Order of Business.

Thursday, 17 May 1984

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 350 No. 6

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The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is proposed to take Nos. 2, 11 and 12. By agreement if the proceedings on No. 11 are not previously concluded they shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 1.30 p.m. Also by agreement the Dáil shall meet at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow morning and shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m. and business shall be confined to Estimates for the Public Service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  May I ask in regard to item No. 11 if it is desired that the Minister should get in to conclude at any time?

[1318]Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We have no arrangement but we have no objection. The normal procedure is that the Minister will get a quarter of an hour unless he looks for further time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Are the proceedings as outlined for today's business and tomorrow's business agreed with the addition that on item No. 11 today the Minister shall be called upon to conclude at 1.15 p.m.?

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  May I ask the Taoiseach if he will consider allowing Government time for a discussion on the growing problem of emigration and the effects it is having on young people? I think we should discuss this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Perhaps as a preliminary the Deputy would have a discussion with the Whips.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  I should like to thank the Taoiseach for sending me notice about impending legislation on company law. Could the Taoiseach say if it is proposed to introduce domestic company law legislation on limited liability in this session? He sent me details about other company law.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Not in this session.

Mr. Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  Could the Taoiseach give us any idea when it is intended to take item No. 6 on the Order of Business which the Minister for the Environment has had down for a couple of months? It deals with the Convention for the Prevention of Maritime Pollution from Land Based Sources.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I cannot give a date at the moment but I will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  In reply to Deputy Flynn the Taoiseach said the limited liability aspect of company law will not be introduced in the House in this session. When is it intended to do that? It has been signalled for 12 months that we would have that legislation. During the [1319] debate on the Finance Bill the Minister for Finance indicated that it would be coming through very quickly because of the distortions and problems that arise in liquidations. Could he give us any idea when we will see that long-promised legislation which is very urgently needed?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  This legislation is extremely complex and it will not be possible to have it ready before the end of this session, ending as it will in the ordinary way, but it would of course be available in the autumn session.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is more than 12 months since it was promised “very soon” and the scandal of companies——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy will have to understand that even the leader of his party cannot initiate discussion on this matter.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Will the Government make a statement confirming the statement by the Minister for Communications yesterday that he proposed to support the reduction of VAT on newspapers?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  It does. I am asking if there will be an amendment to the Finance Bill to allow for the proposal of the Minister for Communications to reduce VAT on newspapers. That is a fair question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Deputy should have read the paper properly and quoted what was said.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  I was present at the launching but the Taoiseach was not. I heard the Minister for Communications correctly.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Will the Taoiseach tell the House if it is intended to introduce legislation in this session to increase the State equity in Irish Steel and if the [1320] rumours freely circulating in Cork that a decision has been taken to close the plant on July 14 has any validity?

Mr. Boland: Information on John Boland  Zoom on John Boland  Why did the Deputy not say June 14? It would have sounded better.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The rumours the Deputy may wish to spread are his own affair. I certainly have no knowledge of any such rumours.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I heard it in Cork.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Will the Deputy repeat the first part of his question because he went off on a tangent.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I was asking the Taoiseach if he intended to introduce legislation to increase the State equity in Irish Steel.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I could not answer that question at the moment. I will communicate with the Deputy in due course. It would be a great help if Deputies who want information gave a few minutes notice and I could give that information. It would make the work of the Dáil much better rather than asking questions in respect of a large number of Bills and expecting an immediate answer. I am more than happy to help Deputies and it would be much better if I could give answers to the House available to all Deputies instead of having to come back and inform the Deputy in question.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I should like to remind the Taoiseach that this is not a new departure. When we were on the Government side such questions flew every morning. The Taoiseach should be aware, as a member of the Government, if there is any proposal to increase the State equity in Irish Steel. Surely the Government have provided for this in the budget and the Taoiseach should have some idea as to whether the Government are going to take an increase in State equity in Irish Steel or not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I will not allow [1321] a discussion on the rights or wrongs of this.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The rumours did not emanate from me but from the people in Irish Steel.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am calling Deputy Lyons. Deputy Reynolds is out of order.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Chair amazes me every time I try to ask a decent question. When the Chair was a Member on this side of the House he asked such questions time and again. The Chair knows well that when Government Deputies were in Opposition they threw questions morning after morning on the order of business and expected answers. My question is a legitimate one. Will legislation be introduced? That arises on the Order of Business. Does the Taoiseach know what is going on in the Government at all?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputy Reynolds is being grossly disorderly.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It will be coming before the Government shortly. As regards the date, that is a matter on which I could make an estimate if I had an opportunity to do so. The matter will be coming before the Government in the near future.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Will the Taoiseach give us his best estimate.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  In view of the urgency and seriousness of the matter, and despite the ruling out of order of my Private Notice Question yesterday——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy should cut out the preamble and get on with his question.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  ——I should like to encourage the Minister for Health to see to it that the problem developing at the Cork Regional Hospital is solved in the best interests of the people of the area, particularly the out-patients who attend the clinics there. This is a serious matter.

