Order of Business.

Tuesday, 19 May 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 419 No. 9

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The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It is proposed to take Nos. 6 and 13.

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.

Private Members' Business shall be No. 39, Motion 39.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  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: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  In the Joint Programme for Government the parties promised [1883] 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: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  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: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John 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: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  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: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick 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 [1884] 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: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Regarding the Offences against the Person Act, changes will not be introduced in this session.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I am not surprised.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  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.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  A new Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I did not say that. I referred to proposals.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  What about open government?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The White Paper on Marital Breakdown is almost complete.

Mrs. Barnes: Information on Monica Barnes  Zoom on Monica Barnes  Will it be produced in this session?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  If possible.

Proinsias Dr Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  We have had a long debate on the Maastricht Referendum and I do not propose to have another one.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin 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 [1885] once the Minister for Agriculture and Food returns from Brussels?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Deputy Deasy appreciates that this is not the time when such assurances should be sought or given.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  Open government.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  Why not? It is regular practice. There are numerous precedents.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  It does not correctly arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  Would the Taoiseach like to answer?

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The matter is still being examined. Legislation has not been promised.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Are the Government still considering the report or have they gone beyond that stage?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  The Taoiseach has indicated that legislation is not promised. Accordingly it is not in order to pursue that now.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  I want to clarify it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  We are not entitled to clarify what is not in order.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick 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 [1886] on the Order of Business. If you want to rule otherwise——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  I have ruled and I am calling Deputy Farrelly.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Sir, you are wrong for the third time this afternoon.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  The Deputy can specialise in his own hat tricks any time he wishes.

Mr. Deasy: Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy  Sir, you are lucky corporal punishment has been abolished.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. 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?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Is legislation promised? Neither of the Deputy's questions are in order.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  The people do not count as far as the Taoiseach is concerned.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The answer to the Deputy's question is “yes”.

Mr. Garland: Information on Roger T. Garland  Zoom on Roger T. 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 [1887] Catholic ceremonies? This is disgraceful and is insulting to members of minority religions.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Deputy Garland knows what is in order and he is not in order.

Mr. Garland: Information on Roger T. Garland  Zoom on Roger T. 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.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I expect that the Bills referred to by the Deputy will be brought to the House by the end of this month.

Mr. Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan 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?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  That question is not in order.

Dr. Lee: Information on Pat Lee  Zoom on Pat Lee  When does the Minister for Health intend to introduce a charter for patients in psychiatric hospitals as he promised when I asked this question previously?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Is this promised legislation?

Dr. Lee: Information on Pat Lee  Zoom on Pat Lee  During a debate in this House I asked the Minister for Health if he would do so, and he said he would but he gave no indication of the time-scale.

A Deputy:  A promise was given on foot of a request.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  I am not privy to the circumstances under which the question was put but I do not think it is promised legislation.

[1888]Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard 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?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Deputy Durkan prides himself on knowing the rules of this House and he is not in order.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This concerns the revised Programme for Government.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Work is almost complete on the question of a register of Members' interests.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Will the Taoiseach explain why the family planning Bill, which he said is at an advanced stage of preparation, is not included in the list of Bills to be taken this session?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Because he has no intention of introducing it.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John 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. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  It will depend on the results.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  I hope the Deputy will not be encouraged on the latter question but the Taoiseach may have a comment on the former one.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The list circulated by the Whip last week was the list of legislation to be completed this session and it [1889] does not necessarily include matters that may commence this session.

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán 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. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  After the next election.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  In 1999.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  The Deputy should table a parliamentary question on that.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  Is the Taoiseach not aware of this decision?

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is part of the Programme for Government.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  That does not count anymore.

Mr. McCartan: Information on Patrick McCartan  Zoom on Patrick McCartan  Someone has rewritten the rules for today.

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán 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.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  As it is in the Programme for Government, this is an announcement that legislation will follow.

Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán 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. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Has the money been spent?

[1890]Mr. S. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  This is a matter deserving of a separate question. The Deputy is aware that if he tables a question to the Minister for the Environment he will get the facts.

Miss Flaherty: Information on Mary Flaherty  Zoom on Mary 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——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  The Deputy must ask a question about promised legislation.

Miss Flaherty: Information on Mary Flaherty  Zoom on Mary Flaherty  Will the Chair hear me out? I wish to ask about the juvenile justice element of the Status of Children Act.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  Was legislation promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Yes, we expect to have it towards the end of this year.


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