Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Micheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
It is also the reason we have, across the West, the largest cluster of medical device companies in Europe. Solid industrial advancement has been made in the past 30 years and has stood the test of time. This sector of the economy has proven particularly resilient in the teeth of the worst global recession since 1929.
On the amendment on child protection, will the Government consider accepting the legislation on adoption proposed by Deputy Charlie McConalogue? The Bill the Deputy introduced had all-party agreement, having been agreed in the previous Oireachtas, and has the merit that it could be passed in a reasonably short timeframe.
In an earlier partisan comment the Taoiseach stated this Government was the first to establish an office. The bottom line is that the offices of the Ombudsman for Children and Minister for Children were established previously and progressive work was undertaken by previous Ministers of State with responsibility for children. That should be acknowledged. I do not know if the Government is having difficulty bringing forward a proposal for a constitutional referendum. The previous Government had a proposal which was passed by the Cabinet. Deputy McConalogue introduced a Bill on adoption, which is a subset of the agreed proposal on which there is general agreement. If we passed that legislation, it would at least bring some respite and resolution to those facing challenges in the area of adoption in the absence of an amendment to the Constitution. In the absence of a willingness to accept Deputy McConalogue's constructive amendment, will the Taoiseach provide a timetable setting out when we can expect a referendum on children's rights?