Order of Business.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 192 No. 14

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Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  The Order of Business is No. 1, motion re judgments in absentia; No. 2, motion re European evidence warrant; No. 3, motion re regional fisheries boards; No. 4, Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 — Second Stage; and No. 5, statements on the report of the Sub-Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union.

[846]It is proposed that No. 1 shall be referred to committee without debate at the conclusion of the Order of Business; No. 2 shall be referred to committee without debate at the conclusion of No. 1; No. 3 shall be taken at the conclusion of No. 2 and will conclude within 30 minutes and spokespersons may speak for five minutes; No. 4 will be taken today at the conclusion of No. 3., spokespersons may speak for ten minutes, other Senators for seven minutes and Senators may share time by agreement of the House; No. 5 shall commence not earlier than 7 p.m. and shall conclude not later than 10 p.m., if not previously concluded. Spokespersons may speak for ten minutes and other Senators for seven minutes and Senators may share time, after which No. 4 will resume, if not previously concluded.

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  This weekend’s news headlines were dominated by two very serious news stories. The first was the recall announced on Saturday evening of all pork products following the contamination of pork by harmful dioxins. The initial coverage was not reassuring for consumers in terms of the effects of dioxins — that came later. It would have been preferable, however, had consumers been reassured immediately, as opposed to simply hearing about the harmful amounts of dioxins that were present in the products. Although that has been corrected to an extent, it was somewhat tardy.

Fast decisive action will be absolutely essential because Ireland faces the most serious threat to its food industry, nationally and internationally, with serious implications for the producers, processors, employers and employees. Moreover, Irish consumers potentially face not having Irish products on the shelves. Consequently, Government action is critical and I welcome the statements that will be taken in the House tomorrow. While I had intended to propose an amendment to the Order of Business, I accept the Leader has organised a debate for tomorrow. Clearly decisive action is necessary by the Government today and in the next few weeks to protect the industry, jobs and our economy.

Consumers and those who are not close to the industry will have obvious questions on the reason the inspections failed and on traceability issues. While I understand the issue is more complex in respect of pork products and the pigmeat industry, consumers will wish to know the reason the inspections failed and whether there are other such plants. Given that this plant was not inspected this year, are other recycling plants that have not been inspected doing the same job? What are the Government’s plans in that regard? Reassurances must be given to consumers. Members have just heard that beef products also have been found to contain dioxin, albeit, thankfully, to a lesser degree. I hope the implications will not be as serious for that industry because that really would be devastating for the economy.

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

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  The second issue that arose over the weekend was the appalling murder of a man in Dublin and the facts that have emerged in that respect, namely, that young teenagers had access to guns and that this man was subject to anti-social behaviour in his neighbourhood over a long period. Members are aware this is a crisis in many communities and I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to have a discussion in the House today on this topic. Many communities are being devastated and people feel very intimidated, as this man clearly was. Where such behaviour is taking place, it is not being interrupted quickly enough. There must be a refocus on community policing. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business so that Members can discuss this matter today.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I acknowledge the work done by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Martin, in clearing the way for the Chernobyl children to come to Ireland. It is worth[847]while recognising it was a fine job of work, for which there was little thanks. The House should recognise it and thank him for doing that.

I fully support the points made by Senator Fitzgerald. We should be discussing the matter today. The House will be aware that I have been saying for more than ten years that we would some day regret not reforming and repealing the Abattoirs Act 1988, which effectively has made it impossible to trace meat in many cases, and departing from the practice of the time when a local butcher killed his own in his own slaughterhouse, and we would never get back to that.

I had a couple of slices of butchers’ rashers for breakfast on Sunday morning, but I funked it. I left them until Monday and threw them on the pan yesterday. If I fall down in front of you, a Chathaoirligh, you will know what the problem is.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  He will just think Senator O’Toole is adoring the Magi.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  Is there a doctor in the House?

(Interruptions).

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  It would be important to recognise that this would be a useful opportunity for Europe to buy back the agricultural vote by putting a few shillings into the pot to deal with this issue, but that is one of the issues at which we can look in terms of a debate.

The House will be aware that 50,000 to 70,000 people, depending on whom one listens to, were on the march in Dublin against the outrageous cuts in education which affect schools, school communities, children with disadvantage and a variety of others, and which have devastated small communities which will lose a teacher or which were looking for an extra teacher. The Leader has refused to put the matter down for discussion again this week. Therefore, I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, that we discuss today education and the impact of and need to reverse the Government cuts.

The Cathaoirleach will recall that we had a major difference of opinion in the House on Thursday last about the lack of an Order of Business on Friday. I checked with the Leader and he informed me that he is intent on not having an Order of Business again on Friday.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Shame.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I cannot and will not accept that. I am surprised the Taoiseach supports that. I certainly intend raising it with him. It goes against Fianna Fáil’s basic principles at all levels. The Order of Business is the heart of the day. It is the only time when Members on both sides of the House can put on the record what they feel about the events and topical issues of the day. Can the Leader imagine if today were Friday and we were dealing with all that had happened, in terms of the beef situation and otherwise, and did not get a chance to say it? It is unacceptable. I promise that I will certainly not be co-operating in any way and I will be as disruptive as I possibly and creatively can be to make it impossible to run business during the course of this, and any other, week where this is proposed.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Great.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  It is outrageous. It is muffling, it is censuring, it is stopping people from articulating their viewpoints. The Order of Business is the most characteristic mark of the Seanad and we owe it to future generations of Senators to protect this invaluable part of the day during which people can go on the record with their views on the events of the day and [848]given there is no other topical hour in the course of the day. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business and I certainly will be bringing that to a vote.

