Order of Business.

The Order of Business today is Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive. Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, are motions referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, which has completed its deliberations. No. 1 concerns a proposed regulation to transform the current Rome 1 convention, which is an intergovernmental agreement, into a Community instrument and to modernise certain aspects of it. No. 2 relates to the proposed Council decision annexed to the communication from the Council, COM 2005 (648), which proposes that measures relating to maintenance matters be adopted by co-decision of Council and European Parliament instead of by Council in consultation with the European Parliament. No. 3 concerns a proposal which seeks to enable a maintenance creditor to obtain easily, quickly and generally free of charge an order capable of circulation and enforcement without obstacles in the European Union area of justice enabling regular payments of amounts dues. Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, will be taken without debate.

No. 4, the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill 2005 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, will be taken at the conclusion of the Order of Business until 2 p.m. with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed 15 minutes and other Senators not to exceed ten minutes and the Minister will be called on to reply not later than five minutes before the conclusion of Second Stage; No. 5, statements on public disorder in Dublin city centre on 25 February 2006, will be taken at 2.20 p.m. until 3.20 p.m. with the contributions of groups or spokespersons not to exceed ten minutes; and No. 6, the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 — Second Stage will be taken at 3.20 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed 15 minutes and other Senators not to exceed ten minutes, and the Minister will be called on to reply not later than five minutes before the conclusion of Second Stage. More Senators may wish to contribute to Second Stage of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005, so we will have to see how it pans out. There will be a sos from 2 p.m. to 2.20 p.m.

On Second Stage of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, is the Leader proposing that if at 5.30 p.m. there are more speakers who wish to contribute to the debate, it will not conclude?

We agree to that.

In recent years our national holiday has been turned into a drink-filled freshers week binge. We have seen terrible instances of drunkenness and disorderly behaviour on the streets of Dublin following the St. Patrick's Day parade. We have also seen a large number of arrests, particularly in the past three years, in Dublin city centre. I endorse calls made yesterday by a number of organisations in this city that off-licence sales be banned for part, if not all, of St. Patrick's Day. The reason I raise this issue on the Order of Business is not only because of the instances which occurred last Saturday where much of the disorder was drink-related but I understand this proposal may require emergency legislation to allow the Government to prohibit off-licence sales in part of Dublin city given the proliferation of outlets in which drink can be sold.

It would be sensible to consider this proposal to prohibit the sale of drink in the area of the parade on St. Patrick's Day to ensure public safety, that the event remains a family-friendly one and that the hooligans and thugs off their faces with drink on the day do not turn our national holiday into a drinking binge. I will repeat that call when the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform comes into the House today. I ask the Government to consider this proposal because it is worthy of consideration.

Over the past year we have seen an explosion in the number of TB cases. Between 2003 and 2004, 437 cases arose. That is a 30% increase over the 12 month period. Would it be possible for time to be made available in the next two weeks for the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children to come to the House to address this issue? This country was successful in eradicating TB through the excellent work of Noel Browne and others in the 1940s and 1950s. It would be a shame if TB were to take a foothold again. I ask the Government to also reconsider its decision to close the TB facility at Peamount, which is the only facility in the country where this disease can be treated. While advances in medicine have been made since the 1940s and 1950s we must be vigilant to ensure that TB does not get a foothold here again. I understand from people in the medical world that it takes somewhere between ten to 15 years to eradicate the disease once its takes root again. I ask the Leader to arrange for statements on this issue in the next few weeks

The situation in the Marino Institute of Education was raised on a number of occasions during the past year. The House should be aware of the fact that recently a supposedly independent report was commissioned and paid for by the trustees and board of the institute, which amazingly found them to have acted absolutely correctly all the way through, which surprised all of us. The reality is that the culture of secrecy continues in the institute. This report, which is supposed to vindicate the board, rubbish the staff and cast aspersions on the Department of Education and Science is not to be made available to anybody, including the Minister for Education and Science. That is completely unacceptable. Irrespective of views on this matter and the rights and wrongs involved, the so-called independent report should at least be published. If it is independent why should it not be made available?

