National maternity services in Ireland – Health Committee hearing

14-05 John speaking 3

I thank Dr. Fitzpatrick. That was a fantastic, passionate presentation. I have seldom been as impressed by or as proud of a professional colleague sitting in that chair as I am of him right now, calling it as it is. However, I am not overly confident that all the things he has said will actually … Continue reading

Abduction of Nigerian Children

[Speaking in the Seanad on a Motion: Abduction of Nigerian Children] As a parent with three children, including two daughters, I cannot but feel on a very human level the desperate tragedy playing out here and the uncertainty of the families of 200 children who do not know what conditions their children are being kept … Continue reading

Speaking during the long-awaited passing of my Bill in the Seanad

smoking in cars cartoon

[Speaking in the Seanad during Report and Final Stages of my Bill – Protection of Children’s Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012 ….. ] I thank An tAire and his staff for the effort that has gone into getting these Report Stage amendments which my co-sponsors, Senators van Turnhout and Daly, and I accept. We … Continue reading

Legislation to ban smoking in cars with children

I thank the Leader for his strong support for the legislation I proposed with my colleagues Senators Daly and van Turnhout on banning smoking in cars with children. That the legislation has been unconscionably delayed is not the Leader’s fault at all. I am very grateful to him not only for his generous support of … Continue reading

Waiting list for children’s hearing assessments

I ask the Leader to bring to the attention of the Minister for Health the fact that there are now 32,000 children on waiting lists for hearing assessments. Some 16,000 are waiting for a first assessment and a further 16,000 are waiting for treatment, having been assessed. A substantial number are waiting for more than … Continue reading

Delay to health/tobacco control legislation

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to request one of the health Ministers to come into the House today to comment on the discrepancy in the way health-related legislation is dealt with across the two sovereign jurisdictions on either side of the Irish Sea. … Continue reading

Tobacco control legislation

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] We are soon to have legislation that will have the effect of introducing plain packaging and other restrictions on the tobacco industry. I hope it will be passed and put into law expeditiously. I greatly regret the fact that tobacco control legislation that I introduced, and which … Continue reading

Protection of Children’s Health from Tobacco Smoke

[Speaking in the Seanad during Committee Stage of my Bill – Protection of Children’s Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012] As sponsors of the Bill, we have taken the unusual step of bringing forward Committee Stage amendments that reflect two issues. First, we are cognisant of the public and welcome the support the Minister gave … Continue reading

Charity sector regulation; medical cards; smoking legislation; Oireachtas bar

I welcome the increased scrutiny of the charity sector. It is important, however, that in increasing the level of such scrutiny, we do not put additional bureaucratic hurdles in place. That is the challenge the Minister for Justice and Equality is going to be obliged to meet. This is because, after a time, bureaucracies seek … Continue reading

Slow progress of Department of Health’s handling of ‘Protection of Children’s Health From Tobacco Smoke Bill’

Will the Leader use his good offices to ascertain from the Minister for Health the schedule for Committee Stage of our Bill to protect children from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking in cars? First and Second Stages were taken more than a year ago. It was our hope that it would be in place … Continue reading