The Cabinet will today approve plans to place four voluntary hospices formally under the financial control of the State, it can be revealed.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is expected to bring a memo that will look to move four voluntary hospices on to a more certain financial footing.
This is because it is now accepted that the existing funding model and continued reliance on fundraised income does not provide financial sustainability.
The four hospices — Milford Care Centre (Limerick), Galway Hospice, Marymount Care Centre (Cork), and St Francis Hospice (Dublin) — all provide palliative care beds and services for those who are terminally ill.
Mr Donnelly is now formally seeking approval to redesignate the four hospices from Section 39 entities (where the State partially funds the body) to Section 38 organisations where the level of State intervention is higher.
The primary distinction is that Section 38 organisations are funded to provide a defined level of service on behalf of the HSE, and their employees are classified as public servants.
Under Section 39, agencies are funded to varying degrees for services, and employees are not classified as public servants.
Becoming Section 38 agencies would assure the hospice movement of full funding for all its continued provision of services, which are growing dramatically as people are living longer and the number of people needing palliative care is increasing.
Meanwhile, radio and TV shows could be required to show or publish their levels of gender balance for music or current affairs shows under plans by the Government to encourage greater participation for women on air.
Media Minister Catherine Martin's proposal will be included in several amendments in the Online Safety and Media Regulations Bill which provides for radical moves for the establishment of Coimisiún na Meán.
Some of Ms Martin’s new amendments will provide that Coimisiún na Meán may make media services codes to promote gender balance on current affairs programmes on TV and radio, as well as promoting the broadcasting of musical works composed or performed by women on radio services.
The 2015 National Women’s Council of Ireland Report ‘Hearing Women’s Voices?’ examined news and current affairs programmes on Irish radio and reported a 28:72 ratio of women to men participating in discussions. The ‘Why Not Her?' Collective has also highlighted the inequality of airplay given to female versus male artists.
Ms Martin is set to stress to Cabinet colleagues that there is need for a significant improvement on this.
This new media service code which will be made by Coimisiún na Meán could include a requirement for stations to transparently show or publish their levels of gender balance for music or current affairs.
However, the precise measures that will be set out in the media service code will be a matter for Coimisiún na Meán.
The amendments going to Cabinet will also ensure that Coimisiún na Meán has the legal basis to begin phasing in a robust individual complaints system in the years ahead, focusing initially on children and a number of categories of harmful online content such as cyberbullying.