Senator Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  We should be having a debate about the scary situation in which our food industry finds itself this week, and we should be doing it today rather than tomorrow. I acknowledge that the Leader has provided time for it tomorrow but it is something that we should be speaking about today. It has a dramatic impact on a great many people. As the Cathaoirleach will be well aware, in our own areas in the midlands it has a considerable impact given the job losses announced in recent days.

I have a couple of questions. When the announcement was made I was concerned by the level of pronouncements and that not much of a reassurance campaign was introduced initially. I suppose there was a small degree of hysteria brought about which needed to be negated by a level of realism about the actual impact and the risk to human health, and it was regrettable that this did not happen, especially in the pronouncements by the Government.

We must question whether to a degree the reaction was over the top. We have to consider the traceability issue. I recognise that pork is more difficult to trace than beef because the latter is seasonal while the former is used in a wide range of secondary products. The traceability systems that have been introduced since 2001 should work but this is the first occasion they have been tested and they appear to be ineffective. Producers and factory workers believe the procedures can work if they are permitted to do so and that the contaminated pork products are traceable. There is no reason in the world primary cuts cannot be released and the slaughtering of animals should be resumed in the near future. From this public forum we need to reassure people that pork and bacon products will be available during the most important time of the year for their consumption.

Even though organic pork is not affected, it is labelled in the same manner as affected Irish products. At the very least, the Government should state that organic pork is 100% safe.

In regard to beef contamination, I am glad the Government has decided to isolate the affected herds and to implement a campaign to reassure the public. However, this stance should have been adopted since the weekend.

We also need to acknowledge that the EU has a role to play. It is unrealistic to believe that the Government can step in to give €7,500 to food producers over three years. That sum will not save people who are on the bread line. Europe has an opportunity to show its hand by supporting Ireland and those involved in the industry.

I note that Aviance is closing its operations at Dublin Airport, with the loss of 150 jobs. The reasons given for the decision include the high costs of its union recognised workforce, which has a good pension scheme and was very well treated. I am afraid that, once again, hard working employees are being penalised and we are witnessing a race to the bottom. We should be concerned about this prospect.

Senator John Ellis: Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Every Senator is concerned about the events which have taken place over recent days. I appreciate the fact that the Leader has arranged time tomorrow to hold a full debate on the matter. Statements could be made in the Chamber that cannot be made publicly outside these Houses with regard to the actions of certain individuals, although not all farmers are implicated. I do not refer to the produce that entered a certain plant but to the recycled materials which were misused and which need to be investigated. I might add that not all of these are involved in the food industry.

We switched on our radios this morning to hear alerts about vehicles driving off roads throughout the country. There should be a duty on the National Roads Authority to ensure all [849]roads are gritted in frosty conditions. The agency has failed to take the appropriate action in time. There are consequences for private individuals and others from cars rolling into ditches and trucks jack knifing. I do not refer to people acting the fool but to those who are going about their business. We can avoid these situations through the use of proper gritting systems. The midlands region appears to be prominent in its lack of gritting. I pay tribute to my own local authority, which even grits regional roads in bad weather conditions. There is an onus on the NRA to ensure sufficient funds are provided to local authorities to ensure proper gritting systems are put in place. It should be applied as necessary so that we will not have to listen again to what we heard on the national airwaves this morning.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  I refer to the Order of Business where two pieces of EU legislation are to be introduced without debate. They are motions on judgment in absentia and the European evidence warrant, which are very important but are to be referred to committee without debate. Over the past two weeks a number of items of EU legislation were referred to committee and when they come back from committee they are marked down as without debate again. The Leader is failing in ensuring proper debate on EU legislation and the responsibility falls on him. I will remind him of this on each and every occasion he attempts to bypass the House in this manner.

I agree completely with Senator O’Toole in his comments on having the Order of Business on Friday if we are to meet on that day. There should be an Order of Business on any day we meet so that this House is relevant to the issues of the day——

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

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  Hear, hear.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  ——and we can properly debate them. The only reason I surmise that the Leader does not want an Order of Business is that he finds the issues raised are uncomfortable to deal with. The Leader should not be afraid of debate and we should have an Order of Business on Friday if we meet on that day.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  That is not the reason. There is repetitiveness.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  Senator Frances Fitzgerald raised two very important issues. The first is the terrible killing of Aidan O’Kane, an innocent man who was contributing to his community. It is evident from reports that the gun victim endured an anti-social campaign so the incident started with anti-social behaviour. The Garda was aware of this type of activity, which led to this terrible killing. It is important that the Garda Síochána and the Minister, in his directions and priorities, recognise the importance of anti-social behaviour as the first step in the existence of crime in many communities. That is particularly relevant in the case of young people being induced into the path of crime.

The Minister is not taking that issue seriously. With another killing of an innocent man, he is clearly not taking on the criminals. Ultimately, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is responsible for upholding law and order in this country and he is failing dismally in that task.

The Taoiseach commented that this incident reinforced the correctness of the decision last month by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Dermot Ahern, to take licensed handguns out of circulation. What has that to do with anything?

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  Hear, hear.

[850]Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  One can only assume the person being questioned for this crime was not holding a legally held handgun. It is all about illegally held weapons, such as knives and guns, and that was an extraordinary statement from the Taoiseach on this issue, which was very ill-informed.

With regard to the difficulties in the pigmeat sector——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  These are questions to the Leader. If we get to the debate, we can discuss that issue.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  I second Senator Frances Fitzgerald’s amendment to the Order of Business. The Taoiseach stated that we will be looking to Brussels on the compensation issue, but the Taoiseach and the Government know the rules on State aid in the agricultural sector in Europe and their own responsibilities in dealing with this type of emergency in helping farmers, processors, retailers and, eventually, consumers. The Government will have to face this issue because there is a question of regulatory failure. There is the question of whether the division of responsibilities between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s veterinary division is appropriate. I welcome the debate on the issue but I ask——-

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  We can have that debate when the Leader schedules it. A number of speakers will not be able to get in if the Senator continues.

