Tuesday, 18 February 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
It is also proposed that Statements on yesterday's High Court ruling on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution shall be made now under Standing Order 41 and that, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the speech of each Member called on shall be confined to ten minutes.
Mr. J. Bruton: I am not happy with that proposal because it does not allow for a reply by the Government speaker to points made by other Members. May I ask whether the Government would agree, in the exceptional and serious case with which we are now dealing, that provision be made, by agreement in the House now, to allow the Government speaker, at the end of the discussion, to reply to such points warranting reply as may be made by other speakers?
Mr. J. Bruton: This is simply in regard to the proposed Order of Business. I am asking the Taoiseach whether he would agree to allow a reply by the Government speaker at the end of those Statements. If that is agreed I will have no problem agreeing to this proposal.
Proinsias De Rossa: A Cheann Comhairle, before the Taoiseach replies, I want to indicate that I wish to raise a matter in relation to the same issue. When the initial proposal was made at the Whips' meeting I understood the Taoiseach would take some minutes to reply to the Statements. Subsequently we were told that that would not be the case because it would constitute a breach of precedent. In response to that we said we would  agree to the current proposal if the Taoiseach would agree to have a general debate of a number of hours duration so that Members other than party spokespersons, would be afforded an opportunity to contribute. I imagine virtually every Deputy would have something to say on this issue. We were then informed that that course of action would not be possible either.
Therefore, before agreeing to this proposal, I ask the Taoiseach to allow a general debate some time soon on this issue because ten minute statements on the part of each party in the House is not an adequate way in which to deal with what is a very fundamental constitutional issue.
Mrs. Fennell: A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order, I accept I am only an ordinary Deputy but I happen to be a woman ordinary Deputy. Therefore, I want to make a protest about the brevity of these proposed Statements which does not allow any woman or indeed fair-minded man in this House who wants to contribute to speak about this issue. I contend we should have a broader debate, not restricted to a mere ten minutes on the part of each Member conributing.
Browne, John (Wexford).
Burke, Raphael P.
de Valera, Síle.
Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
Haughey, Charles J.
Kitt, Michael P.
Noonan, Michael J.
O'Malley, Desmond J.
O'Toole, Martin Joe.
Wilson, John P.
Belton, Louis J.
Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
Creed, Michael. FitzGerald, Garret.
Mac Giolla, Tomás.
De Rossa, Proinsias.
Enright, Thomas W.
Farrelly, John V.
Finucane, Michael. Mitchell, Jim.
Sheehan, Patrick J.
Proinsias De Rossa: ——which requires a thorough debate in this House. I am simply asking the Taoiseach if he will indicate his willingness to have such a debate so that people in this House, other than people spokespersons or Leaders, will have an opportunity to express their views.
Mr. McCartan: In regard to the promise contained in the Joint Programme for Government under the heading “Extradition”, may I ask the Taoiseach when the legislation to introduce the interim measure, which has been promised since last October, will be introduced and brought before the House?
Mrs. Fennell: Like Deputy De Rossa, I would like once again to make the point that we should not be restricted to a 20 minute debate in this House on this issue given that it is a topic for discussion in every pub, club and home in the country
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