Do Not Consume Notice issued for all customers supplied by the Cootehill Public Water Supply Scheme

Friday, 30 July 2021 – Following consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE) Irish Water, working in partnership with Cavan County Council, has issued a Do Not Consume Notice for all consumers on the Cootehill Public Water Supply Scheme due to elevated levels of manganese. The notice applies to approximately 2,190 customers supplied by the Cootehill Public Water Supply Scheme.

It is especially important that mains drinking water is not given to bottle fed infants.

Please note this is not a Boil Water Notice. Boiling the water will not reduce manganese levels and is therefore not a suitable measure to make the water safe to consume. This notice does not apply to other areas and water schemes in Cavan.

Tankered water will be in place at Darley National School and the White Horse Hotel to provide an alternative water supply to customers. Customers are reminded to use their own containers when taking water from the tanker and to boil water before consumption as a precautionary measure.

Irish Water drinking water compliance and operational experts are working with colleagues in Cavan County Council to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

Speaking about the imposition of the notice, Peter Gallagher, Regional Operations Lead with Irish Water said “Irish Water is aware of the impact a Do Not Consume Notice is having on the community of Cootehill and would like to reassure impacted customers that we are working hard to lift the notice as quickly and as safely as possible. We would ask customers who have concerns to contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278.”

This water should not be used for

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Food preparation, washing or cooking of food,
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice
  • Children under 12 months old should not drink this water
  • In particular, children under 12 months old should not drink this water. This water should not be used for making up infant formula for bottled fed infants. An alternative source of water should be used. Bottled water can also be used to make up infant formula. All bottled water, with the exception of natural mineral water, is regulated to the same standard as drinking water. It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals, although it rarely does. ‘Natural Mineral Water’ can be used if no other water is available, for as short a time as possible, as it is important to keep babies hydrated.
  • If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled once (rolling boil for 1 minute), and cooled in the normal way
  • Ready-to-use formula that does not need added water can also be used.
  • Domestic water filters will not render water safe to drink
  • Caution should be taken when bathing infants to ensure that they do not swallow the bathing water
  • Discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges

What can you use water for?

  • The water can be used for personal hygiene, bathing, flushing toilets, laundry and washing of utensils
  • Irish Water and Cavan County Council will continue to liaise with the Health Service Executive with a view to lifting this drinking water restriction as soon as practicable.

Updates will be available on our Water Supply Updates section, on Twitter @IWCare and via our customer care helpline, open 24/7 on 1800 278 278.

30th July 2021

2021 HEALTH CAPITAL PLAN – CAVAN MONAGHAN

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith welcomes confirmation from the Minister for Health that financial provision has been made in the 2021 Capital Plan for the Department of Health to progress the proposed upgrading of the Emergency Department at Cavan General Hospital. The Emergency Department will be reconfigured and additional resuscitation bays will be provided.


Provision is also being made to replace the Endoscopy Unit and also provide an additional 18 beds.


“I welcome the confirmation by Minister Donnelly of this funding towards this essential upgrading of existing accommodation and provision of new accommodation and I had continually raised with the Department, with the HSE and also through Parliamentary Questions and in other health debates in Dáil Éireann the need to progress these projects.


I also welcome the commitments made in relation to the Primary Care Centre made in Monaghan Town and also the adaption/extension of Oriel House”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

Cavan General Hospital – Fit out of leased property to accommodate Antenatal & Paediatric OPD clinics so that existing OPD accommodation can continue to be used as an expanded ED at CGH.
0.00M
Cavan General Hospital -Reconfiguration of ED incl additional Resus Bays (See Project Ref 1188a)
0.25m
Cavan General Hospital – Replacement Endoscopy Unit and additional beds (18 beds) including linking ED. See ProjectRef 1492
0.25M
Monaghan – Primary Care Centre Monaghan Town – Primary Care Centre to be developed on HSE owned site (St Davnet’s). Includes a MH PCCentre. (National Ranking 28) – CONSTRUCTION
 
Monaghan – St. Davnet’s, Monaghan Town – The adaption/extension of Oriel Hse, St. Davnet’s Hospital to provide 15 Continuing CareBeds (transfer from Blackwater Hse) – OPERATIONAL
 

Additional funding for Local Improvement Scheme – Smith

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has welcomed the additional government funding for the Local Improvement Scheme for 2021.

Cavan County Council will receive a total allocation this year of €1,119,389 comprised of the initial allocation of €289,254 and this further allocation of €830,135.

Monaghan County Council was initially allocated €270,000 and are to receive an additional €1,056,223 making a total of €1,326,223 for 2021.

