Friday, 30 April 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I can do that today, that is no problem. I do not know why our procurement clause do not have a clause such as that suggested by the Senator. Any State-sponsored or State-supported company must have a minimum standard of engagement with its employees and it certainly sounds as if the example the Senator gave us this morning is falling far short of that. I will send the Senator a copy of that letter.
Senator Moynihan spoke about what she feels is a contradiction in terms regarding the expansion of the definition of cost-rental. I do not know whether me writing a letter to the Minister will give the Senator anything more than she already knows. I can only suggest that she raises it as a Commencement matter and that might elicit further information. I wish her well.
Senator McDowell spoke eloquently about Arlene Foster. A week is an awfully long time in politics. Senator Horkan referred to everything that has happened in the week he has been here. He is very welcome. I have huge respect for Arlene Foster, not only because she has broken the glass ceiling, and she certainly has, but also in terms of how much she is being mistreated at the moment. Perhaps that is just politics. Senator McDowell talked about her ability and bravery, which she has in spades. She also has compassion and is a formidable woman. I would like to take the opportunity to thank her, from this House, for her contribution to Irish politics and wish her well in whatever she does. I have no doubt that this is not the end of Arlene Foster. She is only warming up. I thank the Senator for raising that matter and giving us an opportunity to discuss Arlene Foster. As Senator O'Loughlin also mentioned, she is a formidable woman.
Senator O'Loughlin started matters off by seeking a debate, as other colleagues did earlier in the week, on sexual education in our schools. What happened has certainly raised eyebrows. Senator Warfield spoke here last week about how he felt as a young man, growing up, and that is not something that anybody in this country should tolerate and we should certainly not tolerate it now. Anybody fostering those kinds of thoughts in our children's minds certainly needs to be challenged or at least brought out into the open. I will arrange that debate as soon as I can.I am very happy to accept the proposed amendment. I wish Senator Dooley well with his smoky coal Bill. I live in an area that has not had smoky coal for many years and it certainly is a benefit because we have clean air. Coincidentally, 5 km up the road they are allowed to use smoky coal. You can see it from our house, which beggars belief. I wish the Senator well and will accept that amendment.
Finally, on behalf of all us today, I wish to extend our great thanks to Jimmy Dunne who is retiring today after 43 years of serving us and many who have been here before us in these Houses, for the past 43 years as an usher and attendant. He has served under seven taoisigh, which is some kind of record, to be fair. I wish Jimmy every success in his retirement and to thank him sincerely on behalf of all of us, for all of his support, good wishes and his smile, because he is an absolute gem of a gentleman. I wish him and his family a very healthy, happy and long retirement with thanks from everyone in this House.