[1322]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy should read the book on Standing Orders.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  I disagree with the ruling yesterday, that this was not a matter of urgency.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I appeal to Deputy Lyons to conform.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  Will any action be taken by the Minister for Health on the position in the Cork Regional Hospital? That is not a difficult question for the Minister to answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I do not wish to have any rows or squabbles with the Deputy but he is out of order.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  The Minister is present and he should answer my question which is not an awkward one.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy should resume his seat.

Mr. Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  Is the Taoiseach aware, in regard to No. 6, that unless we ratify that Convention we will not be able to vote at the Paris Commission in Oslo on June 20? Will the Taoiseach arrange to have this motion dealt with by the House before then? It could be cleared pretty quickly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy cannot make a speech on this matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The matter could be raised between the Whips.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  In view of the concern that has arisen following the “Today Tonight” programme on RTE 1 last night——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  ——I would like to have an opportunity for our party leader, or our appropriate spokesman, to discuss [1323] the matter with the Taoiseach to see how the House can properly handle what is a matter of serious concern as disclosed last night.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  We know it is embarrassing, a Cheann Comhairle, but it is of concern to the people in the country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  If there is any innuendo in that statement the Deputy had better withdraw it because I will not tolerate it. I will not tolerate that type of abuse.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I am asking if it will be possible to arrange for an appropriate discussion, party leader to party leader or Minister for Justice with our appropriate spokesman, on this matter which is of serious concern. We may have to raise the matter in the Dáil in a fuller way.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I appreciate that the Deputy is standing in for the leader of his party and I am making allowances for that.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I do not need that. I ask the Chair to withdraw that remark. I do not need that type of assistance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  This matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  Whether the Chair makes any allowances or not, the most important consideration is to ensure that the Government and Opposition have an opportunity of considering this serious matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It does not have to be raised in the House. It is not in order.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It would be very strange if when all the people are concerned about what they heard last night if we did not ask the Government how we should discuss this matter.

(Interruptions).

[1324]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy is being disorderly.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  On the general heading of order might I suggest that the Order of Business for a particular day be taken at the close of business the previous day?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That is not in order.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  This pantomime is laid on for the benefit of the press who are here at the beginning of the day in large numbers, fresh and alert.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Deputy Kelly is welcome back from his far away travels. We have not seen him around for a long time.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael P. Kitt  Zoom on Michael P. Kitt  Will the Tánaiste meet the Deputies and Senators from Galway and Roscommon today to discuss the building of the briquette factory at Ballyforan?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Kitt: Information on Michael P. Kitt  Zoom on Michael P. Kitt  It was postponed from last Tuesday.

Mr. Wyse: Information on Pearse Wyse  Zoom on Pearse Wyse  Is it the intention of the Taoiseach to make available a copy of the recent report of the task force to Cork Deputies.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Denis Lyons  Zoom on Denis Lyons  That is a reasonable request.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  We have announced decisions in respect of the recommendations. It is not intended to publish the task force document.

Mr. Wyse: Information on Pearse Wyse  Zoom on Pearse Wyse  Is the Taoiseach aware that a number of parties outside of the House are interested in getting a copy of the full text of that submission?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I allowed the question but I will not allow that to lead to another. The question was asked and [1325] answered. The Deputy may table a question about this matter if he wishes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  We announced our decisions in respect of the recommendations of the task force and they are available for discussion and debate. The question of the particular advice put forward is not a matter for debate but the Government decisions are. We are responsible for the decisions we make.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West): I should like to ask the Taoiseach if the Government are likely to publish a plan for agricultural development.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  After the other plan, whenever that comes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  To which document is the Deputy referring? I want to be clear about this. There is a report of a study group and, perhaps, that is what the Deputy is talking about.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West): Some months ago the Government were presented with the report of a study group.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  In a matter of weeks.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  The only Member of the Opposition Front Bench who has not had a go so far is Deputy Brendan Daly, so you should let him in so that we can get on with the business.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Deputy Kelly did not sign the Forum Report.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am calling the next business.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  On the Order of Business let me ask the Taoiseach if the Minister for Fisheries has anything to say about the dispute in the fisheries sector at present which is causing almost a total collapse in inland fisheries.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

[1326]Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  No action has been taken——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I appeal to the House not to reduce the Order of Business to a farce.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  May I ask a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  If it is in order.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  I will leave that to you. Arising out of Deputy Kitt's request, I ask the Minister for Energy if he will meet the Deputies and Senators from Roscommon today. You may not be aware——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I have pointed out that it is not in order. Please resume your seat.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Let me first——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I will not. Please resume your seat.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  We are delighted to see him back fully fit.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I will have to ask the Deputy to leave the House if he does not resume his seat.


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