Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, motion re Twelfth Report of the Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of the Order of Business; No. 2, motion re Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (Section 95(3)) (Variation of title: Optician) Regulations 2016, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of No. 1; No. 3, motion re Planning and Development (Amendment) Regulations 2016, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of No. 2; No. 4, motion re Companies Act 2014 (Section 1313) Regulations 2016, to be taken without debate at the conclusion of No. 3; and No. 5, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 - Report and Final Stages, to be taken at the conclusion of No. 4 and brought to a conclusion not later than 5.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Government.

Political reform - absolutely.

Rural Ireland has been abandoned by the Government. Some 20 general practitioner, GP, posts have remained vacant for more than three years. According to the Irish Medical Organisation, IMO, 20% of GP posts will be vacant within five years and the Government has no plan to fill these posts. The epitome of its abandonment of rural Ireland can be found in its initial response to Mr. Pat Spillane's report on the matter. I refer to the fact that it allocated the same amount of money to fulfilling the report's objectives as it gave for the care of horses in urban Ireland. Imagine that. I reiterate, for the benefit of Members opposite, that the initial response of the Government to saving rural Ireland was to allocate the same amount of money to fulfilling the objectives outlined in Mr. Spillane's report as it gave for the care of horses in urban areas. If anyone wants more proof than this, please give me a call.

According to the UN Human Development Index, Ireland is currently ranked the seventh best place in the world in which to live, which ranking is equal to that of Germany and above that of Canada and the United States. This is a matter of which everybody should be proud. It is the achievement of generations since the establishment of the first Dáil 98 years ago. Today we celebrate the first meeting of Dáil Éireann on 21 January 1919. Dáil Éireann was established on the principles of the 1916 Proclamation. In essence, we are all guardians of the values of the 1916 Proclamation. Its aims and objectives are timeless and universal. It should be remembered that what we will be celebrating this year is that which others sought to achieve in 1916. It is not about those against whom we struggled to achieve our full potential as a nation. Pádraig Pearse and his fellow signatories to the Proclamation sought to set out ideals and principles to guide us when faced with problems that they could not even imagine. As we celebrate all those involved, we should remember the words of John F. Kennedy when he said: "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but the men it honors, the men it remembers." I hope our celebrations this year of the 1916 Rising will honour the men and women of our greatest generation. We must never stop trying to achieve the standards they set us, regardless of how difficult the challenges are.

My colleagues on this side of the House and I propose to bring the National Anthem Protection Bill 2016 before the House next week. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, has said he proposes to bring forth legislation to protect the national anthem, in respect of which copyright ran out in 2012. I note opposite an Olympian who stood for the national anthem following his great achievement on the international stage which brought great pride to the country. The national anthem for which he stood needs to be protected. I hope he will discuss the Bill which is only one page long with the Government Whips in the next few days. A great deal of legislation is being passed by this House without debate. We now have an opportunity in the dying days of the Government to protect the national anthem, which I believe would be befitting of the memory of the men and women of 1916.

I call Senator Martin Conway and congratulate him on his new role.

Five years into my time as a Member of this House, I am being asked to fill in. I am always happy to do so.

He will be back.

The Bill referred to by Senator Mark Daly is an interesting one. I did not realise that the copyright had run out on the national anthem. I was not even aware copyright was applicable to national anthems. The Bill is worthy of discussion by the Whips and I propose to suggest same to Senator Paul Coghlan.

I would also welcome a debate in this House on tourism, preferably before the end of term of this Seanad. We are all aware of the significant achievements in the past five years of this Administration and the people of Ireland in terms of tourism, including the development of the Irish inter-county marketing strategy and allied to it, The Gathering, which was remarkably successful and probably set the tone in terms of how we should market Ireland into the future. I ask the Deputy Leader to request the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, to come to this House for a debate on tourism and in that context the development of a further Gathering, perhaps, in 2018. The Gathering was followed up with the Wild Atlantic Way which has also been hugely successful. When one hears the people of County Donegal speak about the benefits of the Wild Atlantic Way in a similar vein to that of people of west Cork and all counties in between Donegal and Cork, there is no doubt but that it has driven tourism, enterprise and job creation in the country. The issue is worthy of debate.

The Senator's time has expired.

I thought when I took up this position that my allocated speaking time would be longer.

There has been much discussion on the United Kingdom's plan for its future in the European Union, a referendum on which will be held next year or the year after. We have an important role to play in that discussion with our nearest and dearest neighbour. A debate in this House with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, or the Minister of State, Deputy Dara Murphy - I would prefer if the Minister or even the Taoiseach came to the House for the debate - on the pivotal role we can play in terms of encouraging our fellow neighbours in the United Kingdom to remain within the European project would be worthy and useful before the end of term of this Seanad. I understand the Taoiseach is meeting the Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, in the not too distant future to discuss this matter. We need to assist at European level the United Kingdom in terms of its requirements for a new direction for the European Union.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

We need to engage at senior level in that debate. This House equally has a role to play in that discourse and deliberation. In that regard, I suggest a debate in this House would be timely and prudent.

Before I call on Senator David Norris, I am sure Members of the House will join me in welcoming Councillor Marcia D'Alton from Cork County Council to the Visitors Gallery.

I join in the Cathaoirleach's welcome to the distinguished councillor. Earlier this morning some of my colleagues and I had a meeting with representatives of the Cork Institute of Technology, which is concerned about the Government's proposals for legislation in this area.

I am concerned that today there are three items to be taken without debate, two of which involve regulations. The case can be argued that two of these items should be taken without debate. On No. 1, a report from the Committee on Procedure and Privileges on the amendment of the Standing Orders of this House, surely amendment of the Standing Orders of this House is a matter that should be discussed by all Members of this House, not only by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, of which I have the honour to be a member. This is a matter in which every Member of this House should have a say. I am seeking an amendment of the Order of Business to the effect that No. 1 be taken with discussion, which discussion should commence with a statement from the Government side on what is involved in the proposed changes to procedures and privileges. Also, while we will probably get through the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 by 5.30 p.m., I find the proposed guillotining of the debate on that Bill, as outlined in the Order of Business, distasteful and object to it.

