Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, motion re arrangements for the sitting of the House on Monday, 7 December, and Tuesday, 8 December, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of the Order of Business; No. 2, Finance Bill 2015 [Certified Money Bill] - Second Stage, to be taken at 12.45 p.m. and conclude not later than 2.45 p.m., with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes and the Minister to be called on to reply not later than 2.40 p.m.; No. 3, International Protection Bill 2015 - Committee Stage, to be taken at 2.45 p.m. and adjourned not later than 5 p.m.; No. 4, Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2015 - Second Stage, to be taken at 5 p.m., with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all other Senators not to exceed five minutes.

We will be objecting to the Order of Business. When the Government came into power we were told there would be a new way of doing politics, a new Government, new procedures and a new legislative scrutiny. What we have this week is what we have had for the last number of years - a ramrodding through of legislation in the last few weeks before the recess. It is the same in the summer. Senator Paul Coghlan is shaking is head.

That is not true.

The Senator will be aware that his party has now stacked the legislation before Christmas to try to get things done and dusted. There is no time for scrutiny. What we saw in this House yesterday with regard to the Legal Services Bill, which was reported by The Irish Times, was a shambles. That was an understatement. The legislative programme and all the promises made by Fine Gael are now in chaos, including the universal health system promised by Fine Gael. The five-point plan has been reduced to a four-point plan and we will be very lucky if there are three points left in it before 2015 is out.

I ask for a debate on immigration reform in the United States and the 50,000 undocumented Irish people there who, similarly to last year, are unable to return home to family and friends this Christmas. It is estimated that about 500,000 people in Ireland are affected by the situation faced by the undocumented Irish people in the United States. For every person in the United States who is unable to come back there are ten family members affected - brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers whose loved ones cannot come back because their legal status in the United States is in the process of being remedied. The US President, Barack Obama, has issued an executive order. I asked that the Government intervene to ask for a humanitarian visa clause in the executive order in order that in situations of bereavement or family illness those who are undocumented can return home to see their families and loved ones. Unfortunately, the Government took no action. I ask for the debate because there are issues regarding visa waivers whereby those who have overstayed their visas can seek a waiver to obtain legal status within the United States, but the Government has not informed them. The sad reality is that this Christmas, again, 50,000 people will not be able to return home. We need more action.

I will conclude by referring to the Government inaction which was crystallised in an event on Capitol Hill at the Speaker's lunch on St. Patrick's day two years ago. A press release given to the Irish press corps stated that the Taoiseach was going to address the issue and his speech was distributed. It contained two paragraphs on the undocumented Irish in the United States, asking the legislators there to do something about it. There were no press allowed at the Speaker's lunch, but the Irish Government was unaware that when the US President attends an event every word is transcribed by a stenographer. In the Taoiseach's address to the legislators on Capitol Hill there was not one mention of the undocumented Irish. I am sure all the Congressmen and Senators walked away from that meeting saying, "I hear a lot about the undocumented Irish in the United States, so why did their Prime Minister not mention it here in front of us?". When one has the opportunity in the United States one should seize it. That is the level of concern the Government has for the undocumented Irish people in the United States. When it has the opportunity, it does not seize it. I ask for a debate on the undocumented and why, once again this year, they are unable to come home.

I support Senator Mark Daly's call for a debate on the regularisation of the undocumented Irish in the United States. I know that he has worked on this issue for a long time and I absolutely agree that it is a pressing matter for many families. There are two related topics that this House may have a chance to debate in the new year. The first concerns stateless persons. I raised this last night in the debate on the International Protection Bill and it will be raised again on Committee Stage of that Bill today. We need to make provision in the State for those who are stateless here and whose legal position is precarious. The second related topic, which does not come up in discussions of international protection but is very much related to the subject of the undocumented Irish, is votes for emigrants - those Irish citizens resident outside this jurisdiction. Colleagues who were involved in the Constitutional Convention will recall the very moving session during which we heard from Irish emigrants all over the world via video link. They spoke about how much it would mean to them to be given the right to vote. The proposal to allow them the right to vote in presidential elections would have had no difficult logistical implications in terms of determining geographical constituencies and so on. I would like the House to have a debate on that issue in the new year and to look at the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention.

