Thursday, 23 February 1989
Dáil Éireann Debate
It is further proposed that the proceedings on the Report and Final Stages of Item No. 3 shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, at 2.30 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 Justice.
Mr. Dukes: On the Order of Business, may I ask the Taoiseach whether he has any plans to make an announcement of any real initiative in relation to search and rescue services rather than the two flimsy announcements made last week by the Ministers for the Marine and Defence, particularly in the light of yesterday's disaster off our coast?
Mr. Spring: In view of the obvious attempt by the multiple stores to take over the bread industry and of the obvious job losses which will result throughout the country, may I ask the Taoiseach or the Minister for Industry and Commerce if they intend taking any immediate necessary action on this matter?
Proinsias De Rossa: In relation to the Government announcement yesterday  that it is proposed to abolish Fóir Teoranta would the Taoiseach indicate when it is proposed to introduce legislation to do so?
Mr. J. Bruton: In regard to that matter, would the Taoiseach acknowledge that it is important that this legislation be introduced soon in view of the fact that there may be a degree of competitive unfairness in that those who received finance from Fóir Teoranta prior to 23 February, in competition with other companies, have an advantage over those now precluded from applying, in the same circumstances, for assistance from Fóir Teoranta?
Mr. Quinn: A Cheann Comhairle, I have endeavoured to raise the following matter on a number of occasions and you correctly ruled me out of order. With your assistance may I ask the Taoiseach if he has requested his Whip to discuss with the other Whips the question of making Government time available to discuss EC Structural Funds in this House before 31 March next?
Mr. J. Bruton: Yesterday on the Order of Business I asked the Taoiseach the position about patent legislation. As he promised, I was given information as to the current position. I was informed that the Government intend to introduce a major Bill in this area and that they do not intend to proceed with a smaller Bill to deal with the problem of a given number of companies of which the Taoiseach is well aware. May I ask the Taoiseach for a clear assurance that this legislation will be both presented in good time to be enacted so as to cause no difficulty for this company and, given its complexity, be presented in sufficient time to allow its full debate here? May I have a firm assurance on this matter from the Taoiseach in view of the fact that substantial numbers of jobs are involved all over the country?
The Taoiseach: I would like to be able to give the Deputy as much assurance as possible. It is a very important aspect of industrial development. It is complex and difficult. I would like to assure the Deputy that the legislation is with the Attorney General at present and will be pushed ahead as rapidly as possible. I should like to assure the Deputy that the Minister will be available to talk to him about any particular aspects of it.
Mr. J. Bruton: I will always be delighted to accept such an invitation but, notwithstanding that, may I ask the Taoiseach if he is aware that there is a risk that if any problems arise in regard to another matter in this legislation, that legislation may be held up? Is he aware that, therefore, the problem of the particular companies may not be dealt with in time?
Mr. J. Bruton: Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to prepare as a contingency a short piece of legislation that could be put through the House relatively quickly in the event of any unforeseen delay in dealing with the more complex piece of legislation?
The Taoiseach: The Social Welfare Bill will be published next week and the Finance Bill may not be published before Easter but we are well within our time and we hope to have plenty of time to  discuss it. The Deputy can have his Easter holidays in peace.
Miss Quill: What kind of tourists are we talking about, or does the weekly visit to the mother-in-law for afternoon tea qualify for inclusion as a tourist statistic? Is putting up afternoon tea for the mother-in-law counted as a job in the tourist sector? What kind of jobs is the Minister talking about?
Mr. J. Mitchell: The Government promised before Christmas industrial legislation to reform industrial relations and I should like to ask the Taoiseach to say when it is likely that the Bill dealing with this matter will be circulated. The Minister for Labour promised that legislation before Christmas.
Mr. Crotty: I wish to raise on the Adjournment the decision by the Revenue Commissioners on 20 February to withdraw until further notice all postal facilities for applicants for stamp duty and the decision not to deal with postal and telephone queries.
Mr. M. Higgins: Through the Taoiseach I should like to ask the Minister for Social Welfare if the Social Welfare Bill will address the anomalies that have arisen in relation to the changes in the periods and stamps required for disqualification for different benefits in view of the hardship that is causing.
Mr. M. Higgins: My point about this matter is that that was promised in the Minister's speeches. The changes in the requirements for benefit are causing great hardship. My question is whether the legislation to which reference has been made will be the conventional Social Welfare Bill to implement normal changes in benefit or whether it will address the anomalies to which I have referred.
Mr. J. Bruton: One would hope that it does not mean a short fuse in the Taoiseach's case. Will the Taoiseach give a specific indication, in view of the Government's decision, when it is intended to introduce a Bill to repeal the Fóir Teoranta Act, 1972? I should like to ask the Chair if it is in order for the Government to suspend the operation of that Act by Government decision in view of the fact that it was a decision of the House taken in 1972 to establish that body on certain criteria. Will the Taoiseach give a clear indication when such legislation will be before the House so that this foolish and unnecessary decision can be debated here?
The Taoiseach: No legislation has been promised but in my usual way I have been endeavouring to be helpful to the Deputy by telling him that the ultimate step in the procedure will probably be legislation to wind up Fóir Teoranta which, as everybody knows, has long outlived its usefulnesss.
Mr. Quinn: I have sought permission on a number of occasions to raise on the Adjournment the decision of the Department of Education to put out to developer competition schools for which design and contract documents had been prepared and fees paid, and I should like, with the permission of the Chair, to raise the matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. Durkan: I should like to ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will state whether he intends to introduce any legislation relating to the food industry with particular reference to mergers and take-overs and the possible creation  of monopolies in certain areas of distribution.
Mr. Durkan: With respect, I have already tabled a number of private notice questions on the matter but they were refused. I accept the decision of the Chair's office in regard to them, but I should like permission to raise the matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. McCartan: I should like to ask at what stage the preparation of the Solicitors (Amendment) Bill is and how soon the Minister for Justice believes it can be introduced into the Chamber for debate. I should like to know if it will address the recent decision of the High Court in the McGowan case in regard to access to legal education.
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