Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins What about the Private Members' Bill?

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane We have a Private Members' Bill but that is a Bill being introduced by members of the Opposition. I am talking about legislation coming forward from the Government.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik It is a Bill.

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane We have one item of legislation. On Thursday we will have the Order of Business followed by statements with an MEP. There is no reason that could not be taken on Wednesday. It is beyond me why we will sit on Thursday. It seems we are trying to pad out days here and not doing what we should be doing, which is introducing legislation. My concerns about that are genuine and I will express them again. I wish to move an amendment to the Order of Business, to be helpful to the Leader, that we take No. 26 on the Order Paper, which is the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2013 tabled by Sinn Féin. If the Government is not prepared to bring forward legislation we should debate the legislation the Opposition wants to bring forward.

  I ask the Leader that we would be given ample time and opportunity to discuss the detail of the Higgins report, which will be published shortly. I state my objection to the way that report is being launched. It is being launched first to the press at an event in Croke Park following which Deputies and Senators will be briefed. That is not the best way for Oireachtas Members to be briefed on legislation. It should be done in both Houses of the Oireachtas and not initially at press conferences. I register my protest about the way that is being done. That aside, there is no doubt that the Higgins report will have profound implications, both positive and negative, for acute hospital services across the State for generations to come. It is that important, and given that, it is vital that this House has the opportunity to properly tease out people's concerns while welcoming the positive aspects but also to tease out the genuine concerns of patients across the State and also in the Leader's constituency, the south east. I ask the Leader to provide sufficient time for that to happen because we need to have proper debate on the full implications of what will be contained in the Higgins report.

Senator Catherine Noone: Information on Catherine Noone Zoom on Catherine Noone As a former member of Dublin City Council - I was on the council when it came into being - I welcome the news that it has been agreed to treble the number of bicycles available under the Dublinbikes scheme from 500 to 1,500. Since it was introduced four years ago the Dublinbikes scheme has proven a template for cities across Europe and the world and has shown how a properly implemented and efficiently run urban bike scheme can be successful. In a time when we are experiencing cutbacks on all levels it is good to see something being extended. At the end of April last year, Dublinbikes passed 3.5 million journeys and when we consider this was achieved with only 500 bicycles it is all the more impressive. It is envisaged that by 2015 we will be on course to increase the fleet to 5,000 bicycles and it is anticipated that it will extend as far north as Dublin City University. Members will agree that the Dublinbikes initiative has changed attitudes and behaviours, freed up our roads, encouraged many more people to engage in a form of public transport, and is very cheap. Ultimately, it is great for tourists, workers, students and businesses, and it is great for Dublin. I commend Dublin City Council councillors on voting last night to treble the number of bicycles and look forward to further successes from this initiative in the coming years.

Senator Mary Moran: Information on Mary Moran Zoom on Mary Moran I, too, would like to add my-----

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden What about us?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Gabh mo leithscéal. Senator MacSharry is the next speaker.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry I see that our plan to phase ourselves out is almost complete.

  I would like to be associated with the tributes to Donal Walsh, a most inspirational young man. I do not want to pour negativity on the positive messages people are giving but, yet again, we in this House are the champions of rhetoric on suicide. Somebody who was dying spoke up and used their impending demise to promote an issue and we stand up, one after another, to say we should put in more resources and talk more about the issue - good old Donal; was it not fantastic the way he did something and we did not. Actions speak louder than words. I have in my hand a policy that was welcomed by everybody. It is comprehensive. It will cost €100 million a year and will reduce suicide by 30% yet we have not even debated it in this House. We could have any amount of the time available this week to debate it.

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