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Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Go raibh míle maith agat, a Chathaoirligh, agus bhúr gcéad fáilte ar ais. Cuirim fáilte roimh an bhfógra atá déanta go mbeidh reifreann againn maidir le cearta vótála do na himircigh Éireannacha. I welcome the indication that we may have a referendum on the voting rights of the diaspora, which is long overdue, and I look forward to debating the detail around that because it is important. There was a great deal of criticism during the recess by spokespersons such as Niall O'Dowd and Ciaran Staunton about issues relating to members of the diaspora who wish to return. We have had many promises regarding what will be done about that but I reiterate my call for the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Cannon, to come to the House as soon as possible to debate this.
It is interesting that we are discussing referenda. What is the Government's stance on the referendum called by the Catalan Parliament, which is to be held on 1 October? It is worrying that when a decision has been taken by democratically elected politicians in a parliament, public representatives are being arrested for taking the decision along with civil servants; policing powers have been taken over by the Spanish Government and the website of the Catalan National Assembly, L'Assamblea Nacional Catalana, a civil society organisation, has been closed down. Where does the Government stand on this issue? Has this been raised with the Spanish Government? Does our Government support the Catalan Parliament in its right to self-determination and to hold a referendum on that issue on 1 October? It is worrying that parliamentarians are not being given the right to express their opinions on these issues. The leader of the parliament was arrested and a number of others suspended from office. I would welcome a statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and possibly the Taoiseach on these issues to see where the Government stands on our behalf.