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18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The Order of Business is No. 1, Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) (Amendment) Bill 2013 [Seanad Bill amended by the Dáil] - Report and Final Stages, to be taken at 11.45 a.m. and to conclude no later than 1.30 p.m.; No. 2, Companies (Miscellaneous Provisio...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [744]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] On Monday in this House I raised very serious allegations in regard to the culture, procedures and operation of the National Asset Management Agency. Later that day the agency issued a statement to the effect that it was aware of only one ongoing investigation into such practic...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [744]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] As I said on Monday, I have been made aware of very serious allegations concerning the deliberate undervaluing of loans at pre-sale, with a view to turning over a profit for public relations and political reasons and conferring advantage to certain bidders. It is a very serious...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [744]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I do. That is just a flavour of the allegations which, if true, go to the very top of NAMA. There are questions to be answered regarding the interaction between the Department of Finance, senior NAMA officials and international vulture funds and investors.[O'Brien, Darragh]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [744]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I am proposing an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister for Finance come into the House today to make a statement on oversight of NAMA, with reference to the questions that have been raised through the freedom of information process regarding senior officials in h...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [745]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Will the Leader arrange a debate with the Minister for Finance in the new year on the mid-term economic review that was published yesterday? The report has been criticised by some for not being ambitious enough and by others for not being sufficiently cautious. The projections...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [745]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I welcome the confirmation by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, of the appointment of Mr. John O'Connor as chairman of EirGrid. I attended the Oireachtas committee meeting at which Mr. O'Connor remarked that he himself would not...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [745]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I begin by suggesting to Senator O'Brien that he call to mind who set up NAMA.[Mulcahy, Tony]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [745]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Nevertheless, I echo his concerns. A Member of the other House, Deputy Mick Wallace, has stated publicly that the people he was dealing with before the crisis are the same people he has dealt with since the crisis. I was very worried to hear that comment. I do not condone wha...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [745]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] That is what our gardaí are dealing with. I am sure the Acting Leader, on behalf of the House, will convey our sincere gratitude to the Garda for what it has done this year and wish the force a successful Christmas. All over the country this year there have been examples of th...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [746]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I congratulate the newly elected president of the IFA, Mr. Eddie Downey from Meath. I started my public life with him in 1997. I also extend my congratulations to the deputy president, Mr. Tim O'Leary from Cork. We look forward to working with them over the next four years. ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [747]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I support Senator Darragh O'Brien. He did the Seanad and the nation a great service by raising the issue of the apparent corruption in some areas of NAMA. The Seanad should be given full credit for this. I noticed that throughout the media it disappeared and that it was sudde...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [747]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] If there are genuine issues and concerns in respect of NAMA, and it appears there are, the appropriate authority to investigate them is the Garda. Any information people receive should be conveyed to the Garda. It is important to bear in mind also that valuations carried out e...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [747]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Like previous speakers, I congratulate Mr. Eddie Downey on his fabulous achievement. I was delighted by the stance he took during his election campaign to the effect that he is opposed to both wind turbines and pylons. This proves that the majority of farmers do not support th...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [748]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I support the call made earlier in the week by Senator Cullinane for a debate on poverty. When one comes to work each morning, one is struck by the number of people begging and each evening one is confronted by many individuals seeking money. In addition, every morning one can...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [748]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] -----but apparently they are not receiving them. When one takes everything I have just stated into account, it becomes clear that there is a need for a debate on this matter. The facts must be placed on the record and if it requires bringing the Minister for Social Protection ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [749]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I was going to propose an amendment to the Order of Business but two have already been proposed in respect of very important issues and I do not want to compromise the possibility of their being accepted. In such circumstances, will the Deputy Leader indicate whether time could...