Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 2, motion to amend the terms of reference of the Smithwick tribunal, to be taken on the conclusion of the Order of Business, without debate; No. 3, Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012 - Second Stage, to be taken on the conclusion of No. 2 and to conclude no later than 1.30 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 the Minister to be called on to reply no later than 1.20 p.m.; and No. 4, Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013 - Committee Stage, to be taken at 2 p.m. In the case of No. 4, we had an excellent eight hours of debate on Second Stage, but in my opinion we had a waste and we damaged ourselves with the filibuster of eight hours on one section that happened yesterday. I think we should be mindful of that when we continue our Committee Stage discussion this afternoon.

I do not agree that there should be no debate on No. 2, which relates to the Smithwick tribunal. When the Minister, Deputy Shatter, told the House two years ago that he wanted to set a deadline for this, we advised him that the imposition of a deadline was not the thing to do. Now he is extending it further. The Seanad deserves to get a report or an update on the Smithwick tribunal. I will not agree to take No. 2 without debate. With regard to No. 4, it may be the Leader's opinion that there was a filibuster during the Committee Stage debate on section 1.

It may also be his opinion that yesterday's events did the House some damage.

The only people doing this House damage are the Leader and the members of his Government who want to abolish the House. What one does not do-----

The Senators opposite went the right way about damaging the House yesterday.

Please allow Senator O'Brien to continue without interruption.

Tá brón orm. I may have hit the nail on the head because the people who are proposing the abolition of the House are the Leader, his party in government and the Labour Party. While all the Senators opposite profess to disagree with abolition, they will walk through the lobbies like sheep and vote for it. Members on this side are perfectly entitled to speak for as long as they wish on Committee Stage. If it is the Leader's opinion that yesterday's discussion was a waste of time, that is fine.

That is what I said.

He will find today's debate will also be reasoned.

The Leader stated the Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill will come before us again at 2 p.m. At what time is it proposed to adjourn the debate or will it be open-ended? I remind him that this is not emergency legislation. The farce we saw in the Dáil last night and into the early hours should not be replicated in the House. The debate should be adjourned rather than left open-ended.

Unlike the previous Government, this Government is at least legislating for the X case.

Please allow Senator O'Brien to continue without interruption.

I suggest the Leader set a time to adjourn the debate. I also ask him indicate, to the best of his knowledge, when the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill will come to the House. Some of the antics in the other House last night and this morning did the Dáil considerable damage.

We are not discussing the Dáil. Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I have no doubt that this House will behave as it always does and ensure the legislation is discussed in a reasoned manner.

Perhaps the Leader does not agree that we had a reasoned debate yesterday. We should not have been debating legislation that will provide for the abolition of the Seanad. The Leader should not forget that it was his party leader who went on a solo run by seeking to abolish one third of the Oireachtas and rip asunder Bunreacht na hÉireann.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I have put a number of questions to him.

I propose a further amendment to the Order of Business, namely, that the Minister for Finance come to the House for one hour to discuss the new statutory code of conduct on mortgage arrears the Government has approved with the Central Bank. I have raised this issue day in and day out for some time and will continue to propose amendments to the Order of Business until the Minister comes to the House to explain what protection the new code of conduct will provide to those in mortgage arrears.

This Seanad spent weeks on statements dealing with various issues because legislation did not come before the House and we were not allowed to scrutinise EU legislation. As is the case with all Governments, but especially this one, we now have a rush to conclude business before the summer recess. This is not the way to do business. It would make sense to specify a time for the adjournment of the debate on the constitutional Bill. The debate could then resume tomorrow and continue on Monday.

Does the Senator not want me to guillotine the legislation?

I want to dispose of the Bill but leaving the debate open-ended is to guillotine it by other means. We will sit until 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. if the Leader so wishes but that is not the way to do business.

The Senator wants me to guillotine the Bill.

The Leader should learn from what his colleagues did in the Dáil this morning.

The Senator may get what he wishes for.

Setting parameters for the debate would be a better way to do business. However, we will not have a problem sitting until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.

If the Leader sets parameters, the Opposition will not support them.

Senator O'Brien does not know what he wants.

We know what Senator Bacik wants.

To echo the Leader's comments, what took place in the Chamber yesterday over eight hours of so-called Committee Stage of the Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013 was nothing less than a filibuster. It calls to mind the old saying, if it walks and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If Senators speak for more than one hour and ramble about various historical aspects of different democracies-----

Senators care about this House.

There are ways-----

They obviously care more about it than Senator Bacik.

Please allow Senator Bacik to continue without interruption.

The sort of self-indulgence we-----

We cannot go back over yesterday's business. Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I ask the Leader and the Chair to ensure Committee Stage debate is a reasoned, proper and rational discussion. We all accept and agree that there are principled issues to be discussed but let us not have Senators speak in a self-indulgent manner for the sake of it. Having had eight hours of discussion on Committee Stage yesterday, we will resume the debate at 2 p.m. Let us have a debate of which the House can be proud, as has been the case with regard to debates on many different issues.

On a point of order, how dare the Senator cast aspersions on this side of the House. I ask her to withdraw that statement.

What statement?

This is a Chamber of debate and Senators on this side are as entitled to express an opinion as the Senators opposite.

Senator Mooney should resume his seat.

They should extend the same courtesy to us as we extend to them.

Does Senator Bacik have a question for the Leader?

I have put my question. I ask the Cathaoirleach to ensure today's debate is rational and reasoned and Senators are asked by the Chair, in the normal manner, to confine their remarks to Committee Stage.

Is the Senator directing the Chair on how to adjudicate on the debate?

Let us have the reasoned and rational debate the House deserves and treat it with the dignity it deserves.

The Senator would not recognise dignity if it hit her in the face.

What we saw yesterday were antics and play-acting.

There is no dignity in a dead Seanad.

Please allow Senator Bacik to continue without interruption.

