Thursday, 7 May 2015
Order of Business
The Order of Business is No. 1, Sport Ireland Bill 2014 - Report and Final Stages, to be taken at 12.45 p.m. and to conclude not later than 2.30 p.m.; and No. 2, statements on Europe Day and the European Commission's work programme, to be taken at 3 p.m. and to conclude not later than 4.30 p.m.
I welcome that we are having a debate on Europe Day. It is appropriate to have it and my colleague, Senator Leyden, will be taking the debate for Fianna Fáil. There are many issues to consider in this context and I raise an issue I raised yesterday in regard to the Commission's work programme from which it is clear that it wants to take away Ireland's corporate tax advantage by ensuring that any profits generated by companies based in Ireland will be paid in the country where it perceives they are generated. In this consumer age where Internet banking and Internet sales and activity are done in cyber space, it will be difficult for the Commission to define how a product is sold in Germany if it is bought through an Irish-based company. The EU is determined to take away our corporate tax advantage and that proposal is included in the work programme. Its work programme has been passed apparently by a committee of these Houses and brought before the House without having been debated. That is not the scrutiny or the transparency that we had hoped for or that the Government had promised, having regard to allowing this proposal to remain in the Commission's the work programme. It should be removed and Ireland should seek its removal.
I note that today's newspapers are full of more election promises for members of the public sector who are in line to gain €800 euro each. If the previous generosity of the Government with regard to the public sector is anything to go by, the money will go to those at the top end not to those at the bottom. Let us break down the €800 figure. This year we will borrow €4.6 billion, which works out at €2,500 per working person. What the Government is doing is borrowing money to buy votes.
It will borrow €2,500 per person and having borrowed that amount on behalf of the public sector, it will give each of them each back €800. That is three-card-trick economics at its best.
We can also note that 250 people in this country have assets of €76 billion while the combined net worth of half the population is €63 billion. Some of those 250 people with their billions in assets are not even paying the €200,000 exile tax that the Government imposed. It has not collected that tax, those people are not being pursued for it yet they have assets worth more than the assets of half of the population combined. The Government is saying that this is okay. Those people who are tax exiles are based all over Europe on this Europe Day. They live in Monte Carlo and places where the sun shines a lot more than it shines here. Yet, even the Government's tax policy with respect to the domiciliary levy is not being collected from those people who can well afford to pay it. When we consider we will borrow €2,500 per working person and then give public sector workers a pay increase, that represents three-card-trick economics at its finest. I ask on this Europe Day that the Government pursue those people who are not paying the €200,000 levy and to name and shame them.
I ask the Leader to arrange a debate on crime prevention with a specific focus on the crime of burglary. Other colleagues have talked about this previously. There have been some reports of an increase in the incidence of burglary in recent months and years even while, generally, crime rates are decreasing in a range of categories. At the justice committee yesterday we had a briefing from officials on the content of the new heads of a Bill which the Minister for Justice and Equality has published recently on burglary. In particular the Bill will seek to address issues around bail and sentencing for repeat offenders with a number of burglary convictions. As we are all aware, however, there is far more to the issue of crime prevention than simply bail and sentencing. Indeed, there is much to be done beyond the legislative framework on crime prevention, particularly around policing, better supports for victims and juvenile liaison - we know a large number of these types of offences are committed by people under 18 years of age. Will the Leader arrange a debate focusing on the broader aspects of crime prevention as well as the specific debate which we will have in due course on the burglary Bill? I call on the Leader to bring in the Minister for Justice and Equality on that matter.
I welcome the moves being taken at governmental level to legislate on collective bargaining. I commend the Minister of State, Deputy Ged Nash, who has been working on the preparation of a Bill to recognise collective bargaining rights for workers, protect against victimisation for those active in unions in the workplace and deal with the issue of registered employment agreements and sectoral agreements. I welcome these moves and look forward to the legislation in due course. Will the Leader inquire about when that legislation is likely to come before the Seanad? I understand it is due to be approved shortly.