Senator Eugene Regan: Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  ——that the Leader ensures that the Minister addresses the issue of regulatory failure and compensation.

Senator John Carty: Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Much of what I wanted to say has been already raised, especially concerning the pigmeat industry. I thank the Leader for arranging a debate on that subject tomorrow but perhaps he could allocate extra time during the week as well because events are overtaking us. Not only is the pigmeat industry affected, but other agricultural sectors could be as well. I compliment the Minister for Agriculture and Food on the swift action he took over the weekend. It may have seemed over the top, but we must remember that 85% of our agricultural produce is exported, so we must be seen to be squeaky clean and have everything in order.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  I am afraid it seems to be one economic calamity after another and there will be a considerable bill for this. It is not just a case of disappointment because there will be no ham on the Christmas table; our exports will be badly affected. Although I am on the Opposition side, I compliment the Government on the fact that the Minister of State, Deputy Sargent, responded quickly, clearly and effectively. There were attempts to question the fact that he acted too rapidly, but had he not done so he would have been criticised for that as well.

  3 o’clock

There are other questions to be raised about farming practices, although I know that farmers are completely guiltless in this case. In St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday we prayed for farmers who are going through anxious times, but what about these anxious times for pigs? I mean that quite seriously. We have a habit in the West of treating our cousin animals with contempt, having them basically in animal concentration farms. I would like to raise this issue on another occasion as this is not the moment to do so. My sympathy is with the farmers now. I support the point so ably made by my Labour Party colleague that the one exempted item is organically grown pork, which is all right. The same applies to genetically modified food. We need to re-establish brand Ireland.

[851]I am seeking a debate on foreign affairs and the Middle East in particular. It is time that we congratulated the Israeli Government, and in particular the Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, on the rapid and effective action he took in coping with a difficult and delicate situation in the city of Hebron by quickly and effectively removing the settler invasion of Arab houses. However, there is an equal responsibility on the Israeli Government to protect the rights of the Palestinians, which it signally failed to do. I was talking at the weekend to Israeli Jewish sources there and the phone was interrupted when they were attacked by a mob of stone-throwing settlers. While I spoke, the humble tent of an elderly Palestinian woman was burned to the ground by ignorant louts and thugs. The Israelis have responsibility there.

I did not speak on the cribs issue last week because I raised it last year. I do not want to make a big meal out of my church-going activities or my religious affiliations because I do not think it is anyone’s business. One’s religious beliefs are a personal matter, but there is also a cultural element in this. I am astonished that our broadcasting authorities would ban an advertisement from Veritas, the Catholic communications group. It has a very good bookshop and I often go into it. With the Cathaoirleach’s indulgence, I will place on the record the text that was found to be offensive:

The advertisement goes on to list them, including books for children and so on. What in the name of God is offensive about that, unless one is forced to remove the essential religious principle of Christmas, which is being done? That silly, but at night-time elegant, Christmas tree in O’Connell Street with the wrapping around it saying “Come in and spend your money” is crassly commercial. Thank God the crib is open a little bit further down the street. There is a lovely crib inside the GPO also, but I think the advertising ban is nonsense. People in Saudi Arabia are not as delicate about appreciating the sensitivities of Christians.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  Hear, hear.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  However, I have not heard any demands from Muslims or members of immigrant groups. Our own boyos have gone off with a kick of their own. They are Christmas crackers.

I agree with Senator O’Toole on how ridiculous it is that we will not be allowed to have an Order of Business. It cannot be a question of time because we never start before ten minutes have passed on the clock. We are not busily saving time.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Point made.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Since we should discuss matters of interest, I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to take first non-Government motion No. 23 on the Government’s appalling Christmas effort to savage and destroy the Combat Poverty Agency.

Senator John Hanafin: Information on John Gerard Hanafin  Zoom on John Gerard Hanafin  I support the call for a debate on the meat industry at the earliest opportunity. I am conscious of the fact that, before biotechnology, nanotechnology and our strong manufacturing base and tourism industry, this is and will continue to be an agricultural country. The potential loss of exports is serious and goes to the heart of the economy and our way of life. We should ensure greater traceability, given that exports to the value of €400 million are tied up in the pork industry, the importance of the matter to consumers and our dependence on agriculture. I do not understand why we must go to laboratories in the United [852]Kingdom to have results certified. Why is it not being done in Ireland on a monthly basis? It would reassure European consumers that Ireland had the greenest land and was the best place from which to purchase agricultural products. Given the fact that the European Union has long claimed competence in food safety issues, it should have an input in compensating Irish farmers, consumers and retailers. It has a strong role to play in dealing with this emergency which goes to the marrow of the economy and our way of life.

Will the Leader write a letter to the Russian ambassador on the loss of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexy II? Seven years ago I visited Moscow and, when given the opportunity to visit the mausoleum of Lenin and Stalin, I said, “No, thank you.” I wandered into an orthodox church to hear what was the nearest thing to a heavenly choir that I had ever heard. The spirit of man had prevailed, even through the communist era. Alexi II went through it all from the darkest days when churches were destroyed to the inevitable re-emergence of the church.

I agree with my colleague, Senator Norris, on how sad it is to see mention of the crib being refused by RTE because of its inclusion in an advertisement by Veritas. This reminds me of what obtains in certain American states in which one could go to prison for insisting on a crib being in a public place. This contrasts with the position where someone could get away with murder because a glove did not fit. Sometimes one must wonder whether everyone has gone bonkers and whether we should remind ourselves of the spirit of man and, more importantly, Christmas.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  The recall of pigmeat is a serious matter and of the utmost concern to farmers in the first instance, producers, up to 6,000 workers and consumers. With turkey, it is a traditional Christmas foodstuff. Questions about the number and effectiveness of the agencies involved in monitoring food safety, including the Department, must be answered. Recent events highlight the need for the establishment of a single agency to monitor food safety. A multiplicity of agencies appear to have responsibility in this regard at present and that makes no sense. I appreciate that a debate will take place on this matter but there is a need to ensure that bacon returns to supermarket shelves as soon as possible. I agree with previous speakers that Europe has a role to play in that regard.

