Thursday, 24 October 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
Tomás Mac Giolla: In regard to the adjournment of the House until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday next, I suggest it would be appropriate that we adjourn until 12 noon on Wednesday in order to begin two and a half hours earlier.
Mr. Garland: I am pleased to know we will be sitting on Friday next because we have a lot of work to get through this session. I support the proposal to commence business at 12 noon on Wednesday next.
Mr. J. Bruton: In view of the fact that apparently the Central Bank did not supply information to the High Court inspectors and claimed that they had legal authority so to do, and in view of the fact that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has indicated that the law in question has to be changed, can the Taoiseach indicate when, and by what Minister, the proposal will come to change the law to ensure that High Court inspectors appointed to examine the Greencore, or indeed any other, case will have access to information in the hands of the Central Bank as well as all other official agencies?
Mr. J. Bruton: May I submit to you, Sir, with respect, that this is promised legislation although admittedly the Minister did not have an opportunity to promise it in the House yesterday. It is promised legislation on the part of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I should like to know what are the intentions of the Government in regard to that matter, one of considerable urgency.
The Taoiseach: What the Minister for Industry and Commerce said yesterday was that if legislation was needed it would be introduced. I want to assure the House that the Government will make sure that these inspectors are facilitated in every possible way, and that there will be no restriction of any kind put on them.
Mr. J. Bruton: Very briefly — and I appreciate the latitude you are allowing me, Sir — the Minister for Industry and Commerce said that if the Central Bank's refusal to supply this information to the Greencore inspectors was statutory then legislation would have to be introduced. May I inquire why it is that apparently the Government do not know at this stage whether the Central Bank's refusal was or was not statutory. Surely that is a determinable fact that the Government ought now to know and, therefore, be in a position to decide now whether legislation is necessary.
The Taoiseach: It is a technical, legal matter whether legislation will be required. My own view is that it will not be required, but whether it is or not I assure the House again that the inspectors appointed by the Minister will be given every necessary authority and facility to carry out their job thoroughly and completely.
Mr. J. Bruton: This is not a question. If such legislation is deemed to be necessary — and I hope the Government can decide on that within the next 24 hours — my party will sit on any day necessary to ensure that that legislation is put through the House quickly.
Mr. J. Bruton: I am surprised that the Taoiseach is so unaware of what is happening in this country not to realise that this is National Rose Week. Obviously he had the window of his car closed when he came through the gates of Leinster House this morning——
Mr. Spring: I can understand the lack of awareness on the part of the Taoiseach. Obviously he is more concerned at present with the passing of the baton. On Wednesday the Taoiseach said in this House that the Government were considering whether the Minister for Finance would be instructing his representative at the meeting of Greencore next week to ascertain whether they had confidence in the board of Greencore. Have the Government considered that matter and taken a decision?
Tomás Mac Giolla: In regard to the inspectors' report and the issue of the Central Bank — I do not know whether  the Taoiseach is confused about banks — but is the Minister for Finance exempted under this regulation? Has the Minister for Finance sought the information from the Central Bank?
The Taoiseach: This is getting into detailed argument. The Minister for Finance has powers to direct the Central Bank. That direction has been given. That is what I had in mind when I said that whatever mechanisms are necessary will be availed of to make sure that the inspectors get access to all the information they need.
Mr. Noonan: (Limerick East): There were five separate inquiries promised in this House into Greencore. The two under the remit of the Minister for Industry and Commerce seem to be making significant progress and the internal inquiry ordered by the board of Greencore has reported. What is the position of the two inquiries in which the Minister for Finance is involved, the internal inquiry in Finance and the Revenue Commissioners and the inquiry being conducted by the Central Bank in consultation with the Minister for Finance?
The Taoiseach: We are getting into matters which are more appropriate to  Question Time. The Central Bank report has been submitted to the Minister for Finance. With regard to the Revenue Commissioners, the matter is ongoing.
Mr. Shatter: With regard to various mutterings in the House, which I am sure the Taoiseach ignores as much as I do, and the outbreak of what the Taoiseach might describe as collective Cabinet irresponsibility, will the Taoiseach be moving the Order of Business next Wednesday?
Mr. Howlin: In relation to promised legislation, the programme submitted by the Government indicates a Bill to speed up and amend the planning processes. When can we see the Bill? When will it be published?
Mr. Byrne: Has the Taoiseach had time to consult with Deputy Callely, the chairman of the Eastern Health Board, about the proposed legislation to create a new Dublin regional health authority to replace the Eastern Health Board? When may we expect that legislation to be brought before the House?
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