Thursday, 14 January 2016
Order of Business
The BT Young Scientist awards were announced last week. Thousands of excellent projects were submitted by students. I went to see projects from my own local secondary school, St. Nathy's College, and it was fascinating to see the level of thinking going on among young children. I listened to a radio interview with a young person from County Longford who had submitted a project. He assessed the possibility of a link between prescription charges and the increased numbers of people on trolleys in hospitals. It appears there is a direct link. People are not buying their medication and it results in pressure at accident and emergency departments. This young student found that the number of people on trolleys has increased by 112% directly because of prescription charges. Maybe we should take on board some of these ideas and research by young people.
I will now turn to the Boundary Commission which is currently reviewing the boundary at Monksland in County Roscommon with a view to moving it into County Westmeath and thereby into Leinster. I believe the Boundary Commission seems to have a job for life. When I ran for the council elections in 2004 I ran in the Ballaghaderreen electoral area. When I ran in the general election in 2007 it was Roscommon-South Leitrim. When I ran in the council elections in 2009 it was Ballaghaderreen-Castlerea. When I ran in the general election in 2011 it was still Roscommon-South Leitrim. Now it is going to be changed to Roscommon-East Galway. Previously it was Roscommon-Longford, Roscommon-Mayo and so on. However, the boundaries have now changed again for the local elections. It is no longer Ballaghaderreen-Castlerea, it is now Ballaghaderreen-Boyle.
There seems to be a change by the Boundary Commission for every single election. My point is that Roscommon will not tolerate, under any circumstances, the notion that an area of 30 sq. km. of land with 7,000 people would be taken into another province. It simply will not be tolerated. I ask the Leader to invite the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, to the House to discuss the matter. It is an issue in four regions in the State but there is no way that a land grab by other counties will be allowed by Roscommon.