I compliment Senators Marc MacSharry, Susan O'Keeffe, Sean D. Barrett and Michael D'Arcy on their Trojan work at the banking inquiry. They did the House proud and we look forward to the report. This House and the Lower House will today simultaneously pass motions to allow its publication. I have heard the remarks made by Senators on it. I cannot comment because it has not yet been published. Senators will forgive me, therefore, if I do not comment on the remarks they made, particularly in view of the fact that the report has not been published and the motions to enable it to be published have not yet been passed by both Houses. I am endeavouring to arrange a debate on it tomorrow. I believe the Lower House will also discuss it tomorrow and it is fitting that this House should debate it on the same day. I will revert to Members on the matter tomorrow.
Senator Ivana Bacik made reference to the Commencement matter tabled by Senator Catherine Noone yesterday during the debate on which she called for new planning regulations on no-fry zones around schools. She said she had received a number of representations on the matter of the proximity of chip shops to schools and so on. I am sure this is a matter that will be considered in the future in the context of any set of new planning regulations to be published.
Senator Sean D. Barrett expressed his condolences to the family of the young man who died in Cork as a result of a drug overdose. The Senator suggested we might need further legislation to deal with the drugs problem. It is dreadful. Young people going to college for the first time certainly have to be vigilant in the company they keep and taking any substance that might damage them. It is to be regretted that we have witnessed the death of a young man in these circumstances.
Senator Michael Mullins welcomed the investment of €147 million in public nursing homes. It is welcome that 4,723 extra beds are to be brought up to HIQA standards. People will be able to enter state-of-the-art facilities and acute hospital beds will be freed up. My city of Waterford has been waiting for this initiative for some time. A €20 million investment is planned at St. Patrick's Hospital.
Senator Mark Daly proposed an amendment to the Order of Business in respect of the publication of a Bill on the protection of the copyright to the national anthem.
I have no problem in accepting the amendment. I note that four or five amendments have been proposed to the Order of Business to have Bills taken, each of which I will deal with as I move through my response to Senators' contributions.
Senator Paul Coghlan welcomed the increase in funding for local and regional road infrastructure projects throughout the country, particularly the Dingle inner relief road which is long overdue. I understand the Minister will at a later date make an additional allocation to repair roads damaged by flooding.
Senator David Norris called for the appointment of a Minister with specific responsibility for home security. He highlighted a particular case in that regard. I am sure it is a matter the next Taoiseach will consider.
Senator Cáit Keane called for vigilance in treating bites by mosquitoes, which can cause birth defects in babies. This is an issue on which persons travelling abroad, in particular, should read up.
Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh spoke about problems posed by flooding that is clearly still evident in parts of the west. He also called for investment in the provision of flood defences. The Government has set aside a considerable amount of money for this purpose in coming years.
Senator Mary Ann O'Brien spoke about the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. She is correct that a report due for publication by the EPA on 4 November last has still not been published. If she gives me the details, I will raise the matter with the Minister. If a report was to be published, I see no reason it should not have been published at this stage.
Senator Paschal Mooney supported Senator Mark Daly's amendment on the taking of the Bill dealing with copyright to the national anthem. The Senator also proposed an amendment to the Order of Business to have the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2011 taken today. I do not propose to accept the amendment.
Senator John Kelly spoke about the continued difficulties in the Primary Care Reimbursement Service, PCRS, in dealing with medical card applications. I suggest to the Senator that if he has knowledge of a particular case, he should table it for discussion as a Commencement matter.
Senator John Crown also proposed an amendment to the Order of Business that No. 57, Harmful and Malicious Electronic Communications Bill, be debated. I understand the Bill was drafted by Senator Lorraine Higgins and, as such, it is up to her to indicate whether it should be proceeded with. In her absence, I do not propose to accept Senator John Crown's amendment to the Order of Business.