Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to commence at the conclusion of the Order of Business and adjourn at 1.45 p.m., with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes; and No. 15, motion No. 6, Private Members' business, to commence at 4 p.m. and conclude not later than 6 p.m. The debate on housing will take place on another day when matters are clarified.

I understand that the Leader had to make some changes to the Order Paper today. When we talked last week about the Water Services (Amendment) Bill he said he would give us as much time as was required on Second Stage. I propose that while the statements and question and answer session on housing is deferred for obvious reasons, to which I will refer in a moment, that he should allow for an extension to the debate on the Water Services (Amendment) Bill. I am sure several speakers are offering on the Government side, as on the Opposition side. That would be a proper use of Seanad time. I ask the Leader to accede to this request.

In light of the resignation yesterday of the former Minister of State, Deputy Penrose, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste can count themselves lucky in one regard, that the rest of the Cabinet are not as principled as Deputy Penrose. Otherwise, there would be no one left at the Cabinet table.

This brings me to today's business. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister for Education and Skills come to the House to explain Government plans for the abolition of all financial supports to new post-graduate students from next year, and the scrapping of existing grants and maintenance support for post-graduate students. I remind the Government, and particularly Labour Party members of the Government, that their party gave a pledge to "reverse the €500 increase in the student services charge and the €200 charge for post-leaving certificate courses that were recently introduced by Fianna Fáil". I wonder if Labour Party colleagues remember the picture published on 21 February 2011, four days before the general election, of Deputy Ruairí Quinn outside Senator Bacik'salma mater, Trinity College. He was photographed signing a pledge on behalf of the Labour Party that not only would there be no increase in third level student fees but that the Labour Party would reverse last year’s €500 increase and would not introduce third level fees.

Yesterday, the Minister for Education and Skills said "We are not in that space anymore". What space is that? Is it the space of four days to go to a general election when one continues to throw promise after promise but once in Government proceeds to break those promises? When Deputy Quinn signed that pledge, did he know he was lying to people? I am sure he did. He has continued to lie to people. He is lying to the 20,000 students from all across Ireland who will be outside Government Buildings today protesting at the most blatant breach of trust between a Government and the young people we are supposed to support. Did Senator Bacik and her Labour Party colleagues also sign this pledge? We all signed it.

The Labour Party also signed an undertaking to introduce a climate change Bill. That has gone. Most importantly, the Labour Party signed a pledge to the young people of Ireland to reverse the €500 increase and not to introduce third level fees. The party is now taking the legs from under those pledges and is planning to scrap existing maintenance grants.

I want the Minister for Education and Skills to come to the House today to answer to the elected Members of the Oireachtas as to why he feels it is appropriate to lie to the people and to continue to do so.

Senator O'Brien should withdraw the word "lie".

I want the Minister to outline to the House whether the Government will introduce third level fees and abolish the maintenance grant.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister for Education and Skills come to the House to confirm that he will not introduce third level fees or abolish existing postgraduate grants.

On a point of order——

The Minister should be here today. He should be ashamed of himself. He should follow the lead of Deputy Willie Penrose and fall on his sword.

I call Senator Bacik.

Thank you, a Chathaoirligh. I ask Senator O'Brien to withdraw the word "lie"——

Why? It was a lie.

——which is utterly unjustified and unwarranted.

Absolutely not. It was a lie.

It is unparliamentary, unjustified and untrue. The Minister——

Please allow me to quote the Minister for Education and Skills.

I listened to Senator O'Brien.

"The politics of promises, if you like, in the present economic situation——". He lied to people. Let us be clear about it and call a spade a spade.

There was no lie.

He lied to people.

Senator O'Brien, we are not having a debate on this matter. We went over time yesterday. I call Senator Bacik.

I am afraid a pattern is emerging. I do Senator O'Brien the courtesy of listening to his outrageous attacks on different individuals. I listened to him making an outrageous assertion that the Minister, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, lied. He has not lied. I ask the Senator to withdraw that very serious and untrue allegation.

I certainly will not.

As Senator O'Brien is well aware, no decision has yet been taken by the Cabinet.

Nobody has lied. Yes, the Minister, Deputy Quinn, signed the pledge and I signed it. I think most Members of this House signed it.

That means nothing. Why not tear it up? It was signed outside Trinity also.

Let us not forget that under the previous Government registration fees were increased in successive years during boom times——

The Labour Party said it would reverse them. That is another broken Labour Party promise.

Senator O'Brien, can we hear Senator Bacik without interruption?

Senator O'Brien can give it out but he cannot take it. He cannot sit and listen when I do him the courtesy of responding.

I too seek a debate on third level education, as I have previously done. No decision has been taken by the Cabinet.

Fan go bhfeicfimid.

The Labour Party is committed not to reintroduce fees. The Labour Party is the party that abolished fees when in government and we are proud of that record. Senator O'Brien's Government under-funded third level education to the point where Trinity College and other top level universities in Ireland have fallen down the international rankings because of under-funding, to the point where university presidents are looking for sufficient resourcing to be able to offer the quality education we want to continue to offer.

That will come from fees.

Making students pay is not the answer. Students should not have to carry the cost.

We need a debate on third level education, particularly when no decision has yet been taken by the Cabinet, to assist us in coming to a decision as to how we can adequately resource third level education.

Let us have the debate today.

I know that students will be protesting today outside the Dáil and the Seanad. Many of us started out careers in student politics——

Senator Bacik might finish in student politics if she is not careful.

——and feel very strongly about the principle of free education and of no third level fees.

I have also sought debates on climate change. That pledge has not gone, as Senator O'Brien knows.