I second the amendments to the Order of Business proposed by Senators O’Toole and Norris. These amendments relate to extremely important matters. I seconded an amendment put forward by Senator O’Toole last week in respect of a debate on education. The Leader is aware that the request for such a debate has been outstanding for some time.

I am completely shocked by the Leader’s actions. He got away with not having an Order of Business on Friday last and we hoped that a precedent had not been created. How the blazes is it possible to have the House sit for a day without an Order of Business being taken on that day? An Order Paper is printed for each day’s sitting. Without an Order of Business, we cannot discuss any of the items contained on the Order Paper or any of the topical items the House has dealt with so well for many years. As a previous speaker stated, it is a hallmark of the Seanad that it deals with such matters on the Order of Business. I am surprised that the Leader is going to attempt to——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  This matter can be dealt with on Thursday’s Order of Business.

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  This type of behaviour demeans the House. I hope the Leader will reconsider his position as quickly as possible.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  That is a matter for the Leader.

[853]Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  Yes, and that is the matter with which I wish him to deal.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  I commend the Taoiseach, Deputy Cowen, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Smith, and the Minister of State at his Department, Deputy Sargent, on taking decisive action when faced with an extremely difficult decision. Some 90% of Irish pork was not infected with the dioxin PCB and only 10% of producers were affected. The British media, particularly the tabloids and Sky News, have gone to town in respect of this matter.

Senator Mary M. White: Information on Mary M. White  Zoom on Mary M. White  That is correct.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Headlines containing the words “toxic” and “poison” have been used and this is making the situation a great deal worse.

Retailers here are taking back most of the pork that has been sold to consumers. It is difficult to believe that producers would purchase meal from a recycling plant. I am appalled by what has happened. The cattle on our farm are organic and we do not use such meal.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  There will be statements on this matter tomorrow night.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  I accept that, but urgency is required. I would like a statement to be made on the recycling plant involved. I understand that bread wrappings were included in the meal mixture. What one puts in, one gets back, and that is what happened in this instance. Did we learn nothing from the difficulties that arose in respect of bonemeal?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The Senator can raise that matter during tomorrow night’s debate.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Why was this recycling plant not inspected? It cost a great deal of money to rectify the damage caused by the difficulties that arose with regard to bonemeal.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Will the Senator put a question to the Leader?

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  I am about to put a question to him, in a sense. It will be necessary to mount a major diplomatic offensive in respect of this matter. I served as Minister of State with responsibility for trade in the 1990s when the BSE crisis struck. We brought in vets from Iran and elsewhere to prove that the quality of food in this country is good.

This is a national emergency. It is the most serious challenge the country has ever faced.

Senator Mary M. White: Information on Mary M. White  Zoom on Mary M. White  Hear, hear.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  We must try to work on it together. We withdrew pork products to ensure safety for the public and exporters. Exports to 30 countries have been affected. This is an extremely difficult matter and decisive action is required in respect of it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  That matter can be raised during the debate.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  The diplomatic service and our embassies throughout the world must be on stand-by to work with the media. A proper media offensive should be launched in respect of this matter to combat what is being said on Sky News and other channels. Reports relating to this issue are being broadcast on the hour and these are scaring our customers across the globe. Action must be taken in this regard.

I welcome the fact that a debate will take place on this matter tomorrow. The Government, the people, producers and distributors are deeply concerned——

[854]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The Senator has made his point. Other Members wish to contribute on the Order of Business.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  ——about this matter. The House should do whatever it can to be of assistance.

Senator Alex White: Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  I second Senator Norris’s proposal that the Order of Business be amended to allow for a debate on No. 23 on the Order Paper.

On the comments made in regard to the Veritas advertisement, I point out that it is only a few short months since this House debated this question in the context of the Broadcasting Bill. While I do not necessarily expect anybody on the opposite side to point that out to the House, Government legislation dealing with this matter was brought into this House by the Minister. A debate was raised on an amendment proposed, I think, by Senator Mullen, which I did not support. Nevertheless, the issue of advertising directed towards a religious or political end was raised during that debate. It is not as though this is an issue that has suddenly arisen. It has been open for debate. There is no doubt that the refusal in respect of the Veritas advertisement appears odd.

As I understand it, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has offered to discuss with Veritas an amendment to the wording used. An issue arises in respect of religious advertising in general. It is all very well to point to one example of it, but Members ought to recall we had an opportunity to debate this issue openly in this House and to determine whether existing rules in respect of advertising directed towards a religious or political end should be renewed and repeated in the new legislation. As I understand it, that is the position of the Government in this regard. I hope a Member on the opposite side of the House will take the opportunity to point that out to the House rather than leaving it to a member of the Opposition to do so.

I support strongly Senator O’Toole’s remarks in respect of the taking of the Order of Business on Friday. This is a serious issue. Members will be aware that issues relating to the business of this House are normally dealt with in a co-operative manner by the leaders. This proposal — I want all Members to be aware of this — is a unilateral decision on the part of the Leader, which does not have the support of any of the leaders on this side of the House. That is a departure from the kind of co-operative approach we expect in ordering the business of this House. This is a decision taken by the Leader on his own and it is one which we do not support. That is a departure from the manner in which these issues are normally dealt with.