I commend Senator Mary White on using the House yesterday in the way it should be used, namely, to introduce a Bill. I ask the Leader to ensure Committee Stage of the Bill on parental leave is taken when the Government's amendments become available. All of us appreciate the intention behind the legislation and very much approve of it in principle. It was welcome that the Government did not oppose it. Many Senators have spoken about the need to ensure some measure of paternity leave is provided to ensure fathers are given greater responsibility and their role as fathers is given greater recognition in the workplace. It is a welcome Bill and exactly the sort of business for which the Seanad is valued and on which it is commended. It reflects one of the values and strengths the House bring to the Oireachtas.

I endorse the welcome by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland for the appointment of Mr. Richard Haass as an envoy to deal with outstanding issues in the peace process, including parades, flags and so forth. His appointment is in the tradition of George Mitchell's magnificent contributions to the peace process. Will the Leader invite Mr. Haass to the Seanad in view of his decision to invite the Orange Order to the House. The Seanad has a role to play in this regard. For the information of those on the opposite side, one of Mr. Haass's books is entitled, The Power to Persuade: How to be Effective in Any Unruly Organization, which was published in 1995. He is also the author of The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War.

I also express regret about a cross-Border issue that has arisen, namely, the impasse concerning the proposed Narrow Water bridge, which Senator Terry Brennan has so strongly promoted. The project progressed on the basis that it would cost €17 million but when the tenders were opened this figure had increased to between €26 million and €40 million. This very worthwhile project, which is supported by Danny Kennedy, MLA, Margaret Ritchie, MLA, the Northern Ireland Executive and Senator Brennan and his colleagues from County Louth, gives rise to wider questions. The construction industry tells us there are bargains available as a result of the recession. How did the cost of this project virtually double? We must examine alternatives, such as the construction of a tolled bridge by a private sector company which would assume the risk. The Comptroller and Auditor General has warned about construction projects which vastly overrun at no risk to those who construct them. On the contrary, such cost overruns are of significant benefit to the companies involved.

I gather the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, is having a meeting later which will discuss the proposed Narrow Water bridge. I ask the Leader to invite him to the House for a discussion following his meeting. This development could have serious portents, not only in terms of the loss of a good cross-Border project but for all attempts to stimulate the economy through a construction industry that doubles the price of a contract between the time of a contract going out to tender and the opening of the tenders.

I ask the Leader to arrange debates on two issues.

First, I express my sympathies regarding that horrible incident that took place in the Cathaoirleach's home town of Castlebar, in which two brothers were brutally murdered. The newspaper headlines today indicate the person who has been arrested in this regard has just been released from prison. Three weeks ago, I sought a debate on the justice system and Senator Sheahan has continued to so do. I believe such a debate is required on the issues of parole, bail, concurrent sentences, repeat offenders and prison places because those two gentlemen in Castlebar lived a long life and did no harm to anyone. It is a disgrace that their lives were ended in such a horrific fashion.

Another matter I wish to raise concerns a headline on the front of today's edition of the Irish Farmers' Journal that inspection penalties under the Common Agricultural Policy have increased by 500% in four years. In this context, I note that farmers become accustomed to weather and deal with it and, for example, they dealt with a fodder crisis this year. However, one thing that really affects farmers is when they receive notice that they are to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. They do not know whether they have everything in order and even if this is the case, they are extremely worried.

Members are debating two highly sensitive issues in this House over the coming days, namely, the Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013 and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. In the context of the latter, an issue has arisen in respect of the suicide laws in section 9. While I do not suggest that people facing inspection have suicidal tendencies, it does cause worry because there is a loss involved and there has been an increase in penalties of 500% and over the past four years, €4.7 million has been taken back in penalties from farmers.

Does the Senator seek a debate on this issue?

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine should come into the House to clarify a matter because it is stated here-----

The Minister can clarify this for the Senator when he comes in.

I want him to come into this House to clarify a statement made by some of the inspectors to the effect that they have been told to issue penalties. This is akin to telling a garda to fine everyone who is driving down a road to raise revenue. Consequently, the Minister should come into the House to clarify the position in respect of inspections. Members were told that due to the fodder crisis and the crisis within farming last year, inspections would be eased up on and people would not be put under pressure.

The Senator is over time.

I seek a debate on this issue at some stage.

I second Senator Darragh O'Brien's proposed amendment to the Order of Business. I ask the Leader to facilitate, as early as possible in the next session of this House, while it still is in existence, a debate on the subject of rural Ireland and rural affairs. I am concerned there appear to be attempts, both historically and at an accelerated rate on the part of the present Administration, to show prejudice to rural Ireland through the closure of Garda stations or small schools, two of which in my locality have been closed during the summer holidays, cutbacks in home helps and so on. In particular, I believe a debate on all these issues would be justified. Some effort should be made in order that in future, legislation should be rural-proofed to ensure that rural Ireland is not being deprived further. My colleague, Senator O'Neill, mentioned the difficulties facing farmers and I note fishermen also are experiencing difficulties. As so many restrictions have been placed on them, they no longer are in a position to fish. Consequently, such a debate is absolutely necessary and I ask the Leader to give this subject priority during the next term.

I suggested a matter on the Adjournment yesterday regarding the withdrawal of a bus service to one of the finest beaches in County Cork, namely, Garretstown, the Old Head of Kinsale and the village of Ballinspittle, for no reason. Completely without notice or consultation with the local people, this bus route, serving Cork, Kinsale and these beautiful areas was withdrawn. The Minister responsible should come to this House to explain the reason this service was withdrawn unilaterally without any discussion. Given the weather we are having at present, this bus to Garretstown, one of the finest beaches in Cork, would be overflowing each day with visitors to the beach. I will go further, although I am loath to be parochial, by proposing an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister responsible, Deputy Varadkar, should come into this House today to give me an explanation for the valid point I have raised concerning another deprivation of rural Ireland of rights and obligations by the Government.

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

I am proposing an amendment regarding the withdrawal of the bus service to Ballinspittle, Garretstown and the Old Head of Kinsale.

