Order of Business.

Wednesday, 1 November 1989

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 392 No. 4

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The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take Nos. 1, 4, 9 and 10. It is also proposed that No. 4 shall be taken without debate and the Supplementary Estimate to which the motion refers, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.30 p.m. today and the following arrangements shall apply:

(1) The speech of the Minister for Finance moving the Supplementary Estimate and the spokesperson for each of the groups, as defined in Standing Order 89, shall not exceed five minutes,

(2) The Minister shall be called on not later than 4.25 p.m. to conclude the debate, and

(3) If a Division is challenged, such Division shall be taken forthwith.

[1139] It is further proposed that there shall be no Private Members' Business today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  May I ask if the proposals for dealing with No. 4 are agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that there shall be no Private Members' Business today agreed?

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I want to put on record my party's objection to this procedure of not having Private Members' Business today. The effect of this is that The Workers' Party are unlikely to have any Private Members' Business taken this side of Christmas.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Noted.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  On the Order of Business, may I ask the Taoiseach when he intends to announce to the House the arrangements to be made to set up a number of committees which have been under discussion for some time? It might be useful if I listed the committees, apart from a number of statutory committees — the Joint Services Committee, the Joint Committee on Commercial State-Sponsored Bodies and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities and a number of other proposals have been put; one is for a committee on foreign affairs which at various times during the last two and a half years has been under consideration by the Government or under active consideration or due for imminent decision. May I ask the Taoiseach if we will have a decision on that? There are also committees dealing with women's affairs, crime, health, education and welfare, public expenditure and on non-commercial State bodies. Will the Taoiseach make up his mind on these issues, bring them before the House so that the House can get on with the rest of the business it wants to do——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Chair usually allows questions in respect of legislation.

[1140]The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I take note of the Deputy's desires in that regard and we will endeavour to meet them as soon as possible.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  If it will help the Taoiseach, I will give him a copy of my Whip's letter to his Chief Whip of 10 October last.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  In view of the fact that the allocation of Structural Funds to this country are far less than originally anticipated, will the Taoiseach say whether it is intended to reform the regional committees which were formed originally in terms of making proposals to the Government, which were sent to Brussels?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am not sure that this matter arises now.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I told the House in my speech — I am disappointed that the Deputy did not listen more closely to what I said on the NESC Report — that it is proposed to keep this structure in being. It is proposed to merge the two committees, to give them the right to appoint their own chairperson, rapporteur or secretary. An official of the Commission will be a member of each regional committee and their function will be to monitor and keep an eye on the implementation of the National Development Plan in their own regions.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Arising from incidents on the Belfast-Dublin rail line at the weekend, I wish to raise on the Adjournment the contingency plans that exist between the Garda and the Irish Army for dealing with bomb threats on the southern side of the Border.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning that matter.

Mr. McGahon: Information on Brendan McGahon  Zoom on Brendan McGahon  Is the Taoiseach aware of the undue delay by the Irish Army in clearing the southern side of the line of a suspect device last Saturday?

[1141]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That does not arise now, Deputy.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  In the absence of the Minister for Justice, can the Taoiseach say when we are likely to take Report Stage of the Bill prohibiting incitement to racial hatred? It will be a very short Stage, therefore, will the Taoiseach ensure that it will go through both Houses and pass into law in advance of the 41st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations on 10 December next?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  We hope to proceed with this Bill as rapidly as possible but I cannot give the Deputy any specific dates.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Will the Taoiseach have particular regard to the fact that it was initially hoped to have this Bill passed in time for the 40th anniversary? As the anniversary is on 10 December it gives us ample time to deal with this very short Stage and I urge the Taoiseach to arrange it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  There are a lot of pressures in regard to other legislation.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  It would take an afternoon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not in order now.

Mr. McGahon: Information on Brendan McGahon  Zoom on Brendan McGahon  In view of the fact that Members of the Oireachtas——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am calling Deputy Connor.