Whatever the views of the Deputy Leader on the first two issues I have raised, I am sure she will agree with my position on the axing of the "Gloria" programme, which airs on Sundays. I take the liberty of saying I believe she will agree with me because I have been contacted by a Professor David McConnell, fellow emeritus Trinity College Dublin, who is greatly concerned about the axing of this programme and mentioned to me that the Deputy Leader might also have an interest in it. I regularly listen to "Gloria". It is a wonderful programme presented by Tim Thurston, a gentleman with a lovely broadcasting voice and an extensive knowledge of remote areas of religious music. Professor McConnell who I think is publicly acknowledged as quite the campaigning atheist pointed out in his letter to me that "Gloria" was a celebration of the sacred music of Europe, the origin of all classical music in our tradition, which is interesting. He also states in his letter that it is one of the finest programmes he has ever had to pleasure to listen to. I agree with him. The presenter plays music by people such as Hildegard von Bingen, which many listeners might previously have not heard. He has introduced me to a range of music from the mediaeval to baroque and classical music. Some 4,000 people have signed a petition to have Lyric FM reverse its decision to axe the programme. Attached to Professor McConnell's letter to me was a letter was from a Mr. Keogan to The Irish Times, from which I would like to quote one paragraph: It states:

Gloria is, however, about much more than just choral music; it is about excellence in broadcasting; about challenging the listener to expand his or her interest to far beyond the popular classics; in short, it is what public service broadcasting should be. Is this the issue?

If it is a question of popularity, I think there is a wide audience for "Gloria".

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

Yes, I am, if that is the only way I can raise it in the House. However, I am not expecting a debate on it. In terms of popularity, a large number of people listen to this programme on Sunday mornings, unlike the programme about modern music, which is an hour or two of unmerciful, thumps, bangs, whistles, squelches, belches and God Almighty knows what. I switch it off every time it comes to this thing about modern music. Let us have some respect for the graceful traditions of Christian Europe.

I welcome the announcement by the Insolvency Service of Ireland of the increase of 70% in 2015 in the number of people achieving permanent solutions to their insolvency problems. This has been welcomed by New Beginnings and Fianna Fáil. A number of people have credited the improvement in those achieving permanent solutions as per the Insolvency Service of Ireland to the removal of the bank veto and the change in the term of bankruptcy to a one-year term. It seems to be quite obvious that it softened the cough, to some extent, of financial institutions. They seem to be prepared to accept solutions now that they rejected in the past.

I take on board the criticisms of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation. The organisation has stated the numbers actually achieving settlement through the Insolvency Service of Ireland are far too low. In the region of 1,700 people have had their issues resolved. When we compare that figure with the numbers of people in severe debt, it represents something in the region of 1.2%, which is far too low. Part of the reason is that it has been said people do not understand the Insolvency Service of Ireland and what it has to offer, nor do they understand personal insolvency arrangements or the issues around bankruptcy. Therefore, they are not coming forward to use the service.

I am calling on the Insolvency Service of Ireland to take this issue on board. I call on representatives of the service to explain to people in their communities, where they will have an opportunity to engage with them, what the issues are and how the service can be of assistance. I acknowledge that they have begun to do this. I know that towards the end of last year they announced publicly that they would go to the courts and approach borrowers personally who had cases coming before the Circuit Court. That is a positive development but one that represents the tip of the iceberg. No community or community organisation of any description in the country should be overlooked. Where people are in trouble, they should be reached out to by the Insolvency Service of Ireland and resources should be made available to ensure that will happens.

I echo the comments made by my friend and colleague, Senator Mark Daly, about the Government's neglect of rural Ireland. The people who live in rural Ireland - I happen to live in County Leitrim, but this is mirrored throughout the country - can see at first hand the impact Government policies have had, including the closure of Garda stations and the threat to post offices. I hope the Bobby Kerr report will awaken someone in government to take positive initiatives to ensure the rural post office network is maintained.

Another aspect of my contribution on the neglect of rural Ireland comes with the damning report from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the lack of funding for the maintenance of the road network. On many occasions in this House in recent years I railed against what I saw as under-investment. It has been brought home to me repeatedly as a member of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. Committee members have heard first-hand from the various stakeholders involved in maintaining the road network that there has been underfunding for years. Let us put that against the Government spin to the effect that the economy is rapidly recovering and there is now money available. We need only look at the auction politics being engaged in by the Labour Party and Fine Gael. The latest from those in the Labour Party is that they are going to reduce college fees by €500. Who is going to believe them?

Are they going to sign a pledge on that one?

Exactly. Who is going to believe those in the Labour Party who say they are going to reduce university fees by €500?

It is Alice in Wonderland.

It is "Ripley's Believe It or Not!"

The idea of trying to buy the public when, at the same time, the road network is crumbling beneath our feet is baffling. Representatives from the National Transport Authority told members at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications in the past 12 months that the authority needed €300 million per year simply to maintain the network. Despite this, the figures that have come out in the report from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport suggest there has been a rapid decline in investment in the road network at national primary level and at national secondary load level, which is perhaps more insidious. This means tjat there are roads in my county and other counties in rural Ireland that are beginning to crumble, especially given the rainfall of the past two months. Many of us are old enough to remember the men who used to be out on the roads with a shovel. People used to wonder what they were doing. What they were doing, until the service was withdrawn as a result of lack of Government investment, was clearing drains and gullies on roadways to ensure the surfaces were maintained. I wish we had enough time to bring in the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to answer these questions. They are important questions on issues that are impacting on people living in small communities. I do not believe the Government has either the heart or the soul to commit to making their lives better.