I do not want to delay the House but I would like a debate on this matter. I will hook the case for my request for same on this point. The same group who said that there was no systemic bullying in the institution are the group who settled for a figure approaching or more than €500,000 on all counts on charges of 50 bullying cases. Those two scenarios cannot co-exist. Having settled the case for 50 allegations of bullying and then saying there was no bullying is not acceptable. I do not want to go into any more detail on this matter but a debate is needed.

In 1999 the then Minister for Education, Deputy Martin, mhol sé go gcuirfí ionad oideachais Gaeilge ar bun i mBaile an Bhuirne i gCondae Corcaigh. The idea is that this institution would provide for Irish language schools, Gaeltacht schools and schools which try to teach certain languages, certain aspects of their curriculum, through Irish to have available to them various different texts, which would be developed and provided there, namely, a translation service. It is one of those great ideas with extraordinary syngeries, one of the best ideas ever about the Irish language. Everything that would come out of this would be used immediately. Teachers are crying out for it. We have schools in Ireland that are teaching Latin trí Ghaeilge from English language textbooks. That is happening all the time. Four Ministers have dealt with this matter but nothing has happened and I am deeply and utterly suspicious nothing will happen.

This matter has been dealt with by four successive Ministers, former Ministers for Education, Deputies Martin, Woods and Noel Dempsey and the current Minister, Deputy Hanafin. I cannot see any objection to it. One need only consider the moneys being wasted on large institutions such as the National Roads Authority or on Government strategy documents which have to be translated into Irish. Hard copies of those documents are being provided, while teachers and schools not only in the Gaeltachtaí or gaelscoileanna but in many schools throughout the country, which might not want to be completely all-Irish schools but want to teach certain subjects through Gaeilge. They would do be able to do so if the apparatus and the text were available trí Ghaeilge.

This is a great idea but, like every other great idea that was ever formed about Irish, if acting on it does not have some impact on the east coast, nobody wants to hear or do anything about it. This would give life to west Cork in that area and new life to the old college in Baile Bhuirne, and it would also provide something which is useful, sensible and progressive. I ask the Leader to arrange a debate on this issue in order that we can discuss it with the Minister for Education and Science.

Ní bhím ar aon-aigne leis an Seanadóir O'Toole faoi cheist na Gaeilge ó am go ham ach aontaím in iomlán leis an méid a dúirt sé. Tá daoine áirithe ag smaoineamh conas is féidir daoine a chur i gcoinne na Gaeilge. Déanann siad rialacha ar nós gach cáipéis a aistriú go Gaeilge, Gaeilge nach dtuigfeadh duine ón Ghaeltacht. Bíonn téarmaí iontu nach n-úsáidtear in aon Ghaeltacht agus nach dtuigfeadh duine ar bith ansin. Bhí seo mar raic idir mé féin agus an tAire anseo uair amháin mar chuir sé amach scríbhinni nGaeilge amháin ina raibh focail nach dtuigfeadh duine ar bith sa Ghaeltacht ach amháin na saineolaithe taobh istigh den Rialtas.

Tá sé in am go n-úsáidfear na hacmhainní atá againn rudaí dearfa a dhéanamh. Chuaigh duine de mo chlann chuig meánscoil lán-Ghaelach ach go rialta bhí na téacsleabhair as Béarla agus bhí foclóir Ghaeilge curtha le chéile ag an scoil le cabhrú leis na mic léinn. Tá sé in am go mbeadh gach téacs agus ábhar sna scoileanna ar fáil i ndáiríre as Gaeilge.

I am sure many Members heard an issue discussed on the radio this morning. Had we had six months notice of the tsunami, I know the world believes it would have reacted. We have been given notice of the potential for an enormous tragedy occurring in Kenya, Somalia andEthiopia because of unparalleled drought. There are no human failings here, this is a natural tragedy. To date the world has contributed 10% of what has been promised.

