Order of Business.

Thursday, 25 April 1991

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 407 No. 5

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The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take Nos. 8 and 9. It is also proposed that the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 8 shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. today and the Minister for Finance shall be called on not later than 4.15 p.m. to conclude the debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  May I ask if the proposals for dealing with No. 8 are agreed? Agreed.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  May I ask the Taoiseach, in respect of the business transacted by the House, if he will arrange for the Minister for Labour to convey in person both to the management of the ESB and to the representatives of the ESB workers now on strike, the united will of the House as expressed here last night? Will the Taoiseach agree that under the Constitution it is the responsibility of the Government elected by the Dáil to convey on the Dáil's behalf that expression of opinion face to face, to those involved so they will realise how serious is the common intent of all of us here in the Dáil that this extremely damaging dispute be brought to an immediate end?

[1162]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not particularly in order but, having regard to the national emergency we have to contend with, I hesitate to rule it out.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  That has already been done.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Have the Government conveyed this face to face, across a table to those involved?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I do not think we are in a Star Chamber situation. The message has been conveyed.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I would like to reinforce what has been said, and to request the Minister for Labour to take a personal interest. Over the last number of years the Minister has adopted a high profile, intervening, quite ably, in industrial difficulties. This is probably the biggest challenge to the country, and I urge the Taoiseach to encourage the Minister for Labour to intervene personally. It would appear that with the present deadlock that is absolutely necessary. Certainly the sounds coming out this morning show no progress has been made and I believe it is the duty of the Minister for Labour to personally meet both sides at this stage to try to bring them together.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have allowed this important matter to be adverted to, but I must dissuade my colleagues from attempting to debate the issue.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  We do not intend to debate the issue. It is not something we can debate, but I think it is correct that we should all express our disappointment at the lack of progress and recognise the seriousness of the situation. It is evident that the pressures of the strike are affecting the negotiations and for that reason I would like to repeat the request to the unions to suspend the strike action and call off the pickets during the negotiations, without prejudice, if no result comes from the negotiations. I recognise that the Minister for [1163] Labour does not want to intervene until all the procedures have been gone through, but I hope he is taking a minute by minute interest in the proceedings and trying to hurry them along.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I respect your ruling, Sir, and I will be very brief by way of reply. First, I would like to recall that this House, speaking on behalf of all the people through their elected representatives here, yesterday evening called on the workers to resume normal working to enable the dispute to be resolved. We are all very conscious of the hardship, loss and inconveniences and, indeed, the danger that prevails right through the country affecting all sections of our people and I think we are all convinced that nothing that is at issue in the strike justifies the enormity of what is happening economically, socially and in a humanitarian way throughout the country. I want to assure the House that the Government are in touch with the situation minute by minute. The Minister for Labour in particular, his staff and people in different agencies are all experienced in this area, and all that experience is being brought to bear on this situation and that will continue to be done. The Government, if necessary, are prepared to consider further measures. The strike has been on for the three days now and I hope that some time during the day the message which has been conveyed to all the parties by this House will finally have effect.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Another matter perhaps, Deputy Bruton:

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  In view of what the Taoiseach has just said and this is a personal intervention in this matter which is something new—I agree with everything he said in regard to the responsibility on all concerned, in particular those who have decided to go on strike, to bring that strike to an end. However that agreement in no way mitigates the blame that lies on the Government for their negligence for allowing themselves and the [1164] statutory bodies responsible to them to be caught unawares by this development. However, that is something to be discussed another day and should not in any sense take from the unanimity of this House in calling for a resumption of normal working.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I reject any suggestion of negligence on the part of the Government. I deplore that in spite of the co-operative all-party attitude which prevails in this House Deputy Bruton saw fit to make that remark.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I would hope to end this brief discussion without acrimony.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  On promised legislation, will the Taoiseach indicate when the National Roads Authority Bill will be circulated? This legislation has been promised in three sessions. Will the Taoiseach indicate if there are difficulties in this matter?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I am not quite sure when the legislation will be published but it is in its final stages.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Will it be published this session?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Certainly.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I raise a very simple matter in these serious times. When can we expect the family planning legislation before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Certainly this session; within a matter of weeks.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Will the Minister for the Environment intervene with Cork Corporation in view of the fact that a second householder has now been jailed over the water rates issue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I thought the [1165] Deputy had something relevant to raise at this juncture.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is very relevant. Legislation has been promised since 1985.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore will desist and resume his seat.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am rising on promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  If Deputy Gilmore does not resume his seat he will leave the House.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am asking about promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  No. The Deputy has been engaged in a disorderly manner with the Chair and will resume his seat.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am asking about promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  No, Deputy. You raised another matter.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am asking about promised legislation to repeal the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore, if you persist in this disorderly fashion I will have to insist on your leaving the House.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am asking about promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  If the Deputy does not desist forthwith he will leave the House without hesitation.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Will the Taoiseach indicate when it is proposed to introduce legislation to establish the Temple Bar Property Company?

