Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Order of Business
Senators Bacik, O'Reilly and Feighan all mentioned the issue of Brexit. It is important and is also important that we all stand together and wear the green jersey.
The issue of climate change was raised by Senators Higgins and Bacik. The report on climate change performance is disappointing from an Irish perspective. There is no point saying it is not. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, has acknowledged that we are far off course in our response to climate change. Since he has been appointed, however, he has secured Government approval to develop an all-Government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. The plan will have actions across all sectors of society and all Departments. It will also have timelines with clear lines of responsibility.The report that has been published reinforces the urgency of the Minister's work and that of the all-party Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action. The committee has strong members from this House. The committee is due to report back on 22 January or as close to then as it can. It is the biggest issue we have to face and I am confident that we will do that.
Senator Dolan welcomed the decision of Government and Parliament to sign up to the universal convention and acknowledged that the Taoiseach has done so. A request from me, as Leader of the House, has gone to the Taoiseach asking him to come to the House. I hope he will be here in the new year and that as part of his address he will speak about the matters Senator Dolan has raised. It is important that Senator Dolan has raised these matters.
Senator O'Reilly raised the issue of mobile telephone coverage. To be fair to Senator O'Reilly, he has raised the matter on more than one occasion in the House. It is a matter of major concern for people not only in rural Ireland but in parts of urban built Ireland where there have been issues of poor mobile telephone coverage as well. I welcome the fact that Eir has committed €150 million in the roll-out of 4G broadband. Eir maintains this investment will cover 99% of the population. A new operator, Cignal, is putting in a €25 million investment for 300 new towers. Investment in infrastructure is important and I welcome the provision of moneys by both companies.
Senator O'Reilly is correct to say that parts of Cavan have poor coverage and this needs to be followed up by the companies. He has raised the matter before.