Order of Business.

Tuesday, 26 March 1985

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 357 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 8, 3 and 10. By agreement, the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. today and not later than 10.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted at 10 p.m. Also by agreement, the proceedings on the remaining Stages of item No. 8 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 10 p.m. today 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 the Environment. Private Members' Business will be No. 73.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Are the arrangements for the late sitting and for the taking of item No. 8 agreed?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Yes. May I ask the Taoiseach if it is his intention at an early date to make a statement about the current state of Anglo-Irish relations? Will he [526] make some endeavour to decide whether the Government are anxious to hype up or dampen down speculation about developments in this area?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  No, I do not envisage a statement being made at this stage. We have no wish to hype up or to encourage any speculation. The Government are proceeding, as they have already set out in this House, to pursue the Forum report and its possible implementation with the British Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I cannot allow a series of questions or a debate on this.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I will not have a series of questions. I wish to ask the Taoiseach if he is aware that there is a great deal of speculation and the more innocent might be excused if they suspected that a great deal of it was inspired. Rather than have us get our information from the United States, London or Northern Ireland, does the Taoiseach not think that in a crucial matter like this it would be desirable if Members of this House could get our information from the Government and preferably from the Taoiseach? I know it is important to him to go over to London and make big pronouncements over there——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  This does not arise now. I will not allow this to develop in this way.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It would be courteous to tell this House what, if anything, is afoot.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I have noted a good deal of very uninspired speculation in the last few days. The position of the Government is as I have stated in this House. We are pursuing with the British Government the issues raised in the Forum report and will continue to do so in the hope that we can make progress although we will not know until a later stage, when either we succeed or do not succeed, whether we have made the progress all of us wish to make.

[527]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Will the Taoiseach say——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am sorry, Deputy Haughey, but I am not allowing any further debate on this.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I wish to raise another matter of some significance.

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

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I know the Chair would prevent me pointing out to the Taoiseach that it was his own——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Chair will not prevent the Deputy from pursuing anything that is in order but will insist that the Deputy remains in order.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  As I am sure the Chair would not wish me to point out to the Taoiseach that it was his own reference in London to “novel solutions” that triggered off most of this——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am sorry I cannot allow this to continue. It is not a question of my likes or dislikes: It is a matter of Standing Orders.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Is the Taoiseach aware that ten or 11 days have elapsed since the Government announced their intention to take over the Insurance Corporation of Ireland and that the delay in introducing the promised legislation has been very damaging to the country and to its financial institutions? Will he say when the legislation will be available to us and will he give some indication as to the general nature and purposes of the legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I do not accept that any damage has been incurred or that there has been any delay in the matter. The expedition with which this legislation is being prepared is in conformity with the expedition with which the Government have acted previously in other difficult situations. The legislation will be available to Members of the House later this afternoon and an advance copy will be [528] made available to the Deputy in the very near future. We have endeavoured as far as we can to facilitate and inform the principal Opposition party of the position. Certainly the Deputy is entitled to seek all information possible. We have helped him as much as we can and I hope the advance copy of the legislation will give him and his party ample time to consider it before tomorrow morning.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Surely the Taoiseach is aware that the first startling and dramatic announcements about this matter were made more than ten days ago. No matter how complex the legislation, surely it could have been prepared and brought forward long before now? Is the Taoiseach not aware that on all sides there have been rumours of enormous potential liabilities——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The House has been told that legislation on this matter will be coming before it tomorrow morning when there will be an ample opportunity to discuss it. I think it should be left at that.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I want to ask the Taoiseach why there has been delay and why all these damaging rumours have been allowed to circulate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That will arise in the debate.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  ——and if he is aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Government have handled this matter to date.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy will have an opportunity of saying all that tomorrow morning.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Damaging rumours have been allowed to circulate in the ten days that have elapsed since the first announcement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy is now making a Second Stage speech.

[529]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I am talking about legislation that has been promised on a matter that has been in the minds of everyone for the past ten days. Will the Taoiseach ensure that in the legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I cannot allow this. The Deputy is anticipating the debate on the legislation.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The legislation has not yet appeared. I wish to put the Taoiseach on notice in regard to that legislation that we will be demanding that no costs shall fall on the Irish taxpayer arising from the mistakes of persons who are not as expert as——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am not having a debate in anticipation of the Second Stage. I am calling item No. 8. Deputy Mac Giolla, please.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I am aware of the circulation of a variety of rumours and in cognisance of the fact that there are people with a vested interest in spreading rumours which can be damaging to the interests of the country, we have done everything we can to discourage them. The legislation is being printed at present and an advance copy will be given to the Deputy and to the leader of The Workers' Party in the immediate future and will be available to all Deputies later this afternoon. I am grateful to the Deputy for his initial co-operation and we will endeavour to provide all necessary information to the Opposition because it is most important that this matter be debated calmly and objectively. We will try to be as co-operative as possible in regard to that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputy Mac Giolla has been trying to get in for a good while now.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The Chair interrupted my last attempt——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am sorry, I am calling Deputy Mac Giolla now.

