Seanad debates

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

10:30 am

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Cathaoirleach of Seanad; Fine Gael)
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I wish the new Head Usher, Mr. Colm O'Rourke, the best of luck following his recent appointment.

I have notice from Senator Colm Burke that, on the motion for the Adjournment of the House today, he proposes to raise the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education and Skills to ask the Higher Education Authority to review the current operation of the HPAT medical school entrance exam amid recent claims that students who attended a certain revision course had prior knowledge of several of the questions that appeared in the exam.
I have also received notice from Senator James Heffernan of the following matter:
The need for the Minister of Education and Skills to outline the progress, if any, that has been made in providing a monument or memorial to the survivors and victims of institutional abuse.
I have also received notice from Senator Lorraine Higgins of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to reverse the decision to exclude the west and north west from sharing in €26 billion of TEN-T funding from the EU and to outline how he proposes to fund such development in the region in the years ahead.
I have also received notice from Senator Averil Power of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health, in view of cutbacks to Beechpark Services and inadequate access to the child and adolescent mental health services, which are making it impossible for schools in north Dublin to provide a proper education for pupils with ASD and other special needs and are putting the welfare of those pupils and their peers in jeopardy, to ensure all children with identified needs for interventions such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and mental health support are given the services they need without further delay.
I have also received notice from Senator Fidelma Healy Eames of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to ensure the examinership process under way with Elverys Sports and NAMA as the primary creditor has, as its main priority, the retention of all 700 jobs.
I have also received notice from Senator John Whelan of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Finance to outline if he is aware of the adverse impact the current tendering and procurement policy is having on Irish booksellers and publishers and how this can be constructively addressed.
I have also received notice from Senator Thomas Byrne of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to set out the procedures in place to prevent the fraudulent probating of wills and the probating of fraudulent wills.
I have also received notice from Senator Mary Moran of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health to address the situation of an individual who has been diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, is currently in hospital and wishes to be cared for at home.
I have also received notice from Senator Martin Conway of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health to comment on the progress of the national physical activity plan and other measures to tackle obesity in society.
I have also received notice from Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to make a statement on the audit report undertaken by Pobal on behalf of her Department into Naíolann na nOileán-Muintearas, whether the recommendations in the report have been complied with, whether the matters outlined have been referred to the Garda or Director of Public Prosecutions, and if not, why not.
I regard the matters raised by Senators Colm Burke, James Heffernan, Lorraine Higgins and Averil Power as suitable for discussion on the Adjournment and they will be taken at the conclusion of business. Senators Fidelma Healy Eames, John Whelan, Thomas Byrne, Mary Moran, Martin Conway and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh may give notice on another day of the matters they wish to raise.

Since we last met, two former Members of the House tragically have passed away. Before I call the Leader, on behalf of Seanad Éireann, I would like to express our deep regret at the untimely death of our colleague, Nicky McFadden. The Leader will move a formal motion on expressions of sympathy at a later stage when all Senators can contribute, but it is appropriate that we refer this morning to Nicky McFadden's untimely death yesterday.

Nicky was a very popular Member of the 23rd Seanad, where she made many friends through her commitment to her public role and through her unfailing good humour.

She addressed her illness with great courage, and her huge commitment to fund-raising for research into motor neurone disease, with the co-operation of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, was admired by all. Leinster House, Athlone and Longford-Westmeath, in particular, have lost a great ambassador. On behalf of the Seanad, I express my sincere sympathy to all her family and friends.

I also extend sympathy to the family of the late Edward Haughey, who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash. He was a highly respected Member of this House for over ten years. He made many great and important contributions in the House on Northern Ireland and his business acumen was greatly respected in the House.

I call the Leader.

Photo of Maurice CumminsMaurice Cummins (Fine Gael)
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With regard to our former colleague, the late Deputy Nicky McFadden, the Dáil is adjourning early tomorrow. I propose that this House not sit tomorrow as a tribute to the late Deputy Nicky McFadden, who was such a kind, loving and understanding person. She was friendly with everybody and was loved by all sides of the House. She was an excellent representative for her constituency and made her points in this House in a very telling manner when she was a Member. As a tribute to Nicky, I suggest that we not sit tomorrow to allow Members to attend her funeral in Athlone.