Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, motion re appointment of chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, back from committee, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of the Order of Business; No. 2, Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014 – Second Stage, to be taken at 12.45 p.m. and adjourned not later than 3 p.m., with the contributions of spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes; and No. 3, Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 - Committee Stage, to be taken at 3.30 p.m.

I ask the Leader to organise a debate on the current state of the economy as we will not have much time to discuss the budget provision. The economic policy being pursued by the Government is akin to economic Darwinism because it involves the survival of the fittest. Those who have get richer and those who have not get nothing. Those who are on the outside of our society keep looking in and those who are on the inside of our society keep getting more.

I would also like the Leader to organise a debate on the judicial system. It was widely reported during the week that a non-custodial sentence was applied in an horrific rape case. Some 69% of people are not satisfied with the way the Judiciary hands down sentences. A gender quota is needed in the Judiciary. Even though we have women at the highest ranks of the justice system, including the Garda Commissioner, some Supreme Court judges and the Attorney General, the judicial ranks are full of white middle-aged conservative men who hand down appalling sentences, unfortunately based to a large degree on prejudice.

That is an outrageous statement.

They pass judgment on women.

The Senator has to respect the role the Judiciary plays and the separation of powers.

What we are hearing is unbelievable.

I am not casting aspersions on any particular judge. I am talking about the judicial system.

The Senator is impugning the whole Judiciary.

There is no problem with addressing sentencing in general but not a specific case.

I am talking about sentencing in general.

No, the Senator is not.

I am talking about how judges pass judgment on women, people who have been victims of child abuse and minorities. I can give some examples.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I am asking for a debate on the judicial system because there needs to be a gender quota in the appointment of judges. It is as simple as that. We have gender quotas in politics and other areas, but we do not have such a quota in the Judiciary. As I said, some 69% of people are not satisfied with our sentencing regime. There are mandatory sentences for murder, which is as it should be. The same thing should apply in areas like abuse and rape. A two-year sentence was handed down to a principal. I am not identifying anyone.

The laws made in these Houses are interpreted and implemented by the Judiciary.

That is why I am calling for a debate on it. Eleven pupils were abused by one principal and he only received a two-year sentence.

The Senator cannot speak about specific cases.

These are unidentifiable children.

They can be identified, as the Senator knows well.

Another sentence was handed down in the case of a baby who had been abused.

I call Senator Ivana Bacik.

I am sorry, a Chathaoirligh, hold on.

The Senator is completely out of order.

I am sorry; I am not identifying anyone. I am talking about sentencing in relation to-----

The people in question can be identified.

I am generalising about sentences handed down in cases of child abuse.

The Senator is way over time.

I am asking that the Minister come to the House and speak about the Judiciary and why it is that someone who is convicted on drugs charges gets seven years, while someone who abuses 11 children gets two. What is wrong with the Judiciary that it allows this? Why is it that when judges are sentencing people to jail for abuse and rape, they talk about the background of the perpetrator and how he came from a good family and how he is held in high regard, yet we do not see maximum sentences that are appropriate to a crime?

Will the Senator, please, resume his seat?

I ask the Leader to arrange for a debate on a gender quota in the Judiciary.

The Senator might look at the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality and the work we have been doing. In fact, we had a debate on appointments to the Judiciary in the past few months, at my initiation, looking at the work of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board and gender breakdown among the Judiciary. I tabled a matter on the Adjournment on this issue a short time ago. In recent years we have had a significant increase in the proportion of women in the Judiciary. I ask the Senator to look at the figures. Anyone who is interested in this area, before he or she starts shouting about it, should look at the figures. Up to one third of the Judiciary are women at different levels and in different courts. Certainly there are some imbalances, but it is a huge improvement on the number of women in the Judiciary just ten years ago. In 2003, my colleagues and I in Trinity College Dublin produced a major report, the first and only one of its kind in Ireland, entitled Gender InJustice, looking at the gender breakdown among the legal profession and among the Judiciary. At that point we were concerned about the low levels of women among the Judiciary, but I think that issue has been addressed in more recent appointments and we have seen a much better balance in members of the Judiciary.