[530]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I protest against the Chair's treatment in this very important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I must be fair to the Deputy.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I wish you would be fair to this side.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  My question does not relate to the circulation of rumours but to a firm matter.

(Interruptions.)

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  In relation to the circulation of the Bill which we are given to understand——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Order. Order, please.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  ——is a highly complex piece of legislation——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Order, please.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  ——will the Taoiseach say precisely when the Bill will be circulated? Because it is supposed to be such complex legislation every hour will count.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That information has been given to the House.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  We were told that it would be circulated later this afternoon and that is not satisfactory.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I did not say that it is a complex piece of legislation.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  No, but the Minister for Finance did.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The question of what should be included in it has been a matter of some complexity. The legislation is not [531] necessarily as complex as people may think.

A Deputy:  Were led to believe.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The legislation will be available to the Deputy in advance in the very near future and to all Deputies before the end of the afternoon. It is being printed at present and we are endeavouring to expedite the whole process and ensure that Deputies are facilitated as far as possible.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  As the legislation is now apparently being published this afternoon and as it will not be debated until tomorrow morning at the earliest and we will not have an authoritative statement from the appropriate Minister as to the full dimensions of this situation and the full extent of the liabilities, and in view of the fact that, as the Taoiseach graciously acknowledged, we on this side of the House have been entirely responsible in our approach to this matter so far, could the Taoiseach ensure that on his side of the House backbenchers of both Coalition Parties will not in the meantime attempt to secure for themselves cheap publicity——

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  ——of a sensational nature——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  ——at the risk of exacerbating what is a very dangerous and sensitive situation?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am allowing an answer to that and then I am moving on.

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  All of us should endeavour to calm people who have unnecessary apprehensions or who may say things which could destabilise the situation. All parties have a problem, the Deputy has a problem with Deputy [532] Flynn, and we have our problems too. Both of us have endeavoured to do our best in the situation but we cannot always ensure that everybody remains totally silent but we are all doing our best to get a co-operative and constructive approach to this problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Item No. 8.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  This is a matter of some importance to me as spokesman on the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The Deputy will have an opportunity to speak on it tomorrow.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  I would just ask the Taoiseach or the Minister to confirm some details concerning the second soft loan which he confirmed in the newspaper yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That is a matter for Second Stage.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  It is a situation that——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am sorry, Deputy, I cannot allow that. I am not going to a allow a Second Stage debate here.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  It is a very important aspect of it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It may be, but we have our procedure and the legislation will come forward tomorrow morning for a Second Stage reading.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  For the Minister to concede a second loan or any type of loan arrangements from the public and the financial institutions is really misleading the Dáil and the public.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I would ask Deputy Flynn to co-operate.

(Interruptions.)

[533]The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I will answer it. If anything I said was a reflection on Deputy Flynn, I withdraw it immediately. It was not intentional, and I am very sorry.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  I would not take anything the Taoiseach says as a reflection.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  If we can help Deputy Flynn by any kind of briefing on the point he has raised, between now and tomorrow we will do so.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  I have a further question. Will the blue book which gives us——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  You are going on to Committee Stage now.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  Will the blue book, the summary of the insurance business here, be available today and will I get a copy of it before the legislation is introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The blue book is in the final stage of preparation and will be available, I am informed, later today or tomorrow. When I leave the House now I will endeavour to ensure that it will be available to the Deputy before the end of today if at all possible.

Mr. Flynn: Information on Pádraig Flynn  Zoom on Pádraig Flynn  And the details about the loan arrangements?

The Taoiseach: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Yes.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Will the Taoiseach or the Minister for Communications comment on the report that money is being borrowed in a London bank, the Nordic Bank, to repatriate Irish Shipping personnel to this country?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That does not arise.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Would somebody get in touch with Mr. Tempany and tell him that there is the Industrial Credit Corporation and other banks — I presume some are left——

[534]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputy Wilson must resume his seat.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  ——who will provide money and that interest will not——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputy Wilson is out of order.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. D. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Could I raise on the Adjournment the subject matter of the recent decision of the VHI to cut back on in-patient treatment for alcoholism and other related illnesses?

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

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Could I raise on the Adjournment the question of post-primary facilities at Mallow?

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West): In view of the indications coming from Brussels will the Taoiseach confirm that these price negotiations have been a dismal failure——

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

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West):——and will he make a statement on the matter?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am calling item No. 8.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West): The Ceann Comhairle ruled out a Private Notice Question today on beef prices and now he will not allow the Taoiseach to answer my question. Where will I raise it? It is a very important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I am proceeding in accordance with Standing Orders. I am calling item No. 8.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Could I raise on the [535] Adjournment the matter of loss of interest in this country as regards the arrangements being made for the repatriation of Irish Shipping personnel?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I will communicate with Deputy Wilson.


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