Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 March 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Gerry HorkanGerry Horkan (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

When I spoke here on Tuesday on the Order of Business about the Boeing 737 MAX 8, I asked for reflection on what was a very serious situation. I am glad to see that Boeing has now taken the decision to ground the entire fleet for the moment, in response to legitimate concerns. Hopefully, the company can fix the glitch. Boeing has been a very successful company for many years. Hopefully there will be no further loss of life and the company will be able to sort out the problem.

I must address an issue that has come to light in the last few minutes, namely, the news that one former British soldier is to be charged over the Bloody Sunday killings in 1972, when 13 people died on the day and one died subsequently. There are 17 surviving soldiers and two members of the Official IRA who are not being prosecuted because it has been suggested that there is not enough evidence to do so. Given that Lord Saville's report concluded that all 14 victims were killed unlawfully and illegally, it is surprising that only one soldier is to be prosecuted. That said, I welcome the fact that there is sufficient evidence against one person to merit prosecution. Murder is murder and one cannot go around killing people just because one happens to be wearing a uniform. I am surprised that the number to be prosecuted is so low and am sure other Members will comment on that too.

We have been talking about Brexit all week. We did a lot of good work yesterday on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019. We all hope that the legislation will not have to be implemented. In the context of a no-deal Brexit, it would be smuggler's charter if there was no border between the Republic and the North but there was a border between this island and the rest of the UK. The European Commission spokesperson, on the subject of the no-deal vote in Westminster, said that it was a bit like the crew of the Titanic asking the iceberg to move. It seems that a level of intransigence persists across the water.I appeal to all right-thinking and intelligent Members of the British Parliament in Westminster to reflect on the future of their country and its relationship with its nearest neighbours, including Ireland, and to move to a position that is less of a lose-lose situation for us all.

I intended to wish everybody a happy St. Patrick's Day, but Senators Lawlor and Ó Domhnaill got in ahead of me. Of course, St. Patrick was Welsh, which people often forget. He came to Ireland and drove out almost all of the snakes.


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