We were told last week there would be no Order of Business last Friday because the Minister would not be available, but the Minister was available only until 11.30 a.m. anyway, and we were not told that would be the case. The reality is that if we had an Order of Business last Friday the Minister would not have come into the House at all and we were not told that. We need a little more candour from the Leader on issues like that. I support Senator O’Toole’s objection to the removal of the Order of Business on a sitting day in circumstances where the Leader appears to want to facilitate only half a sitting day rather than a full day’s sitting.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  On the agricultural situation, which everybody acknowledges is serious, I concur with those who have called for support from the EU. The EU has a role to play in terms of supporting what is an extremely difficult situation for Ireland.

Suggestions have been made that all the pork products should not have been withdrawn from the shelves, but it is important health is paramount and is seen to be so. Ultimately, when this issue is behind us, confidence will be restored, in particular in the beef and pork sectors, as a consequence of taking that action. In time, there will be a need to ascertain the circumstances that gave rise to this situation. Any derogation from responsible management in the [855]private or the public sector must be brought to light and appropriate action must be taken against those responsible for what happened in this instance.

I concur with Senator Norris’s comments in regard to the Veritas advertisement. As has been stated, advertising was the subject of a debate in this House. I noted with interest what the Minister of State, Deputy Trevor Sargent, had to say the other night on “Questions and Answers”. I spoke privately with the Minister involved and I hope that appropriate amendments will be made on Committee Stage of the relevant legislation.

This raises a more serious issue, namely, the appointment of people to bodies. I have yet to meet anybody who had an objection to the Veritas advertisement, other than the members of the Broadcasting Commission who made the decision. We need to examine appointments to all these boards and the manner in which the law is interpreted. If the law is the issue, it should be reviewed, but in many instances people interpret the law to suit their personal opinions. That should be examined not only in this case but in a range of areas.

I wish to refer to the extraordinary statement by Senator Regan, in his imperial contribution, who seemed to dismiss a proposal that there should be any attempt to control guns, particularly handguns, in our society.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  Nobody said that.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Allow Senator Walsh to continue.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  Both legal and illegal guns should be strictly controlled.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  If the Deputy is supporting Christianity, he should try to be honest for a change.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  I remind Senator O’Toole as well as Senator Regan that the Garda Commissioner came before——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The Senator should put questions to the Leader.

Senator Jim Walsh: Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  ——the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights recently and asked specifically for a limitation in this respect because of his concerns at the growth in legally held handguns. I compliment the Taoiseach on his comment and the Minister on the action he has taken. All of us in this House should support it, given the situation in regard to law and order.

With a banking crisis, an economic crisis and now a serious food and agricultural issue, the major concern expressed by the Opposition today is whether we will have an Order of Business on Friday. That speaks volumes for the Opposition and for this House if we allow it to continue.

Senator Alex White: Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  There is one upside to this; at least we will not have to listen to the Senator.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  I support Senator O’Toole’s amendment to the Order of Business calling for an education debate, which has been seconded. We want to know what is happening. At this stage the only conclusion I can come to is that the Minister, Deputy Batt O’Keeffe, must be afraid to address the Seanad on the education cuts and where we stand in that regard.

I join the other speakers who expressed concern about the state of emergency in which food producers find themselves. The issue of dioxins in pork and now beef has the potential to wreck the industry. I am aware we will discuss this issue tomorrow, but there are no dioxin test [856]laboratories in this country. If that is the case, how was the dioxin detected in pork and traced back to the Carlow plant? No test was carried out in that plant in 2008. Was it detected as a result of a tip-off from the Belgian-Swiss authorities?

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  No, it was not. The sequence is quite clear.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  Are we relying on the Belgian-Swiss authorities for our regulatory control in that industry? That seems to be the case.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The Senator can raise that issue in the debate on agriculture tomorrow.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames: Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  I join other women today in complimenting Senator Bacik on her historic gathering of women who have been elected to political life in this country since Constance Markievicz was elected in 1918. The Senator highlighted very well the low participation of women in political life, marked their unique contribution and stressed the need for more women in politics. Comhghairdeas should be extended to Senator Bacik and we should all join in that on marking this historic day.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Hear, hear.

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Hear, hear.

Senator Ivor Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  I welcome the debate we will have tomorrow on the food industry, in particular the pigmeat industry. In recognition of the long-term difficulties that the actions taken over the weekend may have on the industry, will the Leader ensure that in tomorrow’s debate we will receive clarity on the checks and balances in the food chain and on the methodology for the recall of products and what triggers such a recall. I am concerned about the implications of the recall on getting the product back on the shelves in our export markets. That will be a momentous and difficult task. I hope that tomorrow we will be advised of the special measures that will be put in place to ensure we are successful in our endeavours in that regard.

I offer my condolences to the O’Kane family in East Wall on the appalling tragedy that occurred the other day. I support the call for a debate on gun crime.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins  Zoom on Maurice Cummins  We have witnessed substantial increases in unemployment in recent months. Last month alone, 18,000 people lost their jobs. It now appears we are facing the prospect of approximately 300,000 people unemployed by the end of the year. People who find themselves unemployed have to wait eight to ten weeks for unemployment benefit. In many instances those people have worked all their lives and paid their taxes and PRSI on time. It is disgraceful that they are treated in such a manner, especially coming up to Christmas. They paid their PRSI from the first week they were employed but they are expected to wait eight to ten weeks to have their benefits paid. It is all very well to say they should go to the community welfare officer while they are waiting, but that is not acceptable. These people have dignity and should be treated with respect. I will raise the matter with the Minister when she comes to the House to discuss the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. It is not acceptable in this day and age to treat people in that manner.

Senator Fitzgerald tabled an amendment to the Order of Business and if it has not been seconded, I will do so. I would treat Senator Walsh’s remarks about the Opposition with the contempt it deserves.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Hear, hear.

