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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Senator Thomas Byrne proposed an amendment to the Order of Business similar to the one proposed yesterday. As I mentioned then, there is an ongoing Garda investigation of this matter. I appreciate that it is very serious and have asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will be in a position to come to the House, even for a short time next week. That request is with her. She has given an undertaking that when the sizeable amount of legislation she has in hand and ready to be introduced in the House has been completed, she will be willing to have a comprehensive debate not only on this issue but also on law and order, a debate many Senators have requested. Unfortunately, I cannot accept the proposed amendment to the Order of Business.
With regard to the Slane bypass, Senator Thomas Byrne said that an appointment had been broken. I am sure a simple telephone call to the Minister's office would indicate why he could not attend this meeting and why he did not attend another. As the Senator is aware, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport is very busy. He is required to be in Parliament to address matters such as Aer Lingus and many other transport issues. I do not suggest the Slane bypass project is not as important as these, as it certainly is to the people concerned, but I am sure the Minister will rearrange the meeting in early course.
Senator Ivana Bacik asked about the resumed Committee Stage debate on the Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill. I do not have good news in that regard. There is nothing planned and it will be after the Easter recess before I will have news on the matter. The Senator also welcomed the proposals relating to gender inequality at third level and the committee that had been established. They are welcome. I also note her points about the plain packaging of tobacco, an issue which was raised by a number of Members yesterday, in support of the Government's stance on the issue.
Senator Feargal Quinn spoke about absenteeism being a major problem, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. He also referred to the measures announced in the United Kingdom yesterday. We will be dealing with Committee Stage of the Workplace Relations Bill today when the matter could be raised. I am sure the Senator will get an opportunity to raise the points made directly with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The issue of calorie counts on menus was referred to.