This is not an issue on which I would make any criticism of the Government but I would like the Minister of State with responsibility for overseas development to come into the House, update us on the difference between the promises made and the reality of what has been delivered by many parts of the international community on issues such as this, and give us an outline of how the Government might hope to persuade or shame the international community into dealing with issues such as this. It is an issue on which this country has enormous moral credibility and it is, therefore, an issue on which we could, and I believe would wish to, give leadership. However, it will be an enormous moral scandal if thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people are threatened with death from starvation and drought in a part of the world with which we are familiar and have had long historic links simply because the rest of the world chooses to ignore it. It is an evolving tragedy to which we must and can respond.

I am reluctant to draw the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on us yet again but I would like to have a debate on the Indecon report on the funding of local government. Many Members present more so than myself are acutely aware of the needs, priorities and sensitivities of local councillors. I would love to get an answer to why it is that, on the one hand, the Government is prepared to force old age pensioners to pay service charges for privatised refuse services because they cannot get any kind of waiver and, on the other hand, is prepared to say that the owners of holiday homes, by definition the well-off in our country, will not have to pay anything for the water and sewerage services which are provided for many of these houses. It seems yet again that we have a country which is biased towards the rich and the already well-off and against the poor. There is no argument against the principle of imposing service charges on holiday homes other than a desire to protect the well-off people from paying for what they get out of society.

I agree with what Senator Brian Hayes said about the St. Patrick's Day arrangements and perhaps the question of legislation to deal with off-licences and the availability of alcohol. Senator Hayes mentioned freshers week. We could also examine other issues in the licensing trade.

It was rag week in Galway last week. I understand it was entertaining and there was a good programme of events, not all of which were drink-related, but even the students council and students union were amazed that a number of nightclubs opened during the day. If we examine the operation of off-licences, we should also examine the opening hours of so-called nightclubs that can be open all day and night.

Last November we knew about the impending drought in Africa, particularly in Kenya. If we do not deliver the aid that was promised there will be a human catastrophe for the people of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Only 10% of what was sought under the world food programme has been delivered. The international response should be greater than that. In addition, there have been problems with law and order, including looting and the kidnap of a UNICEF worker. It is time to have a debate on this to try to prevent famine in these countries and live up to our responsibilities. We have a good aid programme through which over €600 million will be provided this year in overseas development aid.

I support Senator Ryan's call for a discussion on the Indecon report. The report cost €291,000 and it took from 2004 to 2006 to compile the information but the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government rubbished it straight away. Everybody knows that consultants would recommend extra funding for local authorities and inevitably, reintroduction of rates, water charges, etc. Coming up to an election no political party will confront such issues.

There is very little within the report but the Minister has told the local authorities to make their administrations more efficient and to seek extra fees from planning charges. Many young people are already being crucified by the planning obstacle race. Let us discuss the report which is supposedly a waste of money. We commission consultants' reports without thinking about where the money comes from to pay for them.

I would like the Leader to arrange a debate on the results of a recent survey which show that the death rate from cancer among women in Ireland is the second highest in western Europe. The report published this week is entitled, Women and Cancer in Ireland 1994-2001. Will the Leader invite the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children in here to discuss this issue?

We have often discussed the fact that BreastCheck operates only in some parts of the country. We need interim solutions before the service is rolled out nationwide in 2008. I suggest that the Minister immediately introduce a system of free referral to a GP and onward referral to a mammography unit, and a mammogram for all women in the BreastCheck target age group who do not receive this service. This would not replace BreastCheck and will not solve the problem but it will do something in the two years between now and 2008.

The Minister should also publicly state that when BreastCheck is rolled out to the rest of the country the age group will be extended, and stop telling women at the upper age limit that they are on the scrap heap and there is no time to put them into the service. We should provide for the safe screening of women in that age group.

The Minister said she is implementing another review of how to implement screening for cervical cancer. That is not good enough. There was a review 12 years ago and still there is no system in place. This needs to be implemented now. We now have a report saying that in western Europe the rate of deaths from cancer among Irish women is second only to that of Danish women. That is not acceptable.