I will not comment on what happened yesterday with regard to the debate on the Seanad, other than to state that a number of the contributions were excellent. It is sad to think, when one considers the many column inches that are given in the newspapers today to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, that the Seanad does not feature at all. The reality is that when the aforementioned Bill comes before this House next week, there will be more column inches devoted to which Senators on which side of the House will vote this or that way, who will jump ship and all the rest. It is a sad fact of life that this is the reception this House is getting from the media.

I wish to take the opportunity to wish the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Gilmore, well. He travelled to Washington last night to meet Members of the United States Congress to lobby for their support for new immigration legislation to advance the case for the undocumented Irish. This issue has been raised in this Chamber a number of times and all Members are aware of the hardship and trauma it causes to many Irish families when their loved ones cannot travel backwards and forwards to attend funerals, family occasions and so forth. Consequently, I am sure the House wishes him well in this endeavour.

I also wish to bring to the attention of Members that the first tranche of HSE crèche inspection reports are available online today. This is the first step in making available these reports online and bringing greater transparency to the issue of crèche inspections. I also congratulate Senator White on introducing her Parental Leave Bill yesterday and I ask the Leader to consider having a wider debate on the issue of child care because one must understand that much child care in Ireland effectively is in the black economy.

It is not regulated and the kind of requirements placed on regulated child care through crèches do not exist in the informal sector. It is an important issue on which I seek a debate.

I wish to express my concern and ask the Leader to indicate to the Government the discomfort that other Members also feel, particularly those who are members of the Constitutional Convention. I read a report in last Tuesday's edition of The Irish Times that the Government had accepted three out of four of the recommendations of the first session of the Constitutional Convention. They were about retaining the presidential term at seven years, reducing the age for a presidential candidate from 35 to 21 and reducing the voting age from 18 to 16. While this is pretty anodyne stuff, I did manage to get onto the programme a debate on the question of whether the people should have a real say in the nomination process for the presidency of Ireland. A full debate was held and 94% of those attending agreed to this. The response was absolutely overwhelming, despite strenuous efforts to guide affairs in a particular direction. Some of the recommendations that have been accepted or voted through by 52%. The Government will ignore a result of 94% and will only take those measures that suit it and those which were predicted.

A statement was made on the other side, I believe in good faith, that the convention could not have considered this matter. Yes, it could because we tried to table a motion asking the convention to write to the Taoiseach to do certain things that would permit this issue to be discussed. However, we were inhibited from even writing a letter to the Taoiseach. It was the most extraordinary example of management I have ever seen in my entire life. There were heavy interventions from civil servants and from the platform.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

Yes, I am asking the Leader to draw this matter to the attention of the Government and to the people. This is what the Government means by democracy. Its members talk about democracy all the time, while walking roughshod over the clearly expressed wishes of the people. Members should put that in the context of the Seanad abolition Bill. I thought it was a worthwhile eight hours of debate and I hope there will be more. There should be no diminution of this debate-----

Senator, you are way over time.

----- and I will conclude by noting I have yet to hear from the Taoiseach as to whether he is prepared to meet me in a joust about the Senate.

Senator, you are way over time.

If he does not turn up, I shall request the brilliant mime artist-----

Senator, you are way over time. I call Senator Colm Burke.

----- Mr. Oliver Callan, to read his speeches into the record and let the people judge. I hope Mr. Callan will agree.

I wish to raise a matter, which I acknowledge I have raised repeatedly over the past two years, in respect of the junior doctor issue. A meeting of the Joint Committee on Health and Children was due to be held this morning but did not go ahead because of the late sitting of the Dáil last night. However, in the report to the Joint Committee on Health and Children regarding the vacancies at junior doctor level, it is absolutely frightening how the HSE will not now give the joint committee the information it has requested.

The response was as follows: "Taking this into account the HSE has ceased collating daily and weekly figures and instead uses a number of mechanisms to identify which hospitals and specialties are experiencing recruitment challenges, and the appropriate response." In other words, we are now not being given statistics in regard to the number and location of vacancies. The reasons for this is because a substantial number of vacancies for junior doctor positions have not been filled and the HSE will not admit it. It is wrong that we are being denied an accurate picture of the situation and the current pressures on our hospitals.

I ask that the Leader request that the Minister make available not only to Members of this House, but to members of the Joint Committee on Health and Children, information on the exact situation in our hospitals. As the Seanad will go into recess in the next two weeks and many of our hospitals will have no junior doctors for the next three to six months, it is important that we are provided with detailed information on this issue. The only acknowledgement by the HSE is that there are difficulties in South Tipperary General Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

I am seeking information from the Minister. If the HSE will not give it to us, then the Minister has an obligation to do so.

Gan dabht, tá cuid mhaith cainte agus clúdach á dhéanamh faoin dhá dhíospóireacht mhóra atá ar siúl sna Tithe seo i láthair na huaire, ach sílim go bhfuil an pobal ag déanamh níos mó imní faoin chás eacnamaíochta atá againn.

The commitment last year of the Eurogroup to break the connection between banking and sovereign debt was considered by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, to be "a seismic shift" and by to the Tánaiste to be "a game changer". I would like to know what game has changed in the interim. Most people outside this House do not believe the game has changed that much. I am concerned about the statement made yesterday by the chairperson of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, that he does not believe there will be any retrospective ESM action to reimburse Irish citizens for the moneys they had to pump into the banks.

With respect to my colleagues in this and the other House, the economic woes of this country are more pressing to the citizens of this country than are the current debates taking place in the Houses and they are not getting as much coverage as they should. Connected to this is the statement attributed to the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, that cancer patients deemed not terminal will no longer be guaranteed a medical card. That this is even being contemplated is the result of the economic situation in which we find ourselves in terms of having to pay off the debts of bankers and developers. That the Government is contemplating such a cut is appalling. I wish to propose an amendment to the Order of Business. This type of statement is distressing for cancer patients and should be immediately refuted and put to bed.

