Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Cork City Unemployed .

Wednesday, 21 June 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 307 No. 10

First Page Previous Page Page of 31 Next Page Last Page

4.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne  Zoom on Noel C. Browne  asked the Minister for Economic Planning and Development the total number of people unemployed in Cork city, together with the corresponding figures for each of the past ten years; the percentage these figures represent of the available workforce; and the measures he proposes to take to solve this problem.

Minister for Economic Planning and Development (Professor O'Donoghue): Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : The following statement provides information on the total number of persons on the live register at Cork employment office at mid-March each year over the past ten years.

Year Number on the live register
1978 4,368
1977 4,640
1976 4,756
1975 4,463
1974 2,348
1973 2,629
1972 3,057
1971 2,645
1970 2,075
1969 2,825

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : I am entitled to a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Order, please. When the Minister is answering a question the Leader of the Opposition must know that he must resume his seat.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  : On a point of order, I cannot hear what the Minister is saying.

[1601]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Deputies surely must know that it is not in order to raise matters which they are raising now and it never was.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : On a point of order, there is no desire on the part of my party, or I am sure on the part of the other Opposition party, to disrupt the proceedings of this House and there is no desire to challenge the Chair's ruling just for the sake of challenging it, but a very fundamental point has been raised. The Ceann Comhairle has ruled out of order the right of Deputies to elicit legitimate information from a Minister in anticipation of a forthcoming debate. I respectfully suggest that that is the whole purpose of Question Time. I have witnessed on numerous occasions the Ceann Comhairle ruling Deputies out of order by saying that they were engaging in a debate and that the purposes of Question Time was to elicit information. There is no logic in that ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Deputy has been permitted a long time. We will now allow Question Time to continue.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : With respect, I wish the Ceann Comhairle to clear up this matter which is of such fundamental importance to the whole democratic procedure.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : There is no point in trying to make a debate out of something which is not in order now. If the Deputies wish to question the manner in which these questions submitted are ruled out, they may bring it up with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : Deputies are entitled to rise on a point of order and to ask for the precedents under which something has been done here. Under what precedent is it proposed to rule out of order questions because of an Adjournment debate? Once we concede that ruling there are no questions which can be asked that cannot be ruled out of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : That is not correct.

[1602]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : If we accept that ruling we must accept it for all time.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : Maybe I have misunderstood the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Standing Orders of this House have been questioned time and again at the Committee on Procedure and Privileges but not here. I will convey the precedents and reasons to the Deputy. I have already conveyed them to the Deputy.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : What is the Standing Order under which the Chair ruled these out of order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am not having any further debate on this question.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : The question of precedent has been mentioned here and there could not be a precedent for the ruling out of order of questions because of an Adjournment debate because that would rule out of order all questions before an Adjournment debate because in an Adjournment debate anything can be raised. I cannot believe that the Ceann Comhairle intends a ruling of that kind. We must have misunderstood the Chair's intention. Some narrower ruling than that must have been in mind because that would undermine the whole purpose of Question Time in this House. I would ask, therefore, in the interests of order in the House that the Ceann Comhairle define more narrowly and precisely the basis for the ruling and to give precedents for it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I will convey the reason to the Deputy.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Question No. 5.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  : Would the Ceann Comhairle explain in detail the reasons, for the House?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : On a point of order——

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : I have not completed the answer to Question No. 4.

[1603]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : We will have no more discussion on this matter. We are establishing a precedent now that every question ruled out can be discussed at Question Time. It may not be discussed now.

(Interruptions.)

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : May I complete the reply to Question No. 4?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Deputy will resume his seat. I will adjourn the House if the Deputies persist in being disorderly.

Mr. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  : Adjourn the House.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : We will not abdicate our responsibilities here just because the Ceann Comhairle will not give a reason for an unjust ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Ceann Comhairle is not obliged to explain why questions are ruled out at Question Time.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : The Ceann Comhairle is no more infallible than anyone else.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : What the Ceann Comhairle is doing on the face of it seems to overturn the whole principle of Question Time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I told the Deputy that I will convey the precedent and the reason to him for the questions being ruled out of order. I can assure the Deputy that there are several precedents.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  : Can I ask on a point of order whether——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : One at a time, please.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  : ——the Department of Economic Planning and Development were in touch with the Chair before he gave that ruling?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : No, the Chair is never in touch with anybody except his own advisers.

