Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Senator Boyhan referred to the publication this morning of an important report on the housing choices for older people in Ireland. Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell also raised the matter on the Order of Business yesterday. The points made by Senator Boyhan should be addressed in this House and it is my intention to have the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government come to it because it is critical that we have a discussion on the issue of choice and the future model of delivery of housing for older people. The Senator spoke about the report. The Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy English, has commented that it is a question of "right sizing", rather than downsizing. Having that debate is necessary and healthy and we will have it.

Senator Lombard raised the issue of aqua licences. I will be happy to have the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine come to the House to discuss it in due course.

In a very telling contribution Senator Warfield referred to the rise in the number of cases of HIV and the need for a new model to tackling it. It is alarming that there were 531 new cases last year. It is happening at a time when, notwithstanding the Senator's remarks, people are more aware and have greater access to information than ever before. It is frightening, therefore, that the number of cases of HIV is going up, rather than down. I agree that there is a need for a new collaborative approach to be taken. I will be happy, therefore, to invite the Minister for Health to come to the House to discuss the issue which is one that needs to be addressed urgently. The increase in the number of cases is significantly against the trend elsewhere in Europe. There is, however, a lot of good work being done in many parts of the country, but for some reason, it seems to be falling on deaf ears. Whether it is an attitudinal issue or a complete failure to understand, I am not quite sure, but there is a need to have a further conversation, leading to change in the model of delivery.

Senator Wilson made a very interesting point about the lack of care taken by motorists in difficult weather conditions and how common sense should dictate that they switch on their lights. I concur completely with him on the movement to change the name of "An Garda Síochána" and the word "Garda", on vehicles in particular. I was not aware of it, but I support him 100%. An Garda Síochána is what the force is called and it should always be that way. I am not in any way in favour of a change of name to policing or police force. I will be happy to have the matter taken up with the Minister for Justice and Equality.

While I will accept Senator Gallagher's amendment to the Order of Business, I will not accept Senator Norris's.


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