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Seanad: Order of Business. (1 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I extend my congratulations to the Leader and deputy leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition and whoever else needs to be congratulated. I confirm that the Independent Taoiseach's nominees will form a group. We come from very different civil society groups and have different representations. Our diversity is our strength. We wish to maximise the opportunity that has been...

Seanad: Election of Leas-Chathaoirleach (1 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I indicate the support of my group for the nomination of Senator O'Donovan as Leas-Chathaoirleach. We look forward to working with him.

Seanad: Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2011: Second Stage (Resumed) (2 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I thank the Minister for his comprehensive presentation of the Bill. I am delighted that we are discussing this legislation, which is the first measure on which I have shared my views. As previous speakers have said, this is a positive step and I hope the Bill will be passed without delay so it can be placed on the Statute Book. While my comments are aimed at strengthening and improving...

Seanad: Order of Business (7 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I formally announce the establishment of the Independent group. The group comprise me as leader, and Senators Eamon Coghlan, Fiach Mac Conghail, Martin McAleese, Marie-Louise O'Donnell, Mary Ann O'Brien and Dr. Katherine Zappone. I echo Senator Bacik's call in respect of the recommendations of the United Nations committee against torture with regard to the Magdalene laundries. The Minister...

Seanad: Fourth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection: Statements (7 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: As group leader, I have not had speaking time.

Seanad: Fourth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection: Statements (7 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I welcome the opportunity to debate the fourth report of the special rapporteur on child protection, the child law expert Mr. Geoffrey Shannon who has delivered a comprehensive and considered analysis of child protection. I warmly welcome the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald. As a new Senator, I welcome the appointment of the former Senator to her new role....

Seanad: Order of Business (8 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I agree with the Order of Business and echo all the good wishes to junior and leaving certificate students. There are parents in this room and for once we would prefer to be in this Chamber rather than going back to sit those exams. As a group we will make a statement tomorrow so I will leave my comments at that.

Seanad: Progress on the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language: Statements (9 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: Thank you very much. I apologise. Three weeks ago I did not know I would be standing here and I have another pressing commitment. I trust the House will understand. I welcome the strategy and its ambitions. I hope I can be one of its successes by building on the Irish I learned at school and, in a future debate, I may be able to contribute as Gaeilge. That is a challenge I have set...

Seanad: Order of Business (14 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I add my voice to the expressions of condolence to Brian Lenihan's wife, Patricia; his children, Claire and Tom; his mother, Ann; his aunt, Mary; and his brothers and sister. I had the privilege of working with him when he served as Minister of State with responsibility for children. I welcome the opportunity to record his achievements in that office during tomorrow's tributes.

Seanad: Death of Former Minister: Expressions of Sympathy (15 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: On behalf of the Independent group, I, too, pass on my deepest sympathy to the late Deputy Brian Lenihan's family, to his wife Patricia, to his children, Tom and Clare, and to all his friends and colleagues. I want to focus on his work as Minister of State with responsibility for children from 2002 to 2007, because that is where I knew him best. He was a true children's champion. He was the...

Seanad: Order of Business (15 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: On the question raised by Senator David Norris, the Independent Group requests clarification from the Leader of the House that the amendment tabled is to facilitate implementation of the motion without delay. With this understanding, I can confirm that the Independent group will accept the amendment.

Seanad: Order of Business (21 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: My first question is on special needs assistants because the lack of clarity is deeply worrying. We know the important role special needs assistants play. If we looked at it in a purely fiscal way we would see that we save money in the long term by supporting children in the early years to mainstream education. Special needs assistance was an indication of a major move from an old Ireland...

Seanad: European Affairs: Statements (22 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I am pleased the Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs is present for this discussion on enterprise, innovation and job creation. She referred to reputation. Colleagues in other member states have told me how impressed they are with our new Minister of State following her visits to the Continent. I am delighted she is helping to rebuild our reputation. I echo the...

Seanad: School Transport: Statements (28 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I thank the Minister of State for sharing his decision with Members today. I have yet to hear of a person who is opposed to the school transport system. While I realise the predicament we are in, I equally recognise the unprecedented financial times in which we find ourselves and that we have not been obliged to face such decisions heretofore. Moreover, I agree with the need to rein in...

Seanad: Whistleblower Legislation: Motion (29 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I, too, welcome the opportunity to discuss whistleblowing legislation. I welcome the work done by Senator Mullen in tabling this motion. I also acknowledge the work of Transparency International in this area. It provided an excellent briefing for us which assisted us in our preparations. In preparing for the debate on this motion, I talked to many NGOs because they are often left to deal...

Seanad: Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011: Second Stage (30 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I thank the Minister for his comprehensive overview. I take this opportunity to welcome the citizenship ceremony held last week in Dublin Castle. This was a very important ceremony and several people noted it as a very welcome initiative by the Minister. When reading the Bill last weekend I wondered whether the title should be changed to the lost and found Bill because it was certainly an...

Seanad: Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011: Second Stage (30 Jun 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I have paid particular attention to this proposal which I welcome. It is important to discuss and encourage good samaritans and volunteerism. This section will be a welcome addition to any discussion on community life. I read the Law Reform Commission report on civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers and I note that many of the recommendations in that report are encompassed here....

Seanad: Order of Business (5 Jul 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I support Senator Bacik's calls for a discussion on a children's rights referendum but we must discuss the supporting legislation that is needed, in particular, the heads of Bills and the policy intent of such a referendum. I refer to the forthcoming Irish Presidency of the European Union in 2013. Today is the first working day of the Polish Presidency which started on 1 July. It is the...

Seanad: Address by President of the European Parliament (12 Jul 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I welcome President Buzek to Seanad √ɬČireann. It is an honour for me to speak to somebody who is such a great defender of human rights and European values. I have heard him say that: "There is no 'us' and 'you'. We can say loud and clear that ... Europe belongs to us all". In this time of recession, however, that feeling of "us" is fast diminishing. I am a committed European and believe...

Seanad: Order of Business (19 Jul 2011)

Jillian van Turnhout: I join with the leaders of other groups in thanking the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and the Leader for bringing forward motions Nos. 1 and 2. These will give life to the motion which, though put forward by the Independent group, was worked on by Senators from all sides together. It is great to see this expression of our joint work. I hope we can reap the riches of this in the...

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