Thursday, 11 July 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
No, I am not personally interested, but I thank the Leader for asking. I support the Tánaiste's critique, reported today, of the leadership contenders for the Conservative Party as an "utterly disingenuous debate". As British-US relations deteriorate to a new low following the forced resignation of the British ambassador to the US, Mr. Kim Darroch, we can only watch in dismay the developments in British politics and just hope that sense will be seen over the summer, and that there will be some move by the British side to ensure we do not see a chaotic and catastrophic no-deal Brexit in October.
Will the Leader ensure we have a debate early post-recess on the new exclusion zone legislation promised by the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris? I have been calling for this legislation for some months now, as have others. Certainly, the need for the passage of such legislation has become more pressing as we have seen awful protests taking place outside hospitals, especially the Holles Street National Maternity Hospital. These people are opposed to abortion, which in itself is fine because this is their democratic view, but very distressing images and props are being used and it appears they are seeking to intimidate and obstruct women who are accessing services, and others who seek to access maternity services. This includes women who may have received devastating diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormality and family members who may be visiting very ill premature babies in hospital. These protests are not democratic and they should not be supported by anyone who has any compassion. I hope we see exclusion zone legislation coming in to protect women seeking to access services that were democratically voted for by the people in the referendum last year.
I note that 3 August this year marks the fifth anniversary of the horrific massacre of the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS. This will be marked by the UN and by the international community. I wanted to inform colleagues that this will be taking place on 3 August.
I wish everyone well over the recess. I wish the Cathaoirleach, the Leas-Chathaoirleach and all the staff in the Seanad Office, especially the Clerk of the Seanad, Martin Groves and the Clerk Assistant, Bridget Doody, for their support and kindness over the past term.