What is the Senator's proposal?

I propose that the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, come to the House to refute this statement which appears in a newspaper-----

Which statement?

The statement attributed in the media this morning to the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, that cancer patients who are deemed not terminal will no longer be guaranteed a medical card. I am asking that the Minister come to this House to refute that statement, by which cancer patients will be very distressed. It is important this matter is rectified immediately.

I ask that the Leader invite the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, to the House in the next session to give us an update on the Grid West project, which has been ongoing for some time. The project promises 35% of our renewable energy sources and the creation of many jobs in the west and north west. There will be enormous difficulties with the project when it comes to the planning process. I would like if the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, could update the House on this issue. Given that 40% of our energy needs must be met by way of renewable energy by 2020, Grid West is an important component of this. It would be good to know if we are on track and what other responses are being made to the renewable energy question.

When in the House, the Minister might also update us on the national broadband plan, to which the Government is very committed and in which it has invested a great deal of money. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, has spoken many times of the need to ensure broadband availability in areas where commercial interests might not in themselves offer it. There are places in Sligo and Leitrim where broadband remains in a poor state. I ask that the Leader request now that the Minister would make himself available to come to the Seanad at the earliest opportunity in September for an update on both of the issues I have raised.

I dtosach báire, ba mhaith liom aontú go hiomlán leis an méid atá ráite ag an Seanadóir Ó Clochartaigh. Ba mhaith liom freisin aontú leis an leasú a chur sé maidir leis an Riar Oibre inniu.

I agree with Senator Ó Clochartaigh.

Is the Senator seconding his amendment to the Order of Business?

Yes. I wish to raise an issue which has not been sufficiently highlighted in this House, namely, that we are back in recession. For the third quarter in succession we are in negative contraction, which is very serious. I acknowledge that various schemes have been established to address the unemployment situation. However, all they will do is tinker at the edges of the problem. Real and sustainable job creation will come from growing our economy. Unless we achieve this, we will be in serious difficulty. There is a dearth of consumer and investor confidence which must be restored. I see no initiative being taken in this regard.

One of the good initiatives of this Seanad has been its public consultation with various interest groups on particular topics. I suggest that the Seanad should concentrate on the creation of growth in our economy, including inviting in specialists in this field. Senator Sean D. Barrett and I have discussed in the past the range of speakers who could participate in such consultation with the Seanad, whose assistance would inform the debate and help us in producing a report on what could be done to generate activity in the economy. I am very pessimistic. We are now five years into this economic collapse. I believe it will continue for the remainder of this decade unless something is done.

Next week, the Seanad will debate the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. It is imperative that Senators, regardless of their perspective on this issue, inform themselves fully on it. I would urge them to view a short video received from Lindzee Lindholm entitled "The Silent Scream".

Senator Walsh is way over time.

I urge people to view it and to inform themselves so that when they come to the House to vote they do so from an informed position.

While I have my differences with Senator Ó Clochartaigh, I agree with him that the reported statement in today's media by the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, that the Government is considering the withdrawal of medical cards from cancer patients deemed to be not terminal will cause unnecessary worry in the community. That would be a horrific decision. The HSE should get its house in order in so many other areas before calling to the door of cancer patients. This proposal should be vehemently resisted. Some clarification on this issue by the Minister would be welcome.

I call on the Leader to commend at the earliest opportunity the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, on finally responding to an issue raised many times in this House during the past 18 months, including by way of two Private Member's motions, namely, the appointment of a charities regulator. This is long overdue and flows from a provision in the 2009 Act which was never implemented. It is something for which the Seanad can take some credit, having led the charge on it. The Minister, Deputy Shatter, was in this House twice during the past 18 months to respond to motions calling for the appointment of an independent charities regulator. Following wide-ranging consultation with the charities sector, which has at its disposal more than €5 billion annually in resources and includes more than 8,000 registered charities, this will happen. The appointment of an independent charities regulator is important to the sector and for public confidence in it in terms of ongoing generosity to charities.

We must ensure that the State funding invested in this area is used for the purpose for which it is intended, namely, to help people in need. I ask that the Minister attends the House to outline both the timeframe for establishing this office and the structures relating to it, in respect of which he has finally reached agreement.

I welcome the increased scrutiny of the charity sector. It is important, however, that in increasing the level of such scrutiny, we do not put additional bureaucratic hurdles in place. That is the challenge the Minister for Justice and Equality is going to be obliged to meet. This is because, after a time, bureaucracies seek to justify their own existence by imposing all kinds of extra strictures.

I echo Senator Ó Clochartaigh's call for the Minister for Health should attend the House to clarify the appalling situation relating to discretionary medical cards being limited, in the case of cancer, to patients whose diagnosis is terminal. I never use the word "terminal" and I care for more cancer patients than pretty much anyone else in the country. I would not use the word "terminal" except in the case of someone who is literally on his or her deathbed and in that last, sad day or two of his or her journey through life. There are many patients who are incurable. The entire philosophy relating to cancer treatment is changing and that is why I am just stunned by the ignorance of the Department of Health in drawing up this new regulation. I am concerned about patients with secondary or metastatic breast cancer. Thankfully, most patients with breast cancer are cured following an operation and a course of radiotherapy but the one third who go on to develop secondary cancers are, with few exceptions, not curable. They are, however, very treatable and they will live for years. In the past, those with secondary breast cancer used to live three to six months but now the average patient lives for up to five years. Sadly, however, most still succumb to the disease. When I give somebody bad news about his or her condition, I say "This is not curable but then neither is diabetes. We treat it, you will live with it and we will do our best to keep you alive and well for as long as we can". The position is similar with regard to rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other conditions.

I am very upset by what has been done in this instance. I am of the view that it goes to the core of the problem in this regard. I am not referring to it being the Minister's fault but rather to the incompetence that exists within the Department of Health. When he comes before the House, I would like the Minister to clarify where stands the Bill introduced by Senators, van Turnhout, Daly and I in respect of smoking in cars with children. We were promised that this legislation would be passed prior to last summer's recess and we were then informed that it would be enacted before January of this year. However, there has been no progress in respect of it.

