We should suggest to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that next year's census would offer an opportunity to change the system.
Senator Feeney raised the issue of Irish as a spoken language, which the House discussed last week while she was attending a committee meeting. The Senator is concerned about how the language is taught and the possibility that it will fall into disuse if the current position is allowed to continue.
Senator Henry referred to the €78 million allocated to health which was returned to the Department of Finance. Given all that needs to be done, no one can understand this decision. The Senator also requested that the Minister for Health and Children come before the House to debate MRSA. Marian Finucane's radio programme featured a most riveting discussion on the issue this morning. The descriptions of bathrooms and wash rooms in well-known hospitals — Ms Finucane would not allow speakers to mention the names — were awful. Ireland has the third highest incidence of MRSA in the world. It is terrible that one goes into hospital to be cured and leaves with an incurable disease.
In response to Senator Mansergh's request, we will have an opportunity to discuss ministerial and Civil Service responsibility and accountability during the debate on the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2004. The decision on the revocation of a licence should be open so that people will know the reason a person is returned to prison.
Senator Coghlan noted that Killarney House has been locked up for seven years. Senator Kitt raised concerns about schools losing teachers. I cannot understand the position that has developed. Senators receive circulars which make everything sound wonderful but the letters we receive from schools do not match the fine words in the circulars. The number of teachers in disadvantaged schools appears to have decreased or else the number of disadvantaged schools has decreased. I do not know which is the case but the rhetoric does not match the delivery. We will endeavour to have the Minister come before the House to discuss the matter.
I replied to Senator Bannon's first question. He also requested that the Minister for Agriculture and Food come before the House to discuss the beef overshoot and associated penalties. We will see what we can do in the time left this session. The Minister is at the top of the pile.
Senator Maurice Hayes described the revocation of Mr. Kelly's licence as iffy and stated there should be grounds for such a revocation. He also referred to the manner in which European legislation is dealt with. As other members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs will be aware, we nod our heads in agreement when a list, which means nothing to us, is placed before us. There is a worry that important matters are overlooked.
I could not agree more with Senator Ulick Burke's comments on the school bus fleet. While a new bus fleet should be acquired, it would be helpful if the ramshackle buses were taken out of service and replaced immediately. We have two months to do so before term begins. The money sent back by the Department of Health and Children would buy an entire fleet of buses.
Senator Ulick Burke also asked about the ramshackle buses and objected to the expense of publishing technical documents in Irish when very few people will read them. When we embraced the Official Languages Act, we embraced it in all its manifestations — that is what the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs will say.
I saw the downturn in the tourism figures mentioned by Senator Paddy Burke. The west, mid-west and south west suffered a decline in numbers and I will ask the Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism to come into the House for a debate on tourism.