Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 - Committee and Remaining Stages, to be taken at 11.30 a.m.; No. 2, statement for information of voters regarding the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of No. 1; and No. 3, Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015 - Committee Stage (resumed), to be taken at the conclusion of No. 2.

I want to bring to the attention of the Leader and the House a 15-point plan which has been published by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation under the chairmanship of the Leader's party colleague, Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. This 15-point plan would, if many of its proposals were implemented, point the way to reviving the economic life of towns and villages across Ireland. The plan contains many positive proposals which can be implemented if there was the goodwill to do so. Two of the points, if implemented, would go a long way to helping small to medium-sized businesses in towns and villages specifically on the question of commercial rates which are crippling many such businesses. I was astonished to discover that while some €6 billion of Irish consumers' money is spent purchasing online, only 23% of small businesses have a digital platform. That is extraordinary in a country that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of technological innovation. I am putting this in context to ask that the Leader might consider having the 15-point plan discussed here after the Easter recess. One would presume it would be the Department of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, that would be responsible, although the Leader can check.

I raise also the ongoing negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP, regarding international trade. I understand one of the leading representatives of the European Union has been in Dublin in recent days. This has highlighted this issue and that if implemented and if the compromises are all agreed in the trading area, it would lead to the freeing up of much of the bureaucracy surrounding business. Perhaps the two issues might be put together, but the 15-point plan put forward by the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is very worthy of debate, particularly as this House would be representative of both the urban and rural environment.

Many of us from rural Ireland would welcome the opportunity to tease out the proposals and get a response from Government as to how it judges, assesses and evaluates them and whether it will implement them. There is not much point in having a report gathering dust on the shelf. It needs to be implemented and there are areas of it that can be implemented very quickly. One final point I wish to make in this context is on the introduction of free parking at particular times of the day across towns, villages and cities. That proposal can be implemented almost overnight and would go a long way to helping businesses in the centre of towns and villages. Every town, particularly large towns, has been affected by the location of multinational supermarkets and out-of-town retail parks which are strangling the life out of the traditional town centres. There is most definitely a need to address that issue.

In recent days we have seen at the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis a discussion about the role of the media in the property boom. The discussion on the issue raises some disturbing questions about how journalists' objectivity can be affected by the reliance of newspapers on their property supplements. Aside from the critical issue of the impact that the media coverage had on the markets themselves and the demand for housing, there is also an issue that needs to be addressed on the influence that such coverage had on Government policy. For example, from the earlier days of the Celtic tiger when the affordability of property became an acute issue, even before the bubble developed there was remarkably little in-depth discussion of the issues of a small number of landowners profiting excessively at the expense of a generation of new house buyers. A leading construction economist said in 2003 that the site cost of a house had risen from 15% in the early 1990s to between 40% and 50% in 2003 and that, more important, eight major developers had cornered the entire market for development land in north County Dublin. That report received little or no attention in either of the property supplements of the main leading newspapers. Editors can say they were not influenced by the income their newspapers derived from property supplements, but I believe there remains substantial evidence that bias was at work and such assurances are insufficient. There is an issue that needs to be considered further about the way the media is regulated and that private interests can be in a position to bias the reportage.

I ask the Leader for a discussion on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP. Today we saw Government-commissioned research outline projected economic benefits from the proposed TTIP for Ireland. Economists will always project economic gains from the lessening of trade barriers. I do not think there is anything new about that, but there is another issue. If we go down this road, what impact will it have on the future and coherence of the EU project? If all trade issues are to be determined within a US-led framework in the future, there is an issue for the European Union in terms of the different philosophies that underpin the Union, on the one hand, and the North American free trade area, on the other. In the EU case our position is based on the need to strengthen standards and protection for consumers, employees and the environment in parallel with opening up markets. I would not like to see a race to the bottom in terms of those particular standards. In the NAFTA case there has been virtually zero concern with strengthening or even maintaining such standards and regulation in the markets. The question is where TTIP will take us? Does it represent the victory of US views and US regulation over EU regulation and market fundamentalism at the expense of a social Europe? I do not think it is an issue we should take lightly. I strongly suggest the House give it more detailed analysis and consideration.

