Monthly Archives: December 2016

Senator Daly calls for Government to help 50,000 Undocumented Irish living in the US, who face uncertain future this Christmas  

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Irish Overseas and Disapora Senator Mark Daly has called for the Government to help the 50,0000 Undocumented Irish living in the United States, who are in danger of deportation and who face an uncertain future this Christmas

Senator Daly, who is also chair of the Ireland America Association, commented: ‘This issue does not just affect the undocumented, it also affects their parents, siblings and other family members. We estimated that approximately 500,000 people in Ireland are affected by the lack of progress on immigration reform in the United States. I have been consistently calling for the Government to seek a provision whereby people should be given access to a humanitarian visa to allow them to return to Ireland to be with family members in times of distress, illness or bereavement. I will continue to pursue this issue in 2017’.

‘While this issue is of course magnified at Christmas time, given that it a time for year for families to come together, it is essential that this issue remains high on the Government agenda at all times. Moreover, it is imperative that the Irish Government works with the incoming administration and makes a concerted and sustained effort to ensure that there is genuine progress on this issue’.

‘I will continue to raise awareness of this issue and I hope that 2017 will be the year in which we finally secure a satisfactory outcome for the undocumented Irish and their families’.

 

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Senator Daly’s Motion to thank the U.S. National Parks Service for ensuring replica of 1916 Proclamation be placed in the Washington Monument passed

Seanad Eireann has passed a motion thanking the United States National Parks Service and the United States Department of the Interior for ensuring a replica of the 1916 Proclamation presented by the President of Ireland will be placed in the Washington Monument on the Mall, Washington DC in the United States. It is recognizing that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and also the 100th anniversary of the United States National Park Service; recognising that Ireland is just one of 17 foreign countries to be given this particular honour and distinction; acknowledging that there have only been five plaques placed in the monument in the last 75 years and that this will be the 194th plaque in the monument, the others being from each state of the Union and organisations which helped in the building of the monument to General George Washington; and further thanking the Secretary of State at the United States Department of the Interior, Ms. Sally Jewell; the Director of the United States National Parks Service, Mr. Jonathan B. Jarvis; the Chief of Staff, Ms Maureen Foster; the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Nikki Buffa; and the National Mall Director of the United States National Parks Service, Ms Alexa Viets, for their assistance.

Transcript, Order of Business 15th December 2016

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly I propose that No. 30, non-Government motion No. 13, be approved by the House. I will have one of my colleagues second it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Is it to be taken before No. 1?

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly Yes, before No. 1. I propose that the Cathaoirleach would then send the necessary letters on behalf of the House. This is the last month of the decade of commemorations relating to 1916. The National Park Service of the Department of the Interior in the United States has afforded Ireland a distinct honour by having a replica of the 1916 Proclamation placed inside the Washington monument. It is one of only 17 countries to be given such an honour and only five plaques have been placed within the Washington monument in the past 75 years. President Michael D. Higgins gave the plaque on behalf of the citizens of Ireland at home and abroad and it is hoped that the Taoiseach, on behalf of the nation, will attend there next March to formally dedicate it. I hope the Cathaoirleach, with the acceptance of the Leader, will send the letters to those in the United States who helped with that particular proposal.

  Finally, I wish everyone a happy Christmas, including Senator Norris.

 

[………………..]

Senator Jerry Buttimer:   I am very happy to accept Senator Mark Daly’s amendment to the Order of Business. On a very serious note, I recognise the significance of the motion which conveys our thanks to the National Parks Service of the United States. As Senator Mark Daly rightly said, Ireland is just one of 17 countries to be given this distinction and unless I am mistaken, it is one of only five plaques to be placed at the Washington Monument, which is an indication of the significant contribution made by the State in the eyes of the United States of America. I thank the men and women of the National Parks Service of the United States which is part of the US Department of the Interior as it is an acknowledgement of the huge contribution made in the 1916 Rising, following which many people emigrated to the United States where they played a role in civic life. The motion is important and I am happy for it to be taken today.

