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Senator Bacik speaking on Women in Politics, Transport, and Dublin Bikes

03 November 2009

Order of Business

Senator Ivana Bacik: I ask the Leader for a debate on a positive matter - in contrast to some of the more negative issues about which we have been talking today - No. 32 on the Order Paper, a motion from the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, of which I am a member, noting the report of the joint committee on women's participation in politics, which was laid before the Seanad on 28 October. I was rapporteur to the Sub-Committee on Women's Participation in Politics, of which Senator McDonald was also a member. We have drawn up a report which makes important recommendations on improving women's representation in politics. At present, an extremely low 13.8% of Deputies are women. Given that the percentage of women Deputies has never gone above 14%, it is clear that we need to do something. The report has received overwhelming cross-party support from the joint committee and is scheduled to be launched on Thursday. I would like the Leader to arrange for a debate on it in the Seanad because I understand it is to be debated in the other House.

I also seek a debate on transport in Dublin city centre in light of Dublin City Council's decision to lift the bus gate at College Green at certain times over Christmas. As a committed cyclist, I believe the bus gate has given enormous advantages to cyclists. It has made life much more pleasant for both cyclists and pedestrians and the crossing at the College Green junction has been greatly improved. I am disappointed that traders are so strongly opposed to it because it is important that we strive to keep private vehicles out of the city centre.

In tribute to Dublin City Council, the dublinbikes scheme, which I used last week, has received a very positive reaction and is widely used across the city centre with few problems. We should commend the council on instituting this scheme.