Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012 — Second Stage, to be taken at the conclusion of the Order of Business, with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes and the Minister to be given ten minutes to reply at the end of the debate. The content of No. 2 on the Order Paper may be discussed during the debate on Second Stage of No. 1.

The Seanad will not sit on Thursday next, 26 April, but will sit on Friday, 27 April, to deal with Second and Committee Stages of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 and complete our consideration of the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Workers) Bill 2011. We will complete the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill on Monday, 30 April. I am proposing that there not be an Order of Business on both days and will bring a motion to this effect before the House on Wednesday morning. The reason for the change to the schedule is that the Minister has informed me that the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill which had been scheduled to be brought before the House on Thursday will not be completed in the other House until then and will, therefore, not be ready for our consideration until Friday.

We discussed the changes to the schedule with the Leader earlier. It is important that the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 be dealt with over two days and I thank the Leader for acceding to our request in this regard. My party colleagues and I intend to table a number of amendments, including several new sections.

Will the Leader indicate when the committee established by the Government to consider the pyrite issue will report? The Minister replied to my colleague, Senator Thomas Byrne's inquiry on this matter on the Adjournment recently, but we are increasingly concerned about the delay. As I observed in the House on a previous occasion, up to 72,500 houses, predominantly on the east coast, are potentially affected by pyrite. There is a need for action on this matter. I ask the Leader to try to discover when the working group is due to report. I also request that time be made available for a debate on this issue when the report to which I refer is published. Such a debate could also encompass matters such as building control standards, etc., particularly in the context of the debacle that occurred with regard to Priory Hall. I raised the latter on a number of occasions in the House and I welcome the fact that discussions and a proper process — facilitated by the Department — are ongoing with the residents and the council. This has been a long time coming but I hope it will give rise to a solution in respect of this matter. Unfortunately, Priory Hall will not be the only apartment block or housing development where the problem to which I refer will be experienced.

The next matter of concern to me is water charges, particularly in the context of how much people will be obliged to pay, when they will pay, how much free water they will receive and who will be responsible for paying the cost of installing meters. Everything in this regard remains up in the air. In light of the debacles that have occurred in respect of the household charge, the septic tank charge and water charges, I am of the view that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government should come before the House at the earliest possible opportunity to clarify the position and to allow Senators to put across their points of view. There will be time to deal with this matter during the next week or two and I ask the Leader to accede to my request in this regard.

I wish to raise one final matter and thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach for his indulgence. I welcome the fact that today we will take Second Stage of the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill or the fiscal compact Bill. As stated on previous occasions, my party will play a positive role in respect of this legislation and is advocating a "Yes" vote in the forthcoming referendum, which is important. The Bill will not provide the panacea for all our ills. Anyone who argues that a treaty should be such a panacea is obviously missing the point. I agree with what Deputy Niall Collins has stated in respect of this matter, namely, that the treaty is one part of the jigsaw in the context of dealing with the ongoing crisis in Europe. Unfortunately, the response of the ECB and the European Union to this crisis has been both incoherent and slow. Those entities have not engaged in any form of joined-up thinking in respect of this matter. That aside, I ask those who are advocating a "No" vote to indicate their alternatives. The treaty is but one piece of the solution. It is not the solution in itself.

It is from a different jigsaw.

I am sure everyone is concerned with regard to the recent Behaviour and Attitudes poll which shows how few people in this country have an understanding of the treaty. The Seanad has led the way in respect of this matter and a number of weeks ago it engaged in a debate on it. I wish to impress upon the Government and all the parties which are advocating a "Yes" vote the fact that we have a major job to do. Let us not take the result for granted in any way, shape or form. It is going to be tough to ensure the referendum is passed. I welcome the fact that time has been made available this week for a debate on this matter.

Like Senator Darragh O'Brien, I am grateful to the Leader, Senator Cummins, for setting out the reasons for the changes to the schedule of business for this week. All Members will agree it is unfortunate those changes needed to be made and the House will now not sit on Thursday. I am sure everyone accepts that, in view of the need to allow time for amendments to be tabled to the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012, there are exceptional circumstances involved.