I welcome the fact that there will be statements on the Dublin riots today. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take part in these but I was caught up in the riot which reminds one how close to the surface unsophisticated emotions are, even in this capital city. It also calls into question the wisdom of holding a militaristic sabre-rattling parade on Easter Sunday. A much better commemoration would be an analysis of the Easter Proclamation in its historical context and a discussion of how many of its ideals have been lived up to. This morning I received an invitation from the Taoiseach's office to attend this military parade, which I have turned down. I shall be attending church. It is Easter Sunday which is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and not the insurrection of Padraig Pearse.

It can be about both.

It is a proud tradition in this country.

Our committee on rendition flights through Shannon Airport has been disestablished by our colleagues on the Government side on the basis there was nothing to examine.

It was never established.

Might I turn their attention to today'sIrish Independent, page 9, and the headline “Watchdog Highlights our Role in CIA Abductions”. Our supporting role has been commented on. The watchdog examines one case which I instanced here, namely, that of Abu Omar who was illegally transferred to Egypt——

We have discussed this.

We cannot have a debate——


The rabble are making so much noise I cannot hear the Cathaoirleach.

I do not think the Senator's hearing is that bad.

It is quite bad actually.

We cannot have a debate on Shannon Airport.

Can we not have a debate on Shannon Airport?

Not on the Order of Business.

I understand we cannot have one on the Order of Business but I am asking for one because it is important that we discuss this issue. Debate was closed down by certain persons on the Government side. Let us have it in the House, if we cannot have it in the committee because the case I mentioned has been cited in the report, as has Ireland's responsibility, when it states: "It gives a clear indication that the method exists, together with complex logistical support in various parts of Europe." That includes Ireland. We are fingered and the Department of Foreign Affairs has said——

Senator Norris is adding to it.

——it is still an allegation knowing it is a proven fact. It is time the Department of Foreign Affairs stopped lying about this.

The Senator has made his point adequately and we cannot continue until we have a proper debate on this subject.

My friends on the Government side will be delighted with the picture taken in Shannon of the warmonger Bush, with his cannon fodder around him, the poor unfortunate beasts.

The true colours are coming out now.

I support Senator Brian Hayes's call for a debate on tuberculosis. This is a very important matter. It was eradicated by a team led by the late Noel Browne but is coming back. There were protests in this House when we closed down the various sanatoria, warning that this was dangerous.

There is also an epidemic of spitting all over the city of Dublin. We need a new campaign. When I was small there were advertisements on buses warning people that they would be fined for spitting. This is very dangerous, not only is it socially unpleasant but it is also a classic way of spreading TB.

I support Senator Ryan and others who have called for a debate on the overseas development aid programme. I have asked for this over recent weeks, specifically in respect of Ethiopia but support the view that we should have a wider debate about the overseas aid programme, and our response to the impending disaster in African countries. This is the view of Senator Kitt who is Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs sub-committee on overseas development and has an intimate knowledge of this area.

Once again, I ask the Leader to facilitate a debate on the Middle East, specifically on what appears to be a growing humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian area. According to a UN report covered in today's newspapers, 153,000 people employed by the Palestinian Authority will suffer if there is a cut in donor aid internationally and if the Israelis continue to hold up over $60 million in monthly payments to the authority.

The report makes clear that there will be a massive humanitarian disaster if this aid is not forthcoming, because over 900,000 people in the Palestinian area rely on wages from the Palestinian Authority. There could be a breakdown of water and sewerage services and health care because over half of the budget goes to the Ministry of Health.

I cannot understand why the Israeli Foreign Minister is visiting European capitals justifying the withdrawal of the $60 million which belongs to the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the view we share of Hamas being in government. This is no more than a human rights issue. On that basis I ask the Leader to arrange a debate at the earliest opportunity to establish the Irish position on humanitarian aid and the unilateral Israeli withdrawal of payments due to the Palestinian Authority.

