Senator Alice-Mary Higgins discusses the importance of social trust during the COVID-19 crisis

In passing the second emergency legislation relating to the COVID-19 crisis, Senator Higgins highlighted the importance of honoring the trust that has been placed in the government and the public services by members of the public during these extraordinary times. 

It is vitally important that honest and clear communication is maintained and that voices raising concerns about difficulties they are experiencing be heard and earnestly listened to. 

She also referenced the valuable reminder from Michael Ryan of the World Health Organisation that human rights, privacy rights and human dignity cannot simply be put aside in the name of public health, rather they must be integral to our response. This is most especially important for those who are vulnerable, particularly those in direct provision and those experiencing homelessness.

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Senator Higgins calls for the 26th Seanad to convene

Senator Higgins, Senator Lynn Ruane and Senator Frances Black wrote to the Taoiseach to affirm their position that the Seanad should be allowed to sit. They agreed with the analysis of the Constitution put forward by Senators Bacik, McDowell and others and believe that the 26th Seanad can indeed convene prior to the appointment of the Taoiseach’s eleven nominees and that the 49 members who have been elected should be allowed to express their mandate.

 Moreover, they noted that the Dáil has been meeting for a number of weeks now to engage with non-legislative parliamentary work including scrutiny and oversight of public policy and that the Seanad should also have the opportunity to engage in such scrutiny. 

They believe that as an absolute minimum, a date must be set for a sitting of the Seanad for the purpose of selecting a Cathoirleach and re-establishing a committee to order the business of the house.