Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry] Actions speak louder than words except when it comes to suicide or unless there is a suicide or some child dies promoting suicide prevention. When are we going to start doing something about it? As Senator Eamonn Coghlan rightly said, let not this man's death have been in vain, let it have meant something, finally. Actions speak louder than words. Let us debate it this week.

On an important issue regarding the procedures of the House, there are quotations in an article in today's Irish Examiner from correspondence of Members of the Houses with the Standards in Public Office Commission. I ask the Leader to contact the head of the Commission to request the identity of the person who provides briefings to members of the media in place of copy to provide colour articles to make fun of Members of the Oireachtas who go on foreign trips to research and inform themselves of very important issues to the people of the State, such as abortion. Irrespective of whether the trip to the United States of America, on which Members of both Houses went, ought to have been paid for directly by them or was correctly paid for by their hosts, the highest watchdog of the integrity of the Houses of the Oireachtas should not be engaged in gutter-sniping in the press in the interests of feeding copy to lazy journalists. I ask most respectfully that in the interests of the integrity of the House and the professionalism of the Standards in Public Office Commission, we have an answer to the question by tomorrow. It is unacceptable that an article in today's Irish Examiner authoritatively quotes the private correspondence Members from all sides sent to the Commission for its consideration.

It is appropriate that someone should raise this matter in the House. Perhaps it is most appropriate that it should be me as I have never been on a foreign trip in 11 years in the House. I am the first to acknowledge, however, the importance of such trips in informing the business of both Houses.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames It is only fitting that we all acknowledge the sad passing of Donal Walsh and convey our deep sympathy to his family. As a mother of teenagers, I was particularly struck by the extent to which he was a role model at 16 years of age as well as by the unique message he conveyed. I ask the Leader to schedule yet another debate on suicide and reflect on how best to mark Donal's young life and to continue his positive message. He touched young people in a way that few others have managed.

  I support the call for a debate as soon as possible on the report by Professor Higgins on hospital reorganisation. While it looks positive, it is worth teasing out given the broad-ranging ramifications it will have.

  I welcome HIQA's stated intention today to inspect and register residential centres for children and adults with disabilities. There are 900 people with disabilities living in 1,200 residential centres nationally. They can be our forgotten people. They can be voiceless unless we advocate for them and ensure their services are of the high standard of other people's services. This is what HIQA is achieving. We complain about a great deal in the House, but HIQA is doing fine work. It has done great work in older people's centres and is now moving on to residential centres for people with disabilities. I welcome that and would like to see others do the same.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Senator Moran is next.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden Sorry-----

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan The next speaker is Independent. This list is on the Order of Business.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden Senator Moran is a Labour Senator.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan She has not spoken. I will conduct the business, with respect.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden The Leas-Chathaoirleach is doing a very good job, but the procedure is that the order of speakers alternates from one side to the other.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan The procedure as laid out for the last two years is exactly as I am following it. Senator Leyden is delaying matters. Senator Moran, please.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden Thank you very much. It is not the one I follow when I am in the Chair.


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