Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Order of Business
The Order of Business is No. 1, Enforcement of Court Orders (Amendment) Bill 2009 - Order for Second Stage and Second and Subsequent Stages. Second Stage will be taken on the conclusion of the Order of Business, to conclude at 5.45 p.m., if not previously concluded. Spokespersons may speak for 12 minutes, all other Senators for seven minutes and Senators may share time by agreement of the House. Committee Stage to be taken on the conclusion of Second Stage; No. 2(a), Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 - Committee and Remaining Stages, to be taken on the conclusion of No. 1; and No. 3, Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Bill 2009 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to be taken on the conclusion of No. 2. Spokespersons may speak for ten minutes, all other Senators for seven minutes and Senators may share time by agreement of the House. Committee and Remaining Stages shall be taken on the conclusion of Second Stage. The business of the House shall be interrupted for 30 minutes on the conclusion of No. 2.
It is not just the economy that the Government cannot manage, but the business of the Seanad and the Dáil. How else can one explain what is happening today in the Seanad, with all Stages of two Bills being taken?. It would appear from the way the Leader has announced the Order of Business that there is no break between Second Stage and Committee Stage of the Enforcement of Court Orders (Amendment) Bill. It is extraordinary that we are expected to take all Stages without a break. The precedent is to have a break of a number of days when legislation is initiated in the Seanad, as is the case with that Bill and the other Bill all Stages of which are being taken this evening. That breaks with precedent and it is not good practice. It smacks of mismanagement of legislation by the Government. Why this unseemly rush at the end of term? Why take a break if this legislation, which requires proper scrutiny by both Houses, must be passed? Why must it be dealt with in a short timeframe? I ask the Leader to respond to that question. Will the Leader clarify whether there will be a break between Second Stage and Committee Stage to allow Members to submit amendments and have them published?
I wish to raise two national issues on which I would like the Leader to respond, the first of which is the electricians' strike, the impact of which on jobs and the economy generally is an appalling vista in terms of the potential damage that could be done. I ask that the Government appoint a mediator to ensure this strike, which has many consequences, does not continue. The second issue is that of gun crime and the recent innocent victim of gun crime, Wayne Doherty, whose last poignant words were "Tell Karen and the children I love them." We must ensure better targeting of these criminals to ensure this type of behaviour on our streets does not continue week in week out. This is the 16th gangland murder this year and it is completely outrageous. People, in particular those in the local community, are numbed this has happened. Gangland crime has serious implications for the country and we must provide more resources for gardaí at local level and enact strong legislation in this area. I am sure the Leader will bring that message from this House to Government.
Will the Leader raise with the Minister for Health and Children the changes in the provision of respite services at Cherry Orchard Hospital? Many people are concerned about the changes in this service. Residents in the Lucan, Palmerstown and Clondalkin areas depend on it and the changes are causing great hardship to families whose elderly relatives attend the centre. I ask that frontline services like this are protected. I would be grateful if the Leader would raise this issue with the Minister for Health and Children.