I have spoken about the problem of the amount of legislation being pressed through the House, as has the Leader, and both of us regret that we are again, as in previous Decembers, facing a large amount of legislation being pushed through very late in the day. While we have been looking for legislation earlier in the year, we always end up coming up against a deadline at this time. This year it is particularly evident in the Department of Justice and Equality. I have looked at the Bills to be debated next week in this House. The Courts Bill 2015 and the Prisons Bill 2015 are hugely important Bills which I believe will receive a broad welcome from all colleagues. The aim of the Courts Bill 2015 is simply to increase the number of judges and, in particular, to reduce the waiting time for Central Criminal Court trials. Colleagues may know that the President of the High Court has recently appointed a fifth judge to the Central Criminal Court because there is an 18-month delay. This is appalling for people who are victims of crime and for all of those involved in prosecuting and investigating crime. It is simply untenable. It is welcome that the mechanism will be put on a statutory basis and the number of judges increased - by just two, I understand - to tackle these dreadful waiting times. That Bill will be uncontentious and is clearly urgent, and I welcome it. The Prisons Bill 2015 is also a short Bill which will receive a broad welcome from colleagues. It is to facilitate the complete closure of St. Patrick's Institution. One of the real achievements on penal reform by the Government has been the phasing out of the awful practice of sending children to St. Patrick's Institution. To see a Bill which will facilitate the complete closure of that institution will be hugely welcome to all of us who have worked on criminal justice, penal reform or children's rights. The Bills are important and I absolutely believe that this House needs to see them though as soon as possible.

With regard to the International Protection Bill 2015, we did commence the debate last night and will continue it today. It is long-overdue legislation promised by previous Governments which could not deliver. At last we will see a single unified procedure for the protection of those in direct provision, which will tackle the serious problem of long delays. My colleagues and have met people who have been in direct provision for long periods, some for ten years or more. It is untenable and needs to be tackled. There is an urgency about these Bills and, despite the unfortunate fact that Senators are again facing a large number of Bills so late in the day, it is important that the House see these through.

I oppose No. 1 on the Order Paper. I agree with the Senators who have spoken already, including Government Senators, who are concerned about the amount of legislation being brought before the House before the Christmas recess. The Leader spoke about this last week and expressed his frustration, but that does not solve the problem. There are three Bills to be guillotined next week. The Bills may be worthy and we may support some of them-----

No. The debates are not being guillotined.

They are being guillotined if one looks at the proposed schedule for next week. It states Second Stage of the Prisons Bill 2015 will commence at 1 p.m. and conclude at 2.30 p.m. Not all spokespersons will get a chance to speak, and not everybody who wants to contribute will be able to. Perhaps the debates will not be guillotined on Committee and Report Stages, but we do not know. There are two weeks remaining before the Christmas recess is upon us; therefore, at some point it will have to conclude, or is the Leader going to say these Bills can roll over until the new year? Perhaps the Leader would respond to this. It is a clear concern that they could potentially be guillotined. Speaking time is being narrowed: allowing only one and a half hours for Second Stage is not really how the House has done its business up to now. The same goes for the Courts Bill 2015, for which 90 minutes are allowed, which means that not all Senators may get a chance to contribute. There is a guillotine planned for the International Protection Bill, the debate on which must conclude by 7 p.m. with a final question.

The Government promised us a new way of doing politics and a democratic revolution. It promised us that debates on Bills would not be guillotined, but it has guillotined debates on more legislation than the previous Government. It is the same story every year as we move towards Christmas. There is a rush of Bills coming through, but we sit here in September and October looking for legislation and cannot get it. It always seems to be from the Department of Justice and Equality; therefore, they could do with getting their house in order. We will strongly oppose No. 1 and will not co-operate with the Government next week if it seeks to guillotine debate on any of these Bills.