Like shafting single mothers.

I am glad we will not be debating the Bill in its entirety on one day. Arranging for it to be debated on Friday and Monday next will ensure there will be more time between Stages, which is preferable.

I also welcome today's debate on the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012. I again agree with Senator Darragh O'Brien on the need to take care, to use language that is circumspect and to engage in informed debate on the treaty. It was good that the Seanad debated this matter on 14 March last — in the absence of a Minister — because this assisted all of us in coming to a clearer understanding of what the treaty involved. It is interesting when one considers the language involved in this debate. The Leader used the correct language when he referred to the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012. I have noticed a real variation in the language used to describe the treaty by commentators, journalists and others. The more correct term is the "stability treaty" but there are those who continue to refer to it as the fiscal compact in an attempt to appear neutral. I have noticed a tendency among those who are opposed to it to refer to the austerity treaty. There is no use of the word "austerity" in the treaty. I look forward to the debate. It is timely we are having the debate today——

It is the austerity treaty.

The alternative is far more instability. That is the reality.


Senator Bacik to continue, without interruption.

I have not heard one person who is advocating a "No" vote explain to me what the better outcome would be if there was a "No" vote. Nobody has explained to me what he or she suggests would be a better outcome.

It is timely we are looking at the result of the first round of the French presidential election, and I very much hope to see Monsieur Hollande win——

That is none of our business.

That is a matter for the French.

——but it is a very real concern to see nearly one in five French voters voting number one for the National Front. That is a real wake-up call to all of us.

I acknowledge this is an unusual idea but I ask the Leader that we might have a debate in 12 months time on the progress in the year since the passing of the Bill to prohibit female genital mutilation, FGM, which legislation was initiated in this House. I note that today in England a major investigation has been announced of two doctors operating in London and the West Midlands who appear to have been operating some sort of an FGM ring. More than 150 young women and girls have come forward to make complaints that FGM was performed on them by doctors against British law but at the behest of the parents of the girls. It is a real worry that this practice is still being carried out in England despite the criminal law. It would be worthwhile our debating in this House in a year's time what steps have been taken by the HSE and the State, in the wake of the passing of the legislation prohibiting FGM, to ensure the practice is no longer tolerated in Ireland.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that discussion of the fiscal treaty be postponed until the terms of that treaty become clear. At present they are completely unstable. Nobody knows what we will be voting on. It is quite impossible to know.

The Senator can read the treaty.

As Senator Bacik said, there is a French election coming up and Monsieur Hollande has said publicly and given a clear commitment that he will renegotiate the treaty so it would be a different treaty.

On a point of order, Monsieur Hollande is not saying that any more.

We have had the collapse of the Dutch Government as a result of the withdrawal of one of the partners because they cannot afford the €15 billion austerity cuts, and this is one of the few countries in Europe with a triple A rating. If it cannot afford the treaty, how on earth are we supposed to do so?

The drafters of the treaty are quite unable to give satisfactory definitions of the difference between "fiscal" and "monetary". These are to be left to the interpretation of bureaucrats. This is the type of trouble we got into before with them.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I am explaining why I have proposed that the debate be postponed until after the treaty has been stabilised.

Mr. Romano Prodi said very clearly yesterday that we need eurobonds, that we cannot just provide people with austerity. There must be light at the end of the tunnel and if there is not, there will be a revolt. Either we have the courage in Europe to face the reality or Europe is lost. The Dutch have refused this treaty. They have a triple A rating. There are people in Amsterdam going to soup kitchens. It seems to me to quite an extraordinary thing.

I will end on the following point. Mr. David Begg is the only union person to say that we should sign this. The only reason he gave, which was repeated by the chief economist of ICTU, was that they have a gun to our head. Let me tell the Irish public that if one has a gun to one's head, a contract that is extracted under duress has no legal standing whatever. We should not discuss this farrago of nonsense, this farce, until the situation in Europe becomes clearer.

I am surprised by that last contribution. The Senator was elected by the university graduates and my understanding is that when somebody is elected, their role is to give leadership. I hope Senator Norris is circulating all his voters with the details of the treaty because that is our role in politics.

