Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Business of Seanad
I have notice from Senator Shane Ross that, on the motion for the Adjournment of the House today, he proposes to raise the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health and Children to hasten the process for Irish citizens to adopt children from overseas.
I have also received notice from Senator Brian O'Domhnaill of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to simplify the application process for new housing grant schemes in order to make it easier for the disabled and elderly to avail of the schemes; and if he will reconsider his decision to terminate the HSE special housing aid for the elderly scheme which is due to cease on 31 March 2008.
I have also received notice from Senator Ciarán Cannon of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Education and Science to provide an update on the provision of a new community school in Glenamaddy, County Galway.
I have also received notice from Senator John Ellis of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health and Children to clarify the position with regard to the provision of a community hospital-primary care centre in Ballinamore, County Leitrim.
I regard the matters raised by the Senators as suitable for discussion on the Adjournment. I have selected the matters raised by Senators Shane Ross, Brian O'Domhnaill and Ciarán Cannon and they will be taken at the conclusion of business. Senator Ellis may give notice on another day of the matter he wishes to raise.
Before calling the Leader on the Order of Business and in view of the recent media coverage of a proposal to relocate Seanad Éireann, I wish to clarify the matter for Members and explain the background to the reports. Arising from a full technical analysis of the structural integrity of the original Leinster House building by the Office of Public Works, it was discovered that there are many structural failures that need immediate attention, both from an operational and heritage point of view. The Office of Public Works and its consultants have recommended to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission that the problem be addressed by a scheme of works commencing in July 2008 and concluding in September 2009, which has the implication of a full vacation of the accommodation currently being utilised by Seanad Éireann within the original Leinster House building.
That proposal was discussed at a meeting of the commission last Thursday and subsequently gave rise to media reports. The Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges met this morning and is in adjournment to allow the Office of Public Works to investigate fully all possible options for any such relocation, together with feasibility studies. The matter rests there and the committee will report back to the House when it has fully considered all options put forward and is in a position to make a recommendation. Until then, I request Members to leave the matter within the remit of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, where the matter will be fully considered.