Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019

Vol. 269 No. 2

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

The Order of Business is No. 1, Social Welfare (No. 2) Bill 2019 - Committee Stage, to be taken at 12.45 p.m. and to adjourn at 3.30 p.m. if not previously concluded; No. 2, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 - Report Stage [amendments from Dáil Éireann] and Final Stage, to be taken at 3.30 p.m. and to conclude at 4 p.m.; No. 3, Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 - Report and Final Stages (resumed), to be taken at 4 p.m. and to conclude at 5.30 p.m. if not previously concluded by the putting of one question from the Chair which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Government; and No. 4, Private Members' business-----

It is a shame to use the guillotine.

Allow the Leader to continue, without interruption.

The intention is to shock.

Will the Leader repeat the last part?

No. 4, Private Members' business, Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill 2017 - All Stages, to be taken at the conclusion of No. 3 and, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, to conclude after two hours.

I welcome the sixth class pupils from Belgrove primary school in Clontarf. They are very welcome visitors to the House. They have made a very positive impression on many of us this morning.

I met them in the corridor earlier.

I, too, welcome our visitors from Clontarf to the House. I hope there are a few budding politicians among the girls and that they enjoy their day.

Today, I raise a report completed by Dr. Johnny Connolly of the University of Limerick in conjunction with An Garda Síochána from Dublin South-Central. The report confirmed what we knew to be the case anecdotally and have discussed in the House, namely, that children as young as 12 years are being used by gangs in the south inner city to deliver and sell drugs. These children are considered by gangland criminals to be expendable. The problem is having a serious impact on local communities. Dr. Connolly's report finds that up to 700 children are involved in drugs gangs in just one small area. These children have been groomed and view the work as easy money. If anything goes wrong, they are completely expendable.

My colleague in the Lower House, Deputy John Curran, has proposed legislation to amend section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act to make it an offence to buy drugs from a minor or to use a child to sell or procure drugs. I ask the Leader to ensure the Bill is fast-tracked when it comes before the Seanad. Drug task forces have not been properly resourced and most of them lack youth workers. They have not been given any additional funding. I know of one particular area where there is just one youth worker for 300,000 children. We must fund drug task forces properly and fast-track Deputy Curran's legislation. We need to look after the children who are being groomed right in front of us, which is unfair.

On a second issue, thefts of defibrillators are on the increase. In counties Wicklow and Louth thefts and destruction of defibrillators have been reported recently. People rely on defibrillators because they save lives. The wanton vandalism and destruction of community defibrillators is upsetting and disgusting. I urge anyone who sees defibrillators being damaged to contact the local Garda.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, as proposed by the Leader, that the debate on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill should not conclude today and that the matter should not be decided by a single question, as proposed by the Leader.

Is the Senator proposing that the debate adjourn at 5.30 p.m.?

Yes, the debate should adjourn, if it has not concluded.

Is the proposal seconded?

On the proposal to use the guillotine in this House, it is notable that it appears to come in the wake of events last night where, unfortunately, due to the absence of Government Senators, certain amendments that the Minister wished to oppose were made and amendments that he wished to make were not made. It is more serious than that. This Bill is not desired to be passed by the great majority of Members of the Oireachtas in both Houses.

There is a huge majority and newspapers have done polls among Fine Gael Members of the Oireachtas and they discovered this Bill is close to being held in contempt by most members of the Fine Gael Party in the Seanad and Dáil. Today that party is proposing the debate should be terminated at this Stage in order that it would be passed back to the Dáil for further consideration there.

I want to make a few points. In recent times the Football Association of Ireland has been the subject of great controversy. What went wrong there is that the whole organisation was captured by one man. It is a great irony the Minister on whose watch this has happened is the man who has captured the entire Government and the Fine Gael Party on this issue and is forcing them to behave in a manner in which they do not wish to behave. It is shameful in many respects. I would say to the Fine Gael Senators that I know what the party Whip is all about. I have been in a party with a Whip. I have relied as a Minister on Whips.

The Senator used the guillotine.

He used the guillotine as well.

The Senator has.

So has Senator Bacik.

I want to make it clear that, as far as I am concerned, the one thing that unites the people who will vote to guillotine this Bill today is they are the same people who went to the Irish people and asked them to abolish this Chamber. The one thing about all the Members of the Oireachtas of those parties who voted for that legislation is the great majority of them knew it was a terrible mistake to attempt to abolish this Chamber but like sheep they went towards the cliff-----

The Senator is a good man in the herd himself.

-----and only the Irish people stopped them from doing the wrong thing.

The Senator was a good man at it. That was part of the Progressive Democrats manifesto.

It is a great irony that the forces in this House who, against their own conscience, voted to abolish this House are now saying today they want to guillotine a Bill which they in conscience do not believe in.

Before I call the next speaker I welcome the former Senator, Deputy Sean Barrett, and his distinguished guests to the Gallery. They are very welcome.

I want to speak about legislation introduced by my colleagues, Deputies Mary Lou McDonald and Maurice Quinlivan, last week in collaboration with Offaly Domestic Violence Support Service, Safe Ireland and SIPTU. I refer to the Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2019, which is important legislation. It seeks to provide ten days' paid domestic violence leave to women and men leaving abusive relationships. In 2017, the European Institute for Gender Equality estimated that intimate partner violence against women cost EU member states €109 billion each year. That is in terms of mental health services, social services, civil legal costs, criminal justice, employment, housing and human and emotional costs. Such legislation is in place in New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines and other jurisdictions. It is long overdue here, as women experiencing domestic violence have high rates of absenteeism from work. The legislation needs to be underpinned by solid policy on domestic violence and sexual violence so that we can create a safe place and a supportive workplace for employees experiencing or at risk of domestic violence.

The policy, therefore, can contribute more to job security, economic opportunities, independence and greater chances for abused women and men to abandon their abusive relationships by facilitating the paid leave. It will enable the person experiencing the abuse to take time out of work to put in place safeguards to keep themselves and their families safe without having to worry about losing a day's pay, being forced to take annual leave, being penalised, reprimanded or risk losing their position within an organisation. I would ask all parties to support this legislation to get it implemented as soon as possible. Domestic violence impacts on an employee's performance at work resulting in lost hours and less productivity. I would encourage all workplaces, and we should have it in the Oireachtas also, to put in place a policy of disclosure where there is a level of training for people that if a disclosure of domestic violence is made they know to deal with it in a way that encourages more women and men to come forward. Unfortunately, I am coming across more and more men who are experiencing domestic abuse. I have worked in this area for a long time. I welcome the fact that more men are coming forward but sometimes I feel they are ignored in the conversation. Everybody is entitled to feel safe in their own home, which is what we are trying to achieve with this legislation.

