Order of Business.

The Order of Business is No. 1, statements on the Annual Report of the Ombudsman 2003, to be taken at the conclusion of the Order of Business and to conclude not later than 4 p.m., with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed 12 minutes, those of all other Senators not to exceed eight minutes and the Minister to be called upon to reply not later than five minutes before the conclusion of the statements;

No. 2, Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2004, Committee Stage, to be taken from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m., to resume at 7 p.m. and to conclude at 8.30 p.m. by one question from the Chair. However, we will watch how the debate develops because I would prefer the Bill to get as full an airing as it needs on Committee Stage; and No. 21, motion 19, the Private Members' motion, to be taken from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that at the conclusion of the Order of Business statements on the interim report of the Commission on Electronic Voting will take place for a period of two hours. I want the Leader to inform the House whether it is still the Government's intention to push ahead this Friday with the Electoral (Amendment) Bill which would give effect to e-voting, given the Commission on Electronic Voting ruled so overwhelmingly against the Government's plans last week. It would be an act of ridiculous proportions if the Government were to push ahead with this Bill next Friday. I ask the Leader to make a very firm statement in the House today as to her intentions to bring the Bill before the House on Friday.

The commission has done an excellent job in venting public and Opposition frustrations on this issue so far. I heard the Taoiseach state over the weekend that when the commission can give full support to e-voting we will proceed. The Government needs to convince the Opposition and the public at large of the merits of this proposal. Will the Leader not agree that the only person who should be charged with fraud is the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for shamelessly wasting €52 million? This is the same week——

(Interruptions).

He should be charged with fraud.

The Senator should withdraw that remark.

This man has committed to spending €52 million on behalf of the taxpayer when there are so many other projects to be supported. This was the same week the Minister for Social and Family Affairs attacked people for social welfare fraud. One of her colleagues is up to his neck in it.

Senator, please withdraw that remark.

I will substitute the word "fraud" for the words "gross deception", in deference to the Chair. We need statements on this matter today. It was this House, on all sides, that first raised many questions and objections to e-voting. This House needs to debate this matter today. Unless the Government takes on board the views of the Opposition and the public at large, it will once again show the irrelevance of this House on general issues such as this. We need to debate the issue fully and openly and not to have the Bill before us on Friday.

I second the proposal. I was disappointed with the Chair's ruling last week that it was unnecessary to adjourn the House to discuss this issue, but I accepted the ruling. It is unfortunate that we did not have a debate. For that reason it is crucial we support Senator Brian Hayes's proposal that this debate be taken. It is a very serious matter. It is daft that we should enter a debate on this legislation on Friday without having discussed the most germane and relevant information that has come into our hands about it.

I also believe the House was misled on the issue of accuracy and secrecy when we discussed this previously. I have no way of knowing whether that was done deliberately. It seems the report has made it quite clear that we were seriously and absolutely misled in respect of secrecy and accuracy, among other issues. I want to know how that happened.

It is not proven.

I want to know how that came to be the case. The Minister said the problems mentioned by the commission were brought to its attention by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

That is right.

If that is the case, why were the problems not brought to the attention of the Houses, particularly the Seanad? There is something completely and utterly wrong about that. We need to discuss the matter. Most of us feel it should be considered. I do not know if we were misled by choice or inadvertently. Members on all sides could suggest better ways to use the €50 million that has been spent on the misuse of the electronic voting proposals.

I speak as someone who supported electronic voting until the last debate we had on the matter, when I said that sufficient doubt had been created to bring about a change of mind. I am on the record as having changed my mind in that regard. I ask the House to consider what I said. If this issue is to be dealt with, it can only be dealt with on a non-party basis. I made that point on the last two occasions on which we discussed the matter. The decision should not be in the hands of a political party. The Government should not have an interest in the matter, apart from the individual interests of public representatives. There is no reason it should not be dealt with in an all-party fashion, with all concerns being taken into consideration. I ask the Chair to take on board the issue of whether the House was misled. I intend to raise the issue at a meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

It is hard for Independent Members to keep up with the many changes that are taking place. Every time we check, it seems that Fianna Fáil has had another change in its configuration.