There is still a commitment, as there is in the programme for Government, to introduce climate change legislation. Let us not forget that the Fianna Fáil Government dragged its feet and prevaricated for years in the face of pressure from the Green Party in government and never brought in the climate change Bill it had promised.

Does the Minister, Deputy Hogan, agree with that?

I will not take the ridiculous and outrageous assertions that Senator O'Brien makes, whether on education or climate change.

Let us have a debate today.

On behalf of all of us, I congratulate the Irish team on the wonderful result in last night's match against Estonia and look forward to our participation, at last, in the championship next summer in Poland and Ukraine. That will be very exciting and a real morale boost for the country.

I thank my colleagues, Senators van Turnhout and Conway who, yesterday, raised the issue of St. Patrick's Institution and asked what will be done to phase out the use of detention for 16 and 17 year old people in St. Patrick's Institution. There is a commitment to do that in the programme for Government. We heard wonderful presentations last night from Professor Harry Kennedy and Ms Emily Logan, the Ombudsman for Children. I would like a debate in this House on St. Patrick's Institution and a clarification of how it will be phased out for children.

I echo the congratulations to the Irish team, which has given us all a boost. Perhaps we would like to skip over the budget and get straight to the European matches. Unfortunately, we cannot.

I have concerns at the kite flying that is happening. Vulnerable hard-pressed families are reading headlines every day and wondering what will happen. We should all be careful with our comments.

I echo what Senator Bacik said about St. Patrick's Institution and seeking a debate in the House. It is of extreme concern and a gross violation of our human rights record. For the sake of the children in vulnerable situations we need to act as soon as possible.

Today, I raise the issue of transition year students. Most of us are aware of the transition year programme which promotes the personal, social, vocational and educational development of students and prepares them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.

Recently, I received an application from a transition year student to work for one week in Leinster House as part of the work experience programme. I was informed that this is not possible. What better way to achieve these goals than by allowing young people to experience a working environment through one of the work experience programmes offered by most schools that conduct the transition year programme? The Houses of the Oireachtas lacks any dedicated structure to facilitate students who wish to experience the working life of the Parliament. Work experience is available for second level students with members of parliament in the European Parliament and the British Houses of Parliament. Why can we not do it here? Even closer to home, Dublin City Council offers second level work experience.

This experience is extremely valuable, would give students an insight into our work and would help them understand what we are doing here. I call on the Leader and the House to examine ways in which the Seanad could put in place a one week programme once a year to provide transition year students with an opportunity to listen to some of our key debates and a chance to partially shadow a Senator. The programme could be open to a lottery and provide to a limited number of transition year students an opportunity to see what we do. I ask that this be given serious consideration and I would be happy to give any support and assistance I can.

Mindful of the Taoiseach's meeting with Chancellor Merkel today, I seek a full debate on the euro and its role in our current economic difficulties. It is necessary to have this discussion because the drift in Europe is towards the transfer of yet more powers from the nation states to the centre. Many of the problems of the euro were caused by people at the centre, by not having any exit mechanism, the loss of the exchange rate as an instrument of economic policy and the lack of a mechanism to deal with vast capital flows, such as those which flowed into the Irish banking system and destroyed the property market. We did not have a proper debate when we joined the first time around and many of the faults we have now encountered have their origins in Brussels. We need a debate and analysis of that. In particular, we should resist any idea that the European Union should be organised by technocrats rather than by elected politicians. There are sinister elements in that a failed currency is now seeking to extract even more powers from nation states and elected parliaments.

Will the Leader invite the Minister for Social Protection to the House to discuss the recent proposal to transfer sick payment benefit for the first four weeks of an illness from the State to the employer? This suggestion must be thought out more fully and redressed. Who, for example, will pay the sick payment benefit to the 9,000 staff out on sick leave in the HSE, which has the highest rate of absenteeism in the public service? I understand the figure involved would be an astronomical cost for the HSE. In the case of teachers out on sick leave, would the burden of paying their benefit be laid on boards of management? I would appreciate it if we could have the Minister in the House to discuss and thrash out this proposal.

I support the call made by Senator Barrett for a debate on the euro. It would be opportune to have rolling debates on that issue given the current difficulties. I also agree with the comments made today and yesterday by members of Fine Gael and with their concerns about possible anti-job measures with regard to passing on social welfare costs for sick pay to employers. As mentioned, absenteeism and the willy nilly issuing of medical certificates by GPs is a much bigger issue and should be tackled at that level.

The Government talks about job creation, which is important, but often its actions do not measure up to what is being said. I suggest the Leader should arrange a debate in the House with the Minister for Finance to discuss the issue of people and businesses who have come to an arrangement with their main lending institutions who then find it difficult to get the co-operation of State agencies, particularly the Revenue Commissioners. It is imperative that in the current economic situation we prioritise jobs, but while the collection of revenue should remain a priority, it should not be an impediment to the retention of jobs.

The issue relating to the Minister for Education and Skills has been well covered by my colleague, Senator Darragh O'Brien. If ever we had an election where there was no need to make promises, it was the most recent general election. There have been many broken promises and, unfortunately, these fuel cynicism among the public, particularly in the case of young students, about politics and politicians in general. This is bad. Where commitments have been made and people are now changing tack, they should apologise and admit they were wrong.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business. Yesterday, I raised the issue of the closure of the three embassies, in particular the Holy See embassy. The response from the Leader did not give me any great hope there would be an immediate debate. I propose that we have a debate today with the Tánaiste regarding the real reasons for the closure of these embassies in order to persuade him to rescind that particular regrettable decision. I also support the amendment put forward by Senator Darragh O'Brien.

