Senator Mark Daly: There must be an election in the air because three Departments have each made a major announcement in the past three days.
Senator Martin Conway: It is all par for the course.
Senator Pat O’Neill: We sorted out the country.
Senator Mark Daly: It is being sorted out all right.
Senator Martin Conway: We had to exit the troika programme first.
An Cathaoirleach: Please allow Senator Mark Daly to continue, without interruption.
Senator Mark Daly: The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, stated last week that he intended to leave a legacy. While there is no doubt that he will be remembered, unfortunately, it will be for all the wrong reasons.
A new Garda Commissioner was appointed two days ago. Despite being an insider, we have been promised that she will sweep the Garda clean. Somehow or other, the Commissioner saw nothing when so many penalty points were being quashed.
An Cathaoirleach: The Senator’s comment is not fair to the Garda Commissioner’s reputation. She is not here to defend herself.
Senator Mark Daly: These issues were raised at the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality with the Commissioner present.
An Cathaoirleach: She is not here to defend herself.
Senator Mark Daly: She would be most welcome if she were to come to the House to defend herself.
Senator Pat O’Neill: The Senator must withdraw his remark.
An Cathaoirleach: I have ruled on the matter. Does Senator Mark Daly have a question for the Leader?
Senator Mark Daly: As I stated, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, wishes to leave a legacy, but he will make his mark for all the wrong reasons. The housing plan announced yesterday was a reannouncement of previous plans. It is, to a large degree, a work of fiction. The Health Service Executive’s service plan which will be published today will also largely be a work of fiction. Hans Christian Anderson would have been proud of it because the plan is way different from the reality. The reality we see on the ground is exemplified by the report of the Coroner’s Court in Limerick, as detailed in today’s newspapers. A critically ill man was brought to the accident and emergency department of Limerick University Hospital but never saw a doctor before he died. That is the reality on the ground. What we also see in emergency departments is paramedics arriving with patients on stretchers and having to stay there for hours before over-worked doctors can take the patients off their hands. The ambulances involved are not available during that time because the system is not working. That is the reality. Today there are 800 people in hospitals, taking up beds, who should not be there. They are there because the fair deal scheme has been cut. That is the reality on the ground. Whatever about the plan – which is a work of fiction to a large degree – the reality is entirely different.
In Kerry, the scandal —
An Cathaoirleach: The Senator should not display newspapers in the Chamber.
Senator Mark Daly: There are no service plans.
An Cathaoirleach: Does Senator Daly have a question for the Leader?
Senator Mark Daly: I ask the Leader to organise a debate on the HSE service plan. I will not push it to a vote on the Order of Business today because the plan has only been published but we should have a debate on the service plan next week to see how real it is.
I know a debate is scheduled for today on the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East. I ask the Leader to invite the Minister of State, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, to the House, as the first ever spokesperson on the Irish overseas and the diaspora, to discuss President Obama’s executive order. Some of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States will be assisted by it but I ask the Leader to encourage the Government to ensure that funding is made available to the Irish centres throughout the US. The Aisling Irish Community Centre in New York does great work, as do the Irish pastoral centres in Boston and San Francisco. However, they need assistance and funding. I would ask the Leader to urge the Government to look for a humanitarian visa for those who are not covered by the executive order so that they would be able to come home at times of bereavement. I would also like to see waivers being granted to those who have violated the terms of their visas in the past.
I wish to thank the Leader and Deputy Leader for facilitating the passing of a motion relating to Cumann na mBan. That motion is No. 8 on the Order Paper and I wish to move it today.