I seek a debate on child and adolescent mental health services. Anyone who reads any of the newspapers today will note the recent report from the independent review panel, chaired by Dr. Helen Buckley. It reviews any deaths or serious incidents of children in the care of the State or known by the care system. The study shows clearly that 26 young people known to social services died last year. The chair of the review group, Dr. Buckley, said it found that alcohol, drug abuse and domestic violence were issues in half of the cases. Other serious problems were parents suffering from mental health or intellectual disability. However, she said a strong theme was the difficulty of accessing appropriate psychological and mental health services for suicidal young people. There were long waiting lists, up to two years for psychological services, and the treatments were time-limited. Three out of four teenage girls who died by suicide were known to child protection services and had been on lengthy waiting lists for psychological services. One of the girls could not access a mental health service in the days before her death.

When debating the Child and Family Agency Bill I argued that the child and adolescent mental health services needed to be moved into the new Child and Family Agency. Certainly what I am reading in the reports substantiates that view. While there are issues around the number of social workers allocated to each case, in many cases social workers could not access the services needed for these children. A need was identified and the services could not be accessed. I have raised the issue repeatedly. A few months ago when the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, was in the House, I raised the issue because I believe it is an issue throughout the country. She stated on the record that she questioned her decision regarding the child and adolescent mental health services not moving to the Child and Family Agency. The difficulty is that we are witnessing the direct effect on lives which makes it very difficult for me. I ask the Leader for a debate on child and adolescent mental health services and how such services can be accessed from a local level by those in the social services. All too often social workers are told these people are now in their care and that the social services will look after the community care. I question whether they are looking after community care because year on year they have been allocated extra money, some of which is left over at the end of the year, and they have not employed the staff they are supposed to employ. I do not know what we need to do but, as Senators, we need to give this area a focus. We cannot fail the children of Ireland in this way.

Today is national daffodil day, the Irish Cancer Society's biggest fund-raising day of the year. There is not one member of the Chamber who has not been directly or indirectly affected by cancer. The funds raised today will go directly to families and people affected by cancer. I urge everyone to support the Irish Cancer Society's fund-raising event.

I wish to raise the five-day delay in issuing a warning of kerosene contamination of water to a Galway city estate. It appears that during a routine kerosene delivery, the water supply to 75 houses in Moyola Park in Newcastle, Galway, were contaminated. Ingesting kerosene has potentially very serious consequences and although a once-off exposure would not be fatal, it appears it took five days for all agencies concerned, the HSE, Irish Water and Galway City Council, to put their heads together and issue an official warning. To be fair, tankers were provided immediately, alternative washing facilities were provided and the matter is being handled efficiently once the problem had been identified. The issue seems to be the protocol involved in these matters. The first complaint was made on Saturday but no official notification was given until Thursday. This would appear to be an inordinate delay. There are many elderly residents in that estate who could have become quite ill. I have written to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, asking for a review of the incident. I would hope that response times could be speeded up.

Senator Aideen Hayden has raised important matters about housing which I will bring to the attention of the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. One of the things that struck me about the evidence yesterday from Ms Geraldine Kennedy, the previous editor of The Irish Times, is that people at the top in society seem to think they have an entitlement to telephone editors all the time to complain about the newspapers. I found that quite surprising. The rest of us, for instance, would not try to influence a judge before a case, an examiner before an education test of people, or - it is not trivial either - the referee before a match on Sunday. It seems there is a stratum of society which feels it is quite normal to influence how issues are covered in newspapers. The issues Senator Aideen Hayden has raised about how the housing bubble was presented in the media are most important.

I support the call for a debate on the TTIP, about which I would be positive. There is a mention of 5,000 to 10,000 jobs.

More of our exports go to the United States than to any European country and more investment by the United States is made in Ireland than in our European partners. The gainers are pharmaceutical, electronics, agrifood and insurance companies. The losers are beef farmers and accountants, but it seems that the gains will exceed the losses. If the insurance industry can get its act together to gain from the TTIP, the accountants could be called upon to pull up their socks. Sometimes, the losing sectors in Ireland are more successful at making noise than those who stand to gain.