There is a need for a code of conduct within the precincts of this building. That code should be based around not closing bars but rather on the notion that it is not acceptable to drink alcohol before entering either House. In the same way that it became unacceptable to have martini-laden business lunches ten years ago or for drug representatives to bring wine to lunches with young doctors 30 years ago, it is not acceptable that Deputies and Senators should debate critical issues with a blood alcohol level of anything other than zero. I am not advocating that we should close the bars or breathalyse anyone but a change of culture is certainly required. I ask the Leader to contact the party Whips and the representatives of the Independent Senators and impress upon them that there is a real need - in the context of the decorum, good name and reputation of this House - for people to start complying with a code of practice such as that to which I refer.

I am beginning to believe that the good weather is having some adverse effects on a number of colleagues. It is unsettling to see Senator Darragh O'Brien so upset each morning, particularly when there is no need for it. The Senator has a cordial relationship with the Leader and I am sure the leaders of the groups could, by means of a brief chat, agree everything - timeframes, etc. - relating to the remaining Bills and so forth with which the House must deal before it rises. In the context of the Smithwick tribunal, we all enjoy cordial relations-----

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I am coming to it. I just want to refer to the Smithwick tribunal, about which everyone should be quite pleased because all of the witnesses have been heard and the public hearings have been brought to a conclusion.

It would be good if a Minister came here to make a statement on the matter and if we could engage in a debate for an hour on it. That is all I requested.

The report will be forthcoming within months and we can debate it then. I do not, therefore, see the need for a debate to be held at this point. We should have a chat about the matter. I do like to converse with Senator O'Brien.

I apologise but I am going to have to disagree with the Senator.

Does Senator Coghlan have a question for the Leader?

I encourage Senator O'Brien, the Leader and the leaders of the other groups to have a chat about the matter. I am happy to facilitate everyone at any time.

That is very good of the Senator.

I do not know if it has already been done but I wish to second Senator O'Donovan's amendment to the Order of Business in order that we might engage in a debate on the issues faced by rural areas, namely, population decline and the fact that many businesses are closing as a result of the inaction of the Government to tackle problems relating to the domestic economy. Senator Walsh also referred to this matter.

I support Senator Ó Clochartaigh in the context of his comments on the withdrawal of medical cards. What is proposed in this regard represents a disgraceful step in the wrong direction. I hope it might be possible to obtain clarification on that matter today, particularly as people have requested such clarification. I have already received a number of telephone calls this morning in respect of the issue.

I take exception to individual Members of the Seanad being accused of engaging in filibusters in respect of legislation relating to a democratic institution of the State.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

The comments to which I refer in this regard, which were made by Fine Gael and Labour Senators, were both hurtful and disgraceful.

The truth hurts.

The Fine Gael and Labour Senators actually refused to attend the House to discuss the issues.

(Interruptions).

That shows the contempt in which they hold their party leaders.

(Interruptions).

That matter is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Why do they not have the guts to stand up to the Tánaiste, Deputy Gilmore, and the Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny?

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

Do those opposite agree with their party leaders or not?

That is exactly the matter to which I referred.

I call Senator Harte.

The Leader was not listening last night.

I will portray the calm side of Donegal as opposed to the rowdy side.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I concur with the comments made by Senator Hayden with regard to the Tánaiste's visit to the United States today. I request that the Tánaiste should attend the House at some stage in order to update us on the progress being made. Most people in Donegal have brothers, sisters or cousins in New York, Washington or Boston who cannot return home as a result of their immigration status. The Tánaiste will today meet those Republican Members of the US Congress who perhaps need convincing in order that the relevant Bill approved by the Senate might complete its passage, thereby ensuring that legal status will be granted to Irish citizens. Many of the latter have been resident in the US for 15 or 20 years and they could not return to this country during the period in which we spent money and built mansions and castles. At that time, their plight was continually ignored.

I must give credit to the Tánaiste for pursuing this matter. He has been relentless in his efforts. I hope he will return with positive news. It must be remembered, however, that this is a difficult matter with which to deal, particularly as there are some 12 million undocumented people living in the United States. Approximately 50,000 of these are Irish and 4,000 to 5,000 of them come from Donegal. At least the Government is trying to progress this matter.

I sometimes resent what the Opposition has to say about businesses closing in rural areas and the difficulties people are experiencing. I have been involved in small businesses and I know those difficulties did not stem from what occurred in the past two years. The truth is that they emanated from 15 years of inflating the economy via an over-reliance on bricks and mortar.

As well as auctioneers who provided incorrect valuations.

Does Senator Harte have a question for the Leader?

Those opposite who frequented the tent at the Galway races should put their hands up now.

What about the auctioneers who provided incorrect valuations and who were working for the banks?

What about the Senator himself?

I did not work for the banks.

Senator Ó Domhnaill has already contributed. I ask Senator Harte to conclude. His time is exhausted.

I did not work for the banks and I was not responsible for inflating the property bubble.

Senator Ó Domhnaill should remember from where the comes and should not be bringing disgrace on County Donegal.

I did not work for the banks.

Yesterday we engaged in a good and long debate on the legislation relating to the abolition of the Seanad. That debate was very useful and a great deal emerged from it.

I have found my years in the Seanad very educational and there was a good example this morning. I was listening to Senator Crown who explained to us the difference between something that is treatable and something that is terminal, words I had not fully understood the difference between. This relates to the scandal that cancer patients will no longer receive treatment on that basis. The strength of feeling with which he spoke on the issue is a reminder of the talent that exists in the House. The ability to have that talent expressed in so many different ways is very useful.

