Seanad debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

1:00 pm

Photo of Mary Seery KearneyMary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)

I want to be associated with the sympathies for our former colleague, John O'Mahony.

I concur with the statement by Senator Kyne regarding childcare. We need statements on the order of this House. The fact is childcare facilities are pulling out of the core funding scheme, regardless of the Department's assertion that it is so effective. This time last year and the year before, I sought support for services and was told that the sustainability fund was the answer to everything. However, when I put down parliamentary questions and asked for press figures on the matter, the answer was that it has not been supporting services, which have had no choice but to pull out of core funding, thereby disadvantaging parents. We need statements on the order of this House. We need to challenge the assertions of the Department of children, which are bordering on misleading given some of the information we are receiving in this regard.

The Seanad Public Consultation Committee sat this morning. I ask that we would have a special public consultation on sexual abuse, sexual assault and the culture and general attitude regarding this in Ireland. As a public discourse, we need to have statements. We need to explore this and hear from the various stakeholders and representative entities. We see from the article in the Sunday Independent and the “RTÉ Investigates” programme that women are preyed upon. What happened in the FAI happened after the revelations on the swimming coaches so there was no excuse for ignorance at the time. There was an exposure going on at the time that the coaches were preying upon young women in that instance. We then saw a similar situation in the FAI. I venture to say that this is a national scandal and we have only hit the tip of the iceberg. We need to have a public discussion. I ask that we facilitate a public consultation committee on this particular subject.

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