Tuesday, 19 May 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that: (1) No. 6 shall be decided without debate; (2) The proceedings on the Report and Final Stages of No. 13, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. by one Question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall in relation to amendments, include only amendment set down by the Minister for Finance; and (3) The Divisions on Votes 33, 36 and 37 which were deferred on 14 May in accordance with Standing Order 127, shall be taken at 8.30 p.m. tomorrow and shall be decided by one Question.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is the proposal that No. 6 be decided without debate agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 13 agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for deferring the division on Votes 33, 36 and 37 agreed? Agreed.
Mr. J. Bruton: In the Joint Programme for Government the parties promised  legislation for the better regulation of those offering investment services. In view of the fact that a number of people have lost almost all their savings as a result of the collapse of one investment service operator in recent times, when will this important legislation be introduced?
The Taoiseach: A report was compiled and full consultation took place between the Departments and the industry concerned to find the most appropriate way to deal with this matter. The Minister for Finance is considering that aspect and will bring forward his proposals in due course.
Mr. J. Bruton: As investment service operators are continuing in an unregulated fashion and there is obviously a danger of another collapse, has the Taoiseach set any precise time frame for the conclusion of this matter and when will legislation be introduced?
The Taoiseach: It is a complex area. Some investment managers are insurance brokers and there are many other complexities. The Central Bank is also involved. It is a question of finding the most appropriate framework. The matter is urgent, but in the meantime it is appropriate for all of us to bring the public's attention to the fact that it is their decision as to where they invest money and they should satisfy themselves that they are investing with the most appropriate institutions.
Mr. Spring: I seek clarification in relation to promised legislation. The first item to which I refer is the Health (Family Planning) Bill, 1991. Has a new Bill been agreed by the Government and will it be introduced this session? I refer, secondly, to the commitment given by the diplomatic service in Europe last week in relation to the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, and the necessity for its amendment. Has that matter been agreed by Government and can we expect legislation this session? Can the  Taoiseach indicate when the long overdue White Paper on divorce will be produced by the Government and whether it will be in this session?
The Taoiseach: The Minister for Justice is working on that proposal. With regard to family planning legislation, the Minister for Health will bring forward his own proposals in due course, hopefully during this session.
Proinsias Dr Rossa: In view of the Taoiseach's speech to the Institute for European Affairs regarding European defence and its development and the Government's attitude to that question, will he provide an opportunity in this House for the Government position to be debated?
Mr. Deasy: In view of the advanced and critical stage which the talks on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy have reached in Brussels, will the Taoiseach give an assurance that we will have an immediate debate on the matter  once the Minister for Agriculture and Food returns from Brussels?
Mr. McCartan: I refer to promised legislation in the Programme for Government in regard to emigrant rights. When will legislation be brought forward, and have the Government concluded their deliberations on the report which was to have been before them last December?
Mr. McCartan: With respect, I understood there was agreement in the House on the Order of Business and certainly there is a precedent, if precedent means anything anymore in this House, that what is contained in the Programme for Government is available for discussion  on the Order of Business. If you want to rule otherwise——
Mr. Farrelly: In the event of the postal strike continuing for another week or ten days will the Taoiseach say what steps the Government will take to ensure that postal voters receive their polling cards? Is it the Government's intention to introduce legislation on the running of outdoor events similar to that held in Slane last weekend?
Mr. Yates: I wish to draw the Taoiseach's attention to item No. 23 on the Order Paper, the Roads Bill, 1991, which proposed to establish a national roads authority. This was promised by Fianna Fáil since 1987, but we are still awaiting Committee Stage of the Bill. More than 100 amendments have been tabled. Will the Taoiseach confirm that adequate time will be made available and that this Bill will be enacted in this session?
Mr. Garland: Will the Taoiseach, or the Minister for Defence, comment on reports in last Friday's newspapers about the disgraceful practice in the Army of members of minority religions being forced to attend Mass and other Roman  Catholic ceremonies? This is disgraceful and is insulting to members of minority religions.
Mr. Garland: I sought to table a Private Question Notice on this issue but it was disallowed. When is it intended to deal with items Nos. 20 and 21 on the Order Paper, the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill? We had reached Committee Stage of the Bills last autumn but they have not been heard of since.
Mr. Shatter: A substantial amount of promised legislation is dependent on Law Reform Commission reports and is the Taoiseach in a position to indicate when it is intended to appoint a new president to the Law Reform Commission?
Mr. Durkan: In the context of the revised Programme for Government, were approaches made to the Taoiseach on the impending closure of Lullymore briquette factory? In view of the absence of both the Ministers for Energy and Labour will he respond to that approach?
Mr. G. Mitchell: When is it intended to introduce the long promised legislation on the register of Members' interests? Will the Taoiseach also consider establishing an ethics commission as proposed by Fine Gael, to monitor such a register?
Mr. J. Bruton: May I further ask — this may not be in order but I am going to try it any way — will the Taoiseach consider seriously the point made by Deputy Deasy on the need for an urgent debate on the outcome of the Agriculture Ministers' meeting?
Mr. S. Barrett: The revised Programme for Government states that the allocation of national lottery funds for amenity purposes would be transferred from the Department of the Environment to the local authorities and will the Taoiseach say when the local authorities will be advised of their allocation?
Mr. S. Barrett: The local authorities, and community groups, are awaiting these funds. The Taoiseach was a party to the negotiations to transfer these funds and I am asking when the local authorities will be advised of the transfer.
Mr. S. Barrett: We are now into the middle of May and these funds should have been made available from 1 January. When will the funds be transferred? Will that happen next week or has the decision been postponed?
Mr. S. Barrett: The national lottery funds are not the property of the Government but of the people who subscribe to it. The people expect to see the funds being spent on community and other purposes. At present nobody knows where the money is. Will the Taoiseach ensure that people continue supporting the national lottery by indicating that the money will be given to the local authorities as quickly as possible?
Miss Flaherty: I share the concern expressed by Deputies on this side of the House about these funds because local authorities have no money to spend on community amenities. The Taoiseach will be aware that we spent the past ten years updating our legislation in relation to children and we introduced the Status of Children Act and the Child Care Act and I would like to ask the Taoiseach if any work is taking place on an element of those Acts——
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