I support Senator O'Toole's request for the publication of the report into Marino Institute of Education and for a debate on the matter. It is very regrettable to see professional people being bullied out of their positions in any higher level institution or in any other circumstance. The people who have made statements on behalf of the trustees clearly indicated that there was no remorse with regard to what has happened in the college. This is a serious situation in a training college where the students are training in schools where anti-bullying measures are in place.

On another matter, I ask for a debate on the BMW region. A clear inequity has been highlighted with regard to the infrastructure and expenditure in that area as against the rest of the country. A recent report highlights the serious levels of poverty in certain areas of the BMW region. I ask for a debate on the concept of expenditure on infrastructure and the levels of poverty within the region.

I also support Senator O'Toole's call for the publication of the report on the Marino Institute of Education. This saga has been continuing for at least 12 months. I have had many discussions with Senator O'Toole on the matter. Something very negative is happening within the institute which should be brought out into the open. The way the teachers are treated within the college seems to be clouded with a bad press. The Minister should be asked to come to the House for a full debate on the matter.

Yesterday on the Order of Business I raised the ongoing plight of the people of the Black Valley in regard to the absence of an adequate and proper telephone system. I may not have made it clear then but as I understand it, the committee was unanimous in regard to the number of black spots in the country and it wanted the Black Valley to be a pilot study. The Minister has refused——

The Senator raised this matter yesterday and is now raising it again.

In fairness to the Leader, I did not do it justice yesterday.

The Senator cannot raise the same matter every day.

I wanted to widen it today because there are a number of similar blackspots throughout the country. With regard to the totality of the situation, I ask the Leader to invite the Minister to the House because he may have an alternative way of solving the problem. The joint committee and the Minister seem to be on a collision course in this regard. I ask that the Leader invite the Minister to the House to have a reasonable debate as to how this problem can be solved for all the blackspots throughout the country.

I support Senator Norris in his request for a debate on TB. I am old enough to remember the scourge that TB was before the Second World War and into the 1950s. It would be terrible if this was allowed to get a grip again in our society. The study published seems to show it has appeared among young urban males where the capacity for transmission is so enormous.

I note the Leader has agreed to allow a debate on the report on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. I ask her to encourage the Tánaiste not to be stampeded into demands for meeting all compensation in these cases. People are entitled to compensation but doctors and hospitals have insurance as have religious orders. The Government should not be asked to pick up the tab——

The taxpayers.

I agree, the taxpayers. The Government should be responsible for failings attributed to the State but otherwise not.

I ask the Leader whether she can inform the House if the report by Judge Harding Clark is being circulated to Members. I have not received a copy. If we are to have a debate it would be important that the report be circulated. I ask on behalf of all Members if a decision has been taken not to circulate reports. I can understand that reports are available on websites and there may be a desire to cut down on the use of paper. However, it is important that Members be provided with reports, in particular when these reports are available to the media and are in the public domain. I suggest that at the least, an e-mail could be sent to Members to inform us of where the report can be found.

Senator Cox raised the issue of women and cancer and I support her remarks. I ask that the issue be extended to question the reason screening for cervical cancer which is currently available in the mid-west region has not been made available nationwide, despite a commitment to do so which has been in existence for a number of years. Cervical screening is a fairly simple programme to operate compared to the breast screening programme. Considering the point made by Senator Cox about the high national level of cancer among women I do not understand the reason it is not available on a nationwide basis.

Yesterday was work-life balance day. To my regret I did not refer to it yesterday and it occurs to me that it seems to have passed us by——

That is not true.

I thank the Senator. I ask for a debate on flexible working and the connected issue of child care. This Government has paid no attention to the issue of flexible working in the private sector. While it is available and widely used, especially by women within the public service, flexible working such as part-time work, job-sharing and term-time work is not available in the private sector. As this is an important issue and State agencies invested heavily in the advertising of this day, it should be on the agenda of this House.

