Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

I welcome Senators to the convention centre for the first time this year and I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Ossian Smyth, for coming in to answer the matters put down by Senators for the Commencement debate.

I have received notice from Senator Fiona O’Loughlin that, on the motion for the Commencement of the House today, she proposes to raise the following matter:

The need for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to make a statement on just transition funding for counties impacted by the cessation of Bord na Móna activities.

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

The need for the Minister for Finance to end tax incentives for investment funds.

I have also received notice from Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to provide an update on the current level of service being offered by the Passport Office; and if he will consider opening a dedicated passport office in the North of Ireland to meet increased demand.

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

The need for the Minister for Education to provide an update on the opening of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, units in schools in the areas of Dublin 2, 4 and 6.

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

The need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to review the new household means policy to ensure maintenance payments paid out are deducted from assessable income.

I have also received notice from Senator Martin Conway of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to provide an update on the appointment of eye care liaison officers to hospital groups nationally.

I have also received notice from Senator Róisín Garvey of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education to confirm the number of new school buildings which are at or have completed design stage with the planning and building unit of the Department; and whether these new builds have been designed with whole school ventilation, fossil fuel free heating systems, sufficient outdoor multi-use games areas and safe active travel infrastructure.

I have also received notice from Senator Rónán Mullen of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to make a statement on the authentication and apostilling of documents by his Department.

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

The need for the Minister the Health to provide an update on the proposed primary care centre for Fethard, County Tipperary.

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

The need for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to make a statement on the negotiations with the US Administration on the continued suspension of tariffs on beet pulp and molasses given their importance to the Irish feed industry and livestock sector.

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

The need for the Minister for Transport to make a statement on the legislative basis for the removal of abandoned vessels in Irish waters.

The matters raised by the Senators are suitable for discussion. I have selected Senators O’Loughlin, Fitzpatrick, Ó Donnghaile, Bacik, Cummins and Conway and they will be taken now. The other Senators may give notice on another day of the matters that they wish to raise.