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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

It is important to recognise that the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Deputy Coveney, in Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness has set out targets and actions that must be followed up. We will have control of rent, which he has addressed by the introduction of rent pressure zones, which I am sure Deputy Murnane O'Connor will welcome.
Senator Conway-Walsh raised the issue of the Hastings garage in Mayo. As I said to her last week, that matter is outside our remit. There is a mechanism of the State to be employed and I would encourage all sides to engage with it.
Senators Black, Feighan and Paul Daly raised the issue of Palestine. I think it is important that we reach out to all sides in this dispute, if I can use that term, to engage. We recognise as Senator Feighan rightly said that it is not black and white. There are two sides and the Palestinian people deserve to have their rights respected and upheld and also that we have constant dialogue and interaction. To be fair to Senator Feighan, the model he spoke about in terms of the Good Friday Agreement, is one that could be used. It is important that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade would articulate the views expressed here this morning in regard to Palestine when they are in Washington DC for St. Patrick's Day.
Senators Landy, Coffey and Ó Domhnaill spoke again today about the greyhound industry and the greyhound stadium in Harold's Cross. The Indecon report set out the reasons the sale of Harold's Cross had to take place. There are legitimate concerns which have been expressed in this House and also at the Committee of Public Accounts where the Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Aidan O'Driscoll, is discussing the greyhound industry. Dialogue and communication are critical to solving any issue. The sale of assets has to be approved by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department. The Government is committed to the greyhound industry and has committed €16 million this year under the horse and greyhound fund. It is disappointing to see this type of action being taken out of frustration. I agree with Senators Landy and Coffey that the greyhound industry is important and we need to see this issue resolved as soon as possible.
Senator Coffey mentioned pyrite and I will be happy to have the Minister come to the House in regard to the issue. Equally I join Senator Paul Daly in congratulating the Garda Síochána for the seizure of the Taser guns. There is an issue of access through the Internet. Equally, it is a debate we need to have as a country and I will be happy to have the Minister of State, Deputy Dara Murphy, come to the House to discuss data protection along with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald. There was mention of people going around and terrorising old people. These people belong to a community and people know who they are and they should share the information with the Garda Síochána.
Senator Ó Domhnaill raised the issue of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Zappone, and the terms of reference of the HIQA report. It is important to have that report concluded and I would be very happy to debate it in the House. The Senator raises a very interesting point about access to databases, which all organisations should have a policy on. During the course of the debate last evening Senator Ó Ríordáin mentioned that in his school the principal had access to the filling cabinets. It is important that any organisation which has sensitive documents and files restricts access and there is a vouched for access and exit from that particular storage area. If the information is online, it should be encoded and there should be a strict access point. Senator Gavan raised Deputy Cullinane's Bill, but we all would want to see the rights of workers protected. I am consistent on that point. If he wants to bring the matter forward as a Private Members' Bill that is up to him, but it is important that we protect workers, that they are given access to unions and have representation.
Senator Noone raised the increasing levels of violence which is up 25% in some categories. Thankfully the Minister for Justice and Equality is bringing forward a domestic violence Bill. All of us agree that any type of violence is unacceptable and that we should stand strong against it, whether it is a threat of violence or attempted murder. The matter the Senator raised in regard to education can be discussed next Tuesday. Senator Gallagher also raised education and as I have said, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton, will be in the House next Thursday.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh raised the issue of the polasaí don oideachas Gaeltachta. I will request the Minister to come to the House regarding that and perhaps he could discuss it next Tuesday as part of the debate. Should the Senator want the Minister of State, Deputy Kyne, to attend we can talk about that.
Reference was made to the interview process for asylum seekers. I was not aware that was the case as I had not heard it but I will discuss it afterwards and we can take it up with the Minister. It is Deputy McHugh's intention to come to the House next Thursday. It is in my calendar for the schedule for next week but I will come back to Senator Ó Clochartaigh on an agreed date.
In regard to the point made by Senator Ó Donnghaile, I hate saying that it was Sinn Féin which collapsed the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Government is very invested and very committed to working with all sides in the North but it was his party who collapsed the Assembly.