Feargal Quinn calls for debate ahead of next budget
‘Let us not wait until the budget decisions have been made before discussing these issues,’ says Senator
Independent Feargal Quinn called for a weekly Seanad debate in advance of next October’s budget. “Let us not wait until the budget decisions have been made before discussing these issues.” Debating budgetary issues in advance was the type of work the Seanad should be doing. An example was the many calls for a tax on soft drinks to deal with the challenge of obesity.
Opposition Senators criticised the absence of legislation before the House yesterday. Thomas Byrne (FF) said the Seanad was a legislative body with the power to make law. “The Seanad is being wound down by Fine Gael Senators.”
Ivana Bacik (Lab) said a number of MEPs had addressed the House this week and European commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn would attend next week. House leader Maurice Cummins (FG) had explained the difficulty of scheduling Ministers to attend during the EU presidency.
Paschal Mooney (FF) said that was a load of rubbish.
“We held the presidency in the past and we never had that problem, with all due respect.’’
Accusing Ms Bacik of waffling, he said: “Go out and get some Ministers and bring them in here. Stand up for yourselves. Show a bit of old backbone.’’
Ms Bacik said: “I must say, for those who are critical of the people’s views on the Seanad, the Opposition is doing a great job of running it down with that sort of behaviour.’’