With regard to sentencing in rape and sexual offence cases, of course, there has been concern. I am one of the people who expressed concern at some recent reports. It is important to note that since 1993 there has been a provision whereby the Director of Public Prosecutions may apply to review a sentence handed down on grounds of undue leniency. We have seen that review mechanism applied in quite a number of cases where concerns have been expressed, and sentences have been altered at the Court of Criminal Appeal on the basis of reviews. The Director of Public Prosecutions has 28 days from the handing down of a sentence to initiate the review procedure. In any current case, it would be wise to remember that review process may well be utilised.

In the justice committee, we have taken a stand against mandatory sentences, as has Rape Crisis Network Ireland, regarding the maximum sentence appropriate for rape, which is life imprisonment, and pointed out that judges should have discretion. I do not agree with mandatory sentencing for drugs offences either, with the presumptive minimum sentence. Certainly a debate on sentencing would be useful, but the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence is currently looking at judicial appointments and has done some work on the issue already.

I commend all those involved in yesterday's debate on the Gender Recognition Bill 2014. It was a good day when the Bill was finally passed in both Houses and came back to the Seanad for us to agree Report Stage amendments. The Bill changed significantly and was improved during its progress through both Houses of the Oireachtas, particularly during the Seanad debate. As the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, and the Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Deputy Kevin Humphreys, pointed out, the Seanad has been instrumental to the positive changes made to the Bill. Last week I organised a seminar in Trinity College Dublin at which Senators David Norris and Katherine Zappone were speakers, with Ann Louise Gilligan, Professor Mark Bell from Trinity and Brian Sheehan from GLEN. We talked about the positive impact that legal advocacy - through particular cases, but also in the form of legislation and referendums - has had on the progress of LBGT rights. Yesterday's Gender Recognition Bill marks another stage in the development and progress of rights, particularly for transgender persons. I look forward, as other colleagues will, to the outcome of the two-year review that was built into the Bill. That is the outcome of an amendment from the Seanad, and it strengthens the Bill because it will allow us to deal with issues that were raised during the debate and are not addressed in the Bill.

On Tuesday we saw the report on farm incomes based on the Teagasc national farm survey 2014. The findings are shocking. They show that more than 25,000 farm households are classed as economically vulnerable - in other words, the farm is not generating enough income to support the family and neither the farmer nor the spouse has an off-farm job. The report shows graphically that most of the financially unviable farms are concentrated in the Connacht-Ulster Border area, with up to 45% in Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The human cost is that 7,000 farm families are not making enough money to allow them to get by or to stay in business in the medium term. In western counties such as Galway and Mayo, only 16% of farms are deemed to be financially viable in the medium term, by far the lowest level in the country. I have had the opportunity to go around many of the areas identified in the Teagasc report. Rural poverty is an issue that is not adequately addressed by the Government. The economic collapse resulted in a collapse of other sources of income for farmers, particularly off-farm employment in the counties worst affected. In Galway it is predominantly dry stock farming. The Teagasc survey shows that dairy farms in the south and east of the country enjoy higher levels of farm viability, whereas cattle and sheep farms in the west are not able to support their farmers' families. The reality of poverty for rural families is often hidden from view. It rarely makes the headlines but its effects are devastating on communities. We need an urgent debate on falling farm incomes and rural poverty.

A delegation from the European Parliament gender equality committee, FEMM, will be visiting Dublin in September. Its draft itinerary shows that it is meeting the Abortion Rights Campaign and the National Women's Council, and then the Minister for Justice and Equality. It would be highly inappropriate for an EU parliamentary committee to take a side in a domestic debate on abortion, particularly when that issue has nothing to do with this country's EU membership, and in view of our constitutional protection for the unborn child. As matters stand, this committee plans to meet abortion advocates without meeting NGOs and human rights groups who defend the rights of women in pregnancy and their unborn children. That is very troubling and I intend to raise it again unless the committee changes its partisan stance. I ask the Leader to intervene with the Minister and make the point that there can be no question of the Minister for Justice and Equality granting a meeting in such circumstances.

This is happening while Planned Parenthood, one of the largest abortion industry groups, which has funded the Irish Family Planning Association to the tune of €500,000 in the past three years, has been exposed in a very disturbing and disgusting video released which depicted one of its senior officials casually discussing the shipment of aborted children's body parts to research labs in exchange for money. This was a sting operation by undercover activists. It showed Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical research talking about the sale of body parts in a glib and an horrific way which put ISIS in the shade.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the issue?

