The Taoiseach has called for the publication of a HSE audit of the organ retention and disposal practices in hospitals in Ireland.

In the Dáil, Micheál Martin said families need transparency around how the organs of 18 babies delivered at Cork University Maternity Hospital had been sent abroad in 2020 for incineration.

He said this had compounded their grief and it was both unacceptable and incomprehensible given that guidelines in this area had been set down 20 years ago.

Mr Martin said too that the Human Tissue Bill needs to be published in September.

The Taoiseach added that he had discussed this legislation with the Minister for Health and the Attorney General this morning.

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald had earlier told the Dáil that the HSE audit revealed widespread breaches of care.

"We need absolute assurances that these practices have ceased," she said.

She said the families of the 18 babies delivered at Cork University Maternity Hospital cannot wait any longer for the answers they need.

During Leaders' Questions, Mr Martin called for "balance in the debate" on carbon reduction.

He said that agriculture has increased "exponentially" in recent years, and questioned the use of terms such as "devastating" and "catastrophic" in relation to moves to cut emissions.

He was responding to Rural Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae who said that family farmers must be protected as the drive to cut carbon emissions gathers pace.

"A lot has been done, and a lot of investment has been made", Mr Martin said.

Mr Healy Rae said that there is "over a two year delay" in getting planting permits.

"The Green tail is shaking the Fine Gael and the Fianna Fáil dog to death," he said.

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Criticism over Planning and Amendment Bill

The co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy, has accused the Government of engaging in a rushed, reckless and haphazard manner by seeking to amend the Planning and Amendment Bill before the Dáil rises.

She said it was "absolutely outrageous" that the bill tripled in size, after the Government sat on it for a year, and was now trying to ram the legislation through the Dáil in the last week of the term.

Ms Murphy said the 12-page bill had now ballooned to 60 pages, due to 48 additional pages of amendments.

She contended this was not the proper way to deal with legislation and called on the Government to withdraw what she termed "offensive" amendments as further legislation was pending in the autumn.

In reply, the Taoiseach said that Minister Darragh O'Brien had signalled to the Seanad last April that he intended to amend the bill and that an Oireachtas committee was briefed earlier this week.

He said he did not believe that the amendments were offensive and there was an obligation on the Government to streamline our planning system and make it more efficient.

Mr Martin said deputies should "not escape from the reality" that it was taking "too long" to get projects through planning - saying it currently took eight to ten years to deliver off-shore wind energy developments.

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham