Perhaps the Sinn Féin Party would prefer to have no broadband so its members can keep coming in here and berating the fact that while we have made significant improvement, we have more to do.
Senators Norris and Feighan made reference to the issue of the Hauntings Soldier monument located near the Fusiliers' Arch in St. Stephen's Green. The desecration of the monument was a disgrace. I agree with Senator Feighan that we should erect a memorial of some type of scale and I concur with the remarks made by both Senators this morning.
Senator Boyhan raised the issue of Rebuilding Ireland and the Land Development Agency. The Bill is going through pre-legislative scrutiny and the Minister aims to publish it by year's end.
Senators Mulherin, Byrne, Lombard and Grace O'Sullivan raised the issue of the urban regeneration and development fund totalling €2 billion that was announced last Monday. The fund will ensure that large urban towns located outside Dublin are rejuvenated. As many as 80% of the projects and 85% of the moneys have been allocated to the regions and beyond Dublin. The first phase of the allocations has been announced. I understand the frustration expressed by Senator Grace O'Sullivan because I know that a number of projects in Cork were not included in the scheme. I am heartened by the fact that a new phase will begin in February. As Senator Lombard referenced, an announcement was made today about the rural regeneration fund, climate action fund and disruptive technologies innovation fund and is part of Ireland 2040. I confirm that Ireland 2040 seeks to create, in a climate-friendly way, sustainable development in all parts of the country but, in particular, outside of Ireland. Today's announcement of a climate action fund amounting to €500 million will drive many projects. I assure Senator Grace O'Sullivan that I will invite the relevant Minister to come to the House to discuss the fund.
Senator Gavan raised the issue of the University Hospital Limerick. He will appreciate, notwithstanding my next comment, that I do not have a role in industrial relations and neither does this House. A Commencement matter might be the way forward for him. In terms of the points that he made, and I have made my point before, one cannot tolerate or condone bad work practices. I am not saying that everything that he has said is as presented and I am sure that the management concerned would have a different viewpoint. I am not familiar with the issue but there are industrial relations mechanisms within the State that should be utilised. Again, it is important that we have the debate.
Senator Murnane O'Connor raised a very important issue concerning older people. However, she did not recognise the additional 550 care packages that have been announced by the Minister for Health and the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Jim Daly. She did not recognise the extra €4 million in aids and appliances that is being made available. She also did not recognise the fact that the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, and the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy English, hosted a very important conference on housing for older people at Farmleigh House in Dublin last week. I am happy to invite the Minister for Health to the House to discuss the matter.
For the benefit of Senators Grace O'Sullivan and Lombard who raised the matter of climate action, I intend to invite the Minister to come here next week to discuss climate change and I shall confirm the date. I assure them that the Minister will come to the House to discuss climate change.
I commend Senator Ruane on her very positive initiative that occurred yesterday. I am sorry that I could not be in the House on that occasion. It is important that we recognise that sport brings people together and gives them an identity whether they are homeless or international soccer or rugby players.
Senator Ó Donnghaile raised the issue of the additional constituency seats in Europe. I find it ironic that Sinn Féin seeks more seats when its party members will not take their seats in Westminster or go into government in the North. He failed to recognise that the Government established an independent commission, chaired by Mr. Justice Haughton, and made a recommendation to Government. As Senator Gavan knows, in terms of electoral boundaries for local government, Dáil or Europe, the independent commission is comprised of many eminent people including the Clerk of the Dáil, Clerk of the Seanad and others, to name but a few, and they sit independently to make a recommendation. I do not believe that I have ever seen a Government reject an independent review or report, and I did not think it was going to happen yesterday.
I think I have addressed the remarks made by Senator Ned O'Sullivan and I hope I have not left anybody out. Again, I welcome our distinguished guests to the Gallery. I thank everybody for their warm words of acknowledgement and affirmation for Senator Ruane. We are very proud of her and congratulations.