Sunday, October 07, 2007

 

Climate Change Bill in the Seanad

This week the Seanad initiated a Climate Change Bill, which seeks to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced in Ireland. As the Party's Spokesperson on the Environment I was tasked with providing our response to the Bill. I spoke in favour of the Bill and my contribution can be found here:

The public gallery was packed throughout the debate, largely because of the publicity that had been generated. In advance of the Bill myself and the other Senators recoved about 300 emails from people asking me to support the Bill.

The Minister of the Environment came in and responded to the Bill and due to the support from within the Chamber it will go on to the next stage.

For the next couple of days I was still getting emails asking me to "Support the Bill on Wednesday" even thought the event had passed. With a bit of digging I discovered that the home page of the The Friends of the Earth website is still asking visitors to send us an email. I rang them to ask them to take it down, but today (Sunday) the link is still up and visitors are wasting their time sending myself and the other Senators emails asking them to support a vote that has already taken place. I hope they get around to taking it down soon and updating their viewers on the fact that the vote was carried.

On Thursday I managed to raise the issue about car parks in commuter areas. At the moment the charges at car parks, such as the new one at Gormanston station, aren't regulated, so Iarnrod Eireann can increase the charges by whatever percent they like. I asked that any increase should have to be sanctioned by the Minister, as is the case with train fares. You can see my contribution, and the response of the Minister here

Saturday saw the annual AGM of the Labour Equality Conference at Mansion House, and I was asked to speak to it on "How minorities are treated by the media". On the stage with me were Joan Burton, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party (just elected on Thursday) and City Channel star Izabela Chudzicka. It was a very stimulating debate, which over-run the time slot. I got to speak to quite a few people afterwards from various minority communities and heard at first hand the problems that many are experiencing in relation to housing, health and education.

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