Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Committee and Remaining Stages
I thank the Seanad for facilitating the passing of all Stages this evening. I know that is not normal practice. Normally we would have Second Stage, followed by a break for about a week and we would then return and take Committee and Report Stages. I thank Members for the pragmatic approach they have taken towards getting this done. Most people would accept that all the amendments that needed to be made to this legislation have been made and that it is time to pass it and move on with it. It would have been a frustrating night's work for me to have this pushed to a new government to finish. I thank Members for accommodating the Bill, particularly Senators who put forward amendments but decided not to push them.
This is definitely the last time I will get to speak in the Seanad under my current responsibilities. We have had a number of good interactions in terms of legislation, particularly on animal welfare where we had approximately ten hours of debate in the House. We have also had good interaction on fishing and broader farming and agrifood issues and each time that has been a rewarding process for me. I want to wish Senators who are candidates in the upcoming election well and I hope we will all see each other again soon. I expect that in the next few days we will get on with the more raw side of politics in a very competitive election campaign. I thank Senators for their co-operation this evening and believe we have done a very good job on this piece of legislation.