Wednesday, 1 February 1978
Dáil Eireann Debate
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I cannot call Deputy Browne. The Rules of the House and the Standing Orders allow for short statements from a spokesman for each Opposition party. The number of the Standing Order is 38 and it is covered by precedent and by rulings of the Chair down the years. I am sorry, Deputy Browne, but you will be called in the debate tomorrow or during the coming weeks.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no precedent for an Independent Deputy. The Standing Order states that it must be a party or group recognised by the House and that Standing Order has been carried out by the Chair down the years. I would ask Deputy Browne to resume his seat.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As I understand it, last year the general Financial Resolution was put to the House and voted on. The budget debate was on a motion put down the following day to take note of the Financial Statement. If Deputies want it that way they can have it but otherwise there will be no vote this evening.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There was a vote because the House agreed to accept the general Financial Resolution which concludes the budget and to debate a motion to take note of the Financial Statement later. That motion was put down the following day by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No. The position is that the general Financial  Resolution is for debate. There cannot be a vote on the Financial Statement of the Minister for Finance but there can be a vote at the end of the debate on the general Financial Resolution. We can do what the House did last year, by agreement. If the House wishes to have a vote tonight we can have one on the general Financial Resolution and the debate will hinge on a motion to be put down tomorrow to take note of the Financial Statement.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I cannot put the resolution unless the House wants to vote on it and unless Deputies are prepared to accept what I have stated, that the debate will be on a motion to be put down afterwards, as happened last year.
Mr. Colley: If the Chair puts the resolution now then it is open to the House to decide whether or not it wishes to vote on it. The resolution will be disposed of one way or the other then. In order to ensure that we  can debate the budget the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach will put down a motion in the same terms as the one we debated last year. That will enable the debate to take place, starting tomorrow morning.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This resolution can be left until tomorrow and the House can have the whole debate on it or the House can decide it this evening and have the debate on a motion to be put down to take note of the budget statement.
Mr. T. J. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): The Minister for Finance is suggesting that this general resolution be put now and when that is disposed of he is undertaking to put down a motion tomorrow morning that will enable the debate on the budget to take place.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We cannot have any more speeches this evening. They are out at this stage, even before we take a vote, according to the rules of the House. That has always been the position.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is only the general Financial Resolution. In 1976 we had six or seven Financial Resolutions and we had votes on most of them. Last year it was similar to this year in that we had only the general Financial Resolution. The House then was anxious for a division on that general resolution and the agreement was that the debate on the budget would follow on a motion to be put down by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach. If that is not what the House wants this year we will go ahead with the other business ordered.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I should like the Minister for Health to tell the House why the Minister for Finance forgot about fisheries in the budget statement because Fianna Fáil were very emotive about fisheries?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I understand that the Whips have agreed to this procedure. The Leader of the Labour Party has suggested that the motion be put and I would be obliged if the Leader of the Fine Gael Party would give the House his views on the matter.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That is in relation to the budget debate which follows. That has always been the position; I am not making any new rules. I am doing what was carried out last year and in previous years when we were in this position.
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