Thursday, 13 February 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. J. 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: The answer to the second question is yes. In answer to the  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.
An Ceann Comhairle: 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. J. 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.
The Taoiseach: 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. 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?
Proinsias 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: 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.
An Ceann Comhairle: 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: 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.
Mr. G. 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?
Mr. J. 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?
Mr. 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?
Mr. S. 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: I assure the Deputy that there is not a question of any doubt  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.
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