Seanad debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


3:30 pm

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

We are environmentally friendly so we do not burn anything now.

Senator Gavan raised the issue of migration. I was at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, last weekend. Migration is a huge issue for Europe and one we need to have a serious conversation about. I will facilitate the Senator's request as soon as possible.

Senator McFadden raised the issue of the Ryan family in the context of the incitement to hatred Act, which, as she rightly said, is 30 years old. I join those who condemn the vitriolic attacks on the Ryan family. Such attacks have no place in our society. It is regrettable that they have chosen to leave our country and go across the water. The Minister is reviewing the provisions of the incitement to hatred Act. A public consultation is due to start sometime this autumn. I would be happy to have the Minister come before the House to discuss the matter. We should all unite in condemnation of the attacks on the family in question.

Senator Swanick raised the issue of medicines and health in the context of Brexit. As he will know, both Jim Breslin, the Secretary General in the Department of Health, and Dean Sullivan, the chief strategy officer for the HSE, were before the Oireachtas committee dealing with the issue of medicines supply. At that meeting, they said there was unlikely to be any shortages and that there could be some disruption to services. The point the Senator makes is one of communication. I hope that what he outlines will happen. The Minister for Health will be here on 23 October, so that will be an opportunity to have that discussion.

Senator Ó Ríordáin raised a number of issues in the context of Bonnie Greer's comments, and he is right to highlight them. I think we all remember the budget days of trauma, and we welcome today's budget. His comments on autism are very relevant. As he knows, Senator Reilly has a national autism strategy Bill, which was debated in this House. Senator Ó Ríordáin is right, and I agree with him completely: families should not have to go to war with the system; they should be embraced by the system. Perhaps he and Senator Reilly could discuss the matter. We must have a national autism strategy. Far too many families are now competing against one another, which is wrong, for school places, services and assessments. There is also a need for resources in this area, especially in respect of school places and assessment for and provision of respite care. I think we will revisit the matter here because there is a dire need for a national autism strategy.

Senator Devine raised the issue of the specialist sarcoma post. I do not have an answer to that. Again, it might be more appropriate as a Commencement matter. As she knows, the Minister will be here again in October. Whether I am dancing with wolves or sleeping with wolves, she can certainly put the matter before the Minister.


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