Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Troy, for coming into the Seanad today to respond to the matters before us. Before that, by order of the House, I must read out all the Commencement matters that were submitted by Senators.

I have notice from Senator Shane Cassells that, on the motion for the Commencement of the House today, he proposes to raise the following matter:

The need for the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to make a statement on the recent job losses in a number of Irish provincial newspapers owned by the Iconic Newspapers group.

I have also received notice from Senator Joe O'Reilly of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to ensure that the drug, Duodopa, is made available to people suffering from Parkinson's disease.

I have also received notice from Senator Seán Kyne of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to make a statement on the provision of a new emergency department at University Hospital Galway.

I have also received notice from Senator Fintan Warfield of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to engage with third-level institutions to consider a reduction in next year's fees for students whose courses were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

I have also received notice from Senators Fiona O’Loughlin and Vincent P. Martin of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine to make a statement on the announcement by Horse Sport Ireland of its planned move from County Kildare to County Dublin.

I have also received notice from Senator Ivana Bacik of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make a statement on the results of a recent survey carried out by the Federation of Early Childhood Providers on the closure of services due to the Covid-19 pandemic; and to confirm that the sector will continue to receive Government funding and support.

I have also received notice from Senator Malcolm Byrne of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to make a statement on the introduction of a universal basic income for artists.

I have also received notice from Senator Gerard Craughwell of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to provide an update on the provision of an overseas allowance for Irish citizens who represent Ireland as secondees in the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine.

I have also received notice from Senator Timmy Dooley of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education to address the shortage of secondary school places for sixth class students in Ennis, County Clare.

I have also received notice from Senator John Cummins of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to make a statement on the timelines for the capital building plans for a multidisciplinary early intervention and respite care centre for children with complex additional needs on the grounds of St. Otteran’s Hospital in County Waterford.

I have also received notice from Senator Mark Wall of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to launch a nationwide campaign to highlight the damage being caused to the environment by illegal dumping.

I have also received notice from Senator Catherine Ardagh of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to make a statement on the roll-out of in vitro fertilisation, IVF, treatment through public hospitals.

I have also received notice from Senator Emer Currie of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Transport to provide an update on plans for the development of the N3 to N4 link road.

I have also received notice from Senator John McGahon of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education to make a statement on the provision of additional primary education places for Dundalk south, County Louth.

I have also received notice from Senator Annie Hoey of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to make a statement on the impact of Covid-19 on placement availability for social care students in the 2020-21 academic year.

I have also received notice from Senator Tim Lombard of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make a statement on the development of a new national strategy for women and girls.

I have also received notice from Senator Garret Ahearn of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Transport to provide an update on the proposed cancellation of Bus Éireann's X8 Expressway route from Dublin to Cork.

I have also received notice from Senator Mary Seery Kearney of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education to address the concerns of the leaving certificate 2020 students who invoked the appeals process, and those who sat their leaving certificate examinations in November 2020 and are still awaiting their results.

I have also received notice from Senator Barry Ward of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Finance to consider changing the rates of taxes on mobility, in particular, stamp duty and inheritance tax, for those wishing to downsize or move house.

I have also received notice from Senator Lynn Boylan of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to make a statement on plans to ban the importation of fracked gas.

Of the matters raised by the Senators that are suitable for discussion, I have selected those raised by Senators Cassells, O’Reilly, Kyne, Warfield, Bacik, and O’Loughlin and Martin who are sharing time, and they will be taken now. I regret that I have had to rule out of order the matter raised by Senator Ahearn on the ground that the Minister has no official responsibility in the matter. The other Senators may give notice on another day of the matters that they wish to raise.