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11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Order of Business is No. 1, Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 2014 - Second Stage, to be taken at 1.15 p.m. and adjourned not later than 3.30 p.m., if not previously concluded, with the contributions of group spokespersons not to exceed eight minutes and those of all ot...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [698]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I understand the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Heather Humphreys, reported to the Cabinet yesterday that there was large-scale compliance with the habitats directive regarding turf cutting on bogs, particularly in the west of Ireland. From media repor...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [698]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Like all reasonable people, I am saddened and disturbed at what is happening regarding one of the most important tourist routes in the country, namely the 4 km section of the road from Dingle to Tralee. In the interests of safety and sanity, I appeal to An Taisce to withdraw its...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [698]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Yesterday legislation introduced by Deputy Clare Daly was voted on in the Dáil and defeated on the advice of the Attorney General. The matters surrounding the issue raise questions that must be addressed in a modern democracy. Article 30 of the Constitution states:
1 There shal...
Vol-237 Book-11 Page [699]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does the Senator have a question for the Deputy Leader? We should not be discussing the Attorney General.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [699]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I am getting there. The Attorney General gets it wrong sometimes and when that happens-----[Craughwell, Gerard P.]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [699]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The issue must be discussed in the light of the debate in the Dáil yesterday. The Attorney General sometimes gets it wrong and when that happens, the State must carry the cost of erroneous advice. Court actions to rectify where the law is wrong frequently end up in the Supreme ...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [699]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does the Senator have a question for the Deputy Leader?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Yes; I am getting there. The advice in question had come from the Office of the Attorney General, Ms Máire Whelan, and cleared the material on the website and in the booklet, "But the Supreme Court found this week that elements of the website and booklet were 'not fair, equal or...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Is the Senator looking for a debate on the issue? We are not having a debate on the advice given by the Attorney General.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I am coming to the end. These courts may make decisions on the constitutionality of any disputed matter and, as such, the advice of the Attorney General can be assigned no more weigh than any other advice available at any given time. I ask the Deputy Leader to hold a debate on ...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Following what Senator Gerard P. Craughwell said, it is important that the House recognise the authority of the Attorney General's position. I am not talking about the Attorney General.[Gilroy, John]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We are not having a debate on the Attorney General.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I am not speaking about the person of the Attorney General but the Office of the Attorney General. It certainly is allowable to speak in this Chamber about the Office of the Attorney General or any public office. The idea that the Attorney General's advice is sometimes wrong is...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does Senator John Gilroy have a question for the Deputy Leader?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I support the proposal made by Senator Gerard P. Craughwell that we have a discussion on the matter. The idea that the Attorney General wakes up in the morning and forms an opinion shows a blatant misunderstanding of how the Office of the Attorney General arrives at conclusions....Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We should not be discussing the Attorney General at all.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Office of the Attorney General is a legitimate topic for discussion, the person of the Attorney General is not.[Gilroy, John]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We should not be discussing the Attorney General or the Office of the Attorney General.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [700]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Is the Office of the Attorney General not an allowable topic of discussion?[Gilroy, John]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I cannot accept that ruling. I will accept it, of course, but-----[Gilroy, John]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does the Senator have a question for the Deputy Leader?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] If the Attorney General's opinion is as valid as anyone else's, it demonstrates an misunderstanding of the operation of the Office of the Attorney General. The Attorney General widely canvasses opinion among academics and senior law officers in the Four Courts, the Law Library a...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Attorney General is the only practising barrister in the office.[Craughwell, Gerard P.]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I support the Senator, but I disagree with what he stated. I support him, however, in seeking a debate on the role of the Office of the Attorney General.[Gilroy, John]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Yesterday saw the defeat of the Bill proposed by Deputy Clare Daly on fatal foetal abnormalities. I found the defeat distasteful and shameful. I remember when the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was debated in this House that I voted in favour of an amendment to includ...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] That Bill was never debated in the House. It was a Private Members' Bill in the Dáil.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was debated in the House and an amendment was tabled to it to cover fatal foetal abnormalities.[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Bill proposed by Deputy Clare Daly was not debated in this House.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Senator Jillian van Turnhout proposed the amendment and I voted in favour of it. I wish Deputy Anne Ferris the very best. She stood by her principles and the longstanding principles of the Labour Party.[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] It has brought the rigid Whip system in the Oireachtas into focus.[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] That has nothing to do with this House. The Order of Business is about the business ordered for the day.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] This issue certainly affects the business of the House. It has also brought into focus the issue of the advice of the Attorney General.[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We are not discussing the advice of the Attorney General. I have ruled on that matter.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] According to various media sources, yesterday and this morning, the Attorney General's advice was divulged and spoken about at a Labour Party Parliamentary Party meeting. While I understand from media sources that leaks from the Labour Party Parliamentary Party rooms are not alw...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [701]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does the Senator have a question? What goes on at parliamentary party meetings has nothing to do with the Seanad.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Is it true that the advice of the Attorney General was debated and discussed at a meeting of the Labour Party-----[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] It is necessary to discuss the issue because the advice of the Attorney General-----[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] It was given to the Cabinet to show that the legislation was unconstitutional. The recommendation was debated by the Labour Party and not divulged to any other parliamentarian, which is utterly wrong.[Heffernan, James]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I welcome the jobs announcement made this morning by IDA Ireland worth €250 million as part of its regional investment plan. IDA Ireland in Galway has more than replaced the jobs lost in supported industries.[Naughton, Hildegarde]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Cuireann sé alltacht agus iontas orm cuid de na ráitis atá déanta ag an Aire Airgeadais san Eoraip ar maidin maidir le muintir na Gréige agus é ag cur an mhilleáin ar na gnáth daoine ó thaobh na bhfiacha atá ar an tír sin.