[857]Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  I support Senator O’Toole’s proposed amendment to the Order of Business. I, too, believe we need a debate on education cuts, perhaps as part of a wider debate about where cuts are being targeted. If the horrific murder of Aidan O’Kane shows us anything, it is that there is a decline in social and moral capital in society. We need seriously to debate how we as a community are to address that decline. It is linked with how we order our fiscal priorities. The last thing we should attack, for example, is education where the next generation is formed.

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

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  The last thing we should attack are initiatives to work with young offenders. The BOND project in Blanchardstown has come under severe pressure because of Government cutbacks. It tries to put young offenders on the right track. We need to be generous with resources even in these difficult times to try to ensure people who might go the road of criminality are deterred and that those who have already gone down that road are deterred from something worse.

I wish to mention Veritas briefly. As Senator White rightly pointed out, I tabled an amendment when the Broadcasting Bill was before the Seanad that would ease the ban on religious-based advertising. At the time I made the point that it was anomalous, to say the least, that all sorts of trick of the loop merchants, so to speak, and individualistic marketers can market their wares on television and radio. I referred to broadcasters of psychic services that literally deceive people, but at the same time, despite that we have a Constitution that pledges to honour religion and which pledges that there will be no bar to freedom of religious expression, we find ourselves in a situation where there is no proper balance. Obviously, we do not want any kind of cult to be able to advertise on television and radio services but I disagree respectfully with Senator White’s apparent assessment that we have got the balance right. We certainly have not.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The time is up.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  Very briefly——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Please, four people have not had a chance to speak.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  ——I urge the Leader to take the matter up with the Minister because the Bill is still before the Dáil. The Scrooges in the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland need to be tackled on the issue.

I wish to mention a misunderstanding that arose in the House last week. I find myself understanding a little more the difficulties of certain people before the tribunals who have difficulty recalling past events. I found myself in a position where I did not recall a conversation with Senator Hanafin where I had undertaken to give him a pair.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  That is not relevant to the Order of Business. I call on the Leader to reply.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  If the Cathaoirleach will indulge me for ten more seconds——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  No. We are talking about putting questions to the Leader on the Order of Business. Unfortunately, four Members who wished to contribute have not been able to do so because the time is up.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  Might I just add briefly that I speak in no deceitful Shakespearean sense when I say that Senator Hanafin, the Fianna Fáil Whip, Senator Wilson, and the Leader are people of honour?

[858]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Yes. That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Senator Rónán Mullen: Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  It would be a cause of great discomfort to me if I caused them any difficulty.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  I call the Leader to reply and apologise to the Members who have not been allowed to contribute.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Senators Fitzgerald, O’Toole, Kelly, Ellis, Regan, Carty, Norris, Hanafin, Coghlan, Leyden, Walsh, Healy Eames and Callely all expressed serious concern over the difficulties being experienced in the agriculture sector, especially in respect of the full recall of all pork products. As Senator Carty, the Government spokesperson on agriculture, pointed out, 85% of all our produce is exported. The matter is very serious and I thank the leaders for their co-operation in allowing it to be debated tomorrow afternoon. I certainly look forward to Senators’ contributions thereon. If time is needed next week, I will propose that it be allocated. The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Deputy Sargent, will be in the House tomorrow to update us on the difficulties being experienced.

I congratulate everyone concerned with this unfortunate problem, from the Taoiseach to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Brendan Smith, and his Ministers of State, Deputy Mary Wallace and Deputy Sargent. They, along with their officials, have worked night and day since the matter was brought to their attention. Everyone in the farming organisations has been acting in a really responsible way in the national interest. I thank all the leaders in the House for their understanding and support regarding this difficulty, especially because Christmas is approaching.

We hope the people will rally to the call to support quality Irish produce once it is cleared, which I hope will be in the next 48 hours. We want to play our part to ensure the green Ireland of which we are so proud and all the 30 countries affected will be fully supported. Reassurance to the consumer worldwide is of the utmost importance. I fully support the great and arduous work the organic pork industry has been doing. It has been making its products readily available to all those outlets that have had no product to sell over the past 48 hours. I look forward to the debate tomorrow and to assisting, in any way I can, with the restoration of consumer confidence in the industry. I wish all those who have lost their jobs a speedy return to work. I will certainly do anything I can to facilitate Members in airing their views on this matter in the House over the coming week.

Senators Fitzgerald, Regan, Boyle, Callely and Mullen all expressed their horror at the untimely death of Mr. Aidan O’Kane. I express my condolences to his family. Mr. O’Kane was trying to protect his property and everything that is good in his community. In the main, young people who engage in anti-social behaviour probably want a bit of excitement but the unfortunate consequence is that properties are being damaged and people are being subject to considerable mental strain and stress. This was especially the case in respect of the late Mr. O’Kane, who had only recently been bereaved by the loss of his wife. His death is an occurrence one believes would happen somewhere else, but not in Ireland.

We all have a duty to support the Minister regarding what he and the Garda Síochána, including the Commissioner, are trying to do to address the problem of young people being in the possession of guns. It is completely unacceptable that they would be and whatever needs to be done to strengthen the law in this regard certainly should be supported.

Senators O’Toole, Healy Eames and Mullen called for a debate on education. I have no difficulty with this and will endeavour to allow it. However, there is a considerable amount of legislation to deal with, as we can seen from the Order Paper for this week. As a consequence [859]of the debacle in the agriculture sector, particularly the pork industry, the Gas (Amendment) Bill had to be deferred to allow time to debate it. Next week will be the same in that there will be a considerable amount of legislation to be debated. If time is available between considering the various Bills, I will endeavour to allow for the debate the Senators called for.

The great number of people who turned out in Dublin on Saturday to make their case are to be commended. The positive aspect of this is that it was the best trading day this year in the city of Dublin. The teachers have certainly made their contribution——

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  As ever.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  ——by coming to the capital city to make their views known.

