Wednesday, 28 March 1990
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 6 and 7. It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House, that: business shall be interrupted at 12 midnight; the sitting shall be suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and the proceedings on the Committee Stage of No. 6 if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 5 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 Defence. Private Members' Business shall be No. 20.
An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal for the late sitting to 12 midnight agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that the sitting shall be suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 6 agreed?
Mr. Dukes: The proposals for dealing with No. 6 are not agreed. It is outrageous to shorten discussion on this important Bill in the way proposed here by the Government. There are many matters still to be teased out and I ask the Government to withdraw this provision and to let Committee Stage debate on this Bill continue for as long as is necessary.
The Taoiseach: I regret that the Opposition parties are taking this attitude. The Government have been concerned to give the maximum possible amount of time to this important legislation and we have done that. My calculation is that when we finish Committee Stage this evening something in the region of 26 hours will have been devoted to the legislation.
The Taoiseach: The Opposition are being quite unreasonable on this matter. The debate on the legislation generally has been constructive and I do not see any reason for pushing the timetable to a vote at this stage.
Mr. McCartan: May I take if from what the Taoiseach is saying that if there is a substantial amount of business outstanding at 5 p.m., he will consider, in consultation with the Whip, extending the time to another day? So far we have dealt with seven amendments——
Browne, John (Wexford).
Burke, Raphael P.
Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
de Valera, Síle.
Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
Haughey, Charles J.
Kitt, Michael P.
Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
O'Malley, Desmond J.
O'Toole, Martin Joe.
Wilson, John P.
Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
Deasy, Austin. Harte, Paddy.
Higgins, Michael D.
Mac Giolla, Tomás.
De Rossa, Proinsias.
Enright, Thomas W.
Farrelly, John V.
Gregory, Tony. Nealon, Ted.
Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
Sheehan, Patrick J.
Mr. Dukes: On the Order of Business, Sir, could I ask the Taoiseach if he would confirm to the House a remark attributed to him in the media this morning to the effect that the review of local authority structures, which the Government intend to undertake over the next few months, will not include the question of funding? Would the Taoiseach not agree that any review of local authority structures that does not deal with funding can only be the merest figleaf for their attempt to put off the local elections?
Mr. Spring: I will not make any reference to it, even though I feel very tempted to do so. Some weeks ago, in response to questions from myself and the Leader of the Fine Gael Party, Deputy Dukes, the Taoiseach said he would attempt to provide time for a debate in this House on important matters in regard to Anglo-Irish relations, consequent upon certain far-reaching decisions of the Supreme Court over the past few weeks. May I ask the Taoiseach if the Government have given that request further consideration; if time will be provided, and if it is not possible to provide time during the course of this week, which is the last week of this session, may we have an early debate on the very important matters affecting Anglo-Irish relations as soon as the Dáil resumes?
Mr. Spring: With respect, a Cheann Comhairle, the matter has been raised in this House previously and the Taoiseach gave some indication; I would like to have that clarified now and I think he is willing to do so.
Mrs. Fennell: With your permission, Sir, I wish to raise on the Adjournment the serious situation that exists because of the delays of the Minister for Justice in reappointing the prison visiting committees and the suppression of the Mountjoy Prison report for 1988 because of allegations of strip-searching of female prisoners?
Mr. Noonan: (Limerick East): I would like to ask the Taoiseach when he intends introducing the promised legislation to implement the recommendations of the Gleeson report 31 on office holders' pensions, to which I understand both parties in Government are committed?
The Taoiseach: It is an ongoing saga and there is general agreement that the legislation should be brought forward. Certainly, it will not be this session but we will try to accommodate it next session.
Mr. Garland: With the permission of the Chair. I should like to raise on the Adjournment the almost complete disappearance of sea trout from many of the leading fisheries in Connemara and the possible connection with fin fish farming.
Mr. Stagg: I should like the permission of the Chair to raise on the Adjournment the status and legal basis of the directive issued by the Archbishop of Dublin to the reverend chairmen of the three national schools in Celbridge, County Kldare, which overruled the decisions of the three boards of management of the three schools and which directed parents on which school their children could attend.
Mr. McCartan: I understand that the Chair's office has now clarified that it is in order on the Order of Business to inquire about committees we were promised would be established in the House. I should like to ask the Taoiseach——
Mr. G. Mitchell: I should like the permission of the Chair to raise on the Adjournment reports in this morning's newspapers that Iarnród Éireann have abandoned plans to have a rail connection between Clondalkin and Tallaght.
Mr. Allen: I should like permission to raise on the Adjournment the question of the reopening of the public inquiry on the downstream crossing of the River Lee and the implications it has for infrastructural development in the Cork region.
Mr. Harte: I had a frightening experience yesterday travelling through the British checkpoint at Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, when a soldier trained a rifle on me and read the number plate of my car with his telescopic lens. I brought that matter to the attention of the officer  in charge but I understand it is the practice, a frightening practice. With the permission of the Chair I should like to raise this whole matter on the Adjournment.
Tomás Mac Giolla: The Chair may declare that my question to the Taoiseach is not in order but I should like to put it to him. Am I in order in censuring, upbraiding or chiding the Taoiseach for his failure to respond to correspondence from me in September, in January and on 1 March in relation to the tercentenary of the Battle of the Boyne?
Tomás Mac Giolla: I wonder why the Taoiseach has refused to respond to my communications. I tabled a parliamentary question to the Taoiseach on this matter and he referred it to the Minister for Foreign Affairs who also failed to reply to me.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I have tried everything to get an answer to my questions in regard to that tercentenary. I have written on three occasions to the Taoiseach, I have tabled a parliamentary question to him, but I failed to get a reply from him or the Minister for Foreign Affairs. What am I to do?
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy is dissatisfied with the reply of the Taoiseach or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he has a remedy in the House. He may not engage in disorderly conduct this morning.
Mr. M. Higgins: With the permission of the Chair I should like to raise on the Adjournment a matter that has been the subject of Dáil Questions which I placed in Irish. The Chair has communicated to me that my question in English to the Taoiseach concerning the conflicting reports as to what is in mind for Telefís na Gaeltachta is argumentative. I should like to raise the general matter of the current state of proposals for providing Telefís na Gaeltachta on the Adjournment.
Mr. Moynihan: I should like the permission of the Chair to raise on the Adjournment the concern of the communities of Kenmare, Sneem and Waterville in regard to fish farm development in the Kenmare River.
Mr. Sherlock: With the permission of the Chair I should like to raise on the Adjournment the issue of the undue delay in giving approval to the plans for the improvements at the Patrician Academy in Mallow and the issue of secondary education in the town.
Miss Flaherty: Will the Taoiseach, or the Minister for Social Welfare, say if we are likely to have the occupation and pensions Bill during the recess with a view to having it debated next session, as promised?
Mr. Sheehan: With the permission of the Chair I should like to raise on the Adjournment the famous package announced by the Minister for Agriculture and Food at his press conference on Friday about new schemes of grants for greyhounds, goats and rabbits.
Mr. T. O'Sullivan: I should like to raise on the Adjournment the subject matter of Question No. 59 on yesterday's Order Paper which refers to the strike at the Department of Labour. That strike has resulted in a delay in payments to workers at Barlo, Clonmel, Kerry Fashions and Sunbeam. The mattter is urgent.
Mr. Deasy: The Chair will be aware that since I attempted to raise events in Lithuania yesterday the situation has deteriorated considerably. I should like to ask the Taoiseach if we will have an opportunity over the next couple of days to debate that matter in the House and show some solidarity with the Lithuanian people.
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