Updates

Seanad to debate Bill to ban LGBTQ conversion therapies

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield will table the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018 in the Seanad for second stage on Wednesday 12.45pm.

The bill aims to make the practice of performing so called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies illegal in this State. ‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice or treatment that aims to change, repress and, or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression. Additionally, it will make removing a person from the State for the purposes of conversion therapy an offence.

Senator Warfield said;

“I am pleased to be able to bring this bill to the Seanad. The practice of conversion therapy has been condemned and discredited worldwide by institutions such as the UN Committee against Torture, the European Parliament and by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

Dublin City Council must reverse the cancellation of International Literature Festival event

Senator and Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, Fintan Warfield has called on Dublin City Council to immediately move to withdraw their request that the International Literature Festival Dublin cancel an event called ‘Question of the Eighth’.

Senator Warfield said;

“It is of major concern that Dublin City Council would seek to interfere in the artistic and cultural independence of a literary festival. I am calling on Dublin City Council to respect the arms length principle, to withdraw their request and to allow the event to proceed.

Hate crime report shows Ireland is far behind European counterparts in protecting minorities

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed a comparative report published today by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties entitled ‘Lifecycle of Hate Crime’ that highlights the fact that the state is falling behind our European counterparts, in terms of protecting vulnerable communities from crimes motivated by prejudice.

Senator Warfield said:

“The state is the only western European jurisdiction without standard hate crime legislation. This means, in reality, we have no way of bringing specified charges against individuals who target minorities with racist, homophobic or bigoted biases. 

Government should intervene to protect our orchestras

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the publication of a review that recommends that both the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Orchestra should be retained.

Senator Warfield said:

“The funding issues involved within RTÉ, particularly involving the two orchestras, have been evident for some time. Voluntary redundancies have decimated both orchestras’ numbers.

“Therefore, it’s heartening to see the review recommend that funding be restored to its historical levels. The low staffing and funding have meant that the orchestras have not been able to undertake crucial roles in recent years, such as community outreach.

Equal parental status still not in place three years on from marriage equality

Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI Rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has criticised Minister for Health Simon Harris TD for failing to commence key equal status legislation granting equal parental rights to families who conceive through assisted human reproduction, three years on from its passage through the Oireachtas.

Senator Warfield said:

“Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 give equal parental rights to families who conceive through assisted human reproduction.

“Three years on from the passing of civil marriage equality, it is unacceptable that these aspects of the legislation have yet to be commenced by Government. In many cases, Government are leaving only one parent with legal rights.

Sinn Féin launch new LGBTQI policy

Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has launched the party’s new LGBTQI policy paper ‘On Your Side’. This paper comprises of a number of different initiatives that a Sinn Féin government would undertake in the struggle for full LGBTQI equality.

Senator Warfield said:

“In this paper, we have outlined a number of measures that need to be addressed in the immediate future as the next steps to realise full and equal rights for the LGBTQI community. This ranges from marriage equality in the north to tackling rising HIV rates.

“Last night in the Outhouse in Dublin city centre, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD, Megan Fearon MLA, and I held a public meeting with the LGBTQI community who made it very clear that there is still an extensive body of work for our institutions to undertake.

Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education welcome, but must include young people with disabilities

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the announcement today that the Department of Education and Skills has ordered a review of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools.

This review has been stated to include LGBTQ+ aspects of the curriculum as well as modules on consent and contraception.

Senator Warfield said:

“The review announced today is sorely needed. It has become apparent in recent months being reflected in the ancillary recommendations of the Citizen’s Assembly, Joint Committee on the 8th Amendment and is the top priority of the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy.

Fianna Fáil defy their own policy to reject Sinn Féin’s ‘Vote at 16’ bill

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has condemned the Fianna Fáil party, as for the second time, they have voted to scupper the Electoral (Amendment) (Voting at 16) Bill 2016.

The bill seeks to lower the voting age to 16 for local and European elections. This is despite Fianna Fáil holding a policy that explicitly states they support the voting age being reduced to 16 for the 2019 local elections.

Senator Warfield said:

“I entirely condemn the actions taken by Fianna Fáil today. They submitted amendments that would make ‘Votes at 16’ an impossibility for the 2019 local and European elections. 

Legislation to lower the voting age returns to the Seanad tomorrow

Sinn Féin spokesperson for youth affairs, Senator Fintan Warfield will reintroduce legislation for committee stage in the Seanad tomorrow [Wednesday, 21st March] that seeks to lower the voting age to sixteen in Local and European elections.

The Bill was first debated in the Seanad in March 2017 when Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voted to delay its progress until this year.

Senator Warfield said:

“I look forward to bringing this legislation back to the Seanad in the hope that it can be enacted before the 2019 Local and European elections, in order to allow up to 120,000 young people aged 16 and 17 years to have their say on the future of Europe and the direction of local democracy.

It is time for an outright ban on so called conversion therapies

Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield, has today launched the Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018.

The bill aims to make the practice of performing so called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies illegal in this state. ‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice or treatment that aims to change, repress and, or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.

Senator Warfield said:

“Today, I am introducing a piece of legislation which aims to prohibit conversion therapy, as a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.

Government again have serious questions to answer over Creative Ireland

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has condemned the government for using taxpayers money that was earmarked for the arts, on advertorials.

Senator Warfield said:

“In December, following an FOI, Sinn Féin asked why the Creative Ireland initiative had spent 30% of its €4.4 million budget on marketing and PR, while less than 33% was spent on supporting cultural activity.

“This included €760,000 for media advertising, €330,000 for social media, and €192,000 to develop a number of websites.

Senator Warfield welcomes UCD’s transgender inclusion policy

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the news today that University College Dublin will launch a number of initiatives that accommodate transgender and gender-fluid students and staff.

Senator Warfield said:

“Our third level institutions should be places of inclusion and diversity. The measures announced today will make UCD a more welcoming campus for those who wish to study, work or visit. “Some measures are practical such as ‘gender-neutral’ bathrooms and changing facilities, which allow people to use facilities without fear of prejudice or judgement.”

Current artists’ welfare scheme is not fit for purpose

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has called on Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD to completely redesign the Artists’ Social Welfare pilot after only 24 artists and writers have availed of the scheme to date.

Senator Warfield said:

“Artists, writers and performers should be supported to produce their work. While the artists’ social welfare pilot is very much a welcome initiative, the current pilot fails to recognise artists as self-employed and aligns itself closer to a jobseekers’ model of social welfare.

“In reality, there are few jobs for artists. There are none listed in the employment sections of our newspapers or online.

PPS numbers must not be used as patient identifiers by the HSE

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to suspend any plans to use PPS numbers as patient identifiers as it would severely compromise their privacy and would be intended to be shared with third parties.

Senator Warfield said:

“In November 2017, a number of hospitals received correspondence from the HSE that a patient’s PPS number must be provided as their unique identifier. The correspondence went onto say that this is a requirement for all transactions processed for reimbursement through the PCRS, as required by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Seanad statements on the Report of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

Through the Chair, I firstly wish to commend Senator Catherine Noone for the role you played as Chairperson of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

I think you were calm, patient, fair, and everything an institution like this can hope for in the conduct of a Chairperson, and those traits all the more impressive when we consider the issue at hand, and indeed the behaviours of some.

For quite a while, it has been apparent that we would be discussing, in our first sitting week back, the Report of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

And isn’t it something that on our return, that during the first statements of 2018 – the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland, we debate, discuss, and converse about where Ireland lies concerning women’s healthcare and women’s rights.