It is remarkable that the Seanad is talking itself into a situation where it never debates anything relevant. Time is not allocated to topical items, and we seem to debate subjects that are at times utterly irrelevant. It is not that we do not have major issues to discuss which demand time – the Broadband Bill; legislation to regulate the scoundrels in the auctioneering industry; the issue of autism. This is what I told the House during the Order of Business:
It is extraordinary that the Seanad is talking itself into a situation where it never debates anything relevant. Why can we not have a debate on autism, a subject that concerns all sides of the House, rather than the Constitution? Why must we pretend that we have an enormous amount to debate on Wednesdays and Thursdays when there is no legislation?
Why can we not debate something relevant? Why can we not debate in the House today the issue concerning pharmacists? There are important things to be said about the approaching crisis. Why can we not consider the legislation on auctioneers which was promised at least a year ago?
This issue arose a year ago. The abuses which were taking place then in auctioneering are still taking place now (see this post for a recent example). Legislation was promised by the former Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, and was expected before the previous Dáil was dissolved. That legislation has not been produced. There are abuses. Scoundrels are practising as they have always practised. This House is doing nothing about the abuses of auctioneers. Can the Leader tell me when the legislation will be brought to the House?
Is the delay in its introduction related to the fact that there are so many licensed estate agents in the Dáil and the Seanad?