Order of Business.

Thursday, 30 April 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 418 No. 9

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The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It is proposed to take No. 14. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that:

(1) the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 14 shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. today and the Minister for Finance shall be called on not later than 4.15 p.m. to conclude the debate; (2) the Dáil shall meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m.; (3) the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 15 which shall be taken tomorrow, shall be brought to a conclusion at 12.30 p.m., if not previously concluded and the Minister for State at the Department of Justice shall be called on not later than 12.15 p.m. to reply to the debate and (4) any divisions demanded tomorrow shall be postponed until 6.45 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 May 1992.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  There is no reference in the Order of Business to the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill being taken tomorrow or to Bill business after 12.30 p.m. tomorrow. Was that a mistake?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I respectfully [2126] suggest we deal with the business before us and then we shall deal with any other matters that may arise.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It will be on tomorrow's Order of Business.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  In the light of yesterday's statement by the Attorney General, will the Taoiseach make time available today for statements in the House so that he can clarify the conflicting advice that apparently has been given by the Attorney General and allow the House to comment thereon?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have to deal first with the Order of Business as announced by the Taoiseach. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 14 satisfactory?

Mr. Garland: Information on Roger T. Garland  Zoom on Roger T. Garland  I wish to protest very strongly at the guillotining of the Second Stage debate of the Finance Bill. There are only about four hours left to debate the Bill and there will be very little opportunity for me to speak. I was not allowed to speak on the budget either due to insufficient time being made available. One of the Opposition spokespersons spoke for an hour and a half yesterday, which is much too long.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I take it that the proposal for dealing with No. 14 is agreed? Agreed, with Deputy Garland dissenting. Is the proposal regarding tomorrow's sitting satisfactory? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 15 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for postponed votes tomorrow agreed? Agreed.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  I would like to repeat my request to the Taoiseach to allow time today for statements in the light of the comments made yesterday by the Attorney General and of the apparent conflicting advice he has given at different times to the Government, according to Government statements. Such statements would provide an opportunity for the Taoiseach to clarify the precise position [2127] in relation to the Attorney General and for the House to comment thereon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us not forget that which is in order and that which is not in order on the Order of Business.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  Is is perfectly in order for us to seek time in the House for statements in relation to remarks by a constitutional officer who must be answerable to this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Order of Business deals primarily with legislation promised.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Has the Taoiseach no answer?

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  In relation to legislation published yesterday, the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992, may I ask the Taoiseach if it is the Government's intention to publish an explanatory memorandum?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Everybody is only too well aware of what the Bill is about, but if there is a necessity for further explanation we will be only too glad to supply it.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  As I understand it, it is normal to publish an Explanatory Memorandum. Perhaps the Taoiseach could give some clarification as to why in this Bill the wording is quite different from that used in the Single European Act and at the time we joined the EC, particularly as the Bill refers to bodies competent under the Treaties. Will the Taoiseach clarify whether we are talking about new bodies other than the institutions of the Community? For example, are we referring particularly to the European Central Bank or the Western European Union?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Aspects of detail do not arise now. There will be ample time for that.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  It would save trouble if the Taoiseach clarified these matters now [2128] rather than leaving them until next week's debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There is surely another way of dealing with the matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  We will provide an Explanatory Memorandum if that is necessary.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Will it refer to the Western European Union?

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Will the Taoiseach indicate what steps the Government propose to take to ensure that the postal services do not come to a complete stop?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sure the Deputy will find a more suitable opportunity for raising this important matter. It does not arise now.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I do not expect to have the opportunity to put this question to the Taoiseach later.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The House dealt with this matter earlier this week.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I appreciate that a Cheann Comhairle, but in view of the fact that since that debate An Post have suspended 500 employees and have effectively locked them out——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy has made his point; the matter is not in order now.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  It seems that An Post are clearly bent on creating a crisis.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy must desist from making further references to the matter.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Could the Taoiseach indicate what steps the Government propose to take to resolve this issue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy De [2129] Rossa is persisting despite the ruling of the Chair.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Have we to wait for the Attorney General to make a statement?

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  I have been asking patiently in this House about the promised legislation on the powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General. I know the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and the Chief Whip have taken a personal interest in this matter. Will the Taoiseach say when the Government intend to publish this legislation because I have been asking for a long time to have this legislation published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The legislation will be available shortly and it will be taken in this session.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  In the list of legislation to be published shortly there is an indication that, finally, the Bill enabling decent compensation to be paid to the workers of the former Irish Shipping Company Limited — who were so shamefully abandoned by successive Governments since the collapse of that company — will be taken. May I ask the Taoiseach when this Bill will be published and when the House will be allowed to debate it? Will he give us an assurance that it will be given priority so that this long-standing scandalous situation will be rectified without further delay?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  This item is with the parliamentary draftsman for drafting.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  A Cheann Comhairle, may I ask——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy tends to argue his case and that is not in order.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  I accept the Taoiseach's answer that the Bill is with the parliamentary draftsman, but may I ask if he will give priority to bringing this [2130] legislation forward so that it will not be unduly delayed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy has made his point quite effectively.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Will the Taoiseach give this matter priority?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It will be discussed by the Whips.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  How does the Taoiseach propose to have the short guide to the Maastricht Treaty distributed to every household before the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty? Given the central role of An Post in this matter, will the Taoiseach use his position to bring both parties in the dispute together in order to have it resolved?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Ryan is circumventing the ruling of the Chair in this matter.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is a very important issue.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  May I ask the Taoiseach if the Government intend to take action to validate the mortgage protection policies of members of the Defence Forces?

Minister for Defence (Mr. Wilsom): Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  It has already been done. I was ahead of the Deputy.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  May I take it from the Taoiseach's indication of response — if I might call it that — that an Explanatory Memorandum will be published in advance of the debate next Tuesday and that it will identify the bodies competent under the Treaty as mentioned in the Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Members will have the Explanatory Memorandum in their hands before Tuesday.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  Will the Minister for Agriculture and Food be making a statement to this House on the reform of the [2131] Common Agricultural Policy talks which are taking place this week?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This should be dealt with in another way.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  In times gone by statements were made.


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