I welcome the Taoiseach's visit to Northern Ireland. Yesterday, he met the relatives of the ten people killed in the 1976 Kingsmill massacre. Mr. Alan Black, who was shot 18 times and survived, stated he had felt elated by the meeting, as well as the Taoiseach's determination to get to the truth. Today, the Taoiseach is in Ballymurphy, where 11 people were killed in 1971. His interest in meeting the real people of Northern Ireland is to be commended. Those healing endeavours at Kingsmill and Ballymurphy deserve to succeed.

I second Senator Jillian van Turnhout's call for a debate on the child and adolescent mental health service, CAMHS, but we should go a step further in a week that has focused people's minds on the question of suicide, given the dreadful aeroplane crash and deaths of many people that resulted from just one person wanting to commit suicide. Every year, approximately 500 people commit suicide in Ireland, 80% of whom are men. It is time that the national Parliament open up the debate on suicide. It is no longer taboo. Last year, €35 million was made available for mental health services. As such, it beggars belief that the HSE could not fill psychiatric nursing places. Young people are crying out for jobs. Let us bring our nurses home. There are places and money. Nearly one year ago, I gathered together a group in County Kerry comprising the coroner, Stand Against Suicide, the counselling centre, the Garda and everyone in the area involved in tackling suicide. We submitted a detailed and comprehensive submission to the national framework strategy for suicide prevention. Let us not play politics with this issue. Let us work across parties to save lives. Let us hold a debate in the Chamber on the matter.

Ba mhaith liom aontú leis an méid atá ráite ag an Seanadóir Naughton maidir leis an kerosene contamination i bPáirc Moyola sa Ghaillimh. Tá ceist mhór le freagairt ansin i dtaobh cén fáth nár tugadh fógra do na daoine atá ina gcónaí ansin níos túisce.

Yesterday, I engaged with stakeholders in London on the issue of the Irish diaspora. One of the major points that they raised with me related to voting rights in certain elections. In the Government's recent policy on the diaspora, examining the issue of voting rights in presidential elections was laid at the door of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly. The stakeholders want the process to be accelerated and enfranchisement put in place as soon as possible. The concern is that, since the Government has only one year left in office, this issue could be kicked to touch. The stakeholders have asked whether the Seanad might debate the Minister's plans over the next year for facilitating people to vote in presidential elections at the least.

I wish to raise a major concern. The House has often debated the direct provision system, asylum seekers, etc. This morning, the CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, Ms Sue Conlan, made it public that she had tendered her resignation from the Government's working group on the protection process. She did not resign lightly. For years, she has given a significant commitment to the issue of refugee status and so on. She cited as one of her reasons the publication of the heads of the international protection Bill, the most significant change in refugee law in almost 20 years, by the Minister for Justice and Equality without the working group being allowed sight of it or to discuss it. She stated, "Given the importance of the Bill, which contains much more than a single protection procedure, it is difficult to understand why the decision was taken to withhold it from the working group." She also stated, "Any attempt within the Working Group to propose change which involves legislation, such as putting accommodation and support in a Bill or changing legislation to extend the role of the Ombudsman or Children's Ombudsman has been resisted by the Department of Justice." To put matters in a nutshell, it is a damning indictment of the working group that a key stakeholder like Ms Conlan has seen a need to resign. We must debate the working group's work with the Minister of State, Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. Media commentary has noted that the group has been used as an argument in High Court cases relating to direct provision. This is a serious issue and it is important that we debate it as soon as possible.

