Seanad debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Fine Gael)

We all wish Pete continued success. May the Cathaoirleach enjoy the anniversary on Saturday.

Senator Paddy Burke was seeking a debate on infrastructure, particularly in the west. There is a standing request in Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for a debate on the national development plan. I will chase that up again today.

Senator Dolan recounted her tour of Holles Street hospital this morning. The building has been creaking at the seams for decades. Patches and short-term alterations do not cut the mustard. The need is no doubt glaring to every single one of us, but what needs to be put on the record - we all have varying opinions on the proposed new hospital - is the tremendous service that the women and men who work in what is an antiquated building give the women of Ireland in all their work.

On the matter raised by Senator Gallagher, I will send a letter to the Minister for Justice asking her to talk to the Garda Commissioner, Mr. Harris, to find out the reason for the delay with regard to defining what is happening as a review or an investigation. If a redefinition by the Minister is required and directions need to be issued by the Garda Commissioner, these should be done sooner rather than later seeing that the 48th anniversary is approaching very soon.

Senators Keogan and Moynihan asked for a debate on the latest Daft report. I will organise it in the coming weeks.

Senators Ward and Craughwell asked for a debate on Hong Kong, particularly on the human rights abuses that we hear of. I will organise that.

What Senator Clonan compassionately raised is so concerning. I was certainly not aware of it. I was not near anywhere that was being bombed, thankfully, but quite a number of our colleagues have been. I thank the Senator for raising the issue and sharing his knowledge. We got briefings on security and all local issues, but what was raised was certainly not in my briefing. However, I was not going to Ukraine. I thank the Senator for raising the matter in the House today and for his offer of assistance to anybody else going.

Senator Ahearn talked about the rural conference and looked for a debate on rural Ireland and regeneration. I will organise that as soon as I can.

Senator Sherlock spoke about the former Debenhams workers outside the House today and the Bill that will be before the Dáil next week.

Senators Maria Byrne and Buttimer both paid tribute to our nursing fraternity today, the International Nurses Day. Nurses' lifelong commitment not only to the patients they look after but also to their own educational resources is second to none.

Senator Murphy sought a debate on energy prices and the absolutely crazy variations highlighted to us this week by the media. Ireland is paying a rate that is 26% higher than the EU average. It certainly needs an explanation.

Senator Craughwell sought a debate on Hong Kong but also sought the affiliations of our Defence Forces' members. I will write to the Minister today to ask him to make a decision on that and let us know about it in the House.

Senator Conway spoke about the Teaching Council, but the matter is not unique to the council. For example, the medical practitioners legislation requires amendment so we can allow our trained, skilled, new refugees to work and use their skills in Ireland.I will certainly bring that to the attention of the Cabinet sub-committee. There are a number of pieces of officialdom that need to be sorted out to help our people to integrate.

Senator Horkan spoke of coming from the Dublin climate summit and asked for a rolling series of debates on climate change and the updates that are happening. I will organise that. Senator Flynn spoke to us about the absolutely horrendous recent reports on the rise of hepatitis in Ireland and the substandard accommodation that is probably feeding into the increase. I will ask the Minister for an update and request a debate and come back on it.

Senator Moynihan looked for a debate on the Daft report. Senator Boylan outlined her dog Bill the full Title of which I did not catch. However, the merits of the Bill which she described absolutely warrant support and I wish her every success with it and hope to God to debate it here shortly.

Senator Boyhan spoke about the €45 million food and marine fund announced this week by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. He sought a debate on fishing and also on children. Senator Buttimer spoke about the ECB interest rate increases and the fact that unfortunately we are experiencing a 22-year high in inflation rates. He sought a range of debates on economic and budgetary matters. I will organise that.

Senator O'Loughlin opened today's debate talking about the scourge of unauthorised developments which I know is not unique to Kildare and we should have a more effective system of enforcement. She also talked about the unreliability of some of our service providers in the public transport sector and sought assurances that there would be better services, particularly given that we as a nation are trying to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto public transport. I will see if we can organise that debate.

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