Order of Business.

Thursday, 13 February 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 415 No. 7

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The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It is proposed to take Nos. 16 and 17. It is also proposed that any division demanded today shall be postponed until 6.45 p.m. on Wednesday, 19 February 1992.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is the proposal for the postponement of any votes called for to next Wednesday at 6.45 p.m. agreed? Agreed.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I wish to ask the Taoiseach for clarification on two points in regard to the announcement he has just made. Why has no Minister of State been appointed as being responsible for youth affairs, as has been the tradition in the past? Will the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach also be Minister of State at the Department of Defence? The Defence Act requires the appointment of a Minister of State responsible for defence.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The answer to the second question is yes. In answer to the [1698] first question, responsibility for youth affairs is always held by the Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for youth and sport.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Could I ask the Taoiseach——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter should not give rise to debate now. Strictly speaking, the announcement by the Taoiseach in respect of Ministers and Ministers of State was for information purposes only, and no comment or debate is permitted.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  We leave that for the other side.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Could I ask a question then? May I ask the Taoiseach why those important matters were left out of the announcement? I also ask the Taoiseach whether he proposes to make any change in either the content or the priority of the legislative programme circulated to the House by Deputy Haughey.

[1699]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The latter question is in order.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Whips have met and will continue to meet in regard to that. I will be advising the Government Whip of my priorities in regard to legislation and the Whips will convey them as usual to the Opposition.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  When?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Shortly.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I congratulate the new Ministers of State and wish them well in their positions. Will the Taoiseach accept that the continuing strike in RTE, now into its third week, is outrageous? Will the Taoiseach, and his new Minister, concentrate on resolving the strike as quickly as possible?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy has taken some licence. It is strictly not in order now. There are many ways of dealing with the matter in the House.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I regret the Chair was unable to grant the request under Standing Order 30. I accept the Chair's right to make that decision. Will the Taoiseach take an opportunity in the House today or at least ask the Minister for Justice to take an opportunity to explain why the case I referred to was taken by the Attorney General in view of the serious implications that I indicated arise from it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I ruled on the matter, but, in respect of the Deputy's comments, the matter to which Deputy De Rossa referred is sub judice. The case is at present before the High Court. I understand that a decision is expected next week.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  In relation to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Sorry, that must be the end of the matter.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I understood that [1700] arising from what has become known as the O'Malley case, the question of this House being gagged by a sub judice ruling is no longer valid.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy knows full well that matters appertaining to the sub judice rule are at present before the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. Until that committee report and this House decides, the Chair rules on the matters and his rulings stand.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Does the Chair understand the enormous concern felt by every woman in this State and by every parent in respect of this? Without wishing to be disorderly, I want to convey through the Chair to the Government the absolute urgency of conveying some kind of explanation or information to a nation which is simply baffled by what has happened.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sure the Deputy will find an appropriate way of raising the matter but it is not in order now.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I have just raised this matter.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  In view of the fact that the legislation governing the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General dates from 1866 — the Taoiseach, as a former Minister for Finance is au fait with the problems—and amending legislation is on the list for circulation, will the Taoiseach give the matter priority and publish the legislation in the near future?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The legislation will be published this session.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Has the Taoiseach had an opportunity to consider the question of committees of this House? Has he a view on the formation of a foreign affairs committee which we tried to get his predecessor to establish over the past four years?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This issue has been raised so often in the House.

[1701]The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I am sure the Deputy will be delighted to hear I am having a meeting with the new Minister for Foreign Affairs this afternoon on that matter.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  On a point of information, when will the Committee on Procedure and Privileges meet to discuss the issue of the sub judice rule? Is a meeting scheduled for that purpose?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Chair is at the disposal of the House in that regard but Deputies will be anxious to have the view of the Government on the matter when the committee meet.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I welcome the announcement by the Taoiseach with regard to a foreign affairs committee. Having regard to the statements the Taoiseach made at his press conference after he was elected as Leader of Fianna Fáil, when does he propose to communicate to the other parties of this House his precise proposals for open Government as indicated by him?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is a matter for the Whips to discuss.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It impacts on the arrangements of this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It does not arise now, Deputy. I cannot facilitate you.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am asking the Taoiseach to take an opportunity to inform the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I cannot facilitate the Deputy now.

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  In view of the doubtful position of the Minister for Justice on extradition, will the Taoiseach give an assurance that there will not be any delay in the introduction of the extradition Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I assure the Deputy that there is not a question of any doubt [1702] on the part of anybody in this Government in relation to whatever has to be done in regard to changes in legislation. We are all of one mind.

A Deputy:  That is a big change.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In congratulating the new Ministers of State, I would ask the Taoiseach to indicate his plans to introduce a social housing Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Was this Bill promised?

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  A hundred times.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  On St. Valentine's Day last year.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There are serious problems arising from the delay.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  At an early date; as soon as possible.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am calling item No. 16.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  No change.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  Even the former Taoiseach agrees with that type of statement.

Mrs. Barnes: Information on Monica Barnes  Zoom on Monica Barnes  I congratulate the new Ministers of State but I must record the disappointment of women that no effort was made to increase their representation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sure the Deputy will find a more suitable time to comment on that.


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