Seanad to invite Nicola Sturgeon to address it on Brexit

Great affinity between Ireland and Scotland, says Fine Gael Senator Paddy Burke

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during a media conference at the Scotland House in Brussels. Photograph: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during a media conference at the Scotland House in Brussels. Photograph: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

 

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon is to be invited to address the Seanad on the UK’s exit from the EU before it adjourns for the summer recess later this month.

The proposal was made by Fine Gael Senator Paddy Burke, who said there was a great affinity between parts of Ireland and Scotland, with both having a lot in common.

“We heard a lot recently about countries that want to leave the EU, but Scotland wants to stay in it,’’ he added.

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh said she agreed with the proposal.

Scottish independence

“People seem to be fighting the cause for Scottish independence and its right to have a say over its own destiny, but they need to show the same consideration and fight with the same vehemence for our comrades in the North,’’ she added.

“It cannot be done for one without the other.’’

She said she admired and respected Ms Sturgeon and would be very happy to hear from her in the House.

Later, during a debate on delivering sustainable full employment, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said a week from the referendum some people had expressed frustration that Brexit was still being discussed.

Extremely important

While he was sorry to disappoint them, the referendum result was extremely important in the context of delivering sustainable full employment.

Mr Richmond said it was important to emphasise Ireland would continue to be an EU member, with full access to the single market and retaining all of the advantages for inward investment.

A report produced in May suggested Brexit could push about €6 billion of investment into Ireland’s financial services sector, he said.

A bank already moving some operations to Ireland was Switzerland’s Credit Suisse, which had said in December it would make Dublin its primary hub for servicing hedge funds in Europe and move staff from London to here, said Mr Richmond.

“A report from Bloomberg earlier this week compared Dublin with Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Amsterdam and even Edinburgh as possible destinations for financial institutions now looking to relocate from London in a post-Brexit world,’’ he added.

“A glowing recommendation brought just two negative concerns to light: a relative lack of office space and high personal tax rates.’’

Low pay scandal

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan said there was a scandal of low pay in Ireland, particularly in the hospitality industry.

“It is an industry that for some time has enjoyed a generous tax break in terms of a reduced VAT rate of nine per cent, costing taxpayers €650 million a year,’’ he added.

“We know that the hotel industry is booming, with record levels of room occupancy, but that stands in stark contrast to the terms and conditions of workers in that sector.’’