Thursday, 30 April 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
(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: 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?
Mr. 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: 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: 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  in relation to the Attorney General and for the House to comment thereon.
Mr. 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?
Mr. 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?
Mr. G. 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?
Mr. 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?
Mr. 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  legislation forward so that it will not be unduly delayed.
Mr. 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?
Mr. 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?
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