Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil

Before proceeding to Leaders’ Questions, for the information of the House, I have just been presented with a report from the forum on a family-friendly and inclusive Parliament. The forum was established in March and I asked it to consider coming up with practical and achievable recommendations that would help the Houses of the Oireachtas continue to develop as a family-friendly parliamentary community that is diverse, inclusive and better reflects society in Ireland today. It was serendipity rather than good planning that resulted in the report being published on the day on which the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, returns to work at her Department.

I thank all members of the forum for their work, especially the chairman, Dr. Mary Upton, who is a former Deputy. They have spent a significant amount of time considering how the Parliament operates and how to improve it and have managed to produce a comprehensive and significant report with 51 detailed recommendations. I thank Breda Burke and her team in the Houses of the Oireachtas Service who have given such steadfast to the work of the forum.

I believe it is important that serving in Parliament is attractive and open to all citizens to consider and that will be encouraged if the Oireachtas is a welcome and supportive community for all. I will be considering the report in detail and all of its recommendations and will be bringing it to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission for its consideration. For Members who are interested, the report will be available on the Oireachtas website shortly.

I welcome the members of the forum who are in the Public Gallery and thank them for the service they have given. I advise the House that they will be continuing to monitor our work in implementing their recommendations.