Will the Leader ask the Minister for Finance if he has any plans to cull the practice of retired public and civil servants, who have taken substantial lump sums from the State and who are in receipt of State pensions, returning to State employment in one form or another, namely, nurses, gardaí, teachers, etc? This practice is wrong. Many people are looking for work yet people have pensions coming in one door and wages coming in the other. The Minister for Finance should address the problem and put a stop to this practice.

Yesterday, Senator O'Brien got very agitated about the Taoiseach's tax claim on his property in Dublin. Unfortunately, there is a cost in doing business when one has to spend six or seven days a week or 350-odd days of the year here. I do not have a difficulty with the tax practice in that regard. It has applied here for over 50 years, before it applied to the Taoiseach. However, I did not hear Senator O'Brien get as agitated when the pensions of retired Ministers and Taoisigh were printed in the newspaper the previous week. Some former Deputies left the other House with €250,000 and €200,000 in lump sums and with pensions of €150,000. Will the Leader ask the Minister for Finance if he has any plans in this regard in the coming budget. We seem to pre-debate the budget here every week, but none of us know what is in it, apart from the Minister and the Cabinet. Will the Leader ask if the Minister has any plans to claw back some of those moneys, which were effectively stolen from the taxpayer? I have a serious concern with regard to the amount of money taken from here and I assume Senator O'Brien would agree with me.

Senator O'Brien wants all Taoisigh to come from Dublin.

I have long argued that if we are going to create jobs, they will not be created by Government. Governments do not create long-lasting jobs. What must happen is that we must encourage industry and business to create jobs. One way to do this is by helping those in transition year, as mentioned by Senator van Turnhout. I have always had students on work experience in my office here and I am amazed now to learn that for some reason or other we have been told to discontinue this practice. This issue needs immediate attention.

Yesterday, Senator Healy Eames spoke very strongly, as did Senator Sheahan today, about the difficulty of transferring costs to industry. Senator Healy Eames was quite explicit with regard to the tough job of running a business. If sick pay must be paid for four weeks by a company, this will damage the opportunity to create jobs. Today'sFinancial Times states that Sarkozy is to tackle labour costs. He says the high costs of labour in France penalise the economy and penalise France in terms of international competitiveness. That is exactly what will happen here if we transfer more costs onto industry and business. If we are to succeed, we must ensure this sort of thing does not happen. Some 20 years ago, I was chairman of a hospital and we used to get letters every week from a State agency seeking to place more people asking whether we had taken on any more nurses, porters or help. That was the wrong way to operate. The creation of jobs just for the sake of the jobs will not help us get out of our difficulty.

I support Senator Barrett's call for a debate on the euro. We must keep a careful eye on this issue and debate the economy weekly so that we ensure we can create employment in the future.

I call for a debate on the role of younger people in society. A number of measures were introduced in the last budget and by the previous Government that when looked at collectively give a clear and somewhat insidious message to our younger people. I think in particular of three specific measures.

In the previous budget, jobseeker's allowance for young people between the ages of 18 to 21 was cut to €100, and to €144 for those between 22 and 24, not on the basis of need but purely on the basis of age.

In the dying days of the previous Government, the then Minister responsible for housing reduced the eligibility of young single people to rent supplement.

The Government——

This sent a message stating it did not believe in their right to house themselves independently of their families.

The third measure taken by the previous Government was to raise increasingly the cost of third level education. This was another message to the young stating they were not necessarily wanted in the country. The House needs a proper debate on the role of young people in society, taking all these factors into account and questioning seriously the message being given to the young.

It is interesting that, any time the Government representatives are confronted with facts, they are just unable to accept them. Before the election, they lied consistently on a number of issues. I can give a number of examples. They lied in respect of bondholders and stated aggressive burden sharing would be imposed. The Government, and Fine Gael in its manifesto, made it very clear unilateral action would be taken. The Government representatives lied in regard to money that would be put into Anglo Irish Bank by stating not one more cent would be put in. They lied in regard to education. An example is the pledge, signed by members of Fine Gael and the Labour Party, not to increase third level fees, yet this is to be done. They lied in regard to health cuts. We saw the reversal involving the closure of the accident and emergency department in Roscommon and noted many other promises that were not honoured. As the Leader will know, a promise was made by the Government parties to build a new 50 bed community nursing unit in Waterford. The capital funding will now not be made available. The Government has lied consistently. Its members lied before the election and are still lying to the people of this State.

It is not they who are lying.

I ask the Senator to give me an example of where I have lied.

The Senator is a member of Sinn Féin.

I am giving the Senator examples. She is becoming very good at interrupting.

The Senator is a member of Sinn Féin.

No interruptions, please.

The Senator should make some positive contributions of her own rather than heckling people on this side of the House.

I will heckle away when I hear points I am not happy with.

She seems to be very good at it.

Senator Cullinane to continue, without interruption. Does he have a question for the Leader?

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business. I suggested yesterday that we have a full discussion in the House on the upcoming budget. All parties are making pre-budget submissions. We can offer alternatives to the Government and we have done in our pre-budget submission. We point out where money can be raised and saved such that we will not have to raise third level fees for students. I agree with the previous Senator that increasing fees represents a passport out of Ireland for young people. I commend the students who will be campaigning for their rights today. Many families are being forced to choose which child they will send for third and fourth level education.

Is the Senator proposing an amendment to the Order of Business?

I propose that the Minister for Finance be invited to the House, before rather than after the budget, to have a full and proper discussion with all Senators on all the pre-budgetary alternatives and the proposals they seek to make. Coming in after the budget is not good enough; we need a debate before it.

