I do not propose to mention each Senator individually in reply to many of the queries that have been raised. At the start of this new session which I anticipate will last for about 14 to 15 weeks, I reiterate what I said previously, legislation will continue to be a priority of the House. However, that does not mean that from time to time we cannot have debates on important issues of national and international importance. I am open to suggestions on debates of that type but that does not mean we will have a debate on whatever is the flavour of the week or the flavour of the day. I would have to think seriously before having such a debate.
The question raised by the majority of Senators was in relation to a debate on the Kurds and I fully understand why we have had so many requests for a debate on this problem. It is impossible not to feel anger and horror at the magnitude of the human catastrophe we see on our televisions and read about in our papers. I am very anxious that this House debate the matter. I anticipated this reaction from Senators for a debate and I had one almost arranged for next Wednesday but, unfortunately, at the last moment I got a call to say the Minister may not be available. However, I will discuss the matter with the Whips and I assure the House I will have a debate as quickly as possible on that matter.
Senator Manning, among others, raised the question of a foreign affairs committee. My information in regard to that matter is that it will be established during the current session. I have expressed a wish that there should be Seanad representation on that committee. I hope that will be the case.
Senator McGowan and others raised the question of Northern Ireland and asked for a debate on it now or in the near future. It would be inappropriate for the Seanad to debate this tragic problem at this time in view of the new initiative to establish dialogue in the North. It is very early days yet but I live in hope of successful talks which will bring about a lasting peace in the North. I know that view is shared by all Senators.
Senator Manning also asked, as did others, about the programme for the session ahead. It will be a lively and interesting session. There is plenty of legislation — the Presidential Establishment (Amendment) Bill, Educational Exchange Bill — that is the exchange between Ireland and the United States of America — the Irish Land Commission (Dissolution) Bill, the Finance Bill, which must be passed by the end of May, the Sea Pollution Bill, the Criminal Damage Bill, the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, the Environmental Protection Agency Bill — which we have presently and which will occupy a great deal of time — the Child Care Bill, Committee and remaining Stages. In reply to Senator O'Donovan, the Recognition of Foreign Adoptions Bill will be with us this session. We will also be taking the Competition Bill. Unfortunately, it has been issued in green form, which means that it will be a Dáil Bill and we will not get it first. Bills that are not published but which I know will come before us, include the Family Planning Bill and the Local Government Bill. Many Senators had queries about the Local Government Bill. The aim is to have it published this month and to have it completed before the end of May. There are other Bills which have not been published — the Roads Bill and Parents Bill. We have a Bill which the Minister for Labour indicated will be initiated here, the Payment of Wages Bill. Many other Bills, the amendment of the Health Act Bill, the Solicitors Bill, the Oireachtas Bill, the University of Limerick Bill and the Dublin Institute of Technology Colleges Bill are all in the pipeline.
Senator O'Toole and others asked about reform of the Seanad. This is an ongoing process. It is more appropriate that it be further debated, as it is from time to time, by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and all the points made by Senators taken on board. He asked for a debate per session on education. I discussed the matter recently with the Minister for Education and she said how anxious she was to come to the House for such a debate. That debate will take place possibly within the next three or four weeks.
Senators Upton and Cassidy referred to local government reform. Senator O'Reilly raised queries which were not relevant to the Order of Business. I have noted what Senator Harte, the wise owl of the House, said about Northern Ireland.
Senator Lanigan referred to the Kurds. I note what he said in regard to section 31. Senator Cullen referred to the Kurds and the committee on foreign affairs. Senator Staunton asked about item No. 1. As Senator Staunton knows, item No. 1 is a Private Business matter. I indicated to the parliamentary agent before Easter that we would not take it before Easter. We are now in a new session and I will give it some consideration to see if we can move it a stage further.
Senator Honan asked for more debate on Europe. She also referred to paper cumann, something I could not fully understand. Senator Norris welcomed item No. 26, as did Senator Haughey.