Thursday, 3 June 2010
Order of Business (Resumed)
Liam Twomey (Fine Gael)
With regard to the Civil Partnership Bill, how would people feel if members of my profession or the nursing profession decided not to treat patients on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasion? It would be completely unworkable. Members who are making speeches in this House must be a little more practical in their comments. Not agreeing with carrying out abortions or conducting embryonic stem cell research should not be put in the same category as treating patients who have a different religious persuasion, sexual orientation or gender. The same applies to nurses. We must clearly separate these issues and not muddy the waters with such talk either inside or outside the House.
What happened in this House yesterday should be clarified. We cannot hide behind legalese and procedure with regard to what happened. We lose moral authority and the respect of the people when we do this. There must be a clear statement by Senator Callely. The Deputy Leader can also make a statement on his views on the issue. The Taoiseach has made it clear that he seeks a full and frank statement on what is happening. That is the general consensus of the people who also want to know what is happening. Hiding behind procedures involving committees and legalese is absolute rubbish. There is a moral issue as to whether it was morally wrong to draw expenses to which one was not entitled. We must deal with the issue in an open manner because that is the business of the Oireachtas. That is what happened in the Lower House when a similar issue was raised regarding the former Ceann Comhairle. It was not dealt with by a committee, even though that is what he sought. It was dealt with on the floor of the Lower House; that is what we should seek in the Seanad.