Home.

It was never suggested at any point that a formal proposal was submitted to the Community Care Section of the HSE.

I can confirm that the Developer of this project, Mr. Mike Darcy of MORE Healthcare, has previously advised the Estate Management Unit at the HSE of their intentions. The Company had informed the HSE that they are developing a plan to add a 40 bed Nursing Home Unit to the Malt House site, together with the Primary Care Centre is already sanctioned for this site by the HSE.

This proposal has been the subject of pre-planning meetings with Tipperary County Council. It will be put before the people of Roscrea at a Public Viewing at Racket Hall Hotel on February 12th. Following this consultation with the public, the plan will be finalised and formally presented to the HSE subject to planning.

The Developer remains fully committed to this project. Pre-planning consultations for the project are positive. An Taisce has commended the development in a letter from Mr. Ian Lumley, Planning and Environmental Policy Officer, particularly with regard to the sensitive use of the existing structure at The Malt House. Local groups have acknowledged that this proposal is the only concrete one on the table at present.

When all procedures are complete a formal proposal will be presented to the HSE. The HSE will then have the option to enter into a long-term lease to manage and run the facility as a Public Nursing Home.

This is the only realistic option to secure the future of the Dean Maxwell Home. The alternative suggestion of a new build on a green field site will take years to process with no guarantee of Capital Funding.

I will support and progress this solution to save the Dean Maxwell for the people of Roscrea.

 

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