Thursday, 3 June 2010
Order of Business (Resumed)
I would like to respond to the point made by Senator Ó Murchú. I understand that everyone should act in accordance with his or her own conscience and agree that the matter should be debated. The law we are talking about is not a penal one. It seeks to give a degree of recognition to people's sexuality and love for each other, over which they have no control and in which they have no choice. If we are to move forward in this country, we have to accept that the law is the law. State officials are expected to implement the law in performing their roles. Regardless of the area of public life we are talking about, surely we have learnt the lesson that if we give people the ability to opt out of implementing the law, we will do so at a great cost to us all.
Given that other animals that are out there tweeting on this beautiful morning, and in light of the Deputy Leader's recent tweetings on various matters, I ask him to put on the public record his concerns about the expenses issue that has been highlighted by Senator Fitzgerald. If he is willing to put them on the record elsewhere, I ask him to put them on the record of the House this morning. More to the point, I am asking him to act on his concerns. I would like to move an amendment to the Order of Business to ask Members of this House to respond to the points made by Senator Callely yesterday.
I wish to specify that I am moving an amendment to ask Members of this House to respond to the points made by Senator Callely yesterday. I am not asking the Senator to come in here again. I am trying to give all Members an opportunity to respond to what he said yesterday.
I generally find Senator Fitzgerald to be measured and fair in her comments. There is an obligation on this House to afford a fair and due process to any Member who needs to account for an issue. I accord fully with the comments of Senator Mullen in that regard. I understand that Senators from all parties are on the relevant select committee, which is chaired by the Cathaoirleach. Every Senator is entitled to be heard and to receive a fair and objective assessment and adjudication of the relevant incident or issue. It can come back before the House, by all means, at that stage. If we rush to judgment by having debates without proper processes, we will do a disservice to this House. I ask Members to take account of that. I fully endorse and support what Senator Ó Murchú said.
I have been a Member of this House for 13 years. I have supported and endorsed many issues with which I agreed. I have supported other issues out of loyalty to the Whip rather than any conviction. It is difficult, however, to ask any Member to abrogate his conscience with regard to matters which he - or she for that matter- feels are issues of conscience that are not for compromise in their view. Several issues will emerge, not just civil partnership but also embryonic stem cell research, pro-life and abortion issues. There is a ream of social issues which will have huge impact on the development of our society. We need to be careful. Those who have a view contrary to a liberal agenda being pushed by others have a right to a free vote on such issues as have people outside the right to exercise freedom of conscience.
I, on behalf of the Labour Party, join other Members in welcoming the Paisleys to the House. It is historic to see them in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery.
Yesterday, I asked the Leader for a debate on the need for climate change legislation. Today, I renew my call, this time to the Deputy Leader, for such a debate. It is noteworthy the Government side only defeated the amendment I proposed to yesterday's Order of Business by two votes, 28 to 26. That was with all three Green Senators voting with the Government side and against the call for a debate on climate change.
Will he clarify when precisely the heads of the Bill will be published and the Bill be introduced? I commend Friends of the Earth and the Stop Climate Chaos campaign which ran a full day's lobbying yesterday in Buswells Hotel on the need for climate change legislation. My Climate Protection Bill has been languishing on the Order Paper since October 2007. If the Government is finding it difficult to come up with its own Bill, it could simply adopt my legislation.
I will not be lectured by Senator Mullen on the need for women Members to take an interest in issues around prostitution and trafficking. I have often called upon the Leader for debates on these issues.
I also welcome Mr. Paisley and Baroness Paisley to the House. I must advise him that I am driving an all-Ireland inspirational life award for older people and how they enhance all our lives. Mr. and Baroness Paisley would no doubt be very welcome and appropriate winners of my all-Ireland award. I would love you, Mr. Paisley, to come back again and address us here in the Seanad.
I want to raise the matter of alcohol consumption in Ireland. According to a recent European survey, the Irish nation consumes 20% more alcohol than our European partners. A recent survey also indicated that 42% of boys and 44% of girls aged between the ages of 15 and 16 years had a binge drinking session in the last month. I call for an urgent debate on why Irish people drink more than the European average consumption rate. There is nothing wrong with a little drop of alcohol. The grape is a gift from God and man has been able to convert it into a beautiful beverage. What is wrong with the Irish psyche that we drink so much? What is the need to do so? No adequate study has been done as to why Ireland is 20% above the European average.
