The Order of Business is No. 1, motion re Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 (No. 39 of 1998), to be taken at the conclusion of the Order of Business and conclude not later than 4.15 p.m., with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed five minutes and the Minister to be called upon to reply to the debate not later than 4.10 p.m; No. 2, statements on the allocation of language support and resource teachers for special needs pupils in the context of the employment control framework, to be taken at 4.15 p.m. and conclude not later than 6.15 p.m., with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed ten minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed six minutes, with the Minister to be called upon to reply not later than 6.10 p.m.
Order of Business
This is a very sad day for my party and all of us in this Chamber. We have lost a great friend and colleague in the late Deputy Brian Lenihan who was laid to rest today. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil group in the Seanad, I extend my sincere sympathy to his wife, Patricia; his son, Tom; his daughter, Clare; his mother, Ann, and his extended family. His aunt, former Senator Mary O'Rourke, is a former Leader of this House.
Many words have been spoken in recent days about Brian Lenihan. We all considered him, first and foremost, a great friend. This transcended party politics and policies and was marked by his constituents in Dublin West when 9,000 queued on Saturday to sign a book of condolence. Such books were opened all over the country. I thank the Taoiseach and the Government for the respect they showed Brian and his family in that regard. A beautiful Mass was held today, after the removal yesterday.
For my colleagues and me, Brian was proud of his country, an Irishman to the core. Everything he did was in the interests of the country, not personal interest. He made very difficult decisions that he tried to explain to the public, with whom he connected. As a friend and colleague, he was an example to us all as parliamentarians in the respect he showed for both Houses of the Oireachtas. He spent many a long night in the Seanad and showed his respect for colleagues, of all parties and none. To the very end his only concern was for the country.
I understand the Leader has a suggestion to make on this issue.
I suggest the House observe a minute's silence tomorrow to be followed by brief words from the party leaders.
That would be greatly appreciated. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil group, I convey my sympathy to Brian's family. He fought the good fight. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.
I add my voice to that of Senator Darragh O'Brien in offering condolences to the family of the late Deputy Brian Lenihan. We were all immensely shocked by his untimely death on Friday. Every Member of the House will wish to offer condolences to his family — his wife, Patricia, and his children, Clare and Tom. Those of us who were Members of the previous Seanad will recall the night of the long debate on the bank guarantee scheme in September 2008 and the great courtesy and competence Brian Lenihan, then Minister for Finance, brought to the debate. He maintained that courtesy and a level of collegiality, even when dealing with those of us who did not agree with him, through a very long debate. I should mention that I knew him as a colleague at the Bar and at Trinity College. He was a former student of Trinity. I am grateful to the Leader for indicating that he will allow us to pay longer tributes tomorrow, which is important. On behalf of the Labour Party, I convey our condolences to his family.
I would like to ask the Leader for a debate in November on the report of the Smithwick tribunal. All of us noted the opening speech of the tribunal last week, following the debate in this House on the Minister for Justice and Equality's motion to place a certain timeframe on the work of the tribunal. It would be useful for us to revisit the issue of the Smithwick tribunal and to revisit some of that debate when the report is published in November of this year. I ask the Leader to make time for such a debate, which would be of great significance, in November. During Senator McAleese's excellent maiden speech in this House on Thursday, he suggested that the Seanad could be used as a pivotal place for such debates. Regardless of the findings of the Smithwick tribunal, the issues it is investigating are of such importance that they deserve a full debate in this House.
I add my voice to the expressions of condolence to Brian Lenihan's wife, Patricia; his children, Clare and Tom; his mother, Ann; his aunt, Mary; and his brothers and sister. I had the privilege of working with him when he served as Minister of State with responsibility for children. I welcome the opportunity to record his achievements in that office during tomorrow's tributes.
I welcome the fact that the Leader of the House, has made arrangements for us to speak extensively about the late Brian Lenihan. I was at the funeral and found it very moving. I knew him from his days in Trinity College. He was a brilliant student. I think Brian Lenihan would be very glad that we are meeting here today and that we did not cancel our business. Brian Lenihan would have said "Go on, do your work, keep going". I hope to have an opportunity to speak about him tomorrow.
