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Order of Business

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Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Cé hiad na pleananna atá á gcur in áit ag an gCeannaire maidir le Seachtain na Gaeilge ó thaobh díospóireachtaí in san Teach seo? Will the Leader outline what plans are being put in place for Seachtain na Gaeilge in the Seanad regarding debates through the medium of Irish? They need not necessarily be about the Irish language but they should be conducted in Irish.
I note an article in The Irish Times today which reports that since the downturn in 2008, the number of people packing their bags and heading down under in search of work has soared, peaking at 18,200. There are similarly large figures for emigration to other countries. In the case of New Zealand, the figure has increased steadily from 3,131 in 2006-07 to the peak of 4,961 in 2012-13. In Britain, a total of 16,750 Irish people registered for a national insurance number for work in the United Kingdom in the 12 months to September 2014, and almost 18,000 temporary workers and their family members travelled to the United States in 2013. There is a huge diaspora abroad.
I appreciate that the Government has appointed a Minister of State with responsibility for the diaspora. He has had a number of months to settle into his office. I understand a policy on the diaspora is being formulated. Ministers will be sent to all parts of the globe during the St. Patrick's Day week to engage with our diaspora and to discuss the issues relating to Ireland, but I hope we can have a debate before then about diaspora policy. Rather than it being launched during that week it would be good if the Houses could have a debate in order that Members could have an input into that policy. There are many issues surrounding voting rights for emigrants. These rights have been promised and were discussed by the Constitutional Convention. Will we have that referendum in order that people can vote in the presidential election in 2017? With regard to supports for emigrants, there are huge issues regarding homelessness, mental health and so forth. Senator Rónán Mullen raised another interesting issue relating to emigrants who are trying to return. There are issues with social protection, insurance and so forth. I have called previously for a debate on the diaspora with the Minister of State, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, and hope we can have it before the annual exodus of Ministers to the four corners of the earth in order that they can convey our opinions on the diaspora and what we should be doing from a policy perspective on its behalf.