Back to the Future day

14-09-23 John Screen Grab

I bring to the attention of Members that yesterday was Back to the Future day. It was the day depicted in the famous 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox, following the intervention of Christopher Lloyd and a DeLorean encapsulated time machine. If Marty McFly had been Dr. Marty McFly and had been transported from the … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during Statements on the Report of Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015] I welcome my two esteemed colleagues and thank them for the great work they have done in a spirit of public service. Any departures I might have from the consensus that may have existed within its group about its … Continue reading

Report of Working Group on Seanad Reform

Speaking in the Seanad during ‘Statements on the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015’ I welcome the report and the great effort our distinguished colleagues have made in this regard. As pointed out, the key problem in our democracy, the fruits of which we have seen recently, is that we have too … Continue reading

Maternity Services

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I would like clarification from the Deputy Leader on a few issues. They are really the same issue, but they have different ramifications. As Members may remember, I introduced legislation earlier in this term which would have prevented Government agencies suing anybody, presumably including each other, in … Continue reading

In support of Marriage Equality

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill] I thank the Minister for her commitment to meaningful and important social reform legislation and to this amendment. It will enable us to hold our heads high. At the risk of being complacent, I am one of the … Continue reading

Potential Problems Accessing Assisted Human Reproduction and Fertility Treatments

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Children and Family Relationships Bill] I express my gratitude to the Minister, her officials and her predecessor for tackling this extremely complex issue. This has been a Herculean task. Without trivialising it, in attempting to read the Bill and its explanatory memorandum, I was reminded of … Continue reading

Foreign Military Aircraft in Irish Territory

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] My next question is very relevant, in geographic terms, to the Deputy Leader, who hails from an Atlantic perch located in the south west. I do not mean to precipitate any international incident but in recent weeks there has been press coverage in respect of bombers from … Continue reading

Introducing my new legislation to tackle the threats of defamation cases by public bodies and to allow more open and healthy criticism of public bodies

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of a Bill which I published – Defamation (Amendment) Bill 2014] In summary, the aim of my Bill is to provide for limiting the damages certain public bodies may receive in defamation actions so as to protect public discourse from public bodies using the resources of the State, … Continue reading

You can lead donkeys to water but you can’t make them think (from our first debate on water back in 2011)

14-09-23 John  w Pen Screen Grab

Long after Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been forgotten, long after the distinction between the Independents and the “Endapendents” has been blurred, long after Báel na mBláth and Ballyseedy have been forgiven, our species will be dealing with the consequences of resource shortage. The key issue is not tax or current marginal use of … Continue reading

Government’s Dismal Progress in Political Reform – We Need to Move Away from sheepdog-like behaviour

[Speaking in the Seanad during Committee Stage of Seanad Bill 2013] I am stunned at the effrontery of the Government side in trying to be so utterly obstructionist about every aspect of this Bill. Those Members were elected on the promise of political reform but have split themselves asunder on the issue of abolishing the … Continue reading