I support Senator Martin Conway's call for a debate before we end this term with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport on all the positive things that have happened in tourism in recent years. When the Government took over in 2011, it rightly identified the significant contribution tourism could make to the economic recovery. It set about investing and marketing Ireland as a tourist destination. We have seen record numbers of tourists in recent years and the outlook for 2016 looks particularly promising. One significant measure taken was the introduction of the 9% VAT rate for tourism related activity and the hospitality sector. That made a major contribution to making Ireland attractive. However, we need to reiterate the warning to those in the hotel sector, in particular, that they need to continue to keep their end of the bargain. The Minister for Finance made some noises recently putting them on notice that the 9% VAT rate might not remain indefinitely. There is evidence, especially in the capital and some of the larger centres of population, that the hotel sector is hiking prices, in particular when significant events are taking place in cities and major towns. If those involved in the hospitality sector wish to retain the 9% rate, they need to look at themselves and keep their prices in check.

Senator Paschal Mooney referred to the publication yesterday of the final report on the post office network. We all want to see a strengthened post office network in communities, a network that can provide the type of service people require. I very much welcome that a post office renewal process, as recommended in the report, will be established immediately and will conclude its work within six months. In particular, I welcome the Minister announcing that the Government has agreed to support the introduction of an electronic payment account in 2016. If the post office network is to survive, it must be able to provide a range of electronic transactions. I certainly hope the work being done in the coming six months will ensure and secure what remains of the post office network throughout rural Ireland.

I second Senator David Norris's motion. Truthfully, every time I read the words "without debate", I shiver. What are we doing here if we are going to take things without debate? I can understand the need for it sometimes when certain regulations are coming through. However, in this case it is a motion on the report of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges on the amendment of Standing Orders 90 and 105 and the adoption of new Standing Orders 108A to 108E, inclusive, and a Schedule to Standing Orders.

That seems to relate to this House and is the sort of issue that we should be debating. I urge the Deputy Leader to accept Senator David Norris's proposal that we debate it today.

One of our concerns during the years has been the length of time that it takes for regulations to be implemented under legislation that we pass. The Seanad passed the Construction Contracts Act 2013 just ten hours before the new Government took office five years ago. Although I will not say nothing has happened, the Act has not been commenced since. Yesterday, I learned that it would be commenced within the coming months. At least we are getting somewhere with it, but I cannot get over how long it takes to get things done.

I wish to address Senator Mark Daly's concerns about rural Ireland and Senator Michael Mullins's reference to post offices. There are measures that we could take to ensure rural Ireland survives. Not all of them would cost money but some would. If rural Ireland is to survive and thrive in the years ahead, we must do something. We have the answer.

I wish to raise an issue that I mentioned previously. It concerns legislation being introduced across Europe to tackle ISIS killers who are returning to Europe after slaughtering people in Syria. They were welcomed into a number of countries, but most European nations have now introduced legislation to ensure judges can debar such persons and remove their citizenships. We do not have that ability, but we should. Austria and Italy have strong legislation. If we are not careful, we will almost end up welcoming people who are returning to, or coming to, Europe having killed for ISIS. We could do something about this. We should at least give judges the right to remove people's passports, with which we have been generous in the past.

I welcome the publication yesterday of the second national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence 2016 t0 2021. I commend the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, for her efforts in this regard and, in particular, giving political priority to an issue that will always to be the fore of society. Abuse permeates every section of society. Importantly, the strategy is victim centred and highlights the devastating impact that such violence can have on victims. A wide range of supports such as counselling, information services and emotional supports will be available to victims. The strategy also recognises that victims can sometimes be placed through secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system. With this in mind, some Senators may know that Sir Keir Starmer, a world-renowned human rights lawyer, identified a number of failings in my cases and made a number of recommendations that could help future sexual abuse victims coming through the criminal justice system in the North. In this regard, I am pleased to say I will meet the North's Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Barra McGrory, on Monday when he will update me on those recommendations that he has implemented and those that he will implement in the future.

To put it on Senators' radar, Rape Crisis Network Ireland, One in Four, Women's Aid and I will host an event next Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Buswell's Hotel to update those politicians who are going forward for election to this and the Lower House. They are strongly calling for funds to be made available for a SAVI II report, as SAVI I has been such a long time in the offing that we do not have an up-to-date picture of sexual violence. I ask all Senators who can make themselves available to listen to that presentation.

Fad is atáimid inár suí anseo ar maidin, tá naonúr teaghlach de chuid an Lucht Siúil ag dul isteach chuig Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe ag rá go bhfuil siad gan dídean.

Nine Traveller families from Galway who have been living at a dump for the past six months and face eviction tomorrow must declare themselves homeless to Galway City Council because of a failure by local authorities in the west to deal with the crisis in Traveller accommodation. They were in an inappropriate place, which we highlighted previously, with the site's owner being left with no option but to have them evicted. Responsibility for Traveller accommodation lies with local authorities and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Will the Deputy Leader implore her colleague, the Minister in that Department, to enter into negotiations immediately with the Galway city manager to find a temporary resolution for these families? They will be declared homeless and end up on the State's books unless something is done. They have found themselves in a diabolical situation.

I highlight an issue that has arisen in my travels around rural Galway. The home care system has been privatised and the number of home helpers employed by the HSE has dwindled. The race to the bottom in the sector is a major issue. The rates paid to people to work in the companies running the services are too low and finding workers is proving difficult. That people must travel between houses for appointments without being paid travel expenses or for the time they spend travelling means that the work is not worth their while. The fallout has seen older people left in hospitals when they would be able to return home were home care available. People who work in health services in the west tell me that the situation is chronic. It shows the failure of the system's privatisation. There is a myriad of crises in the health sector, but this one needs to be addressed and I call for a debate with the Minister for Health on it. If that is not possible, the concerns we are raising could at least be raised with him in order to see what might be done in the short term. Some patients in the hospital system in Galway cannot return home because home care is not available following the failed privatisation initiative.