I will be having a meeting on Friday sittings with the leaders after the Order of Business today — we did not do so before this week’s sitting. I am endeavouring to hold debates on Fridays. The debate in the House last Friday was magnificent. We were able to have the Minister present and discuss the matter in hand straight away at 10.30 a.m. We are trying to determine whether Friday sittings are as successful in the Seanad as they are in the Dáil. Why should they not be? At least we are trying to make the House more productive. If it can be made so, let this be the case. I certainly make no apology for endeavouring to try out what is successful in the other House to determine whether it can be successful in this House.

Senator Kelly expressed concern over the possible loss of 150 jobs. I share his concern. Senator John Ellis expressed concern regarding the serious difficulty people face, especially in the midlands, regarding the National Roads Authority’s responsibility for making national roads available during very heavy frost, sleet and snow. I support him in his call and certainly will pass on his views to the Minister after the Order of Business.

  4 o’clock

Senator Norris called for a debate on matters pertaining to Israel and Palestine. I certainly can allow it but not before the Christmas recess. Senators Norris, Hanafin, Alex White, Walsh and Mullen expressed their views on radio advertising and the decision of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland in respect of Veritas. Perhaps the Minister will consider whether this can be addressed in the Bill in the Dáil. It is a question of the manner in which the legislation is enshrined and in which certain individuals, perhaps members of the commission or the commission in general, will be making their views known to us all. We certainly do not see anything wrong with advertisements of the kind in question on radio or television. It would be very uplifting to see some of these advertisements on television as opposed to some of the difficult ones that are hard to take at times.

Senators Alex White and Norris called for an amendment to the Order of Business to take No. 35, motion 23 today. This could be covered on Second Stage of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which is to follow the Order of Business this afternoon, or the Finance Bill, which is to be considered in the House on Friday week. I strongly suggest to Senator Norris that he avail of that avenue to address the issue.

Senator Hanafin asked us to send our condolences to the people of Russia on the death of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexy II. I will inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs of this request after the Order of Business.

Congratulations were offered to Senator Bacik on her celebration of the contribution of women to political life since 1918. I said last week in the House that I fully agreed with this. I concur with the sentiments expressed.

Senator Cummins made reference to those who had been unfortunate to lose their jobs and pointed out that they would have to wait for eight to ten weeks before receiving their unemployment benefits. This is completely unacceptable and I ask the Senator to bring the matter [860]to the attention of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs on Second Stage of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill later this afternoon to ascertain what is the up-to-date position. I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by him.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Three amendments have been proposed to the Order of Business. Senator Fitzgerald has proposed amendment No. 1: “That statements on anti-social behaviour and policing in the community be taken today.”

Amendment put.

The Seanad divided by electronic means.

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I wish to seek a manual vote.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  As the Senator is not a teller, will the Senators supporting his request please stand?

More than four Members rose.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  The vote will now proceed.

Amendment again put.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 22; Níl, 28.

Information on Ivana Bacik  Zoom on Ivana Bacik  Bacik, Ivana. Information on Paul Bradford  Zoom on Paul Bradford  Bradford, Paul.
Information on Paddy Burke  Zoom on Paddy Burke  Burke, Paddy. Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie.
Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  Coghlan, Paul. Information on Maurice Cummins  Zoom on Maurice Cummins  Cummins, Maurice.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic. Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  Healy Eames, Fidelma.
Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan. Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  McCarthy, Michael.
Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  Mullen, Rónán.
Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Norris, David. Information on Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe.
Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  O’Toole, Joe. Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Phil Prendergast  Zoom on Phil Prendergast  Prendergast, Phil. Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  Regan, Eugene.
Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane. Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.



Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin.
Information on Larry Butler  Zoom on Larry Butler  Butler, Larry. Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Callely, Ivor.
Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciaran. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Maria Corrigan  Zoom on Maria Corrigan  Corrigan, Maria.
Information on Mark Daly  Zoom on Mark Daly  Daly, Mark. Information on Déirdre de Búrca  Zoom on Déirdre de Búrca  de Búrca, Déirdre.
Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Ellis, John. Information on Geraldine Feeney  Zoom on Geraldine Feeney  Feeney, Geraldine.
Information on Camillus Glynn  Zoom on Camillus Glynn  Glynn, Camillus. Information on John Gerard Hanafin  Zoom on John Gerard Hanafin  Hanafin, John.
Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Leyden, Terry. Information on Marc MacSharry  Zoom on Marc MacSharry  MacSharry, Marc.
Information on Lisa McDonald  Zoom on Lisa McDonald  McDonald, Lisa. Information on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Zoom on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Ó Murchú, Labhrás. Information on Francis O'Brien  Zoom on Francis O'Brien  O’Brien, Francis.
Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis. Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona.
Information on Ned O'Sullivan  Zoom on Ned O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Ned. Information on Ann Ormonde  Zoom on Ann Ormonde  Ormonde, Ann.
Information on Kieran Phelan  Zoom on Kieran Phelan  Phelan, Kieran. Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  Walsh, Jim.
Information on Mary M. White  Zoom on Mary M. White  White, Mary M. Information on Diarmuid Wilson  Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson  Wilson, Diarmuid.

Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and Joe O’Reilly; Níl, Senators Déirdre de Búrca and Diarmuid Wilson.

[861]Amendment declared lost.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Senator O’Toole has proposed amendment No. 2 to the Order of Business: “That statements on education and the impact of the proposed Government cutbacks be taken today.” Is the amendment being pressed?

Senator Joe O’Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  Yes.

Amendment put.

The Seanad divided by electronic means.

Senator Maurice Cummins: Information on Maurice Cummins  Zoom on Maurice Cummins  As a teller, under Standing Order 61 I propose that the vote be taken by other than electronic means.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  At the request of a teller, the vote will be taken by other than electronic means.

Amendment again put.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 21; Níl, 28.

