Wednesday, 27 February 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
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.
Proinsias 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  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: 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: 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?
The Taoiseach: I wish to completely reject that totally unworthy suggestion by  Deputy Bruton. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has given assiduous, diligent attention to this matter at all times.
Proinsias 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——
Mr. 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——
Mr. 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: 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.
Mr. R. 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?
Mr. J. 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.
Mr. 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?
Proinsias 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.
Mr. 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: 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.
An Ceann Comhairle: 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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