I wish to raise the issue of drugs and criminality. Senators heard about the terrible incident in Cork this week involving six people who were left in hospital by the drug 2C-B. They were so psychotic that they were naked, the walls were covered in blood and they did not even realise that one of them was having a heart attack on the floor. This morning on "Today with Sean O'Rourke" RTE ran a sad segment about children in Limerick city who were on Valium, Xanax, benzo, spice and TC, which are synthetic drugs. Cannabis and cocaine cost €50 per bag, but a child with lunch money can afford these tablets. A drug dealer in Limerick might be a boy in a nice track suit with a packet of new fags in his or her pocket because he or she can afford to buy these drugs and sell them for €10 at €2 per tablet. One will be out of it for the day and end up being sick psychotically. An articulate 20 year old who is now out of that scene was interviewed. He stated there was no hope for young people, including his friends. They take these drugs to stay out of it and remain numb because they do not believe there is any hope. This is our country. In the United Kingdom the Psychoactive Substances Bill will go through Parliament. It seeks to alter the situation by applying a blanket ban on anything that might be conceived as a mood-altering substance. Possession for personal use will not be an offence, but those found guilty of making or supplying the substances could face up to seven years in prison. The net of the new law is cast deliberately wide and applies to any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. This excludes nicotine, food, caffeine, alcohol and medical products. Two new substances appear on the European market every week. Beautiful, clean laboratories in China are making these drugs every day. Much of this drug-making is funding terrorism. The Minister for Justice and Equality must attend the House to debate this issue in the next Government's term. Something must be done for our youth because "Love/Hate" is the reality.

I support Senators David Norris and Feargal Quinn. It is appalling that we would allow changes to the privileges and practices of this House without a debate.

I have spoken many times on the issue of speaking time for Senators such as myself who are not members of groups or the way the House divides on party political grounds rather than on vocational panels which is what we are elected to. It would be healthy to discuss these issues in the open.

I wish to speak about teachers, lecturers, institutes of technology and technological universities. We are about to have a teachers' strike and nobody is saying a word about it because we are heading towards a general election and nobody wants to speak about things that are nasty. We need to have engagement with teachers. The system is crumbling. We need engagement and discussions with them.

In the rush for technological universities I ask the Leader to confirm that the Technological Universities Bill 2015 will not be brought before the House before the general election. We cannot rush a Bill of that magnitude through this House in a matter of a couple of days purely to satisfy the electoral ambitions of somebody or other on the other side of the House. It is simply outrageous. At the Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection yesterday some very distinguished academics appeared before it who all agreed that the move towards technological universities was ill-advised in the way it was being done. One point made by Dr. Greg Foley from DCU was that we would finish up with 16 universities in the country and no alternative pathway. The focus is on level 8 qualifications and we are pushing people through universities, towards a level 8 qualification, who are not sufficiently able to reach that level. The focus on level 6 and level 7 qualifications has been removed. We no longer have that focus. I accept that the Government has done much to assist apprenticeships, but we need to broaden the vocational base of education in Ireland. The Technological Universities Bill 2015 needs to be set aside until the next Government is in place. We have in the Visitors Gallery a number of people from Cork Institute of Technology who would like to meet Members of both Houses to outline some of their concerns. I ask Members that if they meet them during the course of the day to give them a few moments of their time.

I thought I had better rebut some of the comments made. First, Senator Paschal Mooney referred to rural Ireland being forgotten about by the Government. The fact is Fianna Fáil closed more Garda stations and post offices than the Government.

Would the Senator agree that the Government accelerated the process?

In the past four and a half to five years employment has gone way up, while unemployment has come down to below 9%.

What about emigration?

Senator Eamonn Coghlan to continue, without interruption, please.

Recent statistics show that job creation in rural Ireland stands up as much as it does in urban Ireland.

Under the 2012 Action Plan for Jobs 60% more jobs were created in rural Ireland.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

I just want to point out the facts.

Does the Senator have a question for the Deputy Leader?

It is all about keeping the recovery going.

I hope the Senator sends that story to rural Ireland.

Senator Mark Daly's comments-----

Senator Eamonn Coghlan to continue, without interruption, please.

That is going down well in rural Ireland. The Senator is losing votes by the second.

Senator Eamonn Coghlan to continue, without interruption, please.

Coming from a Dublin-based Senator, that is going down a storm in rural Ireland. The Senator should keep saying it and he will-----

Does Senator Eamonn Coghlan have a question for the Deputy Leader?

The Senator should keep it going.

Like Senator Mark Daly, I would like to refer to "The Soldier's Song".

On a point of information, is there an election in the offing by any chance?

Does Senator Eamonn Coghlan have a question for the Deputy Leader?

I did not get to speak yet. I only wanted to pass a comment on Senator Paschal Mooney's comments.

The Senator is almost out of time. Does he have a question for the Leader?

Yes, I have. In reference to Senator Mark Daly's comments on Amhrán na bhFiann, "The Soldier's Song" - this will be a little longwinded because the Cathaoirleach would not let me in because of all the interruptions - I was surprised to hear that the copyright was not protected. The Senator referred to me standing and listening to Amhrán na bhFiann at a time in one's life when hearing it was the most exhilarating, thrilling, pride-filled feeling. It is a signification of some kind of coronation or achievement when one hears the national anthem; therefore, I am surprised copyright has not been protected. When I thought about it, I was saying to myself people would not know who wrote the song.

The Senator is way over time.

Peadar Kearney wrote it in 1907 and in 1923 Liam Ó Rinn gave the Irish rendition, but it is correct that we need to copyright for the national anthem. I support this in every way. The Government bought it in 1933 for £1,000 and, unfortunately, copyright ceased 40 years after Peadar Kearney had passed away. I call for a debate on how we can protect Amhrán na bhFiann, the national anthem.

I refer briefly to my colleague, Senator Eamonn Coghlan, who is living in the suburban reality of Dublin. It is not the same in County Donegal or the west.

The Senator came to Dublin and look at all the jobs that are-----

The jobs are not being created.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill to continue, without interruption, please.

The reality is that 30% of the 18 to 30 year age group in my county have emigrated since 2011. The opportunities they are obtaining are not in this jurisdiction, they are overseas. We cannot say that is a good statistic.

That was then; this is now.

