Wednesday, 3 July 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Keith Swanick (Fianna Fail)
I welcome the family of Senator Lawless to the Chamber and hope they enjoy their day in Leinster House. I refer to a health matter, namely, asthma and air quality. This comes on the back of the great work of my Fianna Fáil colleague, Deputy James Brown, and subsequently by the party leader, Deputy Micheál Martin, on Leaders' Questions a few weeks ago. They have highlighted the delay in the full implementation of a national ban on smoky coal which was promised in 2015 by the then Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, and subsequently by former Minister, Deputy Naughten. It appears now, however, that the current Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, may give in to legal threats from some coal interests. I call for a debate on the issue from a health perspective, albeit it is also a climate change issue. We know that poorer air quality adversely impacts people with asthma and other pulmonary issues. When Senator Reilly was Minister for Health, he stood up to the tobacco companies which threatened to sue the State. I have spoken in the House on numerous occasions about divestment of Government moneys from tobacco companies. I praise Senator Reilly for standing up to those companies who threatened to sue the State over his measures to reduce the use of tobacco. However, we may now see Deputy Bruton running scared from the legal threats of vested interests in the coal sector.I will liaise with colleagues to submit a formal motion to the Seanad on this matter, calling on the Government to implement without delay the measure it promised.
Now that summer is here and children are on their school holidays, I encourage everybody involved in water sports to be very vigilant on the water and to heed the advice of Irish Water Safety. Will the Leader consider bringing back my Bill, the Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017, for Committee and Remaining Stages? It is very pertinent at this time of year. More than 300 lifebuoys were destroyed or stolen in Cork alone last year.