Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly] As it has not tackled the mortgage crisis, it cannot turn around now and start renegotiating the Croke Park agreement. If it does so, thousands of additional people will no longer be able to pay their mortgages. We do not want gardaí to be unable to pay their mortgages. I have referred previously to the root of this problem. President Clinton told the Government over 12 months ago that it needed to tackle the mortgage issue. It is the root cause of many of our problems, including the decrease in private sector spending and the difficulties in renegotiating the Croke Park agreement. I have heard Senators on the other side of the House asking the banks to do something. The banks will do nothing other than create profit for themselves and their shareholders. It is the Government's responsibility to put legislation and structures in place to ensure the banks negotiate with people. That is necessary if people are to be able to spend money in the economy, put fuel in their oil tanks, pay their mortgages and put food on their tables. We are seeing activity from the Government but no action.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan We referred to this matter last week. I will respond briefly to what has been said. As the Leader knows, the Central Bank is very engaged in issuing directives at present. It should be allowed to get on with the job. We cannot have Government interference in everything.

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly What about Government action?

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan The Government is quite active.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames We are active.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Senator Coghlan, without interruption.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan Go raibh maith agat, a Chathaoirligh. I will always defer to your rulings. You are aware of that.

  I agree with what Senator Noone said about the need for a civil appeals court. The Chief Justice, Ms Susan Denham, has highlighted once more the fact that the Supreme Court is overloaded. Hundreds of cases are outstanding and cannot be heard in time. It is a very urgent matter. I want to support it. I urge the Leader to pass this on. It is something we should pursue with the Minister for Justice and Equality and with the Government.

Senator Ned O'Sullivan: Information on Ned O'Sullivan Zoom on Ned O'Sullivan I echo the concerns of Senator Mullen about the outrageous charges that are putatively being applied to private residence holders because individual builders are in default of development levies. In the past, rogue builders used to leave the landscaping and lighting of estates unfinished. Rather late in the day, the councils introduced a bonding system whereby developers have to pay a bond so that the work can be finished willy-nilly if they go away. County councils have been somewhat tardy in collecting these development levies, which should have been front-loaded. I do not believe individual householders should be given bills of more than €5,000 or €6,000, as has been speculated in the media. I ask the Leader to bring this to the attention of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government as a matter of urgency.

  I would also like the Leader to ask the Minister, Deputy Hogan, to clarify the exact position regarding the constituencies that will be used in next year's European Parliament elections. A report published some time ago recommended that no changes should be made. Some changes have taken place away from home since then. Eastern European countries like Croatia will be entitled to additional seats. That could have an impact on the configuration of the constituencies in Ireland. I am calling on the Leader to ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to clarify the position. Perhaps a revised report can be published at the same time as the report on the local electoral areas, which we hope is due imminently.

Senator John Kelly: Information on John Kelly Zoom on John Kelly Last week I called for a debate in this House on wind energy and wind farm developments. Subsequently, the Sunday newspapers published interviews with the heavy hitters in the Irish wind energy sector. They claimed that living close to wind turbines, which have increased in size from 54 m initially to 100 m and then to 120 m, does not have any ramifications. They are now 185 m high and turbines that are 350 m high are being developed.

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