That is only one county. The figure comes from the CSO. It is not a good statistic. I am not making a political point, but I am expressing the reality. Rural Ireland is struggling. The economic recovery that we see is predominantly in the capital and interurban areas. The focus of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland has been on job creation in urban areas, not rural areas. Yes, there have been opportunities and jobs have been created in rural areas, but they have been created because people have been willing to take a risk themselves, not through the intervention of any Government policy.

The issue of the insolvency legislation was raised by Senator Aideen Hayden who said it was not working. The reason it is not working is that the banks have a veto over the insolvency legislation because the banks, through rent seeking behaviour, were allowed to write the insolvency legislation which was supported by the Government in these Houses. It is not protecting the ordinary consumer who is in debt, negative equity or personal debt.

The other issue that is emerging and was debated in the other House last night is that of State board appointments. It is not unique to Labour Party leaders that they are being appointed or reappointed to State boards. State boards are being stuffed in the last days of the Government with people who are aligned to the Government parties. That is wrong. Yes, it happened under Fianna Fáil. It was wrong then and it is wrong now because State boards should be filled with people who have some level of expertise in corporate governance. I refer, in particular, to one State board, the Irish Greyhound Board, which is in receipt of almost €15 million from the State, or €285,000 per year. Its corporate governance failings have been highlighted in an Indecon report published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. One of the recommendations made in that report was that those who served on the board should not do so for any more than two terms. The Minister of State at the Department, Deputy Tom Hayes, has reappointed to the board a crony for a third term who does not have the expertise set out in the Indecon report.

Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

I support the call made by my colleagues for a debate on tourism. I acknowledge the achievements of tourism and the number of jobs created. In doing so I acknowledge the voluntary contribution of a total of 850 local communities, north, south, east and west, and the part they have played which at times is not recognised. In making their towns and villages better places in which to live and better places for visitors to visit and stay, they have created hundreds of jobs throughout the country.

I can instance my home town of Carlingford-----

That is a village.

-----where in excess of 400 jobs have been created by voluntary organisations that have worked for the betterment of their community. There would be great celebrations in any town or village on hearing an announcement of 400 jobs. One of the Senators instanced his county of Clare and the Loop Head peninsula. What that community has done has been recognised worldwide and the area has been listed as one of the top 100 green areas in the country. The scheme was initiated by Gabriel Keating who is one of our county council colleagues in County Clare. He used his own initiative, but he was helped by local communities in the region. I cannot emphasise enough the valuable work done by voluntary organisations. Some of them have worked for the entire winter to make their towns and villages beautiful, primarily for their own benefit but also to attract visitors. I seek a debate on the voluntary sector when again I will acknowledge the contribution made by volunteers.

I agree with Senator Gerard P. Craughwell on the question of debating the Technological Universities Bill. It would be remiss in the long-term interests of the country's educational prospects if we were to rush to put in place structures about which there is great uncertainty. I understand how the concept of technological universities can seem attractive, particularly from a political perspective. In the interests of the long-term educational needs of our society, there must be serious reflection on the legislation. There is a lot of academic research to indicate that it may well be an incorrect destination that we are attempting to take and, therefore, we should proceed slowly and carefully. In the past 40 or 50 years great advances have been made in the education system. Now, with a worldwide comparison, worrying trends have emerged. We must ensure every institute, college or university is worthy of its name and the highest academic standards must apply. Undoubtedly, there is a place in society and the education system for every student, but we must match each student's needs with the best courses on offer. Just claiming that one can, willy-nilly, have colleges here, there and everywhere does not do anybody any favour; therefore, we must proceed in a cautious fashion.

I concur with the welcome extended to the Kerr report on the future of the rural post office network. I hope its recommendations will be acted on. There is the broader issue of rural development. The regeneration of the rural economy and rural Ireland is necessary. There is an almost daily tour of Ministers at present and this has been the case in recent months. I would call it An Action Plan for Jobs tour. There is no doubt that worthy announcements have been made but they could have emanated from the Department. I would like an action tour that focused on rural development where three or four Ministers visited the provinces, counties and regions and we could talk about putting in place a plan for regenerating rural Ireland. We must accept that we cannot simply go back to some of the structures that were in place previously. If we want a balanced country, we must ensure towns and villages are supported. A big national plan in this regard is necessary and I hope the next Government will take the issue on board. There can be a future for rural Ireland and rural communities, but only if it is planned, supported and funded using a proper structure. I hope the matter will be taken very seriously by the next Government.

I join my party's acting leader, Senator Mark Daly, in acknowledging that today marks the 97th anniversary of the opening session of the First Dáil, a body which embraced the Proclamation and the vision of our patriots of 1916. I refer to one of his comments. He said Ireland was ranked as the seventh best place in which to live according to the UN Human Development Index. As he said, such a ranking is welcome. Ireland is one of the best places in which to live, provided people are not unfortunate to be newly married couples who want to access shelter or do not want to provide shelter either for themselves, their partners or families. Ireland is okay as long as a person is not looking for a house. As I have said in the House before, if a person is on a low income, local authorities will not accept him or her as a qualifying applicant on the housing list, even though he or she has no hope of providing or securing a house for himself or herself other than renting. If a person is a mortgage holder who has had difficulty in meeting repayments, the Government will throw him or her to the wolves of the financial sector and the Four Courts. If a person is endeavouring to get together enough money to buy a house, he or she will be unable to secure a mortgage from most of the financial institutions. Obviously, if a person is sick or elderly, he or she will be unable to access health services. Ireland is grand if a person does not belong to any of the categories I have outlined. Surely the vision of the Proclamation, the people of 1916 and the Members of the first Dáil - we are their successors - is one we should be embracing, especially as we approach the centenary of the First Dáil and commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.

