Order of Business.

Tuesday, 1 May 1990

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 398 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take Nos. 15, 16 and 17. It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House, that:

(1) Business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m. tonight, and

(2) Items 15 and 16 shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, at 10.30 p.m. by one question and the Minister for Finance shall be called on not later than 10 p.m. to conclude the debate.

Private Members' Business shall be No. 29.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  May I ask if the proposal that business be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m. tonight is agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with items Nos. 15 and 16 agreed? Agreed.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  May I ask the Taoiseach if he would reconsider the Government's position and make some time available in the House to have a debate on the current round of talks under the GATT? I suggest, Sir, that the Taoiseach might come to the conclusion that a number of issues will be of long-term importance to our relationship with the rest of the world and it might be useful for this House to debate those issues before these talks come to a conclusion.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I do not disagree with the Deputy about the importance of the GATT talks but I am just wondering what would be the most appropriate way to bring the matter before the House. I suppose they could have been discussed on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill but that is finishing today. I do not know whether they would be in order under a [152] particular section of the Finance Bill but I will reflect on the matter.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  I recognise that the Taoiseach has an open mind on the issue at this stage but I do not think the Finance Bill would be an entirely appropriate framework for discussing this matter because it covers a wide range of issues. Perhaps the Taoiseach would consider it on the basis that the Government might prepare an outline for this House on what stage the talks have reached now. We could have a useful debate on the basis of the current state of play and get some indication of where the negotiations seem to be heading. That might be a useful job for this House to do.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It might also be a matter for the Whips to decide.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  If the Taoiseach would agree to it the Whips could certainly get down to business.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The Deputy will appreciate that it is a difficult situation because it is ongoing and bargaining positions have been taken up at present by all the parties, the Community, the US, Japan and so on. If we were to debate the matter now we might be very much discussing it in the dark, as it were.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Spring is offering.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  It would be better for us to discuss it in the dark than not to discuss it at all. I think the Taoiseach will agree with me that there are a number of people in this House who are not too bad at negotiating and bargaining from time to time. It would be useful for this House, which is going to have to live with the consequences of these negotiations, to have some input into them at this stage.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  In view of the contradictory statements made by the Ministers for Communications and Industry and Commerce in relation to the proposed sale of Cablelink to Telecom, may [153] I ask whether the Taoiseach would clarify the position? Will he state whether the Government have taken a decision in this matter or whether their decisions will now be subject to a veto by the Minister for Communications?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter to which the Deputy refers is not in order now.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Would the Taoiseach clarify the matter because there is a lot of confusion in the public mind about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There are ways and means of dealing with such matters.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Then, with your permission, Sir, I should like to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will communicate with Deputy Spring in relation to that matter.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  The Taoiseach and the House will be aware it has been announced that Nelson Mandela will be visiting this country early in July, and that there was a proposal by Deputy Spring on a previous occasion that the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas should welcome him here to address them. Would the Taoiseach consider that proposal on this occasion? I think he indicated he was favourably disposed to it the last time it was raised.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Yes, I am at present considering the appropriate form the reception of Nelson Mandela should take. Of course he will be receiving the freedom of the city; what other availability there will be in his programme we are looking into at present.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  But the Taoiseach would not rule out the idea of his addressing both Houses of the Oireachtas?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Perhaps an address to this House. Normally addresses to both Houses of the Oireachtas are reserved [154] for Heads of State. We can talk about that.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  —— or future prime ministers.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Would the Taoiseach without further delay confirm that the necessary steps will be taken to set up an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Crime? I have raised this issue with him on a number of occasions in the past when he indicated he was positively inclined to the establishment of such a committee but yet nothing has happened.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I think that question should be put in another way at another time.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  In view of the fact that the whole concept of a committee on crime, lawlessness and vandalism is my own, I am happy to assure the Deputy that it will certainly be established in this session.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  In this session?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  In this session——

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Bravo, at long last.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  —— if we can have the co-operation of the Fine Gael Party who are quite tardy in matters of this sort.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Is the Taoiseach deliberately trying——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have called Deputy Nealon, Deputy Dukes.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Does the Taoiseach want to have a row on crime, lawlessness and vandalism; he can have one if he wants; it presents no problem at all. I am glad to note that he has finally come to a conclusion on this committee. Now that he has got into the habit, perhaps he might come to a conclusion about the foreign affairs committee he has been considering for the past three years.

[155]Mr. Nealon: Information on Edward Nealon  Zoom on Edward Nealon  In view of the fact that you were unable to accept my Private Notice Question, Sir, I should like to raise on the Adjournment the reprimanding of Army officers who are drafting a constitution for an officers' representative body at the request of the Minister for Defence.

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

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  May I join with Deputy Nealon in this regard — I too sought to raise this matter by way of Private Notice Question — and ask whether there would be agreement to share the time allocated to discuss this very important matter, to ensure that the Minister for Defence will get back on the rails——

Minister for Defence (Mr. Lenihan): Information on Brian Lenihan Snr.  Zoom on Brian Lenihan Snr.  The Minister is very much on the rails, the Deputy need not worry.

Mr. Mc Cartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  ——by way of his assuring this House that a representative association would be established.

(Interruptions.)

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

Mr. Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I should like to raise on the Adjournment the feeling of abandonment felt by inner city communities living in constant fear of crime in parts of the south inner city area, and to ask the Minister for Justice what plans he has to reverse these crime trends and policing practices particularly in Dublin inner city areas.

