Order of Business.

Thursday, 10 December 1970

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 250 No. 5

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The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  It is proposed to lake business as follows: Nos. 20, 21, 22, 23, 7, 8 and 24; Questions at 2.30 p.m. The House will sit today from 10.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. and tomorrow from 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Arising out of the Order of Business I wish to raise the question of the disappearance from the Order Paper of item No. 1 on yesterday's Order Paper. This item was not taken. I rose on it but as the debate had not concluded on Mr. Corish's speech, I was not able to get in.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  It was taken. I called No. 1 and the Minister moved it.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Since I did not hear it being moved, I had no opportunity of saying anything on the Bill.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  May I say that I moved the Bill and that it was accepted by the House?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  On a point of order, let it be placed again on the Order Paper.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I called No. 1 and the Minister indicated when it would be taken.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  I was asked subsequently by Deputy Fitzpatrick what date it was fixed for.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Yes.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I was a lot nearer to the Minister than was either the Chair or [520] Deputy FitzGerald and I did not hear the Minister move this item.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Deputy Fitzpatrick spoke on it.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  It was not possible to hear anything in this House yesterday. Parliament was disgraced.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is important that this House should have an opportunity, should it wish to do so——

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  It was the Taoiseach and no one else who brought Parliament into disgrace yesterday.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am sure the Chair will be the first to agree that this House, in respect of any Bill, should, if it wishes to do so, have the opportunity to raise a question and oppose the Bill on the First Stage but if we cannot hear it being moved, we cannot be aware that it is being moved. Later, I did hear you call No. 4 but I did not hear item No. 1. I wish to lodge a protest and to ask that in any case in which a Member of this House cannot hear a Bill being moved that the Bill be put on the Order Paper again.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The fact that Members do not hear is not a matter for the Chair. I heard the Minister distinctly ordering the Bill for the first sitting day after the recess.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  May I make a point that it is a matter for the Chair to ensure that the business of this House is carried on, that people can be heard and that people have a right to carry on business in an orderly way? If the Chair fails to ensure that, the blame does not lie with us and we are entitled to ask you, if you were unable to maintain order and allowed the business to proceed despite that, to ensure this item is put on the Order Paper again.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Last night——

[521]Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan) rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Cluskey.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan): My name has been mentioned.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Last night after the House had adjourned, the Taoiseach, both personally and through his Whip, offered us a full-day debate tomorrow on the question of internment provided that we abandon our position in relation to the Prices and Incomes Bill.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  That was not the condition.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  This is interesting.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  As it would not be possible to sacrifice one piece of democracy in an effort to defend another, we would ask the Taoiseach if he would be prepared to have the debate tomorrow. In turn, we would be prepared to sit for any extra hours that might be lost.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I want to say specifically that the condition that has been referred to by Deputy Cluskey was never mentioned by me.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  That is untrue.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I shall tell the House exactly what happened.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  That would be a novelty, to use the Taoiseach's own words.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  During the course of the debate yesterday I suggested to the Opposition that a debate on the Government statement of last Friday could be included in the Adjournment Debate at the end of the present session provided that the legislation now on the Order Paper will have been passed by that time. I mentioned that openly in the Dáil yesterday. Apparently it was not acceptable.

Subsequently, I did convey directly to Deputy Cluskey the offer that we [522] could have a debate tomorrow provided that by next week all the legislation that the Government wished to put through will have been passed. I did not suggest any abandonment of any principle by anybody. That offer still stands. It is reasonable that the Government are entitled to ask the House to have the necessary legislative provisions put through this House at the proper time when there is a statutory limitation on the necessity for such legislation. Both offers are still open —the first one having been made openly here yesterday and the second both to Deputy Cluskey and to the leader of his party.

Mr. P. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Ridiculous.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Will the Taoiseach not agree that we were prepared to facilitate as far as all the business on the Order Paper was concerned with the exception of the Prices and Income Bill? We are not prepared to sacrifice the interests of the workers——

(Interruptions.)

