Tuesday, 11 June 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I, too, congratulate Senator Grace O'Sullivan, who follows current and former Members of the Houses who have been elected to the European Parliament over the years, such as Deputies Fitzgerald and Kelleher, as well as Mr. Jim Higgins, Ms Deirdre Clune, Ms Avril Doyle and Mr. Joe McCartin, all of whom were once Deputies and Senators. I assume there are other cases of former Members who were elected to the European Parliament. I wish Senator Grace O'Sullivan well.
I support Senator O'Mahony's point about the redress board and the compensation awarded to people. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection now asks those claiming social welfare for various details. When he was Taoiseach, Mr. Brian Cowen apologised to people such as those outlined by the Senator for how they were treated by the State. It is unbelievable that the Department would hound those people, given that the then Taoiseach apologised to them. One wonders what a Taoiseach's apology is worth. I hope Senator O'Mahony receives a prompt response to clarify the matter quickly.
I thank the Ceann Comhairle for apologising to Ms Angela Kerins following the recent Supreme Court decision. In a recent interview on how the Oireachtas will conduct its business in future, the Ceann Comhairle indicated that an internal group of civil servants had been assembled to examine the decision's implications and the broader functions of the Oireachtas. He also said the group was considering streamlining how committees function, perhaps by giving the Business Committee a role. He went on to say changes were imminent and that he hopes to put proposals to the Dáil in September to amend its Standing Orders. Will the Leader outline the role of this House in the changes that may be brought about, or in setting up an internal committee to review how committees are established and their roles and responsibilities? He might give some indication in that regard because in the past three years, the Business Committee has not shown any respect for this House. If it is to have a role in how this House runs or in how we conduct our business, I will have grave reservations.