Order of Business.

Wednesday, 27 February 1991

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 405 No. 7

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The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take Nos. 13, 14 and 15.

It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House, that: (1) Business shall be interrupted at 10.30 p.m.; (2) the proceedings on Committee Stage of No. 13 and No. 14 and Committee and remaining Stages of No. 15, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. respectively, by one question in each case which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down by the member of the Government in charge of the Bill.

Private Members' Business which shall be No. 22 shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is the interruption of business at 10.30 this evening agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with Nos. 13, 14 and 15 agreed?

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  In relation to this item, The Workers' Party Whip has indicated to all the other parties in the House that we are not satisfied to have a guillotine particularly having regard to such a short period of time given to item No. 13, the Radiological Protection Bill. There have been 68 amendments in all to this Bill and only about 14 have been dealt with. We believe it is important that more time be given to deal with the remaining amendments. We are, therefore, proposing an amendment to the Order of [1739] Business to allow the debate on Committee Stage to continue to 7 p.m. tonight. I, therefore, propose that items Nos. 14 and 15 be deleted from paragraph (2) of the Order of Business and that the guillotine on No. 13 be extended to 7 p.m. tonight.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am putting the question “That the proposals for dealing with Nos. 13, 14 and 15 be agreed to.”

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Vótáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Will the Deputies who are claiming a division please rise in their places?

Deputies Byrne, De Rossa, Gilmore, McCartan, Mac Giolla, Rabbitte and Sherlock rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  As fewer than ten Deputies have risen, I declare the question carried. The names of the Deputies who claimed a division will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Taoiseach be agreeable to provide time for a debate in the House on the progress of the Brooke talks in view of the fact that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has stated that one of the complications right through this process has been that the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs has been going around the world and it is rather difficult, obviously, to make contact for consequential discussions? Would the Taoiseach agree that, in that context, it might be worthwhile asking another Minister to take full-time responsibility to ensure success in these talks?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter referred to by the Deputy is not one for the Order of Business and he knows that.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I did ask, Sir——

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I wish to completely reject that totally unworthy suggestion by [1740] Deputy Bruton. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has given assiduous, diligent attention to this matter at all times.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Sir, I was quoting directly from the words of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This should not lead to argument.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  ——who has stated that one of the complications right through this process has been that Deputy Collins has been going around the world.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy Bruton, this should not lead to disorder or argument at this stage.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  This issue is important.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  It is serious.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It should not be complicated by the absence of the Minister responsible.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Bruton must restrain himself.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  May I inquire from the Taoiseach if the Government are bringing in reforming legislation in relation to defamation and libel as promised in the Programme for Government?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I will look into the latest position and inform the Deputy.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  May I ask the Taoiseach, yet again, if he will indicate whether he is prepared to have a debate in this House on the situation in the Gulf, particularly in light of recent developments? The Whips will be meeting this morning to discuss the business for next week and it would be appropriate if the Taoiseach would indicate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Whips may discuss the matter but it is not in order now and the Deputy knows that full well.

[1741]Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  ——if he is prepared to allow Government time for this debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy ought not to persist in raising this matter which I have declared out of order so often.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I must persist in raising it because it is a matter which the Dáil should discuss.

A Deputy:  Air time.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  I want to thank the Taoiseach, and his office, for conveying to me information in regard to the proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Acts arising out of the recent court decision to which I referred yesterday and the promise made by the Minister for the Environment. However, in view of the uncertainty and unsatisfactory basis upon which the Order of Business is being conducted in regard to promised legislation, I invite the Taoiseach to put on the record of the House the information which has been conveyed to me so that——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy McCartan, if you feel there is something fundamentally wrong with the manner in which the Order of Business is dealt with in this House you have a remedy.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is a reflection upon the Chair which I cannot accept.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  It is a matter which will be raised and dealt with by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is the proper place for it, Deputy.

[1742]Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  I have no doubt you are aware of what happened yesterday in your absence on the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am very well aware of it; I listened to it.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  I am merely asking the Taoiseach if he will put on the record of the House the position in regard to the proposed legislation to amend the Road Traffic Acts in light of the recent decision.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I have no intention whatever of departing from the time honcured procedures in regard to this matter whereby when Deputies raise questions here seeking information that information is conveyed to them by my office courteously and expeditiously. That is what happened in this case. It is completely unworthy of Deputy McCartan to suggest that that process should in any way be changed. It is a reflection on the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Richard Bruton has been offering.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  May I ask the Taoiseach if, on grounds of public health and bearing in mind the increase in sexually transmitted diseases he would consider making time available in the House for a debate on amendments to the Family Planning Act which are long overdue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy must pursue that matter in another way. Deputy John Bruton has been offering.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I am heartened by the Taoiseach's reference to the expedition of replies from his office. I am interested to know if he is yet in a position to reply to the letter I wrote to him about the establishment of a foreign affairs committee and a crime committee.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Not quite.

[1743]Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Perhaps the Taoiseach will bring all his resources of courtesy and expedition to bear on this matter.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  Deputy Bruton asked the Taoiseach if he would allow time for a debate in this House on the progress of the Brooke talks in view of the difficulties involved. The Taoiseach said that the Minister for Foreign Affairs was dealing adequately with this issue. Does the Taoiseach consider — I have difficulty with this — that the portfolio in relation to Northern Ireland affairs should appropriately rest with the Minister for Foreign Affairs?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have already ruled on that matter, Deputy Harte. It cannot be raised now.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  When Deputy Barry was Foreign Minister in the Government which Deputy Harte loyally supported that position obtained.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  One would not compare Deputy Barry with Deputy Collins.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Deputy Barry had——

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Deputy Barry was not a globe trotter.

Mr. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  That was no fault of mine.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This matter cannot be pursued now. I am sure Deputy Harte will find another way of raising the matter.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I rise simply to point out to the Taoiseach and you that the reason Deputy McCartan raised the issue of promised legislation was to establish the rights of Deputies to ask these questions on the Order of Business and get replies on the Order of Business.

[1744]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy, let us not pursue that matter now.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  In view of the steps which will shortly be taken in Brussels in regard to agricultural policy, may I ask the Taoiseach if he will now follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Deputy Garret FitzGerald, who in 1983 toured European capital cities to get support for the Irish agricultural industry?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Sheehan may raise that in another way.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There are many ways open to Members to raise matters in this House.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  The Taoiseach is anxious to reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There are now 13 opportunities for Members to raise specific matters on the Adjournment each appropriate sitting day or by way of questions or motions, as the case may be and Deputies should avail of these.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  This appertains to the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Sheehan, you will now resume your seat.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  This question appertains to the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Sheehan, I ask you a second time to resume your seat.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There is a final proposal on the Order of Business which I did not put to the House by reason of the question being put, that Private Members' Business be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. this evening. Is that satisfactory? Agreed.


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