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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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Senator Martin Conway

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Snippet Contents:

I agree with Senator Wilson about the matter of infrastructure. As somebody who does not drive and uses the train on a daily basis both to get to the House from Clare and to come in from Maynooth in the morning, the more public transport infrastructure we have, the better. It is good for everyone, it is good for the environment and so on.
We need to have some sort of review of security at the gates of Leinster House. I encourage and support anybody's right to protest, but we had a situation where Members could not drive through either the Kildare Street gate or the Merrion Square gate because of protests last week. According to the law, Members of the Oireachtas should be able to freely come to work in the Dáil and the Seanad and go from work. Last week, An Garda Síochána was not in a position to uphold that, which is not good enough. There have been protests in this area with thousands of people outside the gates of Leinster House, and yet people were able to come and go in their cars. The situation that happened last week should not have happened. People who had childcare commitments, medical commitments and family commitments could not get home. I understand some Members did not get home until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. because they could not drive through the gates of Leinster House.
Protest is important and critical in this country and throughout the world, but it is also important that people can get in and out of Leinster House and go home. If the protests were even notified, perhaps people would not have driven to work or they might have left their cars elsewhere. That situation was not acceptable and the Garda Commissioner needs to review this because it is honestly not fair on the Members and the staff who work here and use the car parks. It is also not fair on their families and loved ones if people are not able to honour childcare commitments by picking children up from crèches or childminders and so on. That was emphasised to me when I saw people were not able to get into the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to conduct negotiations on Monday. That was also a regrettable situation. There needs to be some sort of a review.