Thursday, 20 January 2011
Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Bill 2010 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed)
Alan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
I welcome the fact that this Bill is being discussed in the House. There are aspects of the Bill that deserve support and there are other aspects that deserve to be teased out, and many of my colleagues on this side of the House have already referred to them. I am aware within my own constituency the issue of the post code structure is a particular concern in terms of the loss of identity. Whether one's post is addressed to Dublin 16 or Dublin 14 is something people have grown used to and there is a concern about the lack of clarity derived from the legislation as to the exact direction in which this is heading.
I want to begin by saying that on this day of all days there is something surreal about dealing with this measure which is sponsored by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Ryan, and we have the Minister of State, Deputy Cuffe, present in the Chamber. I saw the Minister, Deputy Ryan, in the Chamber at some stage today. I do not know for how long he was here because like other Members I was engaged, as one is on occasion, in other matters while this Chamber was sitting.
It is surreal, in the context of the events of earlier today, that not a single word has been uttered in this Chamber by the Minister, Deputy Ryan, the Minister, Deputy Gormley, or indeed the Minister of State, Deputy Cuffe, as to the current position of those Ministers. This Bill is under the remit of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Ryan. What is his position with regard to the events that happened earlier today in the rearranging of the chairs on the Titanic of the Cabinet boat? It is extraordinary.
I would have thought, as a minimum, that as leader of the Green Party, the Minister, Deputy Gormley, or if he is not available the Minister, Deputy Ryan, would have used the sitting of this House today to clarify what is going on within the Government. In the context of this Bill it is of direct relevance. Are we seriously progressing it? Does this Bill have any prospect of completing not simply Second Stage but Committee and Report Stages? That is a legitimate question to ask. Are we simply engaging in a game of political charades in this House?