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Order of Business

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Senator Lynn Ruane

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I signal my opposition to the use of a guillotine on the Social Welfare Bill and Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill today. As there is only one amendment tabled to the Social Welfare Bill, we should be able to move quickly on to the second Bill, on which there are seven amendments. I have tabled one or two amendments, which are down the list. We should not guillotine these sessions, as they will be quick enough.
Discussing my next issue will be harder for me, but I will try my best to speak without emotion getting in the way. Today, I woke up to a phone call about another friend passing away due to addiction. This happens to me often. It is an issue of class. So far this year, I have buried four friends - two because of addiction, one because of homelessness and one because of suicide. I sat there this morning and counted the friends I had lost since I was 13 years of age. There were 42. It is not old age, it is not cancer, it is not anything that everyone else experiences. It is the impact of how we live, where we live and the opportunities that we have.
At this point, I am just pleading - I have asked for it before - to have a real, open, honest conversation in this Chamber with the Minister for Justice and Equality on the issue of class. I have no interest in blaming Ministers, budgets or all of those things. That is not what I want to do. I want to have a conversation that looks to how we can work together to find solutions to stopping so many young people from dying unnecessarily in deprived communities. I have said it before and it is something that I will stand over, but class is killing us. Were we any other group of people, this would be taken more seriously. I do not want to play a blame game about why society is set up in a certain way. I want a conversation about it and I want a real debate on it. I want to be able to remember my friends in a dignified way and let them know that their Government cares about them and wants to change the situation.
In the new year, will the Leader please invite the Minister for Justice and Equality to the House to debate the issue of class? It is something that I entered this Chamber to highlight. It would mean a lot to me if we could have that conversation.