Yes. I ask Members of this House and people elsewhere who talk glibly about deleting the eighth amendment to the Constitution to consider the reality of abortion and who is involved in it. I urge Members, although it is difficult, to view this chilling video which shows the terrible callousness and cruelty of an industry based on the destruction of human life. As parliamentarians, we should call on the Irish Family Planning Association to cut all links with Planned Parenthood International. It is a rogue organisation which is apparently engaged in an illegal criminal conspiracy in the United States.

The Senator is completely out of order.

It is simply not appropriate for a tax-funded group in this country to be associated with such murderous people.

I ask the Senator to resume his seat. I call Senator Jim D'Arcy.

I object in the strongest possible terms to the use of that language by the Senator in respect of a very respected NGO, the Irish Family Planning Association.

The Senator's credentials on the issue of the protection of human rights are simply appalling. I am afraid her words carry no weight.

The Senator is entitled to his opinion. I am afraid his credentials on the issue of-----

I ask the Leader to invite the Minister for Education and Skills to come into the House in the autumn to outline the progress made on junior cycle reform. I was very pleased yesterday when she announced that agreements on all aspects of that reform had been concluded with the TUI and the ASTI.

She said these agreed proposals would be put to a ballot of members in September.

The reformed junior cycle will deliver a modernised curriculum across all subjects. There is now a career path for everyone through education, allowing us to take the elitism out of education and training. Colleges such O'Fiaich Institute of Further Education in Dundalk and the Drogheda Institute of Further Education offer a wide range of education and training which, with the existing and new apprenticeships coming on stream, will be a new dawn for those children and students who do not necessarily want to study for a university degree. We can have a system in which everybody is valued in education and where all children can have enhanced self-esteem. It would be useful to have the Minister for Education and Skills in the House in the autumn.

I wish to say a few words on the points raised earlier by Senator Rónán Mullen on farm income and the Teagasc report. We are not giving nearly enough attention to this area. I read recently that the United States is concerned that it is creating jobs that will not be available in the next generation. An example given was that at the beginning of the 20th century 50% of the US workforce worked in agriculture but only 2% work in agriculture now. We must ensure that when we concentrate on creating jobs, they are jobs that are sustainable in the long term.

We have to remember - Senator Jim D'Arcy touched on this - when we talk about education that we do not talk solely about academic education. We must talk about what the Americans call STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The concentration has to be on these areas because it is technology which will enable us to have jobs in the future.

The air ambulance service is an item which has been brought up in this House in the past. There was grave doubt as to whether the service would be maintained, but the Government announced yesterday that the service is to be continued, which is good news. This is something that we have realised is important enough to ensure investment into it and the decision was made. Congratulations to the Government for agreeing to this. It is a wonderful achievement to hear that a life has been saved because the air ambulance was able to get the individual involved to hospital quickly enough.

I join my colleagues when they talk about farm incomes and the price of milk. I welcome the European Commission's decision to intervene in the price of milk. The price of milk has dropped from 40 cent a litre to 28 cent a litre. Yesterday the Commission decided it would set a floor price for intervention. This floor price is currently 21 cent a litre. It is important that it be raised closer to 28 cent or 30 cent to make sure there is an income for farmers. Since quotas were abolished farmers made huge investments in the past six to 12 months and we do not want to see their backs now put to the wall after making those investments. This is an important move by the Commission. Milk production was at its highest in June and by setting an intervention price it will make sure these farmers have an income into the future.

Quite a number of young farmers have applied to Teagasc to do a green certificate course, which is presenting some difficulties. Teagasc states it does not have enough staff to carry out the courses, but it is very important that every measure be put in place to enable those farmers to complete their course by October 2016 or the farmers will be penalised under the direct payments system. This is an issue for Teagasc to take up and make sure these young farmers get a chance to take the course.

Cé go bhfuil na Teachtaí Dála ag fáil faoi réir le dul ar a gcuid laethanta saoire, tá ábhar gur ceart dúinne déileáil leis sular mbíonn briseadh againne. The Deputies may be getting ready to pack up and go off on their holidays but an issue has come to the fore which the Seanad might be able to deal with. So far, 512 women have signed up for the Magdalen redress scheme. In order to sign up, the women were required to indemnify the State. They did this on the understanding the Government would honour in full the recommendations made in the Quirke report which we debated in this House.

