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Order of Business

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Senator Ivana Bacik

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I thank the Senator, I will take that. Yes, if there is a sort of secular canonisation, then that is what is going on here today, but it is well deserved. The Senator has indeed been inspirational, as others have said. It has been a real pleasure for me personally to have served alongside him for the past ten years as Senators on the Dublin University panel, and I cannot believe it has been that long. He has served the constituents from the Dublin University panel so well over that time, and for the 20 years before that. He has followed a long line of progressive Trinity Senators, including Catherine McGuinness and Owen Sheehy-Skeffington. His pioneering work on his own account, both before and after his original election in 1987, has to be commended, particularly his immense bravery and courage in taking the case Norris v. Attorney General. This led to what has been described as the worst Supreme Court judgment ever, in which his case was at first dismissed by the Supreme Court. Famously, of course, it was then allowed by the European Court of Human Rights in Norris v. Ireland, and led to the historic lifting of the ban on homosexuality in 1993. However, it would not have happened without the original act of courage that he so poignantly spoke about in our recent series in Trinity on legal cases that changed Ireland. I must say, it was a real privilege to hear him speak so movingly about that experience. I do not wish in any way to undermine it, because it took immense bravery to take on the Irish State in the mid-1980s, a time when the State was so repressive towards LGBT people, women and in respect of matters of sexuality generally.
On a lighter note, I join others in wishing the Senator very well for 30 more years to come. It is not just a matter of the past but an ongoing pleasure to work with the Senator, as we did on Tuesday night in this House, when we concluded Committee Stage of historic legislation on domestic violence. I look forward to the Report Stage debate today. Senator Norris was among those who pressed hard for introduction of the new offence of coercive control, which the Minister of State introduced on Tuesday night. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Norris on this and other important legislation.
I will finish by stating a view Senator Norris would share. I condemn the new low by US President Donald Trump in retweeting those absolutely disgusting fascist videos from Britain First. These Islamophobic videos have rightly been condemned all across the world. I join with others in calling on the Leader to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to express Ireland's condemnation of that particular action. It really does represent, even for Trump, a new low.