Seanad debates

Thursday, 11 July 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Fine Gael)

They are men of intellect who are despondent. When one sees such people, parliamentarians of considerable experience, worried and alarmed, one must wonder what is going on. One sees the leaking of the ambassador's remarks or comments. That is not good for democracy. I hope British parliamentarians would assume responsibility and not play commentators.

Senator Mulherin asked for a debate, which I will facilitate, on the draft marine planning policy statement and marine spatial policy in the new term. Senators Craughwell and Devine made reference to the commemoration ceremony next weekend and I join him in welcoming that event. As Senator Devine rightly said, it is about healing. It is about remembering our past and not forgetting it. It is also about moving forward collectively.

Senator Devine made reference to the autism spectrum disorder waiting list in Waterford. This is an issue of concern and my information is that the HSE is endeavouring to ensure equality of access and is trying to improve waiting lists and waiting times, not only in Waterford but across the country. That is why it is in the process of hiring 15 additional child psychologists. In the short term, it may require an extension of waiting times, which is regrettable. It is about ensuring that we have access to treatment, care, support and assessment. The Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, is endeavouring to find a pathway to expedite waiting times and access to services. It is a huge issue and it is a challenge that must be overcome. I accept the point the Senator made.

Senator Reilly raised the issue of housing and the Land Development Agency. As the Senator will be aware, the agency is up and running and there is an interim board under the chairmanship of Mr. John Moran. The agency is currently working on eight sites with seven more being actively pursued. I would be happy to have the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, come to the House in the new term.

Senator Higgins raised Sudan. The point here is an important one. We have seen dialogue between the military and the opposition. I concur completely with the Senator that there is a need to see a civilian government put in place. There is a need for us, in the context of our campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council, to take a more proactive role and to be that flag-bearer and facilitator. I would be happy to work with Senator Higgins. We can talk to the Minister about the matter.

On a positive note, I extend my congratulations and I hope those of House to Rory O'Neill, that is, Panti, and his husband, Anderson Cabrera, on their marriage yesterday.

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