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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation [Covid-19] .

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation [Covid-19] . (03 Dec 2020)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...


Vol. 1002 no. 1

Deputy Gary Gannon: The Tánaiste will be familiar with the Keltoi drugs rehabilitation service, based in the Phoenix Park.

On 20 March, HSE staff were redeployed from Keltoi, a 20-bed residential treatment centre that specialises in the treatment of people with alcohol and drug dependency and dual diagnoses. Keltoi is under the management of community healthcare organisation, CHO 9 addiction services and was temporarily closed to create an isolation unit for Covid-positive people. That the staff have no idea when they will be returning to Keltoi is causing them significant stress.

Recently, it has become clear that the people who have been placed in the centre to isolate have come via section 39 services, for example, the Coolmine service. Since Keltoi is a HSE facility, this does not seem right. Covid-positive people can be accommodated in facilities such as Citywest to allow the Keltoi centre to reopen.

A recent review of the Keltoi service has highlighted the specialist work it carries out. In light of the clear evidence of a high incidence of drug and alcohol addiction relapse and the deterioration of people's mental health, is it not time we reopened Keltoi in its intended form?

Leo Varadkar The Tánaiste: I thank Deputy Gannon for raising this matter. I am familiar with the Keltoi centre, it being a service located in my constituency, but I am not up to date on the plans to reopen and restore it to its former use. I will get an update from the Minister of State, Deputy Frankie Feighan, who is responsible for this matter, and forward it to the Deputy.

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Deputy Thomas Gould: One of the only positive things to come out of the pandemic is that the Government put in place emergency structures for the supply of medical cannabis to people such as Vera Twomey's daughter Ava. Before the pandemic, the Government stated this could not be done, and families had to travel to the Netherlands and other places to get medical cannabis. Will the Government commit to making the emergency temporary structures that are in place the norm, so that families will not have to worry and feel the uncertainty of having to travel for their medicine?

Leo Varadkar The Tánaiste: I am really not sure why it is taking so long to sort out this issue of medical cannabis. It has been discussed for years in this Chamber. Emergency arrangements were put in place, which the Deputy mentioned, but we should by now have in place standing arrangements that work for people for whom the drug has been prescribed by a specialist. It is an issue that falls under the remit of the Minister for Health, Deputy Donnelly, rather than me but I will take it up with him. It is an issue we are keen to sort out once and for all.

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