Lack of career structure in the area of medical research

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of Senator Sean Barrett’s private member’s Bill Universities (Development and Innovation) (Amendment) Bill 2015] I thank Senator Barrett for allowing me the privilege of seconding this worthy legislative proposal. If and when somebody sits down to write the history of this Seanad, he or she will acknowledge that … Continue reading

We need an appropriately resourced national Genetic Centre

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] Several articles in the newspapers today refer to the issue of clinical genetics, an issue I have previously highlighted in the House. I ask the Deputy Leader to request the Minister for Health or one of the Ministers of State at the Department of Health to give … Continue reading

Science Week

[Speaking in the Seanad on ‘Science Week’] I am delighted we have the opportunity to discuss science policy. It is not widely appreciated that the brief of the Minister of State is the most important in the Government. It is unlikely that the future of our species will be determined by real estate prices or … Continue reading

Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill

Speaking in the Seanad during Report and Final Stage of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 … I appeal to the acting Leader to voluntarily make changes to the Order of Business. Important amendments will not be discussed and I greatly regret that. I do not mean to be disrespectful to those who … Continue reading

Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill

Speaking on Committee Stage of this Bill …. I am very disappointed to hear that we will finish at 10 p.m. and that all of the amendments will not be heard. That is very regrettable. I shall try to speak to the amendment at hand. Again, we have heard a great deal about evidence-based medicine … Continue reading

Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill

Oncology was the area of medicine which in many ways was one of the pioneering disciplines for evidence-based medicine. It was a relatively new field and only came to existence in a meaningful way in the 1960s and 1970s in an era when doctors engaged in other specialties had certain proprietorial rights over the treatment … Continue reading

Medical Research -proposed changes to ethical research committees

I request the Leader to consider having a debate on medical and biomedical research, which is a very important sector of the economy. Not only does it increase the standards of science and medicine, and the standards of research, but it also improves clinical outcomes for patients and has positive and beneficial effects for the … Continue reading

Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Bill


I must declare an interest at the outset. While I derive no income or funds from SFI, I am the leader of a consortium funded by SFI, which will be in receipt of approximately €7.5 million worth of research funds over a five-year period. This has enabled us to build a unique nationwide consortium of … Continue reading

We need to inoculate ourselves against scientific ignorance


The Enlightenment was our greatest achievement — let’s not undo it. There was something faintly medieval about the story last week that six Italian scientists had been found guilty of manslaughter for failing to predict a 2009 earthquake which killed 300 people in the city of l’Aquila. The problem, of course, is that scientists can’t … Continue reading

Predicting Earthquakes…..

italian scientists earthquake

Will the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade express his concern to our Italian European colleagues about the conviction yesterday of a group of scientists and seismologists who committed the offence of not being able to predict an earthquake? This is perhaps one of the most bizarre bits of modern jurisprudence I have … Continue reading