Seanad debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Fianna Fail)

That is their job. It is a part of the responsibility and burden of being in Cabinet, although it is a privilege to be there. These are the kinds of issues that if Ministers can get around the table, and it sounds like they are doing that, hopefully they can bring this to a resolution that is long overdue. It brought the issue home when the Senator said this all kicked off in the year 2000. That is a long time ago and it has been a long time coming.

Senator Buttimer raised the issue of a debate on Covid, as he has on many occasions. I am happy to confirm to the Senator that there will be a debate next week with the Minister for Health. The Minister for Education, Deputy Foley, will also be before the House to discuss education. On 7 December, the Tánaiste will be before the House to discuss Covid and issues around business. We will have full debates across education, health and business before the House comes to recess and that is welcome.

Senator Ahearn raised an issue around crèches and welcomed that they will now be treated the same as schools. I share the concerns about that sector. Crèches have not had the loudest within the education sector but they are part of that sector. That is important to say. I appreciate how difficult it is for that sector as it tries to deal with the logistics of Covid and managing all of that.

Senator Carrigy finished off the Order of Business by welcoming the Tánaiste's remarks about addressing Covid misinformation. That is important and we all have a role to play in that regard. He also acknowledged that the he Government is not looking to introduce any major restrictions because the National Public Health Emergency Team has not advised it to. We are trying to steady the ship as we go, which I think is happening. People and citizens are taking personal responsibility and doing a great job in adjusting their behaviours to try to keep things steady and maintain the openness that we have achieved to date.

The Senator also raised the issue of transport and the haulage protest that is happening today. There should be a little bit of focus on the rebate scheme. There might be some flexibility in that regard. I do not agree with the calls to reduce State taxes on fuel because that would go against our climate policy. I do not think that is on the table. The rebate scheme is probably where we can assist the sector, which is under severe pressure. It keeps the show on the road for this country. We are an island nation and rely on imports to keep the shelves stocked. I hope some sort of a solution can be found through that scheme for that sector and all of those workers in the haulage sector.

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