July 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
The Report issued by Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly this week raises extremely serious issues, including a threat by the HSE to go to Court to seek to prevent the Ombudsman from communicating with the Oireachtas.
It is really regrettable that it is not possible to address these matters now, given that both Houses are in recess and won’t return until late September.
The matters raised reflect extremely poorly on the HSE and must be considered in detail by the Oireachtas. Certainly as far as the Senate is concerned I will be seeking an urgent debate on the Report when the House sits again in late September.
Meanwhile, the HSE should issue a full and detailed response to the Report, in order to explain its extraordinary behaviour throughout this entire episode.
July 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on Second Stage of this hugely important and momentous legislation. The Labour Party enthusiastically supports the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations for Cohabitants Bill 2009. We will try to amend it in some areas and, while we can to some extent predict the Minister’s response to our proposals, we will push them as strongly as we can. We hope to expand on the vital work done on this Bill with further legislation when the Labour Party is in Government.
I think this is the first time since I entered the Oireachtas three years ago that I have commended the Government on any issue but I am happy to congratulate it on bringing this legislation before the Houses. I also acknowledge the heavy lifting that was required from the Green Party in order to bring the matter to its present status.
When we discuss this Bill in more detail on Committee Stage, we should not forget that we are trying to improve the lives of individual citizens. We should, therefore, also congratulate the thousands of campaigners who have fought for this legislation. None of this would happened without people who were prepared to go to meetings, spend time on campaigns and work out how incremental change could be achieved. Perhaps some felt they were compromising themselves while others wanted to progress their goals without being seen as incrementalists but they made the same intelligent political decision as so many other figures in history by accepting this Bill as legislation that could be achieved and leaving for another day the fight to build something better. For that reason, I am delighted to be a Member of this House as this Bill comes before us. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
There needs to be clarification on a development in regard to legislation referred to in the newspapers today, which I have not heard previously mentioned in these Houses that, apparently, the Government intends to introduce legislation to alter the legal environment for the placing for adoption of the children of married parents. We know the children of married parents can only be adopted in very restricted circumstances because of our laws and the interpretation of them. It is one of the issues that is at the heart of children’s rights, the proposal for a referendum to amend the Constitution, the so-called children’s rights referendum.
One of the things that will have to be done to facilitate the introduction of the legislation, to which the Minister of State, Deputy Andrews, referred in the newspapers today, and which I would welcome, would be that the children’s rights referendum would have to be brought forward, put to the people and passed. That is important. Can we take this indication by the Minister of State in this morning’s newspapers of an intention to bring forward this legislation, as an indication that the Government now clearly intends to hold a children’s rights referendum this autumn since the holding of such a referendum would be a necessary precursor to the introduction of legislation of this kind?