Senator Cullinane proposed that the Order of Business be amended. He requested yesterday that we debate the budget. Obviously, I am not seconding his formal proposal but I believe that, with the budget being announced on Tuesday fortnight and every item discussed here yesterday, today and, I presume, over the next few days proving to be related to budgetary policy, it would be helpful if we could outline our views on what the Government should be doing in the budget. This will require us to outline how the magical figure of €3.8 billion will be achieved. There are no easy answers, as we all know, but it would be helpful if we had the opportunity to stop the political sideshow, sniping and games of tennis and actually put our proposals on the table.

The Senator might support my amendment in that case.

I am awaiting the Leader's response to my suggestion. We do not expect a budget debate today. I ask that some time be set aside next week, in advance of the budget, so we can make suggestions to the Government and outline the policies we would like to see therein. I ask the Leader to take the suggestion on board.

Amendments to the Order of Business are tabled on the hour but they are entirely unrealistic. We know Ministers are not going to come to this House at the drop of a hat. Can we not try to be a little more constructive in the way we do business? Senator Cullinane's suggestion that we have a debate on the budget is good but this will not happen this afternoon. Let us be realistic. Perhaps we could agree that it will happen next week.

The question was not answered yesterday. It would be helpful if we got an answer.

I wish the former Minister of State, Deputy Penrose, well and commend him on his very principled stand on the closure of the barracks in Mullingar. I do not know of any Members from Cavan or Clonmel who will take similar action.

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

It is appropriate to state that Deputy Penrose, when in this House, acquitted himself very well and was very attentive. I chaired the session when he was present. He was doing tremendous work on ghost estates and his resignation from his Ministry is a loss to the country. He was a very amiable and approachable Minister of State. I wish well Deputy Penrose and the others in Westmeath, such as Mr. Mick Dollard, who will now be Independents. They will be available for canvassing in the next election campaign.

I second Senator Walsh's call on the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Gilmore, to come to the House to discuss the proposed closure of our embassy in the Holy See. I have received a submission from Mr. David Quinn and others of the Iona Institute outlining the reasons for having an embassy to the Holy See. I note the very constructive manner in which the proposal is made. It states one hundred and seventy-nine countries are linked to the Holy See and 76 — it was 77 — will have embassies there, including Haiti, a very impoverished country. Countries such as Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Georgia have full embassies to the Holy See. The Iona Institute made the point that we have embassies in Lesotho, Mozambique and Malawi. They are all worthy locations so there are alternatives, therefore, to closing the embassy to the Holy See. I call on very powerful organisations, such as the Order of the Knights of St. Columbanus, which may have many members in this House or, at least, the other. I see a Senator smiling; I am not sure whether he is a member of the organisation. I was under the impression that Senator Paul Coghlan was a member of the Order of the Knights of St. Columbanus, but I now understand he is not. I do not have the membership list. I have examined the organisation's——

What has that to do with the Order of Business?

It is very relevant. May I explain?

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I seconded the call for a debate with the Tánaiste. I made the point that we should retain our embassy to the Holy See. I am now making the point that there are organisations in Ireland——

The Senator is out of time.

I am sorry but want to say finally that I understand that Senator Coghlan is a very honourable member of the Ancient Order of Innisfallen in Killarney — a very old seat established in the seventh century——

I call Senator Coghlan.

I commend Senator Coghlan and hope he has influence.

What do I say to that history lesson?

This is ridiculous. Is the Senator a politician?

I was elected more times than Senator Healy Eames. I was elected six times to Dáil Éireann and——

Please, Senator Leyden.

——to Seanad Éireann. Does that explain——

Please, Senator Leyden. I call Senator Coghlan who should be allowed speak without interruption.

We are very conscious of the very important meeting taking place today in Berlin between the Taoiseach, the German premier and her Minister for Finance. We wish them well because we hope the Taoiseach can get across to them the need for greater flexibility in the implementation of our reform programme. It is important that they be sensitised to the need to maintain public support for the reforms necessary. Perhaps most important, I wish them well in dealing with proposals regarding oversight of national budgets. This is at the heart of the matter as regards securing the future of the euro.

I spoke on the question of the embassy yesterday. I say seriously to everybody, in the knowledge that there is concern on both sides, that a very senior, superb diplomat — the most senior man in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Cooney — has been appointed and should be allowed to exercise his diplomatic functions. He will be in the Holy See once a month and is the ambassador. He will, perhaps, spend weekends there. This can be resolved and restored rather quickly but he must take it up with the secretary of state. Senators should be patient. We are a small country in economic difficulties and this is being forced on us.

Forced on us by the Labour Party.

Questions for the Leader, please.

I am sure the Leader agrees that the matter can be resolved quickly. I urge the Senators opposite to exercise more caution and less haste.

I regret that we will not be taking statements on housing today but I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Deputy Penrose, an honourable and decent man who came into this House on a number of occasions. He was unique among Ministers in this and previous Administrations in that he listened to what was being said and acted to the best of his abilities.

I ask the Leader to invite the Minister for Defence, Deputy Shatter, to the House to outline the criteria used to decide on the closure of the barracks in Clonmel, Castlebar, Mullingar and Cavan. While I appreciate that the closure of Castlebar barracks may be a smokescreen given that it houses fewer than half a dozen soldiers, most of whom are due to retire, and is little more than a storage facility, the other three barracks were strategic to the defence of this country. We are given to understand that the decision was based on economic and strategic considerations. The most modern barracks in Europe is located seven miles from the Border at County Fermanagh, an area which is alive with dissident republican activity. We are to believe that it is not as strategically important as the seven barracks located in the Curragh where the military top brass play soldiers at their ease. They do not want to be discomfited by moving to places like Cavan, which is not strategic to them.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I want to know why that is the case. The Minister was misled by the top brass in the Defence Forces. Even while he was telling delegations from Cavan, which I accompanied, and the other three towns that he had not reached a decision, instructions were issuing from Defence Forces headquarters for the Reserve Defence Force units based in Cavan to find alternative accommodation. Is he not the Minister? Did he make the decision or is he being led by the cushy top brass in the Curragh in deciding the future of 700 men and women who have served the State at home and abroad?

