Wednesday, 20 March 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 13 and 14. 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 the Second Stage of No. 13, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 5 p.m. and the Minister for Social Welfare shall be called on not later than 4.30 p.m. to conclude the debate and (3) Private Members' Business shall be No. 31, Motion 50. The opening speech and the speech in reply shall not exceed 20 minutes and ten minutes respectively and the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. today.
Mr. Garland: I would like to take this opportunity to oppose the Order of Business for today. This is a protest against the failure by the Government to advance environmental legislation in this House.
An Ceann Comhairle: No, not now. I take it that the proposal for the late sitting is agreed. Agreed. Are the arrangements for dealing with No. 13 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' Business satisfactory? Agreed.
Mr. J. Bruton: In respect of promised legislation will the Taoiseach ensure that the proposed education Bill will deal definitively with the problem of responsibility for young offenders, in view of the fact that judges are repeatedly indicating that young people who are a danger to the community have to be released because of the lack of a secure place to keep them?
Mr. J. Bruton: Without becoming contentious I would ask the Taoiseach, in view of the fact that this is a serious social problem and that there are three Ministers involved, to exercise his own interest and have the matter dealt with quickly.
Mr. Spring: In view of the fact that this House is due to rise on Friday, and of the alarming remarks made by the president of the Bundesbank yesterday, and of the obvious concern on all sides of the House in relation to the development of European affairs, will an opportunity be provided in this House to debate these matters before we rise?
Mr. Allen: May I ask the Taoiseach when he intends to introduce legislation enabling the free port of Cork to compete with Shannon and the Dublin finance centre? As we have seen this morning, the Cork free port has been described as a white elephant. Without the necessary financial incentives, equivalent to Shannon and Dublin, it will not develop.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I was looking for clarification as to whether legislation was promised in this regard but it now appears it was not promised to the people of Cork. I want to raise an issue with the Taoiseach in the light of the request by Deputy Spring for a debate on European union and the fact that the Taoiseach is not prepared to facilitate that request. I would like the Taoiseach to establish, as a matter of urgency, what is Government policy on this issue and will he confirm that a White Paper will be issued setting out that policy?
Mr. McCartan: I would like to ask the Taoiseach in respect of two pieces of promised legislation what stage they are at and when they are likely to be circulated. The first relates to the promised establishment of legal aid on a statutory basis and the second relates to the long overdue amendment of the Solicitors Acts. This legislation has been promised for two and a half years.
Mr. McCartan: Accepting that there are only two or three days left in this session, the Taoiseach's response does not take me by surprise. What stage are they at and when is it likely that they will be published?
Mr. G. Mitchell: I do not know whether it is open to me not to agree to the Order of Business. I have been very orderly in seeking to raise item No.1, the Second Interim Report of the Committee of Public Accounts on the Appropriation Accounts, 1987 but the House has not taken account of this report even though the matter has been on the Order Paper for a considerable time. I give notice, Sir, that I will have to try to raise this matter in another way, by not agreeing to the Order of Business or in some other manner, if the Whips do not soon come up with some timetable dealing with it.
The Taoiseach: Sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, the matter was discussed by the Whips, it could not be accommodated before the end of this session but I will have another word with them in deference to the Deputy's excellent, exemplary parliamentary behaviour.
Mr. J. Bruton: The House should not treat the condition of roads with levity as it is extremely serious. In that context — and in the context of promised legislation — have the Government plans to make an order, promised under the Civil Liability Act, to accept responsibility for damage to vehicles on roads, given that the Dáil has approved acceptance of such responsibility?
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