Thursday, 2 July 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Items Nos. 2 and 20. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that: 1. No. 2 shall be decided without debate; 2. The proceedings on the Report and Final Stages of No. 20, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 12.15 p.m. by one Question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down or accepted by the Minister for the Environment; 3. Statements shall be made at 12.30 p.m. on the European Council Meeting in Lisbon on 25 and 26 June and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) The statements of the Taoiseach and of the main spokesperson for the Fine Gael and Labour parties  shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case; (ii) The statement of each other Member called on shall not exceed 15 minutes; and (iii) the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be called upon not later than 4.45 p.m. to make a statement in reply; 4. The Dáil shall meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m.; 5. In respect of Vote 40, which shall be taken tomorrow, the following arrangements shall apply: (i) The speech of the Minister and of the main spokesperson for the Fine Gael and Labour parties shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, and the speech of each other Member called on shall not exceed 10 minutes; (ii) a Minister of State may be called upon a second time to make a speech in reply; (iii) a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon not later than 3.50 p.m. to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 10 minutes; (iv) In the 5 minutes preceding such reply, Opposition spokes-persons may request the Minister to clarify specific issues during the course of his reply; (v) the Question necessary to bring the proceedings on Vote 40 to a conclusion shall be put not later than 4 p.m. and (vi) if a division is demanded on the Estimate, such division shall be deferred until 6.45 p.m. on Wednesday, 8 July 1992.
Mr. Barry: No, Sir. It is not agreed. Let me first of all say that I am over 20 years in this House and the only Taoiseach that has shown frequent discourtesy to you, Sir, and to this House by arriving late is Deputy Reynolds. He is the only one who turns up late. That is discourteous to you, Sir, and to the rest of the House.
Mr. Barry: The Tánaiste is continuingly growling and grumbling over there. If he has something to say he should stand up and say it; otherwise he should stay quiet. I will give way to him if he has something to say.
The Taoiseach spoke yesterday on other legislation and used the words “if he gets the co-operation of the House”. The Taoiseach cannot expect the co-operation of this party and this House if he continues to guillotine both Committee Stages and Report Stages of measures. There are over 40 amendments to this Housing Bill and an hour and a half to deal with them; that is about a minute and a half to two minutes to deal with each one. We are not agreeing to No. 20 being taken in this manner.
Mr. Howlin: The question of housing is at the top of the agenda of every local authority. It is nothing short of disgraceful that we would guillotine this Bill at Report and Final Stages and deal with it in a matter of a couple of hours. We indicated that to the Government Whip last week. It is nothing short of disgraceful that we have come to the end of the term and a range of Bills are rushed through this House without proper consideration. We would like to oppose the taking of the Housing Bill in this way.
Proinsias De Rossa: I also am opposing the guillotining of this Bill. There are 38 sections in it. Only two of those sections were dealt with on Committee Stage and we are now expected to deal with the Report Stage in about an hour and a half.  We have reached the position now where the guillotine has become the parliamentary norm; it should be the exception. The House needs to seriously look at how it is doing its business. We cannot  continue to deal with serious legislation in this offhand way.
Browne, John (Wexford).
Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
de Valera, Síle.
Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
|Kitt, Michael P.
Morley, P. J.
Noonan, Michael J.
O'Toole, Martin Joe.
Wilson, John P.
Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
De Rossa, Proinsias.
Doyle, Joe. McGinley, Dinny.
Mac Gioila, Tomás.
Enright, Thomas W.
Farrelly, John V.
McCartan, Pat. O'Sullivan, Gerry.
Sheehan, Patrick J.
An Ceann Comhairle: Are the proposals for dealing with statements agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for tomorrow's sitting satisfactory? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with Vote 40, to be taken tomorrow, agreed?
Mr. Howlin: In relation to the deferral of Vote 40 in the event of a division being called, as a result of discussions at Committee of Procedure and Privileges yesterday on next Wednesday's sitting I would ask that that matter be deferred so that the Whips can discuss it rather than agree to the last section, the deferral of the vote. I think we can reach accommodation on the matter.
Mr. Barry: I want to state how pleased we are on this side of the House that a way forward has been found for Strand Two of the Northern Ireland talks. The urgency with which these talks should be addressed and their importance was underlined by the hideous murders of three young men last night, with another three families being deprived of a wage earner.
Could the Taoiseach outline the arrangement of legislation for next week given that he will be away on Thursday and Friday, there will be an Adjournment debate and the Committee of Procedure and Privileges have decided that the House adjourn after the President's address to the Houses next week? Can the Taoiseach say what other business will be taken next week.
The Taoiseach: I agree with Deputy Barry in relation to the violent murders in the North of Ireland. I am sure they are deplored by everybody in this House and we unequivocally condemn them. In relation to next week's business, the arrangement for Wednesday is a matter for discussion between the Whips and I will not anticipate what agreement they may arrive at.
Mr. Howlin: I would seek to diffuse the acrimony by talking about the resolution that was passed with the support of all parties in this House last night. Arising from that can the Taoiseach indicate when the legal advice available to the Government will be given to the House as ordered by the House last night, when the campaign detailed in the motion will begin and when details will be provided for Members of the House?
Proinsias De Rossa: I would like to associate myself with the remarks made in relation to the atrocities carried out by the Provisional IRA yesterday in Armagh. The fact that the three people who were murdered may have been members of that organisation in no way reduces the awfulness of the atrocity.
May I ask the Taoiseach if, arising from his remark in the House yesterday with regard to the Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Bill, it is proposed to take all Stages of that Bill next week and, if  so, if he will ensure that adequate time will be given to debate it. It is an urgent Bill and I think there would be general agreement that it should be taken next week.
The Taoiseach: This is a matter for discussion by the Whips. I hope that Deputy De Rossa, in line with Deputy McCartan, who held up the Bill yesterday and said it could be produced and discussed in five minutes, takes a similar approach to the passing of the Bill in the shortest possible time.
Mr. R. Bruton: May I ask the Taoiseach what progress has been made on the promised Bill to deal with rights for persons with a disability, which he indicated in the House he was examining? Also, what is the expected timing of the legislation on the reorganisation of health boards, and is the Taoiseach aware that 1,200 beds will be closed in health boards during the summer?
Mr. R. Bruton: In relation to promised  legislation, the Taoiseach indicated in the House on a previous occasion that he was considering legislation in relation to the rights of people with a disability.
Mr. Bell: Could the Taoiseach indicate when the promised legislation on the co-ordination of social welfare means testing activity will be taken? Will it be taken next week and, if not, will it be taken in the autumn session?
The Taoiseach: That is not promised legislation. It was promised that the matter would be considered, and it has not been abandoned. I said two days ago that there are complex constitutional matters involved in this matter which require much consideration.
Mr. Gilmore: In regard to the Bill circulated this week to extend student grants to mature students from 1 October next, will that Bill be dealt with next week so that it can have effect from next October?
Mr. Sheehan: Is the Taoiseach aware of the serious delay in Brussels in dealing with Ireland's application for disadvantaged area appeals and the reclassification of the less severely handicapped areas to severely handicapped status? What steps will the Taoiseach take to ensure that a scheme——
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