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

Mr. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I too should like to raise on the Adjournment the issue of the disciplining of Army officers. I, too, had submitted a Private Notice Question and know I have the unanimous support [156] of this side of the House to have a debate on the matter this evening.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Are these declarations in celebration of the new addition?

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Did my friend, De Courcy Ireland acquiesce in this major proposal?

(Interruptions.)

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  With your permission, Sir, I might raise on the Adjournment the failure to develop community radio in Ireland, particularly in north-east Dublin, despite Government assurances when this legislation was being passed by the House, that community radio would be developed in tandem with commercial radio.

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

Mr. Garland: Information on Roger T. Garland  Zoom on Roger T. Garland  With your permission, Sir, I should like to raise on the Adjournment the failure on the part of the Department of the Marine to deal adequately with reasonable requests for information about fin fish farming licences sought by the north-west Connemara Fish Farm Watch Group.

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

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  Would the Taoiseach say whether there has been any attention given to the preparation of the special legislation required to update the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986, which has been needed for the past three years and promised in reply to a parliamentary question I tabled on 30 January last? Such legislation would allow approximately 2,000 or 3,000 people who have applied for Irish citizenship have their citizenship registered. [157] The House will be aware that in 1987 the then Attorney General required an amendment of the existing legislation. In view of the feeling prevalent about South Africa and so on — since there are approximately 2,000 applications for Irish citizenship from South Africa outstanding — perhaps the Taoiseach would investigate the matter.

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

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  Promised on 30 January last.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I do not think legislation has been promised, a Cheann Comhairle but, out of an excess of courtesy, I can tell the Deputy the matter is at present being considered.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  (Carlow-Kilkenny): With your permission, Sir, I should like to raise on the Adjournment the switching of the bus schedule from Hacketstown to Dublin to Friday thus depriving old age pensioners eligible for free travel of their right to do so because that is the only day on which they cannot use it.

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

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  In the last two sessions of the Dáil the Taoiseach gave me solemn assurances that we would be taking the amending legislation vis-à-vis the Clinical Trials Act. We have not seen this amending legislation introduced to date. Would the Taoiseach now say when it will be introduced? Will he give the House a commitment that it will be completed in this session?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  This session.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Another solemn one.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  In view of the fact that the Minister for Justice is in breach of the Prisons Act, 1925, with regard to the appointment of visiting committees to prisons, I should like to raise this matter [158] on the Adjournment, with your permission, Sir.

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

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Would the Taoiseach say when the Government propose bringing forward the motion which will confirm the order of the Government to postpone the local government elections from this year to June 1991?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is an order; it is not legislation.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Then, by way of resolution of the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I suggest this matter could be raised by way of question.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I would suggest that all over Eastern Europe people are now learning to answer those questions. Perhaps the Taoiseach might be able to answer this also.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  There is nobody to whom that lesson should be more appropriate than the members of the Labour Party. I can tell Deputies that it will be brought before the House in plenty of time.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  With your permission, Sir, may I raise on the Adjournment the implications — on the basis of information available to me — of the Taoiseach's intervention, at the behest of the chairman of Telecom Éireann, to overrule the decision of the Minister for Communications to dispose of Cablelink to Pac-Tel and the clear intention to privatise the combined Telecom-Cablelink operation?

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

Mr. Boylan: Information on Andrew Boylan  Zoom on Andrew Boylan  I seek clarification on a [159] very important issue. In this House on Thursday last the Tánaiste clearly indicated that the application for the extension of the severely handicapped areas had been lodged in Brussels. Over the weekend a senior official of the Department of Agriculture and Food told me categorically that no application, as such, had been lodged in Brussels. Perhaps the Minister for Agriculture and Food would clarify this very important issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There are ways and means of seeking clarification, Deputy, and this is not the time to do so.

Mr. Boylan: Information on Andrew Boylan  Zoom on Andrew Boylan  This was a statement made by the Tánaiste in the House. I must now ask if that statement was correct or if it was made without foundation. Was the House misled?

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  The Deputy will be disappointed with the clarification when it comes; he will not want to hear it.

Mr. Boylan: Information on Andrew Boylan  Zoom on Andrew Boylan  Was there an application lodged in Brussels? I am asking the Minister if the relevant application was lodged in Brussels. I think we can take it from the Minister's silence that the House was misled.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Order, please.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  With your permission, Sir, I should like to raise on the Adjournment with the Minister for Industry and Commerce the difficulties being experienced by consumers in getting insurance cover at a reasonable cost.

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

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  A Cheann Comhairle, may I seek your permission to raise on the Adjournment the question of the Tipperary Rural and Business Development Institute proposals which have been lodged with the Minister for Education for some time past? I should like to have [160] information on the reason for the delay in their approval.

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

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  I seek leave to raise on the Adjournment the laying off of 45 temporary staff at FÁS at the end of April at various centres throughout the country resulting in 500 people on training courses having their courses suspended.

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

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Would the Taoiseach outline what is the position of anglers who go out to fish with the mayfly today given that there is no amending legislation before the House? Will they be fishing legally or illegally?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The position of any angler going out today to fish is idyllic.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am proceeding to deal with the Finance Bill——

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  We are aware of that; what I am talking about is the legal position.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sorry, Deputy, but the matter is not in order now.

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Will the Taoiseach indicate what the position is? This is a serious matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Finance Bill, 1990, Second Stage resumed.

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  When is the Taoiseach going to be in a position to bring amending legislation before the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We are resuming on items Nos. 15 and 16.

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  A Cheann Comhairle——

[161]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have called the next business, Deputy.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  If you are caught fishing, you can say you are going to the Dáil.


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