[1166]The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I mentioned that yesterday. It will be introduced fairly shortly.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  In this session?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Probably in this session.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  In view of reports in this morning's papers that the Exchequer is losing approximately £8 million each year because of our failure to introduce legislation to ratify the European Patents Convention, will the Taoiseach indicate when this long promised legislation will be introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It will not be this session.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Taoiseach accept the figures quoted as to the losses to the economy resulting from the failure to introduce this legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Long and patient years of experience have taught me not to believe everything I read in the newspapers.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Minister for Health was present when it was said and did not contradict it.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  In regard to promised legislation, I want the Chair's advice whether legislation promised at elections is promised legislation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It must be promised in the House.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  Legislation to withdraw the water rates was promised by the Fianna Fáil Party at the last local government election.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will find another way of raising that matter.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  People are being put in jail.

[1167]Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  When is the Minister for Health likely to bring a proposal before the House, at the request of the Commission, in connection with a decision by the Community Ministers for Health to adopt a plan of action in the framework of 1991-93, the Europe Against AIDS Programme? There is a request from the EC and I wonder when the Minister intends to bring it before the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not legislation promised. I am sure the Deputy will pursue it in another way.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  On promised legislation, the Minister for the Environment announced last week the provision of £120 million to fill potholes. Will the Taoiseach tell us if we can take this as something we can read in the papers and believe?

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Sometimes looking over there I long for one great big pot hole into which you would all fall.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Taoiseach did it with some of the people on his own side. That would not stop him doing it to others as well.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  When will the promised Bill on local government be circulated? Will it contain any measures to give effect to the promise made in 1985 by Fianna Fáil to legislate to abolish water charges? Householders would not then be put in jail.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy is seeking to circumvent the ruling of the Chair.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I asked a perfectly orderly question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore is becoming difficult this morning. I must ask him now to restrain himself.

[1168]Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I asked an orderly question about the local government Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore is showing disrespect and disregard for the Chair. He will resume his seat or leave the House.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  A Cheann Comhairle, I asked——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Leave the House, Deputy Gilmore. You will not get away with that trick a second time.

Deputy Gilmore resumed his seat.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Gilmore has been guilty of disorderly behaviour for some considerable time.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  (Carlow-Kilkenny): At a time when the lights are going out all over Ireland, will the Minister for the Environment do something about lunatics driving unlit cars in fog?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Browne will raise that matter elsewhere.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  As we are not to have any reply from the Taoiseach with regard to promised legislation on local government reform as raised by Deputy Gilmore——

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I have dealt with it several times.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Have the Taoiseach or the Minister for the Environment made arrangements for the fine for Mr. Tynan to be paid so that he can be released from prison in Cork?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does the Minister for Justice not consider it a disgrace when this city and other urban areas are afflicted by crime that law abiding house-holders are lodged in jail for non-payment of water charges when this Government promised to abolish such charges?

[1169]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This matter is clearly not in order, as Deputy Rabbitte knows. It is audacious of the Deputy to raise that matter now.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  This Government promised that they would abolish water charges and campaigned on that basis. The major party in Government made that promise, yet in Cork law-abiding citizens are being put in jail because they observe what this Government promised.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Rabbitte, please resume your seat.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  Will the Taoiseach say when it is hoped to introduce the Bill dealing with the Dublin technological colleges?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is hoped to introduce it this session.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am now moving to the next business, item No. 8.

Tomás Mac Giolla: Information on Tomás MacGiolla  Zoom on Tomás MacGiolla  On a point of order—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Sorry, Deputy. I am proceeding to other business now. I will hear the Deputy later, perhaps, if he has a point of order.


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