I commend our colleague Senator Norris on his participation in the debate on the marriage equality referendum in "Tonight with Vincent Browne" on TV3 last night. I thought he spoke excellent sense, if I may say so. In the same context I welcome the Law Society of Ireland announcement yesterday to the effect that it was supporting a "Yes" vote in the referendum because marriage equality is a human right. There were forthright comments from the director general of the Law Society. I note that in recent days we have also seen doctors coming out in support of marriage equality, for example, the group Doctors for Marriage Equality. All the children's rights groups working on the front line in the protection of children's rights, such as the ISPCC, Barnardos and the Children's Rights Alliance, have called for a "Yes" vote in the marriage equality referendum debate as well. Those of us who are out canvassing will take note of these developments.
The vast majority of small businesses in Ireland have websites but are not equipped to trade online, but this is something that can happen and that we should ensure happens. It is estimated that the market is worth approximately €21 million but that it is not being used. It is possible for companies to use it and they are capable of using it but we need to train people up to do it.
I had an interesting morning at the launch of Springboard this morning. This year's Springboard is an adventure and the Government has put a sizable amount of money into it. It has put €27 million this year alone into educating people who have the wrong skills to move them from one skill to another skill. The work being done is amazing. Some €27 million has been allocated for this year, which will bring the total to €100 million over five years.
I raise the matter because I believe it is worthy of having a discussion on it. It is not urgent at the moment, but I believe it would be worthwhile to discuss it next time we have the Minister for Education and Skills in the House because there is an opportunity to tie up these two things. The stories we heard this morning were of mainly American companies - but not only American companies, there were Irish companies as well - which want to employ more people but cannot unless they can get the skills. Springboard is creating those skills and giving an opportunity to these companies to expand and employ more people with technology that has not been used up to now. I believe this is worthy of discussion. The Minister of State, Deputy Damien English, and the Minister, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, were there today. They spoke well and explained exactly what they hoped to do. I believe the Government is doing the right thing and is behind them but we could do more to encourage it.
Yesterday we heard a number of contributions on research that came out from the World Health Organization regarding the obesity epidemic that faces not only Ireland but Europe in general. Today, a study has come out from Peter Lunn, a senior researcher from the ESRI whom I have known over the years through my work with the Irish Sports Council. His research paper is called "Participation in School Sport and Post-School Pathways: Evidence from Ireland". With the junior certificate and leaving certificate due to take place next month, this report is apropos because there is a serious correlation between the students who participate in sports and results in the senior cycle. The report states that between 9 and 14% of these students go on to third level education compared with those who do participate in sports or exercise during that period.
In my work as a coach in recent years I am frequently asked by parents whether they should allow their Johnny or Mary to participate in sports while they are doing the junior or leaving certificate. My response to is always, "Yes, you should." for two reasons. First, participating in sports keeps a student's mind off his studies and takes the pressure off. Second, participating in his studies keeps his mind off sports.
I prefer to think of the bigger picture in respect of this report. While the report refers to participation in sports, I am keen to bring it back to another issue I am strongly in favour of, that is, physical education in the senior cycle. After junior certificate most students have a tendency to drop out of physical education and it is not compulsory for them for them to participate. Why is this? It is because the pressure from parents is on them to study. It is important for students to continue to be active in physical education as they go through their studies.
The debate I am calling for is on something I have mentioned on dozens of occasions, here and outside, that is, physical education. I have raised the matter in respect of primary schools but it is relevant in secondary schools as well. I am calling on the Government to make serious investments in physical education facilities such as PE halls in schools. I said yesterday that I get numerous requests from schools looking for supports but they get no support.
Today is Europe day and it is Europe day in the Oireachtas. I got an invitation to attend an event this morning. The only thing was that I took the view that the Cathaoirleach should have had the opportunity to say a few words and the Leader should have been invited as well. The leader of the delegation to the Council of Europe and Deputy Leader might also have been invited to participate. I noted that there was not one woman or lady Member of either House on the podium this morning and I regret that very much. This is an example of the imbalance in the Houses of the Oireachtas. When events take place there should be a balance, not a token balance, but a balance of well-qualified articulate Ministers, Senators and Deputies. They should all be there. It is a small point but people should be more conscious of it. When we see a row of men on Europe day one might ask what it is all about.
Finally, thank you, A Chathaoirligh, for allowing me a commencement matter on the Rosalie unit and Knockroe House in Castlerea and on psychiatric services. The Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, did not come in to take the question and I regret that very much.