[……………………….]

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Denis O'Donovan Zoom on Denis O'Donovan Senator Mark Daly has proposed an amendment to the Order of Business: “That No. 30, non-Government motion No. 13 re National Park Service of the United States, be taken before No. 1.” The Leader has indicated that he is prepared to accept the amendment. Is it agreed to? Agreed.

  Order of Business, as amended, agreed to.

Expressions of Gratitude: Motion

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly I move:

That Seanad Éireann:

– thank the United States National Parks Service and the United States Department of the Interior for ensuring a replica of the 1916 Proclamation presented by the President of Ireland on behalf of the Irish people, at home and abroad, will be placed in the Washington Monument on the Mall, Washington DC in the United States of America

– recognising that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising and also the 100th anniversary of the United States National Park Service;

– recognising that Ireland is just one of 17 foreign countries to be given this particular honour and distinction;

– acknowledging that there have only been five plaques placed in the monument in the last 75 years and that this will be the 194th plaque in the monument, the others being from each state of the Union and organisations which helped in the building of the monument to General George Washington;

– and further thank the Secretary of State at the United States Department of the Interior, Ms. Sally Jewell; the Director of the United States National Parks Service, Mr. Jonathan B. Jarvis; the Chief of Staff, Ms Maureen Foster; the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Nikki Buffa; and the National Mall Director of the United States National Parks Service, Ms Alexa Viets, for their assistance.

I thank the Leader and the Cathaoirleach for their assistance.

Senator Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I second the motion.

  Question put and agreed to.

 

 

 

 

 

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WATCH: Senator Daly Requests Update on Government Plans for Commemorations of Death of Thomas Ashe, 1916 Leader

Commencement Matters 14th December 2016

Commemorative Events

Senator Daly requests an update from the Government on plans to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe and the State’s budget allocation for these Commemorations.

 

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly I thank the Minister for coming to the House to deal with this matter. While this month will see the end of the 1916 Rising commemorations, centenary commemorations will commence again on the anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe who, of course, was born in Lispole, County Kerry. He was involved in the 1916 Rising, tried on the same day as Éamon de Valera and sentenced to death, a sentence which was commuted to one of penal servitude. He went on hunger strike with another Kerry man, Austin Stack, during which he was forcibly fed.

  While we celebrate and commemorate the bravery of the men of 1916, the 100th anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe is relevant because the forcible feeding of prisoners continues to this day, most notably at Guantanamo Bay. While we mark the anniversary of his death, we must also highlight the fact that the death he endured and the punishment he received – he remained on a cold prison cell floor in a weakened condition for 50 hours before being subjected to forced feeding – constituted human rights abuses that continue to happen today. That is part of the reason we must highlight the injustices that continue to happen today, even though we will be commemorating an event that happened 100 years ago.

  What does the Government plant to do to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe and highlight human rights issues, in particular the abuse of the rights of prisoners and the abuses perpetrated by countries with which we are great friends? That friendship does not mean that we will not criticise them when they are wrong. When the United States of America engages in the form of punishment it uses for prisoners, we must not be silent. We must stand up for the rights of prisoners, irrespective of the reasons for which they are imprisoned. I look forward to hearing what the Government plans to do to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe.

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne I thank Senator Daly for raising this Commencement matter. I am taking this item on behalf of the Minister, Deputy Heather Humphreys, who unfortunately cannot attend the House.

  On Easter Monday of this year, 28 March, a State ceremony took place in Ashbourne, County Meath, to remember Commandant Thomas Ashe and all of those who gave their lives arising from the events of the Battle of Ashbourne. This was one of a number of formal State ceremonial events to take place around the country this year to reflect the special significance of key regional locations in the events of the 1916 Rising and to honour and remember those who fought and those who died. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the assistance of Meath County Council and Fingal County Council in supporting this very special commemoration.

