On Tuesday, I had a Priority Parliamentary Question with the Department of Health and I asked whether the Ministers agreed that persons with disabilities should have a right to a Personal Assistant Service as outlined in Article 19 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Unfortunately, Minister Finian McGrath refused to commit to legislation for the Optional Protocol guaranteeing such a right.
On Wednesday morning, I asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine about tree felling and licences for tree felling. Trees and hedgerows are important for our climate action plan and combating carbon emissions. Later on Wednesday, during Leaders’ Questions with the Taoiseach, I again raised the need for increased resources for An Garda Síochána and community and voluntary organisations in Dublin Bay North for combating crime and anti-social behaviour. I suggested that similar action to that which was taken for the North Inner City could be taken and that it could perhaps be led by Northside Partnership. I asked for a National Strategy of new supports especially for the 8 or 10 Dáil constituencies most affected by crime.
On Wednesday afternoon, I attended the meeting of the Budgetary Oversight Committee where we had the opportunity to ask the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, about the Summer Economic Statement and his plans for Budget 2020. Of course, Brexit is the shadow looming large over our economic outlook and the discussion on a hard Brexit outcome was sombre and worrying.
On Thursday morning, I spoke in support of the long-awaited Judicial Council Bill 2017 which will establish a number of important Committees as well as a Judicial Council and will hopefully bring about improvements and greater transparency in our Courts’ Service. Key improvements will be continuing education for judges, committees on sentencing guidelines, insurance awards and procedures to investigate complaints against Judges.
My staff also attended the National Women’s Council of Ireland’s Pre-Budget submission launch in Leinster House and a briefing, hosted by Senator Lynn Ruane, on suicide in Ireland. As always, I have been asking many Parliamentary Questions on matters of national and international concern, including requesting information about the Mercosur deal.