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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

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 House. I have not seen him there so far this year. I shudder to think where that poor man might be at this time. Homelessness is a big problem. Representatives of many charities have spoken about the challenges facing homeless people and highlighted the increase in the number of homeless people in Dublin. Regardless of the state of our economy, we have a responsibility to ensure we eliminate homelessness. As a country, we have the ability to do so. There should be no need for people to beg on the streets of Dublin or any other city or town in Ireland. I do not know how we will go about the elimination of homelessness, but there should be a discussion on it. This House should be challenging the Government, and Senators as citizens, to come up with better ways of doing business and better ways of eliminating homelessness. All of this feeds into the completely new approach to charity that is needed in this country. I believe donating to charity should be seen in the same way as paying tax. When we pay tax, we expect full accountability. When people donate to a charity box, they should also expect full accountability. At the end of the day, it is the citizen's money. Next year will pose challenges for this House. We should embrace those challenges on behalf of the Irish people and come up with solutions. If that involves organising public consultation processes, as have already successfully been done on other issues, we can do a good year's work in 2014.