Seanad Éireann - Volume 138 - 14 December, 1993
Order of Business.
Mr. Wright Mr. Wright
Mr. Wright: It is proposed to take Item 1, Road Traffic Bill, 1993, Second Stage, until 6 p.m. There will be a sos from 6  p.m. to 7 p.m. when it is proposed to return to the Bill until 10 p.m. The Adjournment Matters will be taken at the conclusion of business.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: The Order of Business is agreed to. May I ask the Leader of the House if he would make time available, perhaps before the recess, for an update on the talks between the Taoiseach and Mr. Major? In the light of three more deaths in the North since we last sat, we all realise the importance of progress being made towards an ultimate solution.
May I bring to the attention of the House and to the Leader the concern of many people over robberies and attacks in recent weeks? There was a robbery yesterday in Clonsilla and one in Maynooth last week. One of last night's papers carried a report of a knife raid on a music shop, a hold-up in a garage and a robbery of a building society premises in Rathmines. There has been such an escalation of robberies that I would ask the Leader to convey Members' concern to the Minister for Justice from whom I am sure there will be an appropriate response. Senators are concerned by this worrying situation where guns are being used more frequently in robberies.
Mr. O'Toole Mr. O'Toole
Mr. O'Toole: I would also ask the Leader to have a further discussion, if possible, on the situation in Northern Ireland before the recess. It would be both timely and useful. The developments which are going on apace require constant evaluation. This House has led the way over the last six months and it should continue to do so. An Adjournment debate on Northern Ireland would be helpful. I would like it noted that Brian Duffy, a young child of 14 or 15 years of age, has become the 12th victim of the troubles in his school in the North. This murdered pupil was buried during the past week. Speaking to teachers from these schools brings home to us how removed we are from the reality of the troubles. It is important that we keep our finger on the pulse by having an Adjournment debate on the North.
Mr. Dardis Mr. Dardis
 Mr. Dardis: I draw the Leader's attention to Item 9 on the Order Paper — Statements on Northern Ireland. We should return to this Item before we adjourn. We agreed that these statements would not be concluded in a day and that we would return to this discussion at an early stage. Several weeks have passed since we last discussed this issue. I am prepared to concede the situation is fluid and there have been many discussions in the meantime. In the event of an agreed statement between now and next week and given that the other House will have risen, it would be appropriate that this matter would be raised here next week. I hope the Leader will take this on board.
Mr. Farrell Mr. Farrell
Mr. Farrell: I support Senator Cosgrave's call for a discussion on crime. My local postman was shot in a post office raid. Drug and drink abuse is the cause of a great deal of crime. We should discuss such abuse. I saw a book recently which frightened me. It advised third level students how to behave if they are taking drugs. This is tantamount to telling them it is all right to take drugs if they follow the book's advice. Doctors tell us those who take drugs are capable of killing people and doing permanent damage to their health. Drugs and crime are interlinked and I would like a discussion on both.
Dr. Henry Dr. Henry
Dr. Henry: As we came up the stairs I am sure everybody noticed the lovely painting of Countess Markievicz lent to the Oireachtas by the National Gallery to commemorate the 75th anniversary of her election as the first woman MP to the Houses of Parliament. I would be glad if the Leader would convey to Senator Magner, Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Services Committee the thanks of all women Members of the Oireachtas. While it was our idea to put the painting there, it would not be in place without his kind help and co-operation.
Mr. Norris Mr. Norris
Mr. Norris: I support the call for a debate on Northern Ireland. The spate of recent killings places the position of  Sinn Féin and the IRA in a very sinister light. Those of us who have constantly called for them to be included in talks must now reflect very carefully on the present situation.
I also ask the Leader if there are time limits on speakers in the debate on the Road Traffic Bill.
Mr. Magner Mr. Magner
Mr. Magner: On behalf of the Oireachtas Joint Services Committee I thank Senator Henry for her very gracious comments.
I agree with Senator Dardis that if there is an agreed statement issued by the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister, it is imperative, because the other House will not be sitting, that this House should immediately make time available to discuss it. It would be an opportunity to make this House even more relevant than it has become in the last year. I support Senator Dardis.
Mr. Crowley Mr. Crowley
Mr. Crowley: I agree there should be a resumption of the Statements on Northern Ireland as quickly as possible. However, I add a small proviso. In view of the ongoing discussions between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister we should temper our language and comments on the issue. I hope this message will go out from this House. The type of debate we have had in recent times on Northern Ireland shows there is a very reasoned and responsible attitude in this House.
I also ask the Leader if it would be possible to have a debate on the problem of drug addiction, its impact on crime levels and the importation into and trafficking of drugs in Ireland.
Mr. Wright Mr. Wright
Mr. Wright: In relation to Northern Ireland, as I stated a few weeks ago, should we feel it is appropriate for the House to discuss this matter we will ask the Tánaiste to oblige us by coming to the House. As Senator Magner said, should there be an agreed statement over the weekend, given that the Dáil will have adjourned, I am sure the Tánaiste would respond to a request to update the House.
 It is important to put on the record the success of the Garda operations particularly in the Dublin city area. As regards legislation dealing with the Garda, the drugs problems, etc., these issues are already on the Order Paper and we will have an opportunity, before Christmas or early next year, to debate with the Minister for Justice the issues of concern which Senators have been raised.
With regard to Senator Henry's comments about Senator Magner, I am sure we all endorse the many innovations the Senator and his committee have introduced in the House. Spokespersons will have 30 minutes to speak on the Road Traffic Bill, 1993, and other Senators will have 20 minutes, by agreement of the House.
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: Is that agreed? Agreed.
Order of Business agreed to.
Seanad Éireann 138 Order of Business.