I was very saddened to hear this week of the death of Gay Byrne. He was a true giant of Irish life and played a great role in road safety during his time as the Chair of the Road Safety Authority. This morning there was a wonderful turnout of neighbours in Howth and all along the route through Dublin Bay North to say goodbye to this iconic broadcaster. May he Rest in Peace.
On Monday morning I held my weekly information clinics as usual and worked on a Dáil motion on Personal Assistance Services that I’m introducing with Deputy Thomas Pringle. On Tuesday I had prepared a question with the Minister for Housing on fire safety and high-rise buildings, but the question, unfortunately, was not reached. I also rose in the Dáil to accuse the Taoiseach of misleading the house in his reply to my colleague, Deputy Pringle, when the Taoiseach denied there was an embargo on staff recruitment in the Health Service. On Wednesday morning, I asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht about the protection of the Dublin Bay Biosphere and she admitted there was no protection in planning legislation and no significant funding for the protection of the Dublin coastline.
On Thursday afternoon, I spoke on the Report of the Implementation Group on Seanad Reform and strongly opposed its unworkable recommendations. I again called for either the abolition of Seanad Éireann or for a real and democratic reformed Seanad elected by all of the Irish people.
Later on Thursday I was delighted to attend the launch of the book by my distinguished constituent Dr Mark Clinton, ‘Carrickmines Castle Rise and Fall’ in the Royal Irish Academy and congratulated him on his wonderful achievement. Mark made a striking speech about the lack of protection for historic structures under Irish Planning Law.
This week I was also working on the Christmas edition of my newsletter, Northsider and was examining planning applications coming in for the local area. Representatives from my office attended a briefing on the search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean and heard harrowing first-hand experiences from volunteers who have been out on the waters and in the detention centres.
Videos of my speeches during October have also now been uploaded to my website and Facebook page and are available for viewing.