I would prefer not to take the question at all if the Minister of State is not prepared to come to the House. She had plenty of notice but she was not here. She is running away from the issue. She has not confirmed what Senator John Kelly supposedly said to her.
I am calling for a debate on zero-hours contracts because I believe it is an important issue affecting vast numbers of people. There has been a substantial growth in these kinds of contracts in Ireland in recent years. It is difficult to quantify exactly how many people are affected because people on these contracts do not even know they are on them.
The contracts themselves cover a range of arrangements that mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income and they are only being paid for the hours that they actually do work. There are some employers, one, in particular, Dunnes Stores, about which we have seen much coverage in recent times, using use zero-hours contracts to cut away, avoid holiday pay and avoid pensions and other benefits enjoyed by other employees.
The thing is that workers are unable to take on other work when they are on these contracts because they are obliged to be available for work on the whim of the employer. The growth of zero-hours contracts along with other forms of precarious employment is one of the main reasons working people in this country have seen a decline in their living standards in recent years. While we have had much good news in recent years on the employment front with 95,000 jobs created, if we do not create more well-paid jobs with guaranteed hours we will end up with a two-tier workforce with many people stuck in working poverty.We recently saw in the Dunnes Stores dispute how many people in that business were on such contracts. We also saw the dreadful treatment of employees after they had returned to work after being on strike. The attitude towards employees means that Dunnes Stores' slogan, "Always better value", has a new meaning. We need to clamp down on these employment practices and enforce an attitude of zero tolerance to zero-hours contracts. The casualisation of working hours is unsustainable. At the end of the day, Ireland will only succeed when working people succeed. That is why I am calling for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to attend the House to discuss the issue as a matter of urgency.
I am sorry to say that during the debate on Seanad reform I had to point out that only about 30% of Senators were present. Some 25% are present today for the Order of Business, which is regrettable. We need to re-examine how we order the business of the House to ensure full participation. It is regrettable that the Order of Business which used to be the most vital part of the schedule for the day is diminishing all the time. I ask the Leader to look into the matter.
We had a good debate last night with the Minister of State at the Department of Finance on the spring economic statement. I reiterate the call I made yesterday to the Leader for a more comprehensive debate not just on quarterly economic statements but also on how the country will proceed in the next five to ten years and how any excess money will be spent. It has been announced that there many well be between €1.5 billion and €1.8 billion in additional moneys available in the forthcoming budget. It has been reported in the newspapers today that the Government may allocate around €300 million of this money to the public sector in increased pay. The public sector plays a crucial and fundamental role in the operation of the State, but it would be wrong for the Government in the lead up to a general election to try to use any surplus money like confetti at a wedding in providing money for public servants without any increase in productivity, efficiency or the effectiveness of public sector organisations across the board. That has not happened. The old saying goes, "Never waste a recession". The Government keeps using the mantra that it will not do things in the way they were done in the past, but it is doing them in exactly the same way. It comes down to keeping the trade union movement which funds the Labour Party happy.
That is wrong. The morale of public servants is at an all-time low and a pay increase of 2% or 3% will not resolve that issue. There will have to be meaningful reforms to include scorecard systems whereby every individual plays a role in ensuring the future of public service organisations. When rolled out originally in the 1980s in Sheffield by the NHS, it was called the balanced scorecard system. Under the scheme, every individual in the public sector has an equal input in ensuring the future of an organisation.
In Ireland the only input is made from the top. Other public servants have no input; they are asked to follow orders, even though those orders have not been properly scrutinised. Public servants lower down the chain know that things are not being done right. Politicians talk about reform as if it was something new, but there has been no actual reform. A best practice model is not being introduced either. We are going to reward inefficiencies, while ignoring the need for real reform and to lift morale across the public sector. It is a missed opportunity.
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill started very well, but the more he spoke the more he went astray. I agree with him, however, that we had a good and useful debate last night with the Minister of State, Deputy Simon Harris. The truth is we did not have enough time in two hours. As the Senator suggested, we should have an ongoing debate in this regard. I sat close to the Minister of State for two hours and saw that he was being attentive and taking copious notes on what every speaker was saying. When he came to respond, however, and as the Leader saw, he did not have time to deal with half of the matters that had been raised.
