Alertness needed about Zika virus

The following is a speech delivered by Senator Keane as part of a debate in Seanad Éireann on January 27th, 2016.

I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a problem that has arisen with the mosquito. Members might not think that we have mosquitoes in Ireland but we do and it has been found that the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause birth defects. Continue reading

Senator Keane calls for Ireland to lead the way on plastic pollution

Below is a speech delivered by Senator Keane as part of a debate in Seanad Éireann on January 26, 2016.

I want to raise one important issue, namely, recycling. The city of San Francisco banned the 18-ounce plastic bottle last week. Hopefully, we will all be back here speaking in the House and putting the most important issue first, namely, our environment.

I am from the west of Ireland and am very familiar with the ocean. If we continue the way we are going, there will be more plastic rubbish than fish in the ocean by 2050. That is a very serious proposition. We are bound to look at what we are doing with plastic. Continue reading

Keane’s Seanad statement on flooding and climate change

The following is a speech delivered by Senator Keane as part of a debate in Seanad Éireann on January 20th, 2016.

This is one of the most important debates we have had given that many communities have suffered much due to the flood event. My two colleagues, Senator Michael Mullen and Senator Hildegarde Naughten, who will contribute after me, are in the middle of it on the River Shannon and in Galway, in particular. Like Senator Mary White, I compliment the Minister of State on the work done recently on the River Dargle. This issue is so serious that party politics does not come into it when looking for somebody to blame, apart maybe from the Lord above.

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Keane’s statement on Animal Welfare

The following is a speech delivered by Senator Keane as part of a debate in Seanad Éireann on January 20th, 2016.

I just had a chat with the Minister, Deputy Varadkar, because the issue that I am raising as regards horses relates to hippotherapy and the benefits of horses for children, in particular mentally handicapped children and juvenile delinquents. Occupational therapists, physical therapists and every other type of therapist is using hippotherapy. It is new in Ireland, with only one centre located in Cork providing it. As the Minister of State knows, people who work in this field have seen the benefit for children. The horses are not trained, but the children are taking riding lessons or being around them while they are working. We all know of “The Horse Whisperer”. Continue reading