I do not think that is a matter for the Order of Business. It is irrelevant.

It has lost one, kicked out another and another one is going to the House of Lords. I do not know where Fianna Fáil is going.

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

I do not know where the republican party is going now. Is it going to send a few more over to Westminster?

We could lose a few more.

We could have Lord O'Toole.

I would like to know whether Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien's problems with the Revenue Commissioners will cause a difficulty for the Labour Party.

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

I endorse and support the proposal made by the leader of the Fine Gael Party in the House, Senator Brian Hayes. This is the first opportunity the House has had to discuss, however briefly, the interim report of the Commission on Electronic Voting. It is important that we should give it a good deal more time than that which is proposed. It is clear that we should be told in advance whether the Government intends to proceed with the debate planned for Friday, which would be farcical. The commission's report is a serious one. It constitutes a damning indictment of the judgment of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen. Not only did he seek to railroad through what we now know to be unproven technology — I will not put it more strongly than that — but he did so with a breathtaking arrogance.

Senators

Hear, hear.

It is unacceptable, frankly, that he chose to treat those who asked reasonable questions almost as technophobes or Neanderthals. We know that he was wrong, so he should pay the price. While there can be a tendency for Opposition Members to ask for resignations and the heads of Ministers more quickly than we should, I think that in a similar instance in any other jurisdiction, the Minister in question would no longer be in office.

The House is probably aware that the British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, appointed a commission for Africa yesterday. It struck me that the House could usefully have a debate on the issue. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that the entire continent of Africa has become something of a basket case in recent years. Its infrastructure is probably less developed than it was in colonial days. Africa is riven by civil strife and war. Civil governance is not established and corruption is endemic. There are signs of hope, such as the establishment of the African Union and the pursuit of a policy of renaissance for Africa by the South African President, Mr. Mbeki. Many Senators have an interest in the issue. A particular source of interest is the fact that Ireland has provided an increased amount of overseas development aid to Africa in recent years. The House could have a useful debate on the matter and a degree of consensus could be reached.

I wish to raise the case of Mr. Tom Sweeney who is on hunger strike outside the gates of Leinster House. In all my years in the Houses, I do not recall any such similar protest.

Senator Leyden, you raised this issue last week.

Yes, I did.

It might be more appropriate as a matter on the Adjournment.

I am calling on the Minister with responsibility for the Residential Institutions Redress Board to outline Mr. Sweeney's case to the House. Issues affecting the world are raised in the House, yet there is a man outside the gates on the 21st day of a hunger strike. It is about time someone took action because in a few days he could be dead. The Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, who is a great humanitarian, made a private visit to him last night. The Leader of the House has also intervened with regard to an ambulance.

Hunger strike is an extreme weapon of protest. Although I accept that governments cannot give in to every hunger strike, something must be done in this case. He is not allowed to put up a tent to keep himself and his son, who is with him, dry at night. This was a particular problem last night given the wind and rain. We are standing idly by and it is time somebody dealt with this case. Initially he was offered €115,000 by the redress board, but it was reduced by approximately €50,000. If it is restored, he will break his strike and go to his grandchildren's First Holy Communion on Saturday. I appeal to the Leader to ask the appropriate Minister to come to the House for an emergency debate to explain why Mr. Sweeney is on hunger strike and how we can assist in getting him to come off it.

Having watched the Committee Stage debate on electronic voting, the arrogance of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government amazed me. Any Member who raised queries on it was labelled a Luddite or accused of anti-globalisation. If the Minister had adopted a constructive tone with all the leading people in this field and Opposition Members, he might not have found himself in the unfortunate situation in which he is now. If the Minister was a managing director of a company and made a decision on the basis of the information he had to spend over €50 million, he would not be in a job now.