[1604]Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : I can assure the Deputy that I do not need protection.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  : On a point of order has the Chair been informed, or have the Government indicated, that the Adjournment Debate is going to be confined exclusively to the Green Paper?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : No, but it is on the record that the Taoiseach indicated that the debate would be on the Green Paper.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  : Oh, no Sir, he did not. He was asked by me whether the Green Paper would be available in time that it could be discussed during the Adjournment Debate. That is a very different matter.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  : Am I to understand that the Chair has been informed that the House is to be officially aware that the Adjournment Debate is to be confined exclusively to the Green Paper? In that case why not have a debate on the Green Paper and not hold an Adjournment Debate at all?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The question is not going to be discussed further now. The House has discussed it more than sufficiently. I promised Deputy FitzGerald that I would convey to him the reasons for the ruling.

Mr. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  : On a further point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : No, we will have no further points of order on this question.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : I should like to suggest that as what is at stake here is the right to ask questions on any matter that has been challenged prior to the Adjournment Debate, we now adjourn to enable you to give us this information and precedent because we cannot allow this to pass. It challenges the fundamental rights of this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Deputy may not allow it to pass but he will [1605] not raise it here; it never is. There is nothing new in ruling out questions. There is a book of precedents two inches thick which covers the questions——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am not going to be pressed to give details here.

Mr. T. J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): I understand that the question has been ruled out because it may be raised on the Adjournment Debate. As I understand it all of the activities and inactivities of the Government over the last 12 months will be proper for discussion on the Adjournment Debate.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : Is that correct?

Mr. T. J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): And if a question can be ruled out under that heading then every question on the Order Paper today can be ruled out of order——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  : Can the Chair say when he intends making the statement to which he referred a few moments ago?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Chair will convey to the Deputies the reason, as he always does.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  : When did the Chair say he was going to give an explanation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I will give the statement to Deputy FitzGerald who asked for it.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. T. J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): That is no use when the rights of Deputies in this House are at stake and every question placed on this Order Paper can be ruled out of order under the same ruling.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : It is a disgrace.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Will Deputies please resume their seats? One at a time to speak.

[1606]Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : I raised this issue with the Chair initially. I raised it in the House approximately ten minutes ago. The Chair owes it to the House to give it his explanation——

Mr. Allen: Information on Lorcan Allen  Zoom on Lorcan Allen  : None.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : I do not want to interrupt the Deputy's maiden speech although he has been here for 15 years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Will the Deputy please resume his seat now?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : To enable the Chair and his advisers to consult further on this fundamental issue to which further thought needs to be given I move that the House be adjourned to enable that to happen. If we allow this to pass, and if these questions are not put, then we have lost our right to ask any questions on any subject prior to an Adjournment Debate, as the Chair has defined the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : That is not correct, Deputy. The same statements that are being made here now could be made in relation to every question that has ever been ruled out. The House is being grossly disorderly in raising this matter here. There is no need to adjourn the House if the House will be orderly. I will have ample opportunity to convey to Deputies the reason given for ruling out the number of questions referred to.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  : That is no substitute for Question Time. One cannot question a Minister during a debate and the Chair would be the first to rule us out if we tried to.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am calling Question No. 5.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : In an effort to assist in getting this matter——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am calling Question No. 5.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : No, a Cheann Comhairle.

[1607]Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : How dare the Deputy say “No” to the Chair.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  : The Minister is not in school now; he should keep his cool.

(Interruptions.)

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : If I am the professor, the Deputies remind me of a bunch of students awaiting their summer holidays, having the usual end of term rí-rá and a bit of codology.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Order, please. If Deputies wish to turn the House into a disorderly scene they may do so but the Chair is not ruling that it will.

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  : The whole purpose and meaning of this——

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : In order to avoid any further heat being generated the suggestion has been made that the Chair would adjourn the House, consider the matter and then reassemble to give an explanation and justification for his ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Chair sees no reason for adjourning the House. There is ample time to convey to Deputies the reason Deputy Keating's questions were ruled out.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : It is not possible for us to accept that ruling.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Chair is not proposing to adjourn the House.

Mr. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  : On a point of order, might I point out why the House ought to be adjourned. There are eight questions down to the Minister for Economic Planning and Development. If those questions had been answered today, which they would have been by now had there been an orderly House, there would be no further opposition——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : It is not the fault of the Chair that the House is disorderly.

(Interruptions.)

[1608]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am calling Question No. 5.