I would like to raise the plight of children in Iraq. I have visited the hospital for sick children in Iraq. I was able to bring in some much needed drugs. At that time, a UN embargo prevented painkilling drugs and drugs like penicillin from being brought in. I am worried about an issue that has been raised by a number of Senators in this House. I refer to the use of depleted uranium weapons during the war in Iraq, which particularly affected the area around Basra. Will the Leader arrange a general debate on the subject of depleted uranium? The use of such weapons is a cause of considerable concern to the medical authorities, especially in the children's hospital in Basra. Although I have visited the children's hospital in Baghdad, I have not visited the hospital in Basra. The hospitals in question continue to lack vital machinery and medical supplies.
The statistics show that Iraq has experienced an extraordinary increase in diseases that are perfectly treatable in the west. In addition, it has high rates of leukaemia, stillbirth, miscarriage and deformities that are not unlike those encountered after the Chernobyl incident. Senior staff have made it quite clear that their informed scientific and medical opinion is that many of these conditions are the result of the use of chemical weapons, including depleted uranium. It is possible to determine this. One of the reasons the use of such weapons has not been outlawed is that some countries believe there is no proven link. The medical staff in Iraq say they would be in a position to prove there is a link if they had the facilities to perform biopsies and analyse tissue and urine samples. The Dean of Basra medical college, Professor Thamer Hamdan, who is the senior person responsible, has said:
We have little doubt that [depleted uranium] is linked to the rise in cancer and deformities. We're also seeing a rise in infertility in men and women, which is a concern.
This country played an important role in establishing medical facilities, for example, through the Parc development. The Royal College of Surgeons helped to establish a hospital. Irish nurses and doctors worked there. We have a direct historic interest there and it is a great shame that we allow children to be treated in this way. It is the same as debates that a number of Senators raised in the House about the fate of Roma gypsy children who have been parked for the past ten years on top of a toxic dump and who now have the highest levels of lead and mercury in their system ever recorded. I respectfully ask the Leader to give time for a debate on this issue.
I thank the Leader for setting aside time tomorrow in order that we all can express condolences to the Lenihan family on the untimely passing of former Minister, Brian Lenihan. That is opportune and I will reserve my comments until then.
I understand we will have the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill in the House in the next week or so. I have been offered the great task by our leader to be the Front Bench spokesperson in the Seanad on social protection. For my part, I believe we have a challenge to face in this country in that the social protection budget is running at more than €20 billion. The debate on the Bill will afford us all an opportunity to look at how to create a socially just society at this time in our history when we face such considerable economic challenges, how to ensure work is more valuable than welfare, and how to guard against welfare dependence and a welfare lifestyle while at the same time ensuring the vulnerable are protected at all times. I encourage every Member in the House to use the opportunity of the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill to put our ideas forward together. It is a massive challenge, how we will bring our country back to work and back to education. That should be our form of social protection as opposed to a pure dependency on welfare. I look forward to hearing the Members views in the House.
I thank the Leader of the House for providing time tomorrow for Members to pay tributes to the late, great Brian Lenihan. I extend my sympathy, as I have already, to his wife and family and to his aunt, Mary O'Rourke, who was Leader of this House. I have a long link with them because I was assistant director of elections in 1969 for his father with whom I started my political career. I learnt a great deal from Brian senior and the family. In relation to the Seanad, when I brought the Private Members' Bill here, it was Brian Lenihan who brought the Bill with me through the House and was so helpful on that issue. He had great respect for this House. He came here regularly as a Minister.
I thank the Taoiseach and the Cabinet for deciding that the Dáil should be suspended today as a mark of respect and also for being at the funeral in such great numbers. It showed great respect for a colleague. I also thank the Fine Gael Party for asking Brian to give the oration at the monument to Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth last year. That was one of the greatest honours bestowed on him, he felt, of linking up the political past, and he took great interest in that speech. May he rest in peace.
The Leader of the House, who happens to be nominated by the GRA, the AGSI and the Garda superintendents, must be shocked and horrified to hear that the Government will suspend the training of gardaí in Templemore at this stage and that Templemore will have no trainees for the next two years. We never needed the service of gardaí more than we do now. We need them more than ever. This is certainly a signal to the gangsters, bombers and assassins that they will be subject to less control now than they were in the past. It is the principal responsibility of Government to defend its citizens. By deciding not to have further——
The matter may be suitable for an Adjournment debate.
