Wednesday, 6 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I rise to pay tribute to the memory of Ana Kriégel. Sentences were handed down yesterday to the two boys responsible for her murder. Comments have been made in the media this morning as to how Ireland should react to the fact that we have two child murderers guilty of this heinous crime. It is important we remember Ana as a beautiful, talented, loved young girl. The dignity with which her family have dealt with this situation is quite inspirational. However, we must come to terms with this horrible event, discuss it and ensure that everything that can be done in these Houses to learn a lesson is done and that nothing of this nature can ever possibly happen again. Questions have been asked about the nature of child pornography and the extent of its availability. Questions have been asked about the availability of smartphones. Discussions have been had on the nature of the quite intensive and cruel bullying that seems to take place in many of our schools and among our young people. Bullying is not just an issue for young people but it certainly seemed to be a feature of this case. We therefore need to respond to this situation. If Ireland has produced two child murderers, and a child has been murdered, these Houses have a duty to react in a calm, considered way that might lead society in learning some lessons from this horrible tale.
I also wish to raise the issue of autism services in north Dublin. I am constantly struck by the paltry level of service available on the north side of Dublin to parents of children diagnosed with autism, by the long waiting lists for early intervention and by the inability of parents to get school places for their children and associated issues. It seems that if a child is diagnosed with autism, rather than the system wrapping itself around him or her with the care one would expect, the parents must become part-time campaigners and often must go to war with the system to get the most basic of provisions.I would appreciate if the Leader could arrange a debate on the nature of the autism services both in north Dublin and across the country in order that we can get to the root of what is wrong and determine how we can correct it. I regularly meet parents of young children who are already completely and utterly exhausted. They are not looking forward to dealing with a system for years into the future that cannot adequately support then. Therefore, I would appreciate if the Leader could facilitate a debate on this issue.