Senator Ryan raised valid points about the transfer of data and US banks which I will bring to the attention of the Minister for Finance.
I fully support Senator Ryan's views on Cork Airport's debt. We may differ on the break-up of Aer Rianta and similar issues but we both know, as Cork representatives, that the issue of addressing the debt is hanging over the future development of the airport. I will join him in asking the Minister for Transport to seek a speedy solution to the problem. I am unhappy with the Dublin Airport Authority's influence on the decision making process because it has a vested interest in the ultimate decision. I constantly ask the Minister about this issue which I will continue to highlight.
Senator Terry referred to listed buildings and highlighted a case in south County Dublin. While that is a matter for local authorities, they must take clear action in such cases, otherwise it will become the norm. Retention and other issues in the planning process can be abused by individuals. I support the Senator in this regard.
Senator Terry also referred to the report on smear tests at Cork University Hospital, an issue highlighted by her colleague, Deputy Stanton in the media. There was a blip in the timing of test results because of the change to a liquid-based test. Staff have been trained in this regard but it has resulted in delays. The HSE and the Minister for Health and Children are concerned about the matter and steps have been taken to address it. Because of the unacceptable turnaround time, a tender was issued. Two laboratories, one of which is located in the United Kingdom, will also conduct tests to speed up the process. Contracts were signed earlier this month and it is hoped the matter of the delay will be addressed. While the new testing procedure is more expensive, it has been deemed as being more accurate and efficient and better able to prevent the need for second tests.
Senator Mansergh raised the issues of rendition and Turkey's accession, welcoming the Pope's statements. Despite hype prior to the Pope's visit to Turkey, I am sure Senators will join me in saying we are glad the visit has been successful. It is in everyone's interests that our diverse cultures and traditions can meet in a civilised manner.
Senator Norris raised the issue of the age of consent. The report to be published today should be debated because there are diverse opinions on this broad matter. This morning on the radio, I listened to the opinions of young people, those involved in the supervision of young people and those who legislate. I will endeavour to arrange a debate on the report.
Senator Bannon raised the issue of defibrillators. His point was valid because evidence in that regard exists, but providing defibrillators alone is not the solution. People must be trained in their use. It is not a case of hanging a defibrillator on the back of every town hall. The Knights of Malta, the St. John's Ambulance Brigade and people involved in training in sporting organisations can be trained in the use of the equipment. The clubs that buy the equipment would pay VAT, a matter I have raised previously. No one disputes the merits of the issue, but it would be useful for the Senator to table it as a matter on the Adjournment and to have the Minister for Health and Children debate the issue in the House before Christmas.
Senator Daly raised the issue of community affairs relating to the Cohesion Fund. Given that the time in question is the end of the year, I would encourage the Senator to table the issue as a matter on the Adjournment.
Senator Quinn raised the issue of the public's response to road works in general. Regarding main traffic routes, the point concerning 24-hour contracts rather than eight-hour days is valid. I experienced such a situation in Cork city, the centre of which underwent major sewerage and drainage works and was disrupted for years. That the work was confined to eight-hour days was frustrating. As opposed to residential areas where people are sleeping, we should move towards 24-hour and seven days per week contracts in the commercial areas and on the main thoroughfares. While it has been the case in certain major road works, it has not happened often enough. I support the Senator and I will bring the matter to the attention of the Minister.
Senator Cummins raised the issue of today's schedule, which I highlighted at the outset of the Order of Business. Yesterday, the Leader made every effort to avoid the break between 3.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m., but the Minister and Ministers of State in the Department are meeting with the Taoiseach. Should that situation change, we will contact all Senators and try to bring the debate forward, but the matter is out of our hands at this time.
Senator Browne raised the issue of a debate on agriculture. Last week, he raised the matter of the nitrates directive and this morning highlighted the matter of farm inspections. He was joined by Senator Scanlon in that regard. Speaking on part-time farmers and the issue of notices, Senator Browne highlighted the number of inspectors visiting nursing homes. To follow the Senator's argument, is he suggesting nursing homes should be given 48 hours notice prior to inspections?