I wish to raise the serious matter of a clear and direct snub to the Oireachtas by some of the so-called "vulture funds" that have been operating in the Irish market since the downturn. Following media reports concerning the jailing of a borrower at the behest of a vulture fund earlier this year, I secured the agreement of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform to invite representatives from some of the vulture funds operating in Ireland to appear before it. There was a unanimous decision of the committee to invite them to appear and a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday next, 9 December. However, I have been informed that all of them have refused to attend. As Members of the Oireachtas, we have a duty to represent the general public and many people with personal home loans and business loans have found that their banks have sold off their mortgages to these debt investors. We have heard from the banks on how they treat people in mortgage arrears, but we have not heard from the debt investors and there are real concerns that people are not being treated fairly, with strong indications that some of these entities have been behaving disgracefully by jailing people whose loans they have bought and breaching the terms of personal insolvency agreements by putting pressure on customers who had reached a deal. There are real concerns at the extent of the discounts at which some loans were acquired and questions as to whether borrowers were getting a fair deal or were being screwed by these companies. These vulture funds are unaccountable and, unfortunately, largely unregulated in Ireland. They are in line to make considerable profits from the loans they acquired from Irish banks. That is fine but they cannot gouge huge profits on the backs of distressed borrowers. As they have apparently declined a reasonable invitation of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform to appear before us we need to ensure they do not give this Parliament the slip, hoping they can spin us along until the election. I am sure there would be widespread support in this House for measures to make these vulture funds accountable and responsible. We can look at compelling them to attend and should probably widen the review to other funds operating in the market in Ireland. I will speak to my colleagues on the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, but I hope I have the support of this House in seeking to hold these entities to greater account.

That was an excellent speech by Senator Paul Coghlan. I hope action is taken by his colleagues in government because what he said is true.

I was very impressed by the leader of the British Labour Party, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, who has been very consistent in his views on war and the question of taking action to bomb Syria. He voted against the war in Iraq when Mr. Tony Blair decided, with President Bush, to bomb Baghdad, which is the kernel of all the problems in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. He took a courageous stand, which is very consistent with his views that he has expressed all of his political life as a man of peace. Ultimately, his action will be vindicated. I believe he will continue to lead the Labour Party. Other leaders would change and go along with the general consensus in the House of Commons but he stood alone and he led the majority of his own party to vote against it. The bombing of parts of Syria to destroy ISIS, or Islamic State, will be futile because on the ground it is very strong. The oil from the fields it has taken over is being sold to the west through Turkey or Saudi Arabia and President Putin has accused the Turkish Government of buying it. Somebody is buying the oil and surely the CIA and others know where it is going and from where ISIS gets its funding. They are funding terrorism throughout the country in response to the bombing of ISIS and, in time, an Islamic state will probably be formed and the first people to do business with them will be the United Kingdom Government and other governments. With the RAF extending its bombing campaign to Syria, there will be collateral damage with the death of women, children and people who are not involved. There will be chaos. I wish Jeremy Corbyn well and I believe he will be vindicated in the not-too-distant future

On a number of occasions in recent months I referred to the emergency department at University Hospital Galway, UHG, being unfit for purpose and I am particularly pleased the Taoiseach reiterated my comments in this regard in the Dáil yesterday.

What is he going to do about it?

The facility was originally designed to cater for approximately 100 people per day but up to 250 people now access the facility on a daily basis. During a recent visit to the hospital the leader of Fianna Fáil shed a lot of crocodile tears about the state of the place but he neglected to explain why, during the boom, no investment was put into the facility. I call on the Minister, Deputy Leo Varadkar, to ensure that a new facility is included under the HSE capital plan, which I expect to be published early in the new year. It is unfair to patients using the facility and to staff, the nurses and doctors, who are attempting to give safe care to people accessing the emergency department at UHG. The time for talking is over and we need to see action soon.

It will take some time to bring a new facility on stream, even if the funding is sanctioned in the morning. I hope, therefore, that the management of the hospital will do everything possible - structurally and in the context of the existing facilities there - to alleviate some of the pressure in the emergency department.

I welcome the Exchequer returns which, for the first time since 2007, show a surplus - some €343 million - at the end of November. Tax receipts are 11.9% higher than the same month last year and this is an indication that the economy is coming back on track. There is now more spending in the economy and, hopefully, from now on our income and expenditure will balance and we will cease borrowing for day-to-day expenditure.

We do not always recognise or praise the great work done by some people. I have just been at the human dignity award ceremony where the Ceann Comhairle presented an award to Barney Curley. I did not know the story of Barney Curley but the amount of work he does in Zambia, for which he is totally unpaid, is just wonderful. It is great that we in this House can recognise such actions because it is important to do so. It is also important that the State as a whole does so and next week I will bring forward a Bill suggesting a Gradam an Uachtaráin, an official award from the President to people of standing who have done work such as this. Barney Curley is exactly the sort of man who would deserve that award.