It would, and I hope the Cathaoirleach would grant me permission to raise it because I intend to table it tomorrow for Thursday.
If the Senator tables it, I will take it for him.
I appreciate that. I ask the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, to come to the House and give a detailed statement in this regard. We were nominated by Garda representative organisations and we always responded to their requirements. This is serious because the fact that gardaí will not be trained will affect every town and village in Ireland, and many gardaí left the force last year.
It was in the Senator's party's budget last year.
We are in a perilous situation in this regard and I am horrified that the Government can do this somersault so quickly. It is 100 days of somersaults.
Through the good offices of the Leader of the House, I call on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to attend the House to set out his policy on Grid25 and the development of an energy supply network throughout the country. There is a great deficit in the provision of a power supply along the eastern seaboard, especially in the south east. It requires the roll-out of a cobweb of high voltage power lines, pylons and sub-stations throughout the country from the west. The problem will be accentuated with the development of wind farms, wave power projects and renewables along the west coast. In a previous life I took the view that this was best and the right thing to do. I also protested against the construction of a nuclear power station at Carnsore in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, there are now communities throughout the country concerned about the construction by EirGrid of electricity sub-stations, pylons and power lines. The policy is being rolled out in an off-hand, dismissive and cavalier fashion and leading to fear, anxiety and tension between farmers, families and neighbours. It is also leading to gross misinformation at public meetings. It would be helpful, therefore, to clear the air if the Minister set out the position on planning and compulsory purchase orders with regard to the provision of such strategic infrastructure. The Ratheniska Action Group has been formed in my community. I do not defend the NIMBY — not in my backyard — syndrome for one second because we must move past it, but neither are the people concerned bananas. They are not from the brigade that would not build anything anywhere at anytime. It would be helpful if EirGrid was instructed by the Minister to engage in meaningful and transparent discussions in a fair-minded manner and not dismiss the genuine fears and concerns of communities.
Like previous speakers and on behalf my party colleagues, I extend our sincere sympathy to the family of the late Deputy Brian Lenihan. It is welcome that the Leader of the House will provide time tomorrow, for which I thank him, to speak extensively about Brian, his life and achievements.
I extend my sympathy also to the family of the late Liam Kelly, a former Member of this House. He was a Member in the 1950s, along with being a member of Saor Uladh. On several occasions he spoke extensively in the Chamber about the right of Nationalists and Unionists in the North to representation in the Oireachtas. He was also an MP for the constituency of Mid-Ulster in the Stormont Assembly in the 1950s. I extend my sympathy to his family.
I wish to raise a number of other issues. On several occasions I have asked the Leader of the House to clarify when the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will come into the Chamber to discuss the review of the joint labour committees, JLCs.
As the Leader is aware, consultation with the social partners is under way. While it is welcome that the Minister is engaging in consultations with the social partners, he should hold discussions with Members also. It is important, therefore, that he come into the Chamber as soon as possible, preferably next week if the Leader can make the necessary arrangements.
Like Senator Terry Leyden, I also call for a debate on the embargo on Garda recruitment. While it is important that the Senator seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment, Ministers should come into the House to have discussions with Members on the impact of the embargo on the ability of the Garda to do its job in defending communities which will suffer because of the cutbacks. It is important that Members are given such an opportunity to discuss the matter.
I draw the attention of the House to an all-party motion passed by Dublin City Council last night on the issue of the Magdalene laundries. It calls on the State to apologise and set up a redress board and establish an independent public inquiry. There is a need for a unanimous motion to be passed at some point by the House calling on the Government to do all these things, which it should do as of right. I call on all groupings to facilitate the passing of such a motion.
There has been discussion in recent days regarding a leaked Health Service Executive report on the potential for cutbacks in services, with the threat that if services in certain hospitals are not reduced, some, such as Monaghan General Hospital, could be closed.
The Senator is out of time.
There have been numerous calls for the Minister for Health to come into the Chamber to discuss these important issues. That must happen as quickly as possible.
I welcome the Leader's indication that he will allow time for tributes to the late Deputy Brian Lenihan who, as Minister, was always very attentive to his duty in this House and treated everybody with great kindness and courtesy.