What is the procedure? The committee which is supposed to be examining Senator Callely's issue is meeting today at 12 o'clock. Are we going to have an opportunity in this House to receive the report from that committee, or is it intended that the matter be concluded by that committee? I think that this is an important issue, an issue of fraud by a Member of this House, and I think it has to be dealt with in this Chamber.
I understand the precedent but it would not be correct of me as a student of history not to note with great pleasure and joy that Dr. Paisley and his lady wife are in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery. It is indeed a historic occasion.
I call for a debate on the matter raised by Senators Ó Murchú and Walsh on the rights of people who will find themselves in extreme and difficult circumstances should the Civil Partnership Bill pass. The reality is there are people like myself who have difficulty with the Bill. As chairman of the Green Party and someone very much involved in the programme for Government, I ask the Deputy Leader again for a referendum such that the question can go to the people. Does the public seek a situation whereby a same-sex, sexual relationship has a higher standing in law than that of brothers, sisters, brothers and sisters or friends who live together in an ordinary way? Should such a relationship be put on a higher plain? I do not believe it should be nor do I believe that anyone who feels the same as I do should be discriminated against for that belief. With this in mind, I ask again for a referendum and, in particular, for a free vote when the situation comes to this House.
At the outset, I refer in passing to the earlier remarks of Senator Walsh. As Senator Donohoe outlined, while members of my party will be supporting the Civil Partnership Bill individually and collectively and the underlying principles behind it, I have sympathy with Senator Walsh's view that, on any issue of personal conscience, people should be allowed a free vote and that this should be allowed within and across parties. This is a personal view I hold. It is not a debate on the legislation as such but a point on the general principle and, in fact, a very liberal concept.
I refer to the issue I raised yesterday. In reply to my points about the cancer situation yesterday, the Leader stated the Minister will be coming to the House, which is to be welcomed. Will the Deputy Leader take some immediate steps to deal with the frightening report from the Royal College of Physicians yesterday that a large number of cancer sufferers, specifically those with blood cancers, are contracting infections because they are with other patients in hospitals? They need to be in isolation and in isolated units to avoid infection, which is putting their chemotherapy and treatment off, causing premature death and bringing immense agony to patients and families. Thousands of people are involved and one cannot quantify the pain. This report from Professor Hilary Humphreys, among others, is scientific and empirical and not a nonsense concept involving a few anecdotes. It is a fact that patients are suffering and not getting chemotherapy and that they are getting infections. I am asking the Leader if dramatic interventions could be taken as of today.
I join the welcome to Dr. Ian Paisley - Lord Paisley - and his lovely wife, Baroness Eileen Paisley, to this House. It is an historic day for all of us when we have such a wonderful man and his lady wife in this House. I extend a céad míle fáilte to both of them. Today will remain in our memories and it is great that the Cathaoirleach is present today as well.
I support Senator Rónán Mullen's point on the question of human trafficking. Legislation, including the Bill, is vital. I compliment Senator Mullen on his work at the Council of Europe where he has played a very important role. His may be a lone voice crying in the wilderness sometimes but he is being heard there and in this House. I hope the proposals will be brought forward because there is an issue about the users of brothels and other places used by those involved in human trafficking, and that issue should be debated in this House. I call on the Deputy Leader to arrange a debate on this issue as soon as possible and to bring forward all the documentation. This should be seen as a European issue, not just an Irish one. There should be a pan-European decision to ensure trafficking becomes illegal in every country in the European Union and the Council of Europe.
I support the point made by Senator Glynn on flooding. Some €888,000 has been allocated to County Roscommon by the Minister of State, Deputy Martin Mansergh, for relief from the flooding that took place and to ensure it does not recur.
I support the proposal by Senator Paddy Burke on the question of septic tanks. It is a very important issue and I call on the Deputy Leader to arrange a debate in the House with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy John Gormley, to discuss this matter.