  Some of the most significant Volunteer action outside of Dublin took place at Rathcross, Ashbourne, under the leadership of Thomas Ashe, Richard Mulcahy and Frank Lawless. Thirteen men in total lost their lives in Ashbourne on 28 April 1916. Commandant Thomas Ashe was tried by court martial and his death sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. He died in September 1917.

  This year, we have remembered and reflected upon the ultimate sacrifice made by Ashe and all those who gave their lives in order that Ireland’s dream of self-determination could become a reality. My Department is currently considering how the centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe should be appropriately marked and is being assisted by the guidance and advice of the expert advisory group on commemorations in these deliberations.

  The 1916 centenary commemorations were inclusive, respectful and measured, and sought to strengthen peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. The Ireland 2016 centenary programme met with widespread support across the political, academic and community sectors. It has engaged our communities at home and abroad in an unprecedented way and the benefits at community level and indeed nationally cannot be underestimated. The inclusive nature of the programme has enabled citizens to really examine our history and has encouraged them to consider the future of their communities. It gave people scope to think about the events of 1916 and its legacy in a way that is personal and meaningful to each individual. The Government will continue to mark significant events throughout the decade of centenaries and the State’s commemorative programme will be based on the inclusive, open and consultative approach that has worked so well this year.

  At all times, the Government has been supported in its plans by the guidance and advice of the expert advisory group on commemorations and the Oireachtas all-party consultation group on commemorations. The expert group is currently considering the issue of guidance around the approach to the second half of the decade of centenaries. The centenary of the death of Commandant Thomas Ashe will be marked on 25 September 2017. In addition, next year we will remember the battle of Messines and will commemorate the death of Francis Ledwidge in the third Battle of Ypres on 31 July.

  In 2018, we will mark the end of the First World War and the general election of 1918 and then move on to commemorate the First Dáil in January 2019. Commemorating the period of the War of Independence and Civil War will present its own challenges. However, I strongly believe the same open and honest approach which we used for this year’s successful commemorations, which allowed all narratives to be heard, will ensure we will be able to reflect appropriately on the all of the major historical events as they unfolded.

  In terms of funding for commemorations, the Department is currently considering the funding breakdown for commemorations in 2017 in the context of finalising the commemoration programme for next year.

Senator Mark Daly: Information on Mark Daly Zoom on Mark Daly I know that the Minister of State is only reading the answer but, for his benefit, the question asked the Minister “to outline the Government’s plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Thomas Ashe and to state the budget allocation for the commemorations”. The last few lines of the Minister of State’s reply stated: “In terms of funding for commemorations, the Department is currently considering the funding breakdown” and so on. Therefore, there was no answer to the question, although there are only nine months to go. The reply also referred to the Oireachtas all-party consultation group on commemorations but that group has not met since January this year.

  I thank the Minister of State for attending the House and I know the reply he was given is the only one he can provide. In light of the fact that the centenary is only nine months away, however, I would have hoped to get an answer to my question.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne As a week is a long time in politics, nine months is an awfully long period concerning issues such as this one. The Minister, Deputy Heather Humphreys, is currently considering the State’s commemorative programme for the second half of the decade. As I said, she is being supported by the expert group. I will ask her why the Oireachtas all-party consultation group on commemorations has not met since January. Although the Senator did not say so, I am sure he would agree that the celebrations and commemorations for the last year have been excellent. They have received cross-party and community support, which must be acknowledged.