Mr. McGahon: Information on Brendan McGahon  Zoom on Brendan McGahon  I did not get an answer to my question. Is the Taoiseach ignoring me?

Mr. Connor: Information on John Connor  Zoom on John Connor  I wish to raise on the Adjournment the proposed closure of the coal burning power station in Arigna, County Roscommon. Is this proposal in line with the policy of the Government in relation to energy?

[1142]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy may not elaborate now, I will communicate with him in respect of that matter. I wish to call Deputy Owen who has been offering for some time.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  I wish to express my disappointment that you disallowed my Private Notice Question calling on the Government to cease supporting the Khmer Rouge representation at the United Nations. A vote is coming up on 15 November but the Minister for Foreign Affairs will not be questioned in this regard until 23 November by which time it will be too late to have a discussion about the matter——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I want to assist the Deputy. I am sorry she is disappointed but my office will be glad to assist her in tabling a question with a view to getting an answer within the prescribed time.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  I wish to raise the subject matter of my Private Notice Question on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is a different matter and I will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Has the Taoiseach made any progress in regard to processing the legislation to regulate telephone tapping as it was promised in the Programme for Government? Legislation of this kind would be welcomed by many Members of this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is this promised legislation?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Will we have an opportunity to take the Government seriously?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Could we have serious questions?

Mr. Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I should like to raise on the Adjournment the question of the closure of the Viking Heritage Centre which has [1143] been so successful for national and international tourism and for the status of the Liberties in Dublin.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will communicate with Deputy Byrne in regard to this matter.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Despite the fact that a substantial portion of my county was flooded at the weekend, a Cheann Comhairle, you decided that my Private Notice Question was not sufficiently urgent to be taken. I wish to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning that matter.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  In view of the fact that there was intergovernmental consultation regarding the Aer Lingus issue, I cannot understand why the Minister claimed in the Dáil last week that he had no responsibility in the matter. On that basis my question for an Adjournment debate was disallowed. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges should examine this matter. It is not satisfactory for the Minister to claim that he has no responsibility in regard to debating the issue and, therefore, my question was disallowed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy can always arrange to have that matter brought before the Committee on Procedure and Privileges as his party have representatives on the committee.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  I am not a member of that committee. We were extended privilege in this House so that we can raise matters of that kind. This issue was raised everywhere except in this House and it is quite clear that the Minister has responsibility in the matter. I ask him to allow the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to look at it. That is a reasonable request.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should proceed accordingly.

[1144]Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Arising out of the promised legislation to establish the environmental protection agency the repeated exhortations of the Minister of State to all and sundry to protect the environment and the probability that the legislation to give effect to this Government proposal will not be introduced until the middle of next year, are the Government prepared to establish on an interim basis the environmental protection agency so that they can begin their work immediately? There are established procedures available to do this.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The matter is more appropriate to an ordinary Dáil Question——

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is promised legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It was not promised in this House. However, the legislation is under way.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Promises are not being——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us here the Taoiseach's reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is a very unruly Opposition.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Put it in the joint programme and then the Taoiseach can be sure it will never be taken.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  (Limerick East): They are a divided Government.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The Deputy knows more about divided Governments than anybody in this House.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Government are on the ropes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, allow the Taoiseach to reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I will consider the [1145] matter but there are adequate mechanisms available to deal with any urgent problems.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  May I raise on the Adjournment the subject matter of a Private Notice Question in connection with the future of 260 jobs in Kells?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Will the Minister for Finance make a statement to the House concerning the increase in mortgage rates and the implications of that for the Government's economic policy?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It does not arise now, Deputy. Deputy Spring.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Sorry, Deputy Gilmore, Deputy Spring has been called.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not in order now, Deputy. I will not hear a point of order on the subject.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  On a point of order——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore, the matter to which you have adverted is not in order now, therefore the question of a point of order does not arise.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I seek to raise a point of order. Last week the Chair ruled out of order a question from me to the Minister for Finance concerning this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore, the Chair is on his feet. You will resume your seat.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  A Cheann Comhairle, I am seeking your assistance.

