Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Rose Conway WalshRose Conway Walsh (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I wish to pass on my condolences on the passing of Fr. Des Wilson to his family. I know he is a relative of our own Senator Wilson, and I am sure my colleague, Senator Ó Donnghaile, will talk further about him and the Springhill area of west Belfast, where he came from. He was 70 years in the priesthood and was obviously a peacemaker and a champion of the people. May his soul rest in peace.

I ask the Leader again to bring the Minister before the House on the pyrite situation. I know that money has been allocated, but not one single cent of it has so far gone to the people in Mayo or Donegal, I believe. I really need the Minister to come before the House to clarify the criteria in that regard.

I empathise with the 600,000 people in Dublin, Kildare and Meath who are facing a third day of the boil water notice. I am perplexed, however, by the fact that the Government thinks it acceptable that people in Mayo and other rural areas live for years with boil water notices. This year Mayo County Council sought funding for the construction of a number of new water schemes. The Letterbrick scheme, in Kenagh, was one such scheme serving 24 connections, which would involve an extension to the Nephin valley group water scheme. Another was the Downpatrick Head group water scheme. The unfairness of funding still not being allocated to these group water schemes and the continuation of boil water notices for years and years must be addressed. I, therefore, ask also that the Leader bring the Minister before the House to discuss group water schemes specifically. I know that some allocations have been made, but we cannot go on for years and years with boil water notices.

When will the Minister, Deputy Harris, release the valproate response report? The report is on his desk. Families have waited 18 months already for it. We cannot get the information we need on the 1975 and 1983 licences. I know that Karen Keely has been looking for this information. She is a mother of three children who have been affected by valproate syndrome. We need to get this sorted. When will the report come off the Minister's desk and be published in order that a proper redress scheme, similar to that has been put in place in France, can be put in place and an independent investigation take place as to who knew what and when?


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