First, in terms of what was said, it was unfair to the Minister, Deputy Ross. Whatever about him enforcing Fine Gael in terms of legislation, I do not think he forced John Delaney to do the things he did.

I never said he forced them.

The Senator did.

No, but to make the connection between the two is a little unfair.

I never suggested that he did.

The Senator did.

I said he spoke about an organisation being captured by one individual and he has done that to all of the sheep in this House.

Either that or he is the bad shepherd whose sheep know him.


I am no sheep and I will be voting for the guillotine today. It might be an abuse of the Seanad but the time spent during the past few months dealing with this legislation has been an abuse of the Seanad when we could have been considering other legislation.

Hear, hear. Well said.

I would like to comment on the Fianna Fáil legislation relating to drugs and some of the conversation that frames it. I am not completely in favour of that legislation. That is not because I am not in favour of protecting children. Sometimes the conversations around the grooming of children in communities regarding drug dealing are extremely short-sighted and misunderstood. We would be better served reinstating resources, the community development sector and the family resource centres in communities. I am not sure why we would introduce this legislation. I am not saying the grooming of children in terms of drugs does not happen in a minuscule number of cases but in the majority of cases that is not what is happening. I was a 12 year old drug dealer and I definitely was not groomed. It was born from poverty and lack of opportunity.

We need to have a real conversation about how we can prevent drug dealing as an option for young men and women in the community and not only a conversation about how we can find ways to prosecute people who end up in that position. I have fears about the relationship that currently exists especially between young men and gardaí in areas that are extremely disadvantaged. We have a history in Ireland where gardaí have withheld methadone from people who are on heroin so that they could extract information from them. Where is the conversation about what happens to young 12, 13 and 14 year olds when they are caught in possession of substances in terms of the relationship with the Garda? It is also more dangerous sometimes for a person to say where the drugs came from in order for the Garda to secure a prosecution if there is to be a legal offence.

We need to have a wider conversation about poverty and investment in communities. In the 1980s and 1990s there was a myth that drug dealers were standing outside schools in our communities roaring us out, offering us free heroin so that we would be hooked. It was exactly that, an absolute myth. There were no drug dealers outside our schools or youth clubs asking us did we want to use drugs. Usually, we sought them out ourselves at that young age or we were just surrounded by them. Although we need legislation to most definitely protect children who are being exploited, it is premature to introduce that without understanding the root causes of why drug dealing exists predominantly in communities that have been completely starved of resources for a long time. I ask that when we resume in the new year we would discuss how we can resource communities to prevent this and how we can give young people other options that do not seem as lucrative or as easy as the sale of drugs, but it is not easy in the end.

I second the amendment proposed by Senator McDowell opposing the attempted use of the guillotine by the Leader. I express my serious disappointment at the Leader's proposal this morning to attempt to guillotine through the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill on Committee Stage.

It is unworthy of the Leader. He has not-----

The Bill is on Report Stage.

Yes, Report Stage. Since 2016, a positive aspect of new politics and of the fact there is no Government majority in the Chamber is that the guillotine has not been used.

I think I am correct that it was attempted once and defeated.

No, we have used it on other business.

The guillotine is not good practice in the House and I am disappointed that Senator Ruane will support its use. Anyone who is not whipped to support the Leader's proposal should oppose it-----

The Senator has voted for the guillotine in the past.


It is a fair point.


The Heritage Act was guillotined.

I did not interrupt other Senators.

The Senator did interrupt other Senators.

Yes, I did. I apologise, but it was just during the Leader's contribution.


I could not restrain myself at that point. He proposed an outrageous guillotine. There is a weekly leaders' meeting at which we agree to the Order of Business and the schedules for the following week. It is a good practice that the Leader introduced in 2016. The matter before us, however, was never discussed or raised at the meeting last week and was not flagged with us. Senator McDowell is correct that it seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the Minister's failure last night. He rushed into the Chamber to resume debate on Report Stage of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill but no officials or Fine Gael Senators were present. His own undue haste led to votes on two amendments going in a way he had not anticipated.

On a serious and sad note, I express my condolences to the family of the late Paul Anthony McDermott.

I had the pleasure of knowing Paul, as I am sure other Senators did. I knew him as a colleague and friend, and as such a respected voice on criminal justice issues. His untimely death at such a young age has come as a shock to all of us, and I express my sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues. I support calls for a debate on criminal justice, in light of Dr. Johnny Connolly's report. It would be a good idea to have a debate on criminal justice and our approach to drugs policy. I ask that we will have it in the new year, when it will be a fitting debate to have. In the debate, many of us will probably reference some of Paul Anthony McDermott's work, which will be entirely appropriate. He made such a contribution over the years to criminal justice scholarship, not just to practice and litigation.

Our former colleague in the House, Jillian van Turnhout, has asked me to raise with the Leader a point about the Lanzarote Convention, or the International Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. Ireland, unfortunately, is on track to become the last of the 47 Council of Europe member states to ratify this important convention. Three states, including Ireland, have not yet ratified it. Azerbaijan is in the process of depositing its instrument of ratification before Christmas, Armenia is preparing to ratify it in the first quarter of 2020, but I am told there has yet been no sign of Ireland ratifying it. Will the Leader make urgent inquiries of the Government as to why we have not yet ratified it? I will do the same but it should also come from the Leader of the Seanad. It is so important that we be seen to lead on the issue and not lag behind. That we will be the last of the 47 Council of Europe member states to ratify the convention is shameful.

I raise the issue of volunteers because we need to be positive about them. Last weekend, the Community Games national movement held its national awards ceremony in Carlow. The organisation, which prides itself on inclusion and participation, was founded in 1967 and is still going strong today because of the people who make up a vital part of the organisation, namely, the volunteers on the ground. I was delighted to celebrate the national area volunteer and media awards with all the hardworking volunteers, who are the engine behind the Community Games machine. I was struck by the sheer number of them and the range of people involved - young, old and everything in between. A volunteer gives up his or her time for others, in the service of others and with others. They are the definition of selfless, freely giving their valuable time to something larger than themselves. Many of the volunteers I met from Carlow and elsewhere in the country lead busy lives, yet they find time somewhere to give themselves to the Community Games. Whether as coaches, organisers or committee members, they all provide a service without which the community games could not succeed. The children who get to participate in this incredible organisation can do so only if there are volunteers to guide them.