With respect, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill went totally astray in his comments on the public sector. We know that we have 10% fewer staff in the public sector since the Government took office, but there has also been an increase in productivity, including under the Haddington Road agreement. As regards the talks the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, is opening up with the unions-----
No, we are not, but, of course, the Government will act in unison, as we all respect the constraints within which we must operate. Anything that will happen as the result of fruitful engagement in the talks will be quite modest and might not happen until much later in the year. Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill started well and I agreed totally with the first part of his comments, but, with due respect to him, he then went astray. We could usefully schedule a debate in early course to resume the discussion on these matters.
I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record and that the attention of many in the Oireachtas has been distracted by other events which will take place in the first quarter of 2016. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there is an unprecedented meltdown in the health service. Problems I identified 22 years ago when I first came back to the country are just as bad as or worse than they ever were, despite numerous changes of Government. Blame attaches to parties on both sides of the House. God bless the good old Civil War, the gift that keeps on giving. However, if people focused on trying to fix the health service, they might be somewhat embarrassed by the fact that in a population of 4.5 million some 400,000 people are on waiting lists to be seen. One hears figures in the United States for the percentage of the young urban male population who are engaged with the criminal justice system, but this is every bit as embarrassing. Nearly 10% of people in this country - certainly more than 10% of adults - are waiting to be seen in the health service. Some 778 have been waiting for more than four years, while 83,000 have been waiting for over one year. The issue is the sheer bloody abnormality of waiting for one year to see a doctor in a modern western country, yet the penny has still not dropped after 22 years. There is something bizarre about a system which has as one of its metrics getting the number waiting for one year down to a reasonable number. Some 67,000 people are waiting for treatment. They are the ones who have already been seen in the system; therefore, one can work it out. One may be part of a double waiting process, whereby a patient waits to be seen, is then scheduled for treatment and then waits again for treatment. This excludes 14,500 inpatients awaiting diagnostic endoscopy services. I live through this every day in hospital, with patients sitting on beds waiting for days at a time for tests to be carried out. We have found out that at Limerick hospital, an institution that is staffed by very fine nurses and doctors, 2,400 patients have been registered as being on trolleys. In an equivalent period nine years ago the figure was one third of this. It is simply outrageous.
I do not like to use the word "scandal" lightly, but we are aware of the latest series of concerns about quality issues in obstetrics and radiology. In addition, data are emerging that show a large number of consultants in post, in a country that is desperately short of specialists, are locums. The country with the largest number of medical schools in the world per head of population and which churns out more medical graduates per capitathan nearly every other country in the world is importing doctors from some of the most medically under-served countries in the world. We cannot even create enough career level jobs for the people we have available here. I recently received representations from several colleagues who had been forced to quit and retire. Given their skills and expertise, the system has thus been deprived of unbelievable human and intellectual capital because they have reached their 65th birthday. I have highlighted the case of one of them before who has not been completely replaced. I recently received representations from another colleague who told me - I will not regionalise it or identify them-----
I always seek a debate. Is the Cathaoirleach on for one? I have recently been informed about what happened with a post considered to be an extraordinarily sought after position. The post should have had Irish graduates lining up, dusting off their curricula vitae and promoting the fact that they had training in America, Boston, London or wherever. It should have enticed them to come back but no Irish graduate applied for the post. That shows we desperately need to take a serious look at the issues. They are interrelated and come down to one core issue - the management, structure and financing of the health service, which is not something that can be administratively adjusted.
We need revolution and not reform in the health service. Will the Leader arrange a debate on the topic? I propose an amendment to the Order of Business in order that this emergency can be addressed by the Minister for Health, or one of his Ministers of State, today.
It is not often that I agree with my colleague, Senator Terry Leyden. However, I agree with him on how the business of the House is run, particularly Commencement matters. When we table specific Commencement matters, we want the specific Minister in charge to come to the House and deal with the matter. Over the past four years I have been totally frustrated to have health issues that I tabled for Commencement debates being responded to by, for example, the Minister responsible for small business. Two weeks ago I raised the issue of a Castlerea unit but the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport took the debate. Today, Senator Leyden tabled the same matter but the Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection attended. I know for a fact that these Ministers know nothing about the issue. All they do is read out a departmental script and, therefore, we have no debate. We ask the questions but receive answers from a man or woman who knows nothing about the issue. Therefore, will the Leader change the way we do business? If I table a health matter, I want the Minister for Health or his Minister of State to respond. It is not as if we are trying to inconvenience Ministers. We are prepared to wait an extra week or two for the relevant Minister to attend.