As spokesperson on European affairs, I congratulate the Taoiseach and the Government on how they conducted the ceremonies to celebrate European Union enlargement on 1 May. It was a great day to be Irish and for the Government. I am proud of how the Taoiseach and the Government conducted the ceremonies with superb panache. I ask that the House convey these congratulations to the Taoiseach, the Government and the Garda for implementing the regulations that ensured it all ran smoothly.

I support Senator Ormonde's comments. Although I was abroad in Cyprus, I watched it on television and was immensely proud, as were many of my Cypriot friends who watched it with me, of the colour, efficiency and dignity with which the whole ceremony was held.

With regard to electronic voting, I do not believe it was fraud on the part of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government but incompetence. Incompetence can be a resigning matter, particularly with the large amount of money involved. However, my distinguished friend, Senator Finucane, does not appear to know that much about business. As Senator Ross has said, and I agree with him, the sad fact is that in business if a managing director loses €52 million, he is usually given a bonus and shares.

Not down in Limerick.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen, undermined the senior professional body dealing with computer science by rubbishing it as a flat-earther and anti-globalisation protestor. If it is claimed that Ireland has the most wonderful electronic industry, why was the contract given to one Dutchman? It seems bizarre that there was no confidence in our own industry to produce this type of voting machine.

It is now more essential than ever to have a debate on the Iraqi situation. We must continue to expose the hypocrisy of the United States and Britain. Mr. Rumsfeld affected to be shocked that American soldiers could torture. We all knew this was happening. He defended similar actions in Guantanamo Bay. Perhaps his excuse is "We export torture". We know this is what has been happening. It has been authoritatively reported inThe Washington Post and The Guardian. It was never denied that the USA had been exporting those people whom it could not sufficiently maltreat to places such as Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. We should expose this hypocrisy. I am old enough to remember that within the past 15 years——

Is the Senator calling for a debate?

——the UK Government licensed the export of a custom-built torture chamber to the Gulf states.

There have recently been a number of court cases involving people in and around the Oireachtas, the costs of which have been absolutely crippling. Humanely speaking, whatever the rights and wrongs of the cases, one must feel sympathy for people faced with legal bills of €1 million or €2 million. Due to the enormous and unregulated fees charged by the legal industry, citizens are being intimidated. They are being frightened out of access to justice and to the courts. The Competition Authority should consider this. The whole judicial system should also be investigated, including the political appointment of judges and the fact that they do not have to make any declarations of interest. Judges seem to put themselves above the law, ignoring mandatory sentences. I am against mandatory sentencing, but the Oireachtas made the rules and the judges ignored them. The whole system must be investigated.

I commend the Army on the superb display it put on at the ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin and also at Arbour Hill. I also commend the gardaí who, on a very hot weekend, behaved coolly for the most part. Anyone who was at Arbour Hill this morning could not but have noticed the flower display, for which the gardeners deserve credit.

I ask the Leader for a debate on Iraq in view of the allegations of torture and killing by American and British soldiers. These things happened during a war. We all remember in our own country the executions of 77 republicans during the early years of the Free State and, of course, the ambush at Ballyseedy of which Paudie Fuller's father, Stephen Fuller, was the sole survivor. That does not mean we should excuse these actions or be afraid to talk about them. We should have a debate on Iraq during which we can discuss developments.

I thought we would start today's proceedings with congratulatory remarks about the accession of ten new EU member states but instead we are debating an issue that has caused the Government to become the laughing stock of Europe——

Senators

Hear, hear.

——because of the manner in which it has told us untruths in this Chamber regarding the proposed electronic voting system. I understand yesterday's Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting was somewhat heated.

It was not heated at all.

Will we have an investigation into the counting software used in the 2002 general election? It is important that we have a full investigation into the system used in four or five constituencies on a pilot basis.

The Minister for Health and Children should come to the House to clarify whether the Hanly report is alive or dead. Politicians and those running for election are misinforming the general public about the Hanly report. There is a great deal of confusion at accident and emergency units around the country about whether they will survive. They will probably survive until after 11 June, when the Government will have new priorities.

