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Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Fairness must be at the core of the debate on universal payments. We must face up to the question of equality. Since when were we all equal? We must take the approach of assessing each person according to his or her means. A balance must be struck in the debate because, currently, middle-income families are being squeezed as well. In fact, the evidence is that they are the ones paying all the taxes and charges. I agree with my colleague, Senator Mullins, who sought a wider debate on social protection and the social welfare budget. One could ask whether we have reached a time in this country when we must specify the income limit a family must get on social welfare. We must examine the issue if we are to be truly fair.
I seek a debate on social media. We have seen the worst excesses of that in the claim by a father last night on “The Frontline” that his young daughter committed suicide as a result of cyber-bullying. The debate I seek is not on education. While it is important, it is not enough. We must consider regulation. I call on the Leader to invite the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, to the House to talk to us about the regulation that exists in this country on the identification of those who post information on various websites. Such people must reveal their identity and not hide behind pseudonyms or anonymity. How can we follow such people? How can the Garda be called in by parents if they are concerned about someone abusing or bullying their child if they are not known. What regulation is there on sites that have IP addresses outside of this country? The situation has gone mad and now we see it can be fatal. I urge the Leader to arrange such a debate as soon as possible.