Senator Ivana Bacik as House Leader, Order of Business Thursday 26th June. Topics: Mental Health; Survivors of Magdalene Laundries; EU Summit Ypres; Kidney Transplant; Hme Helps; Medical Cards; Gerry Conlon tribute; Peace Process progres; Environment; Irish Dairyboard; Energy Bills; Green Paper Energy; House price increase; Bausch & Lomb workers; Baby Gavin; Walking rights; Sunbeds.
Senator Ivana Bacik: I welcome the decision made at yesterday's Cabinet meeting on water and on the establishment of Irish Water, an independent State-owned subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann group. It is clear. It is a big initiative and an important one. It will be the biggest State company formed in a long time.
Senator Ivana Bacik: Like other colleagues, I will begin by expressing my condolences to the families and communities in counties Limerick and Cork for the terrible tragedies that have happened there. I echo the words of other Members who have spoken of the need to ensure the maintenance of funding for mental health services. This is without making any specific connection but all Members are conscious that this is an important priority.
Senator Ivana Bacik: I support the Green Party's call for a ban on stag hunting, which is a barbaric practice. I am glad to see Green Party members standing firm on this. Senator Prendergast commented that they might wish to rename themselves “the stag party”, although that is probably not worthy of following up.
An Cathaoirleach: Could we have questions to the Leader on today's Order of Business?
Senator Ivana Bacik: I support other colleagues, Senators Healy Eames, Hannigan and Ormonde, who called for a debate on prison policy, which I called for yesterday. It is especially urgent that we debate it given the announcement yesterday by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that plans for the prison at Thornton Hall will go ahead and that the new prison will be up and running in five years. Given the level of uncertainty about the proposed development at Thornton Hall, the announcement must be taken with a large pinch of salt.