Tuesday, 22 October 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. J. Bruton: There have been some suggestions over the last few days, upon which some members of the Cabinet have commented publicly, that a reshuffle of the Cabinet is being considered. Could the Taoiseach confirm whether that is the case?
Mr. Spring: May I ask the Taoiseach if before the end of this session he will provide Government time in this House for a discussion on tax reform, a subject that has been mentioned in the Programme for Government and which, I believe, has caused some difficulties between the parties in Government? Could I ask him, in a constructive manner, if time will be provided in this House to discuss a whole range of possibilities for tax reform?
Mr. Spring: It probably does not require legislation but rather than having to wait until the budget to see what evolves from last week's discussions, could we have a short debate in this House on tax reform?
Proinsias De Rossa: I wish to raise two items on the Order of Business. First, the Health (Family Planning) Bill, 1991, Order fo Second Stage, was listed on the draft schedule we received from the Whips last week but it is not on today's  Order Paper. What happened to it? Will it be moved or has it been vetoed yet again? Second, on the Order of Business last week the Taoiseach indicated that he was prepared to have a debate on political and monetary union. Is it intended to have a debate on the two reports we received recently on developments in the European Community? As far as I am aware, we have never had a debate on these reports which were placed before the Oireachtas.
Proinsias De Rossa: My specific question on the Health (Family Planning) Bill was, why it is not on today's Order Paper. I presumed it was listed and that we were ready to move the Order for Second Stage today. May I ask when the Order for Second Stage will be moved so that the Bill can be circulated?
Mr. J. Bruton: The Taoiseach has agreed to a debate on economic and monetary union and in view of the importance and complexity of this matter, would he agree to circulating in advance, perhaps the day before, a draft of the Minister's speech or some written material outlining the main issues so that the debate will be as informed and useful as possible? Would the Taoiseach agree to this as an exceptional measure in view of the importance of this debate?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy will recall that I gave a very full and extensive outline of all the issues involved last July. I am anxious to give as much information as possible to the House but I think it would be taking the House on trust to give a copy of my speech a day in advance. I would gladly do that if I could be assured that this would not be used for base political purposes.
Mr. G. Mitchell: In relation to item No. 2, the final report on the Appropriation Accounts for 1987 from the Committee of Public Accounts, may I  ask the Taoiseach if time will be made available to move the motion this week?
Mrs. Barnes: I note with pleasure that the Bill dealing with the property of married people, which has been on the stocks for centuries, has been included in the Programme for Government. Can we be assured that it will be introduced this session?
Mrs. Barnes: We have been awaiting that decision for years and the legislation should go ahead. Some judges believe that the legislation should emanate from here and not from the courts. I would like that idea to be taken on board.
Mr. Yates: Will the Taoiseach clarify the situation in relation to the legislation necessary to sell the B & I Line? The Government contracted to sell it to the ICG on 16 January and the deal expired legally on 16 August. It was not on the list of legislation promised for this session. Is it proposed to go ahead with the legislation in view of the opposition of the unions? What is the current status of this legislation?
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