Perhaps Hanly is in the accident and emergency department rather than being dead or alive.

The Senator is part of the untruths team that is travelling around the country.

I hope we will have an economic debate some time this session. I am pleased to see Ireland moving back up to tenth place in the world competitiveness league, only behind Finland, Denmark and Luxembourg and ahead of all the larger states of the EU.

The Minister and the Government deserve some credit for establishing the Commission on Electronic Voting.

They were forced into it.

The Opposition wants to damn us if we do and damn us if we do not.

I agree with Senator Hayes and other Members who spoke about e-voting. It is now quite apparent, particularly following the commission's ruling, that the matter needs further consideration. I am sure the Leader agrees that we do not need to debate the Electoral (Amendment) Bill this week, because it may need further clarification.

Committee Stage has been passed and the Bill is on Report Stage in the Dáil.

Yes, but I say this in the light of what has happened since. The Ombudsman's report is important, but I ask the Leader to accede to a debate.

That is a request, not a question.

Yes. The voting system belongs to the people and we need to give it more consideration. There is no need to rush. We are now aware of the possible inaccuracies — whatever about leprechauns — and the question of reliability. I always felt the system would fail on grounds of secrecy in view of the Supreme Court ruling of 1972 in the case of McMahon v. the Attorney General. I respectfully suggest that the Leader consider accepting the amendment.

It is very difficult to talk of human rights in other parts of the world after hearing our colleague Senator Leyden talk of the human rights issue at the gates of Leinster House. The world goes on nevertheless.

I support Senator McDowell's request for a debate on Africa. Specific questions need to be answered. In Darfur in Sudan, near the Chad border, ethnic cleansing is being carried out as we speak. Men, women and children are being killed and the international community has not yet responded. However, Sudan has been elected within the past 24 hours to the UN Human Rights Commission. What is going on in Sudan relates to the politics of the region, but the Minister should express an opinion. Regarding what is happening in middle Africa, and the establishment of the commission to which Senator McDowell referred, has Ireland any involvement or input into that commission? It would be useful to clarify Ireland's role, especially in light of our very deep commitment to the African continent.

In recent weeks we have seen disturbing advertisements on roadside hoardings and in supermarkets. Cancer cures costing €100 are being offered within 24 hours, with contact numbers supplied. This is very disturbing for people who are terminally ill. These advertisements were the subject of a radio programme yesterday, and people from all over Ireland were telephoning in. I ask the Leader to ask the relevant Minister what regulations exist to curb this malpractice, which raises the hopes of the terminally ill. Urgent action must be taken.

Why was the e-voting report not supplied in Irish as well as in English? This is in breach of the regulations. Only the heading was in Irish. We will shortly debate the Ombudsman's report, which is in English and Irish, as is normal practice.

The e-voting report is a matter for the commission chairman.

The Leader should make inquiries. Will the Leader tell us why the voting system failed in this House last week? When we tried to vote electronically, we could not do so.

The Minister, Deputy Cullen, pulled the plug.

The failure is a matter for the Chair. An inquiry is being made.

Members should be given the details.

They will be provided to Senators.

I concur with Senator Leyden on the need for the appropriate Minister to attend the House and speak about the redress board. We were promised legislation last Christmas but we have no idea when it will be brought forward.

In what area?

Regarding the redress board. Perhaps the Minister might come and update the House on what is happening in that regard. I am aware many people are waiting for institutions to be included.

I support my colleague, Senator Cummins, who talked about the advertisement for the cure for cancer. What is going on? The way people are allowed get away with it is appalling. If there is a medical practitioner involved in such advertising, he or she can be dealt with by the Medical Council, held accountable and called before a fitness to practice hearing. In some cases people who are not medical doctors are calling themselves doctors but we have no forum here to deal with them unless they are reported to the Garda and it becomes a criminal offence. Currently, however, there is no mechanism in place to deal with people advertising their wares, which is all they are doing because they are not providing a professional service.