It is especially opportune that Dr. and Lady Paisley are present today. Yesterday, Senator Mooney called for a debate on Northern Ireland, which I support. The situation in Northern Ireland is quite volatile because, in recent times, there has been a change in government in the United Kingdom and it is seeking £6 billion in savings. These are likely to come from the public sector and from Northern Ireland. It is recognised that the unemployment situation for young males is a godsend to those seeking extremist volunteers. It is very important that this House voices to the British Government the need to recognise the importance of public sector investment in Northern Ireland.
I am especially concerned that some voices from the United States stated recently that because there is peace in Northern Ireland, there is no need for the same level of financial support. If we look back and think of the incident at Massereene Barracks and the case of Constable Stephen Carroll, who died only recently, we recognise a very tentative peace in place. Let us ensure we hold this debate very soon and that we do not fall into the trap of leaving because there has been a secure peace in Northern Ireland for a number of months which appears to give us safety from that point of view.
Senator Alex White called for a debate on university funding. Dr. Tom Boland of the Higher Education Authority wrote to the universities recently to warn them that the savings sought by the Government are likely to come from the universities. The universities and the educational system in Ireland is the one thing on which we must ensure we continue to concentrate. If we look back on the past, the reason we did well in the good years was because of a well-educated, English-speaking population in Ireland. Let us ensure we do not aim at an easy target and reduce investment in universities.
I am asking the Deputy Leader a specific question. Is it proposed that we sit next week? If it is the intention of the Members on the Government side not to sit next week, can the Deputy Leader explain why? It is unconscionable that we do not sit next week and it is important that we do sit next week. We have been damaged by the events of this week and I second Senator Donohoe's amendment to the Order of Business.
The liberal agenda that Senators Walsh and Hanafin railed against this morning is about fairness for all our citizens and people. It behoves us as parliamentarians to treat all of the people fairly and equally. I hope we will not return to the days when the vested interests the Senators purport to represent dominated Irish politics.
My colleagues, Senators Ó Murchú, Hanafin, Walsh and Mullen, waxed eloquently, if misguidedly and irrationally, about conscience. I invite them to join me in voting against the Bill if their consciences are real and it is not just a stunt. I will vote against the Bill because, as it stands, it will do violence against children. Let them take the consequences, if they have such consciences.
I support the calls of various Members for a debate on the question of integrity in politics and the current situation regarding one Member of this House. While Senator Callely can be invited to make a statement, he cannot be compelled to do so. He was appointed by the Taoiseach, not elected, and I do not believe the Taoiseach has the power to remove him, although he may remove the whip. A statement was made yesterday, but it was meaningless, vapid, self-serving and worthless. The facts should be clear - the Senator either lived in Cork or in Dublin. Those are the stark alternatives and it should not be beyond anybody's intelligence to establish the facts, despite the attempt to confuse the issue by using words such as "abode", "residence" and so forth. I hope this debate will take place. It would be appropriate.
I welcome the fact that the European Union is, at last, addressing the issue of the ratings agencies Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's. I have been calling for this for the last 18 months but have been blithely ignored by the media. Some of the media finally appear to be catching up, but I wish they had done so earlier. It appeared to be the perfectly logical thing to do and I hope the European Union will be successful in its efforts to contain the damage done by these discredited institutions.
Yesterday my colleague, Senator Burke, asked the Leader to invite the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to the House to discuss turf cutting. I also heard a flashy radio advertisement yesterday encouraging people to contact the Department to register the fact that they were to be banned from cutting turf. Where will this end? Why has the Minister not engaged with the turf cutters or the contractors?
I have raised this issue many times in the Seanad. It is an invasion of the people of rural Ireland. Where will it end? The individuals concerned cut turf for their domestic use. They are not raping the countryside, as has been alleged by the Green Party.
I ask the Deputy Leader to invite his party leader to come to the House for an open and frank discussion on the issue. In fact, while discussions are taking place, he should put in place a pilot scheme, whereby people could continue to cut turf for their domestic use. I am not referring to industrialised turf cutting but to people being able to keep warm when there is no money for other fuels.