I second the amendment proposed by Senator Crown and compliment him on the contribution he made this morning. It is a stark reminder that nothing has changed as far as health service administration is concerned, which is depressing. Governments and Ministers have changed over the past ten to 15 years but the service has not improved. We have all read about the ever-lengthening hospital waiting queues and, therefore, must concede that root and branch reform is required. In that regard, I support the intervention made by Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill. He asked us to reflect on the fact that we cannot simply return to the concept of business as usual.
There is a debate on the concept of pay restoration. We all want to see public servants and all workers, especially those at the lower end of the payscale, having their wages increased, be it by way of pay or, preferably, a reduction in tax and USC. We simply cannot buy into the concept of pay restoration. Restoration to what? Is it restoration to the type of economy which ruined this country over the past ten years? Is it the restoration to a Celtic tiger boom and bust scenario? No, thanks. We need to focus on what Senator Ó Domhnaill remarked upon, the need for absolute root and branch reform across the system. Obviously that applies to the health service and the problems raised by Senator Crown this morning. The matter is worthy of serious debate.
Our learned colleague, Senator Crown, presented the statistic that almost 10% of the population await a service or appointment from the health department. That is a Third World statistic and one which we should not stand over.
Most people in this House have spoken on behalf of homeless people. We are all keenly aware of the terrible circumstances that some people endure who live on the streets. Whenever we meet a homeless person living in such conditions we feel shocked. Our pride is also hurt that any citizen should find it necessary to live in such conditions. Neither justifies the recent efforts to defame a member of An Garda Síochána. Members will be aware of a particular incident that involved a homeless person and a garda but this was posted on social media websites. For weeks and months many people took it to be an exact report of what happened. Subsequently, it was discovered that the report was not the complete picture because footage of what happened, which was totally different, was taken from another source. I know the Garda has been exonerated since. We must remind ourselves that behind the uniform is a human being and reflect on how he must have felt during the period when he was misrepresented and defamed in this manner. It is a warning to us all of the abuse which can take place on social media. Sometimes people are not lucky enough, as the garda was, to be exonerated by a report which was published in recent days. I urge people to be alert to those dangers in the future.
Unfortunately, the incident has done harm to the cause of homeless people. I wonder what was the agenda of the people who posted the item on social media. Was it to undermine An Garda Síochána? Was it to make a political point? Whatever it was, it did not serve the purpose of helping the homeless. I am glad that the garda has been exonerated. In future we should all be that little bit more alert when issues like this surface and give it time to have the matter examined. If we had all rushed to comment when the case first surfaced, then we would have added to the damage inflicted.
Senator Daly raised the question of corporation tax. Corporation tax is a matter for this Government. It has stated that corporation tax will remain the same, irrespective of what the Senator may feel.
I was surprised that Senator Daly raised the question of borrowing. When we took office the country could not raise any money on the financial markets. We could not borrow but the deficit has been reduced significantly. We have very little borrowings in comparison with the state of affairs when we came to office. The Senator suggested that we are borrowing to run an election.
We know that. It was probably other people who voted for his party. I have outlined the situation for credit on the international markets. I am surprised that a Fianna Fáil Member on the other side would raise a question on borrowing.
Senator Bacik mentioned crime rates and burglaries. We have asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to debate the matter.
In regard to moves on collective bargaining, an issue also raised by Senator Higgins in the context of zero-hours contracts, as Senators will know, the Low Pay Commission will report back and I am sure the matter will be addressed by legislation at that time. I will find out when the legislation is due to reach this House.
Senator Quinn mentioned the ability of small and medium-sized businesses to trade online. It is a matter the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Dara Murphy, has raised on several occasions. It is important that small and medium-sized enterprises can trade online.That led to Springboard, the aim of which is to update skills. I refer not only to the skills of workers but also to those of people running businesses. Springboard is certainly a very good project. There is a need to update skills, as mentioned. There are many companies coming to the State, but we just do not have the skills they need. Therefore, upskilling is very important.