If we can ignore the sarcasm from Senators Leyden and Wilson, perhaps we can focus on political irony.

On a point of order, what sarcasm was in my contribution?

That was an unfair comment.

Perhaps we could focus——

Any time I make a contribution in this House, it is genuine and sincere. I demand that the Senator withdraw his comment.

Perhaps we could focus on political irony. When we refer to Deputy Penrose's resignation, we speak about honour. Can we recall any honour——

I was being genuine in my remarks about Deputy Penrose. I regard him as an honourable and decent man and he is my friend.

Can we recall any honour when a former senior Minister swore a false affidavit in front of the courts or when a former Taoiseach cajoled people to——

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

I have a question for the Leader. Can we recall any honour when the current leader of Fianna Fáil failed to read his brief and blamed his officials?

Does the Senator have a question?

I am coming to my question. I ask the Leader to arrange a discussion on the topic of honour in politics. The Seanad could make an important contribution to the political discourse of this country.

On a point of order, is it appropriate for Members of this House to use the word "lie" at regular intervals? I understand it is considered unparliamentary under Standing Orders to use that type of language.

That is not a point of order. It was made under a political charge.

I would be happy to second Senator Walsh's amendment to the Order of Business. I do not need to elaborate on the issue because my views on it are well known.

I also support the Senator's remarks on job creation. If struggling companies managed to work out an arrangement with lenders that allows them to survive in these difficult economic times, it would be strange if the Revenue Commissioners played by the book rather than help to preserve jobs with a view to guaranteeing the payment of what they are owed in the future. It is important that State agencies do not act in a penny wise, pound foolish manner. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this issue with the Minister for Finance.

On the subject of short-sighted thinking, I hovered between respect for Deputy Penrose's decision to resign his ministerial post and fear that if everybody did likewise we would be stuck with parish pump thinking and insufficient reflection on the national interest. As somebody who contributed to the debate about the closure of Army barracks, I side with Deputy Penrose because I question the level of savings made possible by the decision. Given that personnel are not going to lose their jobs and that the property market remains depressed, I wonder whether substantial savings can be made. During the debate I spoke about the importance of social capital and the contribution these barracks make to the towns in which they are located. Members of the Defence Forces have been involved in a wide range of voluntary activities. We should balance the range of issues in our minds because if we take a slash and burn approach we may not save money in the longer term. I ask the Leader to take that message to the Government.

We are taking things somewhat personally this morning. I agree with Senator Gilroy regarding the word "lie". I retorted but I should not use that type of language in this House. It is not personal, however, it is politics. There may be an issue of control in this House. At the end of the day, we are here to do a job. It has nothing to do with being male or female or whether we are called Senator or Deputy.

What is the relevance of these comments to the Order of Business? Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

Philosophical points.

I would like the Minister for Justice and Equality to come into the House for a good chat on what equality really means. I doubt that the Taoiseach expects those with whom we work every day to call us "Senator" or "Deputy".

Or tweeting every day.

This has nothing to do with the Order of Business.

People can tweet if they like. It is a new form of communication. Can we have a debate on equality in this House?

The Taoiseach is watching "Downton Abbey".

Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis an moladh atá déanta ag mo chomhghleacaí, an Seanadóir David Cullinane, go ndéanfaí leasú ar an Riar na hOibre inniu le go dtiocfadh an tAire Airgeadais isteach agus go bpléadh muid na moltaí maidir le cáinaisnéis na bliana seo. I second the amendment to the Order of Business proposed by my colleague, Senator Cullinane. I also seek clarification from the Leader regarding our letter to each Member of the House about speaking time for members of Sinn Féin. A certain amount of information has been conveyed to us about changes to that. There will not be statements on housing today, but there will be tomorrow. However, there is no clarification yet on where we stand with regard to statements and how much time will be afforded to Sinn Féin Members of the House. We would appreciate if the Leader would clarify that as we obviously need time to prepare. Being given only a minute is quite different from having a number of minutes. We would appreciate clarification as to where every Member of the House stands on allowing Sinn Féin Members the right to speak in these debates.

I also support Senator Hayden's call for a debate on the role of young people and how they are treated in this country. If the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, is coming to the House to discuss those issues, I am anxious to ask why single parents are being discriminated against in the JobBridge programme. Single parents are not allowed to apply for the JobBridge programme. Many of them are young people. Against all adversity they are trying to get back into the workforce and make a career for themselves but, according to correspondence I have received from the Department, they are excluded from that programme. We should discuss that and also whether the JobBridge programme is working and doing what it is intended to do.

I also ask that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, be invited to the House to discuss the new licensing regime for the oil and gas industry. A total of 13 licences were given to exploration companies for the Corrib gas field. He should explain to the Seanad what terms and conditions were attached to those licences. Are they different from the terms and conditions in the licences that were handed out by the previous Government, which handed over our scarce natural resources for little payback to the Irish State? If that has happened again, the Minister can explain why that is so, which models from which countries he has examined in his deliberations, the regimes with which he has compared our regime and why we do not have more favourable regimes like those in countries such as Norway and Canada. Táim ag iarraidh go dtiocfaidh an tAire, an Teachta Rabbitte, isteach chun míniú iomlán a thabhairt dúinn ar chéard atá ag tarlú maidir leis na ceadúnais, ó thaobh gáis agus ola, sa tír seo.

I wish to withdraw the comments I made about Senator Wilson in my contribution. I was a little ungenerous and I apologise.

Others from that side could withdraw comments.

