Wednesday, 29 July 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I thank the Leader and the Seanad Office for putting down the motion for the restoration to the Order Paper of three Bills I introduced in the previous Seanad. They all passed Second Stage in the House and I was extremely grateful to colleagues for the unanimous support I received in each case. The first Bill is the Criminal Justice (Public Order) (Amendment) Bill 2019, the purpose of which is to provide for the introduction of a mandatory prison sentence of 12 months in respect of an assault on a member of the emergency services in the course of his or her duty. We need to send out a strong message that we will not tolerate assaults on emergency workers. We must protect those who are protecting us.
The second Bill is the First Aid and Mental Health in Schools (Initial Teacher Training) Bill 2018 and the third, related, Bill is the First Aid and Mental Health in Schools (Existing Teachers) Bill 2018. The purpose of these Bills is to provide for a requirement that all teachers in training and all existing teachers, respectively, receive proper training in occupational first aid response and mental health first aid. We cannot have a situation where teachers are presented with an emergency, where a child becomes ill, for example, and they are not properly equipped to deal with that emergency. In regard to mental health first aid, we need to ensure our teachers receive proper training so that they can identify the tell-tale signs of a child who is distant or feeling low and act accordingly. I look forward to all three of my Bills passing through the House as soon as possible.