Today in the Oireachtas

24th March, 2009

The Oireachtas starts on a Tuesday afternoon each sitting week. It is a combination of committees and plenary sessions in both the Dail and Seanad. The afternoon started with a FG Senators Meeting where we get ready for the business of the week. We decide what are the key political points for the week and how to handle important legislation that is going through the Seanad. This week the Electoral Amendment Bill is the focus of attention. We discussed this bill and the main points that we need to make in relation to it. We also spent time getting ready for the statements on the pre budget situation.

After this, I attended the EU Affairs Committee. I focused on the need to review the Lisbon strategy. We are all talking about the need for a smart economy. However the smart economy will deliver wealth, it will not deliver the tens of thousands of jobs that we will need. I argued that we must refocus on the green economies that are labour intensive to make sure we fill this ‘jobs hole’. The committee agreed to organise a hearing on this.

Finally I attended the Order of Business in the Seanad. Did not manage to speak as I was attending the EU Affairs Committee but most speakers were united on the need to avert the national strike next Monday. I feel very strongly about this. Just as some buds of economic growth are showing signs of forming, we cannot dampen them down with a strike like this. All of us are worried about keeping jobs, not just income and this stark priority means that this strike should be called of.