Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Susan O'Keeffe: Information on Susan O'Keeffe Zoom on Susan O'Keeffe] If we are going to give a lot of advice to young people on how best to achieve results, what advice are we going to give examiners on how best to achieve good examinations? It is disgraceful. I am heartbroken on behalf of all those children. As stated by Senator Hayden an error does not only cause upset in respect of the question concerned but in respect of all questions. It causes students to struggle and lose heart, leading to the whole examination going down the tubes for them. I cannot believe that no one has apologised for this.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames Hear, hear.

Senator Susan O'Keeffe: Information on Susan O'Keeffe Zoom on Susan O'Keeffe No one has stood up and said, "That was my fault: I did that".

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The Minister should do it.

Senator Susan O'Keeffe: Information on Susan O'Keeffe Zoom on Susan O'Keeffe The thousands of children who struggled all last year and this year in respect of this examination have been let down. I cannot find words to describe how upset I am. I do not know how we can ensure this does not happen again but we should at least have an opportunity to discuss the issue with the Minister. Perhaps the State Examinations Commission should be called to appear before the relevant committee to answer questions. Many documents are published without errors. It is not beyond our capacity to do that.

  On tourism, I ask that the Leader excuse me from the Seanad on Thursday so that I can help to celebrate Yeats Day in Sligo, which along with the Lily and Lolly Craftfest is our contribution to tourism. We will be doing our best to draw tourists to Sligo and to entertain local visitors on behalf of one of the greatest Senators who sat in this House.

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson I am sure Senator MacSharry might be able to assist Senator O'Keeffe in that regard.

  I join with colleagues in again welcoming that the G8 Summit is to take place in the Lough Erne resort outside Enniskillen over the course of next weekend. It is very much appreciated not alone by the people of County Fermanagh but by people from Cavan, Leitrim, Donegal and Monaghan from a tourism perspective. The focus on the entire world will be on this part of our country. What a beautiful part of the country it is.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Hear, hear.

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson It is very relevant. It is important to inform the House that CNN is coming all the way from America to film the Ulster quarter final match between Cavan and Fermanagh. It is hoped that on this occasion, as the eyes of the world are on us, Cavan will win this important match on its journey to the All-Ireland this year.

  I agree with Senator Bacik on the need for a balanced debate on the proposed referendum. However, I do not believe the Government side has gotten off to a good start.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Hear, hear.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik It is important for everyone.

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson Comments such as "surplus to requirements", "wasters", "not fit for purpose" and "irrelevant" are not balanced. Today, a senior member of the Labour Party referred in the Irish Examiner to Senators as "fossils and meaningless artefacts". He also said that the Seanad "adds no fundamental value to politics".

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien Who wrote that?

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson This is outrageous and unacceptable. It is not fair to blame only the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach has nailed his opinion to the mast. The Tánaiste, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, and the Labour Party, regardless of what they are saying in off the record briefings, are fully supportive of abolishing the Seanad. That is the reality.

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Hear, hear.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Is the Senator seeking a debate on the matter?

Senator Diarmuid Wilson: Information on Diarmuid Wilson Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson Yes. Like Senator Leyden, I call on the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to come into this House to answer questions from Members of this House. What are they afraid of? They should put to the people the question on whether to abolish the Seanad or reform it. What are they afraid of?

Senator Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Accountability.

Senator Michael Mullins: Information on Michael Mullins Zoom on Michael Mullins While I do not always agree with Senator Cullinane I support his call for a debate on taxation prior to the budget.


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