It is most disappointing to see who is driving the number of civil bills in our courts seeking house repossessions. In counties Cork, Limerick and Donegal and my own county of Kerry, Bank of Ireland accounts for 6% whereas the State-owned banks - AIB and PTSB - account for approximately 60%. Mortgage stress is the most painful legacy of the previous Administration's decade of economic mismanagement. The current Government is set to announce new measures designed to focus on the still unacceptably large number of families in long-term mortgage arrears and facing repossession. The Taoiseach has not excluded the possibility of further legislation on the matter. The Insolvency Service of Ireland does a good job. It is there to help in a practical and understanding way. Thankfully, the number of people availing of personal insolvency arrangements has increased. These arrangements form a solution to the arrears problem. However, the system only works with the co-operation of all concerned, including every bank. There can be no solution to the debt problem without the banks' co-operation. They must engage in good faith. Even at this stage, I encourage them to engage more forcefully and constructively with people in distress. I hope that there will be further progress. Judges act with compassion. I hope that we will see fewer cases before the courts. While there were more than 100 cases in Limerick recently, only two saw judges granting orders.

I endorse everything that my colleague, Senator Paul Coghlan, has stated about the banks, home repossessions and how the issue of insolvency is being handled. Some time ago, I mentioned my concerns about the ways in which banks were using receiverships and I called on the Leader to arrange for a debate on same with the Minister for Finance. The receivership process is being abused by the banks.

I understand the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, proposed that all children with special needs, including those with Down's syndrome, should be entitled to medical cards.

To date, this has not happened. Members on all sides of this House have called for such a provision and I acknowledge the Leas-Chathaoirleach is an advocate for the provision of such cards to children with special needs, including those with Down's syndrome. I ask the Leader to inquire of the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, as to where stands her proposal in this regard.

I raise the issue of how in real terms, very little reform has occurred in the health service. One subject I raised during a Commencement matter this week was the issue of nurse prescribing, particularly in nursing homes. There still is a huge problem, in that nurses have the qualification and are competent to take on many of the roles on which the sign-off of a doctor previously was required. However, there appears to be an extremely slow process in dealing with this matter. In the reply I was given, I found that only somewhat more than 1,000 nurses had been trained up in nurse prescribing. Members need to have a debate on the reform of the entire health service. In addition, while I welcome the recruitment to the Health Service Executive, HSE, one major problem it now is causing is the executive is recruiting nurses from private nursing homes. This is now causing its own problems within the private nursing home sector. Service providers in that sector wish to bring in people from abroad but cannot because there is not adequate training here for those who come in from abroad. They must go through an educational process, rightly so, but not enough courses are available to fill the vacuum that has occurred within the private nursing home sector. One should remember that more than 22,000 people are participating in the fair deal scheme in private nursing homes, with another 7,000 or 8,000 people in community hospitals. There is an urgent need to examine this issue, as the numbers requiring nursing home care will continue to increase each year for the next 20 years. As it has been predicted that an additional 4,000 nursing home beds will be needed by 2021, this is a matter that cannot be pushed down the road and left to move along at its own pace. Members must dictate the pace and in particular, they must dictate the pace of reform as not enough reform is taking place in this area. Although a large percentage of nurses now have academic qualifications, their role has not been upgraded. I refer to where they are extremely competent and well able to manage patients in roles in which they must rely on junior doctors to make decisions. Members must have a major debate on that issue, as well as on the broader issue of reform in the health service.

I note that a report in today's edition of The Irish Times indicated a decline in support to 74% for the marriage equality referendum. While I hope that level of support remains true, I very much doubt it. I believe this referendum easily could be lost because of the confusion being shown. It is extremely important to get out the message that this referendum is in the balance. If people want it to pass, they must mobilise people and there cannot be indifference. This is the last hurrah for the reactionary forces in this country. They lost on contraception, divorce, the abortion issue and civil partnership and they will put every effort into winning this referendum campaign.

Second, I see the Order Paper contains the referendum wording and so on for the proposal to reduce the age at which one can become President of Ireland. This is just fiddling at the edges. It is an utter waste of time and is avoiding the real issue. I was a delegate at the Constitutional Convention and succeeded in getting through a motion with 96% support, the highest figure of the entire convention, to the effect that the public should be given some degree of access to the nomination process for the Presidency. All the main parties in this House, namely, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil, supported this proposal some years ago. Not only that but they produced legislation for it. Why this deafening, stunning silence on something that 96% of the people at the Constitutional Convention voted through? I am aware the Government did not want this to be voted on or discussed but I managed to get it discussed and to get 96% of the people there to decide in favour. Let us hear from the Government. What is it doing about this? Has it shelved the legislation it produced all those years ago? It is the same with the Opposition. Everybody agreed, legislation was produced; this is an important democratic issue and the Government is ignoring it.

