Tuesday, 8 October 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Last week, we spoke about Brexit and President Trump but, unfortunately, every time I stand in this Chamber, things seem to have got worse on both fronts. We will have an opportunity to criticise the budget later, but we should take a moment to recall that it is not that long ago that budget day was a very traumatic day for Irish people, when there was great discomfort and unrest outside the gates of Leinster House. Whatever queries or qualms one may have about today's announcement, it is notable that we have moved on from the crisis to a possibly better place. Certainly, when one contrasts what has happened with the Budget Statement in these Houses today with what is happening in the UK and in America, and the decision yesterday by President Donald Trump to withdraw from Syria, there is much to be said for what is happening in Ireland currently. We have allies in the United Kingdom. I should put on record the thanks of everybody in Ireland to Ms Bonnie Greer's comment on the BBC last week that Ireland owes the UK nothing and that we owe it no quarter or no concessions.
On another matter, will the Leader facilitate a discussion with the Minister for Health, when time permits in the coming weeks, on the need for a national autism strategy? It has come to my notice that there are many things we must improve in that area. Many parents are struggling to find school places for their children. The system currently demands that they find the school places themselves. There is also a lack of early intervention, long waiting lists and so forth.The time for a national autism strategy has arrived. We could start that debate in this House. It would greatly benefit parents who have a child with a diagnosis of autism, which they are struggling with, trying to get their heads around and find challenging. At the same time, parents seem to have to go to war with the system rather than the system embracing and working with them. A national autism strategy is needed and I would greatly appreciate a debate on the matter.