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Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (18 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I sympathise completely with the remarks made by other Senators regarding what we are being told in the media about what the Government intends to do on the basis of the advice from NPHET. I have no confidence in NPHET for the very simple reason that the difference in treatment of meat plants and restaurants between it and the HSE is dramatic and inexplicable. I have no confidence in the...

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: First I want to observe that having stated that the business of this sitting of the Seanad was solely concerned with the Government's Bill, the Cathaoirleach himself then breached it by making remarks about Clifden.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I do not agree with some of what was said and I do not believe it is the function of the Chair to make remarks of that kind. I do not believe it is the function of the Ceann Comhairle to make far more trenchant remarks in his Chamber.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: Excuse me, a Chathaoirligh. If we are here to discuss one item only, which is the Bill and the Order of Business relating to it today, then the Cathaoirleach himself led off by breaching that. Just remember that. It is not the Cathaoirleach's function to talk from that seat about Commissioners or judges. It is not that at all.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am making the point that it is none of the Cathaoirleach's business to talk about judges and Commissioners from that seat on this occasion.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: Yes, and it is not your function-----

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: It is not your function to-----

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: It is not your function to speak about judges or Commissioners on this occasion.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: The Cathaoirleach is an impartial chairman and it is not his function to make announcements of that kind.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am just pointing out that if the Order of Business is to be adhered to, then the Cathaoirleach should do it himself. I do not believe that the measure before us is of such urgency that it must be dealt with in one day. I do not believe we should be in a position that there is pressure on us not to call votes because of the cumbersome nature of votes being called.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: Hear, hear.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I do not believe we should be in a position that there is pressure on us not to call votes because of the cumbersome nature of votes being called.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am not talking about yesterday-----

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: A Chathaoirligh-----

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am not talking about yesterday. I am talking about today and whether this Bill is of sufficient urgency to justify having all Stages dealt with in one day, putting us under pressure not to call votes on amendments, etc., in order to rush the Bill through.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: That is the point I make. I am opposed to the idea that this Bill needs to be rushed through in one day. Some of the measures in it are good, some are excessive and some need to be amended. There is no need for us to rush it through. This is not an emergency. In my view, and I may be in a minority on this, it is not a matter of tremendous urgency that the particular powers to close pubs...

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: It is relevant.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: Would you allow me speak and stop interrupting me, please?

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am not talking about yesterday. I am talking about today.

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (10 Sep 2020)

Michael McDowell: I am merely saying that we are putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves not to have votes, to curtail discussion and all the rest of it due to social distancing and public-----

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