Recently, the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh, commissioned the INFOMAR programme's new survey vessel, naming her the RV Tonn at the Poolbeg Yacht Boat Club & Marina. This is part of Ireland's national marine mapping initiative and the programme carries out hydrographic and geophysical surveys of Irish territorial waters. It is a co-operative programme between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute and is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. This new vessel will support the completion of the first phase of the INFOMAR project's mapping of three priority areas and 26 bays around the coastline by the end of 2015. I commend the Minister of State and his Department for this much-needed and important initiative and look forward to the first stage of the programme being completed by the end of the year.

Once again, the people of County Meath are being treated as second-class citizens by the Fine Gael-led Government. I refer to the announcement this morning by EirGrid which I understand was tipped off to Fine Gael Deputies last night, although they did not tell their constituents until a representative of EirGrid appeared on radio this morning. EirGrid now has decided there will not be undergrounding of pylons and power lines in the north east in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. This is despite a promise by the Fine Gael Party before the last election effectively to bury the cables and despite the fact it appears to be possible to bury the cables in the Taoiseach's constituency in County Mayo. I tell the Leader that the people of County Meath will not accept being treated as second-class citizens. It is wrong and unjust and they will not put up with it. It is essential that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources be brought into this House as soon as possible to discuss his plans and to tell Members why people in the north east in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan are being treated as second-class citizens.

First, I compliment Senators Aideen Hayden and Sean D. Barrett on bringing forward the request for a debate on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP. While I support both calls, I am not sure that I am as enthusiastic as is my colleague, Senator Sean D. Barrett.

I also wish to support Senator Jillian van Turnhout on the issue of children's mental health. In particular, if Members are to have a debate on that subject, the issue of guidance should be included. In such a debate, I would also ask the Health Service Executive why one entire group of psychologists is excluded from employment within the health service through the official means, yet such psychologists can be employed unofficially.

In particular, however, I wish to comment on the Germanwings flight. I am extremely disturbed to find that depression is being cited as one possible cause. Depression is a mental health issue and everyone lives and works with people all over the world who suffer severely from depression. Just because someone suffers from depression does not necessarily mean he or she will drive a car or an aeroplane into the ground. People are being a little previous in coming up with what caused this event. The other thing I find most disturbing today is that questions now are being asked about the religion of the pilot. Religion is a lifestyle choice. We now live in our multiethnic multireligious society and how dare anybody try to pin this on one particular religious belief or another. Consequently, I ask the Leader to acknowledge that not enough is known about what happened to the Germanwings flight to lay blame on any particular disease or religion.

My colleague, Senator Rónán Mullen, will speak shortly. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that Committee Stage of the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 be taken today and that Report Stage be taken next Monday. I do not do so because I agree with my colleague's views but because it is the right and democratic thing to do.

The Senator is proposing that Report Stage be delayed until next week.

I second Senator Gerard P. Craughwell's excellent proposal. This is very bad parliamentary practice. I remember meeting other group leaders when I was a representative of the independent university panel and a general rule was that we did not take Committee and Report Stages on the same day, other than in the most exceptional of circumstances. The reason is to give the Government time to consider the amendments tabled on Committee Stage and any issue arising from them. I would hate to think it is so much of a done deal that the Government, recognising that there will be no meeting of minds, will rush the whole thing through today. It is extremely bad parliamentary practice and reflects contempt for Oireachtas procedures. I, therefore, ask the Leader to accede to our request to take Committee Stage today and Report Stage on another day. This is, to some extent, against my own interests because I have a work agenda next week, but it is bad parliamentary practice. Amendments have been tabled on Committee Stage and they should be thoroughly considered which means that we should not take Committee and Report Stages on the same day.

Senator Thomas Byrne is absolutely right about the undergrounding of lines. The establishment has shown contempt for ordinary people in this matter. The well organised protests about overhead lines and the erection of pylons have forced the limited rethink we have seen, but much more needs to be done. I support the in this regard.