I ask the Deputy Leader - I have asked for it before - for a good, open-ended debate on housing. I know that time is short and we may only have a week or two left, but there is nothing stopping us from fitting in statements on housing. A far greater commitment needs to be given than we have seen given by the Government in the past five years. I do not view housing as a political issue, but it is important to the people that together we articulate the needs they have in this regard. Unfortunately, the housing problem has led to other issues in relationship difficulties simply because people cannot find proper accommodation. I am not just talking about the RTE television programme broadcast the other night. We did not need such a programme because anybody who works in his or her constituency to deal with the average person who comes to him or her for representation knows exactly how bad the situation is and the extent to which it has been allowed to deteriorate. I appeal to the Deputy Leader for a debate on housing. I also appeal for good representation in the House to ensure some spark is set under the Government in its dying days and in order that the incoming Government will at least start with greater energy and determination to solve the problem.

I was somewhat inspired when I heard the interplay between the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Senators on various issues, including the national anthem. I kept thinking that perhaps we should entitle today's proceedings "Civil War: The Musical".

On a very serious note, it is probably a well known fact at this stage that I am unlikely to run for election to this House again. In reflecting on the five years I have been a Member, the single, greatest and most colossal disappointment I have had, which in a five-year timeframe is a microcosm of the disappointment I have felt over the 22 years since I came back to Ireland, has been our complete failure to address the structural problems in the health service. When one hears something like we have heard in the past 24 hours, that in the second largest city in the country, in what is either the largest or second largest acute hospital in the country, all elective surgery has been cancelled - I know I am speaking to an audience who, from the medical and health profession point of view, are largely a lay audience - this is abnormal as abnormal gets. This is unprecedented. This is mad. This is nuts. This is crazy. This is the greatest illustration one could possibly have of a system that has failed. It is not a Third World health system. I will not use emotional language. I have seen Third World hospitals. We do not have a Third World health system. We have a First World health system but one that is strictly third class and mediocre. There has been a complete, absolute and utter failure of all attempts to reform it.

I endorsed the Government, although I am sure my ringing endorsement had nothing to do with it being elected, and I endorsed the potential coalition partners in three consecutive elections because in each of them they stated they would reform the health service when my colleagues in Fianna Fáil had a different plan and wanted to redevelop the existing structure, with which I respectfully disagreed because I thought plan B was much better - to break up the health service and start from scratch.

There was colossal disappointment on hearing, about two thirds of the way through the current Oireachtas, that they had basically given up on that plan.

I apologise if I sound like a broken record, but people need to think about the sheer abnormality of having all the elective surgery in a major hospital cancelled. It is crazy. One can talk about the slippery roads in Cork last Friday and people falling on the Mardyke and all of that, but the system should be able to absorb that activity. Other systems absorb occurrences of multi-vehicle car crashes and terrible epidemics. The situation is simply wrong and it is not just in Cork. It is very close to happening in other hospitals in the State. I have walked through the emergency department of St. Vincent's University Hospital on a number of occasions in recent months and sometimes wonder how it would pass a fire inspection, never mind a health inspection. One sees people having to move one trolley to move between them to get to the next patient. I ask that when all the Members are back in the House in the next term they think about this situation.

In the past five years a number of Bills have been advanced in this House and been allowed to remain on the Order Paper. As they are not Government-sponsored Bills, they will die. I feel strongly about this. When Members propose these Bills without pushing them, it becomes an optical exercise. I ask the Deputy Leader to designate several hours some day next week which may be our last sitting week in order that we may at least go through the formalities and, if the Government does not accept these Bills, reject them. I ask the Deputy Leader to allow No. 55, Longer Healthy Living Bill, which everyone to whom I have spoken thinks is really progressive which could go some way towards fixing many problems in the health service and the wider public service to proceed some time next week in order that it would have the opportunity to be accepted or rejected.

The Senator is out of time.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister for Health come to the House to discuss the emergency in Cork.

I second that amendment.

Ireland is facing a major choice in the next few weeks and is currently facing a severe crisis. We have a Government in place which seems more than happy to blame the previous Government for problems that arise and which is more than happy to take credit for any good that comes. However, what shocked people most this week was the callous response of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, when asked about Monday's television programme "My Homeless Family". He suggested it was a priority for the next Government. The Government does not care. It is doing its very best to ride a wave of glory to seek a coronation and get into power the next time, but in reality it has achieved very little. It has implemented a plan which was devised by the late Brian Lenihan when Minister for Finance. At the time, the plan was bitterly opposed by the parties which form the current Government and they voted against it time and again, but they have performed a U-turn. It is heartbreaking for the majority of the nation to see the way the homeless crisis has developed and the lack of shame on the the Government benches in the Seanad and the Dáil on this matter. Of course, people want low taxes and the recovery to continue, but they also want basic decency in the country. They do not want people and families in hotels and do not want them in tents, but that is what has arisen in society. They do not want crime to run rampant. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, said this morning that crime was a feature of modern life. Crime and homelessness are not, however, an acceptable feature of modern life.

Shame on the Minister, Deputy Brendan Howlin, and the Government for putting the problems of today into tomorrow, while blaming past Governments for any issue that arises. They are not fit for government and deserve to lose office. I am confident that in the next few weeks the public will put the Government out of office and that there will be a new broom. There will be great responsibilities on the new Government to solve the homeless crisis. If the Government is not prepared to do it and is prepared to sit back and ignore what is going on, it should be aware that the people are not prepared to sit back. The next Government certainly will not sit back. I wish it to be said in the House that Fianna Fáil is leading the charge to be the alternative Government. We are in business; we are back in the game; we want to be in government and have a programme to deliver, at the heart of which is decency.

I will respond first to Senator Mark Daly and the other Senators who referred to the situation in rural Ireland, the rural GP practice scheme in particular. The Government is committed to ensuring patients throughout the State will continue to have access to GP services, especially in remote rural areas and also in certain urban areas. The rural GP practice is top of the agenda in the discussions on the new GP contract under way with the Irish Medical Organisation. In fact, Ireland has a very low rate of GP vacancies nationwide. As of 1 January, there were 15 GMS lists without a permanent GP in place out of a national total of more than 2,400, which represents a figure of only 0.06%. Of the 15 vacancies, only five are in rural areas. Half of the 15 vacancies are recent and have occurred in the past 12 months. However, each of the lists has either a locum or a neighbouring GP who has taken it over and is providing the full range of GP services for patients. Patients continue to have access to GP and primary care services. I hope this allays the concerns of Senators about this very specific issue.