That is very gracious of Senator Gilroy. I am delighted with his words about Senator Wilson, as I have known the character of the man both in this Seanad and the last Seanad.

I listened to a great deal today in the House and I notice we are becoming extremely adversarial when we should be using this House to serve the country. If what Senator Ó Clochartaigh said is true, it must be corrected right away. If there is discrimination in JobBridge, it is a very serious issue. I doubt that it is true but if it is, it must be corrected.

I have it in writing from the Department.

I support the calls for a debate on the role of young people in Irish society and how they are treated. The only options available to young people at present, while the unemployment rate is so high, are education or emigration. We must tread carefully with regard to education. There is a tipping point beyond which things could get really bad for young people. Yes, invite the Minister, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, to the House as quickly as possible in order that we can discuss rumours of huge numbers of redundancies among teachers, caps on student numbers and grants for students. Education is a right that we must guard; it has served us well.

I wish to follow up on Senator Feargal Quinn's comments. Jobs are not created by governments but by employers and entrepreneurs. That is the reason I was so careful in my remarks yesterday. The Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, must reconsider her proposal to charge employers for sick pay for their employees. That would mean the employers would have to pay twice when staff are out of work. First, they would lose the person's performance and possibly have to replace the person and, second, if they had to pay sick pay, it would be unbearable.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

It is time we stood up together and said who should bear responsibility for sick pay. Currently, the private sector employee is out sick for an average of six days per year whereas the average public sector worker is out sick for 11 days per year. We must grasp this nettle and say what is fair given the finances in the State.

I support the call by all Senators, and the proposed amendment to the Order of Business, for the Minister for Education and Skills to come to the House to discuss third level education, its funding and teaching posts in the education sector, which was mentioned by Senator Healy Eames. The Minister appears to be implying that there will be 2,500 fewer teachers in the system over the next few years while, in fact, the EU-IMF programme provides for an additional 2,500 teachers in the next four years. There is a stark contrast with the EU-IMF programme. The word "lie" was used in the Chamber today, justifiably so.

You got your chance and you blew it. You created all the lies.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I have a question. I am calling for a debate.

It was amended in the circumstances and was allowed at the time. The Senator can speak about that issue in the debate.

The words used this morning by the Union of Students in Ireland were "betrayal", "let down" and "used", because the Labour Party and Deputy Ruairí Quinn gained votes on the back of a solemn signature.

No decision has been made.

That is the fact.

The other issue I wish to raise is my disappointment, to say the least, at the manner in which the Water Services (Amendment) Bill is being brought through the House today. Following pressure from this side of the House, we were promised last week that each speaker would be allowed as much time as possible and that the Bill would be discussed for as long as necessary. Now, however, it appears the Bill will be guillotined today at 1.45 p.m. If that is not the case, so be it. If it is the case, I propose an amendment to the Order of Business——

It is not the case.

Will it continue next week?

I will reply on the Order of Business.

I accept the Leader's comments. Every Member of the House who wishes to speak on Second Stage about the septic tank charges should be afforded the opportunity to do so, even if the debate runs into next week and the following week. It is a major issue for the public so I hope the Leader will facilitate that.

The Leader stated that Second Stage was to adjourn not later than 1.45 p.m., if not previously concluded.

I support the call for a debate on jobs. There is a need to discuss the various issues. Senator Cullinane raised the issue of jobs. It was interesting to read in the newspapers this morning about the difficulties in the other part of this island with job creation. Perhaps he might outline some of the ideas being used in Northern Ireland, where his party is part of the Government.

Is it not part of the Deputy's country as well?

On the island of Ireland——

Where we created 30,000 jobs.

——many of the issues are the same. Perhaps the Senators will let us know some of the ideas they are using in Northern Ireland. The newspapers this morning seem to indicate that there are difficulties in that part of the island as well. It is important that we are constructive and if there are ideas we can adopt from that part of the island, we are open to accepting them.

It is also important that we try to encourage young people. I was at a meeting in Cork last night where I met a young person who cannot qualify for any of the support mechanisms in place at present because he is living at home and his parents are supporting him. Many young people are losing out because they do not tick all the boxes for the support schemes in place to get them back into employment. We need a debate in this House on these issues, as well as on other issues relating to young people.

I support Senator Sheahan's call for a debate on the suggestion that the first four weeks of sick pay should be met by employers, rather than by the Department of Social Protection, which is thestatus quo. It is an outrageous suggestion. Last week, I spoke in the Chamber about the problems facing small businesses which are trying to retain their staff and this idea appears to be a double whammy. Surely the idea behind employers paying employer’s PRSI is to ensure that when an employee becomes ill, those payments will be used to cover his or her illness. It is enough for an employer to be obliged to source an alternative or to change rosters, one often loses money both ways, without allowing this outrageous proposal to come down the line.

As for the student protests, I remember distinctly the student protests that took place almost this time last year. It was highly confrontational and I had to smile when I heard Senator Healy Eames talk about not being confrontational, because she was beating a big drum that day. I remember that well, as do my colleagues on the other side of the Chamber. In fairness to the outgoing Government, it was heavily defeated in the general election but Fianna Fáil went into that election without giving any hostages to fortune or making any false promises. I note two members of the Government parties already have gone overboard, namely, Deputy Naughten and now the former Minister of State, Deputy Penrose. It bodes ill for the long-term future of the Government if its members already are panicking in the face of what must come down the line. While my party took a beating, it took it on the chin.

What the Minister, Deputy Quinn has done is the most cynical action I have witnessed in my five years in this House.

No decision has been taken.

It is the most cynical action and the manner in which he now is explaining it already with weasel words to the effect that he signed on behalf of the Labour Party and not on behalf of the Government is even more contemptible.

