Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator John Kelly: Information on John Kelly Zoom on John Kelly] On "Prime Time" last week, Mr. Eddie O'Connor said that he and the Finnish President were beside a wind turbine and they could not hear it. I want to put on the record of this House a real-life story that happened last week. A distraught couple from County Roscommon gave up the fight to live beside two wind turbines and left their home last Thursday with no intention of going back to it because of the ill effects this has had on them. That is the sad reality of what wind turbines are doing. Instead of that, what we hear from the likes of Mr. Eddie O'Connor is "Take the turbines and we will give you swimming pools". We do not want swimming pools. All people want is to live in peace and tranquility in their own homes. They are being deprived of a human right. I ask the Leader to fast-track any debate with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in regard to wind energy.

Senator Sean D. Barrett: Information on Sean D. Barrett Zoom on Sean D. Barrett Yesterday The Irish Times carried the story of the Financial Regulator moving to regulate the health insurance industry. This echoed sentiments here and was in line with the co-operation of the Leader in ensuring this issue was tackled, which gives hope for the future. We have also tackled the insurance sector, the banks and stockbroking. In today's Irish Independent, Mr. Stephen Kinsella very strongly makes the case that we now need to tackle the "Big Four" accountants which prepared accounts for the Irish banks which showed them to be solvent shortly before we had to put €64 billion into the same banks.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris Hear, hear.

Senator Sean D. Barrett: Information on Sean D. Barrett Zoom on Sean D. Barrett As the Leader was successful in bringing the health insurance issue to the regulator's attention, will he join in ensuring the "Big Four" accountants are investigated for their role in the disasters which we have been trying to cope with in the intervening period?

Senator Eamonn Coghlan: Information on Eamonn Coghlan Zoom on Eamonn Coghlan Most times when we stand up to speak in the Seanad, we speak about areas that are of interest to us. We speak about causes that we want to support or defend, whether it is the Magdalen laundries, industrial disputes, bank bailouts, mortgage arrears, homelessness, health, cyber-bullying, suicide or unemployment. Generally, they are bad news stories where we want to help. However, I have a good news story I want to bring to the Seanad today, one that brings a lot of positivity. It is in an area that is very close to me, namely, the opening of the Athlone Institute of Technology's indoor arena last weekend by An Taoiseach.

  Whether people are young, old or in-between, like most of us here, they would certainly be highly inspired when they walk in the door of the arena. To see the smile on the young people's faces, to see the awe in the eyes of the older people and to see how inspired people are is quite moving. As they walk in there, it exudes everything in life. I would like to offer my congratulations to Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin of Athlone Institute of Technology for his leadership, his entrepreneurial skills and his ability to deliver something that we have been trying to deliver here in Ireland for the past 40 years.

  I note the Minister of State, Deputy Ring, and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport contributed to the tune of €750,000 towards this almost €13 million project. This is not just about sports; it is all about the community and tourism in the area. It is amazing to see the shops, restaurants and hotels which will improve their incomes over the coming years. I want to point out that Dublin is the only capital city in the world, perhaps, not to have an international indoor arena and, again, this is not just for sports.

  I call on the Leader to communicate with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Varadkar, and the Minister of State, Deputy Ring, and perhaps all of the other Departments, because while in the past they said they would look at this idea, I would like them to now commit to it for the very near future. In the next round of sports grants, it is very important that we would follow suit and deliver something similar to what Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin has delivered so, when we look towards Abbottstown, we are looking to deal with physical fitness, literacy, health, tourism and the well-being an arena like that will deliver to the people of Ireland and this capital city.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh Zoom on Jim Walsh Like other Senators, I want to make reference to the negotiations on a replacement for the Croke Park agreement. It strikes me that a couple of the building blocks are missing.

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