On the broader issue of unemployment in rural areas, the Government has consistently stated job creation has been a top priority since it took office in 2011 when the rate of unemployment was over 15%. We have seen a dramatic drop in the level of unemployment, which must be welcomed, regardless of which side of the House we are on. Action Plan for Jobs 2016 was launched this week. It was noted that the first Action Plan for Jobs was launched with a target of creating 100,000 extra jobs by 2016. Many people, including some Members across the floor of the House, criticised that plan at the time as being unrealistic. However, according to the figures of the independent Central Statistics Office, the target was hit 21 months early in 2015. There are now more than 135,000 additional people at work today than when the first Action Plan for Jobs was launched. That is a significant and remarkable achievement. The Action Plan for Jobs 2016 has set a target of creating 50,000 extra jobs this year. To achieve it 304 actions are outlined. They are particularly focused on the creation of jobs outside the Dublin area. Following on the successful roll-out of the regional jobs plans, further actions to support regional job creation will be supported by funds of €530 million. There is also a national cluster initiative focused on strengthening rural initiatives to ensure job creation. We can see an impressive roll-out of jobs within the agrifood industry, as well as the food and drink industry.

Senator Mark Daly acknowledged the UN Human Development Index which has produced the very welcome statistic that Ireland is the seventh best place in the world in which to live, which is great news for us all.

With his customary eloquence, the Senator also spoke about the commemorations of the 1916 Rising this year, to which we all look forward. In particular, we look forward to the 97th, rather than the 98th, anniversary of the first meeting of the First Dáil in January 1919. Colleagues will recall that in 2009 a significant commemoration was held in the Mansion House and I hope we will have a similarly significant commemoration in 2019 to mark the centenary.

The proposed National Anthem Protection Bill 2016 was referred to. I have not seen it, but, as Senator Martin Conway said, it appears to be eminently worthy of discussion among the Whips and deserves support. I disagree with Senator John Crown when he says there was a civil war on the issue. Any colleague who spoke on either side of the House was very supportive of the principle of the Bill.

Senator Martin Conway in calling for a debate on tourism pointed to the great success of The Gathering and the Wild Atlantic Way, which has driven job creation and local enterprise across the west. I agree with the Senator in his call for a debate on Brexit, a matter of huge significance for Ireland. While we will look to arrange debates on issues raised by colleagues, there will be a full legislative schedule in the next two weeks. As such, it will be difficult to find time for the making of statements.

A number of issues were raised by Senator David Norris. He referred to a meeting he had today with members of the TUI from Cork Institute of Technology whom other colleagues and I have also met. I have a very strong personal connection with Cork Institute of Technology which is a superb third level institution which offers a high quality education. It eminently deserves technological university status. The Technological Universities Bill was referred to by some colleagues and the Government has been pushed in recent years to bring it forward.

By people from all corners but especially in the south east. There has been massive momentum behind it, but it is important to get its terms right.

I understand Senator Gerard P. Craughwell, among others, sought information on the timing of its introduction. I am informed that the Bill is due to complete its passage through the Dáil next week, but I am not certain if we will have it in the Seanad before the end of this term. I am making inquiries, but that is all I can say for now. The TUI is engaged with the Minister for Education and Skills and officials from the Department met delegates yesterday. There is ongoing engagement on amendments the TUI has sought to the Bill, particularly to address concerns it has raised with all of us about the terms and conditions of its members in the event of a merger. I have engaged with it on this matter, as have other colleagues.

Senator David Norris also referred to No. 1 on the Order Paper, the motion regarding the Twelfth Report of the Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges. The Senator is entitled to propose an amendment in that respect, but the meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges was concerned with House business and was not a matter for the Leader's office. We had a full meeting yesterday and, unfortunately, a number of members were absent. We received legal advice, examined the amendments proposed to Standing Orders 90 and 105 and considered the adoption of new Standing Orders 108A to 108E, inclusive. That is the subject matter of No. 1 on the Order Paper. I am very happy to inform the House that we were told the amendments proposed changes which were technical in nature but important because they would provide the protection of privilege for official Seanad documents and the personal papers of Senators. They give Standing Order status to a rule already present in Article 15.10 of the Constitution which states, "Each House shall make its own rules and standing orders ... to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members". Despite this provision in the Constitution, neither the Dáil nor the Seanad had Standing Orders dealing with the issue of privilege for private papers or official documents. In the case of Howlin v. Morris the High Court criticised both Houses for their failure in this regard. On foot of the requirements of the High Court ruling, as well as the relevant provision in the Constitution, the new Standing Orders are being introduced in both the Dáil and the Seanad to bolster, or confirm, the existing practice to provide privilege for these documents. There is nothing new in them and they are available for all Members to see.

That may be the case, but the matter is eminently worthy of debate.

We obtained legal advice on them and I am not sure anyone could disagree with their contents.

I do not say that, but there is an historical context in which the matter could be placed. The Deputy Leader referred to a High Court case.

It was Howlin v. Morris. The new Standing Orders are straightforward and simply give effect to the constitutional imperative under Article 15.10. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment proposed to the Order of Business.

The Senator also referred to the axing of the RTE programme "Gloria" on Lyric FM. This matter was raised by our eminent colleague Professor David McConnell. I agree that it is one of concern. Perhaps the Senator might raise it as a Commencement matter.

Perhaps we might share it.

We could.

Senator Aideen Hayden welcomed the increased in the number of people achieving permanent solutions through the Insolvency Service of Ireland. I agree with what she said in that regard.

Senator Paschal Mooney raised the matter of the neglect of rural Ireland. I think I have dealt with that issue in full. The Senator spoke about auction politics, but it was political rhetoric, rather than something that required a response from the Leader.

I was curious about the offer of €500.

Is Deputy Ruairí Quinn going to sign it?

In the interests of unity, I am going to agree with the Senators. I do not agree with auction politics which we are seeing from all kinds of people at present.