It is important to note the categorical assurance from the chairman of the National Asset Management Agency, Mr. Frank Daly, at the meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Cork this morning that the agency has not to date and does not intend in future to sell back assets at favourable rates to the defaulting debtors from whom they were purchased. Unfortunately, a Member of this House has made allegations to the contrary, hinting, on more than one occasion, that sweetheart deals have been done involving NAMA and some of these people. He made these allegations in the House under parliamentary privilege.
I would have expected more from him as a respected colleague. He has made this claim without proof or back-up, and his allegations are unfounded. If he has back-up or proof, let him provide it. Alternatively, let him make the allegations outside this House and we will see what happens. This concerns the Cathaoirleach as much as the Leader because it would make a very bad headline for any of us to tolerate such an abuse of privilege. I very much welcome the categorical assurance today from the chairman of NAMA. Perhaps this matter can be pursued at a meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.
Last week we agreed a comprehensive all-party motion regarding the medical staff held captive in Bahrain. Has the Government received any report on this case, which has become exceptionally urgent? I received a disturbing e-mail at the weekend listing the names of the 49 people held captive, who include some eminent physicians. I understand some of these people may be sentenced in the coming week and may even face execution. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has a long and lucrative relationship with the Government in Bahrain through the courses and qualifications the college provides, with large numbers of Bahraini citizens coming to this country to study. The college should use its influence in this matter but, as far as I am aware, it has not spoken on the matter. One eminent surgeon, Professor Damian McCormack - who does not mind having his name mentioned in the House - has been quite outspoken on the issue. I ask the Leader, if there is a report, to make it available to us and that he follow up on this matter in light of the urgency attached to it.
It was reported in Roscommon at the weekend that the Health Service Executive proposes to reduce accident and emergency hours at Roscommon hospital from the current 24-7 basis to a service running from 8 a.m. on Monday until 5 p.m. on Friday evening with no cover at weekends.
Needless to say, the HSE would prefer the people of County Roscommon to get sick during the week only and not at weekends. The HSE is blaming the shortfall on its failure to recruit junior doctors, a matter raised in the House by my colleague, Senator John Whelan, last week. However, it is highly convenient that it is failing to recruit junior doctors to hospitals into which it has no intention of investing further. In addition, I am aware that junior doctors who are recruited in HSE west are given the option of choosing the hospital in which they wish to work and naturally enough, they all wish to work in Galway. However, my understanding is that no such option is given in other parts of the country. Such doctors are told both the hospitals in which they will work and that they may be obliged to rotate between hospitals, which covers the requisite staffing levels for full-time accident and emergency departments.
It is also apparent from the HSE's attempts to downgrade hospitals such as Roscommon County Hospital that it is misinforming ambulance staff, patients and the public by telling them the accident and emergency unit in Roscommon is full and that patients should be brought to places such as Sligo, Portiuncula or Galway hospitals. This has been challenged recently by a couple of people who realised the destination to which they were brought and where they were informed they could be dealt with, namely, Sligo hospital, was full while the Roscommon accident and emergency unit only had two patients. I believe the HSE is attempting to close the accident and emergency service there by stealth. Any given point in County Roscommon is 35 miles from the nearest accident and emergency unit and the county has a very poor structure ——
This is a matter that can be raised on the Adjournment.
I am getting to that point.
It will be taken on the Adjournment tonight.
Senator Leyden is to raise the matter on the Adjournment tonight and I am sure he will give Senator Kelly a minute of his time.
I will give the Senator a minute.
I will conclude on this point because the Minister should be called before this House to address this issue as a matter of urgency. As the HSE has this plan in place for 11 July, which is only a few weeks away, it is very important that he does. The Cathaoirleach should bear in mind that before the general election, the Minister for Health gave a written commitment to the people of County Roscommon that there would be no downgrading of accident and emergency services in Roscommon. While Members will discuss the matter further in an Adjournment debate, the Cathaoirleach should facilitate the Minister's appearance as soon as possible and hopefully within the next week.
The birds are coming home to roost.