I wish to raise a rather sad point, that is, the death by drowning of two people yesterday. I have read that 150 people per year die in Ireland from drowning. Is there anything we can do about it? I have raised the issue of the transition year that students take and I am a great admirer of it. I believe we could add to their activities in that year things they would not otherwise do. I have referred to training in defibrillators recently. How about swimming lessons? Should they be considered as a possibility? The number of young men who die from injuries related to drowning is horrific. The proposal would not solve all the problems because a large number of children aged between one and four years die from drowning as well. Clearly that problem would not be solved by teaching them how to swim in transition year. However, there is a possibility that we could add to the transition year. I call on the Leader to add that to the list because many transition year students have the time and the opportunity. It could serve a double purpose of training and educating them and helping to save lives in the years ahead as well.

There has been much discussion this morning about rural Ireland issues. We need to have a debate in the House with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, as a matter of urgency, on the Leader programme and the performance of local development companies. Figures recently published by the Minister show that last year only 60% of the funding provided for the Leader programme was drawn down and spent. This means €39 million for projects was not spent in rural Ireland. In my county, the Galway Rural Development Company has only spent €4.6 million to date or 40% of the €12 million budget. Although FORUM Connemara has allocated its €7.7 million budget, it has only paid out 26% or approximately €2 million. We need to know what we can do to help local development companies draw down the money because it cannot be reallocated and therefore it could be lost. These are significant amounts of money for badly-needed projects in rural Ireland and they are not getting the funding. If there are blockages or reasons why groups are unable to draw down matching funding then we need to have a debate to ensure the money will not be lost to the economy and the various community groupings in rural Ireland.

I call for an amendment to the Order of Business, that the Seanad would call the Minister for Health to the House to debate SI 325 of 2012, which he signed in August last year, relating to organ transplantation. If this statutory instrument and the associated legislation enacted on 28 August had been done correctly more lives would have been saved. I call on the Leader to facilitate a debate in this regard.

I also call on the Leader to facilitate a debate in respect of the ambulance service. As the leader on this side of the House pointed out yesterday, the ambulance service is in a shambles at present and 200,000 people were left without an ambulance in Dublin yesterday. We have seen numerous incidents of ambulances arrive to the wrong location.

I referred to the name of a person last week. I will not do so this week, but I know the Cathaoirleach received a strongly-worded letter from him seeking an apology. I wish to clarify that I do not mean to disparage anyone personally, but if someone is not doing his job and if, as a result of the job being done ineffectively, we have a dysfunctional ambulance service, then it must be highlighted. That is what we are supposed to do in the House. We were told, and the people of west Cork were told-----

Senator, you cannot name someone.

I did not name anyone.

Senator, you did name someone and I am asking you to withdraw it.

I did last week, but I did not name him today.

Senator, you named a person on the record of the House some days ago.

That was last week.

I got a letter from that person, as you did yourself.

I have the letter here.

I am asking you to withdraw what you said.

I am saying clearly that if he took offence to anything I said of a personal nature, I withdraw it. However, I am not withdrawing the criticism of him in his role as the head of the ambulance service. We brought it up yesterday.

Senator, I want you to withdraw any personal remarks your made in respect of any person who is not here to defend himself.

I am withdrawing personal remarks, if he took any offence at anything I said of a personal nature. However, I am standing over anything I say in respect of him in his professional capacity.

You should not be naming any person who is not here.

That is why I am asking the Minister for Health to come to the House because he is this person's boss. He is in charge of the ambulance service and he appointed the person in charge. I am calling for a debate on that matter.

I am aware that my colleagues in Sinn Féin produced a similar Bill to the one I introduced in 2011. It related to a Law Reform Commission proposal in 2005 for a Corporate Manslaughter Bill and it still has not been enacted, although it was proposed long ago.

Senator, your are way over time.

Any one who is in management-----

Members of the House enjoy privilege but it should not be abused.

-----who knew or ought to have reasonably known of a substantial risk of personal harm-----

Senator, your are way over time.

The proposal is very important considering the state of the ambulance service at the moment. If that legislation had been enacted we might have a more effective ambulance service.

The reason I took umbrage at Senator Bacik's remarks was that I had spent some considerable time researching my contribution last night, as others had, and that is why it is unfair that such a barb should be shouted across the floor of the House.

I was not directing them at Senator Mooney.

It is total disrespect, frankly. I would expect more from Senator Bacik considering her profession.

Having said that, I wish to support what Senator Quinn has said. We are all shocked by the figures that emerged overnight about the number of drownings. However, I take this opportunity to congratulate Irish Water Safety. I come from a small town in the west. We have an outdoor heated swimming pool. My family has been heavily involved in Irish water safety for decades, going back 20 or 30 years. The organisation carries out a comprehensive system of training throughout the country, including in my colleague's county, Cavan, and in other parts of the country. The same is true nationally. The organisation uses lakes that are safe for swimming. Usually at this time of year it carries out two to three weeks of water safety classes to ensure people are able to swim. Notwithstanding that, I fully support what Senator Quinn said but I took the view that I should put that much on the record.

I share the concerns in respect of the medical card situation. Although it has been stated that the medical card will be withdrawn from those who are not terminally ill, I have had experience of people who have been terminally ill and who have been refused medical cards. I have had to intervene because of red tape and bureaucracy. The bureaucracy has required doctors to sign death warrants for patients rather than give an analysis or diagnosis of their condition. Still, it has resisted sending out the card. In one tragic case, by the time the bureaucracy got around to granting the medical card, the individual had passed away. It is totally unacceptable that there is now a suggestion that we will take it away from people who, as Senator Crown pointed out, are diagnosed as being terminally ill. I support that call and it is important that the Minister for Health should come to the House to clarify it.

A report appeared in this morning's newspapers which, I believe, will cause shudders throughout the nation. It stated that omega-3 supplements could lead to aggressive forms of prostate cancer. This was a follow-up study to a 2011 study. If that is the case, then it is vital as a matter of public information that the Minister for Health should clarify exactly the implications of the report for the hundreds of thousands of people who are taking omega-3 supplements.