I congratulate, thank and applaud all the volunteers, and everyone who, in his or her day-to-day life, year after year, works tirelessly for no reward, just the joy of being part of a community. We all need to compliment them and say, "Well done." So many other serious issues have been raised today, such as those relating to women in abusive circumstances, violence and drugs, and we must work on them. Nevertheless, when there are great organisations such as the Community Games, with so many volunteers, it is important that we recognise them and give them the credit they are due.

I, too, was aggrieved to hear the news of the passing of Paul Anthony McDermott. While I had not met him often, I could say he was a friend. He was a wonderful lecturer when I attended the King's Inns and lectured us in contract law in the late 1990s. He had a full command of his subject and explained case law so brilliantly. He always saw the humorous side of a case and always brought it to our attention. In subsequent years, I met him and was always astonished at his productivity. As we know, he wrote on many subjects and, as Senator Bacik noted, he had expertise in criminal justice. He also wrote on res judicata and contract law. Nevertheless, he carried his knowledge and expertise lightly. He was always so courteous, kind and pleasant, and was a very nice person to be around. I met him in recent weeks with his mother but did not realise that his time on earth would be so short. It was so sad to hear the news and I offer my sympathy, as I am sure all Senators will, to his family and all those who worked with or admired him.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, to take No. 19, the Civil Liability (Schools) Bill 2019, before No. 1. Last year, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs held hearings on childhood obesity. One issue that emerged, not least in the committee's engagement with teachers' unions, was evidence, albeit anecdotal, that children in some schools are prevented from partaking in physical activity during breaktimes due to restrictions imposed by schools in this regard. We hear stories from time to time of instructions not to run in the corridor or in the schoolyard, but children are supposed to run, although perhaps not in the precincts of Leinster House. In general, it is important that we encourage physical activity and appropriate levels of recreation.

It is not that the courts have made decisions that are perverse where people have brought actions against schools. The courts have upheld common sense where actions of negligence or otherwise have been brought arising out of accidents or falls in school grounds. Nevertheless, there seems to be a fear in certain quarters in schools, and it is important that the ground underfoot be made a bit more solid in order that schools will be comfortable about recreational activity and allowing and encouraging it. Although the courts may not make decisions we regard as perverse, there is nonetheless some concern that because of uncertainty in the law, insurance companies settle cases that might not or should not succeed.

The legislation I have proposed will have two effects. It will provide legal clarity and a guarantee that where an adequate and appropriate system of supervision is in place, schools will not be held liable, although such appropriateness will have to have regard to various circumstances such as the relationships between children, and particular dangers and contexts in schools and so on. Similar to the good samaritan provision in other legislation, it will also provide that where teachers give care or assistance in the context of an accident, they can be assured that unless they were acting in bad faith or with gross negligence, they will be protected from liability. That is the purpose of my Private Members' legislation and I will be grateful if I can introduce it today.

I looked at some British news the other day. One of the starkest statistics I have seen is that there are now significantly more food banks in the UK than there are branches of McDonalds. There are 2,000 food banks as opposed to 1,249 branches of McDonalds. This reflects how far backwards British society has gone over the past 30 years. I grew up in London and am proud to be a member of the London-Irish community. My mum and dad worked in factories all of their lives. They were not well paid but we had a national health service, free education and my parents were able to give us a decent future. That, in turn, helped me when I came home because my oldest brother was in a position to help fund my education. I am saying this because I am not going to be here tomorrow and I want to appeal to the Irish across Britain, in particular in London, to use their votes wisely tomorrow.

It so happens that today, in 1982, was the last time a band called The Jam played. I was always a big fan of The Jam, whose last gig was tonight 37 years ago, which is a bit scary. Paul Weller wrote his most famous song, "Going Underground", in response to Thatcher getting into power. I will quote the lyrics because they are directly relevant today.

You choose your leaders and place your trust

As their lies wash you down and their promises rust

You'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns

And the public wants what the public gets

But I don't get what this society wants

I hope with every bone in my body that the British people have the common sense to reject Johnson-----

-----reject Thatcherism, and reject the right-wing economics that have destroyed society over there.

I echo Senator Gavan's remarks. This is probably the first time those lyrics were quoted in the Seanad.

Or in any parliament.

The report published this morning on young people in the south inner city is worrying. Senator Ó Ríordáin recently tabled a Commencement matter on establishing a task force for Coolock. This problem does not only affect Dublin's south inner city. It affects the north inner city, the south-east inner city and areas throughout the city. I can only speak for Dublin as I do not have direct experience of Cork.

I have seen in the inner city that these gangs have taken ownership of territory. They look on it as territory and have made no-go areas. I raised this matter with the Minister only last week when I explained what happens in the flat complexes. Sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, arrive, a drugs delivery is made to 14 and 15 year olds and the sales begin. These people take ownership of territory in the city and intimidate the community they live in. It is dreadful. They try to intimidate the few politicians that go into these areas because they want ownership of the territory and want to drive the Garda out of it. I have seen how they walk around with camera phones held up to the faces of gardaí as they patrol the complexes in an effort to push the gardaí out. Unfortunately, the numbers are wrong. Much of the inner city is not being policed at the level it should be. We do not have the community gardaí we should have. The gaps have not been filled. The biggest mistake ever made was the closure of the Garda Training College in Templemore because it led to huge gaps in the Garda service. We have more gardaí retiring than we have new gardaí coming on stream. This is a real problem.

The Irish Times contacted me this morning and asked about turnout figures at elections. I had a quick look at the turnout figures in the inner city and they are very low. Is the reason the area is being left behind that politicians look at the turnout figures and decide not to work for or represent those communities?

I lived in Neilstown 30-odd years ago. I remember, while out campaigning for an independent candidate, being stopped by a prominent politician who told me that households in Neilstown were only worth a leaflet because people in the area did not vote. Is that not really an indictment of us and our policies?

I thank the Senator.

I will finish on this. Unfortunately, the response of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, to our request for a task force in Coolock was that he would get back to us.

The Senator has gone well into injury time.

There is no single solution. As Senator Ruane pointed out, an holistic approach is needed.

I thank the Senator.

Community resources have been drained and have not been replaced even though the recession and austerity are supposedly over. Resources have not been put back into resource centres and there are not enough youth workers.