Senator Eamonn Coghlan referred to the issues of obesity and participation in sport and exercise. He referred to the importance of physical education, particularly in the senior cycle. Physical education in primary schools was mentioned yesterday. The Senator also emphasised the need to promote capital projects in order that people would have access to sports halls and so on. The Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, is due to come to the House on 17 June for statements on tackling obesity. This will be an opportunity to engage in debate. We will try to get the Minister for Education and Skills to come to the House to discuss the other matters the Senator mentioned in respect of physical education.
Senators Terry Leyden and John Kelly referred to Ministers of State taking Commencement debates. I cannot dictate what Minister should come to the House to discuss the issues raised; that is a matter for the Government. There is very little that I can do in this regard. If a Senator does not want the Minister who turns up to take the debate, that Senator should not speak in the debate and should instead wait until another Minister is available. I have no control over who comes to the House to take Commencement debates.
I can assure the Senator I have no influence in that regard.
Senator David Norris made a similar point about the ordering of business. We will certainly consider whether we should retain the Commencement debate or revert to the Adjournment debate and have the Order of Business at 10.30 a.m., but I do not see too much change. There were not many more Senators present when we had the Order of Business at 10.30 a.m. I heard all of Senators' excuses, including about attendance at committees, and we changed the system to accommodate them, but they are still not coming. They are coming a minute or two before the Order of Business ends to catch the Cathaoirleach’s eye in order to speak. Nothing has changed in that regard. We have changed the time, but the level of participation of Members on the Order of Business has not changed very much. We will certainly examine the issue.
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill referred to the spending of money like confetti.
My God, when one hears it talking about there being no increases for the public service, bearing in mind that it introduced the universal social charge and the pension levy, and about morale in the public service and there being no reform, one wonders what the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements were about. The public service made significant reforms through these agreements. Pay increases will be modest because the Government has managed the economy in a prudent manner and will continue to do so. The increases, if and when they are granted, will be achieved through negotiation, as always. I can assure the Senator that nothing will be done that will damage the economy.
Senator Paul Coghlan referred to the spring economic statement and called for a further debate on it. I will certainly try to have the Minister in the House again to discuss the matter.
Senator John Crown referred to problems in the health service. When the Government took office, the waiting lists only included people who had seen consultants and were awaiting operations. The Government has introduced a more transparent system, under which people who are waiting to see consultants are included in the waiting lists. That is why they are so large and unacceptable. I asked the Minister to come to the House today, as requested, but he is not in Dublin today. Therefore, I cannot accede to the Senator's request. However, I will ask the Minister to come to the House at a later date. The Senator was also correct to ask why consultants were not taking up the hundreds of posts vacant in the health service. Why do we have to seek locums? Why are the positions not being filled? This is a very serious question, to which we need an answer. As I stated, I cannot accede to the request that the Minister come to the House today.
Senator Paul Bradford referred to the public service. I addressed that matter in my reply to Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.
Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú referred to an incident of which I was not aware. He is correct that there are many people trying to undermine the Garda. We have seen umpteen cases in recent times. There is certainly a danger with social media in the sense that people are defamed regularly. Something will have to be done about cyber-bullying, an issue which has been mentioned by Senator Lorraine Higgins and others. I hope the Government will make proposals in this regard. We have all been inundated with e-mails asking us to stop the Labour Party from introducing legislation on cyber-bullying as it might prevent freedom of speech. That is a load of rubbish. The matter needs to be addressed. I agree with the sentiments of Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú in this case.
No. 1, Sport Ireland Bill 2014 - Report and Final Stages, is to be taken at 12.45 p.m. and conclude not later than 2.30 p.m. No. 2, statements on Europe Day and the European Commission's work programme, is to be taken at 3 p.m. and conclude not later than 4.30 p.m., if not previously concluded, with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes and the Minister to be called on to reply not later than 4.25 p.m. No. 3, a motion regarding the EU Scrutiny Work Programme 2015, joint committees' priorities, is to be taken without debate at the conclusion of No. 2.
Senator John Crown has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That a debate with the Minister for Health on the emergency in the health service arising from the high proportion of the population on waiting lists be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?
- Paul Bradford
- Thomas Byrne
- John Crown
- Mark Daly
- James Heffernan
- Terry Leyden
- Paschal Mooney
- David Norris
- Brian Ó Domhnaill
- Labhrás Ó Murchú
- Feargal Quinn
- Diarmuid Wilson