Thursday, 28 June 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Items Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14, Vote 40 and Votes 22 to 27. By agreement the Dáil shall sit later than 5.30 p.m. today and not later than 11 p.m. and the hour at which business is to be interrupted shall be 10.30 p.m. Also by agreement, and notwithstanding the order of 21 June 1983, the proceedings on Items Nos. 3 to 10, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. by putting from the Chair the necessary questions forthwith and successively. The proceedings on the remaining Stages of the Irish Steel Bill, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down by the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism. The debate on Vote No. 40, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. and the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism shall be called on to conclude not later than 8.15 p.m. The debate on Votes 22 to 27, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. and the Minister for Justice shall be called on to conclude not later than 10.15 p.m.
Mr. Haughey: I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he is aware of the fact that there was yesterday evening a major incursion by the British army across the Border in County Monaghan. Would he be prepared to make a statement some time today in the House about this matter, particularly in view of the very solemn assurances which had been received quite recently from the British government about incursions of this kind——
The Taoiseach: I am aware of reports of an incursion but I have not received a report on the matter yet. If I receive a report which will be of use to the House I will certainly be willing to consider making a brief statement to the House on the subject. I have no information other than from newspapers that enable me to judge whether the incursíon was of an accidental character or of a deliberate character. Of course there are many accidental incursions on both sides but, if it were a deliberate incursion, the Government would be deeply concerned about it.
Mr. R. Burke: You will recall yesterday morning, a Cheann Comhairle, on the Order of Business, that I asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs about the promised legislation for the mutualisation of the Irish Civil Service Building Society in view of its proposed take-over by the Bank of Ireland. I did not receive any information yesterday morning but a statement was made later in the day by the Government yesterday which clearly indicates that they are reneging on commitments to introduce this legislation.
Mr. R. Burke: I should like to ask the Taoiseach what has changed since 3 April last and the various other commitments given on various other dates with regard to the introduction of legislation to prevent the Bank of Ireland taking over the Irish Civil Service Building Society and the statement of the Minister at the time which said that the takeover would be inconsistent with the concepts underlying the building society movement?
The Taoiseach: What has changed would appear to be the attitude of the Bank of Ireland, which opens the possibility of the Government's objective in respect of mutualisation being achieved by agreement rather than by legislation. If discussions yield that result then we will be very happy indeed to have achieved our objective without our having to bring the matter before the House. If they do not, of course the matter will have to come before the House.
Mr. R. Burke: I am not discussing it, but arising from the Taoiseach's reply has he now accepted the principle of a major bank taking over one of the big five building societies? It is a matter of principle which has underlined the whole Bill because we were misled in this House on a number of occasions by the Minister for the Environment.
The Taoiseach: To respond to Deputy Burke's sound and fury, but more calmly, the Government's concern in this matter arose from the impact upon the building society system of a situation where a bank takeover of a society which was not mutualised could have the effect of having a building society under bank control which did not have mutualisation. If it is possible to achieve the objective of mutualisation within the framework of this proposed takeover, then we will have achieved our objective. If it is not possible and there is any difficulty about it  we will certainly come back to the House. Deputy Burke can be assured of that.
Mr. Mac Giolla: I want to ask the Minister for Education when she intends to bring before the House her controversial proposals on ages for learning. Will it be next week? I understand we are coming back here next week for a couple of days.
The Taoiseach: On a point of order, there is a difficulty on which I would ask you to advise me. Deputies occasionally make allegations which are out of order. Despite the most assiduous efforts of the Chair these allegations get through, then there is a difficulty because they are said loudly and the Chair is not in a position to shut them down, nor should he attempt to do so. However, there is a difficulty that allegations are made and one is not permitted to reply to them. What is the  appropriate course of action in these circumstances?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair feels that matters are not improved if after a disorderly intervention by one Deputy a Minister or some other Deputy wants to reply to that. First of all, that is achieving the object of the disorderly intervention and prolonging it. If the Taoiseach or a Minister feels that he has been misrepresented I think he has procedures whereby he may make a personal explanation.
Mr. Kelly: Senile babies. I want to give notice of my intention to raise on the Adjournment a matter I tried to raise yesterday, namely the length of time a group of women were held in custody during President Reagan's visit.
Mr. Haughey: On a point of order, Sir, you might re-consider your remark about schoolboys in view of the fact that Deputies on this side of the House have sought to raise a very serious matter, namely the  complete reneging by the Government on a promise regarding legislation.
Mr. S. Walsh: With your permission, Sir, I wish to raise on the Adjournment the very serious position that exists in the Kilnamanagh area of Tallaght, County Dublin with the non-availability of post-primary education.
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