Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins] The Senator also spoke about new measures to combat homelessness. I will ask the relevant Minister to come to the House to address that issue.

  Senator David Cullinane raised concerns regarding the business of the House. Similar concerns were voiced by his colleague, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, last week when he asked why we were not sitting until noon on Wednesday. I had assumed Sinn Féin Members would know we were commemorating the dead of 1916, but apparently they were not. As I have previously stated, any legislation that is ready to be brought to the House is presented as soon as possible. Since coming to power in 2011 this Government has introduced a considerable amount of long overdue reforming legislation-----

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane How can the Leader make such a claim? One need only look at the clár for this week.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins -----along with the legislation that has been necessary to bring into effect the agreement with the troika.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh Zoom on Jim Walsh Will the Leader name one reforming Bill the Government has introduced?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Members must allow the Leader to speak without interruption.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins This has placed great pressure on the Attorney General's office in recent years.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh Zoom on Jim Walsh Name one piece of reforming legislation?

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Naturally there has been a knock-on effect in the drafting of legislation. If there is no Bill ready, I cannot bring it before the House.

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane There is no shortage of Opposition legislation to debate.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senators opposite are constantly interrupting and are not prepared to listen when I answer their questions.

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane The Leader is not answering our questions.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins I am trying to answer the questions.

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane No, the Leader is defending the indefensible.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan The Leader, without interruption.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins I also remind Members of the considerable volume of legislation that has been initiated in this House.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry By the Opposition.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins This has given the Seanad a real opportunity to influence debate and legislative provisions, which is more than can be said for previous Governments. I have had every Minister and Minister of State here on numerous occasions to discuss matters which Members have highlighted as being of considerable national importance. Yet, on the majority of those occasions, only a small number of Members have been present in the Chamber to discuss the issues.

Senator David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane On the Government side of the House.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins My advice to Members opposite is that people in glasshouses should not throw stones. I will be doing them a favour if I do not expand on that.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry We have introduced three Private Members' Bills. How many have Government Members introduced?

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senators opposite could not even summon a quorum during one of the debates last week.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The Government is selling a pig in a poke to the public.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Senator Marc MacSharry must refrain from interrupting the Leader.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins The drama festival in Athlone is over; Senator MacSharry should give somebody else a chance to perform.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The Leader should get real. He is playing senior hurling now.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senator Catherine Noone complimented Dublin City Council on the success of the Dublin bicycle scheme and its proposed expansion.

  Senator Marc MacSharry referred to the leaking of information by the Standards in Public Office Commission to newspapers. I will certainly raise that matter with the commission and if I receive a response will relay it to the Senator.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry With respect, will the Leader undertake to request a response?

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins A Leas-Chathaoirleach, I am constantly being interrupted by Senator MacSharry. He is giving me no opportunity to answer the points raised.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Senator MacSharry, please.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins Zoom on Maurice Cummins Senators Fidelma Healy Eames and David Cullinane referred to the Higgins report. I will ask the Minister to come to the House for a debate on the contents of that report. Senator Cullinane observed that it will include both positive and negative news. I am pleased to tell him that in the case of Waterford Regional Hospital the news is very good indeed, with a recommendation that services not only be retained but enhanced.

  Senator Mary Moran asked about additional residential places for persons with disabilities. I will ask the Minister to address the House on that issue. Senator David Norris raised concerns regarding the welfare of children and referred once again to the status of former residents of Bethany Home. Again, I will ask the Minister to respond to those points.

  Senators Michael Comiskey and Terry Leyden referred to the fodder crisis.


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