Wednesday, 1 November 1989
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: 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:
Proinsias 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.
Mr. 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——
Mr. 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?
The Taoiseach: 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: 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.
Mr. 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?
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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?
Mrs. 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: 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.
Mr. J. 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——
Mr. Byrne: I should like to raise on the Adjournment the question of the closure of the Viking Heritage Centre which has  been so successful for national and international tourism and for the status of the Liberties in Dublin.
Mr. 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.
Mr. G. 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.
Mr. G. 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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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: 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. 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?
Mr. 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.
Mr. M. 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?
Mr. 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: 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?
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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?
Mr. J. 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.
Mr. G. 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.
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