Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I will begin by saying a huge "thank you" to everybody who has eased my passage into this House in the past six months. It is an incredible privilege to walk through the doors, if not overwhelming and daunting at times. I pay a special tribute to my party colleagues whose forbearance has been extraordinary at times when I have gone in to their offices, and particularly that of the Leader, and asked, "How do I do this?". I have had great guidance from them for which I thank them. I thank all of the staff, Martin and Bridget, and the Cathaoirleach.I have good news that I want to share but I cannot do so without acknowledging the existential crisis facing the hospitality industry. I am familiar with the hospitality industry and know the terrible hardship experienced by those working in and supplying it at the moment. It seems trivial to go on with lighter happy things, but there are very serious challenges that we need to embrace and figure a way through in this most horrible of years. I will end my contribution on a series of good news items.
I thank my colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Madigan, for her announcement yesterday of the opening of Scoil Colm in Crumlin, Dublin 12, as a special needs school. It has been fantastic to work with her. She has only been in her role for six months and already major strides forward have been made. I am very grateful for that. It is a great relief to the Dublin 12 campaign for an autism-specific school. We still have work to do with the Involve Autism group and we will move ahead on that in the new year.
A few weeks ago, I stood here and got very emotional about the need of Chernobyl Children International. I am glad to announce that at least one of the containers has already been financed. I thank my party colleagues who went out of the way and have asked not to be named but did special work on my behalf. I am very grateful to them for that. I am very grateful to Adi Roche and her team for their work.
Yesterday, a blue plaque was unveiled on the house in Leighlin Road in Crumlin where Phil Lynott grew up. At this time of year, I always remember his mother, Philomena, and the legacy she ensured for her son. I pay tribute to her as a great mother and a great role model. I also pay tribute to Phil, by saying, "I sure miss you, honey, now you're not around".