Seanad debates

Monday, 29 March 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Malcolm ByrneMalcolm Byrne (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Leas-Chathaoirleach agus is mian liom trí ábhar a ardú le toil an Leas-Chathaoirligh. First, I would like to raise the report of the Higher Education Authority this morning on completion rates for undergraduate programmes. It is to be celebrated that three out of every four undergraduates complete their courses. There is a concern, however, that students from disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular male students who enter with lower leaving certificate points, are not completing, and this is of particular worry in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM. I would like a debate on access to further and higher education.

I wish to raise the fact we do not as yet appear to have a solution to the long-running case of pensions for community employment supervisors. I ask, as a matter of urgency, that the proposal for agreement would be brought before this House and we would get some clarity from the Government as to the actions that are going to be taken.

Normally this April we would be required to fill in census forms, and householders in the North have been required to complete their forms in recent weeks. During the recess, on 7 April, the 40th anniversary of the murder of Joanne Mathers by the Provisional IRA will be marked. She was a young mother of a one-year-old child who took on the job of collecting the census data simply to bring in extra income for her family. She was killed by the IRA simply for doing her job.It was a senseless killing. The truth never fully emerged. I ask that, for her family and those who knew here, those who have information about her murder would come forward now, on the 40th anniversary of her death so that there can finally be some closure in respect of this disgraceful act.


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