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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I saw the light a long time ago. We welcome international tax reform, as the Senator knows.
Senators Ruane, Feighan and Conway spoke eloquently and passionately about addiction issues and class. It is important to acknowledge that we must all commit ourselves to the breaking of the cycle of disadvantage, poverty and addiction in our society, whether it is in Dublin, Cork or wherever else. I commend Senator Ruane on her work.
Senator Conway stole my thunder as in my reply I was going to suggest that the Seanad Public Consultation Committee consider the matter raised by Senator Ruane. Rather than having a two-hour debate in the House - it would be important and I commit to doing it - it is a piece of work we should look at with a long-term view to setting goals or targets that can be measured. It is important to acknowledge people like Senator Ruane and others who have the courage to stand for election, come to this House, be empowered and empower others. They are showing leadership.
As Senator Ó Ríordáin noted, it is also important we engage with young people to break the old traditions, concepts, cultures and mindsets. We must break down barriers. Senator Colm Burke spoke about different programmes and we have invested billions of euro as a society and country in tackling disadvantage. Something is not working, as we know. It is important that we rededicate all our efforts in that regard, irrespective of political ideology. I pay tribute to Senator Ruane for coming in here and speaking as she did this morning. We should remember the people who have died; not just her friends but all the people who died in tragic circumstances.
Senator Reilly referenced pensions and I know the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty, are working on the matters arising from the 2012 Act. I would be happy to have that debate in the new year. I have not got the answers to the questions raised by Senator Humphreys on our first responders. I know the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, has met county council chief executives and put the matter to the fore. The Senator is correct and there is a duty on all of us, and particularly those charged with management at local authorities and the Department, to ensure first responders are not walking into buildings that are in any way inadequate and dangerous. I fully subscribe to that view. I would be happy for the Minister to come to the House to discuss the matter. The Cathaoirleach's suggestion is good and if the Senator tables a matter for the Commencement, it might be a better way of getting an answer.