Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Dáil Eireann Debate
The Taoiseach: 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.
Mr. 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  make some endeavour to decide whether the Government are anxious to hype up or dampen down speculation about developments in this area?
The Taoiseach: 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.
Mr. 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——
The Taoiseach: 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.
Mr. 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: 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  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: 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: 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: 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——
The Taoiseach: 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.
The Taoiseach: 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: 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——
The Taoiseach: 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  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.
The Taoiseach: 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. 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?
Mr. 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.
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