Order of Business.

Friday, 25 June 1982

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 336 No. 8

First Page Previous Page Page of 5 Next Page Last Page

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take the business in the following order: Nos. 3 and 10. Within item No. 10 the following Votes will be taken: Votes 38, 39 and 28 and the Supplementary Estimate for Vote 28. By agreement, the Supplementary Estimate for Vote 38 being introduced today will be debated with Votes 38 and 39.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  On the Order of Business, has the Taoiseach yet decided whether or not he is appointing five extra Ministers of State?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  That is not on the Order of Business.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): It is hardly worth his while.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Is the Taoiseach having difficulty? He promised us 15. There are only five——

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  The Taoiseach might as well give them a few weeks out of it.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  Will the Minister for Justice be making a statement to the House about a court case in Dún Laoghaire yesterday in which a rapist was released because a request for a ministerial order [1784] to the Minister, Deputy Doherty, with regard to the custodial care of this man was not answered? Has the Minister anything to say about it? Does he intend to make a statement to the House? It is a very serious matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Deputy has to give notice of that question.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  It is of grave public concern and very urgent. This is something that happened yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Deputy would have to give notice of that question.

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  Perhaps the Taoiseach, on behalf of the Minister, would give some indication to the Deputy——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  I wonder if the Taoiseach could give the House some indication of the planned progress of the remaining Stages of the Finance Bill? When it is anticipated that the remaining Committee and other Stages will be taken?

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): They are putting on their seat belts; there is a bit of turbulence around.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I have absolutely no reason to doubt that the normal practice whereby these matters are debated or discussed between the Whips will be adhered to on this occasion.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Does the Taoiseach want to say something else?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I might get to say it. I was just wondering about the leader of the Opposition.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I would like to be able to facilitate the leader of the Opposition in this regard because yesterday we went to great trouble to pair him so that he could go and dine with some Conservative [1785] backbenchers in London and apparently the Opposition hauled him back here totally unnecessarily. So we would like to take that factor into account when arranging the Business for the next sitting.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  I presume it is the same consideration which the Government have for the Taoiseach's engagements next week that means that the Finance Bill is not being taken on Tuesday, or is there some other reason?

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): It does not suit Deputy Gregory.

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  It is all very well for the Taoiseach to make facetious remarks about pairing arrangements when they do not involve him. As the Taoiseach knows very well he also was looking for a pair. Perhaps the Taoiseach would also indicate to the House what arrangements are being made to give full consideration to the very great number of remaining Estimates which have to be taken before the end of this month?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  All these matters are subject to agreement between the Whips. We would be very anxious that when these agreements are made they would be adhered to. The discussion on the Estimates can take place. We have already provided these Friday sittings for the purpose to facilitate the Opposition. On the question of pairing that the temporary leader of the Opposition has raised, I want to point out that we did pair Deputy FitzGerald yesterday but he decided that he did not want the pair; he wanted to come back here to participate in the events.

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  Just to clarify the situation, an active and present member of the Opposition was then paired instead with a member of the Taoiseach's party who had suffered a bereavement. There is no point in trying to muddy the waters here now.

[1786](Interruptions.)

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  I wonder finally whether in view of the fact that at our request the Committee on Procedure and Privileges has now been established, any arrangement has been made for an early meeting of the committee?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The agenda will be circulated to members of the committee today and it is for next Tuesday or Wednesday. I have forgotten which day.

Dr. Loughnane: Information on William Loughnane  Zoom on William Loughnane  On a point of order, is there a decision on who is to represent us at the Royal christening?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I have a question on the Order of Business, but I also have a point of order. For the last two to three weeks the visitors in the gallery have had great difficulty in hearing what is going on in this House. I do not know if the House is aware of it. The sound system is——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  In fact it was the Taoiseach they were complaining about. They could not hear a word he said. I am just drawing the attention of the House to that fact.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The matter will be investigated.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  On the Order of Business, I would like to ask the Government if the Minister for Social Welfare, in conjunction with the Minister for the Environment, has drafted the regulations yet in relation to the private rented dwellings legislation so that those tenants who will find themselves unable to pay the rent that the District Court may set after 25 July will be entitled to get assistance from the Department of Social Welfare? The legislation did provide that regulations would be drafted by the Government and that the Minister for Social Welfare will be responsible. In view of the fact that the House will be adjourned probably [1787] until the middle of October, and many of these cases hopefully will come into the courts from September onwards, can the Government give us any sight of what those regulations might be or have they done anything about them?