Leadership does not consist of following the herd. It consists of providing what one believes is the truth in order that others can understand it.

If the Senator cannot read the document, I would have no difficulty in sitting down and going through each paragraph with him.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

Senator Burke need not be patronising. I can read just as well as him.

I raise the issue of the household charge. A letter in today's Irish Examiner from the Irish Property Owners Association states that its members are not in favour of paying water charges. These are the people who are required to pay €200 per annum because they have a second house or more houses. It was interesting to read, also in the Irish Examiner, that one person who owns more than 4,000 properties has paid a contribution of €80,000. Taking an annual rental income of €8,000 per property it means that person is turning over €32 million from those 4,000 properties. That is a very low average of €8,000 per property——

The Senator should go back to the maths on that one.

——and their net contribution is €80,000.

What are their borrowings?

That is a very small contribution. The Irish Property Owners Association is stating its members do not want to pay for services yet they enjoy all the benefits of the services. Rate payers, regardless of the local authority area in which they reside, must pay commercial rates. Those people are also carrying on commercial transactions and they must pay for services. It is appalling that a property owners' association should state in a letter that they are not prepared to pay for services from which they enjoy a huge benefit and huge rents. Their attitude is disgraceful. I have no difficulty in having the Minister in the House to discuss this issue because it is an important one about spreading the tax base. For far too long too few people have been making most of the contributions towards providing services. I would welcome a debate and I agree with my opponent that the Minister should be present.

I dtosach báire, ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le Steve Ó Cualáin atá ceaptha ón Aoine seo caite mar phríomh fheidhmeannach ar Údarás na Gaeltachta. Táimid píosa fada ag fanacht le príomh fheidhmeannach ar an eagraíocht sin agus is maith ann é. Déanfaidh sé an-difríocht don údarás go bhfuil príomh fheidhmeannach aige anois atá ag díriú go huile agus go hiomlán ar an obair atá idir lámha. Tréaslaím freisin leis an Rialtas agus leis an comhlacht Mylan Bioniche as na poist nua a cruthaíodh an tseachtain seo caite i gContae na Gaillimhe i gceantar Gaeltachta agus i mBaile Átha Cliath. Is mór an gá atá leis na postanna sin. Go deimhin, bhí ról ag an IDA agus ag Údarás na Gaeltachta sa rud seo. I congratulate all those involved in the creation of 500 jobs in the Connemara Gaeltacht and in Dublin under the auspices of Mylan Bioniche. It backs up an argument I have been making for a long time that Údarás na Gaeltachta must be supported fully to ensure it can create jobs in the Gaeltacht because some people would have said that jobs at the higher end of the spectrum such as these would have been difficult to provide in a rural area as has been done. I congratulate all involved because these jobs are badly needed.

It raises the question, which I have raised in the House on a number of occasions, of the Government's approach to regional development and centralisation. A new organisation is being set up, Irish Water, which is a centralising organisation. On the other hand, we hear the Minster talking about decentralising into the county councils. I have mentioned on a number of occasions, and Thursday might have been a good day to do this as we appear not to have any other official programme, the need to have statements on regional development during which we could examine the specific needs in terms of regional development in each region. The programme for Government refers to developing a national development plan. Where is the plan? Has it been developed? Can we debate it? Is it in any way related to the previous national development plan? We could have a debate on all the issues of regional development, particularly the areas of infrastructure, job creation, social services, etc., and we have the expertise in the House to have a broad debate.

In the spirit of conviviality I support Senator Norris's amendment to the Order of Business.

Will the Senator second it?

I will second it because it is a farce that this debate is going ahead and that the goalposts keep changing in terms of the fiscal treaty.

This is an important day for some of the visitors to this country. Some thousands of them will leave today, 23 April, and return to Canada. I refer to the brent geese, who come every year on the same day, 23 October, and go home every year on 23 April. I mention this because I desire a debate soon on the environment. Those of us who value the environment desire a debate thereon. The brent geese come every year to Strangford Lough and other destinations right down to Wexford. They settle on the east coast and their presence is one of the joys of nature. Let us ensure we protect that nature. I would love to see a debate in the House on the environment.

