Newsletter August 2023

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my latest newsletter. Through my work in recent months, I have sought to place social and environmental care at the heart of political decision making.

I have introduced new legislation to replace the current narrow commercial mandates of both Coillte and Bord na Móna with a mandate for nature. I have pushed for progressive change which delivers a just and sustainable transition in areas including cultural and archaeological heritage, energy and economic policy and gender equality. I have continued to champion decent work and successfully brought a motion to the Seanad on precarious work in higher education.

Bill from Senator Alice-Mary Higgins would give Coillte and Bord na Móna a “Mandate for Nature”

The Bill from Independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins and her colleagues in the Seanad Civil Engagement Group would amend the Turf Development Act 1946 and the Forestry Act 1988 to change the outdated mandates of Bord na Móna and Coillte and insert new language on climate action and biodiversity.

In the case of Bord na Móna, this would strengthen the protection and restoration of bogs and in the case of Coillte the development and protection of native woodlands.

Senator Higgins welcomes Supreme Court ruling on seventh amendment and urges Government to enact Seanad Bill 2020

NUI Senator Alice-Mary Higgins has today welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on the need to legislate for the seventh amendment to the Constitution and is urging the Government to enact the Seanad Bill 2020 introduced by Senator Higgins and Senator Michael McDowell.

Speaking after today’s ruling, Senator Higgins commended Tomas Heneghan for taking the case and said: “Today’s ruling underscores the urgent need for Seanad reform. That reform must be ambitious and comprehensive. The failure to legislate for the 1979 referendum reflects a wider history of evasion and delays around meaningful Seanad reform by successive governments over many decades.

‘Quality in Public Procurement' Bill passes final stage in the Seanad

Bill aims to deliver better results from the almost €20 billion Ireland spends each year on public procurement by placing quality at the heart of the process.

 Speaking after last night's Seanad debate Senator Higgins said:

 “In 2021 the Irish State spent almost €20 billion on public procurement. This Bill is about spending better. We need to know that the public money we are spending is giving us the best possible results in terms of sustainability, the environment, employment, social impact, quality and delivery. My Bill would require public bodies to consider both quality and price when spending public money or to provide an explanation as to why not. In other words, think about quality or explain why you’re not thinking about quality.”