[1146]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Resume your seat, please?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will assist the Deputy provided he consults me in my office on the matter.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order, last week you ruled out of order a question which I raised on this matter and I am seeking your assistance now as to how this matter, which is of grave concern to householders all over the country, can be raised in this House. I am simply asking if the Minister for Finance will make a statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore, I will not permit you to circumvent my ruling in this manner. If the Deputy is serious in pursuing the matter he should get in touch with me in my office. Deputy Spring.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I seek your assistance, without going to your room, to have the question of the Shannon Estuarial Authority Bill raised on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy. Deputy Rabbitte. I observe half a dozen Deputies offering.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I would ask the Taoiseach if he has had opportunity to reflect on the matter I raised last week concerning the planning scandal and whether the Government will make time available to have this debate in the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy John Ryan.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  I would like to raise on the Adjournment the critical situation that exists in Lady's Well national school regarding the need for remedial teachers. It is a matter of grave importance affecting all pupils there. I hope to have the opportunity to discuss it in this House.

[1147]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Will the Taoiseach provide an opportunity in the House to discuss the most recent report from the Arts Council entitled Arts in Education and in preparation for the designation of Dublin as the European City of Culture, 1991 will he be implementing any one of the six neglected reports of the council to date?

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  I seek to raise on the Adjournment the problems created for public patients by the removal of Dr. O'Neill, a paediatric neuro surgeon, from posts in Beaumont and Crumlin Hospitals.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I wish to raise on the Adjournment this evening the inadequacy of the preparations being made by the Taoiseach's Department in respect of the European designation of Dublin as the Capital of Culture for 1991.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Can the Taoiseach outline the progress that is being made with regard to the preparation of the long promised Solicitors Act amendments to regulate, among other things, legal education?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I will have to communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Will the Taoiseach take a personal interest in this matter, in view of its importance?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Considering the fact that the present legislation is my own creation, I will be glad to do so.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Unfortunately there are some problems remaining.

(Interruptions.)

[1148]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy John Browne.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  (Carlow-Kilkenny): Having sat here for this afternoon——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputies.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  (Carlow-Kilkenny): In view of the fact that we have modern technology advanced to the stage where binoculars can be used as machine guns, would it be possible to have a sound system in this Chamber so that one could hear what is going on, particularly in view of the fact that the proceedings are being reported on the radio at night? Does such bad sound encourage people to listen to politicians? I am talking about the quality of sound, not the quality of speech.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Having had the honour of being a member of a committee which was described as the all-party Dáil working group, which included such eminent people as Deputy James Tunney and others——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  ——which suggested very worth-while recommendations on all aspects of the lottery fund, may I ask the Taoiseach if he would once and for all state whether it is proposed to adopt that report?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  A Dáil question on the matter was dealt with last week.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Deputy Harney's statement in west Cork over the weekend would give the impression, indeed, that there was not much credibility——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please let us proceed.

[1149]Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  May I raise on the Adjournment the need for the Minister for Transport and Tourism to take immediate steps to ensure that Iarnród Éireann deal urgently with the kind of problem experienced by passengers on the 18.05 train to Westport last Friday, a problem which occurs on a regular basis? I refer to the problem of queues at Heuston Station and the extremely dangerous overcrowding on that train.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy about that matter.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I wish to raise on the Adjournment the failure of the Minister for Education to make the appointment of a teacher on Inishmore, Aran Islands.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Will an announcement be made in relation to the £1 million allocation necessary for the funding of Swansea/Cork Ferries——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  That was promised by the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Will the Deputy please raise that in the appropriate fashion?

Mr. G. Reynolds: Information on Gerry Reynolds  Zoom on Gerry Reynolds  I wish to raise on the Adjournment the question of why work has not been completed on the Bonet drainage scheme in County Leitrim as outlined in the schedule of work by the OPW at the start of the project.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will be in touch with the Deputy about that matter.


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