Ba mhaith liom go n-iarrfaí ar an Aire Iompair teacht isteach agus soiléiriú a thabhairt don Teach maidir le cúrsaí mótarbhealaigh agus cúrsaí infrastruchtúra agus na forbairtí atá á dhéanamh ansin, i bhfianaise an scéil atá tagtha amach go bhfuilimid ag íoc €500,000 in aghaidh na míosa le comhlucht Spáinneach mar nach bhfuil a dóthain caranna ag úsáid na mótarbhealaí atá againn, agus ag an am céanna go bhfuilimid ag rá le muintir na Gaillimhe nach bhfuil dóthain airgid againn leis an aerphort a choinneáil oscailte an bhliain seo chugainn, chomh maith leis sin go bhfuilimid ag caint ar dholaí nua a chur ar an mótarbhealach idir Gort Inse Guaire agus Tuam Dá Ghualain agus go mbeidh muintir na Gaillimhe agus an iarthair, a bheidh ag úsáid an bhóthair sin, ag íoc €22 milliún in aghaidh na bliana leis an mótarbhealach sin a úsáid. Tá sé tábhachtach go ndéanfaí plé, muna bhfuil daoine ag úsáid na mótarbhealaí seo agus muna bhfuil dóthain teacht isteach ag an chomhlucht maidir leis na dolaí, cén todhchaí atá ag na bóithre seo.
I ask for the issue of motorway tolls to be considered by the House. I have been informed that given the lack of motorway toll revenues being collected by the Spanish company which runs the tolls arising from an insufficient number of cars using the motorways, €500,000 per month is being paid to the aforementioned company. This is scandalous, particularly as those who run Galway Airport have been informed it will not receive an operating grant next year to keep it open as part of the west's essential infrastructure. Moreover, it has been announced that two new tolls will be added to the road between Galway and Tuam and the people of the west will be obliged to pay €22 million per annum to use that road. It is obvious both to me and to most of those who are observing the motorways' operation that people are not using them because of these tolls. Therefore, this appears to have defeated the purpose of building the roads in the first place and a serious debate is required on the position regarding tolls on the motorway network, whether this is working and what the future plan will be.
I ask the Leader of the House to invite the Minister for Health into this Chamber for a debate on psychiatric services and the serious deficiencies within those services. While I acknowledge the Minister has only been in office for 100 days, he should come before this House to outline his schedule, with deadlines, regarding the closure of the many outdated institutions that are home to people with psychiatric problems. Many of these institutions are no longer fit for purpose. I refer, in particular, to St. Finian's Hospital in Killarney. At one time it had capacity for more than 300 patients but now there are only 20 in it. I call on the Minister to close it as quickly as possible. I also ask the Leader to bring the Minister to the House for a debate on the country's psychiatric services.
I also thank the Leader for providing time tomorrow to express sympathy to the Lenihan family. The Cathaoirleach will know that the Lenihan family has very close ties with County Clare. The late Deputy's ancestors came from north Clare, very near from where I come. On behalf of the people of County Clare, I express our sympathy to the Lenihan family and, in my own case, to Brian's mother, Ann, who was a mature student in UCD when I was an undergraduate.
I wish to raise the issue of gambling and refer to the fact that a casino is to be built in County Tipperary having been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála. I do not particularly have an issue with the facility being given planning permission and I am sure it will provide much needed employment in County Tipperary and offer visitors from abroad a tourism offering not currently available here. However, there is a need for the legislation on gambling to be updated and I have read reports that proposals are in train to do so. Gambling presents a serious problem. When the legislation is being updated, I suggest the Government also consider the legislation governing the national lottery which has served the country very well since its establishment, but the governing legislation dates from 1986 and possibly needs to be updated. When the lottery began, there was one game held each week and one scratch card on offer, whereas now there is a choice of approximately 15 scratch cards and at least one televised game show every day, with an on-line product. After 25 years the legislation has run its course and we need to take another look at it. Gambling poses many serious problems and side effects and we need to be very careful to ensure it does not take a grip on the country, as it has destroyed many homes. Therefore, in any legislative analysis we also need to look at the national lottery.
This is the first time I have spoken in the House and, like my colleagues, I am very glad to be here. I intend to raise various issues.
