Order of Business.

Tuesday, 4 February 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 415 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is proposed to take Item No. 12. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that: (1) Questions for oral answers shall not be taken on Thursday next; (2) Questions shall not be taken next week.

Private Members' Business shall be Item No. 33, motion 6.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is the proposal in respect of (1) and (2) for dealing with Questions on Thursday next and next week agreed?

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  It is most unfortunate that Dáil business has to be interrupted in this way because of internal problems in the Fianna Fáil Party. It should have been possible to have had the Fianna Fáil internal matters resolved without interrupting the Dáil.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  The position of The Workers' Party, as conveyed to the Government Whip, is that we can see no reason why Questions for oral reply have to be suspended next Thursday. Two reasons were advanced to me for this. One suggested that there would be a meeting of the parliamentary party and [881] the other was that the Minister might be involved in canvassing. Those reasons should not interfere with the proper conduct of the business of this House. Questions have already been tabled and if the Minister has pressing matters to attend to I do not see that there is any reason why the Minister of State could not deal with the Questions and impart the information to which we are entitled. For those reasons we object strenuously to what is proposed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I take it the Deputy is opposing the proposal in respect of (1) and (2)?

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Only in respect of proposal (1). I understand why there are no Questions next week and I accept that.

Mr. Garland: Information on Roger T. Garland  Zoom on Roger T. Garland  As a matter of courtesy to me and the other Independents, would the Taoiseach explain the reason for these two items on the Order Paper because it is not apparent to me?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It is a bit silly to make a song and dance about the postponment of Questions for one day. This House has given adequate time to Questions. This is a one-off situation.

Mr. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I would not be too sure about that. Look at those fellows over there. They are enjoying it. They may get a taste for it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The Deputies opposite might be sufficiently co-operative to agree to this very simple, non earthshaking change in our rules for one very special occasion.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Taoiseach not agree that for today's purposes, all we need to do is make a decision with regard to whether Questions are taken on Thursday and the following Tuesday? Would the Taoiseach agree that there is no need to make a decision at this stage as to whether Questions will be taken on next Wednesday or the following Thursday?

[882]The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I agree there is no particular need to make the stipulation about Questions next week, but I understood it was agreed between the Whips. The idea there was that next week the House would wish to have plenty of time to discuss at length the very important motions that will be coming before it and it was on that basis that it was suggested Questions would not be taken next week. I accept the reasonableness of Deputy Bruton's proposal, if he is not agreeing to this, although I understood he was. If the Deputy is not agreeing to it there is no need to make a decision now.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It is fair to say there is a certain degree of disagreement in the House about the matter. The sensible thing to do would be to simply agree that we will not take Questions on Thursday and next Tuesday and that we will leave the decision as to the following Wednesday and Thursday for decision at a later time.

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Shall I put the question in respect of (1)?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  As amended. The Taoiseach has agreed to my suggestion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have to put the question to the House, that Questions for oral answer shall not be taken on Thursday next. Is that agreed? Agreed.

With regard to Questions next week, the proposal, that Questions shall not be taken next week is before me. Is there any amendment to that?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I wish to amend the Order of Business and to withdraw the proposal in (2) as regards the taking of Questions next week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is that satisfactory?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Agreed.

[883]Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  On the Order of Business, have the Government made a statement or do they intend making a statement in relation to the failure of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to rule out unequivocally the possibility of the Conservative Party talking to the unionists in relation to a Government after the next British election? The matter was raised in this House last week. Have the Government made any statement on this?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It may have been raised, but it is hardly a matter for the Order of Business.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  It is a very important matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  It would not be wise of me to give any reply to the Deputy on the basis of newspaper reports. My understanding of the situation is that that suggestion has been rather vehemently denied.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  On the Order of Business, in view of the statement over the weekend from members of the Progressive Democrats can the Taoiseach say if the Roads Bill is proceeding at Second Stage as it was introduced in this House, or is it being withdrawn for amendment?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I must give the same reply to Deputy Howlin which I gave to his party leader. It would be most unwise of me to make any decisions on the basis of newspaper reports. There is a propensity these days, I am afraid, for Members of this House to speak rather wildly and loosely to the newspapers.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  It is the only place we can get any information.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Business will be ordered by the Government in the normal way and any suggestions as to amendments to legislation or to the legislative programme will be brought before this House. I would strongly recommend to the Deputy that he does not pay the [884] slightest attention to these vaporous reports he reads in the newspapers.


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