Thursday, 23 April 2020
Irish Economy: Statements
I am really honoured to stand here today for my first address to the House. I am the first person from Knocknaheeny in Cork, a community that I am proud to represent and where my family is proud to live, to do so. I want to thank everyone who supported me on my journey through politics and in the recent election including party members and supporters, my family, friends and club, as well as the people of Cork North-Central who voted for me. I particularly want to thank my wife Michelle and our daughters, Aoife and Orlaith, my two sisters, Sharon and Noreen and especially my father Tony, who is a great man and a brilliant mentor. Unfortunately my mother passed away 27 years ago but I know that she would have been really proud to have her only son elected as a TD. I want to sincerely thank everyone who voted for me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. The people of Cork North-Central have been neglected and abandoned for far too long. There is a lack of infrastructure, including the northern ring-road and hospitals, as well as a housing and health crisis but I will do everything in my power to fight for the constituents of Cork North-Central whether they are in the city or the county, on the north or the south side.
Today I have a question for the Minister from the people of Cork North-Central about the Debenhams workers. Has either the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation contacted Debenhams Ireland to ask it to reopen its stores at the appropriate time and to keep its workers in employment? Debenhams has announced an initiative in the UK which will see it reopen the vast majority of its stores and keep its staff in work. If Debenhams refuses to reopen its stores here then it must guarantee its workers the redundancy payments to which they are entitled. It must negotiate with the unions on a fair and proper redundancy package. If Debenhams gets away with what it is doing now, it will set a precedent and my worry is that I will be in this Chamber speaking on behalf of thousands, if not tens of thousands of other workers-----