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : Now we know what it is all about; they want to keep me going until 3.30. Deputies know that Deputy Keating's questions would not come up until tomorrow anyway, so he still would not get them answered before the summer recess. We see now what it is all about.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : I am afraid that the Chair, in refusing to adjourn the House, must accept responsibility for——

(Interruptions.)

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : They were not down for answer today; they would not be answered today—we see now what it is all about——

(Interruptions.)

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : No, his questions would not arise until tomorrow.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Question No. 5.

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  : On a point of order may I ask if it is not the case that the Minister may not answer any one of these questions on the Adjournment Debate and therefore the whole purpose of this is defeated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : I am calling Question No. 5.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Please, Deputies, would you have some respect for the House?

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 and 6 together.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : There is no point in three Deputies standing up simultaneously. It looks to me like a deliberate attempt to create a disorderly scene. I am not having it. The Chair will not submit; the dignity and decorum of this House are at stake.

(Interruptions.)

[1609]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Order, please. When the Chair is speaking will Deputies at least resume their seats? There are means of dealing with matters on which the House feels that the Chair is not behaving properly. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges can meet any time. That is where it is proper that this matter be dealt with.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : There is nobody on this side of the House trying to cause disorder.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : What is the Deputy seeking?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : The Chair has asked me a question. The reason that the Chair gave for ruling out the questions was that it was anticipating a debate. It is clearly established; there are long precedents——

Mr. Allen: Information on Lorcan Allen  Zoom on Lorcan Allen  : Repetition.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : ——for Deputies to avail of Question Time to elicit information in anticipation of a debate. In order not to have any disorder in the House the Chair has been requested to adjourn the House so that he may reconsider the matter, come back, and if he still wants to persist in that ruling, to justify it either under Standing Orders——

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  : Or precedent.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : Surely that is a reasonable request?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Would the Deputy now resume his seat?

Mr. B. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  : On a point of order——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Question No. 5.

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : May I be permitted to have a word in this hullabaloo? If the concern was that the Deputy's questions will not be answered may I offer to assure the Deputy that I will answer all of his questions in the course——

[1610]Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  : We were assured of a debate on the White Paper and we are still waiting.

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : That is a matter for the Whips, not for me.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  : The Minister gave the assurance and we are still waiting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Order, please.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  : There is a formal motion before the Chair——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Order, please. I am not accepting that the House should be adjourned for a matter that is without precedent. Whenever a question is ruled out there is no question of the House being adjourned in order to explain the method that has been used in the past, has been used by all of my predecessors, and the exact same reason for ruling out questions has been used several times in the past.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : It is not factual.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : A Cheann Comhairle, on a matter of public importance, I move that Standing Orders be suspended and the House adjourned. I am entitled to do that and I can take that motion and have a vote on it.

Mr. B. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  : I wish to second that motion. I ask for a statement to the House, on the precedent which none of us has seen probably for the past eight years—I have never seen it as long as I have been here. I would like to see the book which is supposed to be two inches thick produced and we will accept his ruling.

Mr. Allen: Information on Lorcan Allen  Zoom on Lorcan Allen  : The Deputy should ask his colleague, Deputy Treacy.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Will Deputies now please refrain from being disorderly and we will get on with the business?

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : May I be permitted?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : The Chair has no right to take a motion of that [1611] kind from private Members. Deputies know that there is no precedent whatever for it and it is grossly disorderly to suggest there is.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  : There is no precedent for your conduct in the Chair.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : Am I not entitled to move the suspension of Standing Orders?

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : Most of the comments have been on the other side of the House and is it that the Government side is not to be heard? My understanding is, if I may make the point, that Deputy Keating's questions would not have been on the Order Paper until tomorrow. Had I answered my 12 questions in the normal way, as the Deputy himself pointed out, his questions would not have been reached. I have already said that if the House debates the Green Paper, or if that can be introduced into the Adjournment Debate, whenever that takes place. I will undertake to answer the Deputy's questions.

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  : That will not do.

Professor O'Donoghue: Information on Martin O'Donoghue  Zoom on Martin O'Donoghue  : I am sorry but that is more than he would get if we followed the rules of the House. He would get no reply unless he sought a written reply.

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  : It is a question of the option for the Ceann Comhairle of ruling any question out of order on the basis that it may come up in a general catch-all debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Would Deputies now allow the Business of the House to be carried on?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  : A motion has been put and seconded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  : Would the Deputy please resume his seat? I am calling Question No. 5.


Last Updated: 14/09/2010 13:56:12 First Page Previous Page Page of 31 Next Page Last Page