Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Business of Seanad
I have received notice from Senator Thomas Byrne that, on the motion for the Commencement of the House today, he proposes to raise the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Health to outline the range of services that will be provided at the Kells primary health care centre, when it will open and whether it is envisaged that public transport accessibility will be provided at the centre.
I have also received notice from Senator Catherine Noone of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Education and Skills to outline the policy that guides the provision of lessons in various native languages for non-nationals.
I have also received notice from Senator Fidelma Healy Eames of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Education and Skills to reduce the gap between teacher appointment and retention figures for primary schools and to revise the teacher appointment guidelines so that a new primary teacher can be appointed immediately after pupil numbers on 30 September are confirmed by the Department of Education and Skills.
I have also received notice from Senator Gerard P. Craughwell of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to review the preservation of pension benefits for a group of former gardaí, (garda rank), who left the force for various reasons before 1 October 1976 having had five years required service.
I have also received notice from Senator David Cullinane of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Social Protection to outline what process is in place to support former Waterford Crystal workers who are not members of Unite and who left Waterford Crystal prior to 1992 and previously settled with the Irish Pensions Trust in 2009 but feel they are due compensation following the recent EU ruling in accessing compensation.
I have also received notice from Senator Mary Moran of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Education and Skills to discuss funding to carry out essential emergency works for St. Oliver's national school, Dundalk Street, Carlingford, Co. Louth:
I have also received notice from Senator Averil Power of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure Howth Harbour is dredged in order to ensure its long-term viability as a commercial fishing port, leisure harbour and tourist destination.
I have also received notice from Senator Lorraine Higgins of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for Finance to intervene to direct the banks to place a moratorium on mortgage repayments for people whose homes and farms were damaged in the recent storm and floods.
I have also received notice from Senator Colm Burke of the following matter:
The need for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to clarify the reason funding has not been provided by the relevant Department and local authority to assist in the opening of the facilities which were purchased by Cuan Mhuire in 2007 on Western Road and in Farnanes in Cork to provide accommodation for homeless persons who have satisfactorily completed an addiction treatment programme and are in recovery.
I regard the matters raised by Senators Thomas Byrne, Catherine Noone, Fidelma Healy Eames, Gerard P. Craughwell, David Cullinane, Mary Moran, Averil Power and Lorraine Higgins as suitable for discussion. I have selected the matter raised by Senator Thomas Byrne and this matter will be taken now. Senators Catherine Noone, Fidelma Healy Eames and Gerard P. Craughwell have withdrawn their Commencement Matters. Senators David Cullinane, Mary Moran, Averil Power and Lorraine Higgins may give notice on another day of the matters they wish to raise. I regret that I have had to rule out of order the matter raised by Senator Colm Burke on the grounds that the Minister has no official responsibility in the matter.
On the Leas-Chathaoirleach's ruling, my Commencement matter relates to the provision of accommodation for homeless persons, which is the responsibility of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. While I respect the Leas-Chathaoirleach's decision, this is a case of buck passing between the Department and the local authorities. The accommodation referred to which has been vacant for over four years can cater for 35 people. This is an appropriate matter for discussion in the House.