Gnó an tSeanaid - Business of Seanad

I welcome everyone back to the Seanad Chamber. It is good to be back. I thank everybody who has made it possible to continue our business in a safe manner in the middle of this pandemic.

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

The need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to make a statement on the proposals published by the British Government to introduce a statute of limitations to end criminal investigations and prosecutions for Troubles-related incidents in Northern Ireland.

I have also received notice from Senators Lisa Chambers and Fiona O’Loughlin of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Defence to make a statement on the allegations made in the "Women of Honour" documentary on sexual assault and harassment in the Defence Forces.

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

The need for the Minister for Transport to make a statement on his plans to introduce high-speed rail services between Belfast, Dundalk and Dublin.

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

The need for the Minister for Transport to make a statement on the DART+ west project, including the timescale and the non-statutory public consultation currently under way.

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

The need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to make a statement on recent Environmental Protection Agency reports of contamination at water plants in Gorey and Ballymore Eustace and the preventive measures being put in place to ensure these problems do not recur.

I have also received notice from Senator Paul Gavan of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make a statement on the delivery of a living wage and sick pay for all early years professionals working in early childhood education.

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 undertake a review of the grants available under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland home improvement scheme, including the criteria for eligibility for these grants.

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 make a statement on the capital allocations made and committed to all counties under Irish Water’s small towns and villages growth programme, and to outline the procedure for commencing water and wastewater projects under the programme.

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

The need for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to make a statement on rising energy prices, increased demand on the electricity grid and the potential for power outages during winter.

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 ruling C 741/19 by the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the Energy Charter Treaty.

I have also received notice from Senator Robbie Gallagher of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to make a statement on delays in issuing general employment permits for workers in the agrifood sector.

I have also received notice from Senator Marie Sherlock of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Education to make a statement on the new pay arrangements for hourly paid bus escorts, including a comparison with the previous pay arrangements, and to ask if these new arrangements will apply to all bus escorts employed by schools.

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

The need for the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to make a statement on the review of the national childcare scheme to ensure funding is in place to provide equality of access to appropriate childcare for all children.

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

The need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to make a statement on the necessity for regular water quality testing of Dublin Bay on a year-round basis.

Of the matters raised by the Senators suitable for discussion, I have selected Senators Boyhan; Chambers and O’Loughlin, who are sharing their time; McGahon; Currie; Byrne; and Gavan, and they will be taken now. I regret I had to rule out of order the matter raised by Senator Cummins 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 they wish to raise.

I thank Members for being here and I thank the Minister of State for coming to the Chamber today.