The Senator has now taken some of the Leader's time. He is a minute and a half over time.

I will finish on this.

The Senator has been finishing for a while.

We had a conversation with the Leader yesterday and he agreed that we cannot lose the coaches and development officers from the Football Association of Ireland who work in communities. Sometimes the only way out for young people living in areas of deprivation that are controlled by the drug gangs is through sport. If they do not have that-----

Please, Senator, you are two minutes over time.

I have raised only one issue.

The Senator speaks every day, as he is entitled to do. Leaders have three minutes' speaking time and all other Senators have two minutes. The Senator has spoken for four minutes and 16 seconds.

The Leas-Chathaoirleach will appreciate that this is an exceptionally important issue.

I appreciate everything that every Member says.

This report reinforces what Senators in this House have said every day.

We will have a separate debate on the matter.

I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach for the time.

Today, the faculty of paediatrics of the Royal College of Physicians called on the Government to abolish the system of direct provision for asylum seekers because the welfare of children is at stake. The author of the report issued today, Dr. Niamh O'Brien, stated the system is unethical, stigmatising and needs to end. Children in direct provision present with increased mental health issues and over-present to emergency departments with burns. These children are referred more frequently to Tusla than children in other settings.

Currently, there are more than 1,800 children in direct provision. The average waiting time in these centres is 14.3 months. While the waiting time has reduced, 14.3 months is still a lifetime for a child. The report's many recommendations include providing increased allowances for school and clothing expenses. I call on the Minister to consider establishing a specialised ring-fenced fund to enable these children to access psychological support. The mental trauma they are experiencing now will be carried forward into their adult lives. I am not sure if such a ring-fenced fund would be provided by the Department of Health or Department of Justice and Equality. Perhaps we could have a debate on this matter in the new year to protect these children and their mental stability and give them easy access to the child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS. I have often said in the House that general practitioners should have 24-hour emergency access to allow them to pick up the phone to prevent a vulnerable suicidal teenager or adult from going to an accident and emergency department. While the recommendations of increased allowances for clothing and school expenses are welcome, a specialised ring-fenced fund to provide psychological support for these children would be an excellent idea.

I thank Senator Gavan for eloquently putting the case for the Irish in Britain. We in this country do not fully appreciate the extent of the Irish diaspora, especially in major UK cities such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham. I know from my British-Irish links that many of these men and women are involved in the Labour Party and Scottish National Party, and some are involved in the Conservative Party. I hope that whatever happens, the Irish caucus in Westminster, as it is known, will be strong. It is something that we have underestimated. There is huge Irish goodwill in Westminster and we have to continue to work with this, regardless of which party is in government. Anecdotally, many members of the Irish diaspora have been Labour Party supporters over the years.

Just as many of the Irish diaspora in the United States have moved from the Democrats to the Republicans, some of the Irish diaspora in the UK have moved from the UK Labour Party to the Conservatives. It is a cross-party issue now.

I was disappointed to hear the recent revelations about the finances of the Football Association of Ireland, FAI, which is €55 million in debt. It is disappointing that representatives of the FAI will not attend today's meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, which will begin at 1.30 p.m. Many questions need to be answered. It is worrying to hear that FAI staff members, who have suffered a lot, have received threatening letters. This must stop. I ask the relevant authorities, including the Garda, to ensure it does not happen again. People are angry with the FAI and with particular people in the FAI. The staff of the FAI have done nothing wrong. Many of them have worked extremely hard.

The threats I have mentioned must stop immediately.

I would like to second Senator Mullen's Bill, the Civil Liability (Schools) Bill 2019-----

The Senator is not seconding the Bill. He is seconding the amendment.

Sorry. I would like to second Senator Mullen's amendment to the Order of Business, which relates to the Bill in question. I thank the Leader for pointing that out.

The Leader is very helpful.

I always try to be helpful.

The Leader circulates precisely what he intends to say in the House to group leaders and Whips before he comes in here for the Order of Business. It is clear that his computer must not have been up to scratch this morning. He may have been trying to ambush us, although I would not expect him to act in an underhand manner.

Last week, I spent three days with the Not Forgotten Association, NFA, in the UK. The NFA is a military association that looks after the needs of military personnel, including a number of Irishmen, who have been injured in one way or another. This truly wonderful organisation looks after a total of 10,000 people. When I attended an NFA function in St. James's Palace, I was saddened to see men walking around on prosthetic legs, having lost their limbs in Afghanistan, Iraq and various other places. We could argue all day long about the rights and wrongs of it, but the truth of the matter is that 400 Irish men and women go to England every year to join the forces there. I thank the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade for acceding to a request to allow an Irish branch of the regimental association of the Royal Irish Regiment to be established. The Irish branch, which had its first meeting last Saturday, will support men and women who return to this country after serving in the British forces. We could argue all day long about the rights and wrongs of it, but it does not matter. I served in the forces and I am proud of the service I gave. The important thing is that those who return to this country have an association to which they can turn if they need welfare. I think it is commendable that the Irish Government has allowed this to happen. I wish the royal Irish association every good fortune as it moves forward and as it looks after those who return. There will be serious issues with post-traumatic stress in years to come. People will need prostheses and various others things. I will leave it at that.

I support Senators Ardagh, Ruane and Humphreys, who have called for a debate in this House on the drugs issue. It is no wonder that people are looking to get extra territory because this is a very lucrative business. I recently attended a policing board meeting in Castlebar, County Mayo. Every second speaker at the meeting spoke about the drugs issue, which is affecting people across the length and breadth of County Mayo, which is probably one of the most rural parts of this country.

We are even hearing about this problem in County Kerry.

There is no doubt that there is a drugs epidemic in this country. If we were to contain it, or even to try to contain it, we would need twice as many gardaí as we have at present. I suggest that when we debate this matter, we should consider the introduction of drug testing in the workplace. We need to tackle this problem from the other end. There are countries where drug testing is done in the workplace. People in the construction sector in Australia are rightly tested for drugs. I recently met an employer who exports to the UK. When his employees were working on a project some time ago, the company from which he had got the contract announced that it needed to carry out drug tests. He was absolutely shocked when four of his employees failed the test. We need to broaden out the debate by looking at alternative ways of combatting the serious issue of drug abuse and drug pushing, which is prevalent throughout the length and breadth of the country. I have no doubt that if we were to introduce drug testing in the workplace, even on a pilot basis, we would send a clear message to people who go to work after taking drugs in the belief that such activity has no consequences. I read yesterday that a professional soccer player was suspended for six weeks for taking drugs on a night out. As a consequence of failing a drugs test, he was suspended for six weeks and had to suffer the associated humiliation. We need a dose of reality here. I suggest we should look at the introduction of drug testing in the workplace.