With regard to the Civil Partnership Bill, how would people feel if members of my profession or the nursing profession decided not to treat patients on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious persuasion? It would be completely unworkable. Members who are making speeches in this House must be a little more practical in their comments. Not agreeing with carrying out abortions or conducting embryonic stem cell research should not be put in the same category as treating patients who have a different religious persuasion, sexual orientation or gender. The same applies to nurses. We must clearly separate these issues and not muddy the waters with such talk either inside or outside the House.
What happened in this House yesterday should be clarified. We cannot hide behind legalese and procedure with regard to what happened. We lose moral authority and the respect of the people when we do this. There must be a clear statement by Senator Callely. The Deputy Leader can also make a statement on his views on the issue. The Taoiseach has made it clear that he seeks a full and frank statement on what is happening. That is the general consensus of the people who also want to know what is happening. Hiding behind procedures involving committees and legalese is absolute rubbish. There is a moral issue as to whether it was morally wrong to draw expenses to which one was not entitled. We must deal with the issue in an open manner because that is the business of the Oireachtas. That is what happened in the Lower House when a similar issue was raised regarding the former Ceann Comhairle. It was not dealt with by a committee, even though that is what he sought. It was dealt with on the floor of the Lower House; that is what we should seek in the Seanad.
I support Senator Cummins's call for the Waterford to Rosslare railway line to be kept open. Waterford is a gateway city in the national spatial strategy, while Rosslare is a Europort, a gateway to mainland Europe. It is a crazy and retrograde step to close off a lifeline from the rest of Europe into the heart of Ireland such as the Rosslare to Waterford railway line. One constantly hears the Green Party and others talk about sustainable transport. We must find ways to keep the railways sustainable. One way is to take freight off the roads and carry it on the railways. I ask the Deputy Leader to use his good offices to ensure this railway line is not closed.
I support the calls for a debate on small and medium enterprises. I have regularly spoken in the House of the need to acknowledge the great work taking place in the manufacturing sector. We cannot afford to give up on manufacturing. Many small traditional and indigenous manufacturing businesses are exporting their products to far-away lands and must be supported. Competitiveness is an issue and overheads are a huge challenge for manufacturing. I ask the Deputy Leader to allocate time for a debate on manufacturing, the role of State agencies in supporting such businesses and the role of the colleges in co-ordinating research and helping them to find new markets. It is very important, particularly in this recession, that we do not have an over-dependence on the multinationals, as we have learned from our experience of Pfizer, Teva Pharmaceuticals and other companies closing with large-scale redundancies. We must focus on and support the smaller manufacturing companies. A good start would be having a debate on the matter in this House.
I support Senator Mary White's request for a debate on alcohol use, its misuse and abuse. She is correct to point out that, as a nation, we are fixated to a dangerous degree with alcohol. A substantial debate on the subject is urgently required.
I note the preamble on the Order of Business to the debate on the Civil Partnership Bill and the level of discomfort caused by certain comments made by some of my colleagues. I am not so intellectually superior to state anybody's comments were misguided or erroneous and I am disappointed Members' views were described as such. I do not live on a plane of such moral or intellectual superiority that I would describe anybody's views as misguided. I hope we will have a tolerant debate when the Bill is before the House. It will be an interesting test of the House, our agenda and society. We claim to live in a liberal republic, but I have never encountered people as illiberal as those who refuse to accept other persons' points of view as being equally balanced and fair.
There was a presentation of views by Senators Walsh and Ó Murchú. Perhaps there were others but, unfortunately, I did not hear all the other Members' contributions. I was interested in the level of discomfort they appeared to cause on all sides of the House. The forthcoming debate on the Civil Partnership Bill must be fair and balanced. People not only have a conscience but a right to their conscience and we must try to ensure the debate is calm and fair. I look forward to presenting my views and some proposals as to how we can accommodate people's conscientious difficulties. I hope that when a Member stands to express a different point of view, it will not be in a land of mutter, tutter, Twitter and discomfort. Our so-called liberal republic should also be a tolerant republic in which people can express their views without being derided and accused of being misguided and erroneous.
