Thursday, 22 October 2015
Order of Business
I congratulate the Acting Leader on his role. I do not know if it has a pensionable aspect to it. I thank him and other colleagues for being present this morning at the briefing session with Aid to the Church in Need, where we learned, yet again, about the crisis facing Christian communities in the Middle East. At a time when numbers of displaced people and refugees have hit an all-time high, Islamist groups have carried out religiously motivated ethnic cleansing of Christians, notably in parts of Africa and the Middle East.Are we taking this seriously enough and are we ready - as Pope Francis has done - to name what is happening as constituting genocide in some cases. It would be great for an all-party motion to be tabled in this House in order that what is happening might be named as "genocide" and to call on the Government and the EU to pay particular attention to the plight of persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, many of the members of which are Christian. As a result of a meeting with Church in Chains, another organisation doing good work, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is to bring together those ambassadors who are resident in Ireland and who come from countries in which Christians are being persecuted. It is very important that the latter meeting should take place. It is also important that the Government step away from the EU fuzz and start talking and acting in a global way in order to support particular persecuted minorities.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has welcomed the restoration of the vital respite carer's grant, which is a lifeline to the 50,000 people who provide round-the-clock care to people with dementia. Many of us have loved ones who are benefiting from that grant. But the society still questions whether the Government is fully honouring its commitment to people with dementia. The funding process needs to be expedited for applicants to the fair deal scheme. Alzheimer Europe is calling on Ireland to sign up to its Glasgow declaration, the aim of which is to make dementia a European health and research priority. By means of its declaration, Alzheimer Europe wants emphasis-----