I would like to speak about the Building Community Resilience report on the Dublin South-Central area, where I live. The report covers an area that radiates out from the Liberties. As other Senators have said, this problem affects more than one area in the country. The dogs on the street know this. I am on the street, and I know it. I am a Liberties girl. I was born, reared and educated in the area and I work there. I remember a time when I worked as a Saturday girl in Frawley's of Thomas Street. That was the hub where all working-class people went. Frawley's sold affordable items in every category. It was an Aladdin's cave. It shut down quite a long time ago. When I asked why it was closing, I was told it was closing because there were no more poor people in Dublin. I do not know what that reason was. I am on the ground. I work in that area. I do not ignore the people. I have heard it said that people do not bother to come out to vote because they cannot be arsed. I apologise because that is probably not parliamentary language.

It is certainly not.

The alienation of the young people of the area is replicated elsewhere. We call the people of these areas the people of no property. There is something askew here. It seems that people who have no property and no say, and cannot plan for the future, are being punished. The intergenerational effects of drugs on these areas are phenomenal. Many grandmothers are raising their grandchildren because their children are incapable of doing so due to their addiction issues. Children as young as ten years of age are alienated because they have been groomed and sent out to work for these criminals. We all know who those criminals are. The gardaí know who they are. Young people are being egged on to engage in anti-social behaviour. A guy on his bicycle was attacked along the Grand Canal yesterday or the day before. That happens on a regular basis. The same cohort of young people have been terrorising the neighbourhood since they were eight years of age. They are now 15 years of age. They act as lookouts for criminal drug lords. I would like to have a conversation on these matters in the Seanad. Why do we keep punishing areas like this, instead of enabling and encouraging investment and education in them?

I would like to make two points. I have been following the farmers who have been standing outside the distribution areas of factories, conglomerates and supermarkets in the hope that they will be given a fair deal. They are still not getting a fair deal. Visas for workers with essential skills are being given to people who are going to work in these factories as animal boners, but such visas are still not being given to healthcare assistants. I have mentioned this seven or eight times in the last three or four months. I repeat that I would like the Minister to be brought to the House to set out the progress that is being made in giving skilled worker visas to healthcare workers to assist the ageing population here in Ireland. We are good at offering such visas to assist highly profitable conglomerates, meat factories and supermarkets. When I think of them, I think of the word "greed".

I am very much behind the farmers because we forget at our peril that this is an agricultural country. We keep calling it something else, but it is an agricultural country. If we spent more time getting rid of plastic and less time talking about farting cows, we would be better off.

That is unparliamentary language.

There is nothing wrong with that. The blowing of wind has a certain verb attached to it.

Senator Ruane made a very good speech on drugs. She knows exactly what she is talking about in respect of young people and drugs.

The greatest abuse of the Seanad is the guillotine. It is far more abusive, in fact, than lengthy arguments or arguments which go on and go nowhere. It is an absolute disgrace that we are going to guillotine the Judicial Appointments Bill. I thought we would not do that in the Seanad.

One of the reasons I thought this was a very good place to be was that we could argue, have a sense of discourse and a research and thought process, listen to each other, be involved in and elevate argument from the Lower House and be convinced by each other in a non-territorial way. That is what I thought we were supposed to be doing in here. I have learned an awful lot from young Senators and elders like me across the House and across territories. I thought that was what this House was supposed to be about. The guillotine flies in the face of that.

The Judicial Appointments Bill comes from an unclear place and an unclear and unclean foundation. Everybody sitting here knows that. They must accept this Bill or else. There was not consensus among the parties that they would have a judicial appointments Bill. It came from one space, namely, a person who said, "I want this Bill or else". That is not a clear place from which a Bill should begin. That is its first flaw. Everything that has come from that foundation has been flawed. The Government is sitting here pretending it is not. Many Senators across the House do not agree with the Bill and a majority dislike many aspects of it. We have started with a flaw, like the great Macbeth, and we are still there. We are now going to try to guillotine it and make the flaw even greater. We need to stand up to this.

I had a number of points to make on the guillotine, but Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell has made them all very eloquently so I will be brief. If someone wants to use the additional minute and a half allocated to me, they are very welcome to do so.

I cannot believe that the Leader is attempting to guillotine the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill. I know it is not his way of doing business or that of his colleagues. This has been imposed on him and I understand the situation he is in, but it is appalling. My party will oppose it vigorously. In the unlikely event that the Leader's proposal to guillotine this unnecessary Bill, a Bill which is not urgent, is successful then we will take other avenues to disrupt other legislation in this House.

The bully boys are out. The bully boys are back. Long live the Progressive Democrats. The Progressive Democrats are back.

Settle down, Senator Wilson.

Sit down and be quiet.

Will Senator Wilson yield for 30 seconds?

Senator Wilson, without interruption. He has possession.

He has just yielded.

You have already-----

He said he would yield 30 seconds, as allowed under Standing Orders. Can I point out one thing?

The Senator has already spoken for double his time.

I will point out one thing. The guillotine was used for the Heritage Act, an Act that was so flawed it was never commenced.

The cash for ash scandal happened in Northern Ireland. I hope this Bill is not a grants for votes scandal.

Thank you Senator. Order now.

People coming in from hospital beds-----

The Senator is a good man for doing deals himself.

He is a good man for-----

Order now for Senator Robbie Gallagher.

No interruptions.

We hear harrowing and heartbreaking testimonials on a daily basis from patients who are enduring long delays in accident and emergency departments in many parts of the country. I recently read with interest that the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, is planning to introduce a number of measures with a view to alleviating the current pressures on accident and emergency departments throughout the country. Some would say that is long overdue.

One of the measures being talked about is a proposal to reduce the €100 fee for attending injury units to €75. It is hoped that will encourage more people to use injury units rather than going to accident and emergency departments in different parts of the country. I for one would be in favour of that. As the Leader knows, there are 11 injury units located the length and breadth of the country, one of which is located in my county, Monaghan. It is an excellent service and the staff there are doing a fantastic job. They can treat many illnesses, from a sprain to a scald or broken bone. They can do X-rays, sutures and many things for which people tend to go to accident and emergency departments.

