Order of Business (Resumed)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 206 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 12 Next Page Last Page

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan I call Senator Mullen on the Order of Business.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen I join others in congratulating Senator Doherty on his election to the Dáil. At the rate at which people are leaving politics it might almost seem indecent to say I intend to stay on.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan Does the Senator have a question for the Leader?

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen What does the Leader think of what the prison chaplains have said in recent days? When the State’s prison chaplains say current prison policy is a disaster, they have to be taken seriously. When they say conditions in many prisons are an insult to the dignity of any human being and an affront to the basic tenets of decency, does the Leader not think we should take them seriously?

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris Yes.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen When the prison chaplains point out that at one point last year 129 prisoners did not even have a bed to sleep in and some did not even have a mattress to sleep [19]on, does the Leader not think we should take them seriously? When they point out that there are over 800 assaults by prisoners on other prisoners each year——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan We do not want the Senator to state exactly what was said by the people concerned. If he wants a debate on the matter, he should ask the Leader for one.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen I ask a Leader for a debate on the matter. The prison chaplains who are honest brokers and do not have a political agenda have pointed out that some of the attacks that took place on prisoners last year were fatal. Why is the Ombudsman for Children explicitly prohibited from investigating complaints and allegations made by young people in St. Patrick’s Institution? Why is it the case that employees of the State are involved in leaking stories to the media, for example, on the whereabouts of Larry Murphy when he was released last year? Whatever one may think about his atrocious crimes, the State has a duty of care to ensure the Irish Prison Service operates in a responsible fashion. Why would the Minister for Justice and Law Reform not even meet the prison chaplains when they issued their report last year?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan The Senator has made his point.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen Does the Leader agree that whatever about the Government’s general political legacy, it has shown little desire to view prison and prisoners as anything more than a numbers game and that there has been an attempt to consider our justice system——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan I do not want the Senator reading a speech into the record of the House.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen ——not as a way to create a better society but merely as a method of punishment? Will we not reap the rewards of that in future years if we fail to rehabilitate people?

Senator Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I wish to pick up on the question Senator Mooney asked the Leader about what is happening with the financial markets and suggest a more obvious answer as to what is driving the trend today. The financial markets doubt the credibility of this plan. There was a marked difference between the market reaction to the Greek plan and to our plan. When the Greek plan was announced, Greek shares, Greek banks and Greek bonds all improved. There has been no change to ours. In fact, a deterioration has taken place. That is the key question we must confront which leads on to a second point I wish to make about the interest rates.

The rule of thumb in evaluating whether interest rates are sustainable is whether an economy can grow more quickly than the rate of interest being charged. To make this plan credible, the rates of growth we would need to deliver next year and the year after are greater than 5.8%. The question we must ask is whether people believe that is possible. If they do not, it leads to a credible questioning of the nature of the plan. We would be in dereliction of our duty if we did not do so.

I agree with the amendment Senator Fitzgerald tabled. There has been much talk about sovereignty, and perhaps rightly so. It would be an extraordinary signal of how cheaply this House regards its sovereignty if it did not discuss immediately this plan which will have such a considerable impact on the future of our country.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy Senators Fitzgerald, O’Toole, Alex White, Boyle, Norris, Ormonde, Coffey, Hanafin, Bacik, Ó Brolcháin, Coghlan, Walsh, Buttimer, Mooney, Mullen and Donohoe referred to the EU-IMF programme for national recovery. I intend to hold an all-day debate on Thursday and I will discuss the timeframe with the leaders after the Order of Business. My intention is that the debate will roll over. Almost every Member will want to [20]make a contribution on this historic document. The deal will be part of the budget which will be discussed in and voted on by both Houses.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole Zoom on Joe John O'Toole Will we have it by Thursday?

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy I hope we will have the latest information. I understand the Taoiseach will address the Dáil at 5.30 p.m. today on this matter and that from 3.45 p.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow, the spokespersons will discuss it in the Dáil. We will have an all-day debate on it on Thursday. As the leaders know, I did everything I possibly could——

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald On a point of order, did the Leader say there would be a vote?

