Seanad debates

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Commencement Matters

Naval Service Vessels

10:30 am

Photo of Paul GavanPaul Gavan (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Not for the first time, the Minister of State has been put in a difficult position. In fairness to the Minister of State, the response from the civil servants does not answer the questions I have put. I asked how the Government can justify the expenditure of hundreds of millions of euro on new boats when we could have refurbished our existing fleet and put the surplus money towards the health and housing crises that have been ever-present in recent years. It speaks poorly of the Government that its priority are to please its friends in the EU by increasing military spending rather than looking after our people at home with better health and housing.

Another point relates to the disgraceful decision to send the LÉ Samuel Beckett to the biggest arms fair in the world. God knows what the great man would have thought of that. Is that what has become of our neutrality? We are now sending one of our flagship naval vessels to the biggest arms fair in the world at taxpayers' expense to help in selling arms and equipment to gangsters from throughout the world. It is absolutely shameful.

I know the constituency the Minister of State is from. I cannot believe that her constituents would be impressed by the fact that we can find hundreds of millions for new ships but not for hospital beds or housing.


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