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [749]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The one matter on which I can agree with Senator Darragh O'Brien is that he should go to the Garda with whatever information he has in his possession. We all have a duty under section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 to report any impropriety of which we might become aware. ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [749]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] No, he did not. However, reference was made to the culture that obtains. I am not being critical.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Senator Paul Coghlan is inferring that he said that.[White, Mary M.]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I am merely sounding a warning to the effect that we need to be careful. We are aware that NAMA operates within the law on a competitive basis and that it obtains independent valuations. I accept that the market is changing and that, as a result, valuations also change. I am ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The Garda bureau of fraud investigation is dealing with the matter and it should be allowed to carry on with its work.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] With respect, the investigation has been going on for the past year or two.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] It is the second investigation. It was one investigation when we discussed the matter on Monday, now it is two.[O'Brien, Darragh]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Somebody gave the Senator information a couple of days ago. That is what happened.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I ask Senator Bradford to forgive me for impinging on his time.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Senator Paul Coghlan should put his whip back in his pocket.[Norris, David]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I am normally hesitant to support requests to the effect that Ministers be brought before the House at short notice. It is generally impractical for them to appear in the Seanad with a few hours notice. It is important, however, that between now and Friday afternoon - when the...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [750]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] However, I hope he will appear prior the House adjourning for the Christmas recess.[Bradford, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I would also like to hear a debate on wind farms. Senator Sean Barrett referred to a comment by Mr. Eddie O'Connor that he would not like to live beside a wind farm. Mr. O'Connor added, however, that he would not mind living 500 m from a wind farm.[Keane, Cáit]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] He was referring to pylons rather than wind farms.[Kelly, John]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] In fairness to Mr. O'Connor, his entire statement should be cited if consultations are taking place on wind farms or electricity pylons.
Last July, I raised the issue of a pilot training college in Waterford that entered the liquidation process. Students at the college are st...
Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] If the Senator submits the matter for debate on the Adjournment, I will accept it.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I will do so. I am bringing to the attention of the House the lack of any action on this issue since the training college went into liquidation in July 2012. I would like to find out if the joint committee did a report on the issue.[Keane, Cáit]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The Health Service Executive national service plan has been published. While next year's cuts have been reduced slightly from €666 million to €619 million, we can safely state that the HSE and hospital managers will find it very difficult and highly challenging to implement the...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [751]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Given what has evolved in the past two days in respect of the National Asset Management Agency, I am surprised the Minister for Finance has not been brought into the House to explain what precisely is going on. We have to remember that-----[Higgins, Lorraine]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [752]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] An amendment to the Order of Business has been proposed on this issue.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [752]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I wish to make a point. Earlier in the week, NAMA stated that if people had information, they should bring it to the attention of the Garda Síochána. It deliberately muddied the waters in the aftermath of contributions on the agency made by Senator Darragh O'Brien and me in th...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [752]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I congratulate Mr. Eddie Downey on his election as president of the Irish Farmers' Association. Mr. Downey has proved himself to be a doughty fighter for the farmers of his area and nationally in his previous role as deputy president of the IFA. He will probably recall that on...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [752]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] On the National Asset Management Agency, I welcome the statement by Senator Darragh O'Brien that he will pass on the information in his possession to the Garda Síochána. To restore confidence in NAMA, it would be appropriate for the Committee of Public Accounts to call in the e...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [753]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I agree that we need to be very careful in what we say about NAMA. Senator Darragh O'Brien has done the State some service.[Conway, Martin]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [753]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] When things go wrong and are not done the way they should be done, the people deserve to know. Senator O'Brien has fulfilled his responsibilities as a Member of this House.[Conway, Martin]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [753]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Of course he would pass information on to the Garda. He would always do what is right.[Conway, Martin]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I thank him in that regard.
In the week that is in it, I support Senator Kelly's call for a debate on poverty. In each of the past two years, I have spoken in the run-up to Christmas about a homeless gentleman I used to see on the steps opposite the front gate of Leinster Hou...
Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I join my colleagues in commending the leader of our group, Senator Darragh O'Brien, on highlighting the concerns that have been raised with him privately regarding the way NAMA conducts its business. While I appreciate Senator Coghlan's comment that these are mere allegations,...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I remind the Senator that some people, including some politicians, have agendas.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] While I appreciate Senator Coghlan's concerns, I emphasise that every Member of this House who comes into possession of information of major significance to this State has an obligation to put it on the record of the House and hand it on to the appropriate authorities.[Wilson, D...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I do not think anybody should be condemned for doing that.[Wilson, Diarmuid]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [754]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I am condemning nobody. Senator O'Brien knows I have great respect for him.[Coghlan, Paul]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] It is not like Senator Coghlan to be interrupting.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I ask the Acting Leader to ensure that when we come back in the new year, we will not be bullied by the Government into ramming through legislation in the manner that has been happening this week. I know I am pushing an open door with this request. It should be one of the main...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I remind Members that the NAMA legislation was designed not to be open or transparent. People should remember that. The Minister for Finance does not work for the Garda Síochána or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The exclusive role of certain bodies that ar...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] This week marked the 20th anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration. I was in the car the other night listening to the presentation from Iveagh House. I have to say it was one of the better moments in public broadcasting. I listened to the former Prime Minister, John Majo...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I ask the Senator to bring his suggestion to the Leader of the House so that it may be considered by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The Senator could write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges separately.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Actually, I do not think I need to write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.[D'Arcy, Michael]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [755]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] You do. There is a procedure to be followed in these circumstances. The Senator needs to write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I am putting it on the record of the House that I think 2014 will present a perfect opportunity for the former British Prime Minister, John Major, to address this Chamber on his role and the role of others in this regard.[D'Arcy, Michael]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The request has to come to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Senator Darragh O'Brien spoke about the further allegations that have been made regarding NAMA. I join others who have commended the Senator on raising this issue. This is an illustration of the importance of the Seanad as an appropriate forum for highlighting issues. Clearly...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] The Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Brian Hayes, could come to the Chamber instead.[O'Brien, Darragh]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] In any event, I am not sure it would be appropriate for the Minister to debate the matter with us. Senator Mullins, who was one of the many Senators to speak on this issue, sensibly suggested it would be more appropriate for the board of NAMA to be brought before the Committee ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Such investigations are solely matters for the Garda Síochána. Any person who has information that might be useful should make it available to the Garda. People have been critical of the NAMA legislation. I think that is fair. There are specific offences under the NAMA Act i...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] This is just a clarification. The Deputy Leader should not forget that NAMA denied there was a second investigation until we raised it in the House.[O'Brien, Darragh]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Dealing specifically with the state of the investigations, I understand an investigation by An Garda Síochána into a complaint made by NAMA against a former employee some time ago is at an advanced stage. I know colleagues will be relieved and glad to hear the investigation by ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [756]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] With all due respect, that only came to light after it was raised in the House.[O'Brien, Darragh]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [757]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] As I said, I appreciate that and have acknowledged the role played by the Senator and the Seanad, but the Garda will investigate fully any allegations of criminal activity. I am sure we will be glad to receive any further documentation the Senator may have.
Senator Clune rais...
Vol-228 Book-9 Page [757]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] I should say that the Oireachtas Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality will continue to deal with the Legal Services Regulation Bill in the new year. I know it will be before us. I imagine it will probably be February or March 2014.
We can certainly have a debate...
Vol-228 Book-9 Page [759]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Senator Darragh O'Brien has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That a debate with the Minister for Finance on the oversight of NAMA and the interaction of senior officials in his Department with NAMA and the leaking of confidential information to preferred bidders ...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [760]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Under Standing Order 62(3)(b) I request that the division be taken again other than by electronic means.[Wilson, Diarmuid]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [760]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] Senator Denis O'Donovan has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: "That a debate with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the decline and decimation of the fishing industry, due to the reduction in quotas, be taken today." Is the amendment being press...Vol-228 Book-9 Page [761]
18/12/2013 [Business of Seanad] In view of the fact that on Christmas morning the aristocrats in Ireland will be eating Irish prawn starters caught by French fishermen, I think I will have to put this to a vote.[O'Donovan, Denis]Vol-228 Book-9 Page [761]
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