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Order of Business

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

That does not surprise me. I am disappointed that the Minister saw fit to change today's schedule and give a few hours notice that he will not attend to answer questions on hospital services.
I wish to express my sympathies and that of the Fianna Fáil group on the death of former Senator Tom Fitzgerald, who was buried at the weekend. He served with distinction in the House as Whip. I know that there will be another opportunity to give more detailed statements in that regard.
I commend and congratulate the Taoiseach on the excellent start he has made to his campaign to abolish the Seanad. I encourage him to get as involved as he can because it might have the desired effect. I encourage him to comment regularly and often. His proposals to abolish the Seanad have been met with a lukewarm response from his colleagues. He has done no harm to the "No" side.
I ask the Leader to arrange a debate with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on capital investment and infrastructure. We debated the matter on 22 November 2011 and I specifically raised an issue of concern to 12,000 residents of north Dublin regarding the location of a sewage treatment plant to deal with all of the waste in the greater Dublin area. I mentioned it to the Minister because he is the Minister for public expenditure. I also pointed out that a cost benefit analysis had not been carried out, even though there is an estimated minimum spend of €500 million. On 22 November, the Minister said "I am giving an undertaking now to the Senator that I will have it investigated." In fact, he said it twice. However, he has not investigated the project. He has not asked his officials or anyone else to conduct a cost benefit analysis or an environmental impact assessment.
The people of north County Dublin will have a plant foisted upon them with an outflow pipe that will process 1,000 litres of sewage per second that will be treated to a secondary level, the minimum standard required. The waste will then be put in Dublin Bay and along the east coast, which are important fishing waters, particularly for shellfish. The plant poses an environmental risk and is not just a risk to the quality of life for the people of north County Dublin. It poses a catastrophic risk to the living environment.
I would like the opportunity to question the Minister again, in this regard. On 22 November he twice gave me a commitment, as is clearly stated on the record of the House. Why has he not followed through on his commitment? Perhaps he is scheduled to come here in the coming weeks. I ask the Leader to arrange for him to attend specifically to answer my question today.