Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins] Senator Harte rightly mentioned that the apology should come from the other side of the House also in terms of the past 14 years.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien It has.

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson The Senator is right.

(Interruptions).

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden The Senator had better start apologising very fast.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke The Leader without interruption, please.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senator Daly spoke about the Government trying to take money from front-line staff, but when his party was in office it imposed a 14% cut. This Government has not cut anything yet.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh Zoom on Jim Walsh The Government is not dealing with it.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Quite a number of people are in difficulty with their mortgages as a result of Fianna Fáil's fuelling of the property boom. That is the reason people have difficulties, but this Government has been taking action on the mortgage arrears problem, and AIB has announced that by the end of the year it will meet with all 33,000 people affected and sort them out in respect of their mortgage arrears. This Government is acting properly on the issue.

  Senator O'Sullivan raised the question of European Parliament constituencies. I understand we may lose one Member and if that happens, we will have a review of the constituencies. Obviously, a boundary commission will have to be appointed to do that.

  Senator Kelly spoke about wind energy. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, was in the House previously speaking on the issue. I have asked the Minister to come into the House again. I have no indication from him when he will come in, but I will continue to ask him to come in and speak on the subject. Senator Kelly might be able to assist in getting the Minister to come to the House.

  Senator Barrett spoke about the Financial Regulator and called for an investigation into the "Big Four" accountancy firms. That would be necessary, but I do not know to whom I would go to try to initiate that investigation.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris Zoom on David P.B. Norris As a temporary measure, the Government might stop employing them.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins They certainly played a part in the demise of the banking system and the development of the current problems in the economy. That should not be forgotten.

  Senator Eamonn Coghlan spoke about the indoor athletics track at Athlone Institute of Technology, which we have all seen in recent weeks. It is a wonderful amenity for the region and the country. I note the Senator's point that Dublin would like to have such a track also, but that is another day's work. I will bring the matter to the attention of the Minister.

  Senators Walsh and Mullins called for the benchmarking of salaries in the public service with those in other countries. I note Senator Mullins's points also on the supplementary payroll system in Tallaght Hospital between 2005 and 2010, about which I have read, with people having top-ups on salaries of over €200,000. That was presided over by the previous Government.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden No.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins That was presided over by the previous Government.

Senator Jimmy Harte: Information on Jimmy Harte Zoom on Jimmy Harte Yes.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins That is the type of thing that was going on at that time. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  Senator Ó Murchú called for a debate on Northern Ireland. We will try to arrange that. The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement has been discussing the issues the Senator raised in the House today and on previous occasions, but I will endeavour to have a debate on Northern Ireland in early course.

  Senator Brennan welcomed the 450 additional jobs for Dundalk at eBay. I know the people are very appreciative that 1,750 jobs have gone into the region since Senator Brennan was appointed a Senator.

A Senator: Good man, Terry.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien He is doing well.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senator Wilson inquired about the delays in the processing of rebates for PAYE taxpayers. I will endeavour to find out the position for the Senator.


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