I raised the issue of e-voting in the House a few months ago and the circumstances in which the contract was awarded to a firm for remote e-voting. I felt the firm was very close to the Government. There is now egg on the Government's face due to the fact that this company has not carried out its duties in a proper fashion. I also take issue with the way the Minister talked down to us and called us Luddites and stupid. I am delighted to see egg on the face of this arrogant Minister.

Do you have a question for the Leader?

Yes. I ask that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform be invited to the House, and for once I would like to congratulate him on the fact that the gardaí exercised their powers in an excellent manner during the march. Many protesters were very peaceful but an anarchist group — I would say it was the WOMBLES — came to this country and tried to cause trouble. However, the gardaí behaved in an excellent fashion. I am delighted that we can have some law and order on days when we need it. I take issue with the comments made by a lady on radio today who objected to the judge remanding some of these protesters on bail. She said it was a disgrace that the gardaí and the judge should be imposing fines on people who only removed the hats of gardaí or who would not get out of the way of gardaí. I praise the Minister and the gardaí and I hope we see much more of that.

Will the Leader congratulate the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Government on the speed with which they responded to the report of the Commission on Electronic Voting?

They had no choice.

It showed the sensitivity and pragmatism of this Government.

Arrogance and incompetence, more like it.

I share Senator Mooney's call for a debate on Sudan. It is perhaps not one of the better known conflicts yet it is a serious one in that it has the potential for even further division. It appears it is becoming a Muslim-Christian conflict but because it does not involve American soldiers it has not made the headlines and this serious issue is not spoken about.

I concur with what my colleague and the Fine Gael Leader in the House, Senator Brian Hayes, said about the need for this House to debate the electronic voting debacle. The Leader will be aware we are soon to embark on a debate on Seanad reform but before we do that the Seanad must be relevant. The public issue of the day, the electronic voting mess, requires to be debated in this House.

I realise we are trying to jump ahead by 48 hours but the idea of finalising the Electoral (Amendment) Bill in the Seanad is Alice in Wonderland politics. We should not waste our time and taxpayers' money——

Hear, hear.

——here on Friday putting in place legislation to underpin something that will not happen.

It is not yet on the Order Paper so we do not know what will happen.

I would like an indication from the Leader that this House will remain relevant and not go down the cul-de-sac of Alice in Wonderland politics.

I agree with those who have praised the Government's contribution to last week's accession of new countries into the European Union. Perhaps not only in the House, but throughout the country, we have not fully taken on board the significance of what happened last week, when a new Europe was built. A peaceful Europe is being created. When I was first a Member of the Seanad, back in 1987, Europe was divided. We had the Berlin Wall and a cold war. Missiles from the Soviet army were pointing towards western Europe. The European Continent and the world are entirely changed today, and Ireland has played a significant role in the building of that new Europe, of which we can all be very proud.

I hope this is appropriate but the Cathaoirleach may interrupt if it is not; the House should send its congratulations to our MEP for Munster, the President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, who has announced he is not seeking re-election. His contribution over recent years, not merely to Munster or Irish politics but to those of Europe, has been immense. He is a marvellous ambassador for politics and Ireland, and we should wish him well.

He would make an excellent commissioner.

Senator Brian Hayes, the leader of the Opposition, made a proposal, which was later seconded, and that is his right. Regarding the electronic voting Bill, I understand that Senator O'Toole asked on Friday morning why it was on the following week. I know that we do not talk about the other House, but I must point out that it passed Committee Stage and is on Report Stage in the Dáil. I raised a query because I wondered why we should have the Bill when we are not to have electronic voting. I understand the commission requires a legal framework. It was set up for the job which it did so admirably and will now be placed on a statutory footing. For that to happen, it needs a legal framework, hence the need for the legislation.

That is only one section.