On a point of order, I once again ask the Senator to withdraw the use of such language. It is unparliamentary. I already have taken up this matter.

That is not a point of order.

That is a matter for the Chair. I call Senator Comiskey.

What particular words would the Senator like me to withdraw?

I used political language.

The issue I wish to raise today is important for rural communities nationwide. As Members are aware, the rural development programme is run by Leader partnership groups and development companies, which support communities that wish to invest in sports fields, community centres and so on. What I consider to be a new rule has been introduced to the effect that permission must be granted by the European Union for grant aid in excess of €200,000. This is affecting many communities and I have received a considerable number of representations on this issue in recent weeks. Many communities have conducted fundraisers, have raised a lot of money and are ready to start work but now are affected by the new rule that permission from the European Union is required for those projects which exceed €200,000. This issue should be dealt with as a matter of urgency and perhaps there should be a debate on it.

In addition, food projects or anything pertaining to the processing or manufacture of food is excluded from the programme and this issue must also be considered. If one is serious about creating jobs in rural Ireland, the processing of food must be included and if grant aid is available, it should be made available in this regard. I seek a debate on this programme, which is run by the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Environment, Community and Local Government.

I share the sentiments expressed on this side of the House in particular in respect of the former Minister of State, Deputy Penrose. As already has been stated, he came to this House a number of times. I remember specifically a debate on electoral legislation in which he was so expansive and impressive that Members wondered whether he was a Minister at all because he took his own line. I have known Deputy Willie Penrose for 25 years or so and long before he entered the Oireachtas. He is a man of great honour and irrespective of what has been said, I would hate to think the Labour Party is now circling the wagons and intends to do down this man because of the decision he took. This is based on some of the remarks I have heard so far.

Who is doing him down?

I would hate to think that would happen.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I do. I do not wish to dwell on this matter too much, other than to state that Deputy Penrose took that decision in what he believed to be the best interests of his constituents and anyone in politics would applaud anybody who does that. Members should remember that "Teachta Dála" means messenger to the Dáil and he carried a message from his constituents who elected him to this House and the Lower House. As that message was not accepted, he took an honourable course.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I thank the Cathaoirleach for his indulgence. My question relates to Senator Paul Coghlan's comments, the sentiments of which I share, on the meeting of the Taoiseach with Ms Angela Merkel in Germany and to the references made by Senator Quinn and others to the euro crisis. I believe it is vitally important to keep this issue on the agenda and in that context, I ask the Leader to convey to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Deenihan, my commendation of a series of articles inThe Irish Times on Germany. Yesterday’s excellent article referred to the impact Irish cultural activity has had and continues to have in Germany. The article paid a warm tribute to the consular officials in the Irish Embassy in Berlin, who had turned around an attitude in Germany of not wishing to bail out a country it was considered had gone on a party. The aforementioned officials had turned around this sentiment and there now was a real understanding and recognition that Ireland was not Greece, Italy, Spain or Portugal. Moreover, this was achieved through the cultural activities that continued to take place in Germany.

I ask the Leader to convey to Mr. Eugene Downes, who is chief executive of Culture Ireland and who has headed Imagine Ireland, a concept that has been expanding Irish culture into America in recent years, the possibility of expanding its activities into Germany. The name of Ireland in Germany unquestionably is very positive at present and it will be important to take advantage of that sentiment in light of the Taoiseach's meeting with Ms Merkel. After all, it is Germany that will make the ultimate decisions on our future, whether we like it.

I ask the Leader to organise an early debate on the drugs problem in Ireland. I note reports in this morning's newspapers that Ireland is in the top half of the league in respect of the use and abuse of certain types of drugs. Violent murders take place day after day, as do many drug-related suicides and the decimation and destruction of families and young people. Moreover, anti-social behaviour takes place in estates nationwide and huge pressure is being placed on the health services as a result of the drugs problem. There has been an increase in the sale of, and activity in, drugs because of the economic crisis in which we now find ourselves. People who are short of income are turning to the sale of drugs as a means of raising income and Members have a major crisis on their hands.

This House would be an appropriate venue for a major debate on how this scourge will be tackled, how communities will be helped to come to terms with the associated difficulties and how young people, whose lives are being destroyed by the use of drugs, are to be helped. This is a major issue and I sincerely ask the Leader to organise such a debate. I acknowledge that Members will have a debate this afternoon on the issue of alcohol, which is linked in some ways, but the drugs issue warrants a separate debate and I ask the Leader to organise it at an early opportunity.

Over the years, decisions have been made by the State, generally with the best of intentions, which it subsequently has been necessary to revisit. One reason this happens is because inadequate debate has taken place, perhaps involving misinformation or a lack of information and so on. The same applies to the closure of the Army barracks because when this debate was initiated, Members were given to understand it had something to do with the financial position of the State. Thereafter, the grounds tended to move and it was suggested it was a directive from Europe. The present position, post the decision having been made, appears to be that it was operational. I suggest it cannot be a financial consideration because everyone now accepts the closure of these barracks will result in a loss. If this is the case, there is no reason for Europe to have given a directive, which means it is now down to being an operational issue. In that context, I would have thought there was more involved here than just a simple operational matter. Serious consideration should have been given to those people who are being unnecessarily affected. There is no reason this development should absolutely happen.

Second, we will have a situation where, as happened in Kildare, five buildings will be vandalised and we will have huge losses. In addition, if as part of this decision we are going to factor in the possibility of selling these sites, I believe it is being factored in at their value some six years ago whereas those sites do not have such a value now.

In the next couple of days, will the Leader bring in the Minister for Defence and let us once and for all remove the confusion among the public. This issue is not going to go away. I ask the Leader as a matter of urgency to bring in the Minister for Defence.