I will take up another point to which my attention was drawn, that is, the question of private inquests in the case of suicide. Under the Coroners Act 1962, there is a legal requirement for an inquest to take place where the death has been violent, sudden or unnatural. In September, Mr. Paul Kelly of Console delivered an address on the impact of inquests on the family of a person who dies by suicide. He suggests we should be able to find a solution in order that, when it is clear that the death came from suicide, the family could agree to have the inquest in private. His suggestion is worthy of consideration. It is something we should be providing for. Mr. Kelly's suggestion is, at the behest of the next of kin, to allow for inquests for suicide to be conducted in the normal way but in camera, thereby relieving the significant amount of attention that families must go through whenever such a thing happens. It is worth considering this. I suggest the Leader find a way in the new year to do something about that.

Tacaím leis an méid a bhí le rá ag an Seanadóir Ó Dálaigh ar maidin maidir leis an dream nach bhfuil a gcuid dintiúir i gceart acu atá thar sáile. I concur with the comments of Senator Mark Daly and agree with his call for a debate on the undocumented in the United States and the other issues he raised. These are important issues and we cannot let them fall by the wayside. It is particularly poignant coming up to Christmas that many of these Irish citizens in the United States will not be able to come home to enjoy Christmas in the way others are able to.

I am gobsmacked by some of the comments made by Senator Michael Mullins this morning about University Hospital Galway, UHG. We have been banging this drum for at least five years since I came into the Seanad. That we now have a road to Damascus-type turnaround from the Taoiseach and he realises that there is an issue in UHG is astounding, but the time for talking is long over. We certainly need action - we need not only bricks and mortar, but staff in the hospitals and reorganisation of the system in order that the emergency department in Galway is not under as much pressure as it is currently. We could go on and have a full debate on that particular emergency department. I would welcome a debate on the emergency department in Galway hospital, if that is at all possible.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to the effect that we do not take No. 1 on the Order Paper today. I am not 100% clear whether it is being proposed. It is quite obvious, since Senator Michael Mullins was saying he had been talking about UHG, that the Taoiseach was not listening. I am afraid that the Government is not listening to the Leader when it comes to justice Bills. We should check the bill for Red Bull in the Department of Justice and Equality this week because they seem to have been up all night writing legislation, amendments and so on. It is ridiculous what has been happening this week with the Legal Services Bill with regard to the number of amendments that came through and how late that legislation came to us. I am concerned that we will make mistakes in the legislation that is being passed.

I have similar concerns about the International Protection Bill, which we are seeing rushed through the Houses. I oppose the imposition of a guillotine on the debate on that Bill on Monday. It is a discredit to those who are seeking asylum in this country and those who claim to care about human rights. We must back the Leader on this one. I believe the Government is saying to him that he must put this motion to the House and he needs our support to oppose that motion. We will not have a battle on our hands in that regard, because I believe the Leader is as frustrated with the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Department as we are.

It is unacceptable that two new Bills are being brought before us on Monday when we have not even seen them properly. It is not the way to legislate and rushed legislation will be bad legislation. Let us stand up for the Seanad. Let us stand up for our democratic rights. We have a mandate. It is not right for business to be rushed in this way. We need to put a stop to it. Perhaps it is merely the fact that the ink is drying on the election posters in Fine Gael headquarters. Perhaps that is the reason this is being rushed through at the end of the year. Certainly, it is a disservice to the people who will be affected by this legislation if it is rushed through in the manner proposed.

For the purpose of clarification, Senator Mark Daly is opposing the Order of Business, while Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has a fresh proposal, that No. 1 be deleted from today's Order of Business.

That is a fresh proposal that needs to be seconded.

I second the amendment as proposed by Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. It is ridiculous the way this House is being treated and has been treated year on year as we come to a break, with this type of legislation being rammed through so that we have to sit here until all hours of the day and night. It is not on. It is time this Chamber stood up for itself. I would gladly support that amendment.

I was interested to hear Senator Ivana Bacik, who has a sincere interest in the area of direct provision, state that the system of direct provision, as it stands, is untenable. That is why we should not take the International Protection Bill at all.

Leave it as it is then.

Withdraw it and go back to the drawing board with it. Doras Luimní and all of the immigrant rights bodies are not happy with it. They all have an issue with it.

All of the groups welcomed the introduction of a single unified procedure.

That is the only element.

It is the only small element they welcome.

The Leader will be adequately capable of responding.

