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Seanad: Order of Business (15 Apr 2014)

Marc MacSharry: I ask the Leader for a debate on the north west and the Border region in particular. Considering the impact of the recession, the contribution of various Governments to the regions has not been what it should be. Some recent research which has come to my attention is worth putting on the record. The Border and north west region has the lowest rate of employment, at 52%. It has the highest...

Seanad: Order of Business (15 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Like Senator Darragh O'Brien, I condemn the shooting that took place today outside a primary school in Ballymun in broad daylight. It is shocking to see another shooting carried out in such a brazen fashion. It deserves condemnation. We may seek a debate on crime and criminal justice, while recognising that legislation alone cannot prevent that kind of shooting from occurring. It would be...

Seanad: Order of Business (10 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: All that walking has gone to the Senator's head.

Seanad: Order of Business (10 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: On behalf of the Labour group I join with others in paying tribute to Jody Blake. We all wish her a very happy early retirement; I stress early as otherwise she would have had to be ten when starting. She served 23 years in the Seanad, as the Leader has said, which is a long sentence by any stretch and she definitely deserves to have a very happy life outside of here. We will all miss her...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I have a question for Mr. Merriman on that issue and on another issue he raised regarding adoption. He made a good point about the issue of a second parent adoption where a couple of civil partners adopts a child, for example. If one of the natural parents is not in the civil partnership, is it enough to say there are guardianship rights or should specific provision be made for two parties...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I have one other question on time limits for Ms Tinsley in respect of the six-month gap after surrogacy. A number of groups and individuals have identified this as a potential issue where the best interests of the child are not adequately protected if there is a six-month period where there are no legal parents. Earlier we examined of the issue of the surrogate mother and child being in a...

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: After the Easter recess.

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Yes.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I thank all the presenters for such valuable contributions. We also had a very good session this morning. It was good to hear the broad welcome expressed for this progressive legislation which will, finally, give us a legal structure for the regulation of existing diverse family structures.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: That is all I will say by way of introduction. With respect to the Chair, it was an important introduction because we are entering uncharted territory in that we do not have regulation currently. I direct my questions to Dr. Madden and the Equality Authority. Dr. Madden chaired the 2005 Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, or contributed to it.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I apologise. Work is being done but this is the Government's first attempt to regulate it. It is important we get it right and do not leave gaps. I note what Dr. Madden and others said about the need to ensure we do not have potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and that children born in surrogacy have their rights protected. A number of the issues have been addressed by presenters...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Yes. One issue that concerns me in particular is the issue of the penalties provided for in the legislation in heads 13 and 23 where some of the provisions, such as age restrictions, are not met. One of the penalties is that a declaration of parentage will not be made. That is a concern because it means the children will be penalised. What alternatives are there? There are criminal...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: General Scheme of Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014: Discussion (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Should the provisions for penalties provided for in head 13, paragraphs (17) to (19), inclusive, be left out? Should they simply not be included?

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I thank the Minister of State for her comprehensive response and for outlining what the Department has been doing. As the proposer of the Bill I am more frustrated than anybody else in the House after a 13-month delay since Second Stage. I have been working very hard behind the scenes to try to move the Bill along.

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I just want to put that on the record that it is hugely important that we move it on. It is also hugely important that it is robust enough to survive and not to be referred by the President, under Article 26 of the Constitution, before anyone has the chance to challenge it because people need certainty. I know Senator Norris is more sanguine than most about being involved in litigation but...

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Certainly, it would be of assistance to all of us if not for Committee Stage, at the very least before Report Stage, that we would have it. We should all seek to ensure that Committee Stage is concluded next week so we can move this on. We also need to be clear about the knock-on effect that the Seanad processes have in terms of expediting and speeding up the process behind the scenes in...

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: On a point of order, in fairness the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, outlined the timeframe.

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: I welcome the Minister of State. I also welcome the members of GLEN and the representatives from Labour LGBT who are in the Gallery. Both have been very active on this issue and in seeking legislation such as that before the House. As the person who brought forward this Bill 12 months ago, I am delighted the Government allowed it to pass Second Stage and that it is now facilitating...

Seanad: Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2013: Committee Stage (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Many people have said that over the years. I always welcome prayers, from those of any religion or none. It might be worth reviewing the employment equality legislation in order that we might discover how we might better define the grounds involved. I do not believe that such a review should delay the progress of the Bill. I remind everyone that all the Bill seeks to do is amend section...

Seanad: Order of Business (9 Apr 2014)

Ivana Bacik: Anyone who watched the recent "Prime Time Investigates" documentary on the ambulance service would have great concerns about inefficiencies in our ambulance service nationally and would be convinced of the need to ensure the best service is available to patients across the country. That is hugely important. Whatever is the best mechanism for delivering that service is the important point....

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