I find quite flabbergasting the statements that have be...
Vol-237 Book-11 Page [702]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I join Senator Hildegarde Naughton in welcoming the IDA Ireland proposals. This is great news and the proposals are important for the west, including counties Sligo and Leitrim. A fund of €50 million will be drawn down in 2015 to promote jobs in these areas. We have significan...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [703]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I join in the call made by colleague Senator Paschal Mooney for the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Heather Humphreys, to come to the House to debate the effects of some aspects of the habitats directive on rural Ireland. I hope we can have this debate as s...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [703]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I join colleagues in welcoming the significant announcement made this morning by the Minister, Deputy Richard Bruton, regarding making available €250 million in the next few years. Some €150 million of these moneys will go towards building nine manufacturing facilities, strategi...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [704]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I concur to a degree with Senator Michael Mullins and it is appropriate that we remind ourselves that St. Patrick's Day is about more than just tourism, although tourism has become an important part of it. We could renew some of our Christian values which St. Patrick bequeathed ...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [704]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I welcome a debate on the Office of the Attorney General, which applies not to one person but to four.[Keane, Cáit]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We cannot debate the Office of the Attorney General.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Then we should not imply, as a Senator did, that the Attorney General wakes up in the morning and makes statements off her own bat. She is advised by the Advisory Counsels, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government, the Office of the Chief State Solicitor and----...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We cannot discuss the Attorney General. I have already ruled on the matter.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I would like to know how one Senator can make a whole statement on the issue and another Senator cannot comment on it.[Keane, Cáit]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I raise another important issue, energy. The EU directive requires that by 2020, 16% of our energy must come from renewable sources. Only 7.1% of our energy comes from renewables. Today, Apple has invested $700 billion in solar energy and will create a plant in San Francisco, ...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Members should Google Jody Corcoran's good article on wind energy. May we have a debate on the issue?[Keane, Cáit]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] It must have been a huge bustle he was walking past.
On a serious note, I would like the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, to come to the House and explain to me how Bank of Ireland is continuing to do to the people what it did during the banking crisis. Edgar Allen...
Vol-237 Book-11 Page [705]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I join other speakers in applauding the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, on today's launch of the Government's new regional action plan for jobs. Many have argued that the economic recovery is a Dublin-only phenomenon and across the world's ec...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [706]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Two or three years ago in the run-up to the budget I made a strong case for the Minister for Finance allowing people to access their additional voluntary contributions, AVCs, from their pensions. The scheme he set up was minimal but very worthy. Recently I asked him to consider...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [706]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I call on the Minister for Health to come into the House to debate two current issues. Once again, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is in the news. I was absolutely shocked to hear Mr. Tony Fitzpatrick of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, on radio this m...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [706]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I have been raising the issue of expenditure and contract procurement by the Saolta Healthcare Group in recent weeks and in that context, it would be appropriate to have a debate in this House on HSE spending on PR consultants. We should hear from the Minister for Health on this...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [707]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I only wished, following the news on this issue, that Deputy Clare Daly had met some of those who-----[Mullen, Rónán]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Senator cannot speak like that. He cannot claim that it was a direct assault-----[O'Donnell, Marie-Louise]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] We are not discussing the issue now. It is a Private Members' Bill in the other House and I have already ruled on the matter. Senator Rónán Mullen is way over time.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Okay, I will conclude by saying that I only wish that she had met some of those families who received the news that their child had such a fatal abnormality but which child went on to live for months and even years, in some cases.[Mullen, Rónán]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Does he have his definitions of "dignity" with him this morning?[O'Donnell, Marie-Louise]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] That is what is at the heart of it.
In conclusion, was it not bizarre to hear various media commentators and people on the left, calling for freedom of conscience for Labour Party Members?[Mullen, Rónán]
Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] The Senator should sit down. He is now coming here to give us definitions of "dignity"-----[O'Donnell, Marie-Louise]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] Where were they in 2013 when other Deputies were following their consciences? Where were they?[Mullen, Rónán]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] One House does not encroach on the business of the other.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I will respond first to Senator Paschal Mooney who raised the issue of turf cutting and compliance with the habitats directive, as well as differing views on the levels of compliance here. The Senator has asked for the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Heathe...Vol-237 Book-11 Page [708]
11/02/2015 [Order of Business] I accept that. We have had an extensive debate on the Order of Business because a number of other colleagues raised the issue of the role played by the Attorney General.
Senator John Gilroy referred to the role of the Attorney General and Article 15. Colleagues will be aware ...
Vol-237 Book-11 Page [709]
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