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy The budget is always voted on.

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am not talking about the budget but about the deal.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy No. What I am explaining to the House — perhaps I did not explain it clearly enough — is that much of the content of the deal will be in the budget. Therefore, as usual, both Houses will have a chance to vote on the budget——

Senator Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White We do not vote on the budget.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy ——the Finance Bill, the social welfare Bill and other Bills which will have to come to the House before the dissolution of the Dáil. I assure the House we will have a long spring session.

Senator Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan We will not.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan On a point of order, did the Leader make it clear that this memorandum of understanding necessitates legislation and that we will have an opportunity to vote on it?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan No. The Leader to reply.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy If we generate growth in the coming year or two, irrespective of who is in power, many options will be available to the Government of the day. However, we must get growth going. That is what all the small and medium-sized enterprises, the self-employed and the families business are saying. Will the money we will receive generate growth? That is the simple question the people want answered when we knock on their doors.

I thank everyone who organised the peaceful ICTU march on Saturday as well as the people who travelled from the four corners of Ireland to let their views be known in a peaceful way.

Senator Cummins and other colleagues congratulated local authorities and outdoor local authority staff, in particular, on the excellent work they have been doing over recent days due to the very inclement weather. County Westmeath had seven to ten inches of snow last night and I acknowledge the work done by local authority workers there this morning.

Senators Cummins, Keaveney and Regan referred to last night’s “Prime Time Investigates” programme on cigarette smuggling and the high tar content of these cigarettes. The team who produced the programme should be congratulated on it. The €500 million lost to the Exchequer each year was highlighted, as well as the cost to our health service. The last year I was a member of the former Midland Health Board, it conducted research indicating that 75% of all patients in the medical wards that year suffered from respiratory diseases which were caused in no small way by smoking.

[21]Senator Keaveney referred to abuse in sport and the “Panorama” programme and I noted what she said. Senators Ormonde and Walsh called for a further debate on Seanad reform. I have no problem arranging a debate but all parties in this House have put their proposals to the Minister. We want the White Paper published immediately and Seanad reform to take place before the dissolution of the Dáil. The Seanad must follow suit 90 days after that dissolution occurs.

Senator Bacik referred to the Climate Change Bill. I will make inquiries into it. Senator Leyden congratulated Dr. Michael Somers who is one of the most outstanding Irishmen of our time in regard to financial matters. He had a great track record in his previous position. His outlook for the country is uplifting and he spelled it out in laymen’s terms. Ireland is a small open economy and things can change quickly once the foundations are put in place. Then again, it is all down to growth, which I hope will happen.

I welcome the 100 jobs announced by Accenture yesterday. I was surprised that no one welcomed the creation of these jobs. This House will have to lead the way. If the media will not carry good news, we should be the ones to welcome the 100 jobs announced yesterday.

Senator Callely referred to a constitutional matter which is before the Supreme Court and the Cathaoirleach ruled on it. Senator Callely will write to the Cathaoirleach in this regard.

Senators Quinn and Walsh and other colleagues referred to the spirit in our communities, in particular in supporting the elderly in our communities in these very difficult and inclement weather conditions. We should visit our neighbours and be part of our communities. As Senator Quinn said, we should give that extra time, whether it is one day a month, one day a week or whatever, to show good example and leadership. Most of us became involved in public life through involvement in communities. Only for our communities, none of us would be here representing any party in either House.

Senator Walsh congratulated Fianna Fáil-led Governments over the years on putting money into the National Pensions Reserve Fund and on reducing the national debt which was absolutely huge when we took over in 1987. The top tax rate was 65p in the pound and the lower rate was 35p in the pound. We turned things around before and I have no doubt the resilience of the people will help the Government of the day to do so again.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan Zoom on Eugene Regan We will turn it around.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy Senator Buttimer called for a debate on the future of the European Union and asked for a change in Standing Orders to allow Professor Honohan to address the House. As the Cathaoirleach correctly said, that is a matter for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. If any Member wishes to bring a matter before that committee, it will be dealt with by the Cathaoirleach.