Senator, your are way over time.

I second Senator Mark Daly's amendment to the Order of Business.

This morning I was delighted to accept an invitation to visit St. Joseph's House for adult deaf and deaf-blind residents in Stillorgan.

I met management, staff and residents. It was a pleasure to visit the wonderful facility. I pay tribute to the management and staff as well as the religious order that developed the facility over many years. I wish them well in their great work in the future.

As one who comes from a coastal area I offer my condolences to those who lost their lives as a result of drowning in the past 48 hours. We always seem to have tragedies when we get this amazing weather. Apparently there has been a dramatic rise in the number of prank calls to the Irish Coast Guard in the past three years. This is a very worrying development given that the Coast Guard's budget like that of all other services has been cut significantly in recent years. I call on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to introduce a system whereby all mobile phone SIM cards can be traced back to the individuals who own them and also all mobile phone handsets. These people are removing SIM cards and dialling 999 and getting through to the emergency services. There should be traceability of all SIM cards and mobile phone handsets sold in this country in order to reduce the amount of prank calls being made to the emergency services.

I wish to acknowledge the wonderful cross-party support we had in the Chamber last night. On behalf of Fianna Fáil I formally thank the Government for supporting the Parental Leave Bill 2013. Senators Bacik and van Turnhout lead from the front. I said on "Morning Ireland" this morning that Senator Conway was brilliant leading from the front.

I thank the Senator.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

The same applies to Senator Cullinane from Sinn Féin. More of that is needed. I spent the past eight or nine months preparing the Bill. Senator Walsh spoke about getting in people to help the economy. The quickest way to help the economy is to get businesses to grow and to start more businesses. The Bill proposed by Fianna Fáil and developed by me is about sharing the 26 weeks of maternity leave a woman gets after having a baby with the father of the baby if she so wishes. It draws the man more into the-----

That is all on the record.

While I know we have had a very contentious morning here, I formally thank Senator Bacik for her support and Senator Hayden. We had a meeting on the margins last week to discuss the Bill - that is how women work together and pull it off.

That is women for you.

We need more women here.

I support my colleagues who have raised the withdrawal of discretionary medical cards for cancer patients. I have campaigned on the issue for years. When Ms Mary Harney was Minister for Health and Children I wrote to her explaining the unbelievable stress these people were undergoing and that we should grant them a medical card without a means test. What we are now proposing to do is a disgrace because in effect we are giving them a medical card that is a death certificate because they know they would not get one unless they were soon going to die. I have raised a similar matter on the Adjournment and I will certainly bring it up with the Minister.

The decision on the bank guarantee was made at 4 a.m. by people who could not be thinking rationally. Fair enough, the counter-argument is all about the markets and many people have not a clue what it is all about and I would be such a person. Again last night the Dáil had a vote at 5 a.m. I know the pro-life movement will be looking at the future-----

That is the Dáil's business. We are not discussing the Dáil's business.

----- and will ask how rational people can make a judgment call at 5 a.m. It is all about how we do our business.

That is a matter for the Dáil.

Hear, hear. It is stupid.

There is considerable focus on how this Chamber does its business. We have not done that type of business. It is time the focus was on the Dáil and Dáil reform needs to be brought about.

Hear, hear. Well said.

I welcome the publication of the sixth report of the special rapporteur on child protection by Dr. Geoffrey Shannon and his reappointment as the sole special rapporteur on child protection by the Government. Everybody should read the report. Dr. Shannon gives an invaluable service to the State. He gives a voice to children and, for example, this year's report deals with the law on guardianship and bullying. It also covers issues that are very relevant and which we discuss every day in the Seanad such as children seeking asylum in Ireland and child abuse material on the Internet. Dr. Shannon endorses a proposal I made last week during the debate on the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 with regard to disclosure requests for children's private and confidential therapy notes.

However, I raise the matter because I only discovered the report was published on last night's "Six-One News". The Minister's press release states clearly that the rapporteur is accountable to the Oireachtas. It also states that the functions of the special rapporteur include:

To prepare, annually, a report setting out the results of the previous year’s work. This report will be submitted to the Dáil and Seanad for consideration and debate and be published.

When will we have the debate on this report by the special rapporteur on child protection? I suggest that we should invite Dr. Shannon to appear before the House to have a comprehensive debate on child protection because children are so often voiceless on these issues. Last year the fifth report was published as we went into summer recess. It is all too coincidental that the report gets published on a busy news day. I ask my colleagues to continue to raise the report until we have a comprehensive debate.

Senator Darragh O'Brien spoke about the Smithwick tribunal. A number of months ago when the tribunal was extended we had a debate. The motion seeks a two to three-month extension in the tribunal's timeframe to allow the chairman to draft and arrange for the printing of his report. I do not believe having a further debate on that would be beneficial.

The Senator asked when we are likely to take the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. We are not quite sure what is happening in the other House. It might be finished today. While I will keep the House advised, at this point I believe we will have the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill tomorrow after the Order of Business and we will see what the position is regarding the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. I give notice to the House that I intend sitting Monday to Friday next week because of the amount of legislation before us and the amount of time we are taking to deal with legislation, which needs proper scrutiny.

Senators Bacik and White, and others spoke about the Parental Leave Bill, on which we had a very good debate. I welcome that the Government has accepted the Bill and the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, confirmed that the Government will bring forward proposals in that regard.

Senator Barrett spoke about the appointment of Mr. Haass as US peace envoy in Northern Ireland. I note his points in that regard and also the point raised yesterday about the Narrow Water bridge the tender for which came in at twice the estimate, which is incredible. Many questions need to be asked in that regard. It is a very worthy project that has been championed by many people including Members of this House.

We would all hope that the project will be commenced but its cost will have to be considered now also.

Senator O'Neill called for a debate on sentencing, parole and bail. I believe proposals in that regard will be coming from the Minister for Justice and Equality, but we will arrange to have a debate in this House when those proposals are brought forward.