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Hear, hear.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  I did not know that the people on the Government benches would recognise the interests of the workers.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The Chair's ruling yesterday was to the effect that the powers were not in operation. I recall that when major strikes were about to take place but had not actually become effective, debates were allowed in the House. Therefore, I find it difficult to detect any consistency in your ruling of yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  At this stage, we cannot have a discussion on my ruling.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  May I clarify the situation? The Labour Party are trying, in some way, to put me in a false position. I did not refuse a debate here yesterday. There was a specific motion on the Order Paper from the Labour [523] Party which you found did not comply with Standing Orders for the purpose of providing a debate. That was the Chair's decision and I had no function in it. However, I did make the offer to which I have already referred here openly, and also the other one to the Labour Party directly. I want to repeat that both these offers are still open.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The Taoiseach's statement yesterday to the House was that there was too much legislation to be dealt with. We are now prepared to sit any extra hours that are necessary to compensate for the time that would be lost in discussing this major issue.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  It is important that legislation before the House is completed before Christmas——

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Extra time.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Otherwise we shall sit up to Christmas Day, but it is not desirable we should do that. By offering hours to compensate for whatever hours would be lost in a debate does not mean there is any undertaking from or indication by the Labour Party that the necessary legislation would be put through before the Recess.

Mr. P. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  That is blackmail.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The idea is that we shall get one part of democracy if we abandon another. We are not trading principles.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Is it not a fact that, even without the debate for which we are asking, the Taoiseach has no guarantee that the business before the House will be finished before Christmas? Has it not always been the case that there will be certain items which the Government will abandon at the last minute? Why not be sensible about it? Let the Taoiseach name the ones he wants and, as Deputy Cluskey says, we shall sit all night, if necessary, to give him the time.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  It is not unreasonable in a democratic society that if a request is made by one side a request would also be made by the other side [524] and both be acceded to. This is a matter of procedure by the House. The Labour Party want it both ways. They want to have a debate on a matter that you. Sir, have ruled they are not entitled to have——

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  We are prepared to do that provided they accede to my reasonable request. I mentioned the measures we required and I shall repeat them now: the Finance (No. 2) Bill, the Decimal Currency Bill, the Transport Bill, the Exchange Control Bill and the Prices and Incomes Bill.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Is the Taoiseach aware that in relation to the Prices and Incomes Bill he is placing the Labour Party in an impossible position? The Irish Congress of Trade Unions are about to ask him, in view of their special delegate conference tomorrow on the proposed national wage agreement, to withdraw the Prices and Incomes Bill to enable that conference to take place in a calm atmosphere in which there can be rational discussion. You cannot have it both ways.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  That is the joke of the day.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The Taoiseach said just now that the refusal to allow a debate on this matter stemmed from your ruling. Sir, and not from his decision. We would accept that, but we should like to know what the basis for your ruling is, for your extraordinary interpretation of section 29. You ruled that nothing definite had happened. Something definite has happened. The European Commission on Human Rights at Strasbourg have been informed of our impending derogation from the Convention on Human Rights.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  On a point of order. Is it not true that under our procedure there is a method of dealing with criticism of the ruling of the Chair and that this is not the way to do it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is not in order. I explained fully to the House yesterday my reasons for refusing to have the debate.

[525]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  No, Sir, you did not. You said nothing definite had happened. That was not true. As a matter of fact, definite things have happened. The Taoiseach made an important statement which has been the subject of widespread comment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy may not discuss my ruling at this stage. The Deputy is not in order.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Strasbourg has been informed——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I would ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  This is a matter of public importance. You ruled no thing definite had happened.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy is disorderly.

Dr. Cruise O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I heard the Ceann Comhairle. We shall not agree that debate shall be stifled by using the forum of this House and by you abusing your powers——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would the Deputy please resume his seat?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  The Deputy, by abusing the Chair, wants to be put out.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would the Deputy allow the business to continue?

[526]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  We are not going to accept the ruling of the Chair. The Chair's ruling in this matter is a corrupt one.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Deputy Cosgrave.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  You are twisting——

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  This is despicable conduct. Mob law.

Mr. P. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  Withdraw the internment threat.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Justify your ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would the Deputy allow Deputy Cosgrave to put a question?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  No, Sir.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  If the Deputy will allow me I shall oblige him. I would ask the Taoiseach, in view of Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien's disorderly conduct, to name the Deputy.


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