There is no credibility surrounding the offer.

Senator Michael Mullins supported Senator Martin Conway in calling for a debate on tourism. He also spoke about the need to achieve value for money. I agree entirely with him.

Senator Feargal Quinn seconded Senator David Norris's proposed amendment to the Order of Business. I hope I have given Members a clear idea of what is contained in the amendments from the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Senator Feargal Quinn also spoke about the neglect of rural Ireland. He further asked about people returning to Ireland having engaged with ISIS, the so-called "Islamic State", and the imposition of sanctions. In this regard, he raised the possibility of the removal of passports. He may know that at EU level new transnational offences are being drafted which would apply in the scenario he described where people had moved from EU member states to fight for ISIS and commit atrocities in Syria. While the matter is being dealt with at EU level, I agree that it is also one for member states. We heard yesterday about the issue at the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.

Senator Máiría Cahill welcomed the new national strategy from the Minister for Justice and Equality to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. I absolutely agree with her. Today, when we debate the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015, we will discuss some very important supports that will be put in place for victims and complainants in sexual offences cases. It is welcome that the Senator is meeting the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland and that she has called a meeting for next Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Buswells Hotel on the provision of support for the victims of sexual offences. There has been a great deal of work done recently in Britain on the use of intermediaries for child witnesses in sexual offences cases and this is something we need to consider in this jurisdiction in the context of future legislation.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh spoke about a specific and serious issue in Galway involving the eviction of a number of Traveller families and asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, to enter into negotiations with the county manager. This is an issue the local authorities are dealing with and I ask the Senator to table it as a Commencement matter. Clearly, there is real concern among local authorities following the appalling fire last year in which so many children and adults were killed.

The Senator also raised the matter of home helps. It is a specific issue where individuals are unable to be sent home from hospital because of the lack of home help. I ask the Senator to consider tabling it as a Commencement matter to be debated with the Minister for Health.

Senator Mary Ann O'Brien raised the serious issue of drugs and criminality, noting the very tragic incident in Cork where a number of people are in hospital as a result of the ingestion of a particular drug. In this context, the Senator referred to the law in the United Kingdom, particularly the Psychoactive Substances Bill. The Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality held hearings on drug policy, following which it produced a report. It took a similar approach in calling for an end to criminalisation for the possession of small amounts of drugs, believing use of the criminal justice system might not be the most appropriate approach in that regard. The report is under review by the Government and we can look further at the matter.

Senator Gerard P. Craughwell asked about the Technological Universities Bill. I have dealt with that matter.

Senator Eamonn Coghlan spoke about rural Ireland and helpfully rebutted some of the points made by other Senators.

I hope he prints and circulates in rural Ireland what he said.

It will be a good news letter.

It is a case of all alive and well in rural Ireland.

I will deliver it to those living in Finn Valley.

Senator Eamonn Coghlan also noted that Fianna Fáil had closed more Garda stations and rural post offices than the Government.

It has nothing to do with the Deputy Leader; she would never say anything like that.

Senator Eamonn Coghlan also expressed support for the protection of the national anthem.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill also raised the issue of the neglect of rural Ireland. I think I have dealt with that matter. The Senator also referred to a specific matter related to State board appointments. Again, it would be more appropriate to raise that matter in the Commencement debate.

Senator Terry Brennan spoke about tourism. In this regard, he called for recognition of the role of voluntary activists and community workers. It is an important point to make.

Senator Paul Bradford asked about the Technological Universities Bill. I have dealt with that matter.

Senator Jim Walsh referred to the anniversary of the first meeting of the First Dáil and called for a debate on housing. The Leader responded in full to a question on housing and homelessness earlier this week, after a number of Members had looked for a debate on the subject. There is a great deal of work being done to ensure we deal with what is a very serious crisis. The current funding allocation for the provision of emergency accommodation for homeless persons was increased in budget 2016 by €17 million, bringing the level of Exchequer support to €70 million, an increase of 56% since 2014. Many initiatives have been taken. In 2015 over 13,000 units were delivered across all social housing programmes, an 86% increase on the figure for 2014. The target in 2016 is to deliver over 17,000 units. Therefore, a very ambitious social housing programme is in place, but, as anyone who saw the television programme on Monday night will know, there is still a very serious problem and we need to move swiftly to deal with it. As the Leader has already done, I will seek to arrange a debate on the issue.

Senator John Crown described the failure to reform the health service as a disappointment. He acknowledges that there have been massive reforms, notwithstanding the failure to introduce the universal health insurance system that it was hoped to put in place. There has been the provision of free GP care for children and the elderly. There have also been very significant changes in hospital governance, as well as investment in primary care services.

The Senator also raised the issue of the taking of Private Members' Bills. We can seek to make time available next week to bring forward Private Members' Bills still on the Order Paper.

I urge the Senator not to lose heart. In 2011, at the time of the last general election, I had a Private Members' Bill on the Order Paper to prohibit female genital mutilation. I am happy to say it was restored to the Order Paper by the Government in 2011 and is now in force.

The Deputy Leader is a Government Senator.

Not at the time the general election was called. Therefore, there is hope for these Bills.

Senator Thomas Byrne spoke about homelessness. I think I have dealt with that matter.

I cannot accept the amendment to the Order of Business proposed by Senator John Crown.

Senator David Norris has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That No. 1 be taken with debate." 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 again put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 24.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Cahill, Máiría.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Gerard P. Craughwell and David Norris; Níl, Senators Aideen Hayden and Michael Mullins.
Amendment declared lost.

Senator John Crown has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That a debate with the Minister for Health on the cancellation of elective surgery in Cork University Hospital be taken today." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 25.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Cahill, Máiría.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Thomas Byrne and John Crown; Níl, Senators Aideen Hayden and Michael Mullins.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
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.

Question again put: "That the Order of Business be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 11.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Eamonn.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.

Níl

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Crown, John.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Aideen Hayden and Michael Mullins; Níl, Senators Sean D. Barrett and David Norris.
Question declared carried.