“Unfortunately there has been a big backlog in Local Improvement Scheme applications over the past number of years and indeed much additional funding is required to reduce substantially unacceptable waiting lists.

Through Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann to the Minister for Rural and Community Development and to the Minister for Transport I have repeatedly called for a substantial investment in this particular road network.  These laneways serve large numbers of families, small businesses, family farms and community facilities and people using these roads deserve to have them brought up to a proper standard. The funding from the Department of Community and Rural Development is very welcome but I have consistently called for the Department of Transport to re-introduce the specific funding stream for the Local Improvement Scheme that existed up until 2012.  This Department, namely Transport, which has responsibility for roads should be providing adequate funding on an annual basis for laneways that come under the LIS”, stated Deputy Brendan Smith.

29/07/2021

Final reminder – Deadline for School Transport payments Friday, 30 July 2021


Bus Éireann is reminding families that have applied for Primary and/or Post Primary School Transport, that the closing date for payments in full is this Friday, 30 July 2021. It will not be possible to access the portal or make a payment from that date until 20th of August. Parents are strongly urged to make sure that their payment is made on or before the deadline date of 30 July 2021. Any application or payment that is received after this date is deemed late and may mean no seat will be available.

For further information of the School Transport scheme, please visit – School Transport – Bus Éireann – View Ireland Bus and Coach Timetables & Buy Tickets (buseireann.ie). https://www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=257 Information for medical card holders

– Families are not required to enter their medical card as payment where the same medical card was used successfully last year. The child’s existing medical card will be processed as payment for the school transport ticket for the 2021/22 school year. A ticket will issue automatically in the coming weeks.


– Families can access their account and view the details that have been applied.


– Where families have other children without a medical card, they will need to pay the charges due before Friday 30th July. Families account balances will be updated to reflect the medical card applied.


– Should a family have a new application for a child for the 2021/22 school year, and did not use a medical card last year, they can enter the medical card for this child and it will be validated later.

28/07/2021


Brendan Smith welcomes full school reopening plans for new term

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed plans for the full reopening of schools for the new school year.

Deputy Smith’s party colleague and Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, today brought a memo to Cabinet which confirms that plans are in place to support the full reopening of schools in time for the start of the new school year at the end of August/start of September 2021.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “These plans will bring welcome reassurance for parents, students and staff ahead of the new school year. These plans are based on the Government’s Work Safely Protocol which reflects the most up to date public health advice for the workplace. It sets out the range of measures required to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the reopening will be carried out in close consultation with Public Health and the education partners.

“Schools have been advised that they should continue to operate with the current infection prevention and control measures in place to support their safe operation during COVID-19. Schools, when they reopen in the new term, will continue to be supported in terms of the additional resources necessary to provide for these measures,” Deputy Brendan Smith concluded. 

The aim of all of the Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures that have been put in place for schools is to support schools to operate safely and prevent the introduction of Covid-19 and also the onward of transmission of Covid-19 among the school community. These measures protect pupils, their parents and school staff.

School Covid-19 response plans will be updated by the Department and will be available for schools in advance of reopening. It is not envisaged that there will be any updates that require schools to take action in advance of normal reopening.

Speaking today, Minister Foley stated: “We are in constant communication with public health specialists ahead of the new school year and we can confirm that we are preparing for a full return of schools in late August and early September.

“Public Health has stated that the new variants of the disease do not change the infection prevention and control measures required in schools. The evidence available from the operation of schools during Covid-19 to date shows that schools are low risk environments due to the infection prevention and control measures in place.

“The provision of CO2 monitors for every school will be an important tool in keeping our schools safe and in addition to the mitigation measures already in place, our staff and students can be confident of returning to safe environments in our schools.”

The Department will also undertake a communications campaign with parents and students/pupils in advance of school reopening to inform and remind them of the arrangements in place in schools operating during Covid-19.  This will include specifically targeted information at new pupils entering primary and post-primary schools to ensure they are familiar with the new arrangements.

The Department will continue to engage regularly with key education partners and with the Department of Health and the HSE in respect of the safe operation of schools during Covid-19. 

ENDS

Notes for editors

The Department has updated its guidance for schools on Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools. 

A copy of the guidance is published at  https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ad236-guidance-on-ventilation-in-schools/

Managing ventilation is also one of a suite of public health measures in place to keep our schools safe.  In this regard, the Department has procured a number of portable monitors which will be distributed to schools in August and September – between 2 and 20 at primary level and between 20 and 35 at post-primary level depending on school size.

The over-arching approach in the guidance is for schools to have windows open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times or lunch-times and also at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. 

The guidance outlines the role that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors can play a part in providing a useful general indication that areas/rooms may not be adequately ventilated and can enable occupants to become familiar with the impact of activities, outdoor weather and window openings on levels of good ventilation.

