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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Senator John O'Mahony raised the important issue of water safety and referred to the role of Irish Water Safety in that regard. It is important that we send a message to the effect that it is important that people take care in harbours and on piers during the summer and that those who use our waters do so carefully and are sensible when using equipment. They should not contemplate consuming alcohol and then going swimming or on the water in a boat or on a hovercraft.
Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor referred to the protocols for Ministers appearing in the House. I will facilitate any Minister in coming to the House at the request of Members, but I cannot ask him or her to do A, B or C. However, I will raise the issue mentioned by the Senator with the Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath. She could also intervene with the HSE.
Senators Frances Black and Rose Conway-Walsh referred to the presentation made earlier by the WALK organisation and the role it was playing in helping and working with people with disabilities. It is an important issue and I am sure we can make representations to the relevant Minister on the funding issue raised by both Senators. I pay tribute to the organisation for the work it does.
Labhair an Seanadóir O'Reilly mar gheall ar chúrsaí samhraidh sa Ghaeilge. Tá na daltaí agus na mic léinn óga atá sa Daingean nó i nDún na nGall inniu ag foghlaim agus ag úsáid na Gaeilge. Tá an ceart ag an Seanadóir go bhfuil sé thar a bheith tábhachtach go bhfuil ár ndúchas á fhorbairt agus á phlé in áiteanna ar nós an Daingin ina bhfuil cúrsaí Gaeilge ar siúl. Tá suim mhór ag an Seanadóir O'Reilly sa Ghaeilge agus sa chultúr. Nuair a bhí mé ag caint leis an Aire Stáit, an Teachta Kyne, dúirt sé liom go bhfuil suim mhór aige teacht isteach sa Teach seo. B'fhéidir go mbeidh sé anseo tar éis an tsamhraidh.
Senator Diarmuid Wilson seconded the amendment proposed to the Order of Business, but I hope we will be able to arrive at an accommodation with Senator Gerard P. Craughwell.
Senator Colm Burke raised an issue about a Commencement matter which the Cathaoirleach has addressed. However, the Senator made a fundamental point, with which I completely agree, about the charity sector and the way in which the committee system was treated. When the Committee of Public Accounts seizes of an issue, every other committee has to stop dealing with it. The Senator is correct that the Joint Committee on Health and Children, of which we were both members in the previous Dáil, had representatives of the HSE before it to discuss section 38 and section 39 organisations. It was the sectoral committee with responsibility for dealing with such matters. Perhaps there might have been a much better outcome if issues had been left to that committee. It is more disappointing that, as part of the quarterly meetings the committee held with the Minister and HSE management, the Senator had tabled a question which was relevant to the matter he raised earlier and received a substantive reply, but it was given in advance of the meeting, deliberately or otherwise, to members of the media, which prevented a proper debate from taking place at the committee because the issue was in the public domain. This issue poses a question about the role of sectoral committees. To be fair, the committee system works well. The committee clerks with whom I have worked are extraordinary people and the commitment of members is equally important. We should examine the issue raised by Senator Colm Burke in the broader context of Oireachtas reform and how sectoral committees do their work.
Senator Frank Feighan has pointed out that it is Bastille Day. I wish our French brothers and sisters a happy holiday. The Senator is correct that Euro 2016 was a wonderful experience. I compliment France, as the host nation, and pay tribute to the Irish fans.
I compliment the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and wish her and her Cabinet every success. The appointment of Boris Johnson is certainly interesting. As a campaigner on the "Leave" side, he will play a key role in developing relations, not just with Ireland but also with the European Union and other countries. It is important that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade who came to the House to debate Brexit return in the autumn to discuss how we will play our part in the world in the post-Brexit era.
I agree with Senator Paul Gavan up to a point about chefs. It is extraordinary that there is a huge skills shortage in the hospitality sector. I am conscious that when I was a Member of the House previously, those of us who opposed the changing of the system in this sector were ridiculed, but, unfortunately, we have been proved right. The issues raised by the Senator about salaries, working conditions and flexibility need to be addressed. I will be happy to include them in a debate on the overarching policy on the hospitality and catering sector. It is predominantly young people who work in it and they are not prepared to work longer hours for less money when there should be greater flexibility. This relates to Senator Paul Coghlan's point about tourism. We need a hospitality and catering sector that will roll out the red carpet and is welcoming, but the men and women who work in it must be respected and valued, particularly in terms of their pay and working conditions.
Senator Paul Coghlan also referred to Brexit, an issue to which I have referred. He also referred to Fáilte Ireland. We should have a debate on tourism, not least because of the matter raised earlier but also because of issues related to hotel room availability in Dublin and the escalating cost of accommodation at a time when the Government has reduced the VAT rate for the sector. It is being abused by the Irish Hotels Federation.