  The Minister has indicated that the Thomas Ashe centenary committee and others are also discussing their plans to commemorate this significant event next year in Ashe’s birthplace in Lispole, County Kerry. The Senator is probably involved in that himself. There will also be commemorations in Meath, Dublin and abroad. The Department will be happy to engage with relevant groups, including local authorities and third-level institutions on how the centenary of the death of Thomas Ashe might be appropriately commemorated next year. The inclusive, respectful and measured approach which characterised this year’s centenary commemorations will continue to shape the State’s commemorative programme for the remainder of the decade. The close collaboration and engagement between Departments and other stakeholders will continue to suggest significant events and themes for commemoration for the next five years, which will be marked with respect, sensitivity and openness. I am confident that the centenary of Thomas Ashe’s death will be acknowledged. I will bring to the Minister’s attention the Senator’s concerns about the all-party committee not having met since January, as well as the issues regarding the budget outlay for that event.

 

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Senator Daly: “65 people a year die on the Organ Donor waiting list because of the flawed system the government has put in place”

Cystic Fibrosis Treatment: Statements

Thursday, 8 December 2016

I thank the Minister for coming to the House. I have three questions. First, how many countries have done a deal with the company? Second, have any of those countries done a deal on the basis of risk sharing? Finally, what price did they end up paying? Obviously, these are benchmarks on which we could base our negotiations.

  Many colleagues have touched on other issues to do with cystic fibrosis. One feature of CF is the consequences of having a diagnosis and the fact that there is now hope for patients. There is a drug that offers hope for some, but it does not offer hope for all. That is where risk sharing comes in to play. This is where we could possibly improve and lengthen lives. Indeed, we could not only lengthen lives but improve the quality of life.

  I thank the Minister for coming to the House today to take this debate. He did not send anyone. He has come himself. The Minister was sent out to bat on an equally tough issue in 2013 when it came to organ donation. The House was recalled at the time. We had a number of debates on radio, television and in other locations. As the Minister will recall from those debates, the system of organ donation in this country is a disaster. The EU regulation brought in at the time was signed on the last day designated by the European Union for signature. The 27-page EU directive was the first tranche of legislation in the history of the State to do with organ donation.

  Our system is so bad that 65 people per year are dying on our organ transplant waiting list. The figure does not include those who are taken off the waiting list because they are too sick or deemed to be too ill to receive a transplant. They do not even feature as a statistic in our organ transplant system. We have 650 people waiting for organ transplants. Some 500 of this number are awaiting a kidney transplant. If we simply reformed the organ donor system for kidney transplant alone, we would save over €1.3 billion in a decade. More important than saving such a vast amount of money is that we would be saving and transforming lives.

  In the overall context of the debate, this drug, Orkambi, is one element. The question is how to pay for it, regardless of whether we decide to pay such a vast sum. I am not suggesting the amount in question should be paid this minute, but we need to know what other countries have done. That is why I have asked my questions. If the Minster does not have the answers to hand, I would appreciate it if he sends on the information to us.

  I know the Minister has met organ transplant organisations. Our system is failing people from start to finish. The issue of organ donor co-ordinators was central. As a result of the debate in 2013, several were appointed. I will highlight how bad our system is. Some hospitals in the country have never asked any family to consider donating the organs of a loved one. Over the course of a decade, not one organ donation has come from some hospitals in this State. Why is that? It is a systems failure from top to bottom.

  An opportunity was missed at the time of the EU directive in 2013. I will not go into all the elements of it now, but the foregone opportunity is not only relevant to this issue.

  The answer to the questions will come from the evidence of what other countries have done, whether they have been involved in risk sharing and what price they have paid. Furthermore, if we can get an EU solution, it will be all the better. The fact is that this drug gives hope. There is nothing worse than to know that there is a solution but to be denied that solution and, by extension, be denied the hope that a child or loved one will be given a chance – that is all patients and families are hoping for.

  I would hate to be in the Minister’s position. A Minister of the Government gets lambasted from all sides. Now, the Minister is in a situation whereby it is a life or death decision for people. It is no easy position to be in when that simple question is put in front of the Minister. It is a complex question. Many issues must be weighed up, including the cost and the future impact in respect of purchasing other drugs for other sicknesses and illnesses. Anyway, this is really for the families that the Minister and all of us have met. It is a life-or-death decision. I hope the Minister will support them.

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