Senator Paschal Mooney asked about the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and its 15-point plan for small businesses, especially in rural Ireland. The Senator called for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, to come into the House to discuss the proposals made. I will certainly try to get the Minister to come to the House as it is a very important issue. The Senator made a number of suggestions about rates and free car parking, but local authorities would have to compensated for the loss of rates and car parking revenue. Nevertheless, the matters can be discussed. We will try to arrange a debate on the matter as soon as possible.

Senators Aideen Hayden and Sean D. Barrett spoke about matters arising from the banking inquiry. I would prefer to wait until we have the report from the inquiry in order that we could discuss everything at that stage. Otherwise we would discuss bits and pieces as they came up in the inquiry day by day.

The report on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which will be launched today will show that a comprehensive EU-US trade deal would add up to 1.1% to Irish GDP, creating between 5,000 and 10,000 additional jobs in the exporting sector of the economy and providing benefits amounting, on average, to €1,200 per family. It is something on which we can have a discussion at a later date.

Senators Jillian van Turnhout, Marie Moloney and Gerard P. Craughwell spoke about child and adolescent mental health services. We will certainly try to get the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, to come to the House for a debate on the matter. As Senator Jillian van Turnhout said, the Minister of State has been in the House previously to speak about the matter, but we can certainly try to get her to come again.

Senator Hildegarde Naughton lauded the Irish Cancer Society's Daffodil Day and urged support for what was a very worthy cause. With Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, the Senator also spoke about the kerosene contamination of the water supply on an estate in Galway. She highlighted the delays in dealing with the matter and said she had brought it to the attention of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. It is a very serious matter and as delays cannot be tolerated, I will follow it up with the Minister.

Senator Sean D. Barrett welcomed the Taoiseach's visit to Northern Ireland and meeting with the victims of atrocities.

Senator Marie Moloney also called for a debate on suicide. We have had a number of debates on the issue, but I agree with the Senator that it is something we have to keep on the agenda at all times.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh spoke about voting rights for the diaspora, especially in presidential elections. We can try to find out what the Government's proposals are. Giving votes to the diaspora is not as simple as it sounds and there is a lot to be done first. We could have a situation where more people outside than inside the country would vote for the President. Such matters have to be taken into consideration.

The Senator also made points about the direct provision system, as he has done on a number of occasions. We will try to get the relevant Minister to come to the House to address the matter and talk about the report.

Senator Paul Coghlan talked about the matter of mortgage stress and the need for all banks to engage in a process with customers.

Senator Diarmuid Wilson asked about medical cards for children with special needs. I will try to obtain the information sought from the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch.

Senator Colm Burke said there was a need for a further debate on the reform of the health service, in particular, the recruitment of nurses and care workers. The Minister for Health has been in the House on a number of occasions, but I am sure he would be willing to come again.

Senator David Norris spoke about the referendum. We will have plenty of time to discuss that matter. As the Senator said, as with any referendum, the result is in the balance until the people decide. I note his points on the selection process for the presidential election. I will try to find out what the up-to-date position is and whether the proposed legislation will be brought forward.

Senator Terry Brennan welcomed the new high-tech survey vessel, the RV Tonn, which will carry out very important work around the coastline.

Senator Thomas Byrne asked about EirGrid and the undergrounding of cables. I am sure we will have plenty of debates on the matter in the House with the Minister.

Senators Gerard P. Craughwell and Rónán Mullen proposed an amendment to the Order of Business regarding the arrangements for the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015. It has been normal, especially when dealing with Bills providing for the holding of a referendum, to take Committee and Remaining Stages on the same day. We have given a lot of time to the matter and will devote a lot of time to it again today.

Therefore, I do not propose to accept the amendment proposed to the Order of Business that Report Stage be taken on Monday.

Senator Gerard P. Craughwell has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That only Committee Stage of No. 1 be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 20.

  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Power, Averil.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.


  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Mac Conghail, Fiach.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • Norris, David.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Zappone, Katherine.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Gerard P. Craughwell and Rónán Mullen; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.
Order of Business agreed to.