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Order of Business

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Senator Jerry Buttimer

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I thank the 21 Members of the House for their contributions.
I will begin by joining the Senators in offering our condolences to the family of the young child tragically killed in Kimmage. I hope and pray that the mother of that child who herself was attacked is on the road to recovery. It is important we recognise there is an investigation ongoing. I extend our sympathies to the families involved.
Senators Ardagh, Craughwell, Gallagher, Gavan, Nash and Norris raised matters regarding the Defence Forces. There are two parts to it. First, I will put on the record of the House that in the Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, we have a Minister with responsibility for Defence who is very proactive, who is very engaged and who takes immense pride in his job as Minister of State with responsibility for Defence and in the Defence Forces themselves, and I thank him for that. It is important also that I put on record today in this House that each one of us understands, acknowledges and pays tribute to the men and women of the Defence Forces and, in recognising the immense work they do both at home and abroad, it is important that we see a continuation of the rights and conditions of employment, and residency, of members of the Defence Forces.
The Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, is meeting representative associations this week. The Minister of State has also been actively involved with the management of the Defence Forces. As Members will be fully aware, pay restoration is continuing for members of the public service and, as Senator Craughwell knows well, public sector pay is governed by collective agreement, negotiation and bargaining, and PDFORRA signed up to that. On living conditions, we have seen an increase in funding for capital investment and I accept that there is much to do and there is a journey to take.
The Defence Forces Chief of Staff received Government approval for participation in Operation Sophia. As Members will be aware, Operation Sophia is subject to the triple lock. Tomorrow, in Dáil Éireann, there will be a debate on the matter. It would have no effect on our neutrality whatsoever. It is a UN-mandated operation. To reassure Senator Craughwell and other Members who have raised it, it is UN-mandated, it receives Government approval and Dáil approval.
I have put in a request to the Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, to come to the House.