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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

It is in the control of some who are not here in the House. On a very sad note, I join the Members of the House who offered their sympathies to the young man who was tragically killed in Castleblayney this morning. On my own behalf and that of the Fine Gael Party in the House, I offer our sympathies to his family and pay tribute to a member of An Garda Síochána who demonstrated, in his act of heroism, the service members of An Garda Síochána do day in and day out. Like Senator Gallagher, I remember him and his family in our prayers and thoughts.
I warmly welcome Marie and Salvi O'Sullivan to the House and thank them for being here. We all remember Dinny Eoin O'Sullivan and the work that he did. In a different way Marie is continuing the great service and tradition. They are very welcome and I thank them for being here.
On my own behalf and on behalf of the House I warmly congratulate our colleague and friend, Senator Ruane, on her magnificent victory last night. I would love to have heard her speech. I congratulate her on her wonderful award. Her book is a wonderful testament to her courage, strength, perseverance and vision. She is an inspiration to many. I am not sure where Senator Ned O'Sullivan wants to put her in the future, but from a political point of view I hope we can keep her off our panels or constituencies wherever we run. I wish her every success and thank her most sincerely.
Senator Ardagh raised the issue of the Barnardos report that was published yesterday. I would be happy to have the Minister come to the House to discuss the issue. The Government is committed to improving services and supports for all young people, especially in the area of speech and language therapy. On Monday I and other Members of the Oireachtas met representatives of the special needs schools in Cork. It is important that we would have a review of the Curc report in terms of the allocation of funding and the model of special needs schools and special needs education. Significant investment is being made by the Government.
Sometimes Members of the House accuse me of being political but they should reflect upon the decade that we lost because of the reckless management of the country, which drove people away, cut services and curtailed development. That is the Fianna Fáil legacy and they should reflect upon that. That is the reason this Government and the previous one are investing €1.81 billion in health and personal social services. An extra €150 million will be provided next year for disability services to bring the funding to almost €2 billion in total for disability services, along with increased funding of €2.5 million for the provision of 100 new therapy posts. I accept we have backlogs and difficulties, but from listening to some Members, one would imagine the Government was not spending any money on people who need it. We will continue to invest and I will continue to advocate. We will have a debate on the report.
I commend Senator Lawless on his work on behalf of the undocumented Irish emigrants in the United States. Like Senators Feighan and Gallagher, I hope that today is not another false dawn and that the work of Deputy Deasy and others on Capitol Hill, on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, will bring good news. As Senator Lawless said, the E-3 visa Bill would allow us to benefit from the lack of take-up by Australians. I hope today's vote is a successful one. I wish all involved every success.
Many Senators referred to broadband. They included Senators Conway-Walsh, Feighan, Mulherin, Lombard and Gavan. I remind Senator Conway-Walsh that in all of the contributions the Sinn Féin Party made about broadband, never once did it offer a solution. Sinn Féin Members go back to the fact that Fianna Fáil sold Eircom, which we all agree was a mistake, but they never put forward a solution as to how we arrive at full broadband coverage. I have always found Senator Gavan to be fair minded.