The Taoiseach said he was unable to say with certainty that a deaf boy will be given life-changing surgery which would allow him some form of hearing.
However, Enda Kenny said there were “positive” developments that would put in place a system for double bilateral cochlear implants in Irish hospitals by 2014.
Mr Kenny said there were about 200 children eligible for the second implant, which currently cannot take place here. He was answering questions in the Dáil about the case of Liam Cunneen-McCormack, 6, who was told he had to go to Britain for the operation — despite a donor offering to pay for it here — because of funding issues between Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and the HSE.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said this would leave the boy in a “bizarre situation whereby he has an implant in one ear from Beaumont Hospital and one in the other ear from a hospital in Britain”.
Mr Adams said: “In such cases there is a need for regular check-ups and therefore the child will have to go to Ireland on the one hand and England on the other for treatment.”
Mr Adams said the treatment was “not hugely expensive and it can make a great difference to the lives of these children”.
The Taoiseach said there was a “very positive” meeting last week between the HSE, Health Minister James Reilly, and the organisation Happy New Ear.
“Deputy Adams asked whether the young boy he referred to will have a dual implant provided when he goes in for his next examination. I cannot answer that for him now save to say that I regard this as being a positive development,” said Mr Kenny.
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