Tuesday, 11 December 1990
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. J. Bruton: Will the Taoiseach give  an assurance that the proposed Government competition legislation will be introduced before the Christmas recess in view of the fact that it would be extremely dangerous for Irish industry and agriculture if the proposed Goodman rescue, which involves rescuing the banks who lend money to Goodman as well, goes ahead because it is based on the making of excessive profits because of lack of competition——
Mr. J. Bruton: In view of the fact that this legislation is now extremely urgent, in view of the proposal to make excessive profits to repay the banks who unwisely lent money to the Goodman Group, this legislation should be introduced not, as the Government have in mind, some time next year but immediately. Otherwise this will be a seven year rip-off of Irish agriculture.
The Taoiseach: I have already indicated that the Government regard this as very important legislation in its own right,  apart from its application to any particular situation. It is major legislation, complex in its substance, and every effort is being made to bring it forward as rapidly as possible, particularly having regard to the drafting difficulties involved. It will be brought forward as quickly as possible in the next session.
Mr. Gilmore: Will the Minister for the Environment confirm newspaper reports this morning that an Environment Protection Agency Bill is to be published today? Secondly, can I have an assurance that the Bill will be circulated to Members before it is released to the public press?
Mr. G. O'Sullivan: In view of the statement in The Cork Examiner this morning by a spokesperson for the Department of the Marine that the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill could be withdrawn, if necessary, for further consultation, can the Minister indicate whether or not he wishes to withdraw the Bill at this stage?
Mr. J. Bruton: Have the Government any intention of presenting their own paper with regard to economic and monetary union, or political union, and, if so, will they allow a discussion on the Government's position on that matter in the House before the paper is presented?
Mr. J. Bruton: Do the Government have any view of their own about economic and monetary union or do they have any view about political union? Are they simply waiting for others to determine the agenda, without shaping the agenda themselves? Have we a Government in so far as Europe is concerned at all?
Mr. Creed: In relation to promised legislation, in view of the continued breach of EC rules by the operations of the district milk boards, when is it intended to publish the text of a national milk agency Bill?
Mr. Gilmore: I would like to try to decipher the Taoiseach's reply to my earlier question. I take from it that the Environment Protection Agency Bill is to be circulated today. I understand that there is to be a press conference held by the Minister for the Environment early this afternoon. Can we know at what hour between now and this afternoon the Bill will be made available to the Members of the House?
Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Will the Taoiseach say what is the significance of the Government yesterday withdrawing the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1990, from the Order of Business for next Friday, after pursuing it vehemently last Friday to at least commence Committee Stage next Friday?
The Taoiseach: I am sorry to have to tell the Deputy that she is misrepresenting the position to the House. Difficulties have arisen because arrangements made and agreed to by the Fine Gael Party for dealing with this legislation were subsequently reneged upon.
Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: On a point of order, the Taoiseach has deliberately misled the House. He has lied to the  House and I am asking him now to withdraw it. The Taoiseach has lied to the House, a Cheann Comhairle.
Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: A Cheann Comhairle, are you insisting that I leave the House for telling the truth? I am stating the truth. I am asking the Taoiseach to withdraw the false allegation he made in the Chamber.
An Ceann Comhairle: I must ask the Deputy again to withdraw the accusation. If you are accusing any Member of this House of being a liar per se, you can only do so by way of positive substantive  motion. You must withdraw the accusation or withdraw from the House.
Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. V. Brady): May I point out that agreement was reached at the Whips' meeting on Thursday morning to take all Stages of the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill on Friday next. On Thursday evening, I was advised by the Fine Gael Chief Whip that Deputy Taylor-Quinn would not agree to that, but agreement had been reached on Thursday morning.
Mr. J. Higgins: The Government Chief Whip and the other Whips meet every week to decide on the Order of Business. Everything suggested for business for the following week is subject to approval and verification subsequently. The Government Chief Whip was told in no uncertain  terms that there was no question of Fine Gael agreeing to all Stages of this very sensitive Bill being taken next week.
Mr. McCormack: Yes. The Minister for the Marine assured me in the House during the Second Stage debate that Committee Stage would not be rushed before Christmas. The Minister assured me of that on Thursday evening.
Mr. S. Barrett: In relation to amendments which I understand are being considered with regard to the Housing Act, will the Minister for the Environment immediately do something about the dreadful problems surrounding the travellers? Something should be done immediately to deal with this issue. If it cannot be dealt with by a local authority on local authority basis, it should be dealt with on a regional basis.
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