I join Senator Mooney in wishing Fáilte Ireland well with its new launch. There is a serious challenge facing the Minister responsible for tourism and her Department regarding the numbers of people coming to Ireland and the value for money existing in the country, as flights have a low premium and the hotels are also low cost. I have a vested interest in the area but the opportunity to support Fáilte Ireland has never been more required than at present. I wish the organisation well.

Senator Mullen called for a debate on the issues raised by prison chaplains. The Senator outlined the difficulties indicated in the chaplains’ statement. I have no difficulty in having the matter debated in the House.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen Is there a date for the debate?

[22]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan Zoom on Pat Moylan Senator Frances Fitzgerald has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: “That a debate on the financial agreement reached with the IMF and the European Central Bank be taken today.” Is the amendment being pressed?

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Yes.

Amendment put.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 18; Níl, 29.

Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik Bacik, Ivana. Information on Paul Bradford Zoom on Paul Bradford Bradford, Paul.
Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Burke, Paddy. Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Buttimer, Jerry.
Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey Coffey, Paudie. Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan Coghlan, Paul.
Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Cummins, Maurice. Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Fitzgerald, Frances. Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Ronan Mullen Zoom on Ronan Mullen Mullen, Rónán. Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris Norris, David.
Information on Joe John O'Toole Zoom on Joe John O'Toole O’Toole, Joe. Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Phil Prendergast Zoom on Phil Prendergast Prendergast, Phil. Information on Fergal Quinn Zoom on Fergal Quinn Quinn, Feargal.
Information on Eugene Regan Zoom on Eugene Regan Regan, Eugene. Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White White, Alex.



Níl
Information on Dan Boyle Zoom on Dan Boyle Boyle, Dan. Information on Martin Brady Zoom on Martin Brady Brady, Martin.
Information on Larry Butler Zoom on Larry Butler Butler, Larry. Information on Ivor Callely Zoom on Ivor Callely Callely, Ivor.
Information on James Carroll Zoom on James Carroll Carroll, James. Information on John Carty Zoom on John Carty Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy Zoom on Donie Cassidy Cassidy, Donie. Information on Maria Corrigan Zoom on Maria Corrigan Corrigan, Maria.
Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly Daly, Mark. Information on Mark Dearey Zoom on Mark Dearey Dearey, Mark.
Information on John Ellis Zoom on John Ellis Ellis, John. Information on Geraldine Feeney Zoom on Geraldine Feeney Feeney, Geraldine.
Information on Camillus Glynn Zoom on Camillus Glynn Glynn, Camillus. Information on John Gerard Hanafin Zoom on John Gerard Hanafin Hanafin, John.
Information on Cecilia Keaveney Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney Keaveney, Cecilia. Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden Leyden, Terry.
Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry MacSharry, Marc. Information on Lisa McDonald Zoom on Lisa McDonald McDonald, Lisa.
Information on Paschal Canice Mooney Zoom on Paschal Canice Mooney Mooney, Paschal. Information on Niall Ó Brolcháin Zoom on Niall Ó Brolcháin Ó Brolcháin, Niall.
Information on Brian Ó Domhnaill Zoom on Brian Ó Domhnaill Ó Domhnaill, Brian. Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
Information on Francis O'Brien Zoom on Francis O'Brien O’Brien, Francis. Information on Dennis O'Donovan Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan O’Donovan, Denis.
Information on Fiona O'Malley Zoom on Fiona O'Malley O’Malley, Fiona. Information on Ned O'Sullivan Zoom on Ned O'Sullivan O’Sullivan, Ned.
Information on Ann Ormonde Zoom on Ann Ormonde Ormonde, Ann. Information on Jim Walsh Zoom on Jim Walsh Walsh, Jim.
Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson Wilson, Diarmuid.  

Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and David Norris; Níl, Senators Niall Ó Brolcháin and Diarmuid Wilson.

Amendment declared lost.

Question, “That the Order of Business be agreed to,” put and declared carried.


Last Updated: 26/03/2015 09:39:00 First Page Previous Page Page of 12 Next Page Last Page