Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

3:30 pm

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Fine Gael)

Indeed. I look forward to the announcement of the allocations. If Senator Boyhan wishes, he can submit a Commencement matter as a means of getting a more prompt reply than I can give him. There has been no delay in the process. My understanding is that it is still being vetted and gone through.

This Government is very committed to giving justice and support to the women who have been affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, which was raised by Senator Conway-Walsh. I am not familiar with the case she mentioned.

We will have a debate on pyrite with the Minister of State, Deputy English, in due course. He has been in the House on a number of occasions.

Senator Conway spoke about the increase in the budget of the Department of Justice and Equality, which we all welcome. I think there is universal welcome for the commitment to more community policing, in line with the Garda Commissioner's new model of delivering better policing, more visibility, more boots on the ground and more gardaí with a presence. I will be happy to have another debate on justice in due course.

Senator Murnane O'Connor referred to the podiatry service in Carlow. She will appreciate that I am not familiar with the issue. Perhaps she can communicate her concerns to the Minister, Deputy Harris, when he is in the House on 23 October if she has not got an opportunity to do so before then.

Senator McDowell raised the important issue of the role of the Houses of the Oireachtas in European scrutiny. As he will be aware, the Oireachtas has responsibility for the scrutiny of EU draft proposals and policies, the proper transposition of EU legislation into law and holding the Government to account. Some of this work is done by the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs. The Senator is right when he says there is a need for more in-depth engagement with European policy. That was mentioned as part of Seanad reform. It is something we could take on board now, prior to any further reform of the Seanad. Perhaps we can put it on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. This important matter should not be falling between different cracks. The Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, is based in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the Tánaiste. If I heard the Senator correctly, he is arguing that there should be a Cabinet-level Minister with specific responsibility for European affairs.

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