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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I, too, join in the tributes to Senator Norris. He has made a huge contribution to public life in the country. When he started out, it would not have been easy to raise the many issues which he did raise. Over the years, the change he sought has occurred and long may he continue to raise such issues. While we may sometimes sit back and say it is for someone else, he has always been to the forefront in identifying issues and ensuring that views different to ours are aired. I thank him for his contribution to public life over the past 30 years.
I also join with colleagues in paying tribute to my county colleague, Deputy Simon Coveney, on his appointment as Tánaiste. He will carry out his duties, as he has in all his ministerial portfolios, in a dedicated and committed way. It is also appropriate that I would congratulate my legal colleague, Deputy Josepha Madigan, who has been promoted to the Cabinet. That is also a very good appointment. She has a huge contribution to make and I look forward to working with her.
The GP contract negotiations were raised yesterday at the Joint Committee on Health. I am very concerned about how long this is taking the Department of Health. We need a proper contract for GPs. Scotland is facing a shortage of more than 1,000 doctors. A new contract which will be quite attractive to Irish doctors has now been brought forward, so we need to get our act together. It might be appropriate to have the Minister in not before Christmas but in the new year to discuss this issue and all of the issues being raised by GPs can be considered.