In recent weeks women based in Ireland have begun to receive their long promised medical cards only to find that the cards are inadequate for their health needs. The cards do not entitle them to the enhanced range of services they were promised when they signed up and that we were promised in this House. No provision has been made for the survivors who reside outside Ireland, all of whom are entitled to redress. If all of this was not problematic enough the actual cards issued to the women in recent weeks clearly identify them as survivors of residential institutions, which is a breach of their privacy. These women are mainly elderly. They have been and are, sadly, still being treated appallingly. They have no time to waste. Some of the women in question have passed away since the tearful apology to them made by the Taoiseach. They deserve the best we can give them immediately, not when our politicians return from the summer holidays. We need to have a debate with the Minister on this issue as soon as possible.

There are calls for the Government to introduce emergency legislation to bring the health care provisions, under the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act, in line with those provided for under the Health (Amendment) Act 1996, as recommended in the Quirke report. We in opposition feared this and highlighted it when the legislation was coming through. This needs to be done immediately. I ask that the women concerned not be left to hang in uncertainty while the Dáil goes into the summer recess, that we use the Seanad to help them to get what they deserve and to offer the proper redress as soon as possible. I call on the Leader to ask the Minister to come to the House.

I support Senator Jim D'Arcy in his call for a debate with Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, in the upcoming session. I welcome the progress that has been made in the reform of the junior cycle and the fact that agreement was reached with all unions. The long overdue junior cycle reform can now proceed as a matter of urgency.

The air ambulance service is being put on a permanent basis, which is a very welcome development, particularly for people living along the west coast. It will continue to be based in Custume Barracks in Athlone. The Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadker, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Simon Coveney, announced yesterday that the service would be established on a permanent basis. The valuable service ensures people who are seriously ill and in remoter areas of the country have timely access to the appropriate high quality clinical care they require. The National Ambulance Service and the Air Corps have operated the service on a pilot basis since 2012. There was concern recently that it might not be put on a permanent basis. With the Irish Coast Guard providing backup support the service has completed over 1,055 missions to date. Over 300 of these missions involved people with serious heart conditions who needed to be transported to a primary care centre within 90 minutes. This service is invaluable to many people and it is very welcome news that it is to be continued on a permanent basis. I have no doubt that it will be evaluated for ongoing effectiveness, but it is now a permanent fixture as part of the improving health service. I compliment the Ministers involved in bringing this to fruition.

I refer to the proposition put before the committee at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The proposition was on the protection of the family and its contribution to the realisation of the right to an adequate standard of living for its members, particularly through its role in poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development. "Family" was not defined, it just refers to the protection of the family. Happily that motion was supported by a majority of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council, with 29 countries voting in favour, 14 against and four abstaining. Sadly, Ireland was one of the countries which voted against it.

There is a need for some accountability of people who represent Ireland abroad on these issues. They should be in some way accountable to Parliament for decisions and positions they take. Often they are taken from the point of view of self-interest in arrangements within the organisation as part of the cut and thrust which we often see in politics. People look to chair meetings and deliberations. It is unacceptable that we would put ourselves in such a position. Will the Leader arrange to have the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade come to the House at an early stage to explain to the people, as well as the Seanad, why Ireland would consider voting against a family motion which is clearly one that would seem to be representative of the views of everyone, regardless of what way they voted in the recent referendum?

I will very briefly refer to the comments made by our colleague Senator Rónán Mullen on Planned Parenthood. This morning I forwarded to each Member of the House a video clip illustrating the points he was making. I will not make any comment on it other than to say I urge Members to look at it and come to their own conclusions. In particular, I ask those who have a different disposition from me and who may be pro-abortion to look at it because it raises serious questions about the manner in which those concerned carry out abortions but also the way they then take body parts and sell them. Unfortunately, if Members do not look at it, advocates of abortion such as The Irish Times, RTE, Amnesty International and the United Nations will not illustrate what is going on behind the scenes. I urge Members to do this.

The Senator is way over time.

I ask that when we return we have a debate on this issue and thank the Cathaoirleach for his indulgence. I ask that we have a debate on this video and issue when we return after the recess.

Senator Mark Daly sunk to a new low this morning. What he said about the respected Judiciary was outlandish and outrageous.

I ask the Senator not to comment on something someone else has said in the House. Does he have a question for the Leader because I have ruled on that issue?

