Order of Business.

Tuesday, 19 April 1994

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 441 No. 5

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The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It is proposed to take Nos. 5 and 7. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: 1. No. 5 shall be decided without debate; and 2. the Second Stage of No. 7 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the opening speech of a spokesperson for [1085] the Government, the Fine Gael Party, the Progressive Democrats Party and the Technical Group shall not exceed 45 minutes in each case; (ii) Members called upon under provision (i) above may not share time; and (iii) the speech of each other Member called on shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case. Private Members' Business shall be No. 16 — Motion 11.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Are the proposals for dealing with No. 5 satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 7 satisfactory and agreed?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Was the Taoiseach serious when he suggested a comprehensive property tax in his speech in Killarney or is it the case that when he speaks without a script he puts his foot in his mouth?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  For the benefit of the House, I never used the words property tax, rates or poll tax.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  The Taoiseach would like them all to be merged into one tax.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  What about a tax on the unemployment?

Mr. E. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Taoiseach raised the same point in Castlebar.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Deputy will hear all about Castlebar in the next four to five weeks. The guarantee he gave last night will not stand up and he should not bet money on it because he will lose badly. Despite the best efforts of the Opposition to convince people there will be a huge hike in taxation the Government is committed to reducing taxation and during its period in office it will be seen to reduce the overall burden of taxation and not increase it as Deputy Yates and others would like to believe.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  That is why the Taoiseach wants to put Jim Molyneaux in Deputy Spring's place.

[1086]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There will be an opportunity later to develop this matter, if appropriate. May I move on to the business as ordered?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  We are deciding whether we will agree to the arrangements for dealing with the Finance Bill. Who speaks for the Government on Finance matters, is it the Taoiseach off script in Killarney, the Minister for Finance or Minister Smith who contradicts both of them?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is not a time for speech making.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  What status attaches to any statement made by a Government Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is the proposal that No. 7 be taken in the manner the Taoiseach and I outlined in order and agreed?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  We have not got a clear indication as to whether the Taoiseach, Minister Ahern or Minister Smith speaks on tax policy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That matter does not arise.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It would enable us decide on the question if the Taoiseach indicated if he or the absent rural Buddha, the Minister for the Environment, has overruled him?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The question is: “That the Second Stage of No. 7 shall be taken today in accordance with the conditions laid down”.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  At least the Taoiseach had the grace to laugh.

(Interruptions.)

Question put and declared carried.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Was the Minister, Deputy Smith, right to contradict the [1087] Taoiseach? Is the Taoiseach in favour of a general property tax?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I must ask the Deputy not to persist in dealing with a matter that has been ruled out of order.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  We are entitled to this information. The Taoiseach should remember that he is Taoiseach, not some impresario who can visit any place in the country and make speeches off the top of his head.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Bruton, you may not ignore the Chair in this fashion. If the Deputy wishes to raise that matter he has ample ways and means of doing so.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Taoiseach obviously has an addiction to publicity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will resume his seat.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  If he cannot get it by doing his own job he has to get it by doing other people's jobs.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I refuse to be ignored in this fashion. Deputy Bruton should resume his seat.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  The Taoiseach was allowed speak for five minutes. He gave a Second Stage speech on the Finance Bill and he was not pulled up, but Deputy Bruton has been pulled up.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I do not know if the Taoiseach saw “Questions and Answers” last night but he may be aware that the Minister of State, Deputy Fitzgerald, intends canvassing for the Fianna Fáil candidate in Mayo West. Has the Taoiseach a comment on that matter? Under the community framework legislation we are obliged to publish by 8 April our community support framework plans. May I ask the Taoiseach why that report was not published before 8 April and who [1088] made the request to the Commission not to have it published?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Does this refer to legislation promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  No.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is an important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It may be very important and there are ways and means of dealing with important matter in this House, but it is not relevant now.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is very relevant.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Chair decides these matters.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The report should have been published by 8 April, but the Government made a request to the Commission to delay publication until after the elections.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Harney will have to pursue that matter in another way.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I cannot pursue it because it is ruled out of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not relevant now. I am calling Deputy Proinsias De Rossa.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Is this House relevant? Will we be told the reasons the Government sought the postponement——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Harney, please desist.

A Deputy:  The Deputy should have put down a question.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I have a question down.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Harney, I have been on my feet for some considerable time. The Deputy should resume her seat.

[1089]Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I am being ruled out of order on a very important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Harney, please resume your seat.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  The Taoiseach indicated a few minutes ago that the bottom line for this Government is a reduction in taxation. I wish to ask, on legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  What legislation is the Deputy referring to?

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Is it proposed to rescind the legislation for the taxation of unemployment benefit which came into effect on 6 April?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The House should recollect that we are about to embark on a debate on the Finance Bill.

Mr. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Taoiseach will not be in on the Finance Bill.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  The Taoiseach made a promise to the House five minutes ago.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am moving on to the business of the House proper.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Is it proposed to abolish taxation of unemployment benefit? Clearly it is not.


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