Returning to what Senator Terry Leyden stated, it was a dangerous development to have UK bombers going to Syria last night. It is a frightening development. In the words of Edwin Starr's famous single, "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing." I would very much agree. This is an issue that I have raised here and that we should be concerned about in this country. It is one that came up, interestingly enough, this morning by way of a Commencement motion proposed by a member of Fine Gael, in response to which the Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Deputy Kehoe, outlined a position, although, to be quite honest, I was not too sure what it was. Our neutrality is being called into question again. I for one do not want to see Irish troops or the Irish armed forces involved in any aggressive military campaign headed up by the United Kingdom, the United States, NATO or any of these alliances. Our traditional neutrality, which people voted to protect when they voted against the Treaties of Lisbon and Nice when they thought there was a threat to it, should be protected and given a sovereign status. Following on from that, it is high time - I called for it last week or the week before - we had a debate about Ireland's neutrality, particularly the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, the Russian military and any other military. It should not happen, and there should be a phased reduction and eventual withdrawal of that service to give aid to foreign militaries. Given the recent developments, especially from the United Kingdom, that involve the bombing of Syria, which will continue to exacerbate the refugee crisis and our problems with the direct provision services, I would hope that we have no hand, act or part in such military intervention tactics. That debate on neutrality should happen soon.

I second the opposition to the Order of Business proposed by my colleague, Senator Mark Daly. The International Protection Bill 2015 is important legislation and it should be given time to go through this House in an orderly manner. I appreciate, as Senator David Cullinane stated, that the Leader is being put under pressure in this regard, but the guillotine should not be used unless it is necessary to do so. It is not necessary to do so in this case. We still have two weeks remaining here and, if necessary, part of the following week. There is plenty of time and the guillotine should not be used.

I ask the Leader that the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, come to the House. The Minister has been here to discuss other legislation. I make this request while defending the fact that debates on legislation should not be guillotined, but we have an urgent need to debate rural crime. It is something that has been raised on all sides of the House in the past few weeks and months.

It has reached a crisis. Recently, a public meeting was held in Swanlinbar in west Cavan. The situation regarding rural crime has deteriorated to such an extent that locals have taken matters into their own hands and formed the local area protection group with the aim of assisting the Garda in trying to stamp out rural crime and, in this case, cross-Border crime. A number of weeks ago, Senator Terry "the Scobe" Brennan lauded the decision made by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Garda Commissioner to put additional gardaí in County Louth. Such deployment is welcome but the gardaí were taken from one region and put into another high-profile Border area.

Does the Senator know why we do not have a sufficient number of gardaí?

Deployment is necessary, but it is unacceptable that the rural community of Swanlinbar should be deprived of proper policing. That is what has happened. Rural crime is at crisis in this area of County Cavan and the matter needs to be addressed. I welcome the formation of the local protection group but unfortunately its members are not properly trained and they also do not have the law behind them if something goes wrong. That community should not have had to set up a group. Will the Leader arrange, as a matter of urgency and before the Christmas recess, a debate on rural crime with the Minister for Justice and Equality?

I support what Senator Feargal Quinn has said about Barney Curley who is the second person this year to receive an award from the Human Dignity Group. I reassure the Senator that my party will support his Bill to create an honours system.

Senators Mark Daly, Ivana Bacik, David Cullinane and Michael Mullins, among other Senators, mentioned the Order of Business, particularly next Monday. As the Deputy Leader mentioned, we must deal with the Courts Bill and the Prisons Bill. I do not think there is any chance the debates on such legislation will be guillotined and I think both Bills will be well received by the House. As the Deputy Leader said, there are some matters dealt with in them that need attention and the Government is attending to them. It is unfortunate that they have reached the House so late in the legislative cycle of the Government and I regret having to guillotine the debate on the International Protection Bill on Monday. I cannot understand how the Department of Justice and Equality could publish a Bill only last week, yet produce 80 or 90 amendments this week.

(Interruptions).

Such work is the responsibility of the Department or whoever is responsible for drafting amendments. I question why the Bill was published in the first place when so many amendments have been produced. In saying this, we will debate the Bill for two hours today on Committee Stage and will have a further three hours of debate on Monday which should be more than sufficient time to deal with the amendments tabled. Many of the Government's amendments are technical.

There are 400 amendments in total.

