Friday, 27 March 2020
Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Motion for Earlier Signature
I will not delay you long, a Chathaoirligh. This may be the last time I will ever speak in this House. I will let the Minister know on Thursday morning.
First and foremost, I thank my colleagues for the support that I have always had since I entered this House. I thank the Government for the way in which I have always been treated. Any time I ever sought information or assistance I always got it. When one sees the words "emergency measures in the public interest" on the front of a Bill, it strikes horror in the hearts of all Irish people dating back to 2008 or thereabouts.
I compliment the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, and the Government for putting the citizen at the centre of this legislation, for thinking of the people of this country first, making sure people have incomes and that they have something to look forward to in what must be the blackest days in some of our lives. As I wandered around the supermarket, which I have only done twice since we were asked to stay at home, when I went out for essential supplies I was amazed to see how afraid people were as I walked towards them and how they looked towards the ground, almost embarrassed to say they were afraid. I would be lying if I said I was not petrified myself of the likely outcomes of this virus. I hope to God it passes my door and does not enter the doors of anybody that I know. The Minister, Deputy Donohoe, has done a good job. He has put the citizen first.
My final kick is that the Minister should please go back and have a look at the Defence Forces and do something about the military service allowance. The members are decent young men and women who should be training as cadets but today they are taking phone calls. It is the same thing for apprentices and recruits. I ask the Minister to do that as my final, final word in the Seanad.