I am glad to report that the numbers using the facility in Monaghan are on the increase, but I am disappointed to learn that its opening hours are the most restricted of the 11 units in the country. It is something which needs to be examined. I would like the Leader to confirm that the admission fee for these units will be reduced by €25. He might tell us when these measures will be introduced because we all know many of our citizens are suffering needlessly in corridors and on trolleys the length and breadth of the country as they try to seek treatment for their illnesses.

I want to support what has been said about the drugs issue, in particular the insight given by Senator Ruane about her own experience. Every small town in Ireland is dealing with this issue, as is Dublin. My area is no exception.

It is worth mentioning the late PJ Blake, who died in Letterkenny and was buried this week. He was a town councillor, and all his life he was an advocate for the need to tackle the drugs issue in our small and regional towns. One of his main concerns was the fact that the Garda resources to deal with drugs had been greatly depleted, and that remains the case. Gardaí simply do not have the resources, particularly in rural areas, to deal with this problem. It is now the biggest problem for young people in small rural towns. It is affecting our schools, including one incident in my town in recent weeks which is a cause of concern for all of us. We should have a debate on that issue.

I had a discussion this week with the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Finian McGrath, who has advised me that the Irish Wheelchair Association made no application to his Department for funding to keep the Cuisle centre open. Councillor Tony Ward, who is a member of the HSE forum in Roscommon, has raised this issue. It is time that the Irish Wheelchair Association was called to account on this issue and I appeal to it to apply to the Department of Health and HSE for the required funding because I have been informed that if an application was to be made the Minister for Health would look favourably on it. It is time for truth and clarity to be brought to bear on this issue.

It is timely that we have a debate in the Chamber on the health impacts of drug use and misuse in this country. We have had many debates in recent weeks on the Garda and criminal justice response to drugs in our communities. Any time I have had the opportunity to participate in those debates, I always refer to the need to address these issues from a health and not a criminal justice perspective.

My home town in Drogheda is in the grip of a criminal feud to do with the supply of drugs. Very little attention is given to those who are in the grip of problem drug use, and I shall give an example. We are about to open a refurbished HSE drugs facility in Drogheda over the coming weeks. The reality is that there are very few staff to populate that centre and we have no outreach workers in the town of Drogheda, which is the biggest town in the State that is not a city. We do not have the outreach workers. The Red Door project is an excellent community-based service but it has not received an increase in funding in recent years. There was one small increase due to lottery funding some years ago but there has been no increase in its core funding. We are in the grip of a drugs feud, or I could describe it as a drugs war, but the State leaves those who are impacted by this on the long finger for treatment and for support. It is simply not on. We can create all of these new facilities, or refurbished facilities, that we want or need, but if we do not populate them with expert staff and outreach workers to deal with the issues on the ground, then it is an absolute waste of time and State resources and money.

I must mention the situation that the school secretaries across the State find themselves in this week. Agreement was reached that school secretaries who are in dispute with the Department of Education and Skills and who are members of Fórsa would engage with the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, on the basis that they could address the long-standing concerns they have around parity with school secretaries who are public servants, those employed with the education and training boards and those employed by the Department of Education and Skills. School secretaries who are employed by school boards of management through schools' annual ancillary grants are receiving as little as €12,500 per annum and must sign on come the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. This is simply not on. These people do the work of public servants but do not have the same benefits in pension entitlements and so on. They went to the WRC this week and despite the fine words of the Minister for Education and Skills in the Dáil in October, when the school secretaries decided that they would suspend their industrial action on the basis that they would go to the WRC, they have been offered a miserable 1.5% pay increase. It is a miserable offer when one considers that private sector pay increases this year-----

The Senator has gone one minute over.

-----are expected to be nearly 4% across the board. It is time the Minister, Deputy McHugh, got real and gave school secretaries the respect they deserve, re-engaged with them, and ensured they are placed on a scale with the public servants in the education and training boards, and with those who are paid by the Department.

I observed some of the Order of Business when it was outlined and I saw Senator McDowell's response. I came in when Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell was discussing it, but unlike a lot of days I will actually speak about the Order of Business. I cannot say anything further than what has already been said by Senators McDowell and O'Donnell, and by many others, other than to say we have had a very useful debate on judicial appointments. I have probably been in the Chair for the guts of at least half of the debate on Committee Stage. I have heard and learned a lot of things. I believe there are 78 amendments proposed. This House disposed of quite a number of amendments yesterday, which may have been far quicker than the Government thought we would, for various reasons.

We got through four in one and a half hours. At this stage we have done 14 of the 78 amendments.

We have had worthwhile debate. There are amendments that are worth debate, challenge and discussion. It is very unfortunate that the Government and the Leader have been put in a position where the Leader is being forced - effectively - to put this question. It is not something he does very often-----

It is not up to the Leader.

I want it on record that I am not okay or comfortable with the guillotine being pushed and I will certainly oppose it.

I do not know if any Member has already raised my next point. A number of people have been attacked while cycling along the Grand Canal-----

-----at what are known as "kissing gates", which are designed to slow cyclists down. They have now become, effectively, chicanes where the cyclist must slow down or stop, or perhaps get off his or her bike. I have not used that stretch of the canal but this is a very serious issue. I am aware of one person who was attacked recently and hit with an iron bar as he was going through the gate. This was raised a number of days ago. I had asked for a debate on cycling previously and we need to make sure that when we design cycling infrastructure we do not design it in such a way that people are vulnerable to being attacked. We talk about Garda resources, but equally we cannot have a garda on every stretch of cycle lane.

It is important that we design them appropriately and iron out these kinds of problems and do not allow these facilities to be used in such a way. I do not like to raise what are usually local authority matters, but it is an important issue and it should be raised.

Last, but certainly not least, I invite Senator David Norris.

It is very regrettable that the Government is introducing a guillotine. This is the Government that said it would never introduce a guillotine, yet we have people being yanked out of hospital. I believe it would be very difficult for Independent Senators of any kind to defend a vote of this kind against democracy. Should they be persuaded to do so it may come back to haunt them.

On a more positive note I look forward to the election in Britain tomorrow and I look forward to the election of a Corbyn Government.


The figures are going in the right direction-----

The Senator is deluded.

Senator Norris without any interruption please.

