This Week In The Seanad

Schedule of Business
Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th February, 2014

14:30 – Order of Business
15:45 – 17:30 Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2013 – Report and Final Stage
[Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport]
Spokesperson Senator Pat O’Neill

17:30 – “That Seanad Éireann-
– notes the importance of having a public debate on the issues of free speech, homophobia and the public service role of the State broadcaster in such debates;
– further notes the necessity to explore these issues in the context of the forth coming referendum on marriage equality; and
– calls on the Minister for Communications to debate these issues and to outline steps that he and the Government will take to ensure that the debate on marriage equality is conducted in a fair, open and impartial manner.”

[Senators Katherine Zappone, David Norris, Ivana Bacik, Jillian van Turnhout, Fiach MacConghail, Mary Ann O’Brien, Darragh O’Brien, David Cullinane,, Kathryn Reilly, Trevor Ó Clohartaigh]-Spokesperson Senator Tony Mulcahy
10:30 – Order of Business
11:45 – 13:30 Statements on the Operation of the Teaching Council of Ireland
[Minister for Education]-Spokesperson Senator Jim D’Arcy

13:30 – 14:30 “Seanad Éireann consequent upon the unanimous decision of the Committee on Procedures and Privileges to add the name of His Holiness Pope Francis the First to be included among the most prominent distinguished visitors to be invited to address Seanad Éireann, strongly supports this invitation and requests the Government to assist in making the formal arrangements necessary for such a visit which may naturally include meetings with the President, An Taoiseach and political leaders.”
[Senators David Norris, Sean Barrett, Feargal Quinn, Averil Power, Darragh O’Brien, Thomas Byrne, Mark Daly, Terry Leyden, Marc McSharry, Paschal Mooney, Brian Ó Domhnaill, Labhrás Ó Murchú, Denis O’Donovan, Ned O’Sullivan, Mary White, Diarmuid Wilson, Martin Conway, Maurice Cummins, Paul Coghlan, Colm Burke, Deirdre Clune, Eamonn Coughlan, Michael Comiskey, Jim D’Arcy, Michael Darcy, Imelda Henry, Cáit Keane, Tony Mulcahy, Michael Mullins, Catherine Noone, Pat O’Neill, Tom Sheahan, Terry Brennan, Hildegarde Naughton, Susan O’Keefe, Mary Moran, Ivana Bacik, John Gilroy, Aideen Hayden, Lorraine Higgins, John Kelly, Denis Landy, Marie Moloney, John Whelan, Fidelma Healy Eames, Rónán Mullen, John Crown, David Cullinane, Trevor ÓClochartaigh, Kathyrn Reilly, Jillian van Turnhout, Mary Ann O’Brien]- Spokesperson Leader Senator Maurice Cummins

14:30 – 16:00 Statements on the Greyhound Racing Industry
[Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.]
Spokesperson Senator Michael Comiskey

16:00 – 18:00 Private Members Business – Text Below
[Fianna Fáil Senators] – Spokesperson Senator Com Burke

10:30 – Order of Business
Motion regarding Regulation on the temporary re-location of CEPOL (the European Police College) – Referral to Committee without debate
11:45 – ESB (Electronic Communications Network) Bill 2013 – Second Stage
[Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources]
Spokesperson Senator Tony Mulcahy

13:45-14:45 Motion Regarding Ronán O Domhnaill for Appointment to be An Coimisineir Teanga-[Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs] –Spokesperson Terry Brennan

Private Members Business

That Seanad Éireann:


— that the mental health policy, A Vision for Change, published in 2006 was a landmark policy in advocating both for closure of the old psychiatric hospitals and continued building up of community-based services as well as cultural change in the form of human rights-based and recovery-orientated services;

— that A Vision for Change was also progressive in taking a whole of population approach to mental health, recognising the importance of improving the mental health of the whole population of Ireland;
— that A Vision for Change recommended the strong participation of users of services and family members at all levels of the mental health service;
— that A Vision for Change recognised the importance that community networks play in the recovery model;

— that it was with the publication of A Vision for Change in 2006 that a recovery-orientated, holistic view of mental health was adopted; and
— that it was envisaged as a ten-year policy, due to be fully implemented by 2016;

expresses concern that:

— progress on implementing A Vision for Change has been slow;

— the Inspector of Mental Health Services found that mental health services were ‘stagnant and perhaps have slipped backwards in 2012’;

— the Inspector of Mental Health Services also found that most people will be offered a more traditional, medicalised version of mental health treatment rather than the holistic service propounded in A Vision for Change;

— people still regularly must resort to seeking help through A&E when in crisis due to the lack of universal community-based crisis support;

— A Vision for Change said that 1,800 additional multidisciplinary staff would be needed to fully implement the policy but, despite promises to hire 891 new staff over 2012 and 2013, the total number of staff in the mental health services at the end of December 2013 was five less than in December 2012, and 908 less than the total staffing in September 2009; and

— home treatment is also not provided universally across the country;
— pending the development of an appropriate holistic community-based service, it is contrary to public health that the HSE continue to close any further acute in-patient beds;
— there is a lack of transparency and fairness in the process by which the HSE determined the choice of Roscommon over Ballinasloe for the retention of a 22 acute in-patient bed unit; and
— that there is shortage of staff and appropriate infrastructure for mental health services notably in the Dublin North East HSE area

calls on the Government:

— to initiate a national programme of reform driven by the National Director of Mental Health;

— to ensure that a new culture is developed within the mental health service that fosters recovery and works in partnership with users of services and their relatives;
— to ensure that the recovery principle should underpin all mental health service delivery in keeping with A Vision for Change;

— to place a stay on the closure of acute in-patient bed units until such time as appropriate holistic community-based services are in place, including St Stephen’s Hospital, Glanmire and Carrig Mór mental health unit, Shanakiel and Toghermore, Tuam;
— to state when the additional 1,800 additional multidisciplinary staff, over the numbers working in the service in 2006, will be provided for;
— to create a plan for the full implementation A Vision for Change with key timelines and deliverables clearly identified;

— to carry out a full, independent, transparent and fair review of the decision to close the acute in-patient bed unit in St Brigid’s, Ballinasloe; and
— to place a stay on and further bed closures in St. Brigid’s Ballinasloe, pending the outcome of that review.
[Senators Marc MacSharry, Darragh O’Brien, Thomas Byrne, Mark Daly, Terry Leyden, Paschal Mooney, Brian Ó Domhnaill, Labhrás Ó Murchú, Denis O’Donovan, Ned O’Sullivan, Averil Power, Jim Walsh, Mary White, Diarmuid Wilson]
Spokesperson Senator Colm Burke

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