Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2014
Monday, 15 December 2014

During a second stage Seanad debate on the Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2014, I said:  The system in China used to be that the doctor was paid only for keeping a person well, but not when a person took ill or went into hospital. I think that is a lovely incentive. Perhaps we should to try to do something like that with insurance. I agree with the Minister that investing in health insurance is like investing in a pension. Some of the measures introduced in this Bill will nudge people in the right direction, such as the penalties for those over the age of 35 who do not take out health insurance...

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Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill 2014
Thursday, 11 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No.2) Bill 2014, I said: t was good to hear the good news that the Government had to give, particularly on the unemployment figures. The rate of unemployment has come down from 15.1% in early 2012 to 10.7%, which is particularly good when compared to the recent unemployment figure in Spain of 24.4%...

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Childline / Prescriptions / The Middle East
Thursday, 11 December 2014

During the Order of Business in the Seanad, I said: I add my voice to the comments on Childline. There is little doubt that the service requires attention. Although Childline does not cost much, it may be suspended for a long period next year. The issue could be easily resolved...

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Sustainable Agriculture and Dairy Price Outlook
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on sustainable agriculture and the dairy price outlook, I said: The Minister is very welcome. Actually, I am not sure he is all that welcome, because I put some thoughts together before he came in and he must have read my speech - or at least, he said exactly what I had planned to say. I planned to start off by talking about the fact that the world's population would increase from 6.7 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050 and asking how we are going to feed all those people. I did not anticipate the figures the Minister gave, and I was very impressed by them because I planned to talk about the challenges and opportunities in the dairy market. I did not know of the likely anticipated surplus stock in the dairy sector, particularly in China...

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Restructuring of Pensions at Aer Lingus
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the restructuring of pensions at Aer Lingus, I said:  This did not happen on the Minister's watch. It happened on the watch of many others over the years, but what is happening now is on the Minister's watch. Only a few days ago the situation at Waterford Crystal was solved. It was solved by having the taxpayers put their hands into their pockets for €180 million or so...

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Whistleblowers / Customer Service / Aer Lingus Pensions
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

During the Order of Business in the Seanad, I said: We are all shocked by last night’s “Prime Time” programme [on nursing homes]. It will be very hard to consider anything else while that is clearly in our minds. It is a reminder of what responsibilities we have. Senator Zappone has just touched on the legislation that we pass here, whether it is to protect whistleblowers or stop the actions we saw on last night’s programme. We must consider the importance of this House and ensuring it represents the whole country. Senator Zappone is quite correct in stating there are areas in which we can make changes. Whatever happens in Seanad reform, that is one of the changes that should take place...

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Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014
Tuesday, 09 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the Intellectual Property (Micellaneous) Provisions Bill 2014, I said: I welcome the Minister of State, who comes to the House regularly. We miss him as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This legislation arises from the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. I welcome the Bill. I note that the Bill deals specifically with medicines and veterinary products. Will this affect developments in other fields, such as health? If a company was developing a certain product in the agricultural or agrifood sector, would this or other legislation cover the agricultural or biotech sector? That is part of the overall jobs strategy. We need to help the agricultural bio sector. We could also help SMEs in this sector through provisions similar to those contained in the Bill...

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Tackling the Problem of Upward-Only Rent Reviews
Thursday, 04 December 2014

During the Order of Business in the Seanad, I said:  Yesterday's debate on the Action Plan for Jobs was very useful and it covered a very wide area. We used up all the time and had to squeeze in the final speakers. Another document was published yesterday by the National Competitiveness Council. It contains a considerable amount. It describes what we can do to create jobs, help the economy and ensure we stay where we are in competitiveness. It called on the Government to publish the Attorney General's most recent view on upward-only rent reviews...

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Finance Bill 2014
Thursday, 04 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the Finance Bill 2014, I said: I wish to raise a number of issues, but before doing so, I welcome the Minister of State again. We seem to be seeing quite a lot of him, as he comes before us on a regular basis...

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Action Plan for Jobs 2014
Wednesday, 03 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, I said:  I welcome the Minister and it was delightful to hear him speak today. He did not read from any script and his speech came from the heart. His ability and control of his brief is very clear. Yesterday, I attended the innovation showcase and if anybody else had the chance to go, they know it was worthwhile. I only gave myself a couple of hours there but I could have spent much longer there. It was interesting to see thousands of people at the Convention Centre dealing with information and communications technology, food, health, manufacturing and materials, business processes and energy. They were linking with and learning from each other. I congratulate people on the work being done. It has been interesting to hear Senators Naughton and White speak this afternoon, as they both made a great deal of sense. I hope the Minister can develop some ideas from their contributions to today's debate...

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Defamation (Amendment) Bill 2014
Wednesday, 03 December 2014

During a Seanad debate on the Defamation (Amendment) Bill 2014, I said: This short Bill, the Defamation (Amendment) Bill 2014 is worthy of consideration. I am delighted to see that the Minister of State will consider it. Senator Crown and his team have come up with very sensible legislation. I believe it is good for the customer, which is the taxpayer, who will not have to fork out money for actions by public bodies...

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