I was explaining the reasons. I was not going to walk in here today without knowing why the Bill was being taken. The commission needs a statutory set-up and legal framework, hence the need for the Bill to be passed. On the Senator's point that we now need two hours now to debate electronic voting, we will have four hours on Friday to do so. That seems ample to me. I know Senators will be expressing in macro-form then that which they have expressed in micro-form and we will reply properly. I do not know why the Senator would want another two hours.

Not Senator Bannon.

I cannot simply run around and get a Minister from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to produce himself out of a hat.

Press a button.

I have provided the other side of the story.

If the Leader told the Minister that there would be a photographer here, he would be here quickly.

One cannot get Ministers out of a top or bottom drawer.

The bottom drawer.

(Interruptions).

Allow the Leader to continue without interruption.

Senator O'Toole supported Senator Brian Hayes on the matter of seeking two hours now for a debate. He alleged that the House had been misled by both secrecy and inaccuracy. I notice a combination of Opposition Members that bodes well for both the Opposition and ourselves in replying on the issue today.

And Independents, no doubt.

I said "Opposition", so everyone is included.

On a point of information, we are not members of the Opposition and are independent of all others.

Lord O'Toole. Senator McDowell also agreed with Senator Brian Hayes, alleging that this matter was a damning indictment of the Government. The Senator raised the Commission for Africa which the UK Prime Minister has set up and which will be chaired by Bob Geldoff. It is important the Senator raised the matter as we have a significant presence there. Over many decades Ireland has made a commitment to Africa and a debate on it would be useful.

Senator Leyden referred to Mr. Tom Sweeney who is on hunger strike outside the gates of Leinster House. I went to see him last week because the Seanad raised the matter. Somebody with him asked for an ambulance, but he would not get into it. We will endeavour to find out with whom to raise this matter.

Senator Finucane referred to the Commission on Electronic Voting and castigated the Minister. Senator Ormonde congratulated the Taoiseach on the enlargement of the EU and the celebrations at the weekend. The arrangements and organisation of the programme over the Saturday and Sunday were a mammoth task. The occasion passed off well. Major concerns were raised in this House last week about possible overreaction on the security front. However, if the gardaí were not there, it would have been another matter. I thought they handled everything remarkably well. There was not much of a protest really. It was a beautiful sunny day and everybody there was glad to be involved.

Senator Norris referred to the dignity and colour of our enlargement day. He saw it from one of the countries, which in part joined the enlargement. He also commented on electronic voting and on Iraq, in particular. It is difficult to know precisely what we are being shown on television in this regard. The allegations of human rights infringements by UK forces in Iraq are apparently being examined. The Americans, however, have almost confessed to it. The crudity of the leaders themselves is being expressed further down the line——

Absolutely.

——-and that is how it is happening. It is frightful and awful. It is a blot on humanity that one person should treat another in this way, no matter what the hierarchical differences between them. One can scarcely look at it, it is so awful.

Senator Lydon talked about the Defence Forces and the way they displayed themselves, both on Saturday and today. He referred to the way the graves are kept. I agree with his call for a debate on Iraq and we will seek that. Senator Bannon wants a full investigation into the results of the 2002 election. I would like that, however, we did not have electronic voting in my constituency so I would not come into the fray.

They might try it in west Limerick.

I do not know about that. It is not up to me. He also asked about the Hanly report and where it stands.

Where does it stand?

Senator Mansergh wants an economic debate and remarked how we had moved up the competition ladder. Nobody is praising that at all. I thank the Senator for raising it.

It is coming up on the doorsteps all the time.

In practically every house one calls on these days everyone is employed. When I started in 1982 it was common to find everyone in a house unemployed. Nearly everyone is employed now, which is great. It is a yardstick.

Still they are not happy.

It is a characteristic of humankind not to be happy. Senator Coghlan mentioned the voting system, which he says belongs to the people. Senator Mooney wanted a debate on Africa. I agree that is much needed.

