Order of Business.

Thursday, 31 January 1985

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 355 No. 6

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The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is proposed to take item No. 6.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  On the Order of Business, will the Taoiseach say when it is intended to introduce the promised amending legislation on road transport?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Bill will be available in the earlier part of the session.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  I presume it is at an advanced stage of preparation, as the Taoiseach would normally say?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Deputy has taken the words out of my mouth.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  That is the long-playing record.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Will the Taoiseach state when the revised Estimates indicating cuts of £28 million in the budget yesterday will be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  As soon as possible.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  What does that mean?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The information is [1278] available. It may take a little while to get it printed but it will be very soon.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Frank Prendergast  Zoom on Frank Prendergast  In view of the announcement by OPEC yesterday of the agreed reduction in oil prices, will the Taoiseach ensure that the appropriate Ministers here have consultations with the interests in this country to ensure that the benefits——

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

Deputies:  Where was the Deputy yesterday?

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  It is too late now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Order, I am calling Deputy Harney.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  Bring back Jim Kemmy.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  With the permission of the Chair. I wish to raise of the Adjournment the serious inconvenience caused to residents in Clondalkin as a result of the postal strike.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Will the Taoiseach explain to the House what are the Government's legislative programmes and plans for the proposed changes in the boundaries of local authority areas? The Taoiseach said that elections would be held in June and that the Boundary Commission would make recommendations. Is it the intention of the Government to bring in legislation here to change the boundaries following whatever recommendations are made by the Boundary Commission prior to holding the elections? Will the Taoiseach say if these local elections will be held within the new boundaries?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I can confirm that the legislation will be drafted as soon as we receive the recommendations of the two electoral commissions and it will be [1279] brought to this House at the earliest possible time. People will have the advantage from seeing the reports of knowing the shape of what is to come and the elections will be held on the basis of the new boundaries.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  If there is no agreement on the proposed changes in the boundaries the normal procedures will have to apply whereby a public inquiry will have to be held. Decisions will have to be made and there will be matters that will arise as a consequence of boundary changes. Surely that will have to be passed by this House before elections take place?

Deputies:  Speech.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  We are seeking information and clarification.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I understand the hesitation of the Opposition about local elections at this stage but I am afraid they will have to face them. The position is that in respect of boundary changes within counties, that does not require legislation but boundary changes of local authorities would require legislation. As is clear from the announcements made, it is not proposed to make changes that would cut across the boundaries of counties. The only question being considered by the committee is as to whether after consultation with the relevant local authorities in the constituencies of Cork, Limerick and Galway——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Arising out of the matter raised by the other side of the House, I am afraid this is developing into a debate. If the Taoiseach proceeds to give a full explanation it will be questioned from the other side and then we are in a debate. That is what I want to avoid.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am trying to explain that the changes proposed in the boundaries do not require legislation. The only ones that would require legislation would be if the county boroughs in question had [1280] their boundaries changed. Advice has been sought on that and in the light of the advice and the consultations that will take place we will have to consider if legislation is needed to deal with that matter.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is the Taoiseach saying——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am not going to allow a debate on this. I am calling Deputy Gallagher.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  May I conclude by saying that there is absolute confusion with regard to what the Taoiseach has said? The secretary of the Boundary Commission has said he does not know the answers——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am sorry but the Deputy will have to find another way of raising the matter.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It is clear that the legislative programme will not be implemented in time to enable the boundaries to be——

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Let me explain. The Deputy is being obtuse. Within counties changes in boundaries do not involve legislation. The only boundary changes involved in this are those affecting the Dublin area and possibly, but only possibly, the other three county boroughs mentioned. Otherwise the changes in boundaries do not involve legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  We must move on. I cannot reach a situation where I will allow a discussion on one thing today and refuse to allow a discussion on something tomorrow.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. P. Gallagher: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  I have a few requests to the Taoiseach. Will his Minister for Justice intervene on humanitarian grounds in the hunger strike at Portlaoise Prison——

[1281]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. P. Gallagher: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  —where two of my constituents are on hunger strike, one for 23 days and the other for 14 days, and their health is deteriorating?

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

Mr. P. Gallagher: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  If that is not urgent I do not know what is.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Would the Taoiseach consider announcing the Government's legislative programme for the present session and save unnecessary questions on the Order of Business?

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Following normal procedure here on answering questions in regard to promised legislation, I am always willing to do that.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  Further to the question asked by Deputy De Rossa with regard to the proposed cuts——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It was not a question.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  ——could the Taoiseach clarify exactly what he means by “as soon as possible”? Will it be this week, next week, or when will we hear about the proposed cuts?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Does it arise out of the question by Deputy De Rossa?

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  It does. The Taoiseach said “as soon as possible”. So that the package can be clear to the general public——

[1282]The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  In the near future, but it is a question of publishing the full Book of Estimates with the provisions therein. A fair amount of printing and preparation is involved and a number of changes also.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  Will the Taoiseach also clarify the buoyancy and the £30 million?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I clarified that yesterday, to the Deputy's discomfiture. He must not have been here when we had buoyancy.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  In terms of the budget debate which is about to start, in order to have some precision on the points relevant in the debate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  You must ask a question.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  So that we will not have any confusion during the course of the debate, will the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste, who I presume is going to address the House, explain how much they are relying on in terms of departmental balance, buoyancy and savings?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That is debate.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The answer to Deputy O'Kennedy's question is in the table at the end of the Budget Statement.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  It is not.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  If the Deputy is capable of reading it the figures are all set out in the table.


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