In supporting the amendment to the Order of Business, I am respectful of your earlier ruling, a Chathaoirligh. It would be important that the debate be begun by Senator Callely. Failing that, can the Deputy Leader inform the House whether the committee that will deal with the matter will report to the House today? How does he see finality being brought to this matter? The Taoiseach asked that a letter be speedily sent to the Cathaoirleach. I ask the Deputy Leader to comment on this. Can he outline next week's sitting days and business?
Two important reports on the banking question have been presented to the Government and we have been promised a debate on this matter. The reports, from the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Regling and Mr. Watson, are vitally important. We need to know the collateral damage arising from them. Can the Deputy Leader tell the House if their publication is contingent on something of which we are not yet aware?
I echo Senator Ross's call for a debate on banking. Three appointments were made in Anglo Irish Bank. I will not rehash what Senator Ross said but I agree with the points he made. We should have a discussion on this matter. The bank is a public institution. If we cannot discuss these issues in this House there is no other venue in which to do so. We should also have a discussion on what has happened to EBS and the amount, almost €1 billion, the Government has invested in the society in the last ten days. There has been no discussion of that issue in the House since the announcement was made.
I agree with colleagues who expressed opinions on impending legislation and the right of Members to have a free vote on certain issues. While it might be necessary in our style of parliamentary democracy to have a strict whip system, I have long felt that on matters of conscience people should have more freedom to express their own opinions. I have a reservation about the Civil Partnership Bill, which can impose a criminal sanction on a registrar who does not perform his or her role. I agreed with the decriminalisation of homosexuality ten or 20 years ago. Criminalising registrars for non-performance of their function is not a correct step in any legislation. I often disagree with Senator Hanafin but I strongly agree with him on this matter. I know so many brothers and sisters in my area who live together and never married. I am sure you also know of such people, a Chathaoirligh. I do not object to granting rights to couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. However, people who are living together in a loving but non-sexual relationship, perhaps brothers or sisters, should not be discriminated against.
I thank Members for their contributions and I join you, a Chathaoirligh, in welcoming Dr. Ian Paisley and Baroness Paisley. I advise Members of this House to make visits to Stormont on a regular basis and share in the public work being done by the elected members of that Assembly. There was a Senate in Northern Ireland until 1972. Outside the Senate Chamber there is a plaque to commemorate the assassination of two of its members who were actively involved in public life, as Members of this House are.
With regard to matters which arose on yesterday's business, I note the comments of Senator Frances Fitzgerald and the amendment placed by Senator Donoghue and others. We must distinguish between our reactions to statements made in the House, whether they were deemed satisfactory or not and the suitability of their content, and the substantive issue to be investigated. It is my understanding that the committee will meet today and will examine the process involved in any such investigation. It will first decide whether it should be involved or whether another agency should undertake such an investigation. However an investigation is undertaken, the recommendations of such an investigation will come back to this House for decision. It is hoped there will be clarity on that after the meeting.
That depends on the meeting itself. The members and chairman of the committee will determine when the information will be to hand. I hope we will have more clarity as to the process at our next sitting. Members need and deserve that as quickly as possible.
With regard to the pre-debate on the Civil Partnership Bill and the issues raised by Senators Ó Murchú, Walsh, Hanafin, O'Reilly and Phelan-----
But not this morning. In that regard, I point Members to the comments of President John F. Kennedy on defined political practice. He distinguished between the holding of personal religious beliefs and issues of conscience and the responsibilities of a public representative of all the people. When we debate this Bill, those principles should help to inform it. There is already legislation with which many of us would have conscientious issues. As people who form the law and have a responsibility for law already enacted, we have a responsibility to act on that conscience in a legal and responsible way for all the citizens of the country. I look forward to that debate. It is a necessary debate and must happen. I will share my views with those who are expressing concern on conscientious grounds.
Senator Mullen raised the question of the unwillingness of the Israeli ambassador to come before a joint committee. The ambassador was called before the Minister for Foreign Affairs earlier in the week. There is grave dissatisfaction with the actions of the Israeli Government and ongoing concern about Irish citizens, either detained in Israel or in transit to the Middle East, and the actions the Israeli defence forces might take on the arrival of the Rachel Corrie . The House is right to be concerned and to put its reservations on record.