Yes, I have. I respect the Cathaoirleach's ruling in respect of what the earlier speaker said.

Just because the Senator knows and was involved in appointing so many of them does not mean that he has to stand over their judgments-----

I was so glad it was followed by Senator Ivana Bacik who was able to refer to the good work of the justice committee-----

-----when the perpetrators receive virtually no sentence and in some cases none at all.

I ask the Senator to respect the Chair, the Chamber and other Members of the House.

Senator Paul Coghlan started it.

The Senator has spoken already.

I know, but he started it. He hardly called my name in not wanting me to reply.

I ask the Senator to respect the Chair. Does Senator Paul Coghlan have a question for the Leader?

Senator Ivana Bacik referred to the very significant increase we have had in recent years in the appointment of so many lady judges at all levels in the Courts Service. When individual sentences and sentencing were spoken about by the acting Leader of the Opposition this morning, cases were identifiable, as the Cathaoirleach pointed out. We cannot speak about individual cases, which I respect. The behaviour of the Member opposite this morning is a disgrace to his party and this Chamber.

I have ruled on that issue.

It is as simple as this, Paul. The point I was making was white, middle aged, conservative men who were passing judgement on women, minorities and victims of child abuse should not be predominant in the Judiciary.

I ask the Senator to resume his seat.

That was the point I made.

I ask the Senator to respect the Chair.

Follow that. Appalling outrage on both sides.

The Senator is some example.

I thank the Cathaoirleach for his indulgence. I will share an incident one might consider local but it is a symptom of the health system. On Monday there were 81 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Galway. One of those patients has severe dementia and she was on a trolley for two days. She did not even know where she was. Her husband, who is almost 80 years of age, told me he did not want any special treatment from me. He was not even looking for a bed from me for her, but he said he had one message he wished me to bring to the Parliament, which is that the patient must come before the system.

We are now asking for debates for after the recess. This problem will not go away over the holidays. I ask to have the Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, in this House for a serious debate on the health system. Some 70% of all healthcare costs come from five chronic illnesses, namely, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic lung disease and cancer. Many of the admissions result from exacerbation of these chronic illnesses. If they were treated in the community at earlier stages, through investment in our primary health care systems, we would have an answer to the problems in emergency departments. I know that we are looking to extend the emergency department in Galway, but that will not get to the root of the problems. I ask the Leader to honour that debate in the autumn.

I wish to follow up with one key point. I am disturbed and I am sure everyone else in this House is disturbed, whether they are pro-choice, pro-abortion or pro-life, at the thought of the sale of baby parts from abortions in the United States by Planned Parenthood. I have one question. The Irish Family Planning Association has received €500,000 from Planned Parenthood in the past three years. Does the Irish Family Planning Association support the sale of baby organs by Planned Parenthood? Will the Leader find out the answer to that question? This link must be explained. I expect outrage on this issue. I am terribly disturbed, first, at the thought of the baby's life being taken because the baby is aborted and, second, that the baby becomes a commercial commodity. Let us stand up for humanity and the right to life of the unborn.

I would like to raise the issue of school transport for students with a disability. I received word through a parliamentary question yesterday evening that a child with a disability who required considerable attention had been refused free school transport because he was not attending the nearest school deemed by the Department to be resourced to meet his educational needs. He is, therefore, not eligible for free school transport. I am further informed that the family can now apply for school transport on a concessionary basis but this is subject to terms and conditions, including the availability of spare seats or the payment of an annual charge. This child is due to start school in September. While the school is not the nearest school, it has been determined and deemed to be the best school to suit his needs by, most importantly, his parents and also the therapists in the local disability services. I raised the query with the Department immediately on being contacted by the family. I am disappointed with the response.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the issue of school transport?

I understand the topic is more suited to a Commencement debate but as the update on the matter only came through yesterday evening, the deadline had passed. I have spoken to Bus Éireann and there does not appear to be an issue on its end about transporting the child. It is now a matter for the Department to apply common sense to the issue. I have had similar issues.

We cannot raise specific issues on the Order of Business. The Senator will have to find another way of raising it.

As I said, I have raised similar issues for others. As we are coming to the end of the school year, parents need to know at this stage of the year how their children will get to school in September, particularly children with special needs. They need to know what is available. Any child attending a normal primary or secondary school will know.