I would love to believe we could also debate hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, known as "fracking". It was interesting to see what happened in Britain last week. An expert group came out in favour of fracking in Britain under strict conditions. The group believes fracking for shale gas will go a long way towards solving energy problems in the years ahead. It would be unwise for us to close our minds and not at least have a discussion on this. It is worthy of discussion. If there are problems, difficulties and an environmental challenge, let us ensure this House has the opportunity to debate it.

There are closed minds and those who say we should not even debate or consider fracking because it presents problems. Britain has decided to establish strict, tight controls very definitely to protect the environment and those concerned. In The Irish Times today, a headline reads “Dangers of gas fracking overstated, says broker”. Another broker could——

Have an interest.

——have a biased view. Let us at least make sure a debate takes place. I would like to see it take place in this House.

Let me raise a somewhat different matter. This morning, a sub-committee of the British-Irish interparliamentary group, the sovereignty sub-committee, met and dealt with a presentation by Department officials with regard to the decade of commemoration that is now starting. The Seanad could usefully engage in a debate on this and on the programme coming before us. The matter is being considered by the Government and there is an advisory group under the chairmanship of former Senator Maurice Manning, who made a presentation to the group this morning. There is an all-party group within these Houses, of which Senator Daly and, I believe, Senator White and others are members. I suggest we have a debate because it is important.

I have a strong Nationalist-republican point of view but I am very mindful that if we are to achieve mutual understanding on this island, we must open our minds to other points of view and traditions. The corollary is that there is an obligation on those with other points of view and traditions to do likewise. During the course of this morning's meeting, we were informed about a recent seminar in Waterford organised by Waterford City Council. The Leader may be interested in this. The contributions on the third Home Rule Bill by John Redmond, Herbert Asquith and Edward Carson were discussed at the seminar. During the course of this morning's meeting, I suggested that we might consider re-enacting some of these background debates, some of which may have taken place in the Seanad. Somebody such as Peter Robinson or another from his tradition could participate. Somebody from the Nationalist tradition should also be present. This would certainly put on the record of the Houses some of the issues that were current at the time in question. This would lead to understanding. If we are to have a united Ireland, to which I strongly aspire, we need to work towards laying the foundation, which involves greater understanding between the traditions on these islands.

The Government Whip, Senator Coghlan, who was also there told me afterwards he believed the suggestion had merit and would take it up with the Members who organise the business of the House. Will the Leader look at this proposal? If I am not mistaken, he is a particular fan of John Redmond. It would be useful to have such a debate. Other debates took place in the Oireachtas, for example, with regard to the 1921 treaty. That is a long way off, however, and there may be no Seanad when it comes around. We should use the Chamber to broaden people's knowledge of these events and their context.

I had concerns that the then Government's watering down of the commemorative events for the 75th anniversary of the 1916 Rising would be repeated. I have strongly advocated for the centenary anniversary to be celebrated as the primary centrepiece of this decade. Lord Brian Mawhinney, a Tory Minister in Northern Ireland for a period, agreed we should do that and also agreed with my comment that we should be unapologetic about doing it. We need to be upfront of where we are, as well as being mindful of other viewpoints and traditions.

I join Senator Ó Clochartaigh in welcoming the significant jobs and investment announcements in County Galway recently, as well as those for other areas. I have no doubt the renewed confidence and investment we are beginning to see in the country is as a result of the improving political and economic stability. We need to build on this, however, as we have large unemployment blackspots across the country. Ballinasloe, east Galway, for example, has lost 1,000 industrial jobs over the past eight years. We still need to encourage investment. The passing of the stability treaty will have a major part to play in ensuring we attract further investment to the country in the years ahead. I hope Senator Ó Clochartaigh's party will rethink its position on the treaty. On this occasion, the country will have to be put first.

That is exactly what we are doing — putting the country first.

We will have to forget the politics of protest on this one and, in the interests of Ireland, pass this treaty.