I support Senator Ryan's request for an urgent debate on the imminent humanitarian disaster in Kenya and surrounding countries. The international community will have to live up to its obligation because it will not be able to claim ignorance in this regard. This is a situation which was never experienced before. If urgent action is not taken we will again be watching decaying humanity on our television screens. We will see helpless, dying babies in the arms of their mothers. None of us who wants to take a stand and be credible in the world can ignore this situation. It is difficult to understand how we can spend billions waging war for what we say is freedom and human rights when the greatest freedom and human right of all has to be the right to life itself. The House has a role to play. If we are to retain any credibility in international status and relationships, we must ensure that what is now imminent in that region will not be allowed to happen.

I agree with colleagues who have raised the issue of the upsurge in the numbers of cases of TB. It would be useful to invite the Minister for Health and Children to the House to discuss her strategy for combatting that increase. The Minister could also discuss the report on sudden cardiac death which she launched this morning. The report recommended that all young people involved in sport should be tested for susceptibility to sudden cardiac death and the necessity for the distribution of defibrillators to all sporting organisations throughout the country as soon as possible. I would like the Tánaiste to outline her proposals in this regard.

I am old enough to remember the centenary of the Irish Famine back in the 1940s. At the time, we asked ourselves how the people of Britain could have allowed so many Irish people to die. Looking back, however, the amount of realistic information the people of Britain had then was tiny in comparison to the knowledge we have now. Senators Ryan and Ó Murchú spoke about the problems in east Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. We can see the situation live on television. This morning when I turned on the television I saw live coverage of President Bush's visit to India. I realised that given the knowledge we currently have of what is occurring in other parts of the world, we have no excuse for not taking action on what is happening in east Africa. We can see the dangers that have been so explicitly shown on television. I support what has been said here. We should debate the matter but, in addition, we should get something done about it.

As regards Senator Ulick Burke's call concerning the BMW region, I was embarrassed the other day when I almost ran out of petrol. It was my own fault for letting the fuel run that low.

What is the Senator's point?

I will explain why I am raising this point. The three petrol stations on the Howth peninsula, which is a fairly large area, have all closed in the last eight weeks and they will not reopen. One cannot buy petrol there anymore. As I drove up the East Wall Road today I discovered that two petrol stations there have also closed. I am a great believer in competition and the fact that the free market will provide the economy with what we need. However, I cannot believe how many of the facilities we have grown used to as part of our normal way of life, particularly in rural Ireland, will be lost. If we are talking about losing rural post offices, rural Garda stations and petrol stations — perhaps because of competition——

Go to Tesco.

It may well be. We should have a debate not just on the BMW region but on the sort of Ireland we want to see, with societies, communities and villages that in the past had an opportunity to follow a traditional way of life.


I am not sure that we have thought through the way of life we are creating in this country.

The Senator might have an opportunity there.

Order, please.

I welcome the improvements in maternity leave which came into force yesterday and I look forward to further improvements in that area over the coming 12 months. I wish to draw the Leader's attention to an item that appeared on the news last night when a representative of a small business expressed concern that the new maternity leave arrangements will impose a cost on small businesses and that it will lead to discrimination against women. Faced with two young applicants for a job, one male and the other female, an employer will opt for the male because obviously——

He will not get pregnant.

——there will not be the prospect of having to grant maternity leave. This is of great concern to those of us who dealt with the legislation. I ask the Leader to ensure that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Women's Rights will keep us informed of any indication in the market that discrimination is taking place in this respect. Women find it difficult enough to hold down a job while running a household as well. It would be totally unacceptable if discrimination came into play because of legislation improving maternity leave.

I fully support Senator O'Meara's call for a debate on work-life balance and flexible working hours. In that context, we should debate the discrimination which may be creeping in. There was an indication yesterday that this could happen or, indeed, is happening. There are such cases. I ask the Leader to keep an eye on this matter.

I find it slightly depressing to hear the number of people who preface their remarks by saying——

Does the Senator have a question on the Order of Business?

I have. I am referring to people who preface their remarks by saying "I am old enough to remember such and such an event". You could probably do so as well, a Chathaoirligh.

The Senator is correct; I could and perhaps the Senator could, also.