Senator Darragh O'Brien, the Leader of the Opposition, with other Senators, raised the question of the Water Services (Amendment) Bill. I gave an undertaking last week that we would have sufficient time to debate this Bill and I can assure anybody who wishes to speak that he or she will be afforded the opportunity to do so. The reason we are adjourning the debate at 1.45 p.m. today, although it can be resumed on any other day we decide, is that the Minister has another engagement. I am making inquiries to see whether the Minister can stay longer today. If possible, he will, but I do not believe at present that is possible. I will certainly extend and resume the debate at a later stage if we have sufficient speakers on the Bill.

I can also confirm that a debate with the Minister, Deputy Howlin, to which I referred yesterday, will take place on Tuesday afternoon next.

With regard to the question of education, third level funding, the cap on numbers, student fees and so on, as the House knows, the programme for Government provided a commitment to undertake a full review of third level education funding with a view to introducing a funding system that would provide third level institutions with reliable funding but which would not impact on access for students. The Higher Education Authority has recently finished a report on the sustainability of the existing funding framework for higher education and it was submitted to the Minister, Deputy Quinn, on Monday, 14 November. The report examines the interrelationships between funding levels, the scale of growth and the maintenance of quality in the system. As the Minister has just received the report, I am not in a position to comment on its contents but the Minister and his officials will be considering these in the coming weeks. The report will help to inform consideration by the Government of policy options in regard to the future funding of the higher education sector. I understand the HEA intends to publish the report in the next couple of weeks, following its consideration by the authority. Perhaps that might be an opportune time for us to discuss the report.

Senator Bacik responded robustly to the charges made against members of her party——

It is difficult to hear the truth sometimes.

——and requested a debate on St. Patrick's Institution. We will try to have a debate on that institution at an early date.

Senators Barrett, Walsh, Quinn and Paul Coghlan called for a debate on the future of the euro and referred to the importance of that issue. We have had both the Minister for Finance and the Minister of State in the House on a regular basis, and I am sure they would be quite willing to come in again to debate the future of the euro, particularly in view of the meeting which is being held today between the Taoiseach and Chancellor Merkel.

Senator Quinn rightly stated that the Government does not create jobs but it can create the environment to create jobs, which is very important. The cost of doing business is also a very important issue and the whole question of sick pay has been raised in recent days. We will have the Minister for Social Protection in the House tomorrow for a two hour debate when there will be an opportunity to pose the relevant questions that have been raised on the Order of Business.

Senator Cullinane called for a pre-budget debate. As I said, although it is a very busy time for the Minister for Finance, as the Senator can imagine, I will endeavour to have him come to the House. I realise Sinn Féin has published its own proposals, which I heard some economist state would drive investment out of the country. However, we will deal with that issue when we come to it.

It was the Fine Gael economist, Mr. Jim Power.

Senator Coghlan referred to Mr. David Cooney, the appointed ambassador to the Holy See. The Senator advisesfestina lente — that we tread carefully and act slowly. We have addressed the question of embassies on a number of occasions at this stage. I hope we will have the Tánaiste in the House to address the questions that have been raised by Senators.

Senator Wilson asked about the criteria used to close barracks and, with Senator Ó Murchú, asked that the Minister for Defence come to the House. The purpose of the decision to close barracks is to maximise the effectiveness of the Defence Forces by removing the burden imposed by manning and maintaining unnecessary installations. The consolidation of the Defence Forces' formations in a smaller number of locations is a key objective of the ongoing defence modernisation programme in order to maximise the effectiveness of the Defence Forces and has been recommended in many reports in recent years.

In recent weeks, the Minister has met individual Members of the Oireachtas, who expressed very strongly held views as to why particular barracks should be retained. He also met a number of delegations made up of a wide spectrum of interest groups from Cavan, Clonmel and Mullingar. The Minister has reflected carefully and at length on the sincere and genuine concerns raised by those delegations, particularly the wives of serving personnel. He wishes to acknowledge the sincerity and courtesy of the people he met. However, he is obliged to take a broader view and must consider the overall needs and organisation of the Defence Forces, not just today but in the years ahead. It is in this context that the consolidation of the Defence Forces in a smaller number of locations must be and has been addressed.

Senator Gilroy spoke about honour in politics and made some very valid points in that regard. A number of other Senators spoke but I do not intend to reply as they are no longer present. Senator Comiskey raised the issue of grant aid for communities in excess of €200,000 requiring clearance from Brussels. We will seek clarification for the Senator on that point.

Senator Mooney raised the important question of our relationship with Germany. The relationship has improved significantly in recent months. It is very important that we maintain relationships with Germany.

Senator Mullins spoke about the drugs problem. We will arrange a debate with the relevant Minister in early course on that matter.

Senator Darragh O'Brien has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a debate on the Government proposal to abolish all financial support for all new entrants to postgraduate courses be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 18; Níl, 29.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D’Arcy, Jim.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Harte, Jimmy.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O’Keeffe, Susan.
  • O’Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
  • Zappone, Katherine.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Ned O’Sullivan and Diarmuid Wilson; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O’Keeffe.
Amendment declared lost.

Senator Jim Walsh has also proposed an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a debate on the reasons for the Goverment decision to close three embassies and the need to rescind that decision be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 17; Níl, 28.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D’Arcy, Jim.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Harte, Jimmy.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O’Keeffe, Susan.
  • O’Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators David Cullinane and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O’Keeffe.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 31; Níl, 14.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D’Arcy, Jim.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Harte, Jimmy.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O’Keeffe, Susan.
  • O’Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.

Níl

  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Sullivan, Ned.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O’Keeffe; Níl, Senators Ned O’Sullivan and Diarmuid Wilson.
Question declared carried.