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Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: As someone who grew up in rural Ireland, I reject any notion that the Government is anti-rural Ireland. It is nonsense.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Senator Paschal Mooney magnanimously acknowledged that Fianna Fáil had referred to the incorrect statutory instrument durng Private Members' time. If he wants to have a debate on the matter, he should put forward the correct statutory instrument next time and, of course, we will have a debate on it. Senator Paul Coghlan referred to Fianna Fáil's amnesia about water charges. There...

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: That is utterly wrong.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I did not interrupt the Senator. When the leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Micheál Martin, made a comment about this issue after the conference, he was utterly contradicted by the members of the independent electoral commission.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Senator Mary Moran welcomed the announcement made by the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, of the allocation of €15 million for the school book rental scheme for all primary schools. I join her in welcoming the measure which is hugely important. The cost of primary school books is very high and difficult for parents to meet. People can no longer pass on...

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: The Senator may wish to reword the motion which may then attract all-party agreement.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: He may be a little mischievous.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: In the spirit of commemorations, I have asked the Leader to commemorate in June this year the 750th anniversary of the first parliamentary gathering in Ireland, held in Castledermot, County Kildare. It is referred to on the Oireachtas website and colleagues interested in commemorations may be interested in it. Senator Mark Daly called for a debate on emigration. The job creation figures...

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I agree with Senator Mooney's comments on the excellent debate here last night with the Taoiseach on the terms of reference of the commission of investigation.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: As the Senator said, it was good to see the Taoiseach here and we would like to see him here more often. He has been here much more often than the previous Taoiseach, Brian Cowen; it is probably a fair comment. It was an excellent debate and clarified a number of issues about the important commission of investigation.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Senator Mooney also raised the issue of water charges. This morning, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, made clear on "Morning Ireland" that no decision had been made, nothing had been signed off and Labour Party Ministers in particular felt they had not received enough notice or information to come to a decision...

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: As Senator Hayden pointed out, the Tánaiste said the Labour Party would not sign off on any water charge that is not fair and equitable. In particular, we want to ensure that families on low incomes are not disadvantaged unduly by water charges.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Senator MacSharry acknowledged, and all of us accept, that there is a water conservation issue and that charging for water will have an effect-----

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: There are many issues around water and colleagues have raised a number of them. We will all benefit from moving to a better and more sustainable water infrastructure. The Government has made figures available that show that the State has been under-investing in water services for years, and we all agree with that. Senator Leyden mentioned that nationally 18,000 or 19,000 people boil their...

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I have been given that figure as a national figure. Dublin is struggling to meet capacity requirements. We have had water switch-offs in Dublin and many treatment plants are inadequate.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I will make no comment on whiskey in the Senator's water.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: The State has been underspending for decades. It has spent an average of €300 million per year while the true cost of meeting the national requirements for water and wastewater treatment plants and for upgrading infrastructure would be more than €600 million.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Senator Paul Coghlan has pointed out that there is a great deal of wastage and a great deal to be done. May I speak without interruption?

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I listened with courtesy, although it was difficult sometimes not to interrupt my colleagues on the other side.

Seanad: Order of Business (17 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I know the Senator is a bit excited with the holidays starting this evening.

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