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Sitting Time 11:30 Sitting Date 04/11/2010

Senator Joe O’Reilly: Senator Harris exhorted us to do our best to dispel the negativity. There are two sources of negativity that need condemnation by the House. Ms Megan Greene from the Economist Intelligence Unit suggested Ireland was destined—–

An Cathaoirleach: I ask the Senator not to name persons outside the House.

Senator Joe O’Reilly: I apologise. She suggested Ireland was destined to take the same road as Greece and become dependent on an international bailout. This view is not sustainable and is a slanderous attack on the country. In fact, her argument did not stand up to critical questioning on “Morning Ireland”. It is based on a negative frame of mind rather than on fact and she was unable to substantiate it. This is worthy of mention.
I refer to the negative reaction to the protest by students. With Senator Healy Eames, our education spokesperson, I saw the entire protest on the Merrion Street side of Leinster House. Thousands of students had gathered, but there was no violence. There was a very pleasant, good humoured and constructive atmosphere. The few who hijacked the protest near the Shelbourne Hotel belonged to a distinct group. They included many middle-aged adults. Their photographs are being shown all over the world today and it is bad publicity for the country. It is important, therefore, that we dispel such negativity. The vast majority of the students involved in the protest were excellent. The one thing they will want to hear today following all the bad publicity is an assurance from the Leader and all Members of the Seanad that something will be done about job creation in the budget. It is not enough to talk about fiscal correction only. I, therefore, ask the Leader to consider the immediate introduction of a national insulation scheme to boost the construction industry, generate taxation revenue, bring an end to fuel poverty and affect the importation of fossil fuels, a point I will develop later. I thank the Cathaoirleach for his indulgence.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website