Schools staff should also note that the HSE has recently published “Education Sector Guidance on Employees in the COVID-19 Higher Risk Categories, including Pregnant Employees” and on foot of this, the Department has issued updated advice to schools in respect of these categories of employee. A copy of this guidance is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/4ce5c-covid-19-working-arrangements-for-very-high-risk-teachers-and-special-needs-assistants-and-pregnant-teachers-and-special-needs-assistants-employed-in-recognised-primary-and-post-primary-schools-202122-school-year/

27/07/2021

Maternity Hospitals and restrictions

HEA-MO-10070-2021

27th July 2021

Dear Deputy Smith,

Thank you for your correspondence on behalf of your constituent regarding Covid-19 related restrictions in maternity hospitals.

With regard to the presence of husbands or partners at maternity appointments, labour wards and delivery theatres, it is of course desirable that the impact of Covid-19 on the experience of women and their families in maternity care is kept to an absolute minimum. In that regard the National Women & Infants Health Programme has provided assurance that the midwifery and obstetric community are acutely aware of the important support provided by partners or companions and that they wish to facilitate this as far as possible.   

Maternity services are a core, essential service and as such need to be able to provide 24/7 care to all women requiring it as the country continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it should be noted that in the context of the current public health emergency, each of our 19 maternity units/hospitals face challenges and these challenges may vary considerably between units and it is important to remember that any changes to how services operate, including restrictions, are put in place to minimise the risk of spread of Covid-19 in the community and to protect hospital staff and patients as much as possible.

Maternity services have performed very well in that regard and have continued to deliver quality care to mothers and babies in very challenging circumstances. At the same time, the advice remains that the potential for Covid-19 to spread in maternity services is very real, and there has to be very high priority given to protecting the health and safety of women and babies, as well as the staff who have worked incredibly hard during the pandemic. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre issued updated guidance regarding attendance at maternity hospitals. The guidance is clear that partners should be facilitated for daily visits of a minimum of 30 minutes, at the 20-week anomaly scan, while a woman is in the labour ward, for parents visiting in NICU/NNCU and at any visit where there might be communication that is particularly significant. The HSE has advised that as of June 21st, all 19 maternity hospitals/units are now fully compliant with this guidance.  

In addition, the HSE noted that there is a need to have clarity on what should happen in emergency or unplanned attendances at maternity services. In that regard the National Women and Infants Health Programme has advised that additional guidance was issued to the maternity hospitals on 23 June 2021. The additional guidance addresses unplanned attendances, including at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Units or emergency presentations in late pregnancy, as well as attendance at routine appointments for partners of women whose pregnancies are considered higher risk.  

The HSE has advised that women and their partners are facilitated in maternity hospitals/units either on a planned basis as part of their care package (EPAU/High Risk) or at the point of presentation informed by the clinical assessment of the woman and that all maternity hospitals/units are now complying with the arrangements and facilitating visits in accordance with assessed clinical need. 

I hope this information can be of assistance to you.

‎Yours sincerely,

Stephen Donnelly T.D.

Minister for Health

27/07/2021

Brendan Smith welcomes Connected Hubs Scheme funding for Cavan and Monaghan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed €236,016 in funding for Cavan and €354,925 for Monaghan as part of the Government’s Connected Hubs Scheme.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “This is great news for Cavan and once again shows the Government’s commitment to rural Ireland and making it a great place to work and do business in.

“As part of this funding, Cavan County County will receive €225,000 for a project to allow up to ten Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) in Cavan to run a range of digital activities and enhance remote working spaces for all members of the community.

“The locations in Cavan of these BCPs are Cornafean, Templeport, Bunnoe, Mullahoran, Drumavaddy, Castlerahan, Killenkere, Kildallan, Drumgoon,Swanlinbar. The ten communities aim to develop flexible working solutions by developing and enhancing digital workspaces and to develop these BCPs into digital hubs. Proposal for funding includes additional switches and access points, IOT equipment, PV solar panels, electric car charging points and privacy booths. Also sought as a part of this investment will be relevant office furniture, perspex screens and security systems.”

Elsewhere in Cavan, Cavan Digital Hub will receive €11,016 in funding.

The Cavan and Monaghan TD explained: “The purpose of this project is to strengthen the hubs recovery strategy as the economy opens fully and to support new digitally focused startups and businesses in their growth within the area. Installation of additional technology enabled systems such as a remote access system will improve the hub’s service current offerings.”

In Monaghan, Scotstown Business Centre received €75,000, The Station House also received the same amount, while Monaghan County Council was granted €150,902. Meanwhile, Castleblayney Enterprise Centre received funding of €54,023.

