I am glad Senator Norris is with us today. There are dangers in being a university Senator of which we were not aware, so we will have greater respect for him from now on.
I am glad there is a general welcome for the way in which we are handling Private Members' time this evening. I assure Senator Dardis I would be happy to make similar arrangements at any time if there were general agreement.
The legislation regarding the food safety board is at an advanced stage but the board cannot function without it. I will return — I hope tomorrow — with a more up to date account on the state of that legislation.
Senator O'Sullivan asked about the Credit Union Bill. It is very important and I have deliberately left Second Stage tomorrow open ended. It will start at 2 p.m. and will continue until it is completed. I hope we will have co-operation as there was wide consultation and there is now general agreement on the importance and need for this legislation. I hope we will deal with Committee Stage next week.
Senator Byrne raised the issue of agriculture problems and made a strong case. I will convey what he said to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry to see if there can be a debate on the matter in this House.
Senator Neville asked about the task force on suicide, on which I will get information. Senator McGowan raised an important and non-partisan issue and I will see if some mechanism can be found to have it discussed in the House but I cannot guarantee it.
Senators Maloney and Burke raised the issue of the sea fisheries talks. We congratulate the Minister for the Marine, Deputy Barrett, on the successful outcome of the talks. A discussion on the modernisation and safety factors of the fishing fleet is overdue.
Senator Mulcahy raised an issue which he has often raised before and I want to clarify some points on that. Gardaí are not marching on Leinster House, as he has persisted in saying, as if there were some attempt at a coup d'état or to intimidate or take over the House. The gardaí are exercising their democratic right to stage a protest. Many may feel, as I and probably most Members of the House do, that an error of judgement is involved and that they would be better advised not to do that. Nonetheless, what they are doing is entirely within their rights and is not a breach of the law. Operational matters are in the capable hands of the Garda Commissioner and the senior officers of the Garda force. There is no breach of the law and it is important we put this into perspective. They are doing what they are entitled to do. We may not approve of it but it is their right. There is no threat to democracy, to the safety of the public or to ordinary people. We should be balanced and fair on this issue. Senator Townsend exercised the Carlow dispensation to make a strong case on the beet industry. I will convey his remarks to the relevant authorities.
Senator Lanigan suggested that the deflector groups are fluxed by events. They are not fluxed. We have announced legislative proposals which need to be carefully examined. These proposals set out to undo the damage caused by the granting of a licence to a cartel by the Fianna Fáil/PD Government. Our proposals are an attempt to restore fair play.