From one elder lemon to another.

I call Senator Ross on the Order of Business.

Who is the father of the House?

I wish to make a serious point about the TB situation. As a child, I had TB and was in hospital for quite a long time. It was a depressing time and a lot of people died in beds around me. I would hate to see that sort of situation arise again, particularly concerning children. It was a real epidemic and, as Senator Norris said, it is an extraordinarily infectious disease. I would like the Tánaiste and Minister for Health to attend the House to state how she intends to prevent an outbreak of TB, which could be very serious and totally unnecessary.

I wish to endorse what Senator Brian Hayes said about the Neary case which is in the public arena. It is important that all those affected should be fully compensated. The Government does not need to rush out, however, and say in a fit of conscience that it is to blame for everything. Others are to blame who should pay the price of what occurred. The Government should not accept the blame for everything that happened in this case. Where the Government is blameworthy it should compensate but others can compensate in other situations.

I am seeking a debate on Aer Lingus. I gather that a decision on the privatisation of the airline is due shortly. I want such a debate because I fear that the decision will be taken outside this House. It will be taken at the partnership talks and there is a coincidence of timing here. The decision, however, should be taken by the Oireachtas and the Government — not by the unions and employers.

Last week, I had a gut feeling that there would be trouble at the march in Dublin on Saturday. I did not raise the matter in the House because of the sensitive nature of the planned march. I also have a gut feeling about the St. Patrick's Day parade. There are many young little monsters and anarchists out there. I support Senator Brian Hayes's call to ban off-licence sales of alcohol on St. Patrick's Day. We must ensure that gardaí receive every support from us. A precedent has been set in this respect and we need to address the matter.

I agree with Senator Ulick Burke's call for a debate on the BMW region. We receive quarterly reports which indicate high levels of poverty, labour market inequities or infrastructural deficits. That is the way it is in the north west and we do not need any more reports to tell us that. The Government should use mechanisms such as the county and city development boards to address what is urgently needed on the ground. The community and voluntary sectors, which make up part of these new mechanisms, are frustrated because they feel they are being bypassed by the Government and certain Ministers.

The Senator should not be over elaborate.

There is a tenuous link between the county development boards and central Government. We do not need Ministers coming along willy-nilly and throwing out the goodies at their discretion. It must go through the local authorities and county development boards.

While we have a central Government based on the British model, we should nevertheless strive towards devolved government at a regional and local authority level.

Senators Cox and O'Meara raised the issue of cancer among women. A growing number of men are also suffering from prostate cancer, the early diagnosis of which can have a major impact. If we are to have a discussion on cancer, cancers affecting men should form part of it.

With regard to St. Patrick's Day, now approaching, Senator Brian Hayes asked if there was a need for emergency legislation regarding off-licence sales, which were the cause of trouble on that day the year before last. He also noted the major increase in tuberculosis among young men of a certain age and called for a debate. Senator O'Toole urged a debate on the situation in the Marino Institute of Education and said the independent report was not available. We can find out if it is. He also raised the matter of the institute for Irish schools in Ballyvourney which was proposed some four or five years ago and seemed a good idea. It was going to aid the gaelscoileanna movement in every way it could, and aid all those who wished to be educated through Irish. Senator O'Toole said he thought the project was stymied because it had nothing to do with the east coast, where the power is.

Senator Ryan agreed fluently with Senator O'Toole. He also spoke of the situation in Kenya, Somalia and east Africa in general. He is correct in that we have had notice of events there. I was glad to hear on the radio this morning that Ireland has fulfilled its monetary mission in those areas. Senator Ryan called for a debate on the issue and suggested we could shame the international donors who have not come forward. The Senator also raised the matter of the Indecon report, which is apparently once again floating the idea of service charges and other types of charges to be made by local authorities. He suggested we debate the matter. Senator Ryan also said the owners of holiday homes in this country do not have to pay local service charges. Apparently they do. There is no regulation to say they need not pay those charges so we should seek clarity on that.