Not if the Labour Party is dealing with it.

We need to set this system in place for children. It is a question of common sense and the Department having a look at it.

The Senator should talk to her own Minister.

The Department needs to look at it.

I am calling for a system to be put in place whereby people would know at the end of June, when they were going on holidays, exactly how their children would get to school in September.

I am actually disappointed with the acting Leader of the Opposition for raising the matter he raised this morning relating to judges. It is totally-----

I have ruled on that issue.

I am aware of that.

The Senator is not reopening the debate. Does he have a question for the Leader?

Is Senator Colm Burke happy with the sentencing that judges are handing down to perpetrators of child abuse and rape-----

Does Senator Colm Burke have a question for the Leader?

I have a question for the Leader and will deal with it. I think it was a disgraceful comment.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

It was a disgraceful comment. Senator Mark Daly is a disgrace.

Please, Senator.

Senator Mark Daly is an absolute disgrace.

Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

I am sorry. If Senator Colm Burke is happy with the sentencing, that is fine. My concern is what male judges are handing down to those who committed rape, as we saw this week.

Please, Senator.

There is an appeals process available. Senator Mark Daly does not know the details of how the courts system works.

The perpetrators who are also white and from-----

The Senator does not know how the system works.

"They come from respectable families" - that is what judges say.

Will the Senator respect the Chair?

I will respect the Chair.

"It was out of character" - that is what judges are saying on behalf of the perpetrators before they hand down non-custodial sentences.

Will Senator Colm Burke resume his seat?

Senator Mark Daly has made disgraceful comments.

They think handing over €15,000 is enough.

Is it not Senator Mark Daly who should resume his seat?

Does Senator Colm Burke have a question for the Leader?

I have a point of order to raise.

What is the Senator's point of order?

I will ask you to rule on it, but I do not believe it is in order for a Member to refer to another Member as a disgrace, which has just happened.

I did not hear that comment.

You did not hear it. Is that so? He said it more than once.

It is on the record and I think he should be asked to withdraw it.

There were two Senators at it.

I accept your difficulty.

Ask him whether he said it and whether he will repeat it.

I accept that Members have been unruly and the Cathaoirleach's difficulty, but the Clerk and others would have heard it and the Cathaoirleach should be advised about what was said.

I have ruled on the issue. I have asked Senator Colm Burke whether he has a question for the Leader.

May I finish? I am asking you to rule that the Member be asked to withdraw the comment. That should not happen in the Chamber.

I did not hear the comment.

Ask him to repeat it, because I am sure he will.

I did not hear the comment, but if the Senator made the comment, I ask him to withdraw it. Now, does Senator Colm Burke have a question for the Leader?

Yes, I do. It relates to-----

I am sorry, a Chathaoirligh, but is the Senator going to withdraw the comment?

I put it to the Senator that if he made the comment, he should withdraw it.

Is he going to withdraw the comment?

On a point of order, a Chathaoirligh, will you ask the Senator whether he made the statement? Let him say whether he made it.

I have ruled on the issue and told the Senator that if he made the comment, which I did not hear, he should withdraw it.

He has not said whether he made it. You might ask him to withdraw it.

Will the Senator, please, resume his seat?

Until the Senator answers the question, we are not going to proceed.

A Chathaoirligh, I have a point of order to raise.

Sitting suspended at 12.15 p.m. and resumed at 12.20 p.m.

I call on the Leader to reply.

Thank you, a Chathaoirligh-----

I am sorry, a Chathaoirligh, Senator Catherine Noone would like to say something.

I have called on the Leader to reply.

I had indicated that I wished to speak.

I have called on the Leader to reply.

Senator Colm Burke should be afforded an opportunity-----

That is very unfair.

I have ruled on the matter.

I am sorry, but two other Senators would like to speak.

I was here for the start of the Order Business to make a contribution, not to be controversial to make a headline. I want to speak.

I am asking the Leader to reply.

That is very unfair.

If Senator Colm Burke would like to clear the record-----

We are out of time. It may well be unfair, but there was a lot of disorder in the House.

I did not cause it. Senator Colm Burke caused it.

I wanted to sympathise on the death of a colleague.

Will the Senator, please, resume her seat?

It is very unfair.

Question put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 17.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.

Níl

  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden; Níl, Senators Mark Daly and Fidelma Healy Eames..
Question declared carried.