Information on Ivana Bacik  Zoom on Ivana Bacik  Bacik, Ivana. Information on Paul Bradford  Zoom on Paul Bradford  Bradford, Paul.
Information on Paddy Burke  Zoom on Paddy Burke  Burke, Paddy. Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie.
Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  Coghlan, Paul. Information on Maurice Cummins  Zoom on Maurice Cummins  Cummins, Maurice.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic. Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  Healy Eames, Fidelma.
Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan. Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky.
Information on Ronan Mullen  Zoom on Ronan Mullen  Mullen, Rónán. Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Norris, David.
Information on Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe. Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  O’Toole, Joe.
Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul. Information on Phil Prendergast  Zoom on Phil Prendergast  Prendergast, Phil.
Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  Regan, Eugene. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.  


Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin.
Information on Larry Butler  Zoom on Larry Butler  Butler, Larry. Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Callely, Ivor.
Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciaran. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Maria Corrigan  Zoom on Maria Corrigan  Corrigan, Maria.
Information on Mark Daly  Zoom on Mark Daly  Daly, Mark. Information on Déirdre de Búrca  Zoom on Déirdre de Búrca  de Búrca, Déirdre.
Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Ellis, John. Information on Geraldine Feeney  Zoom on Geraldine Feeney  Feeney, Geraldine.
Information on Camillus Glynn  Zoom on Camillus Glynn  Glynn, Camillus. Information on John Gerard Hanafin  Zoom on John Gerard Hanafin  Hanafin, John.
Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Leyden, Terry. Information on Marc MacSharry  Zoom on Marc MacSharry  MacSharry, Marc.
Information on Lisa McDonald  Zoom on Lisa McDonald  McDonald, Lisa. Information on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Zoom on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Ó Murchú, Labhrás. Information on Francis O'Brien  Zoom on Francis O'Brien  O’Brien, Francis.
Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis. Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona.
Information on Ned O'Sullivan  Zoom on Ned O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Ned. Information on Ann Ormonde  Zoom on Ann Ormonde  Ormonde, Ann.
Information on Kieran Phelan  Zoom on Kieran Phelan  Phelan, Kieran. Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  Walsh, Jim.
Information on Mary M. White  Zoom on Mary M. White  White, Mary M. Information on Diarmuid Wilson  Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson  Wilson, Diarmuid.

Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and Joe O’Reilly; Níl, Senators Déirdre de Búrca and Diarmuid Wilson.

Amendment declared lost.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Senator David Norris has proposed amendment No. 3: “That No. 35, motion No. 23, be taken today.” Is the amendment being pressed?

[862]Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  This is important as it concerns the abolition of the Combat Poverty Agency. I hope we will have the opportunity to debate the reasons so I should be able to persuade my colleagues——

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  I just want to know if the Senator is pressing the amendment.

Senator Camillus Glynn: Information on Camillus Glynn  Zoom on Camillus Glynn  We only want to know if there is to be a vote.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Very much, and in both ways, as they say.

Amendment put.

The Seanad divided by electronic means.

Senator David Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Under Standing Order 61, I would like to have the luxury of an ambulatory vote.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Pat Moylan  Zoom on Pat Moylan  Agreed.

Amendment again put.

The Seanad divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 28.

Information on Ivana Bacik  Zoom on Ivana Bacik  Bacik, Ivana. Information on Paul Bradford  Zoom on Paul Bradford  Bradford, Paul.
Information on Paddy Burke  Zoom on Paddy Burke  Burke, Paddy. Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie.
Information on Paul Coghlan  Zoom on Paul Coghlan  Coghlan, Paul. Information on Maurice Cummins  Zoom on Maurice Cummins  Cummins, Maurice.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic. Information on Fidelma Healy Eames  Zoom on Fidelma Healy Eames  Healy Eames, Fidelma.
Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  Norris, David.
Information on Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe. Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  O’Toole, Joe.
Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul. Information on Phil Prendergast  Zoom on Phil Prendergast  Prendergast, Phil.
Information on Eugene Regan  Zoom on Eugene Regan  Regan, Eugene. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.  


Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin.
Information on Larry Butler  Zoom on Larry Butler  Butler, Larry. Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Callely, Ivor.
Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciaran. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Maria Corrigan  Zoom on Maria Corrigan  Corrigan, Maria.
Information on Mark Daly  Zoom on Mark Daly  Daly, Mark. Information on Déirdre de Búrca  Zoom on Déirdre de Búrca  de Búrca, Déirdre.
Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Ellis, John. Information on Geraldine Feeney  Zoom on Geraldine Feeney  Feeney, Geraldine.
Information on Camillus Glynn  Zoom on Camillus Glynn  Glynn, Camillus. Information on John Gerard Hanafin  Zoom on John Gerard Hanafin  Hanafin, John.
Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Leyden, Terry. Information on Marc MacSharry  Zoom on Marc MacSharry  MacSharry, Marc.
Information on Lisa McDonald  Zoom on Lisa McDonald  McDonald, Lisa. Information on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Zoom on Brian Ó Domhnaill  Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú  Ó Murchú, Labhrás. Information on Francis O'Brien  Zoom on Francis O'Brien  O’Brien, Francis.
Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis. Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona.
Information on Ned O'Sullivan  Zoom on Ned O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Ned. Information on Ann Ormonde  Zoom on Ann Ormonde  Ormonde, Ann.
Information on Kieran Phelan  Zoom on Kieran Phelan  Phelan, Kieran. Information on Jim Walsh  Zoom on Jim Walsh  Walsh, Jim.
Information on Mary M. White  Zoom on Mary M. White  White, Mary M. Information on Diarmuid Wilson  Zoom on Diarmuid Wilson  Wilson, Diarmuid.

Tellers: Tá, Senators David Norris and Joe O’Toole; Níl, Senators Déirdre de Búrca and Diarmuid Wilson.

Amendment declared lost.

Order of Business agreed to.


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