Many other amendments deserve discussion, but five hours of discussion should suffice.

Senator Mark Daly mentioned the undocumented Irish in the United States, a matter to which several Senators alluded. The action must be taken by the US Government to change its laws to provide visas for the undocumented Irish. I can assure the Senator that, irrespective of what speech from which he quoted, the Government, including the Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Minister of State with responsibility for the diaspora, has made strong representations to representatives in the United States to have the laws changed and deal with the question of the undocumented Irish. In many instances, the response has not been very positive from both sides of the Houses of Congress when it comes to voting and bringing forward proper legislation. There is, therefore, still an amount of work to be done. The Government will continue to address the matter and lobby as much as possible, but at the end of the day it is a question for the US Administration and legislators in the United States to legislate. We cannot dictate what other countries should do, but we can suggest what they should do. We do not have the power to tell them what to do. We will continue to lobby as much as possible to find a solution to the problem.

Senator Ivana Bacik raised the issue of votes for Irish citizens living abroad. I am sure the matter will be addressed in future legislation. We will debate it, possibly in the next term of the Government, if we are returned to power, but nobody knows what the outcome will be.

Is the Leader trying to tell us something?

The Senator welcomed both the Courts Bill and the Prisons Bill. I believe their provisions will be generally acceptable to everybody.

Senator Paul Coghlan mentioned so-called debt investors or vulture funds. It is regrettable that they have refused to come before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. I am sure the Senator will make his points to the Minister for Finance when we debate the Finance Bill later today.

Senator Terry Leyden sided with the Labour Party leader in the United Kingdom on the stance he had adopted on the issue of bombing Syria, a move also supported by Senator James Heffernan. In between the votes last evening I turned on my television set and heard the speech made by Mr. Hilary Benn, the shadow Foreign Secretary. He made one of the finest speeches I had ever heard and for which he was applauded in the House of Commons, which was most unusual.

By the Conservatives.

After Mr. Benn's speech, the media have touted him as the next leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. I do not want to get involved in the concerns and internal policies of any political party on the other side of the water, or on this side of the water for that matter.

The Leader is on the Labour Panel for the Seanad.

I can assure the Senator that it is a different labour.

The Leader to continue, without interruption, please.

Senators Michael Mullins and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh mentioned the problems being experienced at University Hospital Galway, especially in its emergency department. Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has raised the issue on several occasions, including during Commencement debates. I hope the necessary finance will be put in place to address the problems that obviously are encountered in the hospital.

Senator Fearga; Quinn referred to the human dignity award presented to Barney Curley. I did not have an opportunity to attend the reception this morning when the award was presented.

It was a wonderful occasion.

Some people may have been surprised to learn that Barney Curley was involved in charity work and had raised more than €5 million for schools in Africa. Most people will know him for his exploits in the betting ring where he has pulled off many coups during the years. He should be complimented on his work. The award is very fitting.

I note the points made by Senator Feargal Quinn about inquests. He has called for inquests to be held in private in the case of deaths by suicide. I concur with him and ask the Department of Justice and Equality to consider doing so. It is something positive that it could address. I hope these points can be made when we debate some of the Bills and perhaps when we debate the Courts Bill on Monday.

I have addressed Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh's point about No. 1.

Senator James Heffernan mentioned the International Protection Bill. Irish troops cannot get involved in aggressive tactics abroad. There is a triple-lock system under which a vote in both Houses is required before the Defence Forces can become involved in any action. There is no question of Irish troops being involved in an aggressive action on the side of any country. Irish troops are lauded for their peacekeeping efforts throughout the world and recognised as one of the best peacekeeping forces and always will be.

Does the use of Shannon Airport affect our neutrality?

Senator Diarmuid Wilson mentioned rural crime, an issue on which we will have a debate. We are due to discuss the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015 next Friday, which will afford ample opportunity to discuss the issues of rural and cross-Border crime.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business, "That No. 1 be deleted from today's Order of Business." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided by electronic means.

Under Standing Order 62(3)(b), I request that the division be taken again other than by electronic means.

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 18.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Cahill, Máiría.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
Tellers: Tá, Senators James Heffernan and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

Is the Order of Business agreed to?

Question put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 15.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Cahill, Máiría.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.

Níl

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
  • Zappone, Katherine.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden; Níl, Senators Ned O'Sullivan and Diarmuid Wilson.
Question declared carried.