Senator Cummins raised the signs regarding cancer treatment, one of which I saw in Dungarvan in March. We rant and rave about Joe Duffy, but he did the nation a service yesterday for an hour and a half in this regard. The difficulty is that proper alternative medicine has an authentic structure and people avail of it. However, the people behind these posters are not part of that. A man is offering a cancer cure for €100. It costs €20,000 in the Killaloe East Clinic to be "cured" and then people pass away. It is shocking when people are so caught up in despair over their loved ones. The Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, made a statement on this today in the newspapers, but we should invite him to the House. The regulations are the problem, as Senator Feeney said. If one regulates the reputable alternative medical practitioners, what does one do about the others? It is significant that 20,000 people went to Killaloe. Three very well-spoken women contributed to Joe Duffy's radio show yesterday whose husbands had died and from whom the practitioner extracted €20,000 each. They did not believe in the possibility of a miracle cure but thought the treatment would arrest the progress of the disease. The autopsy on one of the husbands showed that all the tablets administered to him were still lodged in his gut. It is terrible. I am glad the Senator raised the issue because it would be suitable for the Minister to come in and talk about it.

Regarding Senator Browne's point, the report on e-voting will be published in Irish next week and we have the——

That is disgraceful.

The Senator wanted it rather quickly.

That is outrageous.

Senator Browne, I explained that was a matter for the commission. Please allow the Leader to reply without interruption.

It is not outrageous.

Why is it not in English and Irish?

We will read it in Irish.

It will be available next week, as will the Seanad report, as Gaeilge.

Senator Browne also mentioned the Residential Institutions Redress Board and he has asked several times when that Bill will be introduced. I will try to deal with it when I deal with Senator Leyden's request to outline Mr. Sweeney's case to the House.

Senator Feeney supported Senator Cummins's point that some people who are not medical doctors are calling themselves doctors. It seems that it is very easy to be a "doctor", although I mean no disrespect to any doctor in the House. I do not refer to medical doctors, but to the holders of doctorates in philosophy.

The company Senator Feighan mentioned was a PR company, not an implementation company. He congratulated the Garda which will please the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell. I will convey the message to him most earnestly.

That must be the first time that has happened.

Senator Hanafin may have been somewhat disingenuous when he congratulated the Government on the speed with which it responded to the report of Commission on Electronic Voting.

He must be looking for a job.

No. He has a very worthwhile job. He also repeated his request for a debate on Africa.

Senator Bradford asked for the appropriate Minister to come to the House to discuss electronic voting. I was waiting to see if the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen, could come in but he has been appointed to the implementation body and it is difficult to get an appointment with him.

He is one of the leprechauns.

He is a very busy person and everyone is caught up in the local elections.

Further to our discussion on Europe, we are enthused about the new member states but we should recognise that they all have old cultures with histories stretching back thousands of years in some cases. While it is wonderful that they have shaken off the yoke of serfdom and have joined the European Union, it is equally important that we remember that they have long histories and distinctive cultures.

Senator Brian Hayes has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That, at the conclusion of the Order of Business, statements on the independent report of the Commission on Electronic Voting take place for two hours". Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 28.

  • Bannon, James.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, Fergal.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Henry, Mary.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Norris, David.
  • O’Toole, Joe.
  • Phelan, John.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Terry, Sheila.

Níl

  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Callanan, Peter.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kett, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lydon, Donal J.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Minihan, John.
  • Mooney, Paschal C.
  • Morrissey, Tom.
  • Moylan, Pat.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators U. Burke and Cummins; Níl, Senators Minihan and Moylan.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 19.

  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Callanan, Peter.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kett, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lydon, Donal J.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Minihan, John.
  • Mooney, Paschal C.
  • Morrissey, Tom.
  • Moylan, Pat.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bannon, James.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, Fergal.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Henry, Mary.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Norris, David.
  • O’Toole, Joe.
  • Phelan, John.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Terry, Sheila.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Minihan and Moylan; Níl, Senators U. Burke and Cummins.
Question declared carried.