Senators Keaveney and Glynn raised the question of head shops. Following the new regulations, the number of head shops has fallen from 130 to approximately 36. The approach being taken, of regulating the types of products that can be sold in head shops, is correct. If there is need to refine that approach I have no doubt the Minister for Health and Children will do so with regard to dangerous products.
Senators Burke and Leyden referred to planning regulations for septic tanks. Under the water directive, the Government was granted a derogation on regulations regarding waste water from rural housing. This is a difficult situation and dealing with it will be costly. I am confident the Minister for the Environment, Heritage an Local Government is dealing with it in an informed way. When a decision needs to be made that will be done in consultation with Members of the House. I believe the Minister would be willing to discuss the matter in the House. We may have an opportunity to do so before we rise for the summer, if the Dáil has dealt with the Planning and Development Bill and it comes back to this House for final approval.
Senator Ross raised the matter of Anglo Irish Bank appointments and Senators Coghlan and Phelan also raised concerns about this and the recent decisions regarding EBS. We will have an opportunity to debate the reports submitted by Mr. Regling and Mr. Watson and by the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Patrick Honohan, on the nature of the banking crisis. I hope and expect that those reports can be made public within the coming weeks and that the House will have an opportunity of discussing them.
Senator Glynn also mentioned the question of being prepared for flooding. The final debate on the Planning and Development Bill will give an opportunity of discussing that matter. Senators Cummins and Coffey asked about the Rosslare-Waterford line, citing the example of the achievements that have been happening in the western corridor railway line. I share their concerns and believe there is a logic in keeping our railway lines open. There are cost issues involved and sadly there has been a small take up of passenger numbers on that particular line, although-----
I accept that, and many of the arguments the Senators' make. It is worth pointing out that during the Icelandic volcano crisis affecting the airports, the line was very well used as people use Rosslare as a ferry port from which to leave the country.
My understanding is that the next phase of that is targeted for 2014, but that could be subject to the outcome of the capital review ongoing at the moment. Decisions have to be made in relation to capital expenditure this year. The Minister for Finance has already indicated there will be a reduction in capital expenditure of €1 billion, and we do not know exactly what projects or timelines will be affected. As was originally proposed, however, the next phase was supposed to begin in 2014.
Senators Cummins and Buttimer asked about sitting days. The calendar sent out to Members earlier in the year indicated there would not be sittings in the first week of June, which has been the tradition over the last two to three years. The Dáil has decided it will be meeting. The Seanad will not be sitting next week. Instead, it will be sitting for an additional week or weeks after the Dáil rises, in July.
It is a regular occurrence for the Dáil and Seanad to have different sittings. This is why we sit when the Dáil rises and why we come in before the Dáil rises. It has been a long tradition that this House arranges its own sitting times. It had been expected that there would not be sittings next week, but in lieu of that there will be additional sittings in July.
I should like to hear this elucidated by the Deputy Leader. He is saying there will be extra sittings in July. The least we are entitled to is to be given some degree of information as to when in July we will be sitting. The Order of Business in this House is absolutely chaotic.
Senator Bacik asked about the climate change legislation and I will clarify what I said yesterday. The current situation is that heads of a Bill have been prepared and a series of meetings is scheduled over the next week. One might have already occurred involving senior departmental officials and a Cabinet sub-committee before heads are submitted to the Cabinet. It is hoped we shall see publication of the heads of the Bill before the House rises at the end of this month.
It seems no date I mention is being heard properly this morning.
Senator Mary White and Senator Bradford called for a debate on alcohol awareness and alcohol abuse. The House's time would be well served to have such a debate and I shall work to see that time is made available in the immediate future. Senator O'Reilly asked about isolating cancer patients, on foot of a report that showed risks exist in this area. We have been implementing the centres of excellence approach in terms of designated centres around the country, but I shall see that his concerns are forwarded and an appropriate response is given.