Corbyn is a bit of a sleeper and despite the capitalist press of the Murdoch gutter hounds, the people of England have seen the difference between a Jeremy Corbyn who feels passionately about the welfare of the people, and a Boris Johnson who dismisses a photograph of a young man lying on the ground with an oxygen mask to his face because there is no room for him in a hospital. He would not even look at it. He took the phone away from the reporter and put it in his pocket. That is the kind of person he is. There is also no question or doubt that he is a pathological liar. How does one know that Boris Johnson is lying? The minute he opens his mouth he is at it and in it-----


I am half English but I believe that they are the most politically illiterate race on the continent of Europe. They can redeem themselves, however, and I appeal to the Irish vote in England - if any of them are listening or watching this - to stay true to their roots and vote for Corbyn tomorrow.

I know it is pantomime season but-----

We have had a few performances.

Well the Senator is the backside of a horse anyway.

And the Senator is the central character.

The Leader without interruption.

The sooner next Wednesday comes the better. I thank the 20 Members of the House for their contributions-----

I believe it was 21.

I counted 20. I stand by the Leas-Chathaoirleach's 21, if it is 21. I thank the Members of the House for their contributions to the Order of Business. Senators Ardagh, Ruane, Bacik, Humphreys, Burke, Devine, Ó Domhnaill and Nash raised the issue of the report Building Community Resilience published by Dr. Johnny Connolly. It is a very important report. As Members will be aware, Dr. Connolly was a member of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Today's report dovetails very much with initiatives being taken by the Government around the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, and on the whole issue around the community policing model. Senator Nash made a very good point that it is not just a criminal justice debate, it is also about health and education. I would be happy to have a debate on that. It is important that we have an honest debate. I have not read all of Dr. Connolly's report but it is important to recognise a number of points, one being that, as Senator Ruane has said, it is about how we look at and view the conversation around the misuse of drugs, those who sell and deal in drugs, and the communities that are ravaged by drugs. Senator Humphreys commented on politicians not engaging or canvassing on it when electioneering. Those politicians do everybody a disservice. I do not share that philosophy. The report by Dr. Connolly has built upon other work done, such as the Greentown study. We will have that debate. To be fair, the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, has done a lot of work in the area, and especially given that she is from the same constituency referred to by Senators Ardagh and Devine.

I have a very strong view on Senator Paddy Burke's point on the misuse of drugs, especially cocaine. I served on the Cork city and county policing committees. We were told cocaine use is on the rise, not just among a certain section but across every community, particularly young professionals. I certainly subscribe to the view that there should be drug testing in the workplace.

More than anyone else-----

Absolutely. We have drug testing in sport and I do not see why we should not have it in the workplace.

I ask the Leader not to invite further comment. I believed he was doing so because he paused. The Senator is the only one who has the floor now.

That will not last for long, I can assure the Leas-Chathaoirleach.

The Leader should speak through the Chair.

I was only trying to be helpful.

I appreciate that. Senator Gavan quoted The Jam. The words of Yeats come to mind as I come to the next part of the Order of Business: "And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow". The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill has been mentioned by eight Senators, namely, Senators McDowell, Bacik, Craughwell, Ruane, Marie-Louise O'Donnell, Wilson, Horkan and Norris.

And Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell.

I did mention the Senator.

I did not hear it. It was not loud enough.

I will begin with Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell's contribution. There has been a lot of hot air over the 109 hours of debate on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill.

There were more than 109.

The Leader, without interruption.

What else have we got to do? There is no business in this House, other than statements on this, that and the other, and some idiot saying we are holding things up because there is more important business.

Please, Senator Norris.

Where is it? I would like to see it.

Please, Senators.

There is no need to call anybody an idiot.

It is appropriate.

Of course it is. Absolutely.

It is not appropriate to call a colleague an idiot.

If that is the Senator's colleague's opinion, it is not appropriate to call them an idiot.

It is totally inappropriate.

I am sorry but I feel very strongly about that.

It could be worse.

Senator Norris, as father of the House, knows well it is not appropriate to call anybody an idiot.

The view might be idiotic, though.

The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill has been discussed in this House for 109 hours. Senator Craughwell should note there were 99 hours on Committee Stage.

We improved it.

I understand and accept that Members have to protest over the curtailment of the debate today and be seen to be doing so. The guillotine or the restriction of the debate is a long-standing parliamentary practice that has been used by Senator Bacik when in government, and by Senator McDowell when in government-----

Senator Buttimer said he would never use it.

I never said that. It is important-----

The Senators have all had their say. We will hear the Leader now.

Is the Bill no longer a dog's dinner-----

I apologise to Senator Craughwell. There was a complete oversight. I had two meetings this morning and was not in my office, and that is why the email did not go out. I apologise to the Senator for that.

I thank the Leader. He has made his point.

I apologise for that.

I would not subscribe to a conspiracy theory.

Senator Bacik came in this morning protesting over the leaders' meeting and Members not being informed. It is the proposal of the Leader on any given day. By the same token, many Members, including some from the Senator's party, come in here without ever telling me at the group meetings that they are proposing an amendment to the Order of Business on any day. Senator Bacik has been at the group meetings and never referred to opposing the Order of Business.

Being in government and in opposition are very different, as the Leader well knows.

As the Leader will find out after the election.

The House is very unruly this morning. The Leader should be allowed to continue without interruption.

I am quite happy to go before the people any time. It does not bother me in any way.

The difference is in the name. Senator Buttimer is the Leader. We are not-----

As Senator Boyhan says-----


We must move along.

As Senator Boyhan says, it is the prerogative of the House to accept or amend the Order of Business.

We will deal with the amendment when the Leader is finished.

I am amused that Senator McDowell speaks about one person capturing Fine Gael. It is extraordinary how one man can capture his own group. There are none so blind as those who follow.

I will not accept that nonsense from the Senator. He should just go and report to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, now that he is being hammered here.

The Leader has the floor.

Senator Conway-Walsh-----

The Leader should speak through the Chair.

Senator Conway-Walsh raised the issue of domestic violence. I have not seen the Sinn Féin Bill. There is great merit in the proposal. Senator Clifford-Lee raised the matter yesterday in the House. Senator Conway-Walsh and her colleagues in Sinn Féin have made a proposal on leave for victims of domestic violence.


Please, the Leader without interruption. We cannot have a separate debate in the Chamber. If the Senators want to have a discussion, they may have it in the anteroom.

I believe a meeting of a Fine Gael-Sinn Féin mutual adoration society is taking place.

If the Senators are going to stay in the Chamber, they should be in their seats.