Senator Kitt also called for a debate on east Africa. Senator Finucane urged a debate on the Indecon report. I do not know what Government, a year before an election, would go running with unpopular decisions which the Indecon report, if implemented, might involve. The time for such a move is after an election. Senator Cox noted that the death rate from cancer among Irish women was the second highest in western Europe, after Denmark. She also asked for a full debate on the roll-out of BreastCheck, and noted the upper age screening limit, which as she said seems to imply that certain people are not worth saving.

Senator Norris called for an analysis of the Easter Proclamation of 1916 rather than a march. He also called for a debate on the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. He spoke of tuberculosis and noted the great amount of spitting, which sounds awful. Senator Mooney called for a debate on the Middle East, with particular reference to the possible withdrawal of aid to Palestine, which could affect 153,000 people, and directly affect all services in the area.

Senator Ulick Burke urged debates on the Marino College report and on the BMW region. Senator Ormonde also called for an urgent debate on Marino College and wishes to get the situation into the open and settled. Senator Coghlan noted that the joint committee seems to have a different view on telephone blackspotsvis-à-vis the Minister and called for a debate on the matter. The Senator did himself justice on the subject yesterday.

Senator Maurice Hayes urged a debate on tuberculosis. He said there should be no stampede to a redress board and that we must have such boards when we are directly involved in giving or not giving the treatment, or giving it erroneously. He noted there are other parties involved, such as the hospitals and medical staff. Senator O'Meara asked about the report by Judge Harding Clark. I received a rather ambiguous note stating that copies are available in the Department of Health and Children and that the Department is checking to see if it is intended to circulate the report to Oireachtas Members. It should be circulated.


I would be quite surprised if it were not circulated. It would be completely wrong if we did not get the report. It is downplaying the role of women to suggest the report is not important enough to be given to everybody. We will check on the situation.

Senator Ó Murchú called for an immediate debate on Kenya and Somalia. Senator John Paul Phelan noted that a report is being published today on sudden cardiac arrest, which sounds interesting. He wanted to know when we would see a roll-out of defibrillators. As he is aware, many GAA clubs, my own local club included, are now providing them. Apparently they are the miracle needed in that sport.

Senator Quinn asked how we allowed events to happen as they did in east Africa. We should congratulate RTE because its reporter Aoife Kavanagh is currently giving a very vivid report of all that is happening in east Africa. Senator Quinn also referred to the closure of petrol stations. I know one particular group is providing oil, diesel and petrol very cheaply, although that may not have anything to do with the issue.

Last night I too saw the television report to which Senator Terry referred. The comments of the businesswoman involved were quite telling. We were told how paid maternity leave has increased by four weeks, which is quite dramatic and very good to see. The businesswoman — who had thousands of files in front of her — said the situation gave rise to discrimination, with businesses taking on male rather than female staff, because men do not get pregnant and seek maternity leave. An inverted discrimination is involved and people should look out for it.

Senator Ross noted the worrying rise in tuberculosis. He agreed with Senator Brian Hayes about the Neary case and also asked for a debate on Aer Lingus. Senator Feighan expressed worry that something would go wrong on St. Patrick's Day. Senator McHugh asked for a debate on the BMW region and raised an objection to visits by Ministers, who are flaithiúlach when they arrive.

Bringing goodies.

Yes. Who could resist going if one had goodies to distribute? I do not know.

Senator McHugh wants to give out the goodies.

Senator McHugh said that as well as good national government there should be good regional government, where decisions can be taken. Senator Daly raised the need for a full debate on cancer care.

Finally, the mandarins in the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources must have been keeping an eye on the Seanad. A note has arrived from the Department. If at 5.30 p.m., when Second Stage of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 is due to conclude, there are other Members to speak, we will have to extend the time.

I find it strange that the Department can rule on the Order of Business.

Quite. We look after our own affairs. However, if at 5.30 p.m. there were perhaps two Members still wishing to speak, and only a further half hour were involved — we would usually try to accommodate a small number of speakers. Let us play it along and see what happens.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Order of Business agreed to.