Senator Leyden, responding to an earlier call by Senator Mullen, echoed the need to revisit human trafficking legislation. We have had legislation recently in this area and amendments were tabled at that time. However, many Members expressed sympathy for the need to review that legislation continually.
Senator Quinn talked about the need to have a debate on the effects of British Government cutbacks on Northern Ireland. We have regular debates concerning the effects of the economic situation on the Border region and it could be a good opportunity to revisit that in light of decisions being made and, as Senator Quinn pointed out, the reliance that exists in Northern Ireland on a large public sector.
Senator Norris raised the issue of rating agencies, which many Members of the House agreed with, given that they have perverted international markets on the basis of self-interest. There are discussions at EU level to the effect that an independent agency can, and should be, set up. Senator McFadden raised the question of turf cutting. I am happy to allay many of the fears that exist on this issue. The impression is being given that turf may no longer be cut in this country, but this is not the case. A derogation was given from the habitats directive by the then Minister with responsibility for heritage, Deputy Michael D. Higgins, in a Fine Gael-Labour Government. That derogation has now been exhausted and the Government must come up with an approach as to how the 32 identified raised bogs may best be dealt with. There is ongoing discussion as to how they might be dealt with and what levels of compensation may be given. I believe a proper process is in place in relation to that.
The situation is not helped by ill-informed comment about the fact that people cannot cut turf.
Senators Ó Brolcháin and Coffey asked for a debate on small businesses and the economic effects on the high street. That is a useful and necessary debate and I shall seek to have time put aside for it. The other issues have been responded to.
The Dail Divided:
For the motion: 21 (Ivana Bacik, Paul Bradford, Paddy Burke, Jerry Buttimer, Ciarán Cannon, Paudie Coffey, Paul Coghlan, Maurice Cummins, Pearse Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Frances Fitzgerald, Dominic Hannigan, Nicky McFadden, David Norris, Joe O'Reilly, John Paul Phelan, Eugene Regan, Shane Ross, Brendan Ryan, Liam Twomey, Alex White)
Against the motion: 30 (Dan Boyle, Martin Brady, Larry Butler, Ivor Callely, James Carroll, John Carty, Maria Corrigan, Mark Daly, Mark Dearey, John Ellis, Geraldine Feeney, Camillus Glynn, John Gerard Hanafin, Cecilia Keaveney, Terry Leyden, Marc MacSharry, Lisa McDonald, Paschal Mooney, Rónán Mullen, Niall Ó Brolcháin, Brian Ó Domhnaill, Labhrás Ó Murchú, Francis O'Brien, Fiona O'Malley, Ned O'Sullivan, Ann Ormonde, Feargal Quinn, Jim Walsh, Mary White, Diarmuid Wilson)
Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and Paschal Donohoe; Níl, Senators Niall Ó Brolcháin and Diarmuid Wilson.
Amendment declared carried
The Dail Divided:
For the motion: 31 (Dan Boyle, Martin Brady, Larry Butler, Ivor Callely, James Carroll, John Carty, Maria Corrigan, Mark Daly, Mark Dearey, John Ellis, Geraldine Feeney, Camillus Glynn, John Gerard Hanafin, Cecilia Keaveney, Terry Leyden, Marc MacSharry, Lisa McDonald, Paschal Mooney, Rónán Mullen, Niall Ó Brolcháin, Brian Ó Domhnaill, Labhrás Ó Murchú, Francis O'Brien, Fiona O'Malley, Ned O'Sullivan, Ann Ormonde, Feargal Quinn, Shane Ross, Jim Walsh, Mary White, Diarmuid Wilson)
Against the motion: 20 (Ivana Bacik, Paul Bradford, Paddy Burke, Jerry Buttimer, Ciarán Cannon, Paudie Coffey, Paul Coghlan, Maurice Cummins, Pearse Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Frances Fitzgerald, Dominic Hannigan, Nicky McFadden, David Norris, Joe O'Reilly, John Paul Phelan, Eugene Regan, Brendan Ryan, Liam Twomey, Alex White)
Tellers: Tá, Senators Niall Ó Brolcháin and Diarmuid Wilson; Níl, Senators Maurice Cummins and Paschal Donohoe
Question declared carried