That is quite alright. It was a pleasure.
Senator Comiskey also welcomed the paper on suicide prevention produced by Senator MacSharry. He went on to refer to road safety issues. It is worth nothing that the number of road deaths has fallen year on year since 2006. Every road death is a tragedy, however. Senator Kelly also referred to road deaths. This is a matter we could debate in the House and I will speak to the Leader about it.
Senator Mullen also referred to surrogacy and the document on suicide prevention.
Senator Moloney welcomed the introduction of the youth guarantee at European level and the prominent role played by the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, in bringing this about. I share the Senator's view to the effect that this is a very important initiative, particularly in view of the appalling figures on youth unemployment across the EU. Some of us raised that matter with Ms Emer Costello, MEP, when she came before the House last week.
Senator Moloney also referred to the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant. While noting that the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, has established a project group to review the issues relating to the allowance and the grant, the Senator suggested that the Seanad might find some way to put forward proposals for change in respect of this matter. Senator Moloney also noted that this is not a funding issue, per se, because the money involved continues to be ring-fenced. Rather, it is a legal issue arising out of the Ombudsman's correct finding that the schemes - as they previously existed - were not compliant with the equal status legislation. Clearly, the position in this regard must change but this needs to be done within budget.
I have been told the Minister has already established the project group, which is independently chaired. The project group met last week and both the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, and the Minister of State, Deputy Lynch, attended. The group includes representatives of people with disabilities and others who can assist in designing a solution. The group, which is due to meet again this week, has said that broader consultation will be undertaken. Perhaps I can write to the Minister of State, Deputy Lynch, as it falls within her remit, to ask how that consultation will take shape and whether members of the Joint Committee on Health and Children or Senators might have an input during the four months of operations. That is a very good idea.
Senator Norris raised the issue of the surrogacy case. He pointed out the role of the then Senator, Dr. Mary Henry, in developing legislation on this. He also raised the issue of road deaths, which I have dealt with.
Senator Healy Eames also raised the judgment in the surrogacy case and also called for a debate on assisted human reproduction. We should have such a debate and I hope it will be in the context of introducing legislation which is long overdue.
Senator Moran also raised the issue of the mobility allowance and supported Senator Moloney's call for input into it. As I said we can deal with that. She also raised the issue of the employment of retired teachers. The Senator might raise this with the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, when he comes to the House on Thursday. This issue has been raised with the Minister before, indeed I raised the issue with him. We could raise it again with him.
Senator Mooney requested a debate on local authority funding. I can certainly ask the Leader for that. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, will be in the House this afternoon so the Senator will have an opportunity to raise it with him.
Senator Michael Mullins raised the issues of online pornography and Internet access which were addressed in a television programme last night, which I did not see. No doubt this can be raised with the Minister for Education and Skills as to what steps are being taken in schools to alert students to the danger of this. I know they are trying to build in references to Internet access to the really excellent and well-established Stay Safe programme that has been rolled out across primary schools. That might be the appropriate way to address this issue.
Senator Kelly also spoke in support of Senator Moloney's point on the mobility grant. He pointed out that the experience and expertise of many members of the House could well be used in the consultation process.
Senator Noone raised an issue, which I read with interest, about price discrepancies in retail outlets and differences in pricing between high street outlets in Britain and Ireland. I am not sure whether Deputy Bruton is the appropriate Minister to take this up with but I commend the Senator for raising it directly with the private retailers. She should also raise it with the consumer watchdogs.