Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Martin Mansergh (Minister of State with special responsibility for the Arts, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism; Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Department of Finance; Tipperary South, Fianna Fail)
I thank the Senators for their interventions. Three main points have been made. On a personal basis I have much sympathy with the pharmacists. I have friends in the pharmaceutical profession.
I say to Senator Buttimer that economic survival is about people too. That is what is fundamentally involved, not just in terms of this measure but for the many other measures introduced by the Government in an attempt to retain the vast majority of the services that we take for granted and so that we do not get into a far more serious situation than we face currently.
As I am not the Minister for Health and Children and have no responsibility in that area I regard the question of talks, their format and who should attend them as ultra vires. Those are matters on which the Minister would have to be questioned. However, I do question Senator's Ross's position. I do not think he would apply the same logic to developers, namely, that the State has to protect people who borrowed to invest. People have to take responsibility for their own commercial judgment. It is not possible, especially in the current situation, for the State to underwrite every business move made by various groups, except where the safety of the State itself is at stake. Senator Ross applies a different logic to pharmacists than to other sectors.