I also welcome the recent announcement by the Minister for Social Protection that she will propose new powers for social welfare inspectors to crack down on social welfare fraud. I welcome the fact that inspectors will be given powers of inquiry at ports and airports to curtail what is regarded as social welfare tourism in which many people living outside of the country not entitled to benefits here travel in and out on regular occasions to collect social welfare benefits. I understand detection in this area has resulted in savings of €13 million to date. Hopefully, we will see significant improvements in this, as well as all other aspects of social welfare fraud.

Resources, as we know, are scarce and we want to make sure they are targeted at the needy in our community. The people who have an entitlement and a need for benefits are those we all want to see receive their proper benefits at an adequate level. Will the Leader inquire as to when the new public services identification card, the PSC, will be available? Will he inquire if we can get an update on some occasion from the Minister on the progress being made in producing this identity card which will go a long way in stamping out social welfare fraud that is still quite significant?

I am calling for a debate on stability in the Government. The weekend newspapers gave us a rather unedifying spectacle of a Cabinet and its respective parliamentary parties at war among and between themselves.

The Senator's party would know a lot about that too.

The main headlines of The Sunday Times related to Labour Party Deputies attacking the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan. There was another story in which Fine Gael Deputies were blaming the entire Cabinet. The most bizarre story of all was of the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, blaming his Minister of State for the problems in the health service, particularly with regard to medical cards.

I wonder how this is appropriate to the Order of Business.

Because the country is in such a serious state. When there was instability previously in government, there was a general election shortly afterwards. This instability cannot continue. The country needs stability, an issue on which we need a debate.

It does not depend on comments from Murdoch's newspapers.

A foreign station is butting in.

I did not hear Senator David Norris. I heard him speak about the issue when I was in the Oireachtas Library earlier.

I stated it was not dependent on comments from Mr. Murdoch's newspapers.


Senator Byrne to continue without interruption.

I could not hear what Senator David Norris was saying, but I heard him five minutes ago in the Oirachtas Library when I was conducting some research. The stability of the Government was a serious issue for the country around Christmas 2010 and into 2011 when there was a general election. There is serious instability. The sight of a Cabinet Minister attacking his Minister of State because she was from another party was particularly pathetic, appalling and outrageous. Deputy Róisín Shortall is one of the most effective Ministers of State and a fairly——

I was going to use that word, but I was afraid I would be attacked for being sexist. She is a good Minister of State and is not afraid to stand her ground, whether one agrees with her. The Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly, has more than met his match in her. It is about time Cabinet Ministers stopped blaming Ministers of State and the Labour Party stopped blaming Fine Gael. They should get on with doing the job for the country. On that note, we hear so much about how they have brought the country back from the brink, that they have rescued the country and that it was about to fall off the cliff——

We heard that said at a conference last week and I heard it on my local radio station this morning. I want to know exactly what they did or at what point the country was on a cliff and about to fall off that they somehow came and rescued it because all I know is——

On a point of information, perhaps when the IMF, the European Union and the ECB came to bail us out, we were on the edge of a cliff.

We want empirical information. The Tánaiste stated he had thought in March that the country was about to collapse, even though there was stability provided by the IMF agreement.

It is absolute rubbish. The unemployment rate was lower 12 months ago.

I want to know the facts and figures in that regard. There were Deputies on my local radio station this morning stating the Government was doing great work, but the unemployment rate is now higher than when it took office. That is a fact.


Tá an t-am istigh, Seanadóir Byrne.

We want to encourage the Government to do the right thing, but all we hear is talk that it had a 96% success rate on its unemployment strategy last week, awarded by itself. The unemployed do not see it this way and it is about time it got real with the people. People are broke and need work. The Government parties must get real and start working together and we will support them. If they are fighting with each other, why should we support them in the difficult measures they are meant to be bringing forward?

Senator David Norris has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business. I am sorry, I am taking leave of myself.

I thought the Leas-Chathaoirleach was going to let me off the hook.

That would be inappropriate.

I am flattered by the compliment. I would be happy on behalf of the Leader to reply to all of the questions raised.

I was taken aback by the lack of interest of Senators today.

Normally there is a queue.

The Leas-Chathaoirleach caught me unawares also.

