Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins] The preferred site has been identified and the council will prepare detailed plans and complete an environmental impact statement. The EIS, together with the planning application under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála. The board will carry out the statutory public consultation report at that stage. In advance of that, the project team is holding public consultations over the next eight weeks to seek feedback on what should be considered in the EIS. Open days are being held by Fingal County Council in Swords on 26 June, 29 June and 3 July. This is the information I can give the Senator on the matter.

  Senator Bacik called for a debate on penal policy. I will try to arrange that debate as soon as possible.

  Senator Zappone spoke on a number of issues. She called for a debate on branding Ireland in the context of tax in particular. We will try to have the Minister in to address that matter. The Government has indicated it will not be legislating on the question of assisted suicide in early course.

  Senators Barrett, Jim D'Arcy, Hayden, O'Keeffe, Moloney and others raised the issue of the errors that arose in examination papers. What happened in the case of these papers is unacceptable. Pupils sitting examinations are under enough pressure without having examination questions put to them that are not framed properly. It is always unfortunate when these errors take place but I suppose our first obligation is to ensure we maintain as calm and supportive an environment as possible for all the examination students who will be sitting other examinations today and throughout the coming days. One of the core principles under which the State Examinations Commission operates is that students cannot be disadvantaged as a result of an error on an examination paper. Therefore, the impact of this error on students' answers will be taken into account by the chief examiner when finalising the marking stream for this examination. It is unacceptable that pupils are put under such pressure because of these errors. It should not happen; it is as simple as that. I will raise the matter with the Minister. Steps should be taken to ensure these types of errors will not happen again.

  I note Senator Barrett's comments on the G8 summit. I share his views regarding the late Senator Gordon Wilson, who was such a wonderful Member of the House.

  Senator Jim D'Arcy spoke on the need for greater care to be taken in the preparation of examination papers and called for an investigation. As I said, I will raise the matter with the Minister for Education and Skills.

  Senator Leyden raised the matter of the forthcoming Bill to abolish the Seanad. I have stated to the House that I will afford ample time for the Bill to be discussed in the House. I will invite the Taoiseach to come in here on Second Stage to see what the Members have to say about it.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden He will not come in, though.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senator Hayden raised the issue of rent supplement limits, a matter raised by Senator Moloney as well. I understand we will have the Housing (Amendment) Bill within the next week or two and that may be the opportunity to raise the points that the Senators wishes to make on the matter.

  Senator Quinn called for a debate on tourism and outlined the fact that Dublin Port will host more than 100 cruise ships this year. This is a growing trade. We will have in excess of 25 cruise ships coming into Waterford and even more coming into the Port of Cork.

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