Over the weekend an advertisement appeared in the local media on the designation of a bird sanctuary on the Shannon Estuary covering the coastline of counties Clare, Limerick and Kerry, nearly 100 miles in total. Shannon Airport is in this area and it is hoped to develop a humanitarian aid and cargo hub. There has also been zoning for substantial wind farms along that coastline. I refer also to the issue of the gas project raised in the House recently by Senator Ned O'Sullivan, as well as the deep water ports of Foynes and Limerick. There are also deep water facilities in Kildysart in west Clare which have been zoned. This means the Shannon Estuary can accommodate the biggest cargo ships in the world. This is, therefore, a matter of the utmost importance to the region. I ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, to come to the House to explain what the impact of the decision taken will be on the future development of the region. We have done a lot of work which is of critical importance to the country's economic recovery. Therefore, I would like the Minister to expand on the decision made. Placing an advertisement in the newspapers outlining the intention to designate a bird sanctuary and asking for submissions is not the way to inform people of such decisions. We need an explanation of how the decision taken will impact on the future development of the three counties mentioned, the region as a whole and the country.
I join Senator Darragh O'Brien and all other colleagues in paying respect to the late Deputy Brian Lenihan. We will have an opportunity tomorrow to pay adequate tribute to the former Minister.
Senator Bacik raised the question of the Smithwick tribunal and its recommendations. When they are published we will have a debate on them.
Senator Norris referred to the appalling situation in Iraq, the human rights abuses and so on. It is an issue which we could possibly debate under a heading of human rights and deal with a number of problems that there are throughout the world. We could broaden the debate and have it soon.
I assure Senator Healy Eames that the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill will come before the House the week after next. It will come before the Dáil next week.
Senator Leyden referred to cutbacks in Garda numbers and the fact that Templemore would have no recruits for the next couple of years. It is the policy advocated by the previous Government in the cutbacks initiated in the last budget which the current Government is proceeding to implement.
Senator Whelan spoke on the roll-out of energy supplies and the problems with pylons. We have had a request for a debate to deal with wind energy, energy supplies and strategic infrastructure. I am trying to get Senator Varadkar to the House to deal with those matters and we hope he will come here fairly soon.
He is a Minister, with respect.
I did not interrupt the Senator and I do not expect to be interrupted.
The Leader to continue without interruption, please.
I join Senator Cullinane in expressing sympathies to the family of former Senator Liam Kelly, a gentleman whom I did not know. We would all like to be associated with those remarks in expressing condolences to his wife and family. He also raised the question of the review of JLCs. There is no Government decision, as far as I know, on that issue but we will have a debate. We had a debate in the House on competitiveness and the question of JLCs was raised by several Members. The issue of the Magdalene laundries will be considered by the Government this week. I will facilitate a debate on it and the Minister is anxious that we debate it.
Senator Coghlan referred to the clarification by the chairman of NAMA. I do not wish to comment any further on that matter.
On the comments of Senator Ó Murchú, we had an all-party motion last week. I have not received the report to date but will make representations to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and update the House on the motion.
Senator Kelly spoke about Roscommon hospital and the reduction in accident and emergency hours. As has been pointed out, there is an Adjournment motion on the issue and I hope he will get some time to deal with it today.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh referred to tolls and was not aware that we were paying the toll company for the lack of use of the road. It was news to me. I travelled from Cork this morning and paid two tolls, a total of €3.80 which is the going rate. If one is not paying tolls from the west at the current time one is very lucky.
Senator Sheahan raised the issue of psychiatric services and mental health. We should arrange to have a debate on that matter and the closure of old and unsuitable buildings. The Minister will come before the House for such a debate.
Senator Conway referred to the issue of gambling. There are proposals to amend the 1956 Act and a report and recommendations were issued in 2009 on gaming and betting. It is a major problem for society; about that there is no question. We will have a betting Bill to deal with gambling, in particular online gambling, before the close of this session but, if not, it will be in the House within the next couple of months.
Will it deal with casinos?
It will afford an opportunity to Members to speak on the issue. I introduced a Private Members' Bill in this House to prevent young people, some between five and eight years of age, from using the tote, thus preventing the State from sponsoring betting for younger people.
You shot it down.
It was shot down in this House. I agree, however, that we should have a debate on that matter. It is to be hoped the betting Bill will come to the House before the summer recess.
Senator Mulcahy raised the old question of the proposed bird sanctuary and the contravention of development plans. We will try to get a Minister to attend the House to discuss that issue. The Senator might also consider tabling it as an Adjournment matter.