The Leader of the Opposition, Senator Darragh O'Brien, referred to the committee established to deal with the issue of pyrite. I will try to ascertain when it will complete its report and will certainly arrange a debate on the report and building standards. It would be appropriate to do so. As the Senator mentioned, Priory Hall is one example, but there are probably many more buildings which were constructed — to put it mildly — without the necessary standards being adhered to.

I welcome unreservedly the fact that Fianna Fáil will actively campaign in support of a "Yes" vote in the referendum, an issue on which I do not intend to dwell. After the Order of Business we will have the debate to which I am sure there will be many contributors.

Senator Ivana Bacik sought a review of the legislation dealing with female genital mutilation. That issue may be included in statements on similar health matters at a later stage, perhaps, as she mentioned, in a year's time.

I do not propose to accept Senator David Norris's amendment to the Order of Business. The terms of the treaty are clear, but, obviously, the Senator has a differing view. I am sure we will hear these points made during the debate on Second Stage of the Bill.

Senator Colm Burke spoke about one landlord paying a sum of €80,000 in respect of the second home tax, which meant he had over 400 houses. The Senator mentioned a sum of €32 million which he corrected to €3.2 million. It is an issue we can raise with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he comes to the House to discuss household charges and water metering.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh welcomed the announcement on job creation in Inverin in the Connemara Gaeltacht. I am sure these jobs will bring significant benefits to the community. The Senator also called for a debate on regional development. We will try to arrange a debate on that issue in the near future.

Senator Quinn spoke about the brent geese and called for a debate on nature and the environment. It is not a subject we have discussed to date and I will try to arrange a debate on these issues at an early opportunity. I understand we debated the issue of fracking on a previous occasion, although that discussion may have taken place in the wider context of natural resources. Senators also discussed the issue on the Adjournment. As the Senator called for a debate focusing solely on fracking, I will ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to come to the House for such a debate.

Senator Walsh spoke about the decade of commemorations. I had the pleasure of attending a debate on this matter in Waterford City Council. The debate was not arranged by the council but was part of a national commemoration of the third Home Rule Bill and John Redmond. We had a wonderful debate, with the people involved including Dermot Meleady, Frank Callanan, SC, the UK Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Hugo Swire, MP, Maurice Manning and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan. It was a well attended event and a national commemoration. It became clear from the debate that the two old Sinn Féin parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, have air-brushed the Irish Parliamentary Party out of history.

Even in this House we have a bust of Parnell but there is nothing to remind us of Redmond and Dillon, who should also be commemorated.

That is my personal opinion but I assure Senators that the debate and the commemoration were excellent.

Senator Mullins spoke about encouraging investment and job creation. That is something on which the entire House would agree. The Senator also referred to the new powers for inspectors from the Department of Social Protection. This is a matter we can raise with the Minister for Social Protection during the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 on Friday. It would be an ideal opportunity to raise such matters with the Minister. The Senator will also be able to raise his question about the social welfare card.

Senator Byrne should not believe everything he reads in the newspapers, especially coming into this season.

Even a copy of the letter from the Minister of Health, Deputy Reilly, to the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Shortall.

Even what Senator Whelan writes.

I assure the Senator that the Government is united in implementing the programme for Government.

Say that with a straight face.

It may take four or five years but the Government is united and intent on implementing it on all fronts.

Splendid. Four more years.

I assure the House that we will have four more years——

Do not send the Minister, Deputy Hogan, to Brussels; we want to go up in the polls.

——which, of course, means the Seanad will continue for another four years. I will conclude on that point. Unfortunately, I am not prepared to accept the amendment to the Order of Business.

I again apologise to the Leader for trying to phase him out of today's Order of Business. It was not pre-planned.

Senator David Norris has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business, "That No. 1 be deleted from the Order of Business." Is the amendment being pressed?

Despite the courteous and understandable reply of the Leader, it is.

Amendment put.



Will the Senators claiming a division, please, rise?

Senators Trevor Ó Clochartaigh and David Norris rose.

As fewer than five Members have risen, I declare the amendment lost. In accordance with Standing Order 59, the names of the Senators dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of Proceedings of the Seanad.

Amendment declared lost.
Order of Business agreed to.