Regarding the penalties following inspections by agricultural inspectors, I will ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to come into the House to deal with that matter.

Senator O'Donovan, Senator Ó Domhnaill and others called for a debate on rural Ireland. I will ask the Minister to come into the House. The Government has acted in appointing Pat Spillane as chairman of a committee to deal with rural Ireland and we can ask for a progress report in that regard. On the withdrawal of the bus route, I suggest the most appropriate way to deal with that matter is to raise it on the Adjournment.

Our Adjournment matter was refused.

That Adjournment matter was ruled out of order.

I am sorry. If it is not the responsibility of the Minister, there is very little that can be done about it. I was not aware of that.

Senator Hayden, Senator Harte and others raised the undocumented Irish in the United States. It is an indication of the importance of the issue that the Tánaiste is going to the United States to talk with people in the Republican Party, and others, to push for a solution to the problem of the undocumented Irish. All of us wish him well in his endeavours in the United States on that matter.

Senator Hayden also called for a debate on the Health Service Executive crèche inspection reports. I am sure that would come into the debate on the Sixth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection called for by Senator van Turnhout. We will certainly raise that matter with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald. It is hoped that we can have a debate on that in early course, if possible before the summer recess.

Senator Norris raised the matter of the Constitutional Convention. We will ask the chairman to come into the House and give us a progress report on that matter if he sees fit to do so.

Senator Burke raised a question he has raised on numerous occasions, namely, junior doctors. I am sure he will repeat those points in the health committee when it is reconvened and I would hope a detailed response will be given to the Senator at that meeting.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh raised the question of sovereign debt. In that regard I have the utmost confidence in the Minister, Deputy Noonan, in securing another significant deal in the coming months.

The matter of discretionary medical cards for cancer patients, which has been reported in the newspapers, was raised by a number of Senators. To withdraw discretionary medical cards would be a dreadful step, especially as over 2.1 million people, or 48% of the population, will have a medical card by the end of 2013.

Senator O'Keeffe called for an update on the Grid West project and a progress report on the broadband plan. I will ask the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, to come into the House after the recess to give us an update on that.

Senator Walsh raised job creation measures. There is much more work to be done in that regard but people might consider that 2,000 jobs per month are being generated. It is a success story, especially as we lost 250,000 jobs in the private sector in the three years prior to this Government taking office. It has started. It is beginning to turn, and let us hope that progress will continue into the future.

Senator Whelan welcomed the Minister for Justice and Equality's announcement of his intention to appoint an independent charities regulator, pointing out that on several occasions in this House Members sought the Minister to appoint such a charities regulator. The House can take a bow in that regard.

Senator Crown raised the question of discretionary medical cards but he also raised the conduct of individual Members' in the House. The majority of Members conduct themselves in an exemplary manner in the House and the Cathaoirleach and the Leas-Chathaoirleach ensure that the decorum in this House is upheld at all times.

On the issue raised by Senator Quinn, we send our condolences to the families of the two people who died by drowning recently. The question of water safety and the need for caution in that regard was raised by the Leas-Chathaoirleach only yesterday. I note Senator Mooney's comments about Irish Water Safety and the excellent work it does throughout the length and breadth of the country in having swimming lessons and so on at this time of the year. It is to be complimented in that regard.

I note also Senator Quinn's point regarding transition year students. Senator Quinn has come up with so many good suggestions we might get him to set the curriculum for transition year.

Senator Mullins called for a progress report on Leader funding. We will ask the Minister, Deputy Hogan, to come into the House in that regard. Regarding moneys not being used, the Minister has diverted funds from Leader areas that have not spent the money allocated to them to people who have passed projects, and he is to be complimented in that regard. I will ask for an update from the Minister.

Senator Daly called for a debate on SI 325. That could be raised on the Adjournment when the Minister can come into the House to respond. The leader of the Opposition raised a question about the ambulance service yesterday in Senator Daly's absence, which was addressed. Postal codes probably will help in regard to the problem of ambulances and other emergency services going to the wrong address. I hope that will be one of the major benefits of the introduction of postal codes.

They should not have introduced the ambulance service before the postal codes.

Senator Conway raised an important point about the rise in prank calls to the Irish Coast Guard and other emergency services. That is a despicable practice-----

-----and it should be discouraged. Regarding the traceability of mobile telephones, any effort should be considered to prevent the rise in prank calls by the sick people who do that because they could cost people their lives. In terms of the emergency services being out on prank calls when people's lives are at risk, these people should think twice about what they are doing.

I think I have addressed Senator White's point on her Parental Leave Bill.

I note Senator Kelly's points regarding the other House on which I will not comment; the Cathaoirleach would not allow me do that.

Senator van Turnhout raised the Sixth Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.

I will ask the Minister to come to the House to address that issue.
I do not propose to accept the amendments tabled to the Order of Business.

I asked the Leader about setting time for Committee Stage.

I am giving plenty of time and we will see. I have no intention of putting a time on it. We will see how the debate progresses.

Senator Darragh O'Brien moved an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a one hour debate with the Minister for Finance on the new code of conduct for mortgage arrears be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 30.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Crown, John.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Harte, Jimmy.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • 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 Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

Senator O'Donovan has moved an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a debate on the withdrawal of the bus service to Garretstown, the Old Head of Kinsale and Ballinspittle in County Cork be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 31.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Crown, John.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • 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.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • 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 Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh has moved an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a debate on the entitlement of medical card holders to cancer treatment be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 29.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • 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.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators David Cullinane and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

Senator Daly has moved an amendment to the Order of Business, "That a debate on SI 325 be taken today." The amendment was not seconded so it falls.

I seconded the amendment.

Senator Mooney did genuinely second the amendment.

Is the amendment being pressed?

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

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

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

The Leader wishes to make an amendment to the Order of Business.

I propose that Committee Stage of the Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill will conclude at 6 p.m., if not previously concluded.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Order of Business, as amended, agreed to.