Sunday, July 06, 2008


Opening of St Clare's Centre in Stamullen

Wednesday is always a particularly busy day for members of Leinster House. It's the main sitting day of the week and is generally packed with meetings. This Wednesday was no exception. After my Irish language course finished at 10am I met up with Navan local election candidate Anton McCabe, who was up to talk about his local election campaign.

Anton and I outside Leinster House

Later on I had lunch with the Minister for Overseas Development Peter Power to discuss volunteering for the VSO in the developing world. The lunch was a cross-party affair, with representatives from most of the Republic's parties and with Carmel Hanna from the SDLP.

VSO lunch
VSO Volunteering Programme

In the Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday afternoon we had the chance to listen to various aid organisation discuss their work in Malawi. I was impressed by the commitment and energy displayed by the groups. It brings it home to you how much individuals can help to change the world.

On Wednesday evening we had a chance to debate Cancer services with Minister Harney. I used the occasion to raise the subject of the threatened closure of the Dochas Breast Cancer unit in Drogheda. Here's my speech.

Speaking about the Dochas Centre in Drogheda

In the Seanad on Thursday I raised the subject of affordable housing, asking for a debate on issues such as whether land at Gormonstown in County Meath will be used for affordable housing. The Leader of the House agreed to hold a full debate on housing issues in the coming week.

On Friday I attended meetings in Navan, Ratoath and Trim on various issues. I also saw Minister Harney again on Friday, this time at the opening of the extension to St Clare's Nursing Home in Stamullen. The centre is very much state of the art and I spent some time chatting to staff and clients of the centre. It is a much needed resource in the area and hopefully it will be very successful.

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