I had to check in with my office regarding what Senator Norris said. He was actually referring directly to me by saying some idiot said there is more important business to be doing than the main Bills in the House. I will tell the Senator something now. I am no idiot and I believe he should withdraw the remark. There is much more important business to be doing in the House. There is much more important business to be doing and I am in here every day doing it.

I believed Senator Norris was referring to the Leader, to tell the truth. I have already corrected the Senator, stating that the language in question is out of place. I am sure he will apologise to Senator Ruane if the comment was directed at her.

Senator Norris should withdraw the remark and apologise.

Abusive language is out of order. I ask the Leader to move on.

Senator Conway-Walsh's proposal is one we should all consider. I would be happy to do that. Senator Bacik raised the issue of the Lanzarote Convention. I have not got an answer to the question she raised but I will revert to her on the matter.

Senator Murnane O'Connor mentioned volunteerism. International Volunteer Day was last week. I commend all involved. Both Senators Norris and Mullen paid a lovely tribute to the late Paul Anthony McDermott. We also paid tributes yesterday on the Order of Business. Again, I offer our sympathy to Mr. McDermott's family. Senator Mullen made a fair point on Mr. McDermott's ability to reach the ordinary person on aspects of law. Mr. McDermott will be missed, but by none more than his family.

I am happy to accept Senator Mullen's amendment to the Order of Business. I should have said I will not be accepting Senator McDowell's amendment to the Order of Business.

I knew the Senator would not be surprised.

I will be putting the amendment in a minute. The Leader should conclude.

Senator Gavan raised the issue of food banks in the United Kingdom. Both he and Senator Norris raised the issue in the context of the UK general election tomorrow. Irrespective of who wins, it is important that we on this island work with the new British Government. We may have certain views, which I will not express as Leader, other than to say we wish every candidate success tomorrow.


Senators, please. The Leader should continue.

Senator Gavan made a point on the rise of food banks. It is interesting that there were none in the North of our country a decade ago. There are now 30. That is worth considering in the context of the Senator's conversation.

Senator Swanick raised the issue of direct provision. It is exercising the Government. The McMahon report is being implemented. There is a need to move away from direct provision. I hope it will happen in time but there have been significant changes made. The Minster was here two weeks ago discussing direct provision.

Senator Feighan spoke about the FAI, as did Senator Humphreys, in the context of the development officers. It is important that there be genuine root-and-branch reform of the FAI. Sport Ireland has a role and questions to answer on how it allowed the FAI to carry on its business in the way it did. It is the oversight body.

They probably used the guillotine.

I was interrupted by a number of people but I am getting there. Senator McDowell has been exercised by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, a lot today. The Minister has done a very good job in showing the inadequacy of the FAI, and the Senator should give him credit for that. What the Minister is actually doing, which is quite right, is diverting money from the FAI and channelling it to the grassroots, where it is needed.


We cannot have a debate now. The Leader should conclude.

I commend Senator Craughwell on his work with the NFA. The points he made are ones we should pursue. I will be happy to talk to him afterwards about this.

It is important that we acknowledge the NFA, not just in a tokenistic way but in real terms. I would be happy to talk to Senator Craughwell about that.

Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell raised the issue of visa requirements for healthcare workers. She is 100% correct. There is a skills shortage in the health sector, in particular in the nursing homes sector, that needs to be addressed urgently. They are competing with HSE hospital staff and it is not a level playing field. I have spoken to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Heather Humphreys, about the need to change the visa requirements. We changed the work visa programme for a number of other areas, in particular in the hospitality sector. We must ensure that we do that.

Senator Gallagher also raised a health issue. The Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, was before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health today. He announced the opening of 190 new beds across various hospitals. I am told that the Minister indicated to the committee that the fee the Senator mentioned is being reduced but I do not have confirmation on that yet.

Senator Ó Domhnaill referred to Cuisle. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Finian McGrath, has been in the House to discuss the issue. It is disappointing to hear the IWA did not apply for funding but it is important that we ensure it has an opportunity to engage further on the matter.

Senator Nash raised the issue of school secretaries. I hope there is engagement, as there needs to be. All of us who worked in schools understand the importance of the school secretary and their role but they also need to get fair pay.

Senator Horkan raised the issue of the attacks on the Grand Canal. That is disappointing for cyclists. It is a matter that should be taken up with the relevant Garda authorities. It is important that CCTV monitoring is used in the area.

I will not be accepting Senator McDowell's amendment.

We will come to that.

I will accept Senator Mullen's amendment.

An amendment to the Order of Business has been proposed by Senator McDowell, "That No. 3 adjourn at 5.30 p.m., if not previously concluded." Is the amendment being pressed?

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 22; Níl, 25.

  • Ardagh, Catherine.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Clifford-Lee, Lorraine.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Daly, Paul.
  • Freeman, Joan.
  • Gallagher, Robbie.
  • Hackett, Pippa.
  • Horkan, Gerry.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Marshall, Ian.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • Swanick, Keith.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.


  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Maria.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Devine, Máire.
  • Dolan, John.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Gavan, Paul.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • Ó Céidigh, Pádraig.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Donnghaile, Niall.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ruane, Lynn.
  • Warfield, Fintan.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Michael McDowell and Ivana Bacik; Níl, Senators Gabrielle McFadden and John O'Mahony.
Amendment declared lost.

Let the record show that the Government had to undo pairings, do deals and dredge the hospitals to get this disgraceful vote through.

Order please. There is a further amendment to the Order of Business proposed by Senator Mullen, "That No. 19 be taken before No. 1." Is that agreed?

Yes, I am happy to accept Senator Mullen's proposal.

Is that agreed? Agreed. Is the Order of Business, as amended, agreed to? It is not.

Question put: "That the Order of Business, as amended, be agreed to."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 25; Níl, 22.

  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Maria.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Devine, Máire.
  • Dolan, John.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Gavan, Paul.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • Ó Céidigh, Pádraig.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Donnghaile, Niall.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ruane, Lynn.
  • Warfield, Fintan.


  • Ardagh, Catherine.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Clifford-Lee, Lorraine.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Daly, Paul.
  • Freeman, Joan.
  • Gallagher, Robbie.
  • Hackett, Pippa.
  • Horkan, Gerry.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Marshall, Ian.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • Swanick, Keith.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Gabrielle McFadden and John O'Mahony; Níl, Senators Diarmuid Wilson and Ivana Bacik.
Question declared carried.