Additionally, Deputy Smith also welcomed €181,192 in funding for North East Hubs Network, which are five hubs located between Louth, Monaghan and Cavan.

Full details of the projects approved for funding under the Connected Hubs Scheme are available on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/64df6-connected-hubs-fund/

ENDS

24/07/2021

Brendan Smith welcomes Taoiseach’s commitment to study on economic challenges facing border region

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed a commitment from the Taoiseach on a focused study into the strengths and weaknesses and economic challenges facing the border region.

During questioning by Deputy Brendan Smith in the Dáil, the Taoiseach agreed with the Cavan and Monaghan TD’s call for a focused study, adding: “I will take up the Deputy’s point in respect of a more specific focus on the economy of the Border region. I will approach the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) with a view to perhaps having an addendum to the shared island work or in parallel with it to see if more work can be done in terms of the Border area. As the Deputy suggested, the shared island initiative will obviously deal with a number of issues in respect of the Border.”

Setting out his point, Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “We have many challenges in the Border region but there are also opportunities. We should have and need to develop new areas for economic and social development. I believe we need national and regional strategies. 

“I often talk in this House about the need for infrastructural development in counties such as Cavan and Monaghan. We also have an enormous resource in social and educational infrastructure. We can cater for a growth in population because we have the voluntary and sporting infrastructure. 

“In most cases, we also have the educational infrastructure. We may need expansion in areas such as roads and broadband but I believe that while we must tackle particular challenges, there are also opportunities that we must seize. We must do it in a regional, well thought-out and focused way.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “We need a joined-up approach to tackle these issues at central and local government levels. I believe that worthwhile analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the economy at local level should inform decision-making. Going forward, such detailed economic analysis should be conducted on a cross-Border and all-Ireland basis. It should run in a complementary manner to the worthwhile work of the shared island unit.”

ENDS

Brendan Smith welcomes €105m in funding for third level to reopen on-site in September

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the announcement of €105 million in Government funding for the third level sector to safely reopen in September 2021.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Having students return to in-person and on campus learning and training is vitally important this year. We have all seen the difficulties that these students have had to endure over the past 18 months. Supporting them and ensuring they return to campus safely is key to getting back to a normal way of life and ensuring their path through education is as smooth and as successful as possible.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “I very much welcome this funding which will include additional mental health and other student supports. The Government remains committed to third level education safely reopening and staying on-site in line with public health guidelines for the rest of the year.”

Over the summer and on into the autumn institutions and providers, with their stakeholders, will be planning and working to make sure that this happens. Contingency plans are also being prepared in the event of a spike in Covid-cases, but colleges will continue to have significant on-site attendance.

The package will include financial support for further and higher education to return on-site safely and in line with public health advice, and additional student supports for students in further and higher education.

€21 million of this funding will be allocated to provide specific extra supports for students including an extra €3m for student mental health, an extra €10m for the Student Assistance Fund which provides financial supports to students experiencing financial difficulties while in college, and €8m for the Mitigating Educational Disadvantage Fund which supports and engages disadvantaged learners.

ENDS

21/07/2021

Brendan Smith welcomes the passing of the Fair Deal Scheme

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has welcomed the passage through all stages of Dáil Eireann and Seanad Éireann of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021.

The Bill will amend the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, commonly known as Fair Deal, to enhance protections for family farms and businesses.

This change to the Scheme will mean that after a period of 3 years, the value of family-owned farms and businesses will no longer be taken into account when calculating the cost of a person’s nursing home care. This will happen where a family successor commits to working the farm or business.    

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “This change is essential to the viability and sustainability of family farms and businesses, allowing them to be passed down to the next generation. Ultimately, the Bill seeks to alleviate any unnecessary financial pressures placed on these families by updating the current law.

“It will ensure that Fair Deal is fair for all, enhancing accessibility and affordability of the scheme for more farm and business owning families.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: ”The Bill will also extend the existing 3 year cap on contributions to the cost of care to the proceeds of sale of a person’s principal residence. This is consistent with the scheme’s core principle of fairness, by treating the home and its proceeds of sale in a similar way. It is intended that this change will also remove any disincentive for people who want to sell their vacant home while in Fair Deal, an important consideration in the context of the housing crisis.  

“Progressing this Bill, as quickly as possible, has been an absolute priority for my colleagues and I in Fianna Fáil. This has been a hugely emotive issue for farm families and business owners in communities across Ireland and one that the Programme for Government sought to deliver on.

“I am delighted to welcome this critical step forward with the full passage of this historic piece of legislation.”  

ENDS

19/07/2021