Thursday, 7 February 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I wonder who made the request and if it reached the Minister. He is available and willing to meet and I suggest the Senator Ardagh submit a Commencement matter on the issue.
Senator Boyhan raised the report of the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government. I thank Deputy Maria Bailey who chaired the committee which produced the report. We would be happy to have a debate on it in the House. Senator Boyhan also raised the issue of apprenticeships. The Government has allocated €8 million to support 2,300 additional apprenticeships in 13 different areas through the institutes of technology. Funding for this area was increased by 24% in the most recent budget and now stands at €122 million. The Government's aim is to have an extra 9,000 apprenticeships on the books by 2020. It is important that we promote apprenticeships. We have a strong ethos of third level education. We must now rebuild our apprenticeship programme.
In response to Senator Kelleher, I asked the Minister to come to the House. We had a debate on housing last week and this week. I asked the Minister to come to the House to address Traveller accommodation.
Senators Norris, Feighan and Marshall referred to Brexit. It is important to reiterate our stance that Ireland, with the European Union, is committed to reaching a deal regarding Brexit. That deal was negotiated and I commend the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, on their role in this regard. Senator Marshall's contribution is very relevant. We need to be careful. We all welcome the Prime Minister's visit to the North and her comments on the Border, the Good Friday Agreement and the integrity of people in the North. It is important that we are careful because language is critical. We will endeavour to have the Tánaiste or the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, back in the House in the coming weeks.
I join with Senator Feighan in commending those involved with Young Fine Gael and Jude Perry with regard to their endeavours in Queen's University Belfast next weekend.
I know the Leas-Chathaoirleach is impartial but I wish to correct the record of the House for Senator Leyden. Tipp FM and Clare FM are being purchased by Radio Kerry. As the Senator knows, those stations are being acquired under the rules and remit of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which must give permission for the sale of radio stations.