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  As soon as the cases are cleared by the procedure of the court which will meet for the determination of the rents, payment will be arranged by the Department of Social Welfare. We have already set in train a certain number of staff and arrangements to meet the requirements.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Am I right in assuming it is normal practice that when such regulations are drafted they are laid before this House and Deputies are entitled to see such regulations either in their completed or draft form?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  We are anxious to facilitate Deputies in this matter but I do not think this is appropriate for the Order of Business. If there are regulations to be made, they can be made at any time and laid on the table of the House. If Deputies then wish to raise them here, they may do so but that does not interfere with the effectiveness of the legislation in the meantime.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I do not wish to be disorderly but the House will recognise the legitimate problem that arises here. Would the Government make available next week to the relevant Members of the other parties whatever draft proposals may be made?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I will communicate with the Deputy.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  On a point of order. As spokesperson for women's affairs I have a duty and responsibility to raise issues of vital importance to women. It has been impossible to raise one of the most important issues, that is, the district court clerks' dispute. This has caused grave problems for women who want to take barring and maintenance orders and it has caused problems for women who are [1788] not able to take maintenance orders because they have been refused supplementary welfare from the Department because they have not gone through the normal legal process. Three times Deputy Spring and I attempted to raise the subject in this House. People are getting in touch with their elected representatives all the time but there is no way this matter can be raised here. I ask the Chair to let us know the ruling on issues which are sub judice, the reason I was given for not being able to raise it on the Adjournment. This is a very important issue for many women and the Minister is playing ducks and drakes with the most vulnerable group in our society. I am justifiably angry about what is happening.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I must point out at this stage that the Government have gone to considerable trouble to provide Fridays for the discussion of Estimates. Opposition parties have always insisted they want more time to debate Estimates. At some considerable expense to the taxpayers and at some considerable inconvenience to Members, we have arranged these special Friday sittings to discuss Estimates.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I suggest the Taoiseach should——

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Fifteen minutes of that time has already gone on these matters. If this kind of thing continues, we will have to consider whether we will continue to provide Fridays to discuss Estimates.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  The Taoiseach does not care about women's rights.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Taoiseach must realise there are some matters which are very relevant to the Order of Business and it has not been clearly defined what can or cannot be raised on the Order of Business. I accept that Deputy Fennell's efforts in this direction are being frustrated and I will try to discuss this matter with her. I wish I had an [1789] answer for her but I am not responsible when a matter becomes sub judice.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  The Ceann Comhairle said I could discuss this subject in one debate but not in another.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  No, I did not. I said you might try to discuss it on the Estimate for the Department of Justice but I have no control over a matter which becomes sub judice.When a matter becomes sub judice you are precluded from raising it in this House.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  What you are saying is that one of the most vital subjects, women's rights, is precluded from being discussed in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  That is not correct. There is a test case in the courts, and we have no control over that.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  Some time ago a case was also ruled out of order as being subjudice but it was not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The matter is sub judice and we cannot interfere with the courts.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Surely the point of sub judice applies to a specific case, not the general issue? The point at issue here is the fact that the Minister for Justice has not come into this House to make a statement on this very important matter. I ask him to make a statement on it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I understand there was a test case and therefore there were implications for all other relevant cases. Therefore the matter is sub judice.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  This was raised before the test case was brought to the High Court.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Deputy will have to seek other means to raise this matter because it cannot be discussed on the Order of Business. I have been very [1790] lenient in allowing the Deputy to mention it here, but I cannot help her any further.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I trust the press will take note of this debate because it is important that everyone knows the Government's attitude to these matters.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  There is an industrial relations problem in the courts which is causing great distress. This is not a party political matter. There are many women suffering because of this impasse. This matter was anticipated because Deputy Spring and I raised it many weeks in advance of the legislation coming into effect. We are anxious to know what the Minister is doing to resolve this problem. I note he is not here today but perhaps he would make a statement on it next week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I have no control over the matter.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  (Cavan-Monaghan): May I point out that the monitors on some floors are not working?

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  On the other hand, when one dials on certain telephones one can get the Dáil debate live.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  I had that matter investigated and my information is that the monitor is switched on in the room in which the phone is answered.

(Interruptions.)

Mrs. E. Desmond: Information on Eileen Desmond  Zoom on Eileen Desmond  When is it expected to have legislation before the House to give effect to the report of the Task Force on child care? Several weeks ago the Minister said he hoped it would be available in the current session.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Several weeks ago I said I hoped to have this legislation drawn up in time for the next session. This is very extensive legislation as the Deputy is aware and will be available at the beginning of the next session [1791]— I hope it will be ready by the end of July.

Mrs. E. Desmond: Information on Eileen Desmond  Zoom on Eileen Desmond  Has responsibility for child care been transferred to him?

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Yes. The Government have taken a decision in principle to transfer adoption from the Department of Justice to the Department of Health but that will require legislative changes and a fair amount of administrative arrangements with the Adoption Board. These matters are being pursued.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  The Taoiseach and the Government are showing their disregard for the needs of women and I resent the jeer——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Fennell, I ask you not to be disorderly.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I trust the women of Ireland will know the attitude of the Government——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Deputy Ellis on a point of order.

Mr. Ellis: Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  I would appreciate if the Chair would deal with the press-seeking acts of Deputy Fennell on the Order of Business every day for the past three weeks. She is no more worried about women's rights than anybody on this side, because we are as worried about them——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Order. I am asking Deputy Fennell to resume her seat.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I refuse.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  We will not pursue the matter further.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  About a fortnight ago with the permission of the Chair I raised on the Adjournment the serious situation in Donegal regarding housing loans. About 150 people had their loans sanctioned by the Donegal County Council but the council find themselves in a position of [1792] not having any money to pay the loans. I was assured by the Department that money would be made available. I was in contact with the county council this morning, who have been told in the past fortnight that money has been made available by the Department of the Environment, but they have not received it yet.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  That is a matter more relevant to being raised on the Adjournment.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  I want to ask the Minister for the Environment to clarify the position in order to allay the fears of people in County Donegal who are facing a serious crisis.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  That is not a matter for the Order of Business. I am calling item No. 3.


Last Updated: 14/09/2010 10:44:56 First Page Previous Page Page of 5 Next Page Last Page